Cooking meals is an integral part of overlanding. Whether done on the stovetop, around a campfire or while sitting down to eat with family and friends, it will help create lasting memories from your trip. Food storage is an integral aspect of any overland kitchen. You need to ensure you have enough food for the duration of your journey and also know how to properly store it.
Overlanding is a style of travel that involves traveling long distances on land, usually by vehicle. It’s a way to see the world and experience new cultures while still having access to modern amenities like electricity and running water.
While it’s possible to go on an overland trip without any food storage at all, most people prefer to have some sort of backup plan in case they get stuck somewhere remote for longer than expected. In this article, we’ll cover how much food you should bring with you on your next overland trip so that you don’t run out before reaching civilization again!
The Most Popular Food Storage Solution: Coolers
There are many types of food storage containers and they all have their pros and cons. Here, we’ll go over each one so you can choose which one is right for your needs. Coolers are great because they keep things cold but they’re not airtight, so if there’s any moisture in your cooler (like condensation), it can seep into the food and make it spoil faster than if it were stored in an airtight container or vacuum sealed bag. If you want to use a cooler for long-term storage, make sure that no water gets into the food by keeping it away from open windows or doors where rain could get inside!
In a Nutshell: Overlanders & Food Storage
Overlanders and campers store their food using a variety of methods and equipment to ensure it remains fresh, safe, and protected from wildlife. Some common food storage practices include:
- Coolers and portable refrigerators: Insulated coolers are used to store perishable items like meat, dairy, and other temperature-sensitive foods. Portable refrigerators, which run on 12V or 24V power sources, are also popular among overlanders for keeping food cold for extended periods.
- Airtight containers: Dry foods, such as pasta, rice, and cereals, can be stored in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags to keep them fresh and protected from insects and moisture.
- Bear-resistant containers: In areas with bears or other wildlife, it’s essential to store food in bear-resistant containers to prevent animals from accessing it. These containers are made of hard, durable materials and have a locking mechanism that is difficult for animals to open.
- Hanging food: Another method to protect food from wildlife is to hang it in a tree or other high structures using a rope or cord. The food should be placed in a sturdy bag and hung at least 10-12 feet above the ground and 4-6 feet away from tree trunks or branches to make it difficult for animals to reach.
- Organized storage systems: Overlanders often use specially designed storage systems, such as cargo drawers, shelving, or storage boxes, to keep their
Food Storage Best Practices
There are a few best practices for storing food that will make your journey more enjoyable.
Keep it fresh: Food can be stored for up to three years if you keep it in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight. However, it’s best to use your food as soon as possible so that it doesn’t go bad before you get around to using it.
Store properly: If you’re going off-grid or just want peace of mind when storing your food, then using an airtight container or vacuum sealer is essential. This prevents moisture from getting into the package and causing mold growth on any exposed surfaces (which can happen even in an airtight container).
Also be sure not to store anything near any heat sources such as stoves or ovens–this will cause condensation inside the packaging which could lead to spoilage over time!
Essential Accessories: Water Storage Solutions
Water is an integral element of any kitchen, especially out in the backcountry. It’s used for cooking, washing dishes and drinking – having quality water for these tasks is paramount to successful overlanding.
Due to this need, Overlanders must have a way of storing water in their vehicles. From collapsible containers to permanent tanks, there are various options for keeping liquids on the go.
No matter which water storage you opt for, make sure it’s easy to fill and secure. Portable options tend to be easier to transport but require bungee cords or ratchet straps to hold in place while driving so there are no leaks while driving.
When using water for dishes or cooking, make sure it has a filtration system installed. These filters will eliminate parasites, bacteria and any other unwanted elements present in your water supply.
Overlanders typically bring extra water for drinking and personal hygiene on their adventures. This is an essential factor to take into account when planning your overlanding expedition, as it will help keep you feeling refreshed and alert for extended periods of time.
To save water while traveling, prepare meals in advance and freeze them to save space. One of our go-to overlanding meal ideas is chili – which freezes easily and tastes amazing when reheated on the stove top or over a campfire grill.
Another tip is to cook meals in bulk, such as spaghetti dishes, before packing them away for the trip. This will save you water during the day and free up space in your vehicle for other food items.
Finally, water should always be taken into consideration when storing leftovers and trash. It’s essential to have a means of storage which keeps these out of harm’s way for animals and other wildlife; thus, using something like an Alubox or Trasharoo with a strong garbage bag inside is ideal.
Finding places to refill your water tanks on the go can be a hassle, but you should always be able to locate an accessible spigot. Some fuel stations will have one on site, while many grocery stores and big-box retailers provide free water refill stations that you can use at no cost.
Essential Accessories: Water Filters & Purifiers
Overlanders and campers often need to filter and purify water from natural sources like rivers, lakes, and streams, especially when traveling in remote areas. There are several methods and tools available for filtering and purifying water:
- Boiling: Boiling water is one of the most reliable methods to kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Water should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute (or three minutes at higher altitudes) to ensure it’s safe for consumption.
- Water filters: Portable water filters like pump filters, gravity filters, or straw-style filters physically remove contaminants such as bacteria, protozoa, and sediment from the water. These filters typically use a combination of mechanical filtration (like a ceramic or fiber filter) and activated carbon to improve water quality.
- Water purifiers: Purifiers go a step further than filters by also eliminating viruses. They can use a combination of filtration and chemical or UV treatments to treat the water. Examples include UV water purifiers, which use ultraviolet light to neutralize microorganisms, and chemical purification methods, such as iodine or chlorine tablets.
- Portable water distillers: These devices can turn dirty water into safe, clean drinking water by boiling it and then collecting the condensed steam, leaving behind contaminants. While effective, they tend to be slow and energy-intensive.
- Water purification tablets or drops: Chemical treatments like iodine or chlorine tablets/drops can be used to kill microorganisms in water.
Essential Accessories: Camping Freezers
Overlanders have several options when it comes to storing their food. They can purchase a separate freezer appliance or use the compartment in their refrigerator which already includes one. Freezers come in various shapes and sizes, from chest styles to upright models; so be sure to select one that meets your requirements.
When choosing a freezer for your family, the size of what needs to be frozen (fresh produce or meat), available floor space and desired features should all be taken into consideration. Make sure the model you choose is efficient and features a defrost feature for added convenience.
Chest and upright models of freezers are the two primary types. Upright models offer more space, are popular for their convenience and energy efficiency; however, they lose cold air each time they open and require more organizing than chest models do.
If you choose an upright model, consider investing in a basket that slides out for easy loading and unloading of items. Doing this will help keep your kitchen organized and reduce the chance of spending time searching for lost items.
Some Overlanders prefer chest freezers because they’re easier to organize and can be moved around the house easily. Plus, chests tend to be more space-efficient than upright freezers, so if your home has a small mudroom or basement, chests might be preferable.
When shopping for a freezer, be sure to choose one rated according to its capacity. On average, each cubic foot of space can store around 35 pounds of frozen food.
Once you’ve chosen your freezer, be sure to clearly label all contents so they can be quickly located when necessary. Generally speaking, blue labels for raw foods and red ones for cooked items should be used.
A dated label can make it simpler to determine when food items are safe to eat. For instance, the “use-by” date on frozen strawberries indicates when they’re suitable for consumption again.
Before using your freezer, make sure it’s clean and dry before placing food inside. Doing this will prevent odors from forming in the freezer. If odor persists, try using activated charcoal from a local drug or pet supply store; this type of charcoal is extra dry and absorbs odors more rapidly than cooking-type charcoal does.
Essential Accessories: Stoves & Burners
No matter your experience level or knowledge level, food preparation and storage is an integral part of any overlanding journey. A stove is essential for cooking meals efficiently, so make sure it has one before leaving home.
Different stove types are available on the market. Some of the most popular include propane, butane and liquid gas models. These stoves can be fueled either with a propane or butane tank and are frequently used for domestic overlanding trips where access to either utilities or liquid fuel sources exists.
The most basic type of camp stove is a tabletop model with two or three burners. These can be fuelled by either propane, butane, or liquid fuel like white gas.
Tabletop stoves tend to be small and can be stored away neatly in a drawer or cargo box when not in use. While these may be ideal for car camping trips, they may not be strong enough for long overland adventures.
Comparatively, larger freestanding stoves tend to be more powerful than their smaller counterparts. These ranges feature multiple burners designed with higher BTUs for faster cooking times.
Some of these freestanding stoves also come with a raised stand, which can be especially handy if your campsite has limited tabletop space. This allows you to cook without taking up valuable eating area and keeps your stove away from flammable wooden tables and plastic kitchenware that could melt.
Some modern backpacking stoves attach to small butane tanks and fold down so small, you can fit them into a pocket. This design is especially helpful if you’re going on an extended trip as you can conveniently pack along with fuel for maximum convenience.
The primary disadvantage to this design is that it takes up a lot of space when not in use, which could be an issue if traveling with friends or in a group. There are some backpacking stoves designed specifically for backpacking like the Primus Tupike Stove Kit which promises to boil a liter of water within 10 minutes and can be stowed away inside its own carrying case when not needed.
Essential Accessories: Pots & Pans
Overlanders relish the adventure of cooking in their RV and often bring along a variety of pots and pans to prepare meals. Having the right cookware makes all the difference when preparing quick dinners or more complex dishes; whether you’re making something quick for yourself or hosting guests for dinner, having the right cookware is essential for success.
Organizing your pots and pans can seem like an impossible task, but there are some easy strategies to keep everything in its proper place. To begin with, invest in a space-saving set that includes all of your most frequently used pieces; stackable sets are typically smaller than open stock sets, meaning you save money on storage costs.
When selecting cookware, you should look for a line that uses only safe, non-toxic materials and adheres to your personal health priorities. Opting for an established brand with high standards can help protect you and your family from exposure to hazardous chemicals that could pose serious health risks.
HexClad offers a line of cookware designed with all stovetops in mind that boasts professional quality and fast, even heating. Their pots and pans are constructed from durable natural nonstick material and oven-safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another great option is to invest in a multi-pot set that includes several different size pots and pans. This way, you’ll always have the correct size on hand for any recipe without worrying about mixing up your pots and pans.
One of the best ways to store pots and pans is with a wall-mounted pegboard, which can hold hooks for storage of dishes or other kitchen tools. These hooks can be purchased at most home improvement stores at an affordable price point.
If you don’t have enough cabinet or shelf space to organize your pots and pans, ceiling-mounted racks can be the perfect solution. These racks come in various sizes to accommodate most ceiling heights.