Cold weather camping can be more uncomfortable than camping in warmer weather, but with the proper camping meals, your experience doesn't have to be an ordeal. The best way to deal with colder weather is to take extra care to stay warm and to eat the proper diet for the climate. The average cold weather camper should up their normal diet by an estimated 1000 calories per day for optimum cold weather survival. Therefore, your winter camping meals should be higher in carbohydrates than those you would normally pack for warmer climes.
Winter camping trips have the added bonus of being able to bring foods that would normally be unsafe for summer trips because of potential spoilage. The meal preparation in winter, however, does leave something to be desired. You need to plan meals that are quick and easy to cook, as easy to eat in harsher weather. In essence, pack more food and plan some emergency meals as well, just in case.
Be sure to make room in your pack for instant soup mixes. Things like Cup Of Soup are great for warming you up on a cold winter's night. Hot drinks, like cocoa, coffee and tea are also good, as long as you also pack something to heat water in, like a campfire pot. Drinking hot beverages and eating soup before retiring will amp up your body temperature, and make wrapping up in that sleeping bag for the night that much more comfortable.
Hiking during the day will require you to eat often, so plan to make several stops along the trail before packing it in for the night. You need to plan simple packets of food for the trail that are easy to eat on the go, as well as high in carbs and proteins. Hiking makes your body burn calories at a higher rate, so the extra carbs and proteins are needed to keep your energy high. A higher energy will also help keep you warm on the trail as well.
The best kinds of easy to eat high protein snacks for trail meals include trail mixes, nuts and jerky. These can be eaten in pretty much any weather conditions, and the jerky can even be put into soup at camp for added flavor. Other good choices for on the trail meals are dried fruits and fatty snacks like chocolate. The fruit can be beneficial for your energy and the chocolate will keep your blood sugar up so that burning those extra calories while hiking won't be such a drain.
Remember that things will take longer to heat in a campfire than on the stove at home. Unless you are packing a camp stove, stay away from raw vegetables because they take simply forever to cook through. You can always prepare them at home for the trip and take them with you. The cold weather will preserve them until you are ready to cook up some stew. Cook pots with lids are best for preparing meals from scratch, because the lids will preserve the cooking heat in cold temperatures.
Camping in winter weather can be harsh, but with the proper planning, especially for your camping meals, it can be enjoyable. Besides the proper clothing, you will need to think about adding more carbs and proteins to your normal camping meals, as well as planning easier to use ingredients. Remember that canned goods may be quicker to heat, but heavier to carry. Your main concern when camping in cold weather is keeping your energy level high and your body temperature up. Some simple soups and high protein snacks will see you through.