Food Prep for Large Canoe/Camp Groups

Northern Dancer

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I prefer to camp alone or with one or two others. It just makes life simple.
On occasion, it's fun to tag along with a crowd. For me, that would mean nine at an interior campsite. On one occasion - the only occasion ever, there were eighteen which meant there were two campsites. And because it was a four-nighter - a chunk of equipment filled one canoe alone. ⬤ Though some trip leaders prefer to see equipment distributed evenly to prevent any massive loss.


In the planning, it was decided that the big meals, lunch, and supper would be at one site and breakfast would be at the two. In the evening, snack packs for the following day were distributed to be used by individuals at their own discretion. You have to be careful what you pack. Things melt and things go bad or look disgusting when squashed.

What I learned on the trip.
Keep in mind there are eighteen males in this group.
I learned that the size of the pot determined the right amount of food to be prepared for the group.
I didn't know that, but it makes sense.
I learned that you cook items in order of the time needed to cook.
It prevents foods from being cooked too soon or too late.
Food management, storage, and health considerations are primary.
That would include precautions in bear country.
At one time I didn't pay much attention to any of that.
Simple recipes and one-pot meals can be delicious and easy to make for a large group.
I learned that one cooler is the freezer and the other cooler is the refrigerator.
One contained dry ice and a frozen item would be transferred to the refrigerator to keep items cool.
Only once a day you take food from the freezer and put it into the refrigerator.
Your stored your coolers in the shade and not out in the hot sun.
You added extra insulation to the cooler.
I learned foods can be pre-packaged better at home.
It's a good idea to make your own recipes.

Ordinary grocery stores have a lot of cheaper items than big outdoor box stores.
For safety and consistency, only one person is responsible for the actual cooking.
Others are assigned to assist as necessary.
Food lists, menu plans, duty rosters, and inventory sheets are a must.
Equipment to meet the task requirements is in the hands of the cook.
Matches and barbeque lighters were not used.
Fire starters [flint etc.] were preferred.
Wood for the fire was gathered in the morning only.
There was no open fire during the day.
Only one person was responsible for the campfire/cooking fire.
You carried small stoves and fuel in case the weather interfered with the open fire.


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