Vegan Camping Tips
London has an unfair reputation of being a concrete jungle. Why is it unfair? Because those who live there know this isn’t the case.
London is one of the greenest cities in the world for its size. Letting agents in east London and beyond cash in on London’s leafy assets by highlighting any green spaces in the vicinity of the properties agents have on their books.
But even those lucky enough to live near an abundance of green spaces sometimes feel the urge to go further afield than Walthamstow, Hackney, or Rainham Marshes.
To really be at one with nature they go camping.
There’s camping and there’s camping though. At one end of the scale, you’ve got camping in a luxurious motorhome with a larger square footage than a two-up two-down terraced property those letting agents we were just talking about have on their books. These motorhomes also come with more mod-cons than the average rental property too with a fully fitted kitchen and working shower.
Then at the other extreme, you’ve got those hardcore campers who have nothing more luxurious than a bivvy on the beach.
There are of course ways to camp in between living in total luxury and pretending to be homeless. These include glamping, staying at a campsite with facilities, pitching up at a regulated spot, or wild camping.
For any camper, with no pizza takeaway within camping distance, food is an issue. For vegan campers, food doesn’t have to be more of an issue and there are plenty of ways to make sure vegans don’t starve.
Of course, if you’re in a luxurious motorhome or you’ve gone glamping, you might have your own personal vegan chef to cook you vegan feasts three times a day.
However, this article will concentrate on us mere mortals and offer advice on how to not only survive, but thrive as a self-catered vegan while camping.
Camping as a vegan doesn’t begin and end with food. You’ll need vegan, cruelty-free essentials such as synthetic sleeping bags, non-leather hiking boots and vegan backpacks, all of which are easily available if not in your local high street, then online.
You’ll also need vegan bug spray or, to be extra-level vegan, make your own mozzie spray with essential oils such as citronella, peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus oil.
Of course, if you’re going to cook while you’re camping and not live on store-bought pasties and granola bars (although if you do want to live on things out of packets, you’ll find no judgement here), you’re going to need something to cook with.
This list assumes you’re driving to your camping spot and you’re not rocking up with just a rucksack, but we suggest packing:
- Plates, mugs and bowls
- Cutlery, wooden spoon, fishslice (or whatever the vegan term for ‘fishslice’ is),
- Frying pan, large saucepan
- Spatula, tongs
- Can opener (but try to only buy cans with ring pulls. They’re so much easier to open.)
- Mixing bowl
- Washing up liquid and cloths
- Tea towel (it can double up as an oven glove. It’s not like you don’t do that at home, anyway, is it?)
- Tin foil
- Tin foil (yes, we typed it twice. You can’t have too much tin foil when you’re camping.)
- Camping stove, disposable BBQ (if BBQs are allowed where you’re going.)
- A cooler
There are certain vegan staples to be found in every vegan’s kitchen cupboard that are ideal for camping. These include:
- Seasonings such as salt, pepper, chilli powder and garlic. And, of course, not forgetting nutritional yeast (nooch), which can be added to just about anything for an extra savoury, cheesy, umami flavour.
- Peanut butter
- Tinned pulses and beans such as lentils, chickpeas and butter beans
- Pot Noodles and their ilk (no one said camping had to be healthy)
- Breakfast cereal
Vegan food that can be prepared ahead of your camping trip
No one wants to spend their entire trip cooking or waiting for the fire to light. The good news is you don’t have to. There’s plenty of food you can make in advance from the comfort of your own kitchen to bring with you.
- Pasta salad
- Potato salad
- Vegan sausage rolls
- Granola bars
- Energy balls
Anything requiring to be kept cold can be kept in the cooler, assuming you didn’t forget to pack one.
Vegan camping breakfast ideas
There’s no reason why, when you’re camping, your breakfast should be any different from what you usually have. Whatever your cooking facilities, whether that’s a camping stove, a BBQ or campfire, you can enjoy a full vegan fry-up containing:
- Vegan bacon
- Vegan sausages
- Egg (tofu makes an excellent and delicious scramble, or there are egg-replacers available)
- Hash browns
If a fry-up’s not your thing or you’ve got a hike planned and you don’t want to be too full-up with fried food, then how about:
Vegan camping lunch ideas
It’s a good idea to keep lunch simple, making something that doesn’t involve cooking and too much washing up. Portable food like sandwiches and wraps are perfect – you can wrap them up in some of the ton of foil you brought with you and put them in your backpack as you go off for a hike in the woods.
Alternatively, if your camping trips are more in the way of relaxing and reading, rather than rough and rugged, you could make up a healthy Buddha bowl brimming with tofu, avocado, chickpeas and hummus to eat at your leisure.
Vegan campfire dinners
You know that tin foil we told you to bring? This is where it becomes your best friend. These are just a few of the foods you can season, wrap in foil and chuck on the fire for your dinner:
- Corn on the cob
- Portobello mushrooms
Other, foil-free dinner ideas are:
- Hot dogs
We hope you’ve got some foil left because you’re going to need it for dessert. For the best campfire dessert, split open a banana, lay it on a sheet of foil and cover it with chocolate, cream and marshmallows. Scrunchle (technical term) the foil up over the confectionary-covered banana and cook on coals.
We would give you some more vegan camping dessert ideas but that’s the only one you need, really.
So, there you have it. All you need to know about camping as a vegan. You could, of course, pitch up outside McDonald’s but a) as a vegan you probably won’t want to do that; and b) where’s the fun in that?