food and cooking

last updated 7 april 2021


basic provisions

bread — carry enough to last you at least three days in case of emergency. it's filling enough and you should hopefully have set up camp and started hunting and foraging within that time if you have not returned to civilization.

plain flour / ground cornmeal — don't get self-raising flour, as it's ruined by moisture and can't be thickened. cornmeal can be used to make pancakes, buscuits, etc or as breading for meat.

rice — invaluable to you. it's easy to pack, keeps well, can be cooked multiple ways, tastes good with basically anything, and digests easily.

macaroni — while bulky and attractive to pests, it's very nutritious (probably more than you think) and goes well with soups and stews.

powdered milk — when stored correctly dry milk can last for years without going bad.

cheese — it isn't the best for the digestive system, so eat it sparingly. if it's really hot outside, I wouldn't recommend cheese at all. if you decide on cheese, only bring hard, aged cheeses like cheddar.

clarified butter — keeps much longer than normal butter.

vegetables — raw, dried, or canned. potatoes, carrots, and onions in particular i recommend because they're used in a lot of great dishes.

nuts & berries — pack a lot of punch for their size. peanut butter is a good source of protein.

salt, pepper, & sugar — sugar = energy, and you'll likely be craving something sweet while you're out there. optionally other spices if you think you'll need them.

other food to consider — fruit preserves, honey, canned beans/baked beans, fermented foods


meat & proteins

don't forget to exercise common sense safety when handling meat. if you want to start out with meat that isn't dried or canned - don't, unless you somehow have a reliable, effective way of keeping it under 40°F/4°C. if this is long-term and you know you'll need to hunt meat yourself anyway, learn to dry it so your leftovers don't go to waste.

how to dry meat (click)
  1. after cleaning the animal, remove the tissues and fat, which would otherwise slow down the cooling process. fat also slows down the drying process
  2. cool it down as fast as you can. a cool stream works well
  3. wash the meat of blood and debris
  4. cut the meat into thin strips so it dries faster
  5. there is thankfully multiple ways to do this, so do whatever is best in your situation :
    • IF IT'S SUNNY : hang it from a high place (such as a tree) in direct sunlight
    • IF YOU HAVE SALT AND WATER TO SPARE : make a saline solution, which is water plus 14-20% of salt. if you have sugar, add that too (it helps with flavor). soak the meat in the mixture for five minutes, then pull it out and leave it in sunlight.
    • IF YOU ONLY HAVE SALT : deeply rub the salt into the meat and cover it well. store it in an airtight container. if you're curing multiple meats, don't let them touch.
    • IF YOU HAVE A FIRE AND DRY, NON-RESINOUS WOOD TO SPARE : cover the flames of your campfire with something like a grill while allowing smoke to escape, and hang or rest the meat where a good concetration of smoke is but not too close to the fire. you're smoking it, not cooking it! if you can, try to cover the fire to hold the smoke in one place as much as possible, like a primitive smokehouse of sorts. leave for at least two hours or so. Here's a great YouTube video that demonstrates what I'm talking about.

jerky — useful as a snack or something (personally, I enjoy jerked venison while out on the trail) but it's expensive, not super nutritious, and can't really be prepared in a meal. but, if you want meat and don't plan on hunting, go for it!

canned meat — spam, vienna sausages, etc. canned fish is better for you, nutrition-wise.

dehydrated eggs — 2tbsps of egg powder + 2tbsps of water = one whole egg. You have to let it soak for ~10 minutes before you actually cook it.



if you need just pure calories, instant ramen is the way to go. In the same vein, dry soup powders are pretty useful too. they're available in basically any grocery store, or you can easily make them yourself.

baked potatoes, while not a full meal on its own, are yummy and one of my favorites. open up a potato, stuff some butter and cheddar in there, then wrap in tinfoil amd cover it in campfire ash for 30-45 minutes.


return to index