A Cost Analysis: Choosing Food the Wise Way Can Save Money

A Cost Analysis: Choosing Food the Wise Way Can Save Money

Feeding your family while camping can cost quite a bit if you figure in the cost of grilling equipment, camping stoves, coolers, and food. If you are camping with a family of five, it may be helpful to figure out tactics ahead of time to stretch your budget. Unless you actually sit down and calculate all the costs involved, you may spend more than you anticipated and perhaps more than you can afford. Some people don’t mind the challenge of lugging heavy steaks and such to create gourmet meals in the beautiful outdoors. However, adding boiling water to prepackaged freeze-dried or dehydrated meals is simple, convenient, and the food is tastier than you might imagine. Here is an estimate of what a camping party might spend on food and everything else associated with food preparation.

  • Camp stove: A camp stove can prevent your cooking pots and pans from getting charred in the fire. You can purchase a good quality one for less than $80.00.
  • Camp grill: To cook some foods, you need to have a sturdy grill to place over your open campfire. These vary greatly in price, but a decent quality one will set you back about $45.00.
  • Camping cookware: A pot, a skillet, a pair of tongs, and some disposable forks or spoons to eat are necessities if you’re going to cook. There is a fairly large price range on cookware, but let’s assume you are bringing a modestly priced pot and skillet and not your best Calphalon. An average cost for all of these together would be around $60.00.
  • Cooler: You’ll likely bring your own beverages and water, as well as perishables that you will be cooking the first night. An empty cooler makes a great bin for bringing trash home, and you’ll be following scouting’s ecofriendly Pack It In, Pack It Out methodology. The average price for a good quality cooler shouldn’t set you back more than $35.

Cost Analysis The price of food that campers bring and eat runs the gamut from dirt cheap to very expensive. For the purpose of this cost analysis, let’s look at two families that camp together with a total of 12 mouths to feed. They all love lasagna, but the moms aren’t keen on making this ahead of time and know that pan lasagna is way too time intensive to fix on site. However, their husbands and kids love it so much that they finally give in. There are hundreds of lasagna recipes online, which vary, but for the sake of this analysis, the yummy-looking one on Pioneer Woman.com will serve nicely. Necessary Ingredients with Estimated Costs

  • 1-1/2 pound ground beef (sirloin) $9.00
  • 1 pound hot breakfast sausage $6.00
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $1.00
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounce) whole tomatoes $4.00
  • 2 cans (6 ounce) tomato paste $2.50
  • 4 tbsp dried parsley $.75
  • 2 tbsp dried basil $.50
  • 2 tsp salt $.25
  • 3 cups low-fat cottage cheese $3.00
  • 2 whole beaten eggs $.75
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated (not shredded) parmesan cheese $3.00
  • 1 pound sliced mozzarella cheese $8.00
  • 1 package (10 ounce) lasagna noodles $4.00
  • 1 tbsp olive oil: $.50
  • Large metal or Pyrex cooking pan: $12.00
  • Non-stick aluminum foil: $4.00
  • Camp grill: $45.00
  • Cooler: $35.00
  • Disposable plates for 12: $1.50

The above totals $140.75, which isn’t terrible for a party of 12, and chances are you’ll be bringing a cooler anyway. However, what a hassle it is to make the lasagna and bring it with, then warm it up at the campsite. Not to mention that the entire pan of lasagna could spoil if something happens to the cooler. A tasty, highly convenient alternative is to buy Cheesy Lasagna which serves 12 and costs $41.99. It’s lightweight, each 6-ounce pouch serves two, and all you have to do is add hot water. You don’t even need plates because you can eat it right out of the sturdy pouches. Lasagna is just one of many meals you can enjoy while camping – Chili Mac with Beef, Pasta Alfredo with Chicken, or Teriyaki Chicken and Rice are other delicious options – try a different one each night!

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