Food Safety in the Wild
If you’ve ever gone camping before, you know that bringing your own food is the best means of keeping well fed during your trek in the outdoors. When you do bring your own food into the wild, you’re imposing on yourself a series of mostly unspoken rules and regulations to diminish your impact on the environment. Additionally, you’re also going to need to exhibit a set of precautions to ensure that you’re able to enjoy your cache of goods in the safest way possible.
It’s unlikely that you’re traveling with a refrigerator and your food is going to be exposed to different elements than it would at home, so it’s best to keep the following in mind to ensure you, your food, and the environment around you remains safe and clean.
Stick to Cold Foods
While you may want to heat your meals prior to heading out, that casserole dish is only going to keep it hot for so long, and when food drops below 140° F, it enters a “Danger Zone” for bacteria. Chances are, by the time you pack everything and get to your campsite, even if you were to eat right away, your meal would have dipped below that line, putting you at risk.
It’s a lot easier to keep food cold, so try to pack only cold items like sandwiches, salads, and anything else that can be eaten called. Pack all cold food in an insulated container and cooler with cold packs.
Cleanliness is Key
Say you’re looking to break out a full course meal, something you can cook over the fire. This may require you to bring cold raw meat, which can pose a risk if not stored properly. Any sort of raw protein like chicken or pork needs to be stores separate in a lock-tight container to avoid contamination. Avoid packing meat with utensils or pots and pans, as well, in case the container leaks.
Beyond just the cleanliness of your food, the cleanliness of your campsite is also important. When you camp, your impact should be minimal, which means all trash needs to be disposed of in proper receptacles. Outside of causing actual harm to the wildlife around you, if you leave wrappers and scraps of food lying about, you may attract some unwanted attention.
Bring Your Own Water
You can purchase water filtration systems for fairly cheap but what you can’t guarantee is a viable water sources to syphon it from. Filtering and cleaning your own water should really be a last resort, so when you’re packing, pack your own supply. Of course, there’s no guarantee that what you bring will be enough, so it is good to have a back-up.
Never drink directly from a water source until you know it has been purified either through a water filtration or by boiling it.
Cooking at your campsite isn’t quite the same as at home. You’ll have to be very selective with your food to ensure it’s actually something you can cook over a campfire. Simple options like hot dogs are always best, but chicken and steak are also doable if you bring the proper implements. IF you don’t want to carry around a lot fancy cooking gear, aluminum foil and a simple pan also works.
When you’re done with your fire, be sure to extinguish it completely and get rid of the ashes. Water causes smoke to billow, so it’s best to suffocate the fire with dirt.