The Essential Camping Kitchen

Couple Eating in Camping Kitchen

There are no grocery stores in the woods, nor are you going to have the luxury of ordering a pizza and having it delivered to your campsite. That means that you are going to have to bring and cook your own food, and this is an aspect of camping that those new to the hobby can sometimes get lost with.

Couple Drinking Coffee

Most people are familiar with roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, but it’s no fun if that’s all you eat on a week-long camping trip. You’ll need some real food and this guide will help you decide what to bring.

Camping Food List

You are going to need items for camping breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as camping snacks. Here is a list of food items that you can use as an example, but of course, it will depend upon your personal preference, any religious or dietary needs that you have and your budget.

Breakfast

You can make just about any regular breakfast food at camp, as long as you think creatively. The major restriction is that you don’t have a lot of room to cook, unless your camp stove has more than one or two burners. Here are some favorites that campers tend to do well with out in the wilderness armed with only a single pot or skillet and a camp stove.

Cooking Camping Breakfast
  • Granola
  • Cereal (requires milk stored in the cooler, which can go bad quickly)
  • Pancakes (easy to make at camp, but make sure you store syrup well or it will be messy)
  • Eggs
  • Sausage or Bacon (be careful with these because of the grease)
  • Bagels
  • Oatmeal

Lunch

There are lots of things that you can make for lunch at camp. Soups and stews are great but don’t make the mistake of heating up the can and then opening it. It will explode and could cause severe burns.

Preparing Camping Stew
  • Tuna or salmon sandwiches (unfortunately, mixing mayo is a bad idea because it can go bad in the cooler)
  • Stew or soup (dry soup mixes are great because they are just add water)
  • Tinned oysters or sardines
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Beans

Dinner

The problem with dinner a lot of times when camping is that you don’t have an oven, which can make feeding a large family much easier. There are ovens that you can get for camping, but if all you are using is some pots, pans and skillets, you are more restricted for this meal. That being said, there is still plenty things you can cook on the fire or camp stove. Here are just a few ideas.

Making Camping Burgers
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs
  • Pasta (canned pasta sauce can be stored unrefrigerated until opened)
  • Hamburgers
  • Potatoes (fried or slow cooked by the fire)
  • Hot dogs (roasting them on sticks is fun)

Snacks

Just about anything you find on the dry shelves of your supermarket or dollar store can be great camping snacks. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Preparing Camping Snacks
  • Fruit (apples, oranges, pears, berries)
  • Yogurt
  • Vegetables (carrots, cucumber, tomatoes)
  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Pita bread
  • Rice cakes

Beverages

You’ll need something to drink. Here are a few things that you can store in the cooler or make from dry mix.

Pouring Camping Coffee
  • Juice
  • Hot chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soda

Condiments

Also, you’ll want to keep some condiments in the cooler or on the camp table for meals.

Tomato Ketchup in Bowl
  • Garlic
  • Ketchup
  • ​Salt and pepper
  • Butter
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • ​Spices
  • Cream Cheese

How to Make Easy Camping Meals

When you are camping, you want time to enjoy yourself as much as possible and you are dealing with restrictions due to limited cookware and difficulties cooking. That’s why you want easy camping recipes that will be fast, nutritious and not require any additional work.

Man Preparing Camp Food

One of the tricks that people use to make high-quality easy meals at camp is to get your food out of cans and boxes. While you might be used to making your own pasta sauce at home, at camp, you probably just want to pour it out of a jar and heat it up. Fresh baked bread may be a staple in your household, but for your camping trip, you may just want to visit a local bakery instead.

Where to Find Great Camping Food Ideas

There are four things that you need to remember when it comes to choosing camp food. If you keep these things in mind, you will be able to recognize good camping meal ideas when they come along.

Food in Plastic Containers

The food is in sturdy containers and will not get squashed on the trip or when loading/unloading.

  • It is nutritious
  • It is filling
  • It isn’t going to spoil (assuming you have a cooler and enough ice to last several days)

Of course, once you figure out how to choose camping food, then you need to find the best camping recipes. Although the first place people look for camping ideas is online, this is not the only place to find camp recipes. Talk to your friends who go camping and look for books on camp recipes.

Putting Food in Sturdy Container

You definitely should also use the internet as a resource, but rather than visiting the top sites, try forums where actual campers hang out and exchange recipes. You will probably end up with the instructions to make some really unique camp foods that way.

The Best Camping Meals For Large Groups

When it comes to feeding large groups, you want to look for food that is filling, cheap, simple and will last in a cooler. This means including lots of protein in your recipes and cooking things like spaghetti or pancakes – foods that will feed a large group and fill them up without costing too much and without any chance of the ingredients that are required spoiling because the cooler wasn’t cold enough.

Man Preparing Grill Food

Once in a while, you might splurge for a tastier meal, but cheap, easy meals are the standard when it comes to large groups.

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