Camping and Hiking in Texas

Camping and Picnic Gourmet

Essential Camping Supplies

Camping and hiking are fun. There is nothing like sleeping out in the wild, yet feeling safe in your roomy tent. Air mattresses and tented hammocks make the best sleeping cots in the world. With today's 3 and 4G technology, you don't even have to do without movies, music, maps and GPS (for geocaching). Lots of other fun apps are available too. Play family games while you sit around the campfire!

Two back packs should be all of the space you need to go camping for a weekend. Remember you have to haul out everything you haul in, so always think light weight. For camping out for a week, take the same gear and pack more food.

Some people prefer to stay in motels when they camp. That's for wimps. Get yourself some essential camping supplies and you can have a luxury experience anywhere. You may never want to go back to the stressful real world. This hub is written with the casual camper in mind. I have not included specialty equipment for weekly campers, hunters or survivalists.

Camping should be relaxing and easy. Short hikes are best for wilderness areas. There is no need to work yourself to death just to enjoy a weekend in the outdoors. Get the right stuff and the right food and you will be in camping heaven.

Basic Camping Essentials


Why it's needed

Best Ideas

A tent


Get a roomy weather resistant tent that is lightweight and easy to set up


comfortable sleep

Air mattresses, hammocks or thick padded sleeping bags. Get the one you really prefer to sleep in or on. Don't forget the air pump or rope for hanging a hammock!

Bedding, pillows, linen

comfortable sleep

Always think of lightweight covers and pillows. Fleece throws are perfect. You may need some towels or wash cloths too.


It really gets dark while camping

Two good flashlights or lanterns, and a way to hang them for cooking and reading.

Portable toilet and toilet paper

ease of use (avoid poison ivy)

If a composting toilet is nearby, use it. Or shop for an easy portable toilet kit. Don't forget toilet paper.


Choose clothes for conditions

Easy wear layered clothes. Don't forget swim suits or slip on shoes.


skin comfort, cleanliness

Pack a water resistant baggie with all the stuff you use daily from your bathroom: toothbrush, shampoo, soap. Don't overdo it.

Prescription Medications and First Aid Kit


Don't forget to take medicines that you need or may need. Pack a pill sorter instead of a whole bag of containers.

Sun screen and bug repellant

avoid problems related to camping life

Bring sufficient amounts of each. Buy small bottles and bring several. Chapstick too


stay hydrated

This is the heaviest weight. You might want to invest in a personal water purification bottle or keep a case of water in a nearby location.


comfortable seating

Get something lightweight or sit on whatever is available. Coolers can do double duty as a chair

Swiss Army Knife

for just about anything

These bad boys are amazing!

A kettle or coffee pot and a lightweight grill

To boil water, make coffe, and cook

Specialty aluminum coffee pots are available for light weight camping. Collapsable cups are easy to find too.

iPad 4G or other 4G tablet

to make camping fun!

Download books, movies, games, maps, areas of interest, apps and plenty more!

Cameras, binoculars, and other specialty gear

to enhance your camping and hiking experiences

Once again, think simple and light weight on all of your gadgets!

Picnic, Hiking, and Camping Gourmet Food

You can camp. You can hike. But you cannot create a gourmet kitchen out in the woods without hauling in way too much equipment. The best answer is to pack a gourmet picnic basket/cooler of snack foods in all of the spaces left in your back packs!

You might need a very small camp stove. You might even get by with taking no more than a light weight grill and build your own stove with rocks. This is the best way to make coffee or cook the fish you caught.

The rest of the space in your back packs should be stuffed with great tasting healthy food that is easy to carry and prepare. Go gourmet and you will find many tasty small packages of nuts, seeds, bars, desserts, jerky, dried fruits and other picnic items.

Hauling in bacon and eggs or even steaks is a labor intensive operation and defeats the purpose of camping out. Relax and enjoy yourself. It's not work, it's relaxation! Don't cook outdoors unless you really want to. Bring great tasting fun foods and make picnic gourmet meals.

Picnic Gourmet Snack Ideas for Camping and Hiking

Think of things that come in small packages and are ready to eat right out of the box or wrapping. Here's a starter list of gourmet snacks:

  • Nuts - Buy in bulk or take those small packs of nuts sold in convenience stores
  • Granola mix or bars - Tasty and satisfying healthy meals
  • Dried fruit - Whole fruit is heavy, dried fruit is gourmet
  • Crackers - Many 'earthy' health food crackers with seeds or grains are available
  • Cookies - Today's cookies aren't always bad for you, look for healthier varieties. (Make your own healthy cookies with the recipe below.)
  • Chex style Mix - Make it up ahead of time and sort it out in little baggies
  • Artisan bread - Absolutely delicious with some small packs of peanut butter or other spread.
  • Raw vegetables - prepare ahead of time and pack in baggies
  • Jerky - Jerky now comes in all kinds of flavors and types of meats. It's also compact and easy to pack.
  • Hard Cheeses - Good source of dairy and it tastes good too - especially with crackers.
  • Tea bags - So many flavors, so little time.
  • Portable boxes of cereal - Great for breakfast or snacking, maybe even dessert! (Cocoa Puffs :-)
  • Peanut butter packs - Perfect snack spread
  • Sausages - Must be able to survive warm temperatures, but these come in small sizes now.
  • Small tins of prepared foods - Tuna salad, ham salad, chicken salad
  • Brownies - Make ahead of time or visit a gourmet bakery
  • Condiment packs - Save up those packets of mustard, ketchup, mayo, salsa, jelly, soy sauce, and others. Keep in a zip lock type of baggie for easy packing.
  • Hot cocoa envelopes - Delicious and satisfying while gazing up at the stars.

Oatmeal Cookies With Chocolate Chips

Healthy Portable Camp Cookies

Each of these Cookies are a full meal. They are made with very healthy ingredients that you can find in any health food store. Make these ahead of time and wrap them individually and you will have all the nutrients you need for two or three meals a day.

Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit

In a large mixing bowl, mix well all of the following ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 c. granulated date sugar (find in a health food store) (Cut amount in half and add 2 t. of cinnamon for a lower carbohydrate count.)
  • 3/4 c. brown rice syrup (find in a health food store)
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 10 ounces of prune purée or mashed baby food prunes from a jar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. old-fashioned or steel cut oats
  • 2 C. unprocessed bran
  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Lightly oil or spray a cookie sheet. Form half cup patties of the cookie mixture and lightly place on cookie sheet. Each cookie should resemble the size of a hamburger patty. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool completely before packaging.

This batch should make 18 cookies. Each cookie has about 279 calories, 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat (one gram of saturated fat), zero grams of cholesterol, 59 grams of carbohydrates, 27 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fiber and 202 milligrams of sodium.

How to Find a Great Camping and Hiking Spot

No matter what part of the U.S.A. you live in, there is a great camping site within driving distance. Well, maybe if you live in the middle of the Dakotas it would be hard to find, but you are close to camp living anyway, right?

Searching for sites near Austin, Texas returned 32 choices for camping within a 50 mile radius. This will make some excellent overnight fun for a casual or luxury camper.

For more great content, interesting Texas recipes, and stories, please click on the links below:

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