- Tereza Novakova
5 Tips for successful vegan camping (food edition)
I have never been much of a camper (I guess that's not how I should start the introduction here but yet, here we are 🙂 ). I would always avoid the discomfort of humid dirty campsites with plenty of mosquitos. But! Once you get the right camping buddy and equipment, you can become a camping junkie as I am now! Going camping or for a road trip as a vegan can be a challenge though. We recently went for a road trip to Gaspésie and after my experience, I have put these tips together so the next camping experience you have, you can enjoy it even more!
1) Do your shopping and prep
I guess this one is a no brainer. When you go for a roadtrip or a camping trip, you need to stock the right amount of food. Nowadays, you can easily restock on the road in supermarkets but there are for sure items that you might struggle to find. So make sure, that you have enough. Most of the typical camping food can be easily found in any market so there's no need to worry that going vegan would take you the amazing s'mores experience away! Here are some things that we brought with us and that I totally suggest you take too:
S'mores - so far the only vegan marshmallows I could find in Montreal are the Dandies and I believe they can be bought pretty much all around North America and the UK. I couldn't find any on the road so it turns out that 2 packages were definitely not enough for a 2 week trip 😅 check online where you can get them (some stores only do online delivery), I always get them at Branche d'olivier. When it comes to biscuits, I bought a huge package of regular biscuits in Costco and then also some dark chocolate (I didn't find anything that would have two of them together and still being vegan). Pro TIP - once your marshmallow is done, stuck the chocolate right in the middle of it rather than putting it on the biscuit. It will melt completely and be soooo delish!
Hotdogs and hotdog buns - pretty much any shop has vegan hotdogs. Depending on for how long you are going, buy the package you need. We got ourselves a big Costco package for the whole vacation (sure, having an electric cooler helps). The hotdog buns are easy to get even anywhere on the road. We also bought a nice 3 in one package - ketchup, mustard and relish
Beyond meat sausages - hotdogs are cool but let's be honest, you can't eat them every day. As we are equipped with a cooler, we also took a package of the beyond meat sausage
Instant food - not always the weather is in your favor and not always you can make a fire to heat up your hotdogs. It's always good to have a backup plan. You can go for instant foods like the Daiya Cheezy Mac. You can also buy tomato sauce and some pasta or bring the beans in tomato sauce. It's only up to you!
Snacks - protein bars and vegan snacks, that's something that can be really tricky to get when on road. For all the hikes, we made sandwiches with Yves "hams" and some veggies and these were mainly our lunches. But during the hike, you definitely want something to munch on. Some ideas here:
Vegan protein bars
Granola bars (vegan of course)
2) Do your research
Do you have your travel plan? Google prior the trip where are some places that you can eat! Eating at the fireplace is awesome but sometimes you might just feel like tasting something local. Depending on where you go, the options my vary. In Gaspésie, they were very narrow or close to zero (Thank God for A&W and their Beyond meat burger!). Researching prior to your trip can help you finding good places and avoid going in circles around the city when you haven't made any snack or lunch.
3) Don't be shy to ask
Sometimes, you would be surprised where you can find some tasty vegan food! On our road trip, we were in the deep countryside with plenty of dairy farms. Any time we would past by one, I had tears in my eyes and my partner would say "I am so sorry hun". Isn't he the sweetest? Anyways, this region was the last place I would expect to find any vegan icecream! And you know what? I did? Just out of curiosity, we stopped at a Milk Bar and asked. And they had a delicious tofu ice cream that they would make right there for you with the fruit mix that you choose. It was sooo yummy! So there's still hope - the world and consumers are slowly but surely changing. Don't be shy to ask, sometimes you might be nicely surprised (and the worst thing that can happen is them saying "no", that's it).
4) Don't rely on the weather
Yes, we all wish for a wonderful weather when we go for a trip, especially spending most of it outside, in a car or in a tent. The reality can very often be different so when preparing for your trip, make sure that not only you bring food to cook on the fire but also bring food that you can eat cold or that you can prepare on a stove. Which brings me to... Buy a stove! That is a life saver. Like, for real! They are not super expensive (you can get the cheapest at around 20$ in Canadian Tire)
5) Geer up!
It might be very different for each one of us to experience a comfy camping. For some, my "basic" equipment might sound a bit too bougie but I think that these few will make your life much easier and your experience soooo much better!
Stove - really, for me that is a must have. To make a cup of tea in the morning, toast your bread or cook some dish in a bad weather.
Bread toaster - this one is not a must have BUT will make your breakfast toast much better (as typical millennials, we made avocado toast every morning 😅
Pan - you can take the regular pan from home (I took a small one) and you can also get this amazing small pot with plates and utensils inside at Decathlon.
Cooler - if you go for longer period of time or if you are fancy (as apparently we are), get an electric cooler - while driving, you can power it with your car, you can eventually choose your camping site with power or you can just start up your car for a short amount of time in the evening so it cools things down until the morning.
Go to the Dollar store!
A lot of essentials can be found there! The skewers for the sausages or marshmallows, pliable water "tank", table cloths, plates... go and check what you can find there! (keep in mind that the Dollar store is not necessarily the most sustainable or ethical place to shop but when you start, it might be a way to go)
Camping chairs and a table - these are really to get once you are used to camping and really enjoy it (same for the cooler I guess). Most of the campings in Canada have a camping table per site so you should be good without but it can be nice to get them eventually