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Beverages are a big part of the camping experience, and there's often no better way to quench your thirst than with some delicious libations out in the woods!
Sharing a flask after kayaking, sipping a wine as the sun sets, or passing a beer around the campfire as you strum the guitar and crack some jokes; these are all camping traditions that make the adventure a memorable one.
But when you're camping with beverages you can get certain things wrong. As such we've put together this handy resource.
The God of Camping Beverages: WATER!
We're going to cover many alcoholic beverages in the following paragraphs, however the God of camp beverages should be water. Take enough water for 2 + liters per day.
I know, I know, we're already killing the fun!
A 'beverage' is typically defined as any drink other than water, but water is our most important survival need, especially when out in the woods. A rule of thumb is to drink at least 2 liters a day so you don't suffer camp dehydration.
Do not take your drinking water for granted. By all means, stock up on your beer, wine, and spirits, all of which we're about to cover, but it's so important that you prioritize water (and remember that you need enough water to drink, cook and clean).
In the backcountry, selecting a camping spot near a water source is important. Water doesn't have to take up space in your drinks cooler, you can purchase big containers before you go and keep in the back of your car or truck.
Alcohol AFTER Activities
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Alcohol on camping trips is a ton of fun! But it's important to understand that this is a diuretic which will dehydrate you.
Alcohol causes your body to remove fluids from your blood, and if you don't drink enough water with alcohol, you can become dehydrated quickly. So as such, plan your drinking for after you return from your day full of activities.
Beyond the possibility of dehydration out on hiking trails, there's really nothing fun about hiking, rafting, or anything else you're doing in the outdoors while you're drunk. And especially if you're in wildlife country, you'll need full use of your motor skills and judgement.
Alcohol can give you a false sense of security out on the trails, which may mean you push the boundaries of what's safe and what's not - ie removing a snake from your campsite by picking it up (I've seen it done!).
So the best way to camp with beverages? Save them for after your daily activities are done.
Beer, wine and spirits are a great way to relax at the end of an action packed day so this schedule should work nicely anyway! If you're a fan of beverages during the day, we recommend you opt for low alcohol.
Be Responsible With Bottles
When you're camping with beverages you'll undoubtedly be taking a portable cooler, though what happens when your individual bottles are done?
Pack some type of trash bag or bin where you can responsibly dispose of your bottles. Non-biodegradable items are causing a huge problem throughout the world, so please don’t add to the litter - it destroys natural environments.
If there are specific recycling bins already at your campsite, by all means use them (you can crush any individual cans to save space otherwise). If not though, take your empties with you to dispose of at home (the 'no trace principle').
You can reduce your use of single use plastic water bottles by traveling with water in large containers, and heading out on daily activities with a reusable water bottle.
The proper disposal of alcohol bottles will also stop the smells which commonly attract insects and wildlife to your campsite, because trust us, the last thing you want are wild animals who are drunk on your alcohol!
Ways to Camp With Beer
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When you're camping with beer, it's a great idea to go for a mixture of cans and bottles. Cans specifically can be crushed easier when you're packing-out your trash.
Think about what types of activities you'll be doing when choosing which beer to take alone, ie whether you'll be in the mood for a crisp refreshing beverage after a long hike, or a boozy beer to pass around the campfire.
You can use beer in a ton of fun ways while camping beyond simply drinking from the can or the bottle. Beer infused marshmellows are always fun, as is beer damper, and drinking games around the campfire.
If you're traveling in a group, bring enough beer to share with everyone. The very nature of camping is being social, and passing it around the campfire as you chat and solve the worlds problems!
When disposing of your beer bottles make sure you also dispose of the beer caps as these can commonly be forgotten, but still present a large litter problem (and an be a choking hazard if picked up by animals).
To that end, if you're not drinking from a twist off cap (though this is typically easier when you're camping), make sure you pack a bottle opener. It may sounds like a cool party trick, but opening bottles with your teeth can do real damage to them!
Liquor For Survival
Taking liquor as your camp beverage can be a great idea if you need the hard stuff to keep you warm! Ie if you're camping in the wilds in winter, and the great thing is you don't need to chill liquor.
Great liquor choices which won't need to be chilled include rum, vodka, tequila, and if you take a range of soft drinks you can create your own camping cocktail bar!
The great thing about camping with liquor is that it can be repurposed for survival too if needed. For instance, it can be used as an antiseptic to clean scrapes and wounds (alcohol needs to be highly concentrated for this, which is why you wouldn't use beer).
A small spray can get your campfire going (or fuel your campfire stove), it can disinfect items in your first aid kit, and it can stop bug bites from itching, and relieve the symptoms of poison ivy.
So yes, take your liquor camping, but save a little for non drinking!
A Camp Chair With Some Wine
Photo by Jacob Lund
Drinking wine while camping is part of the experience for many - kicking back in a camp chair while watching the sunset, or lazing around with a bottle as you swing in a hammock.
The biggest thing to remember when camping with wine is to bring something with a screwcap which you can easily get off and back on again! Go for something which doesn't need to be chilled so you can enjoy it (we find light reds are best for camping).
Remember to pack out any cans, bladders, or bottles - if you want to limit these though you can always grab a Pack Tap and fill it with up to 10 litres (these can also attach to your backpack while hiking, though remember our tip about waiting until after activities).
Heat often cooks wine, so store it out of the sun when you're camping - it doesn't have to be chilled in your cooler, but at least choose a shady spot for storage. Or maybe you go camping in wine country and the cellar doors are your storage!
Irish Coffee in the Morning
Irish coffee is what complements a long night of drinking, and gives you a pick me up when you're battling a slow morning! Simply put, Irish coffee is just spiked coffee, and it means you can get right back on the bus!
All you need for a traditional Irish Coffee is black coffee, sugar, Irish whiskey, and whipped cream. The whipped cream might be in short supply while you're camping, so just add a small amount of whiskey and you're good to go!
Avoid Alcohol Free Zones
Some countries have alcohol restricted regions (in conservative countries you might not be able to drink at all), and not all outdoor public spaces allow drinking or other recreational consumption, so it's important to check before you go.
For instance, Australia is defined by its camping culture, but there are alcohol restrictions in 19 communities across QLD. These restrictions ban or limit the amount and type of alcohol you can take into a community. In some communities, alcohol is banned all together.
Confiscated booze is wasted booze, and we wouldn't want your camping trip ruined by a run in with park authorities, or with the local law. So check that everything you consume when you're camping is above board.
Please enjoy alcohol in moderation, and be sure to drink responsibly. You should never drive home from a campsite while under the influence, keeping in mind that you can still be drunk the following morning from a big all nighter.