What Food to Take Camping

What Food to Take CampingWhat's the sense of camping without good eating? Sure, no one wants to do dishes, but turn each meal into a shared adventure, and campers will eat well with chores quickly completed. Camping food does not have to be different from what is eaten at home at a barbecue. In place of the grill, there's a campfire. There's something special, though, about eating food cooked over a campfire. So here are some thoughts on what to take when you camp.


Difficulty: Easy

The camping larder

Things You’ll Need:
What Food to Take Camping
  • Because camping meals vary, the list here is for the containers and some suggested gear to dedicate to camping:
  • 2 medium Rubbermaid-style totes about 6 to 8 inches deep.
  • Deep tote
  • Ice chest
  • Tablet and pen or pencil for emergencies and notes
  • First aid kit
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener ("church key")
Step 1
Place in a shallow tote all the non-perishable staples used on camping trips: salt, pepper, sugar, coffee, baking powder, garlic powder and other basic spices. Leave room for the cooking support grocery items you'd purchase right before the camping trip: onions, garlic, cooking oil, flour and similar foods not requiring refrigeration, such as marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. With a magic marker, label this tote "Staples." This way it's always ready to go when you need it.
Step 2
Fill a second tote with the cooking gear: pots, pans, silverware, pot holders, tools for the fire. Your first aid kit can be placed in here. Essentially, this is everything you need to cook and cannot eat. Label this tote "Kitchen Gear."
Step 3
Plan your meals, but don't forget travel snacks and campfire snacks.
Step 4
Freeze half the juice and bottled water to stay cold and keep the ice chest cold. (Don't freeze carbonated beverages.) Other easy-to-cook foods to transport frozen include fish, steaks, hamburger, and chicken. As the food defrosts in the ice chest, it keeps everything else cold.

Camping meals

Step 1
You could stock up on prepared foods, but the nutritional values are low. If you plan ahead, cooking with good ingredients is easy at the campsite.
For breakfast, eggs, bacon and pancakes are the kings. Make the pancake batter at home and bring it in the ice chest. Other breakfast foods good to have: orange and other 100% juices, coffee, cocoa, milk and fruit. Toast is possible if you wrap the bread in foil, but biscuits made by the fire are better. In order to cut down on dirty pans, cook the bacon first, then the eggs, followed by pancakes in the same pan. The bacon grease then does triple duty.
Step 2
Lunch is best left a quick and easy meal. Sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, meals that can be prepared over an open fire or no fire at all work really well. Lay out the condiments (remember mustard, ketchup, pickles, relish and other toppings) and serve buffet-style with chips and salad. Homemade cookies serve as dessert or a travel snack.
Step 3
For dinner on the first night, you may not have the energy to make a big dinner; but on the second night, count on the day's activities in the fresh air to make people hungry. An easy dinner can be hamburgers, chicken breasts over the fire, grilling beans (or baked beans) and a salad. A special dessert is usually a fun addition. Assign everyone part of the meal preparation or cleanup. On other nights, use the most perishable meats first as they defrost. Ensure the ice chest keeps cold.
Step 4
Have travel snacks accessible. Fruits, pretzels, tortilla chips, candy or cookies are nice. Also, stay hydrated with water or 100% juices. Drinking only soda can add to dehydration. A separate bag of snacks for going and returning helps keep things organized and can keep you from eating too much.

Tips & Warnings

A list is helpful. Foods that can be prepped or pre-cooked at home before the trip, permitting quick and healthy meals over the campfire.
A list is helpful.
Foods that can be prepped or pre-cooked at home before the trip, permitting quick and healthy meals over the campfire.

Article Written By Eric Jay Toll

Eric Jay Toll has been writing since 1970, influenced by his active lifestyle. An outdoorsman, businessman, planner and travel writer, Toll's work appears in travel guides for the Navajo Nation, "TIME" and "Planning" magazines and on various websites. He studied broadcast marketing and management at Southern Illinois University.

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