The simplest campground foods combine a pair of virtues. Given that most campers must rely on coolers for refrigeration, if even that much, simple camping foods should require little more than storage in a cool, dark place to remain edible.
Simple camping food should also require few or no cooking utensils to prepare, making the act of cooking as easy as the act of storage and preservation. Many pre-packaged food items offer campers these virtues, but so do a handful of more traditional food items.
Pasta offers campers a way to make simple meals requiring only a few basic utensils. Pasta and most of the things used to season it are also simple to store at the campground, as these food items do not require refrigeration.
To cook pasta, a camper needs only a pot of water and a heat source for cooking, such as a campfire, camping stove or charcoal grill. Past that, only a colander or tongs are needed to removing the pasta from the hot water. A pasta meal can then be seasoned with olive oil, oregano and/or basil, and further enhanced with such preserved foods as sun-dried tomatoes and canned tuna or ham.
Like corn on the cob and pasta, potatoes require few storage precautions to keep fresh at the campground. Potatoes also require little more than vegetable or olive oil and a roll of aluminum foil to prepare.
Campground-baked potatoes can be made simply by smearing the potato in oil, wrapping it in foil and cooking it around the periphery of a campfire, just like roasted corn on the cob. The only real difference is that potatoes require twice the cooking time of corn.
Another recipe making use of the simple virtues of the potato is hobo stew, which has appeared in the pages of "Boys' Life," the official magazine of the Boy Scouts. Sliced or diced potatoes are combined with just about any sort of canned or fresh vegetable available, such as peas, carrots, zucchini or squash.
Canned or fresh meat, such as hamburger or spam, might also be added. After adding a little cooking oil and wrapping the "stew" up in a double layer of tin foil, the food is laid out over the grill or on hot coals to cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
Roasted Corn on the Cob
A classic, campground food source that is both easy to store and prepare is roasted corn on the cob. Corn is an especially tasty option during the late summer and early autumn, when fresh, local corn is available on roadside stands and farmer's markets in many parts of the United States.
Excepting perhaps a pair of tongs for grasping the hot corn cob, cooking corn requires no other utensils. However, the corn must be still inside its husk. Lay the corn in the husk either around the periphery of a campfire or on the lit campground charcoal grill. Let the corn cook for 20 to 30 minutes, turning it two to four times during that time.
Peel the husk off, season with butter and/or salt, and eat. Handle the corn with care, however, since this cooking method essentially steams the corn inside the husk, so the interior of the husk will be very hot.