Food to Take Camping

Camping Food Ideas
  and Easy Camping Recipes

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Food to Take Camping

Choose the right food to take camping and you will have all the ingredients for some easy camping recipes. Some camping food ideas are pre-made and freeze dried.

Where you will camp, and your camping style, can determine what food to take on a camping trip. 

If you will be at a remote campground, you will want to bring what you need for all of your meals; if you will be near a town, you may want to bring basic supplies and shop for fresh food every couple of days. Plan ahead with these easy camping recipes.

If you are a backpacker, and need to carry your camping kitchen, you will plan different types of easy camping recipes that use lightweight dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.

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Food To Take Camping Overview

Think about how you'll be cooking on your camping trip and how many cooking utensils you want to pack. Some ideas are to:

Plan "one pot" meals

Plan meals that can be made in foil packets and roasted on a grill or campfire

Plan some "no cook" meals like sandwiches

Save space and weight by packing foods without their "water weight." Some examples include: dried beans, lentils, rice, dried potatoes and pasta (thin pasta cooks faster than thicker types). Pack dry milk powder instead of gallons of milk (add water at the campground as you need the milk...this also avoids spoilage.) Dried fruit for snacking or adding to cereal for breakfast is also a great way to save packing weight and avoid wasting fruit that "goes bad."

Prepackaged macaroni and cheese, instant soups, Ramen noodles, dried veggies and bullion are all great meal starters or additions to other ingredients. In many cases, just add water, heat, and lunch is ready.

Freeze dried meals can be somewhat costly however can be a great time saver as well as saving on the weight of individual ingredients. Think about adding some to your food to take camping list.

If you include fresh meats for some of your meals, be sure to use them early in your camping trip. Even in a cooler, they will not keep for long. Hamburger added to some of the items mentioned above can make a great dinner. Our kids always wanted to roast hot dogs over the campfire so we included those for at least one meal. A few cans of tuna, chicken or Spam added to your camping list will be welcome additions for meals or sandwiches.

Food to Take Camping for Quick and Easy Breakfasts:

  • Bags of "just add water" pancake mix
  • Cereals including granola, instant oatmeal packets and muesli
  • Eggs: these are easy to store in a camper egg carrier.
  • Sausage, ham or other breakfast meats: be sure to use them early in the trip so they don't spoil in the cooler. Alternately, if you have easy access to a grocery store, buy as needed.
  • Dried potatoes like hash browns are a great breakfast item.

Be sure to find out if your camp site has a convenient, and safe, water source. If not, be prepared to transport water in water containers made for campers.

Food to Take Camping for Quick and Easy Lunches:

You don't want to spend all of your time cooking and cleaning up. Meals should be easy to prepare so you can enjoy the outdoor activities and relaxation a camping vacation offers. Put some thought into the foods for your camping list that offer taste and nutrition without time consuming preparation. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Bread for sandwiches: while "regular" bread is bulky and easily "squashed" there are some great substitutes. We love pita bread and sandwich thins. You may also like other types of flatbreads that are more like crackers including Wasa bread, etc.
  • Sandwich fillings: hard cheeses keep well with minimal refrigeration; tuna can be purchased in pouches that make for light packing; peanut butter and jelly, as well as honey, can also be purchased in squeeze tubes.
  • Soup cups: just add boiling water, wait a few minutes and lunch is ready.
  • A grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of soup are always a winning combo for us!
  • Healthy snack items: nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit and trail mix are all great additions to a camping lunch.

Food to Take Camping for Quick and Easy Dinners:

Dinner is a great time to use the fresh meats and vegetables you decided were worth the effort to include on your camping list. If your camping kitchen includes a large soup pot or Dutch oven you can create some great one pot meals like chili, beef stew or chicken and noodles. Dinner is also a time to create those wonderful foil-packet meals. Here are some ingredients you want to be sure to have with you:

  • Meats: hamburger, stew meat and cut up chicken. You can also substitute freeze dried versions (though they are fairly expensive) and even meat substitutes like textured vegetable protein.
  • Fresh fish: If fishing is part of your camping excursion, there is nothing tastier that fish fried over a campfire or a foil wrapped "shore lunch."
  • Potatoes: Though heavy to pack, you may find it worthwhile to be able to add fresh potatoes to your stew or to create stuffed baked potatoes in foil...a complete meal in themselves. dried potatoes are a good substitute in some cases though not for a whole baked potato!
  • Onions, garlic, and other "seasoning vegetables" that you like. Fresh or dried.
  • Beans, rice and pasta: As the basis for other "all in one kettle" meals.
  • Seasonings for all of your meals: soy sauce, hot sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, dried onion, etc.

No list of food to take camping is complete without including your favorite items for snacking around the campfire, taking out on the lake while you are fishing or stowing in your jacket pocket when setting off for a hike. Just to get you started, here is what we love to include:

  • Chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers for S'mores
  • Chex Mix: you can make your own
  • Popcorn to pop over the campfire or on your camp stove
  • Trail mix, nuts, seeds, raisins and other dried fruits
  • Candy
  • Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and dry juice mixes are easy to pack and will be welcome additions to all snack and meal times.

Food to Take Camping Related Pages:

Camping List

Camping Equipment Checklist

Camping Kitchen

Easy Camping Recipes

Minnesota State Parks 

Minnesota State Parks Reviews 

Campgrounds in Minnesota 

Minnesota Campgrounds 

Minnesota RV Campgrounds

Minnesota Campground Directory

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