Mastering the Art of Camp Food

Since we stepped into our roles as the Directors of Toughness with Columbia Sportswear, Mark and I have done a lot of camping. We’ve slept in a snow shelter, a lean-to, on the floor of mountain huts, and lakeside in Argentina, the list goes on…

Our primary camping woe has often been getting to camp in time to set up tents in daylight. But for me, I’m also constantly thinking about the food (and coffee) situation, while Mark is more of a hot dog and baked beans kind of guy. I come with a few more warning labels. I’m a lactose intolerant pescatarian who grew up eating the macrobiotic diet. I spent the last five years managing two different restaurants in Brooklyn, where I grew to love food. I’ve had extravagant rooftop and kitchen gardens (thanks to green thumb roomies) for the past four years.

I like food and I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little fancy about it.

I have no problem admitting the first thing I do when I get to a new city is find the best-known food spot and then plot out a 5k to take me there. I like food and I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little fancy about it. While I’ve had great success with just add water dehydrated food packets the last six months, I decided on this most recent trip that I was over rehydrating my meals for a while.

I decided a river trip was the perfect time to splurge. While I did have to think about the weight limitations of the watercraft, I didn’t have to carry everything on my back during the journey, so I decided to pack a few indulgences. I had a lot of fun planning it out, here’s what I brought along:

Homemade trail mix:

I think it’s fun to make your own trail mix and then you don’t have to be that person picking out all the almonds or trying to avoid the dried apricots. I separated it into little Ziploc bags for each day. My Ingredients: parmesan goldfish, honey roasted chickpeas, inca corn, pralines, and craisins.

Wraps & fillings:

I brought a jar of peanut butter and jelly, a bottle of stone ground mustard, a cucumber, a bag of tuna (they come in bags as well as cans), whole wheat wraps and an avocado. The night before my trip I made wraps in advance (not the avo!) and individually packaged them in tin foil. I should include…I’m an enthusiast when it comes to mustard so that one is up to you but, I highly suggest putting it on everything.

Dinner things:

I recently discovered this company called Fishpeople and jumped for joy because my plain lentils have, I admit, at times pale in comparison to other people’s beef chili mac and curry chicken packet meals. These guys have me in mind, they literally have Wild Crab Bisque. And rather than make it with milk I make it with…

Individual Boxes of Almond Milk:

I use them for dinner prep or use one for granola and coffee in the morning. This way I don’t have to worry about bringing/refrigerating a bigger container.

A flask of whiskey and a bar of dark chocolate:

Have you met me? It’s nice to treat yourself when you’re out on the trail or river for days or even weeks at a time.

Those were my river indulgences on the first leg of our PNW road trip. I’d love to hear your camp kitchen and cooking hacks! It’s become one of my favorite things to play around with on these trips and I don’t feel like it’s frivolous because it’s something fun to look forward to in the moments when you might lose track of how awesome it is to be spending time outdoors…for example the third time you flip into freezing cold rapids… that’s when the memory of the Wild Salmon and Chardonnay you packed for dinner comes in handy.

Faith BriggsFaith Briggs is an avid runner and documentary film maker from Brooklyn, New York. She’s passionate about sharing contemporary stories from diverse communities and can always be found with her camera, whether in the photographer’s pit during New York’s fashion week or in the cloud forests in Honduras. She lives by the motto #goodvibesonly and loves to show that women and girls, quite literally, run the world. You can follow Faith’s journey as Director of Toughness here and social channels including: Twitter | Instagram