Camping Food Storage: Tips For Camping And Hiking

As camper, it is our responsibility to prevent all types of animals from approaching our food. The food we humans eat is not suitable for their diet and makes animals dependent, which makes them vulnerable.

For example, bears that get used to humans are at a higher risk of being killed. 

In this section we will give you advice on:

  1. Food preservation in general
  2. Keeping food on a campsite
  3. Keep food in the wild
  4. Food Use Tips
  5. Methods For Hanging Your Food
  6. Our Tips for camping food storage
camping food

All kinds of animals can be interested in your food and wherever you camp. Whether it is mice or other small rodents, but also bears, they will not hesitate to attack one end of your tent or your bag to nibble on what’s inside.

1. Camping food storage tips

Keeping food (and other products such as cosmetics) away from animals in a campsite is an art. So here are some general tips so as not to rouse wildlife:

  • Never leave food or garbage inside your tent.
  • Never leave your food unattended. Jay, squirrel, and other small animals will catch your food in a split second in broad daylight. While other animals will infiltrate your tent or bag overnight.

2. Keeping food on a campsite

  • During the day, keep all your food out of danger in your cooler or your car, even if you are right next door, and especially if you are going for a hike.
  • During the night, but all the food in the open air (and your cooler if you have one), in your car, or in a metal locker if you have one at your disposal.

Raccoons and bears are very strong at opening coolers. Some manufacturers sell so-called “anti-bear” coolers, but you would have done well to add a padlock. You can also hang your bag high on a tree branch. see on  our guide How to choose a perfect place to your camp

3. Keep food in the wild

If you are going camping in a national park or in a forest with bears, and there are specific rules for storing food, then follow them. 

If you are going to an area where there is no regulation, you can adopt one of these three methods:

4. Tips for using food

The last thing you would want to do while on vacation is spend your time running around the bathroom. There are three common ways to get sick from poor hygiene or poor food storage while camping:

  • Transmission of pathogens from your hands to your mouth (often after using the bathroom)
  • Eat expired food
  • Improper handling of raw meats

How To Prevent Hand-to-mouth Transmission?

  • After using the toilet, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water (out of camp and out of a cool water source)
  • Wipe your hands with a towel that has not been used to wipe dishes
  • If you cannot wash your hands, use a hydro alcohol solution or wipes
  • Wash your hands before cooking
  • If you plan to share a packet of appetizers with others, pour the food from the bag into their hands. Do not allow any unwashed hand to enter the bag

How To Keep The Food Fresh So That It Does Not Expire?

Chances are you will have a cooler if you go camping by car. You will put their perishable foods such as meat (especially raw), cheese, eggs, and milk, at 5 ° C or less so that they do not perish.

Here are some other additional tips:

  • Cool the cooler with ice cubes an hour before putting food on it
  • Fill polycarbonate bottles with water, juice, or milk and freeze them (leave space in the bottle). This will keep the cooler longer than with rapidly melting ice cubes, so you can drink the drink when you no longer need ice.
  • Pack the raw meat in two different bags so that the bag does not leak and the liquid spills over other foods; freeze everything you won’t eat the first day
  • Place the food you are going to eat first on top. Place raw meat underneath, where the cooler is the coldest
  • Use a thermometer in the cooler to check the temperature

How To Handle Raw Meat At The Campsite?

It is a good idea to cut the meat beforehand and place it in a freezer bag. In this way, you will have less washing at the campsite. But here are some additional tips:

  • As you would at home, be careful when handling raw meat. After cutting the raw meat at the campsite, put the pieces of meat in your pan and immediately wash the cutting board, the knife, and your hands in hot water (if possible) before touching anything else
  • Never cut vegetables or cheese on a surface containing meat residue
  • Any plastic packaging that contained meat should be put in two bags and placed in your cooler or trash bag until you return home, or dispose of it in the nearby trash can.

5. Methods For Hanging Your Food:

Here are the main methods for hanging your food:

  • You can hang your food high on a tree branch
  • At some campsites, you will find masts for this purpose, which are better than tree branches. On these masts, you will find hooks where you can place your bag of food or your backpack. A metal bar should be available to place your food bag on one of the hooks
  • Or you will find a long metal cable between two masts, which will, in most cases, be easier to hang your bag on


6. Our Tips for camping food storage:

  • Keep odors away: Cook and wash your dishes (and hands) away from tents so that odors do not attract animals near you while you sleep. Use a little bit of unscented liquid soap.
  • Dishwashing water: Clean up any food residue and put it in a trash can. Throw the used water in a rocky area if possible, very far from your campsite.

Camping food storage FAQ?

How can I store my food?

To keep your bag as light as possible, dry food is labeled and closed bags with a zipper if possible.

Think of the food that you will want to keep on hand while hiking or at different times of the day so that you can pack your bag so that these items are easily accessible.

17. How can I cut the weight of my food?

There are lots of little tricks you can use to reduce the weight of your food. Transferring food from large, heavy packages to plastic bags with zippers is easy and efficient.

Likewise, you can transfer liquids from a thick glass into a plastic water bottle or other waterproof bags. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are also extremely light as they have all of their moisture removed.

18. Will wild animals be attracted to my food?

Yes, especially rats and bears depending on which part of the world you live in. Rats are known to chew fabric and light plastics, so you’ll need a hard plastic cup with a screw cap to keep them away from your food overnight.

I hope these tips will help you have a great hike! camping food storage

Do you have questions about how to camping food storage? Do not hesitate to ask me in the comments.
What is your favorite technique for food safety? Share it too by leaving a comment below.

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