Camping has always been a big part of my life. It’s why I chose to propose to Melissa on a sandy beach at our favorite campground. It was a big part of Melissa’s life too, and common ground that we were able to start our family on together. This past summer I had a free weekend so I packed up my car, called up my brother Brandon, and headed up to the north woods of Wisconsin for a little vegan adventure.
Back when we initially went vegan, there was some anxiety that went with our first few vacations. As we headed out in the woods, listening to Bon Iver and following the sun disappearing behind the pines, I realized how much easier camping could be as a vegan. For instance, instead of your big Coleman cooler full of burgers, brats, ketchup, milk, cheese, and ice we substituted a small lunch box with pico de gallo, kale, beans & rice, avocados, and carrot sticks. Sure, there was the side bag of dry stuff, but even that didn’t take up too much space.
Simple. Brandon and I were planning to pack a lot of travel into a short amount of time and sitting at a fire cooking was going to be a luxury. It would be cereal and bananas for breakfast, trail mix as a snack, and then burrito style wraps with apples and carrots for our main meals. Brandon was excited to try this diet and although he came willingly, I could tell that he was a little hesitant about some things like the rice milk. In the end, he agreed that it was like switching to skim milk, but better because it was enriched with multiple vitamins and didn’t need to be refrigerated until it was opened.
It worked out GREAT, though. Vegan camping can be REALLY EASY! It’s amazing how much space the food has to take up in the car, but don’t forget about the cooking supplies. No camping stove, no griddle, no elaborate equipment or dishes. We literally brought two bowls, two spoons, some paper plates and a knife. We rinsed and cleaned everything after every use which leads to the best part. We spent less then 20 minutes on each meal and the majority of that was eating and talking! After that we were back on the move exploring.
It’s important to note our energy levels, too. You may have noticed several key factors about our meals. Because we spent the majority of the time biking (42 miles on mostly dirt roads) and hiking around falls, we not only needed the time, but we definitely needed high energy. Apples and bananas can be turned around into energy quickly so they worked out well. The trail mix was raisins, almonds, cashews, Kashi Cinnamon O’s, and mainly sunflower, pumpkin, and other assorted seeds. I swear that without this and the frequent breaks, I wouldn’t have made it past 35 miles on our bike trip. Lastly, while the wraps may have seemed small, they were definitely filling. One of those puppies was all we needed to fill us up at both lunch and dinner.
The greatest thing about our diet for the weekend is not what it did, but what it didn’t do - prohibit us from finding and enjoying what we were looking for: NATURE!
For more information on Melissa and Dustin’s adventure into an eco-friendly, vegan lifestyle, check out their blog: www.greenbeansandyam.com .