Safe Campsite Cuisine
Be a food-smart camper while communing with nature. Take a preliminary hike through this list of campsite do's and don'ts.
- Plan a basic menu before you shop for trip foods. Will you eat perishables the first day, then rely solely on non-perishables? How many heavy canned goods can you transport? Will you need lightweight foods for a hiking excursion?
- Be sure you have sturdy coolers and plenty of ice packs for perishables such as hot dogs and cheese. At the campsite, keep coolers in the shade covered with light-colored blankets. Open them infrequently, only when necessary.
- Bring a variety of nonperishable staples from the five main food groups.
Good choices are:
- peanut butter in plastic jars
- nutrition/energy bars
- canned tuna, chicken and ham
- beef jerky
- CAPRI SUN® ALL NATURAL juice drink pouches
- powdered milk
- powdered drink mixes such as COUNTRY TIME® drink mix, KOOL-AID® soft drink mix, TANG® drink mix and CRYSTAL LIGHT® low calorie drink mix
- dried fruits and nuts
- ready-to-eat cereals
- dried soups, macaroni and rice
- dry biscuit or pancake and sauce mixes
- HANDI-SNACKS® snack combinations
- Pack dried pasta, rice and mixes in plastic bags and take only the amount you'll need. Avoid over-packing.
- Bring a food thermometer. Cooking times are unreliable when preparing food over an open fire or camp stove, and it can be tricky to determine the color of food in a wooded area at dusk. Cook hamburgers to 160°F, chicken to 180°F and hot dogs and leftovers to 165°F. Be sure to clean the thermometer between uses.
- Practice basic food safety rules. See our Top 10 Food Handling Hints for more information.
- Bring cleanup supplies for washing dishes. Use biodegradable camping soaps sparingly and wash dishes at the campsite, not the water's edge. Dump dirty water on the ground, well away from fresh water. Pack disposable wipes and hand sanitizer.
- Use bottled water for drinking and cooking. Always assume streams and lakes are unsafe for drinking. If camping in remote areas, bring water purification tablets.
- Leftover food should be burned, not dumped. Pack garbage bags for other trash and carry it out with you.
RV Kitchen Safety
Before you rev up your RV's motor and hit the road, make sure your mobile kitchen is ready for the trip. These tips reduce the risk of meal mishaps as you travel highways and byways.
- If your RV has not been used for awhile, check the quality dates on canned foods left over from last year. If canned foods have been exposed to freezing and thawing temperatures over the winter, discard them.
- Store uncooked rice, cereals and pasta in resealable food storage bags or airtight plastic containers to prevent spillage and insect infestation.
- Make sure all food preparation areas in the vehicle are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- Check the refrigerator. Set the thermostat properly and clean thoroughly before using. See Fridge & Freezer Cleaning for more information.
- If your RV has a propane system, turn the refrigerator off while traveling for safety. Most manufacturers claim that the temperature in the refrigerator will raise only 2 degrees in 6 hours if it is not opened often. Use a thermometer to check that the temperature is below 40°F.
- RV parks may have inadequate voltage, and this can play havoc with appliances. Use a volt checker to monitor your power line. This protects appliances from power surges and gradual drains from power fluctuations.