There are a lot of reasons to love camping, and the health benefits are just a few of those. However, there are also plenty of health risks to be concerned with, and neglecting to take food safety seriously while out in the wild can put a very unpleasant and even dangerous end to the fun.
Take no chances
It’s a smart idea to bring a real camping stove with you when you’re camping. However, people are going to want to cook over an open fire or a barbecue. That’s just to be expected. If you do, make sure that you’re bringing tools like a ThermoWorks food thermometer to ensure all food has been thoroughly cooked before you bite in. Even food that looks charred on the outside can be relatively raw. For fresh meat, you want a temperature of 145F at the very least. For poultry, 165F is the safe temperature.
Keep it cool
You can bring plenty of fresh food with you; you just have to make sure that it’s kept in the right conditions. There are plenty of light-weight coolers like the Igloo Market Thermal Tote that keep carrying convenient and safe at the same time. Just make sure you have different coolers for your chilled food and your cold drinks and fill them with food-safe gel packs or ice.
Keep it clean
Cross-contamination is a serious risk in any kitchen. You can only imagine how much easier it is to contaminate foods when you’re in a much less germ-controlled environment like around the campfire. Beyond storing different kinds of food separately, you should always make sure you wash up as soon as you’re done eating with fresh water. Germs build up on leftover food a lot quicker in the outdoors, and sometimes it can even attract wildlife. Depending on where you are and what habitats you’re near, that can be a real risk.
Prep is key
If you’re staying out for several days in a row, then you shouldn’t just rely entirely on fresh food that might spoil, either. Bring plenty of canned goods that have a long shelf life on them. You can buy Thermo Boutique food prep containers to keep cooked food fresher for longer, too, so long as you store the containers well. Bringing more smaller food containers is a good way to stop the aforementioned cross-contamination.
Watch what you drink
The water might look cool and fresh but you should never assume that it is. Bring plenty of your own fresh water. Err on the side of caution to make sure you don’t bring too little. You can filter water and buy purification tablets to make it drinkable, too. But it’s worth bringing plenty just to stay on the safe side.
You must be responsible for what you eat and drink when you’re in the wild. Don’t skimp on equipment that’s going to help you eat safely and make sure you always have a plan for every meal. Take care of the food and it will take care of you.