There are no grocery stores in the woods, nor are you going to have the luxury of ordering a pizza and having it delivered to your campsite.
That means that you are going to have to bring and cook your own food, in your own camping kitchen, and this is an aspect of camping that those new to the hobby can sometimes get lost with.
Most people are familiar with roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, but it’s no fun if that’s all you eat on a week-long camping trip. You’ll need some real food and this guide will help you decide what to bring.
The Importance Of Eating Well While Camping
Before we get into our recipes, we will first cover the reasons why it is important to bring good food and to eat well while you camp.
Depending on the length of your journey, you may find yourself out in the wilderness for an extended time frame, and over this period, you will very likely be doing a lot demanding physical exercise.
Camping isn’t exactly easy if you decide to take hikes and maybe even swims, so you will need a good way to replenish your energy.
Going a long time without eating nutritious and tasty food can have physical drawbacks as well as psychological drawbacks, you will get tired, aggravated and a whole host of other unpleasant things if you neglect to eat properly for the duration of your camping trip.
In our camping food list, we will attempt to cover some of the best camping food that you can find to bring with you and cook in your own camping kitchen.
But there are a few aspects of the food that you are cooking that you should consider before bringing it along.
Camping Food List
You are going to need items for camping breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as camping snacks.
Here is a list of food items that you can use as an example, but of course, it will depend upon your personal preference, any religious or dietary needs that you have and your budget.
You can make just about any regular breakfast food at camp, as long as you think creatively. The major restriction is that you don’t have a lot of room to cook unless your camp stove has more than one or two burners.
Here are some favorites that campers tend to do well without in the wilderness armed with only a single pot or skillet and a camp stove.
- Cereal (requires milk stored in the cooler, which can go bad quickly)
- Pancakes (easy to make at camp, but make sure you store syrup well or it will be messy)
- Sausage or Bacon (be careful with these because of the grease)
There are lots of things that you can make for lunch at the camp. Soups and stews are great but don’t make the mistake of heating up the can and then opening it. It will explode and could cause severe burns.
- Tuna or salmon sandwiches (unfortunately, mixing mayo is a bad idea because it can go bad in the cooler)
- Stew or soup (dry soup mixes are great because they just add water)
- Tinned oysters or sardines
- Peanut butter and jelly
The problem with dinner a lot of times when camping is that you don’t have an oven, which can make feeding a large family much easier.
There are ovens that you can get for camping, but if all you are using is some pots, pans, and skillets, you are more restricted for this meal.
That being said, there are still plenty of things you can cook on the fire or camp stove. Here are just a few ideas.
- Spaghetti & Meatballs
- Pasta (canned pasta sauce can be stored unrefrigerated until opened)
- Potatoes (fried or slow-cooked by the fire)
- Hot dogs (roasting them on sticks is fun)
Just about anything you find on the dry shelves of your supermarket or dollar store can be great camping snacks.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Fruit (apples, oranges, pears, berries)
- Vegetables (carrots, cucumber, tomatoes)
- Pita bread
- Rice cakes
You’ll need something to drink. Here are a few things that you can store in the cooler or make from the dry mix.
- Hot chocolate
Also, you’ll want to keep some condiments in the cooler or on the camp table for meals.
- Salt and pepper
- Cream Cheese
How To Make Easy Camping Meals
When you are camping, you want time to enjoy yourself as much as possible and you are dealing with restrictions due to limited cookware and difficulties cooking.
That’s why you want easy camping recipes that will be fast, nutritious and not require any additional work.
One of the tricks that people use to make high-quality easy meals at camp is to get your food out of cans and boxes.
While you might be used to making your own pasta sauce at home, at camp, you probably just want to pour it out of a jar and heat it up.
Freshly baked bread may be a staple in your household, but for your camping trip, you may just want to visit a local bakery instead.
Where To Find Great Camping Food Ideas
There are four things that you need to remember when it comes to choosing camp food. If you keep these things in mind, you will be able to recognize good camping meal ideas when they come along.
The food is in sturdy containers and will not get squashed on the trip or when loading/unloading.
- It is nutritious
- It is filling
- It isn’t going to spoil (assuming you have a cooler and enough ice to last several days)
Of course, once you figure out how to choose camping food, then you need to find the best camping recipes.
Although the first place people look for camping ideas is online, this is not the only place to find camp recipes. Talk to your friends who go camping and look for books on camp recipes.
You definitely should also use the internet as a resource, but rather than visiting the top sites, try forums where actual campers hang out and exchange recipes.
You will probably end up with the instructions to make some really unique camp foods that way.
The Best Camping Meals For Large Groups
When it comes to feeding large groups, you want to look for food that is filling, cheap, simple and will last in a cooler.
This means including lots of protein in your recipes and cooking things like spaghetti or pancakes – foods that will feed a large group and fill them up without costing too much and without any chance of the ingredients that are required spoiling because the cooler wasn’t cold enough.
Once in a while, you might splurge for a tastier meal, but cheap, easy meals are the standard when it comes to large groups.
3 Camping Food Recipes
We will now move on to the main attraction in our camping food list, where we will name the three best recipes for camping.
Known as s’mores because everyone always wants some more. This is one of the most famous camping recipes in the world, if not the most famous.
It is also incredibly simple and does not require the use of a camping stove, allowing you to travel light. All you will need to make some s’mores is marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate.
S’mores are remarkably easy to make, all that you must do is place a piece of chocolate on top of one of your graham crackers and set it aside, so it will be ready with another graham cracker (containing another piece of chocolate if you wish).
Once the crackers are set aside, you will have to melt a marshmallow over the open flame of your campfire, taking care to get it gooey but not burnt.
Once your marshmallow is adequately heated, you must place it between the chocolate covered graham crackers and make a sort of sandwich.
This recipe is one of the oldest when it comes to the best camping food. It can also be suitable for vegans and vegetarians providing gelatin-free marshmallows are used.
This is another campfire classic. If you are looking for a delicious and savory alternative to smores, you will find that Frankfurters are a great choice.
Bring a package with you on your next camping trip along with some buns, ketchup and mustard packets, and you should be prepared to make your frankfurters over your open flame.
We also recommend bringing kebabs or something with which you may hold the frankfurters over the open flame without burning yourself.
If you do not have access to kebabs, you may always find a suitable stick to poke through your frankfurter, but you will have to ensure that the stick is clean before you use it for your food.
3. Campfire Grilled Cheese
Another excellent choice you can make when it comes to the best camping food recipes is to make campfire grilled cheese. In this case, all you will need is bread, cheese, possibly ham, and aluminum foil.
Simply assemble your grilled cheese as you would usually, including whatever additional ingredients you enjoy in your grilled cheese sandwiches, this can be bacon, chicken or anything else.
Once the sandwich is assembled, wrap it in aluminum foil and hold it out over your campfire. While you may also make your grilled cheese on your camping stove, this method works for those who have not brought a camping stove along with them.
It is also more unique than the typical manner of making grilled cheese on a stove, which is possible at home.
We hope that our camping food recipes have helped you decide on what to bring along to eat on your next camping trip.
Contrary to popular belief, there are many delicious camping food recipes that you can enjoy while camping, in your own camping kitchen.
Just because you’re going camping doesn’t change the fact that you can still bring, good, delicious food along with you.
In fact, sitting around the campfire, eating and telling tales is one of the oldest camping traditions.