Camping is more then Boxed Mac and Cheese
By Erika M. Seitz
HomeCamp Meals

   Of course, we all love macaroni and cheese. It’s legendary- and perfect for camping from the boat. In my experience, I’ve found that I don’t branch outside of this wonderful American goodness because I don’t know how.

   Until summer of 2008 I have been camping with Macaroni and Cheese since YMCA Camp Coniston when I was 12 years old. I decided it was time for a change. With influence of a good friend of mine who also likes to enjoy good food, we experimented with all of our trips last summer. I have included pictures in this article to give you a visual of how great our meals were this year. Back to the mac and cheese. Though it is filling and does it’s job satisfying our taste buds, it lacks nutrients the body needs in order to have endurance for hard paddles and battles against the suns heat. So one of our first goals was to balance out our diet with a meat, a starch, and a vegetable/fruit.

  Fruit is pretty self explanatory. Fruit has a lot of water, and natural sugars that help break down and allow your pores to sweat properly. The sugars prevent hypo-glycaemia and also create energy for the body’s blood flow. The water keeps the body properly hydrated. Dehydration can sneak up on us without a warning, and it is difficult to treat in the middle of the woods without access to a medical facility.

  Vegetables are similar as well. they provide more minerals and vitamins, which are good for vision, brain functionality, mood, skin elasticity, among other things. Like fruit, vegetables are full of water and keep the body hydrated. The sun reflects down on the water and it bounces off our skin, exposing us to harmful rays, and drying out our skin. A bag of vegetables to go along with our SPF can make a world of difference from the boat.

  You're probably wondering how we carry meat on a 5 day trip. If your like us, you’ve tried everything. Ice, cool places in the boat, freezing the products in ice, even dry ice (which is not all it’s cut out to be, regardless of what the company that sells it to you says) We thought that once the 2 or three days were over we would not be able to balance out our diet anymore and would resort to mac and cheese. However, we have found 2 solutions to this problem. Dehydrators and non-perishable meat. Though beef jerky is stripped of liquid, it still contains proteins. Pepperoni and Salami come in links that do not require refrigeration, and taste wonderful over the fire. Don’t get me wrong, coolers are a good idea, if you get the right kind. We have a double insulated canvas cooler made by Mother Tech. We freeze our meat, and then load the bottom with ice. We put the meat in (this year we will be using vacuum sealed packaging) and we freeze water in coke bottles and lay them on top. These bottles can really come in handy at the campsite. The are useful as trail markers, extinguishing fires, or collecting shells and/or other memorabilia.