Packing Camp Food

  1.  Bin 1) Dried food, crackers, marshmallow, bread, chips, paper products, dehydrated food etc....
  2. Bin 2) Liquids, wine, extra beers, juice, olive oil, condiments, fresh fruit or veggies as long as they stay cool
  3. Cooler 1: Beverages
  4. Cooler 2: Food
Cooler Details
  • Two coolers is optional and not needed for short trips with a family of three.
  • Freeze meat
  • Loose ice at the bottom of cooler
  • Set aside loose ice in a clean bag for drinks
  • All small stuff goes into airtight Ziploc containers (not bags) when the ice melts the water gets into everything
  • If I'm bringing two coolers, I use one for food and the other for drinks
  • Use block ice
  • Freeze water in plastic 1/2 gallon jugs tp keep food colder longer with less water runoff, leave room in container for water to expand when it freezes
 Being organized will help with the hassle of camping when you get to your site. Freeze as much food as you can like your meat & pr-cooked food however keep in mind it will defrost quickly due to being packed in ice (a science thing) If you are grilling chicken cook that the first night or before other meats. And because you will be taking your food in and out of the bear box so often your going to want to use clear plastic bins so your not fumbling with torn paper bags. And if you plan on camping regularly take the extra step of labeling your plastic bins "FOOD - LIQUID / DRY FOOD". That way you can find things easily and can see it's a food bin instead of kitchen stuff that has to go in the bear box.
One bear box in Tahoe usually fits one cooler and two bins plus a little extra room.


  • Organize & Prep as much as possible before you leave home
  • Sort your food into two CLEAR bins. Dry & Liquid, label opt.
  • Use two coolers for bigger trips, one for food and the other for beverages
  • Use block ice or frozen water in 1/2 gallon jugs
  • Freeze your meat & pre-cooked dishes
  • Wipe your bear box out with a damp towel before you store your food
  • Bring unscented wet wipes
  • If you camp often label your bins "Dry Food, NO Food, Kitchen, Medicine" etc...
  • Label NO FOOD on anything you plan on leaving out of the bear box
  • Bear box fits one standard cooler and two bins usually
  • Don't put food in your car! unless the camp host/ranger allows it



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