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Everything You Need To Know About Altitude And Traveling With Food


When traveling on a budget one of the most cost effective practices you can employ is packing for not only your camping and adventures but also bringing food along the way. Food and gas typically are the majority of any budget when travel and curving that cost through pre-packing can be one of the best ways to stretch your dollar.

One thing most forget to consider however is altitude. So you might be asking yourself: how this impacts your travels and why it even is a consideration?

I found this to be quite the consideration when traveling though various states where altitude changes can quickly occur, specifically Colorado and Arizona. I found that coming from a low altitude state like Texas that my items such as chips and prepackaged foods with small amounts of air in them would expand to near capacity and in many cases would erupt with a loud pop while driving. It was not until this had happened a couple times that I actually figured out what the disturbing sound actually was instead of thinking I had hit something in the road without seeing it.

But why does this happen?

Packages are sealed at air pressure of the factory for which they are manufactured. Once you increase that altitude it creates a pressure within the bag of that of the new location and stresses the bag or seal as forces push on both the inside and outside of the packaging. At a certain point this pressure becomes to harsh on the packaging and creates a threshold of popping.


For this reason you might want to reconsider taking items such as yogurts, fruit cups or chips along for the ride when climbing vastly in altitude. Instead picking up these items along the way upon arrival to your new location can be key in keeping your food instead of it going to waste without you being aware.

Another tip for traveling with food should you decide to forego purchasing along the way is to keep all food items stored in a storage box located in your trunk. If you do this it will limit the fall out of a mess should one of your items pop and also save you from the scare of a sound which sometimes can resemble a shot gun pop as an item reaches its threshold.

Does altitude effect anything else when it comes to my food?

Yes! You might notice on some items differing cooking times for lower and higher altitude locations. Moisture evaporates differently when you are in different atmospheric pressure and thus changes how you prepare items.

When I travel with my small camp stove I have noticed that in certain locations when I attempt to do something as simple as boiling water it can be a more lengthy endeavor than in other locations. Anything over 3000 feet is considered to be high pressure conditions by most cooking standards and thus requires in most cases additional cooking time.

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