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Calculate Food Quantities for Camping and Outdoor Recreation

As the warmer weather approaches, we look forward to another season of camping and enjoying the fun, relaxation, and beauty that the outdoor environment has to offer. I am anxious to get out on weekends to some of my favorite campsites around Kentucky and Indiana. Of course I'll have plenty of fishing gear to bring along in case some of my family or friends join in on the adventures that are sure to come with each outing. This is the most enjoyable thing for me when I see others having a great time hiking, fishing, throwing Frisbees?, or sitting around the campfire telling stories or singing campfire songs.

There are several things I try to consider before I begin packing for a camping trip. First of course, is how long will I be gone? How much time do I have to get away from the "9 to 5", unwind and get refreshed by the fresh air, sunshine, and peaceful scenery that nature provides so abundantly? This summer, I'm going to try to get out more frequently on the weekends so I'll talk a little about short outings that are not too distant from home. This will allow me more time for what I actually want to do, and that of course, is to camp. I don't want to spend 5 hours going and 5 hours coming, using basically a whole day just for traveling. If I pick a place that's within a 100 mile radius, I should be able to find several dozen places to visit and spend less than 4 hours of total travel time.

Ok, that sound great, I can think of a dozen places within 100 miles right of the top of my head. Lake Monroe, where my youngest son and I visited last year, is only 1 hour and 45 minutes from my home. That was a great weekend camping trip and my daughter and her friends at IU came from Bloomington to join in the fun. Several of the girls had not fished much at all, and I had more fun than they did watching them scream and holler as we caught over 70 bluegill. It was a great thrill for them to actually catch, clean, and eat fresh fish. Most of the panfish were a little on the small side, but I had them keep them for several reasons. One of course, is the fish sometimes swallow the hook and it's nearly impossible to throw them back when this happens. Another reason I sometimes keep small bluegill, is that it helps other aquatic life to have more abundant food sources. Anyway, after we cleaned them all, they were absolutely delicious dipped in a bowl of egg and milk, rolled in cracker crumbs and cornmeal, and fried to a golden brown. And of course we had several bags to take home, which seemed like it made the camping trip last longer than just the weekend.

But let's get back to some of the essentials of planning your weekend camping trip. After you've decided on how much time you have, you will need to consider how many nature lovers are going camping. That's usually the easy part. So if you've got 5 people going, and you're going to be gone for two nights and two days, you'll want to figure how many meals that will be. I'd say it will be in the neighborhood of 2 dinners, 2 breakfast, and 2 lunches, not including snack times. So we'll need enough food for 10 people (5 x 2) for essentially one day. That should calculate to an average of 8-10 ounces of meat per person, 8-10 ounces of vegetables and fruit per person, and 8-10 servings of bread or grains per two persons. You can also use the 8-10 rule for your drinks for a total of 8-10, (8-10 oz. drinks) including water, per person per day. This may seem like a lot of liquid, but when you consider 3 meals a day and an additional drink in between, you are already at 6 drinks a day. Remember, dehydration is a major cause of heat stroke. If you're going hiking, swimming, or playing any type of running sport, this will easily bring the drink count up an additional 3 or more for a total of 9 drinks a day. Let's make an easy formula to go by.

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FOO D QUANTITY FORMULA

5 people for 2 days = (5 x 2 = 10)
10 x 8-10 ounces = (80-100 ounces meat) or 5-6¼ lbs.
10 x 8-10 ounces = (80-100 ounces fruits and veggies) or 5-6¼ lbs.
8-10 servings bread or grain per (2) persons
8-10 (8-10 oz. drinks) per person (per day)

NOTE: Hard cheeses such as American and Swiss include in meat weight.
Soft cheeses such as cultures add to fruits and vegetables weight.
Eggs may be separate.

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So that's a pretty good rule of thumb to go by for your "3 squares." If you like to snack, which goes great with camping, bring along your chips, marshmallows, or no bake cookies and you'll never go hungry. Don't forget the milk if your bring chocolate.

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Article written by Keith Kampschaefer. Keith is President of CHK Marketing, LLC, which owns and operates http://www.PackNCamp.com Outdoor Supply. Along with his extensive knowledge and experience in the outdoors, Keith also has over 30 years experience in the food industry, specifically, perishable foods such as meats, seafood, and vegetables.

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