Camping Food Ideas

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Photo courtesy of Trailtopia

Photo courtesy of Trailtopia

Any veteran camper will agree that the food can make or break a camping trip! Peanut butter and jelly is convenient and cheap, but it sure can get boring after a few days. How about spicing things up with veggie burritos or homemade goji berry granola bars? OK, so maybe you’ll sub raisins for goji berries. Furthermore, space and storage can be a challenge. Think of lack of refrigeration as an obstacle that will spark up your culinary creativity. Stepping outside the box with some pre-planning and our tips below will go a long way on a camping trip!

Equipment – If you’ll be backpacking, all you’ll need is a portable backpacking stove, fuel, a few utensils and two pots with lids. Most people are car campers, however. What’s car camping? It’s the style of camping where you park your car right next to or close to your tent set up! That being said, it’s a whole lot easier to set up a “camping kitchen.” Here are the basic pieces of kitchen equipment for car camping…

Camping Kitchen Equipment

  • Stove and fuel
  • Charcoal and lighter fuel (if grilling)
  • Firewood and kindling (if allowed)
  • Matches/lighter
  • Cooking pots and pans with lids for simmering
  • Extra water (to keep at your site)
  • Utensil set (including spoons, knives, forks, and cooking utensils such as serving spoons, knives, and spatulas)
  • Can opener
  • Mess kits 
  • Cooler and ice
  • Biodegradable dish detergent
  • Dish towels
  • Sponge/scraper
  • Plastic basin (for washing dishes)
  • Paper towels
  • Tablecloth
  • Trash bags
  • Foil
  • Hot pads
  • Ziploc bags
  • Citronella candle

Food for Camping – Camping food is quite personal. Some people are perfectly content with ramen noodles and power bars for days on end. For others, that enough to deter a future camping trip! Most will agree that tasty, nourishing meals are part of the fun of camping. It’s so rewarding to sit around the fire with your friends and family enjoying a nice meal that was prepared together as a group. First, we’ll give you some meal ideas. Then, we’ll list out some ‘basic food items’ to bring. Let the hunger begin…

Back Packing Meal Ideas

Car Camping Meal Ideas

  • Burritos (tortillas, cheese, onions, peppers, pre-cooked chicken, salsa, sour cream avocado)
  • Chili (make ahead of time and heat on stove)
  • Sesame Noodles with veggies (make ahead of time and eat cold for lunch)
  • Three Bean Salad (make ahead of time and eat cold for lunch)
  • Shish-kibobs with Veggies and Meat (marinate both together in zip lock baggies ahead of time)
  • Egg, cheese and veggie scramble (use leftover peppers and onions from burritos)
  • Spicy Breakfast potatoes (seasonings go a LONG way with camping food!)
  • Chili Dogs (use leftover chili with hot dogs)
  • Pasta with pesto (pre-make pesto and throw in some olives and sun-dried tomatoes)

Car Camping Food Checklist

  • Tea, coffee, hot chocolate
  • Cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat, granola)
  • Fruit (fresh and dried)
  • Nuts (for snacking and for adding to meals)
  • Sunflower seeds (for snacking and for adding to meals)
  • Breads (naan, pita, or crackers – regular bread easily gets crushed)
  • Soups (ramen, bouillon cubes, homemade soup)
  • Lentils and dried beans (easy to cook)
  • Pasta
  • Veggies (carrot, celery, potato, peppers, squash, etc.)
  • Peanut or almond butter
  • Flavoring agents (dried spices, soy sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, etc.)
  • Meat (precooked is best or dried or canned)
  • Chocolate, marshmallows, gram crackers (for s’mores, of course!)
  • Potatoes – Almost any meal can be made with a baked sweet or regular potato! Or chop and fry up potatoes with eggs, onion and peppers. It’s versatile and won’t get squashed.
  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, salsa)
  • Munchies (tortilla chips, pretzels, etc. – everyone loves a good snack!)
  • Eggs
  • Cooking oil
  • Bacon
  • Canned foods (baked beans, chili, beef stew, ravioli, corned beef hash)
  • Snack foods (granola bars, raisins, cookies, fresh fruit, pop tarts)

Share with us your camping food ideas below!


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