When camping and hiking in the wilderness, it is essential to follow several food safety guidelines. Not only will following these guidelines help to keep you safe, but they will also help to keep the animals safe while maintaining a pristine environment. To that end, here are three food safety guidelines to keep you and your food safe as you venture outdoors.
Tip #1: Maintain the Proper Temperature
As a general rule of thumb, hot foods need to be kept hot while cold foods need to be kept cold. While there are insulated casserole dishes that will help to keep hot foods warm for about an hour or so, keeping hot foods hot in the wilderness is not a very easy task. Therefore, you should plan to pack and transport chilled foods instead. Before heading out, refrigerate or freeze your foods overnight and then bring frozen gel-packs to keep your foods cold. Another option is to freeze some box drinks to serve as a source of cold for your food. As they thaw, you will have additional drinks to enjoy on your adventure. Non-perishable foods are another good option when exploring the great outdoors.
Tip #2: Put it Away
In order to keep your food safely away from wild animals, it is important to lock it away in a food storage locker. This is particularly important if you are camping in an area that is inhabited by bears, as bears will be attracted to the smell of your food. By placing a cooler inside of your food storage locker, you can keep all of your food cool while also keeping it safely away from bears and other animals. Not only will this protect your food and keep you safe, but it will keep the animals safe from harm as well. Since bears are also attracted to the smells of non-food items such as toothpaste, disposable wipes and some types of medicines, it is a good idea to store these inside of your food storage locker as well.
Tip #3: Keep it Clean
Keeping your food clean and preventing contamination is essential at a campsite or while on a hike. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry can easily spread to other foods from unwashed hands, utensils and packages. Double wrap meat and poultry or place it inside plastic bags to prevent cross-contamination. Always wash your hands before and after handling food and never use the same utensils or planter for raw and cooked meat and poultry. If you are going somewhere without running water, be sure to bring enough water to properly wash your hands, plates and utensils. Disposable wipes are another option.Keeping your utensils, plates and other items clean will also help to keep bears and other wild animals away from your campsite. Since bears can be attracted by the food residue on your utensils and grill, properly cleaning these items will help to prevent unexpected visitors. Similarly, all leftover food scraps and other garbage should be safely throw away by being placed inside of a bear-resistant trash can or recycling bin.