Woohoo - summer has finally, officially arrived! The first long weekend is already done and over with so there's no time to waste - camping season is well underway! Time to get on planning some fun weekend getaways while the warm weather is here!
From simple recipes and snack ideas to down-free sleeping bags, cruelty free sunscreen, and bug spray...We've got it all covered and have complied a few tips and tricks when it comes planning a fantastic - and vegan - weekend in the woods!
First things first: Ya gotta make sure you stay comfy and warm for those chilly nights, sleeping under the stars! Thankfully, you'd be hard pressed to find a non-vegan tent so we'll skip over those, for now. Sleeping bags, however, are a different story as many of them are down-filled. Geese need their feathers to keep warm and we definitely don't, so choosing a synthetic fill is the way to go. This cozy looking one from Big Agnes has a temperature rating of -6 degrees celsius. For a bigger selection of vegan sleeping bags, check out Vegan Outdoor Adventures. Really, you just have to double check the materials and you'll be good to go!
In keeping with the whole staying warm theme, you're definitely going to want to make sure your toes stay toasty while sitting around the campfire! FAZL socks will definitely do the trick! They are a great alternative to wool, hand made in the Himalayas from a unique blend of acrylic and nylon, and 50% of their net profits go to charity. Plus, the local ladies who make them are paid fair wages. Win, win, win!
Now that you're covered (and warm!) for the evening hours, let's move on to keeping comfortable when you're having fun in the sunshine! If you're planning some day hikes, you'll definitely want to make sure you have some decent hiking boots to keep your feet happy, dry and blister-free. The Women's Siren Hex Q2 Mid E-Mesh GTX hikers will definitely do the trick.
Once you're back at the campsite you can slip out of your Merrell's and into your Jefferson's by Native Shoes. These shoes are perfect if you're near water since you can get 'em wet without worry; they're airy and breathable, along with being odour resistant, shock absorbent and hand washable! So feel free to get as down and dirty as you want!
Next on the list is sun protection and bug spray - both equally important when you're spending lots of time in the great outdoors. There are quite a few cruelty-free and vegan varieties of sunscreen readily available, but one of our favourites is the Sun Bum Sunscreen. Reasonably priced, hypoallergenic, reef friendly, water resistant and of course vegan and cruelty free. And, to top it all off it smells like VACATION. You can find Sun Bum at most major drug stores.
When it comes to protecting yourself from bug bites, there are also lots of different options. You might even want to get creative and concoct your own bug spray using essential oils. If that's not your thing, check out the Buzz Away DEET free insect repellent, which works to keep all kinds of bugs at bay. It's plant based, safe for kids and the environment, sweat proof and water proof.
Sticking with sun protection...sunglasses are a must! It always sucks when you forget them on a weekend getaway, so make sure to stash your new shades from Matt & Nat in your bag before you take off. Hats also come in handy on hot days - we recommend these cute ones from Vegan Police and Herbivore just so your camping buddies know exactly where you stand when it comes to eating animals!
Alright, now for the most important (and most fun!) part of camping - THE FOOD! Sometimes it can be a bit daunting trying to figure out what kinds of meals and snacks to bring on a camping trip, especially if you've recently become vegan...or if you've recently become a camper! But, trust us when we say that when it comes to food, camping as a vegan is the best thing ever.
For instance, how do campfire s'more nachos sound? Grilled pizza? Tofu scramble and hash browns? Homemade granola bars? RIGHT? You're probably drooling just like we are, writing about all this deliciousness!
The key is to keep it simple! Like, for the s'more nachos, you just throw in all the s'more essentials (Dandies marshmallows, vegan chocolate and graham crackers) into an aluminum pan, put the pan on a grill over the fire and then not so patiently wait! You can buy a vegan premade pizza crust and then bring whatever toppings you love. Toss them on and again place on a grill over the fire.
Potatoes are essential and the options are endless: baked potatoes, fries, hash browns with a tofu scramble for breakfast..
If you've got a little bit of time to prepare, these vegan blueberry muffins are so yummy as is this 5 ingredient granola!
You can pre-chop your favourite veggies and bring them in a container with some seasoning, then toss those in a pan or some aluminum foil to roast over the fire.
Vegan sandwich meats with wraps or bread is a super simple lunch idea.
Black beans are great to add to veggies or a baked potato or campfire nachos! (Not the s'more version of the nachos, though...Pretty sure that wouldn't turn out to be all that good. Ha)
And last but not least, don't forget the vegan almond milk Baileys or make your own to add to your morning coffee (or pour it over ice... no judgement here!)
So, there you go - a few ideas and a little culinary inspiration for your next camping trip!
We have to say a big thanks to our good friend (and seasoned camper), Denise Kilbourn for passing along so many of these tasty ideas!
And, that wraps it up - the list of essentials for a successful vegan camping trip! Hopefully it gives you a few new ideas to get out and enjoy some time in nature, this summer! Remember to enjoy yourself, be safe, watch any wildlife from a distance and leave no trace! Happy vegan camping!