You can't have a camping trip without spending the night out in nature under the stars. And if you're spending the night somewhere, you know you're going to have to eat something sooner or later. Whether you're backpacking a weekend away, or just spending an evening at your local state park, these favorite camping foods are sure to make your next camping trip a delicious outdoor endeavor!
Easy Camping Meals
For many people, the whole point of camping is to enjoy some outdoor relaxation. Unfortunately, complicated camping dinners, lunches, and breakfasts can compromise this noble pursuit. Here are some easy camping food ideas to keep things simple:
1. Hot Dogs: Hot dogs are hands down one of the most popular and easy camping meals available. Whether you cook them over an open fire or use a camp stove, they're sure to hit the spot. What's more, there's a vast variety of dogs to choose from, including vegan and vegetarian options. All you have to do is roast that wienie, load it up with your favorite toppings, and you're good to go. Where side dishes come into play, look no further than a bag of potato chips, or ready-to-go coleslaws and potato salads.
2. Chili: Whether you eat it on its lonesome or pour it all over your hot dog, chili is the champion of easy dinner ideas. While you might be tempted to gather all the ingredients and cook it from scratch in cast iron Dutch oven, just remember you can get great canned offerings and avoid all that difficult camp cooking. Want to really blow some minds? Peel off that chili's label and let it cook in the can itself! What kind of sorcery is this!?
3. Sandwiches: From fully stacked grinders, to simple baloney and cheese, sandwiches are a low effort endeavor that don't even require a camping stove. Of all the easy camping recipes out there, sandwiches easily take the cake. What's more, you can make them in person or beforehand, depending on exactly how mellow you plan to get outdoors.
A lot of morning meals can be easily tackled outdoors in nothing but a cast iron skillet and a loin cloth. Here are a few breakfast ideas that are always a hit:
4. Granola: Don't have the time or patience to cook all the individual items that go into a good breakfast sandwich? Whether you like it with milk, yogurt, or -- Forest Spirit forbid -- dry, granola is a lifesaver when you just want to fill up and move on with your day.
5. Pancakes: Although we wouldn't dissuade you from getting into some more complicated breakfast dishes like French toast or cinnamon rolls, pancakes are a great choice because they're super simple. Most pancake mix only requires water, meaning all you have to do is mix it, pour it, and flip it. Poof! Before you know it, you've got hot flapjacks fresh off the grid!
Mexican Camping Meals
Nothing is more American than Mexican food, and the only thing more American than that is doubling down on Mexican cuisine outdoors. Submitted for the approval of our dedicated readership, we present the following options:
6. Regular & Breakfast Burritos: Burritos are amazing because you can stuff them full of pretty much anything you please. If you'd rather take it easy, you can just cook some eggs, sprinkle them with your favorite hot sauce, and wrap them up in a tortilla. If you wanna go crazy instead of lazy, we won't stop you.
7. Campfire nachos: Simply stated, nachos are a pile of tortilla chips with melty cheddar cheese on top. Of course, just like burritos, you can really dress them up if you want. From canned black beans to pre-chopped cilantro, the sky's the limit when it comes to making nachos outdoor. Warming them up is a whole other issue, and there are a lot of tried and true methods to be found out there, so we'll let you discover whatever you feel most comfortable with. If nothing else, you could always blow torch 'em.
8. Carne Asada Tacos: Why not chicken or pork, you may ask? Why play around with meat that might go bad, we respond. Asada tacos are a great choice given their low-risk BBQ profile. You can either purchase pre-marinated flank steak cuts from your local carniceria, do it yourself beforehand, or season to flavor while grilling. Don't forget the cilantro and onions!
Camping Meals in Foil Packets
Tin foil is one of the top ways to cook a range of camping foods. Since you're already going off the grid (so to speak), it also makes a great hat! On a more serious note, here are some aluminum-plated winners:
9. Hobo Stew: Although it isn't quite as wet as your typical pot, hobo stew is an easy, greasy way to enjoy some rustic comfort food. All you need to do is throw your usual stew ingredients (ground beef, sweet potato, onion, etc.) into a aluminum foil envelope, season them thoroughly, and let them sit near some hot coals. Of course, as simple as this sounds, you want to be sure you're cooking your packet at the appropriate temperature for the right amount of time. For the best results, make sure to pack a cooking thermometer and to triple wrap your ingredients.
10. Kabobs: Meat and veggie skewers are an excellent choice if you're looking for time-tested meal ideas. Just like hobo stew, the world's your oyster when it comes to selecting ingredients to spear. More importantly, you can make them in advance and let them soak in your favorite marinades until its time to cook 'em. While you can cook kabobs in foil packs, grilling them and/or roasting them on a spit are also good calls.
Kid-Friendly Family Camping Food
Kids are simultaneously some of the most finicky and easy to please campers to feed. Instead of spending hours perfecting camping recipes to please the little angels/devils, consider these simple meals they're sure to love (or at least eat):
11. PB&J: Why not, right? If not for dinner, you can definitely consider peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for camping lunches and breakfasts. You can prepare them in advance, they hold really well, and there is little-to-no cleanup.
12. Quesadillas: While these cheesy treats could easily make the list of Mexican camping foods above, we owe it to the kids to highlight something special here. All you need is tortillas, cheese, and a flat cooking surface and you're good to go.
Earth made dessert, so dessert don't hurt, right? While everyone loves marshmallows, we wouldn't really be telling you anything you didn't already know if we suggested s'mores. Ditto on cobbler. Instead of those boiler plate options, consider this baddie from Fresh Off the Grid:
13. Banana Boats: First of all DO NOT peel the banana in question. Instead, cut out an inch wide wedge down its length and remove the slice you've created. Now you should have a edible yellow canoe. Load it up with something sweet and melty like fudge or butterscotch, and then put on whatever ingredients you desire: shredded coconut, chopped nuts, berries, sprinkles, cereal, marshmallows... the list goes ever on, friend! Next, wrap your boat in tin foil and let it warm till it's as ooey-gooey as you demand. Finally, show that banana where it sits on the food chain in relation to you.
What's your favorite easy camping meal to make? Help others get their fast fill on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!