If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I spent two weeks in late August road-tripping and camping across the country. My boyfriend, dog and I left Kentucky, took Route 66 from St. Louis to LA, and drove Route 1 up the California coast to Oregon. We camped partially to save money, but mostly because we felt that, though we had camped before, we had not ever really had the opportunity to truly disconnect and experience America.
It was a whirlwind of new landscapes, experiences, and memories. We watched a meteor shower from a mountain in the Ozarks, walked through 1,000-yr-old buildings in New Mexico, and saw the sunset between two rocks on the Pacific.
All the while I, on my gluten/egg/beef-free and low-fodmap diet, ate incredibly well! I knew eating out would be a challenge (and expense), so I made sure we were well-prepared. By the time we made it to Oregon, there were even leftovers.
While I doubt many of you have two-week camping trips in your future (and likely have fewer dietary restrictions), I learned a lot of valuable things about what to bring and how to eat well while camping, even if it is just for a night or two close to home. And if you DO have dietary restrictions, you're welcome :-)
*These are all for CAR camping, not backpacking, but we were able to do several backcountry nights (i.e. we didn't have to be near town every single day).
The absolute must-have supplies:
- Coleman stove and propane fuel*
- Good cooler (I loved our Igloo cube cooler; it kept ice for days)**
- Frying pan, pot with lid, small cutting board, one decent knife, plates/bowls, mugs, tupperware
- Can opener, bottle opener, plastic spoon, tongs, spatula, liquid measuring cup, bag clips
- Tent, rain cover, ground spikes, tarp
- Self-inflating sleeping pad (so much better than an inflatable mattress)
- Sleeping bag and pillow (if you are part of a couple, a double-bag is really nice to have)
- Headlamps, one for everyone
- 5-gallon water container with spigot/faucet and handle
- Dish sponge, all-natural soap, microfiber towels
- Baby wipes, lots (for everything from "showers" to cleaning up the tent)
- Trash bags, ziplock bags
- Firewood, matches/lighters
- Instant cool-packs, for first-aid and overheated dogs (rub on their stomach and head)
- Wool (not cotton) socks (yes, even in summer, even in the desert, trust me)
*The Coleman stove was by far my favorite must-have on the trip. We only went through 1.5 1-pound propane tanks in 2 weeks, and we boiled water for coffee and tea every morning, made bacon, and cooked dinner every day.
**Make sure you have a shelf of some kind in your cooler to keep some food cool but out of the ice water. I fit a plastic bin into the top of ours that lifted out to reveal drinks, ice, and frozen foods beneath.
The really nice-to-have supplies:
- Folding chairs with cup-holders
- Puzzle piece floor mats, cut to fit the base of your tent
- Collapsible table
- Old plastic coffee container to keep toilet paper dry
- Shovel to put out the fire, move logs, and bury waste
- Basic toolkit with hammer, pliers, scissors, etc.
- Cotton balls dipped in Vaseline as a fire starter
- Blister band-aids (if you are hiking)
- Portable speaker for music
- Car charger for electronics, cell-phone, etc.
- Tie off and tie-off leash for dogs
- Spices: salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, berbere (or cayenne)
- Ghee, coconut oil, (vegan) mayonnaise, maple syrup
- Cucumber, tomatoes, oranges, bananas
- Homemade, pre-made flavored oatmeal packets with protein
- Homemade, pre-made pancake mix with collagen (all we needed to buy was a banana)
- Potato pancakes (made ahead and frozen): pan fried in ghee, with (vegan) mayo and spices
- Plantain chips and potato chips
- Bieler's broth (for getting in some greens! no celery for low-fodmap)
- Bone broth (frozen in advance)
- Almond milk
- Dehydrated banana chips and berries
- Rice cakes and almond butter/peanut butter
- Homemade oatmeal protein bars (much better than store-bought)
- Mexican, real-sugar Coke and bourbon (special treat!)
- Chocolate and good quality marshmallows (S'mores!)
- Assorted teas and concentrated cold-brew coffee
- Bacon (some frozen in advance)
- Rice (made ahead): eaten with bacon, tomatoes and cumin, pesto
*I will be sharing recipes for many of these later this month! Watch your inbox.
The BEST advice for cross-country road-tripping and camping? Choose your company well :-)