I went car camping for the first time with my family this past weekend and had a great time. I am a camping noob but knew enough to keep the food in the car overnight. While we were sitting at the campfire making s'mores later in the evening, a raccoon hopped on the picnic table 10 feet away and starting helping himself to the marshmallows until I scared him away. Brave little critters.
I am planning on doing some bike touring between state parks in Texas. I am not going to bring cooking equipment, but had planned to perhaps to bring breakfast bars and would have leftover snacks like fig newtons and dried cranberries, etc. from the day's riding when I make camp.
I have read not to take food in the tent, so my question is, what do I do with the food? Should I bring a rope to throw over a tree and suspend the food in a pannier? Should I hang the whole pannier, or bring a smaller sack to suspend what little food I will have? Any options besides hanging? (This is in SE Texas -- no bears, but plenty of raccoons/squirrels). The parks I plan to visit do not have food storage boxes.
Any food animals will not go after, like carrot sticks or something?
Is a plastic water bottle with sports drink safe, or do I need to dump any excess and rinse it out good each evening? (I assume a critter might go after it for the sweetness.)
I really don't want a pannier or water bottle chewed up by critters, or critters waking me in the night because I have a pannier with food under the vestibule of my tent.
TIA for the advice.