The Great Eater Campout has recipes and essential intel for you to plan the greatest, most delicious camping trip ever
zshhhhof tent zippers and shifting sleeping bags to form a glorious but alarm-level predawn cacophony, and the brisk mountain air in those early moments is like a healing tonic for your lungs. The worst part of camping is also waking up: The temperature difference between the interior of your sleeping bag and the outdoors is a terrifying abyss, more bracing than even the blackest cup of coffee — something you desperately need because the glaring sun woke you up three hours earlier than your usual weekend consciousness. Your body is stiff from ground sleep; dirty from, well, dirt; and your bladder is telling you it’s time to pee somewhere weird and cold and very much not a toilet.
Then ... breakfast. Out here, amid the humbling hugeness of crisp skies, drifting meadows, mammoth trees, and craggy mountains, everything tastes a little better, a little sharper, and a little moreearned. Even a crumbly protein bar satisfies in a different way when you’re sitting on a stump in the dappled morning sunlight, surrounded by pine needles and nothingness. So then imagine a hollowed-out winter squash, smoky from a night in the embers of your fire, filled with a mess of eggs, chorizo, and dill-infused yogurt. Or maybe it’s a PB&J, dunked in egg batter and fried to gooey French toast magnificence. With these, the lousy night’s sleep vanishes, your body temperature rises, and the birds sing louder as the sun finally crests the mountaintop. You’ve achieved the camping nirvana that lured you out here in the first place, and it’s barely 7 a.m.
Still need convincing? Read this.There’s no reason why camp cooking can’t be an exhilarating experience, a fire-kissed series of meals just as alluring as the fresh mountain air. To that end, Eater has teamed with some of America’s most experienced camp cooking enthusiasts — Lucas Sin, Kena Peay, Kirsten Kirby-Shoote, Nettie Colón, Al Culliton — to plan out an epic (but achievable!) start-to-finish three-day meal plan. Their breathtaking culinary adventure features everything from a salmon crunchwrap (perfect for throwing in a backpack and eating atop a vista) to a lovingly tended-to skillet chocolate chip cookie to beefy naan tacos, best devoured beneath the stars. (Seriously, though, if the idea of a multi-day cooking project seems too out of reach, we get you — headtopics.com
there’s a guide to the best ready-to-eat meals, too.)And because preparing for a camping trip can feel like a maximalist exercise to the extreme, we have your grocery lists and your pre-trip prep schedule, plus tips on everything, including equipment, packing a cooler, doing dishes (because you have to), and all the ways to avoid literally dying while camping — foraging is very cool but please don’t eat those mushrooms. Also, bears are real. And hungry.
Consider this guide the key tool in your kit for having the most delicious no-brainer camping trip of your life, whether you’re a first-timer or an honorary forest ranger. S’mores obviously included.Make-ahead ItineraryWant to get a head start on your weekend in the great outdoors? Many components of this blowout, multi-meal itinerary can (and, dare we say, should) be made ahead to guarantee you more time to enjoy the natural surroundings, and less time sweating over your campsite cutting board. Before you embark with your trunk and cooler packed to the gills, consider tackling the following:
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