Overpacking on the Camping Food

by PennPaddler

dintymoorebeefstewOn my most recent canoe camping trip I realized that I’ve been packing too much food all these years. Now on this trip I was only paddling overnight and a distance of about 30 miles, but I was really pressed for time when packing so I wasn’t able to prepare in advance my usual camping meal of home cooked beef stew. So I did something I hate to do and I bought a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew and a can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli’s for backup. I also purchased the normal items for breakfast and snacking. It sounds like a lot of food for a one night trip but I realized long ago it’s better to come overprepared than underprepared because you can always expect to do some sharing with the person that always shows up underprepared.

Here’s what I packed in total food:

1 can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew
1 can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli
1 bag of pretzels
1 Lunchables
couple of apples
1 pack of smoked ham
1 loaf of bread
1 small container of mustard
12 pack of Gatorade
6 pack of water
1 carton Eggs Beaters
1 package of scrapple
1 pack of Hershey Chocolate Bars

Here’s what food I took home:

1 can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli
couple of apples
1/2 pack of smoked ham
1/2 loaf of bread
1 small container of mustard
1/2 of 12 pack of Gatorade
1/2 of 6 pack of water
1/2 pack of Hershey Chocolate Bars

Here’s what food I ate:

1/2 can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew
1/2 pack of smoked ham
1 Lunchables
1/2 loaf of bread
1/2 of 12 pack of Gatorade (gave a few away)
1/2 of 6 pack of water (most used for washing & cooking)
1/2 pack of Hershey Chocolate Bars
1/3 carton Eggs Beaters
1/3 package of scrapple
1 huge plate of home cooked lasagna
1 huge bowl of beef stew
1 chunk of garlic ring bologna
1 decent plate of scrambled eggs and bacon
2 cups of coffee
2 s’mores
1 mountain pie of some type
6-8 toasted marshmallows

Here’s what food I threw away:

1/2 can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew
2/3 carton Eggs Beaters
2/3 package of scrapple
1 bag of soggy pretzels

Notice I ate more food than I actually brought and notice how much food I took home with me. And just look at the food I threw away, what a waste. Everybody brought along something special that I had to sample. One guys wife cooked beef stew that I had to try out of respect for her. Another person brought lasagna that was cooked in advance and I finished it off or it would have been sacrificed at the fire. One guy prepared me breakfast with coffee before I was able to get out of my tent. And at the campfire I ate toasted marshmallows, mountain pies and s’mores all night long. Not that I mind this treatment at all because I certainly don’t get it at home. But with all food combined, our group could have comfortably managed another night and full day on the river. That’s when I came up with the concept of OPF (other peoples food).

The OPF Concept

Short trip canoe campers almost always overpack, especially if there are children present. And everybody brings along a secret recipe that is so great you just have to try a plate or risk insulting the cook. My new OPF strategy is that when I’m paddling with a large familiar group I’ll bring about 50% of what I usually bring because on these trips I always eat like a king and still throw food away, or take it home if I can. With the OPF strategy I’ll save money and reduce wasted food. And the best part is less food makes packing so much easier. I might eventually earn the reputation of the camp moocher, but think of how easy and less expensive my canoe camping trips will be. Now if I can just figure out a way to use somebody else’s canoe and camping equipment.

OPF…give it a try in ’09.

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