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Fish cooking over a campfire

Fish on the camp fire. Source: Flickr by y_katsuuu

We always enjoy hearing from CheapTents blog readers and are keen to publish guest posts about outdoor gear, camping and adventures.

We were recently contacted by Stu, who has set up a website for outdoor enthusiasts to share their favourite Camping Recipes. Whether you’re into camping, backpacking or hiking, there are plenty of great meal ideas on the website and you’re welcome to contribute yours too.

To help wet your appetite, Stu has written a guest post about his experience of gourmet dining on the West Coast Trail, Vancouver. So get out your camping stove and get cooking!

Cooking on the Trail

As someone who loves cooking even more than backpacking, the food I eat while out on the trail is very important to me. Just add water meals in pouches don’t cut it for me, though I have to admit that I’ve sampled some, and they’re not all terrible.

Dried food in a pouch, however, can’t possibly compete with the real thing. One of my favourite backpacking meals is freshly caught seafood cooked up on an open fire, a meal for which there is no dried pouch substitute. Of course a meal like that isn’t an option for everyone, but I’m lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest, where it’s relatively easy to find fresh seafood, even when you’re in the middle of nowhere.

Wooden steps lead through the woods from the trail to the beach

Step down to the beach on the West Coast Trail. Photocredit: Robert Edgell.

The West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island, for example, has plenty to offer. There’s a famous burger stand about halfway through, but just a little further on, at a river crossing via boat, you can find fresh crab and sometimes even fish, sold by the Native Americans that run the crossing.

My last time doing the trail I picked up a fresh trout, not too big, and made a beeline for the next camp site. Because of how wet that part of the world is you’re allowed open fires on the West Coast Trail, even in summer, and so I got a nice fire going, and once that was taken care of I gutted the fish. I’d brought along some dill, a little oil and tinfoil for just this possibility, so once the fish was gutted I coated the inside of the fish with oil, sprinkled on liberal amounts of dill and finished with a little salt and pepper that I had for seasoning.

After that I wrapped the entire thing in tin foil and just like that, all the prep work was done. Once the fish was taken care of I waited for the fire do die down a bit, and some nice, hot coals to develop. If you have enough coals you can cover the fish completely, but otherwise you’ll need to flip it halfway through. Let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes, depending upon how big and thick your fish is, and then remove. Since I was dealing with a smaller trout, it only took 10 minutes.

After that you eat, and try to avoid the hungry stares of everyone else lurking around, drawn in by the smell. The Pacific Northwest has plenty of bears, of course, and they like fish just as much as you do, so you’ll need to make sure to dispose of any left overs well away from camp.

Backpacker explorers caves on West Coast Trail

Forests and beaches on the West Coast Trail.
Source: Flickr by Paxson Woelber

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