Camping on a vegan diet doesn't have to be difficult. If you plan properly and take a number of food safety measures, a vegan camping trip can be as fulfilling as a more traditional one. If you prefer hot meals, bring along a grill or butane stove -- or stick to no-cook options.
Make Breakfast Fun
Instead of packing sugary store-bought oatmeal, you can make your own breakfast mix. Rolled oats, dried fruit and nuts are easy to pack and require no refrigeration. Cook the oatmeal on your butane stove and spice it up with extra ingredients. For more flavor and a healthy dose of antioxidants, add fresh blueberries or strawberries. For a quicker option, pack a loaf of sliced whole-wheat bread and a jar of creamy almond butter. Serve the almond butter over the bread and eat with a piece of fruit for more energy.
Sandwiches for Lunch
For an easy lunch, prepare sandwiches with or without heat. Cook-free suggestions include peanut butter with banana on whole wheat bread, or spread hummus on a sliced baguette and add vegetables and avocado as a filling. For those traveling with a butane stove or have a grill on site, consider grilled veggie-cheese sandwiches stuffed with tomato slices. If you want to be more creative, try heating up couscous with the butane stove and mixing it with fresh chopped veggies and grilled tofu. When it comes to food safety, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends bringing a plastic, fiberglass or steel cooler, then packing it with several inches of ice, blocks of ice or frozen gel-packs to keep foods cool or frozen. Bring a thermometer to ensure foods stay below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Prep Dinner Ahead
Planning dinner for a camping trip can be done as easily as one, two, freeze. The "Vegetarian Times" recommends making sauces ahead of time and freezing them. Some examples include whipping up a homemade basil pesto in advance and freezing it in ice cube trays. Move the pesto cubes to freezer bags and store them in your cooler. If you are going on a longer trip, make sure to pack two coolers, one can be use for the current day and the other should store food for later in the trip. When it's time to eat, heat on low and add the pesto to pasta or spread it on grilled vegetables, like zucchini, peppers and eggplant. Add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and yellow peppers to prewashed spinach, and enjoy a nutritious side salad. Make sure to pack either store-bought dressing or a small container of olive oil and vinegar.
Snacks and Dessert
No camping trip is complete without a few delicious snacks. For options that require no cooking, consider blue corn tortilla chips with a black bean dip or tomato salsa. Additionally, chopped vegetables -- such as carrots, cucumber and celery -- can be served with a hummus dip. For those with a sweet tooth and a grill, try grilled fruit skewers topped with a good-quality vegan dark chocolate. For a simpler bite, try either grilled banana or a grilled peach.
- Vegetarian Times: How to Cook Up a Storm on Your Next Camping Trip
- Vegetarian Resource Group: Vegan and Vegetarian Summer Camps
- Serious Eats: Camping With Vegans and Little Gear
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food Safety While Hiking, Camping & Boating
- FoodSafety.gov: Check Your Steps: Chill: How to Pack a Cooler to Prevent Food Poisoning