Making do without cling or plastic wrap in the camp kitchen is easy and will not only be our little nod to reducing single use waste, it will also be one less item to pack and to find space for in the car. And that’s a win / win.
Cling wrap, otherwise known as plastic wrap, is essential in sealing many types of food while in transit and on display in the stores to keep it fresh and to prevent it from drying out and becoming stale.
Having touched on alternatives to cling wrap in a couple of articles in this website, we thought it might be a good idea to do a feature article on doing away with this useful but unnecessary item in the camp kitchen.
We’ve followed the tips below to eliminate cling wrap in our home for a couple of months now without too much trouble and our past three camping trips have been cling wrap free as well.
Here are our camping alternatives to cling wrap:
1: Use refillable containers
Include in your packing checklist a series of easily stackable refillable containers to use instead of cling wrap to keep leftovers, especially one large enough to hold enough sandwiches and rolls for your family or group for a picnic lunch.
You don’t even necessarily need to buy the containers. For smaller items, margarine, spreadable butter, yogurt and dip containers can be re-used and work just as well as anything store bought. Give preference to durable containers in a more space saving square or rectangular shape to save on packing and fridge space.
2: Use a plate or bowl
A popular method in the good old days is to use plates and bowls to seal food items. Simply cover the food with a plate or bowl as appropriate. You could also simply rest something like a cut tomato or apple on a flat surface, such as a container lid, with the cut side down.
Use a transparent cover to help you to easily identify what lies beneath - otherwise out of sight out of mind.
3: Seal with a piece of plastic and a rubber band
A rubber band together with a piece of plastic cut from a food grade bag in most cases works just as well as cling wrap to seal bottles and bowls. The rubber band acts to secure the plastic to the side of the bowl / bottle to give a good seal and the plastic can easily be washed and re-used.
This is also a great way to seal a champagne bottle as well without increasing the height of the bottle above the internal height of the camp fridge.
4: Re-use dry food wrappers
Many of the food bags and wrappers accumulated along the way can be re-used instead of resorting to cling wrap, especially if options one or two above aren’t available to you. We wouldn’t, however, suggest using or reusing bags that have contained perishable foods, such as meat, dairy products and leftover cooked food.
For example, instead of cling wrap, bags and wrappers such as for bread and ice can be used to hold sandwiches and rolls for a picnic and to fully enclose a plate or bowl of food / leftovers instead of sealing with cling wrap.
5: Beeswax wrap, silicone covers, food covers and food pouches
There are various bees wax wrappers and pouches and silicone covers on the market to help seal and protect food. These all seem very functional but they will take up some of our limited packing space and they are just one more thing to remember to pack. There are plenty of articles online under alternatives to plastic wrap out there, including DIY instructions. In some cases, a tea towel or cloth might work just as well.
6: Use your imagination
It’s often tempting to resort to an easy alternative in the name of expediency. Cling wrap hasn’t been around forever and past generations survived perfectly well without it. As we said earlier, cling wrap performs very important functions for food producers and suppliers, but there is invariably an alternative at home and around the campsite. And sometimes you might not need to do anything at all!