Camping with The Clean Life

One of the things I didn’t quite manage to cross off my 30 Before 30 bucket list? Camping.

Legit, sleeping in a tent, cooking on a fire, peeing in a pit camping. I’ve done some definite “glamping” in my day, staying cozy in a cabin, prepping meals in a kitchen, using a real shower and toilet as necessary – but I was itching for the real deal. And after a conversation a few months ago with friends who are serious camping gurus who graciously agreed to take us under their wing, we decided to spend a weekend in the Wisco “wilderness.”

Full disclosure – it was still pretty cush. The campground was beautiful, our cars were nearby, and we had total access to real toilets and showers if we wanted them. And admittedly, it was nice to have them available. But in general, we kept it real: pitching tents, rolling out the sleeping bags and making real food. No canned beans and freeze dried chicken burritos – we’re unashamed snobs who want to eat good meals, even if they’re packed in a cooler.

Because we all wanted to be sure we ate well, we did do quite a bit of food prep in advance. And being a breakfast lover – especially before a day of hiking – I wanted to have something with a good balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats. Something that, of course, also tastes delicious!

Enter – Gluten-Free Banana Bread.

banana bread badge

I always love an opportunity to bake – there’s something about the love that goes into a homemade batch of muffins or bread and sharing it. I absolutely love the new recipe I got from my girl Jessica’s new book, The Clean Life – it comes out tomorrow via her website at, but having worked on the edits I’m the proud owner of an advanced copy. Beautiful opportunity to whip up a batch of nutty, perfectly sweet bread that will fill hungry tummies with nourishing energy. A must-make!

Other campground nibbles?

  • Apples and bananas to round out breakfast and for snacks
  • Green juice in the cooler
  • Almond butter and jelly sandwiches, veggie burger wraps and homemade granola bars for lunch on the trail
  • Veggies and hummus for snacking at the campsite
  • Lamb and fresh veggie kabobs beautifully prepared and cooked and prepared over the fire by our camping cohorts
  • S’mores, with marshmallows OR grilled banana. Another one to try? Bananas – stuffed with chocolate, raisins, nuts, anything you like – wrapped in foil, and grilled over the fire. Bananas really are a camper’s best friend. Raw, versatile, and all natural packaging!

And less packaging is a beautiful thing. “Green” is no longer the alternative, and while savoring nature I want to keep my footprint as minimal as possible. Next time around, I’d love to cut down on my packaging and other clutter even more. We did well using mugs and some reusable utensils, but my goal is to reduce plastic and cut out paper products completely.

A few other lessons learned on my first camping adventure?

  • Bring a yoga mat to accompany the “sleep mat.” There’s not a whole lot you can do to make sleeping on the ground comfy, so a good stretch in the morning is mandatory. Wishing I’d brought my yoga mat for some legit sun salutations!
  • Bring plenty of your own filtered water. You never know what the campsite will have available, and it’s not something you want to run out of! Bring plenty of coolers or reusable containers so that you’ve got enough for both drinking and cooking.
  • Campsite pour-over coffee is actually awesome. I’m obsessed with my Chemex, but a funnel and Thermos does the trick and does it well!
  • Raccoons prefer their almond butter sandwiches crust-less. Remember those AB&J sandwiches we brought for hiking? A little friend got into Day 2’s stash. Another lesson? Keep all food IN the cooler at ALL times.
  • A shower at home (no shower shoes required) will never feel so glorious.
  • I have been missing out. Cannot wait to do it again.

What are your tips for a healthy, happy, earth friendly camping adventure?


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