Behind The Butter

what to eat when…camping

This ones straight from the RRL (reader request line?)!

I’ve gotten comments before wondering what Adam and I eat when go camping (and we’ve gone camping, like, twice…) and then yesterday I got an email asking the same thing. So, I figured it was time to write a post about it!

And, well, I hate to say it after Angela’s beautiful post this morning but…my favorite camping dinner is totally a hot dog drenched in chili and cheese.

Yep, I said it. I totally love hot dogs.

But I have stipulations! They have to be organic and nitrate free and they have to be eaten with chili while camping. If you’ve never tried a hot dog roasted over an open campfire then…well…you haven’t truly lived, my friends. There’s just something so raw and rugged about roasting meat over an open flame that even a pedicure-loving-extension-wearing-yogi can appreciate.

In all seriousness though, the one time Adam and I have tent camped (and by tent camped I clearly mean tent cabin camped), we had a bit of a unique experience on the foodie front. We were going down to Big Basin, about an hour south of Palo Alto to camp for the weekend in the Santa Cruz mountains over Easter. Sound awesome? It totally was. Cold…but awesome.

We figured there would be a little place to grab some food when we got there but it turned out, the only “little place” was a HIGHLY expensive health food store in the Deliverance-style town. Not really conducive for camp food. One hundred dollars later and we had organic beef hot dogs, vegetarian chili, the most expensive marshmallows ever and a whole slew of things that were about ten times the cost in any normal grocery store.

We learned our lesson.

Naturally, we (I) also grabbed hiking-worthy snacks like larabars and oranges. And definitely a couple vegan chocolate chip cookies…just in case. Some other tasty portable items include:

Whenever we camp, I can also plan on us doing a day hike as well and I’m always sure to bring a hefty snack bag filled with some of the above treats! My worst fear is getting lost on the trail without a cookie.

Now for the classic chili dog sandwich we loved so much, I have to admit it’s more Adam’s recipe than my own. I was a little hesitant at first about the bread/mustard/hot dog/chili mix but…it totally works.

Step 1: Squeeze yellow mustard on a slice of whole wheat bread.

Step 2: Roast hot dog over campfire until black and roasty.

Step 3: Heat up chili over fire while hot dog is roasting.

Step 4: Once hot dog is done, sandwich it on the bread.

Step 5: Cover bread/hot dog with chili and top with grated cheddar cheese.

Step 6: Stuff your face.

Oh I forgot! Adam says you need mayonnaise on the bread, too. But that’s his own doing.

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  • Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove
    June 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I never would’ve thought mustard and chili would work, but I put mustard (and ketchup) on my burgers. I suppose mustard works with anything!

    • Jen
      June 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Mustard DOES work on everything. I just had some in an egg sandwich.

      • Baking 'n' Books
        June 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm

        I third that. Mustard literally goes on everything for me…I can get some strange looks…like the time I put it straight up on salmon…with ketchup.


        • Sonia the Mexigarian
          June 23, 2011 at 7:14 pm

          I fourth it. I even put mustard on my pasta. Such a versatile condiment.

  • Jen
    June 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I love how your worst fear is getting lost on a trail without a cookie. I would probably pack a backpack’s worth of trail mix or granola to take with me. (Which obviously can also be used to retrace your steps, Hansel and Gretel style. Duh.)

    By the way, regular hotdogs have always kind of grossed me out…but for some reason, your casually-thrown-together-hotdog-on-bread sounds kind of appealing.

  • K
    June 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Great post! One of our camping faves has got to be socca sandwiches. We make socca (chickpea bread) in the cast iron pan and then eat it with bison pepperoni, some fresh tomatoes and a hunk of really good cheese. Our old standby is foil packets with sweet potatoes, veggies, chicken (or not) and some olive oil, sea salt and herbs. Just close up the pack, toss in the fire and voila! Who says that foodie and camping don’t go together?! What could be more foodie-y than a live fire?! Lovely post!

    • jenna
      June 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      love it!! thanks for the great tips 🙂

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food
    June 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    mmm yes I haven’t had a hot dog in a year but you just gave me a craving for one!

    I second the nitrate free necessity and the fear of being lost without a cookie! 😛

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
    June 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Hmmm 🙂 defs need to try that hotdog experience!

  • Cait's Plate
    June 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Haha – I agree. Hot Dogs are essential to camping (not with the mayo though, sorry Adam!). Hot dogs that is…and s’mores of course 😉

  • Nicole @ Of Cookies and Carrots
    June 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    You are gorgeous! 🙂 and I am so jelaous of your camping near Santa Cruz… those mountains are so beautiful & I always feel ridiculous living so close ot so many beautiful hiking areas and not doing a damn thing with them. When I’ve been camping with friends it’s been car camping, involving lots of bagels & peanut butter & of course plenty of cookies baked by me 😉


  • Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter)
    June 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    And s’more! Don’t forget about those!

    Haha I actually just wrote about hot dogs on my blog too, only at ball games, not camping.. Roasty and black hot dogs are the bestttt.

  • Bridgette
    June 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    adorable. 🙂

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    June 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Oh the pic of you eating your hot dog is soo great! Pure bliss, right? 🙂

    But I love the pic of you right above it even more. With your hands touching the redwoods. Not to sound all hippy dippy and goofy, but I believe there is such great ENERGY in those big huge trees that literally you can feel. <—How's that for goofy 🙂

    Anyway, love your camping list. The same types of food that one brings camping, i.e. trail mixes and granola bars, are what crafty moms always have in their purse for snacks.

  • RhodeyGirl
    June 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    And now I would love a burned hot dog on a toasted bun right now. I haven’t had one in years! Maybe when I go to RI next weekend my dad will fire up the grill and make me one!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    June 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Chili dogs are a longtime favorite of mine!! Can’t go camping without them 🙂

  • Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet
    June 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Hah! I love the picture of you and the ginormous hot dog. I think I tend to over pack food for camping, since I assume that we’ll be starving at all times being so far from a kitchen! But those bars and cookies sound amazing!! My favorite camping food is pita pizzas made over the campfire. Too good 🙂

  • Dani
    June 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    You’ve convinced me to pick up some veggie hot dogs the next time i go camping!

  • Laura @ Cookies vs. Carrots
    June 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I love this post! Hot dogs on an open fire have to be one of the most delicious things ever!

  • Gena
    June 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    My own man and I have gotten into camping lately, and I’m loving it. I find that dehydrated raw stuff lends itself really easily to the whole experience!

  • Lisa
    June 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    What a wonderful post!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    June 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Roasted marshmellows is the whole reason to go camping. I’d prefer to just light an outdoor fire pit and call it a night though myself.

  • Kelli H (Made in Sonoma)
    June 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    This made me want to go camping so bad!

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    June 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Hot dogs with a nice slightly burnt skin over a campfire are the best! I also like making tin foil dinners by dicing up veggies (potatoes, carrots, onion, etc) and wrapping then in tin foil with ground beef and seasoning salt. Set them next to the fire’s coals and you have a delicious meal with virtually no clean up!

  • Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum
    June 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I appreciate your real-ness. 🙂 It’s not camping without a hotdog!

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    June 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    camp food is the bomb! We would camp every year at least once for 6 weeks. It was all about 2 minute noodles when I was younger… for a whole week. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. my brothers and friends and I thought that’d be a great idea. I haven’t eaten them since…
    Must make hotdogs soon!
    Heidi xo

  • Karen
    June 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    This post amused me to no end…your tales always put a smile on my face, sweet Jenna!

  • Courtney
    June 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    If only veggie hot dogs weren’t so full of junky ingredients!

    Next could you write a post about your favorite hiking spots in the Napa/Sonoma area? ; )

  • Baking 'n' Books
    June 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Fun post!

    Clearly Adam is not to be doubted – THAT is how you roast a weiner! 🙂

  • Cat @Breakfast to Bed
    June 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I am such a sucker for a kosher dog with stadium mustard. Oh dear G-d this post made me hungry.

  • French Heart
    June 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    L.M.A.O. My mother used to say, ‘I can’t understand how anyone as prissy and feminine as you goes camping in the woods and eats chili-cheese dogs.’ Not kidding. Love ’em….although now the fake-meat kind and probably the next one will go on grilled Udi bread. You make me miss my VW Pop-Top Camper. That baby was a blast! Camped all over the California coast from top to bottom. It was white, immaculate, super organized & fun. (water at little sink/fridge, porta potty, dining table, double bed & another one in the pop-up)

  • Lauri (
    June 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I LOVE making Hobo packs when we go camping (Ground beef, potatoes, onions, other veggies of choice, ketchup, S&P all wrapped in foil and allowed to cook over hot coals for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through).

    But I think I could go for a hot dog right now… And a tent… and a fire 🙂

  • Allie P
    June 23, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I feel like saying:

    “My name is Allie, I freakin love specific hot dog bliss”

    4505 nitrate free, bacon laced dog
    IN a
    Rudi’s organic ww bun
    Farmhouse culture kraut!

    Life is good.

    Amen, go in peace.

  • Kristin Murdock
    June 23, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I do love me some hot dog. In college, I went through this phase where all I wanted to eat were hot dogs. It got so bad that at one point I made my screen saver a picture of hot dogs with various toppings. So good, I don’t even care that it’s pig intestines! 🙂

    The thing I’m admiring most about this post, Jenna, is your Camelback. I have had my eye on that exact one for months!

  • Aimee @ ShugarySweets
    June 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    We love camping. And by camping I mean staying in our camper 🙂 No tenting it here. But, we are all about the hiking as well. I love your “getting lost without a cookie.” I always make sure we pack trail mix and hard candy. You just never know…

    We eat alot of walking tacos and hot dogs while camping. But not at home. Just doesn’t taste right.
    Thanks for sharing,

  • Sonia the Mexigarian
    June 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Is the expensive store in Boulder Creek across from the antique row ? 😀 I know that one is on the pricey side since it’s like the last store on 9 for a while. If you go back to big basin, there is a Safeway off Mount Hermon Road in Scotts Valley.

    Smores are essential for camping as are hot dogs and meat for burgers. I’ve been camping with my family, and the best mal i have had is fresh fish caught that day. My father makes some awesome grilled trout with a side of grilled corn on the cobb.

  • Courtney @ girlinthepink
    June 23, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    You’ve inpired me to take a camping trip this summer! I just moved to northern California so I’ll have to check this spot out! 🙂

  • Jess
    June 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Jenna! I have been reading your blog since you started and I just wanted to stop by and say it’s so inspiring how far you have come! I love how you take the time to enjoy all the things you love! Keep it up!

  • Jacqueline
    June 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Just in time for our 4th of July camping trip! Thanks for the reminder about buying food before you get there!

  • Susan
    June 23, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I love me a good hot dog, too! We went camping a couple of weeks ago and had chili cheese dogs, minus the mustard. Next time I’ll have to try it.

  • Khushboo
    June 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Omg I miss camping food! Forget nature, this is my prime reason to camp haha! Nothing beats a hot dog heavily loaded with ketchup and mustard followed by s’mores. Vegetables, what are those?

  • Katrina
    June 23, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    haha love the hot dog picture! Camping is so fun, and preparing food for it rocks too. Great ideas here!

  • Rachel
    June 24, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Thanks for that post-Im going on my first camping trip tomorrow!!

  • Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes
    June 24, 2011 at 2:28 am

    I love all of your pics! I’ve never been camping before but it looks like so much fun!

  • Yolie @ Practising Wellness
    June 24, 2011 at 2:56 am

    Lol! Packing camping food is definitely an art, but you guys seem to do it so well! Those snacks look yum…totally agree with you about your worst nightmare being hiking without food…I am always prepared with eats and treats! Everything tastes amazing over a fire, all chargrilled and toasty, but I’m definitely gonna have to hop on the hot dog train, Jenna style, on mine and Tom’s next trip! If you and Adam like hiking and camping you’d love New Zealand, camping’s a way of life there and the tramping is breathtaking, plus they have natural hot poos which are insane to hike to! I’d love to see California too…looks stunning 🙂 xyx

    • Yolie @ Practising Wellness
      June 24, 2011 at 2:57 am

      Oh. My. Gosh. *cringe* I did just write hot poos. I meant hot POOLS! Ohhh man, I’m blushing 😛 Sorry!!!!!! xyx

  • Yolie @ Practising Wellness
    June 24, 2011 at 3:07 am

    PPS: They have tent cabins in New Zealand too…which can totally be the best kind of camping = nature and comfort, lol! 😉 xyx

  • Emily @ Life on Food
    June 24, 2011 at 3:33 am

    I have always dreamed about roasting a hot dog over an open fire. I had a dream inducing chilli hot dog at Gott’s this spring. Since then nothing has lived up to that new standard, specially on the East coast.

  • Monika
    June 24, 2011 at 5:46 am

    I’m going camping this weekend so PERFECT timing with this post 🙂

    What kind of hot dogs do you use?? (Brand?)

  • phd
    June 24, 2011 at 7:55 am

    this is why I heart you! kindred spirits, sister

  • AshinMT
    June 24, 2011 at 8:26 am

    YUM. I love hot dogs and I dont care who knows it!
    Also, my boyfriend and I’s camping staples:
    Salad kits we mix in the bag (like ceasar)
    Organic instant mashed potatos
    Organic all angus beef weenies or Chicken sausages
    Reeses S’mores
    any grillable meat.

    When i started that list i thought i had a million ingenious suggestions. Apparently not. Now i just want a chili dog with mustard.

  • Kate @ NaturaStride
    June 24, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Man that looks amazing.
    I personally enjoy my ‘dogs with plain, simple ketchup. But I definitely wouldn’t pass up a chili-dog. YUM

    • Monika
      June 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm


      (sorry.. it’s a Chicago thing..)

  • Gina (Yogattude)
    June 24, 2011 at 10:58 am

    My boyfriend and I are renting a remote cabin on a river next weekend so this post comes at the perfect time! I was coming up with food ideas yesterday! He thinks we are going to cath our dinner in the river, but best to have a backup plan of hotdogs (and s’mores!) We are planning on at least 2 hikes, so it’s finally time I try your yogi trail mix bars:) We did tent amping once, and though I’m a huge fan, not so much for him…cabin it is!

  • Lorin
    June 24, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I totally think the same way! Hot dogs and chili are soo good when I go camping, so does oatmeal with banana chips 🙂 I’m a vegeterian now so I don’t have hot dogs with chili anymore but I’ll get some veggie chili. I haven’t gone camping in a long time though since I’m in college now. However, I’m going backpacking at the end of July! I always eat bars, trail mix, and freeze dried food when backpacking because you don’t want to have to carry heavy foods.

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    June 24, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Love your post 😉 Camping is the best…and it’s hard to beat a roasted hot dog. Never thought of putting it on bread instead of a hot dog bun. So simple, but what a great idea!

  • Ashley
    June 24, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Soooo…I’m gonna go with you said….pedicure-loving extension-wearing yogi is a great oxymoron of sorts and I’m going with it.

  • rose
    June 27, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Nice legs!!

  • Alyssa
    June 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    we just got back from a Flagstaff, Arizona camping trip and (of course) chili dogs and roasted ‘shmallows were on the menu. Along with hot cocoa and turkey sandwiches. Food tastes so good in the woods

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