Easy protein-based options for camping food?
November 5, 2011 7:50 PM   Subscribe

Next month I'm going on a two-week camping trip in New Zealand with Flying Kiwi, a tour company I've used before and enjoyed. My main gripe last time was the food: carbs, carbs, carbs all day long! Cereal and toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and pasta and rice-based dinners most nights along with some beer and cider. I'm looking for easy protein-based alternatives that I can stash in my stuff and turn to whenever I need a break from the carb onslaught.

I get it... this is not a fancy hotel. We're camping in tents in beautiful national parks and nature reserves. It's dead simple for a tour company to buy a few loaves of bread and a few boxes of cereal, provide us a toaster and peanut butter and say "breakfast is served!". It's just that after multiple days of eating carbs all day long, I tend to feel gross... even if we are hiking and biking in nature all day long.

At home or when I have access to restaurants, I tend to eat eggs and veggies for breakfast, salads with lean meats for lunch, and then anything I feel like for dinner. Plenty of protein, limited carbs.

The tour company is happy to accommodate dietary restrictions, but as this is more of a preference (I don't REQUIRE a gluten-free diet by any means) I don't feel like making it their problem. I guess I'd be looking for more breakfast and lunch-based options, as I'm fine to join the group for dinner.

I'll have access to a supermarket every day or two, have a very basic kitchen prep area, and will be sharing a cooler with everyone else on the tour for drinks and anything else we want to keep cold. I'd rather not be eating cans of tuna every day, either.

So, hive mind, any great ideas? Cheese and nuts seem easy, perhaps some extra deli meats for myself... eggs seem difficult.
posted by adamk to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Some type of jerky.
posted by shinyshiny at 7:57 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you have a way to boil eggs? Because they travel fine for a few days (unpeeled, obv.). Beef/turkey/salmon jerky is good; also, dry salami - it will keep longer if you buy some kind of whole dry sausage that you can just cut bits off of as you want. Celery should keep fine in a cooler, too.
posted by rtha at 8:02 PM on November 5, 2011

Response by poster: Boiling a batch of eggs every few days is certainly a possibility.

Also, I'm thinking I may ask the tour company "so what exactly DO you guys do if someone requires a gluten-free diet?" as they may have some ideas that are easy to work with.
posted by adamk at 8:09 PM on November 5, 2011

A tub of Greek yogurt in the cooler?

I'd honestly just tell the tour company that you're gluten intolerant. You are paying them after all...
posted by astapasta24 at 8:34 PM on November 5, 2011

The foil packets of flavored tuna steaks are way nicer than canned tuna.
posted by kestrel251 at 8:39 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Boiled eggs, there are heaps of dried meat options (for an extra Kiwi experience, I recommend Blackball's salamis).
posted by rodgerd at 9:10 PM on November 5, 2011

I've been stuck in similar situations and found a bag of protein powder and a blender bottle really helps fill me up. Add a handful of macadamia nuts for some fat and you'll have enough calories to get through the day.
posted by mekki at 9:30 PM on November 5, 2011

Similar to mekki, I tend to pack a baggie of protein bars (usually Luna bars or the like) on these kinds of tours. This works best if it's not hot out, since they can melt a little bit. I also agree with boiled eggs/salami/nuts. Cheese if you can get it - harder cheeses will keep just fine.

I second the suggestion to tell them that you have high protein requirements (which is different from saying you're gluten intolerant). My dietitian has instructed me to eat high protein foods for medical reasons, and I would not hesitate to tell the tour company that if I needed to. I don't mind the temporary break from my low-carb existence, but if I did, I would totally say something. Hell, you could just say you're "hypoglycemic" if you need a name for it.
posted by cabingirl at 9:38 PM on November 5, 2011

Some of the new protein drinks are getting good reviews. Myoplex strength in Chocolate I've read is very drinkable. I've not yet tried it and it might cause some weigh gain if the tour isn't especially active.
posted by R2WeTwo at 10:28 PM on November 5, 2011

I've hiked and camped in NZ - I feel like I need to know where you are going to be to make recommendations. There is a lot of edible food on the trail - just depends where you are.

But I've also done plenty of wilderness hiking in the US.

- Are you staying at DOC huts?

For the first day you can bring totally frozen beef or chicken, it will defrost by the end of the day to be cooked and no worry of food poisoning.

After that, you are into tinned or foil bagged tuna, or chicken, or whatever.


When kayak camping and hiking on the coast, it was possible to suss clams and mussels (and sea urchins!) but you need time and gear to do this. Not sure what itinerary your tour has in mind.

- Peanut Butter is kinda the "GoTo" protein for hikers for a reason. High protein, doesn't spoil.


NZ has wonderful powdered milk you can add to anythin to make a cream sauce, or just make milk. It's the one thing I have sent back to me here in the states.


Kia Ora!. I'm so jealous you are going on this trip!
posted by jbenben at 11:17 PM on November 5, 2011

New Zealand is super awesome for hiking food. Many supermarkets hava a selection of freeze-dried meals and the weather is usually cool enough to keep stuff outside the fridge for a couple of days. If you don't mind the extra spending, hit the supermarket every few days and you could supplement the provided food with: hard cheese, cream cheese could keep a couple of days outside the fridge if the weather is not too hot, canned tuna, jerky, sausage, trail mix [or just the nuts], protein powder and/or powdered milk, dried-freeze meals with some kind of meat available in many supermarkets. While you're at it, grab some fruit/veggies to delay the feeling of gross-ness. Also, check out One Square Meals granola bars which are high-protein bars without the usual grossness of protein bars.
posted by ye#ara at 1:57 PM on November 6, 2011

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