One of the top considerations when you’re planning a camping trip, is what kind of food you're going to bring. If you’re backpacking, you’ll want foods that are lightweight, filling, non-perishable and nutritious. But when you are car camping, you don’t have to worry as much about bulk and weight, and you can bring a cooler with ice to keep things cold.
Either way, the food you pack should be portable, and it shouldn’t be anything that will get squished or break easily. It’s best to choose foods that don’t require a lot of time to prepare, and you should always do your prep work (like chopping veggies) at home before you pack up. You want to spend your time enjoying your surroundings, not cooking elaborate meals.
Obviously, this list will vary based on your taste, the type of camping you’ll be doing, and how long you plan to go without access to a store. However, it should give you some great ideas to help you plan the meals for your next camping trip.
Pancakes are easy to cook with a camp stove and Shake and Pour Pancake Mix is lightweight and easy to pack. Just add the appropriate amount of water to the bottle, put the lid on and shake it up, then pour the proper amount of mix into your heated pan. You’ll have a delicious, filling breakfast in minutes and even the kids will love it. This versatile mix can also be used to make waffles to give you a little variety. Each bottle makes about 8 pancakes so you may need to bring extras if you have a large group.
Camping wouldn’t be camping without s’mores! You can create your own s’mores kit with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars. Pack all the ingredients in a small tote that you can take right to the campfire. The tote will keep things from getting squished, too. You could even include some metal skewers to roast marshmallows on.
You can’t beat protein bars and jerky for a quick, high energy snack on the go. They are perfect for camping because they’re lightweight, portable, and they won’t spoil. You can just stick them in your pocket or pack and hit the trail
Tuna salad kits are great for lunch at camp. Get the little pouches that come with mayo and eat them right out of the pouch. Or, if you want something a little heartier, make a sandwich on a bagel or bring along some tortillas and make roll-ups. Bread is easily squished if you try to pack it in the car or squeeze it in your pack so you might want to save it for when you get home.
If you haven’t tried one of the many freeze-dried camping meals that are on the market these days, you might be surprised to find that they’re actually pretty good. They can add some variety to your meals without taking up much space in your gear, and they weigh next to nothing. They’re also easy to make; just add hot water to the pouch and give them a few minutes to rehydrate.
Granola and trail mix are classic, simple foods to take on an outdoor adventure. They’re great for any camping trip because they don’t take up a lot of space or need to be kept cold. Snack on either one as is or bring along some powdered milk to turn your granola into a quick and easy breakfast. No cooking needed!
It’s easy to wrap a potato in foil and cook it right in the campfire for a hot, satisfying meal. Don’t forget to bring some salt and pepper. If there’s room in your cooler, bring some goodies for toppings. Chives and canned vegetarian chili are great potato toppers, too, and they won’t need space in your cooler.
Burgers and Corn on the Cob are classic camping foods that are super easy to prepare right over the campfire. Corn can be cooked on a stick or metal skewer, and the kids can do it themselves. And, all you need is a Wolf and Grizzly M1 Grill Kit for over the campfire to cook burgers. Don’t forget the ketchup and mustard. If you decide to bring buns, put them in a tote, so they don’t get squished.
Some foods can be tricky to cook over an open fire. We recommend bringing a Jetboil HalfGen Base Camp Cooking System and Quick 2 Cook System to make things easier. For cleanup, all you need is a Camping Dish Tub, some Camp Suds, and a clean sponge or dishcloth. Never leave food out when you’re camping. It’s just like giving our animal friends an invitation to raid your campsite. Cold foods should be frozen in advance if possible and then packed in a cooler on ice. We like Yeti coolers because they keep food cold for a long time and they’re extra sturdy. Foods that don’t need to be kept cold should be packed in a BearVault Food Container for safety if bears are in the area. Arrive Outdoors has everything you need for cooking, cleaning up, and safely storing your food at the campsite.