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Camp Cooking

Relaxing before dinner Relaxing before preparing dinner
Sitting around a campfire enjoying a finely prepared meal with friends is one of the most pleasurable aspects of four-wheeling. A hearty meal tastes so good after a long day on the trail.

Two previous columns, Cook Anywhere, Anytime With A Campbox and Tickle The Tastebuds With A Dutch Oven, discuss particular aspects of off-road cooking. Weíll talk in more general terms here.

Cooking for an entire group is fun, but itís also a fair amount of work. Rotate the cooking duties among the various families participating in your ride. Each family (or person) can showcase a favorite meal, thereby putting a distinctive flavor on the trip.

Each will bring what is necessary to cook the particular meal. But plan for contingencies. If, for example, one family has to leave camp early, perhaps they can transfer their food to other vehicles. Also, each family should bring extra food in case they get separated from the group.

Consider spreading some of the cooking gear among the vehicles. Some redundancy is good Ė take along two stoves, for example, even if you plan to use only one. But itís not necessary to duplicate every item. As the length and remoteness of the trip increases, the issue of limited space and weight makes a planned group distribution of gear more appealing.

Half the fun of a trip is in the planning and that includes the assignment of meals and distribution of gear. However, itís also important that each family learn to be self-sufficient. Itís a good skill to develop, and for the more demanding trips, itís a necessity.

A view with Breakfast A view with breakfast
Some other items to consider:

  • Itís difficult to cook multiple dishes outdoors and make sure the food stays piping hot. Look for one-pot recipe ideas. A Dutch Oven or pressure cooker will keep your food nice and hot as it is served.

  • While shopping for items that require refrigeration after opening, look for smaller packages or jars and buy several of each. You may be able to consume an entire package or jar during one meal. If not, the smaller item will fit easier in the cooler.

    Spread the extra condiments among the vehicles. If something happens to one vehicle, you will still have supplies for the group.

    Avoid glass jars and bottles. Thereís too great a risk of breakage while traveling on rough roads. (Plus, glass beverage bottles are prohibited on many public lands.) Look for products the come in plastic containers or squeeze bottles.


  • Consider ingredients that donít require refrigeration (at least until opened). These include evaporated milk, Velveeta cheese, and others. It may require some ingenuity in substituting ingredients in the recipe, but that can be fun, too!

  • See if you can eliminate extra preparation equipment like bowls, pans, and such. For example, can you mix the cake batter in the same pan you are going to cook it in? Can the noodles be boiled in the same pan you are going to use to prepare the final dish?

  • Re-package items at home to eliminate bulk and trash. Measure out and take only the amount of ingredients you need for the recipes. For example, the one cup of rice you need can be stored in a ZipLoc bag. Leave the box at home.

    Another example: Measure three cups of Bisquick into a Ziploc bag, put one cup of sugar in another Ziploc bag with 1 and Ĺ teaspoons of cinnamon and put that Ziploc inside the Bisquick Ziploc bag along with a Ziploc bag containing 6 oz. of Crisco. Now you have all the dry ingredients for a peach cobbler in one package. You can reuse any of the Ziploc bags for trash after the meal.

    For each item, we take along only whatís needed during the trip. No need to pack all the containers for each ingredient.

Preparing a ďhome-cookedĒ meal outdoors is fun and very satisfying. With each family contributing a recipe, your group can look forward to feasting on a variety of great meals.


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Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures

Did you miss the previous article?





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September & October Schedule

It is almost time to get back to the Desert. We have a number of trips scheduled in October.
  • Death Valley
  • Mojave road
  • Barstow to Vegas
And a cadre of training clinics in September to get ready for the adventures.
  • Getting Started
  • Advanced Beginner
  • Rocks
  • Sand
  • Winch

We are close to posting the entire 2012 schedule. It should be available on the web site in September. There will be a new weekend GPS adventure in January and a the Wilderness Advanced First Aid Clinic in June. If you have other requests for training or adventures to consider for next year, let us know.

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Getting Started Off-road driving Clinic September 10


Getting Started Off-Road Clinic

The clinic is held in Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreation Area near Gorman CA. This clinic is specifically designed to meet the needs of novice off-highway drivers or someone with a bit of experience who is looking for a more complete understanding. This is a one-day session. The session includes classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. More Details...


You can register directly here


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Advanced Beginner Clinic September 11


Advanced Beginner Clinic Example

The clinic is held in the El Paso Mountains near Mojave CA. The goal is to help you get a "better feel" for tire placement and to visualize the obstacles as they move into your blind zone. You will gain more behind the wheel experience combined with picking lines. The difficulty level is one step higher than the basic class and you can expect some pin striping. More Details...


You can register directly here


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Rocks Clinic September 17


Rocks Clinic Example

The Class will be in Johnson Valley. This is an introduction to Rock crawling but it is not on "baby" rocks. We take out time and stress careful wheel placement. We use spotters for difficult sections. You learn by inspecting the obstacle and predicting the line; by watching others try their line; by experiencing it yourself; and by the coaching. We recommend you repeat the training several times. You will be much more relaxed the second time over the same obstacles and you will pick up on little details missed the first time. More Details...

Register here.
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Sand Clinic September 24

Sand Clinic
A number of you could not make the last Sand Driving Clinic, so we have scheduled another one for September 24th. Put it on your calendar and sign up now. This day-long clinic will expose you to a variety of driving conditions and levels of difficulty. Driving on sand is challenging and different than dirt, so weíll progress slowly as you learn the proper techniques. As your confidence grows, you will master increasingly more challenging dunes. Along the way you will be exposed to the beauty of SVRA and the thrill of the windswept dunes. This is a rare opportunity to cruise the only beach in California open to vehicles.
More details...
Register for the Sand Clinic using this link.

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Winch Clinic September 25


Winch Class Example

This one day clinic starts with the basics. By the end of the day you will be safely rigging some complex recoveries. Let me know if you are interested. More Details...


You can register directly at Winch Registration.


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Death Valley October 7


Death Valley

This is a 4 day trip on the back roads in Death Valley. We will drive the Panamint Mountains, drive past Badwater Basin (lowest spot in North America), visit Chloride Ghost town, Titus Canyon, check out Ubehebe Crater, Teakettle junction, The Race Track & Lippencott Mine Road, camp at the Warm Springs and leave via Steal Pass up to the high meadows, then take Dedeckera Canyon down to the Eureka Sand Dunes. All four days will see some light to moderate 4-wheeling. Much of the trip is quite remote with no cell service.
Check out the details and sign up on the website: Trip Details
You can register directly at Death Valley Registration


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Mojave Road October 15


Mojave Road

We will follow the Old Mojave Road for 3 days. This was the earliest wagon road into California. We will visit tons of history and see some incredible views. The 4 Wheeling is quite mild. More Details

You can register at Mojave Road Registration

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I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures,Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
310-374-8047
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
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Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2011, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.





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