Whether you're going solo or taking the entire family, camping is one of the most fun things to do when the weather is nice. Camping is meant to relieve stress and be a relaxing experience, so coming up with stressful lists of foods and items you need to bring with you can take away from the relaxing vibe.
But don't worry because I'm here here to help. I love being outdoors and camping, so I know from experience what foods are the most convenient to bring and prepare outdoors.
Keep It Simple
One of the most important things to remember when camping is to keep it simple. You're not going to have all of the amenities that your everyday kitchen has, so you'll need to adjust your food ingredient list accordingly.
When planning your meals and snacks for camping, think quick and easy. You'll be cooking most of your meals either over an open fire or on a grill, so be sure to remember to bring plenty of aluminum foil and any cookware you will need.
Another big thing to consider is that you won't be able to keep foods frozen and cold foods will need a constant supply of ice to stay fresh. You should only bring the essential perishables to keep from packing multiple coolers full of ice.
You'll also want to bring snacks and foods that you can eat on the go. Let's face it. Camping is relaxing, but you'll be partaking in other activities where you'll need to bring your snacks on the go.
Speaking of taking food on the go, you should also consider that you won't have access to running water, so you'll want to dirty as few dishes as possible. You can eat snacks straight from the packaging or use disposable utensils and plates.
You can even cook your entire meals in a pouch of aluminum foil. These meals, usually called "hobo sacks," are incredibly easy to prepare and consist of your choice of meat and veggies. All you need to do is place them in the fire to cook, and you can even use the foil to eat off of so that you save yourself from doing some dishes.
Make a List
There's nothing worse than getting to the campsite and realizing that you've forgotten the main ingredient for the meal you planned to prepare that evening. That's why we suggest you make a list of all of the foods and ingredients you plan to bring and cross items off of that list as you pack them.
Below is our example of a comprehensive list of what foods you should bring camping.
Camping Food List
Meats and Protein
- Canned meats and tuna
- Hot dogs or brats
- Grilling meat of your choice, like chicken breast, steak, etc.
- Mixed nuts
- Trail mix
- Peanut butter
- Graham crackers
- Macaroni and cheese
Bread and Grains
- Loaf of bread
- Hamburger and hot dog buns
- Tortilla wraps
Fruits and Vegetables
- Green beans
- Corn on the cob
- Sliced cheese
- Shredded cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Sugar and brown sugar
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Seasoning salt
- Mixed seasonings
- Cooking oil
- Baking soda
- Jams and jellies
- Salad dressing
- Coffee grounds
- Powdered drink mixes
- Aluminum foil
- Silverware and plates
- Clothespins or chip clips
- Extra sandwich bags
- Garbage bags
Camping Menu Suggestions
Now that we've covered what you should keep in mind while packing food for your camping trip and what foods will be good to bring with you, we'll go over some of our favorite camping meals and snack ideas.
Whether you buy it from the store or mix it yourself, trail mix is the perfect way to get in the protein, carbs, and fats you need for staying active outdoors.
You can include a variety of nuts, dried fruits, seeds, and even candies to help liven up your snack time.
Wraps are the perfect camping food. They're mobile, quick to prepare, filling, and healthy.
For a simple wrap, you can add cream cheese, your favorite lunch meat, and veggies. You can keep these wraps in the cooler and eat them cold.
If you're looking for something more filling, you can fill a wrap with rice, grilled meat, cheese, and veggies. You can eat this cold if you prefer, or you can wrap it in tin foil and heat it in the fire.
You can even make dessert wraps! For example, you can use Nutella or peanut butter, add a banana or some marshmallow fluff, and you'll have a delicious treat.
Sandwiches are highly underrated in today's world. You can never go wrong with a good sandwich while camping.
Packing them along is super easy to do as well. All you need is a loaf of bread, meat, and toppings. You save cooler space while also having a quick and filling meal.
They're perfect for everyone, even the pickiest eaters because you get to make them however you choose.
While the name sounds slightly off-putting, hobo sacks are anything but. These delicious, easy-to-prepare meals consist of your choice of meat and veggies like potatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers, and onions.
This meal is nifty because you don't dirty any cookware while preparing it. Simply put the meat and veggies in tin foil, cover them with cooking oil and seasonings, and put them in the fire to cook.
If you want to save even more time, you can prepare your hobo sacks beforehand and keep them in your cooler until you're ready to cook them.
There's nothing better than waking up in nature and preparing a nice, healthy meal to start your day. This is surprisingly easy to do on the campsite.
If you don't have a griddle, we suggest getting one. It's a lifesaver. You can cook breakfast for yourself and your family just like you would on the stovetop at home.
You can easily make eggs, bacon, sausage, and even pancakes.
If hot breakfast isn't your thing, you can pack cereal in Tupperware containers and add milk whenever you're ready to eat; this way, you save time and space by not packing entire boxes of cereal.
S'mores are a necessity for any camping trip, especially when kids are involved.
When we think of s'mores, we think of the standard graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate combination.
While we usually wouldn't recommend tampering with perfection, there are some unique and exciting ways to spice up your s'more game that many people don't consider.
For example, you can use any candy bar of your choice instead of a regular milk chocolate candy bar. Next time, try throwing a peanut butter cup on there instead. You can thank us later.
They even make different flavors of marshmallows that can make s'mores more interesting. And who said you have to use a graham cracker? Use some chocolate chip cookies instead!
Bring Your Leftovers
Have you ever heard that rice and noodles are better the next day? Also, have you heard that everything tastes better when you're camping? What could possibly be better than a combination of the two?
Instead of cooking rice or pasta at the campsite, which can be a tedious and stressful task, you should bring your leftover rice and pasta with you, especially if it's plain. Then, you can add any seasonings or sauces to it to make the perfect addition to various meals.
Don’t Rely on Bottled Water
Bottled water is incredibly convenient, we know. But single-use bottled water is wasteful and bad for the environment.
You should bring large containers of purified water with you instead. You can purchase drinking water in gallons, which is also much more convenient for cooking. The gallons can even be reused to help clean dishes or wash hands.
Coffee and Tea
Starting the day with a sip of caffeine is essential for many people, so we have a few useful tips in that category as well.
If you enjoy coffee, we recommend finding a brand of instant coffee that you like. This way, you don't have to worry about finding a way to brew your coffee outdoors.
If cold coffee is more your thing, keep a jar or bottle of pre-made coffee or coffee concentrate in your cooler so that you can drink it whenever you want.
And if you're more of a tea person, we recommend steeping your tea before your camping trip and adding it to jars to keep in the cooler. From there, you can heat it at the fire or simply drink it cold.
Going out into the wilderness doesn't have to mean relying on nature for everything. Use this guide to help prepare your meals for your next camping trip so that you can focus on your relaxing getaway instead of what you brought to eat..