With a bit of planning and packing, however, you can enjoy homemade coffeecake, or if you prefer, breakfast pancakes hot from the griddle. Since campers’ baking supplies are often limited, simply prepare the dry ingredients in advance at home, seal in a heavy-duty self-sealing bag, such as Ziploc, then transport to the campsite, where a few liquid ingredients can be added.

A spicy wholewheat baking mix provides a nutritious base for coffeecake with a surprise fruit topping. (Why not have the children search out some local berries, peaches or apples?) A pair of eggs, butter, honey and water turn the mix into tempting pancakes, perfect for the hearty breakfasts outdoor life seems to inspire.

Campers can also protect spices, napkins and matches from humidity by storing in leakproof self-sealing bags. Or if serving bowls are at a premium (or non-existent), improvise by lining empty, clean tins with the bags, then pulling the top back over the edges. To save leftovers, “zip” the bag closed and store in a cool place.

Hikers can make up trail snacks of fruit and nuts in self-sealing bags for quick energy. Or cut the top off a large apple, core the centre and fill with chunky peanut butter mixed with dried fruit. Replace the top and keep in bag until ready to eat.

Lighten your camping load or simplify cottage life with more tips from the makers of Ziploc bags.

For children, pack a separate bag for each child with games, crayons, writing pads, books and small toys to keep them entertained.

For quick clean-ups, fill a bag with premoistened towelettes, tissues and paper towels. Assemble a sewing kit and first-aid kit in bags for emergencies.

For small hand laundries, place items in large bag, add detergent and water and seal. Shake, then leave to soak up to several hours. Rinse and hang to dry.

Organize maps, guides and pamphlets in bag to store neatly and keep dry.

For a quick breakfast, pre- package cereal with powdered milk and sugar (optional) in a bag. When ready to eat, open bag, add water or milk and serve.

For campers who haven’t quite adapted to the outdoor lifestyle, keep small bags handy as “gloves” for dirty tasks, such as arranging charcoal for the fire or cleaning fish.

Cut down on dishwashing by using bags as “mixing bowls.” (Self-sealing bags are essential for mixing dry and liquid ingredients together.) Press out most of the air and seal the zipper. Squeeze the bag until the contents are well mixed. Open the seal part way and pour mix into pan or griddle as per directions. Slide your hand from top to bottom of bag to scrape sides well. And, for the best part yet, dispose “mixing bowl” into nearest waste bin.

Whole-Wheat Baking Mix

Campers can cook pancakes over the fire or portable stove with this mix, while cottage and trailer enthusiasts with ovens will appreciate homemade coffeecake with seasonal fruit.

Dry Mix:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsps. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

Option 1: Pancakes

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsps. oil or melted butter
  • 2 tbsps. honey
  • 2 cups water, soda water or milk

Combine beaten eggs, oil or melted butter and honey. Add to dry mix ingredients in bowl or Ziploc bag. Add water. Seal bag and mix by carefully squeezing bag with hands. (Or mix with spatula in bowl.)

Preheat griddle or skillet; brush with oil or melted butter. Open one end of zippered bag about 1 1/2 inches to form “spout;” pour batter onto hot griddle to make pancakes. Cook about one minute until bubbles appear and edges look set; turn and cook another one or two minutes.

Serve with butter and syrup, jam or fruit preserves. Makes 12 pancakes, about four inches in diameter.

Option 2: Coffeecake Topping:

  • 2 tbsps. butter
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 peaches (or 2 apples or 1/2 cup slicedĀ berrries)

Coffeecake:

  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. For topping, melt butter in eight-inch square baking pan; add brown sugar and spread mixture evenly over bottom of pan with back of spoon. Peel and slice peaches, apples or berries and arrange in pan.

Add brown sugar, water, egg, oil and vanilla to basic dry mix in bag; seal carefully. Squeeze with hands until combined.

Pour over fruit; squeeze bag to remove all batter. Spread evenly to edges of pan.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes until pick inserted comes out clean. Let stand five minutes. Loosen edges with knife and invert onto serving plate. Serve warm.

Makes nine squares, about six servings.