Winter Camping Food

Winter trekking and camping has its specific requirements for food, see here examples of what will keep you in good shape!

Difference between Summer & Winter Camping:

Basic Difference: Summer camping and winter camping are different ball games for many reasons, but what makes their difference pronounced is the food. Winter activities demand more of your body’s energy.

Energy Requirement: Compared to an average of 420 calories per hour for summer backpacking, the winter campers need an ideal size of 540 calories per hour. The extra calories should come in the form of Carbohydrates, which are digested quickly and provide sustained energy.

Composition: The overall composition of a winter campers’ calories should come in the proportion of 60 to 65%5 from carbohydrates, 20 to 25% from proteins and 10 to 15% from fats. Fats provide your body the energy and warmth.
Further in winter the need for high energy foods and for fluids increases. Much of the body’s water is lost through perspiration and breathing dry and cold air. If possible the liquid should be warm to conserve the heat of the body.

Winter Camping Food Types:

Let's see what food experts are taking for winter camping...

Food for short duration winter camping is much easier to prepare than several days of snow camping. Three things have to be balanced while deciding about food items to carry for a longer duration camp, namely fuel weight, food weight and calories delivered. The preference should be for such food that needs little fuel to carry. Rice or pancakes, for instance may guzzle your scanty fuel whereas dehydrated soups or stews are excellent from this angle.

Light ingredients like potato flakes or instant rice, dehydrated macaroni, which are expanders, may be added to soups and dehydrated meals. Dehydrated food stuff is ideal as they require less fuel and less handling for cooking. Fatty foods like peanut butter, margarine, nuts and cheese replenish energy supply to the body.
Fresh fruits are not a good option as freezing temperature destroys the fresh fruits. 

Typical Food for a Day

  1. Breakfast: Winter camping food should be spaced out to several times a day. For breakfast egg beaters are idea for snow-shoeing trips. They can be defrosted easily. Egg beaters can be fried in a pan with chopped sausage and sun-dried tomatoes. Sandwich of Nutella and coffee are good breakfast items. Morning snack after a gap from breakfast should consist of crackers and dried fruit. Hand candies may be sucked at this time for burst of energy.
  2. Lunch: should be a warm meal to ward off chill. It may begin with instant soup and proceed to dehydrated hash browns that can be easily fried. 
  3. Snack: The afternoon snack may consist of dried fruit, granola bar, jerky or similar things. 
  4. Dinner: should provide some fulfillment after hard day’s work. Things like salty snacks, cheese, sardine, cracker, popcorn may form a part of your dinner menu. For dinner, campers may consume pre-packaged dinner like turkey tetrazzini or chili macaroni with beef. 
  5. Midnight Snack: One should take a light midnight snack also as winter nights are longer. A cup of hot chocolate and a candy bar will keep you warm through the night.  

All day’s smorgasbord should add up to 2 pounds of food per day providing 5000 calories. On a party day, when other campers visit, campers may splurge with pre-cooked steak or chicken.

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