Easy Camping Food Ideas

The food you bring on your trip should be healthy and easy to prepare and carry. It must also last safely for days in a cooler. Some ideas for suitable Camping food:

  • roduce: Fresh cabbage, carrots, onions, and apples last longer than other types of produce. Also bring freeze-dried and dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Freeze-dried food is usually meant to be reconstituted; dehydrated food is more often meant to be eaten as is.
  • Protein: Canned or preserved meats such as sausages will fill you up at meals, and peanut butter and nuts are good snacks. Dried beans should be soaked in a sealed container of water for 24 hours before use.
  • Starches: Pita bread and bagels last longer than other types of bread. Stock up on pasta, rice, and grains such as millet, quinoa, and bulgur.
  • Dairy: Keep hard-boiled eggs in their shells until use—unshelled eggs attract bacteria. Also bring powdered milk and sturdy cheeses such as aged ched­dar, Parmesan, aged Gouda, Romano, and Asiago.
  • Canned and boxed prepared foods: Add canned or powdered soups to pasta or rice for a one-dish meal. Boxed macaroni and cheese, instant stuffing mix, and instant mashed potatoes are also good choices.
  • Flavorings: Season your meals with salt and pepper, a small variety-pack spice shaker, Tabasco® sauce, soy sauce, sugar, honey, or jam.

Camping Meal and Snack Ideas

Depending on how vigorous your activities will be on your camping trip, you may need to increase or even double the calories you normally consume in the course of a day. Plan for each person to eat about two pounds of food a day.

Camping Breakfast Ideas

  • Hot cereal such as oatmeal or cream of wheat (add dehydrated fruit, raisins, nuts, and/or brown sugar to the water before cooking)
  • Bagel with bacon, cheese, and egg
  • Instant pancakes with maple syrup

Camping Lunch Ideas

  • Sausage and cheese sandwiches on pita or bagels
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Crackers and canned soup

Camping Dinner Ideas

  • Pasta with cheese, canned meat, and dehydrated vegetables (rehydrate them in water)
  • Canned soup, ham steaks, and instant mashed potatoes
  • Pita pizzas with tomato paste, cheese, sausage, and canned olives

Camping Snack Ideas

  • Trail mix
  • Mixed nuts
  • Energy bars

Camping Food and Cooking Tips

Along with your stove, bring two pots and a frying pan. Also pack plastic bowls and silverware that’s sturdy enough to stand up to repeated use and washing.

  • Packing and storage: Pack food efficiently by removing all unnecessary packaging and putting what you can in Ziploc® bags. Cushion items that are easily crushed in cardboard containers (such as plastic peanut-butter jars), and pack liquids in plastic bottles with screw-cap lids. For convenience, package each meal as one bagged unit and label it.
  • Food protection: Suspend all your food from trees overnight to make it inaccessible to raccoons, bears, and other animals. Throw a rope over a high tree branch at least 300 feet away from your campsite. Double-bag your food to reduce odors, and tie the bag to the end of the rope. Hang the rope at least 10 feet off the ground and 6–8 feet away from the tree trunk.
  • Utensils: Pots and pans can blacken with campfire use. Keep them in a separate bag so that their soot doesn’t get on your other gear.
  • Cleanup: Washing dishes in rivers, lakes, and streams can contaminate them. Clean your dishes at least 100 feet away from the nearest body of water, and use only hot water, not soap. Sprinkle the dishwater over an open expanse of land to disperse it.
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