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Camping Food Safety Tips and Ideas

Food safety when camping is just as important for camp cooking as it is when cooking at home.

We provide helpful food safety tips to make sure when deciding what food to bring you also bring a few safety skills to keep your adventure trip hygienic and safe.

While enjoying the great outdoors we are a little more vulnerable to food contamination or poisoning when cooking because we do not have the same kind of hygiene set up available as we do at home.

Raw Meats, Poultry and Fish

Using and cooking meat or fish has potential problems we need awareness about to prevent food poisoning or worse. The risks include cross-contamination, eating under cooked meat and meats or fish going off quicker without a good cold source.

Here's a few tips when taking and using meats on an outdoor trip

  • Use meat/fish as least as possible: To be honest I would use meat as least as possible because its harder to keep fresh outdoors, although a good barbecue is hard to resist or a bacon sarnie for breakfast.

  • Chopping board: Use a separate chop board for cutting meat and vegetables to prevent cross-contamination.

  • Cutlery: Clean all cutlery used after cutting meat especially if using the same knife to cut veg after.

  • Catching/eating fish: If you catch fish to eat then it will help to put it straight into a cooler as soon as arriving back at camp. Many people will keep them alive in the right kind of container until they're ready to be cooked

  • Freeze at home: If your planning a weekend camp out or would like to use meat the first couple of days out on an extended trip you can freeze meat at home then store it inside a cooler box before leaving home. A good cooler should keep food fresh for a couple of days or so if it has plenty of ice inside.

  • Dad is it cooked yet? : A common mistake many of us make when cooking outdoors on a barbecue or camp fire is under cooking or burning the outer part of the meat. One way of testing if meat is cooked is using a thermometer, another way is the doneness check (good with steak or chops). What the heck is donenss check? I was going to explain but i will make it easier for you and me by adding a video below. I found the best way to cook on a camp stove or barbecue is cooking slower with either the heat lower or less flame.

  • Keep meat separate from other foods: When we store food it helps to keep meats inside packaging that's strong or a container and keep them well away from other foods which will prevent cross-contamination if packaging leaks meat juice's out.

The meat doneness video mentioned above....


  • Cooler: Coolers are ideal for keeping food fresh and for storage space. These are affordable that are great for keeping food fresh, cold drinks for the kids and beer/wine for the grown ups - nice and cool.

  • Bears and other animals: If you camp where bears or other animals live you will need to keep the food well contained and safe incase they feel like looting your camp area. Bear resistant containers and lockers can be bought and may be required at some parks. Some places may hire you a locker but you will need to check with the campsite. Keeping all trash and left over food well out the way of your pitch - binned is a good idea.

  • The car: If im at a base camp and my car is close to camp I will keep a lot of stuff stored that's not used often or food items that will not get eaten during the night.

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

  • Detergents: The things we use like detergents and soap at home can be used while were away for hygienic purposes. You may want to put just enough needed into small bottles or packets that will last the trip rather than packing whole bottles.

  • Keep hands clean: I don't want to sound like a parent but wash your hands before dinner, will ya! Stores sell anti-bacterial soap that can be used without water that are ideal for camping and travel that are easy to use "whenever and wherever".

  • Cooking area: Keeping the cooking area nice and clean helps to prevent foods becoming contaminated.

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