Camping Meal Planning Made Easy
By Bethanie Hestermann
There’s just something about cooking around a campfire. It forces you to turn off autopilot and do things a little more simply—usually with fewer tools, fewer ingredients, and significantly less counter space. Camping meals may not be fancy, but they can be a memorable part of how you experience the great outdoors.
Whether you’re new to camping and looking for some helpful tips for planning meals in the wilderness or whether you’re just getting bored of hot dogs and beans, the best way to upgrade your culinary camping experience is to do some planning before you hit the road.
Plan Ahead + Make Ahead
First things first, if you don’t already do so, make a list of all the meals you’ll be eating during your camping trip. You can create columns for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, or you can segment your list by date with a space for each meal you’ll be eating on the road that day. Next, brainstorm some ideas and start filling in the spaces. Once you have an idea for each meal, you can make a shopping list, if that’s your thing! Save your lists and keep them handy as you pack your cooler or portable fridge/freezer to make sure you don’t forget anything.
It can be helpful to do some meal prep ahead of time, too.
Here are some ways you can prep at home to make mealtime at the campsite easier:
- Make up a pasta or potato salad you can have as a side dish for one or two meals.
- Hard boil some eggs for breakfasts or snacks.
- Marinate some meat you can grill later for dinner, like steaks or pork chops.
- Combine cubed meat, veggies, and spices into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. You can empty the meal into an aluminum foil pouch later and cook it over the campfire, maybe alongside a potato.
- Cook up some chicken in a slow cooker, shred it, and store it. Heat it up later and add some barbeque sauce. Eat it as-is or bring buns and a side dish to complete the meal.
- Bake some mini quiches in a muffin tin with eggs, veggies, and cheese. Eat the mini quiches cold or warm them up for a few minutes over a stovetop or campfire.
New Recipes to Try
If you’re looking to add more variety to your camping cuisine, we’ve got you covered! Try some of these recipes to liven things up a bit:
- Campfire Nachos
- One-Pot Broccoli Alfredo Pasta
- Ham Roll Ups
- Tuscan White Bean Soup
- Pineapple Chicken Kabobs
- Camping Breakfast Burritos
- Dutch Oven Dutch Baby
- Campfire Cones
With some planning and prep, you too can branch out from burgers—although there is absolutely nothing wrong with a good campsite burger! One of the best ways to up your game in the camping meal department is to make sure you have enough space to bring along all the food you’ve prepped at home. Whether that’s investing in an extra cooler or going all-out with a portable fridge, the added space will go a long way in helping you add variety to your camping menu.