As camping season approaches, outdoor enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the chance to escape into the wilderness and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. While the allure of camping lies in disconnecting from the daily grind, enjoying delicious and satisfying meals can significantly enhance the experience. Whether you’re a backpacking minimalist or car camping with a fully-equipped kitchen, here’s a guide to the best foods to bring camping, including some mouthwatering recipes to elevate your culinary adventures. Add these staples to your camping food list today!

campfire oatmeal

The Food Staples for a Camping Trip

While the allure of the great outdoors lies in its simplicity, having a well-thought-out selection of camping staples is essential for a seamless and enjoyable camping trip. These staples serve as the foundation for your camping food, ensuring you have reliable and versatile ingredients that require minimal preparation. From quick and energizing breakfasts to hearty dinners by the campfire, the right camping food staples lay the groundwork for a satisfying and nourishing outdoor dining experience. In this guide, we’ll explore the indispensable camping staples that cater to various tastes and preferences, providing a diverse array of options for campers of all levels.

  • Dry Cereal – Perfect for quick energy and easy snacking, dry cereal is a versatile choice for campers of all ages. Consider bringing a mix of your favorites, along with oats for a heartier option. A quick fix for rumbling bellies on lazy mornings, dry cereal paired with powdered milk is a camper’s delight.
  • Bread – A camping classic, bread opens up a world of meal possibilities. From quick sandwiches for trail lunches to hearty toast by the campfire, packing a loaf ensures convenience and versatility.
  • Powdered Milk – Often overlooked, powdered milk is a camping secret weapon. Enhance your morning cereal, whip up overnight oats, or lighten your coffee and tea with this lightweight and space-efficient ingredient.
  • Pasta/Rice – For a taste of home in the great outdoors, bring along pasta or rice. These camping-friendly staples require minimal preparation and can be paired with sauces, spices, and seasonings to create satisfying meals.
  • Tomato Sauce – Bringing tomato sauce adds a burst of rich flavor to your camping meals, effortlessly transforming simple pasta dishes, rice, or grilled meats into savory on-the-go dishes.
  • Nuts and Dried Fruits – Lightweight and packed with energy, nuts and dried fruits make for excellent snacks during hikes or quick pick-me-ups at the campsite. Mix them with your dry cereal or enjoy them on their own for a natural boost.
  • Nut Butter – Nut butters, such as peanut or almond butter, are not only delicious but also versatile. Spread them on bread, crackers, or use them as a dip for fresh fruit. They provide a good source of protein and healthy fats for sustained energy.
  • Tortillas – Replace traditional bread with tortillas for a space-efficient alternative. They’re perfect for making wraps, quesadillas, or even a quick pizza by the campfire. Plus, they won’t get squished in your backpack.

cheese board

The Necessary Perishables for Camping Meals

Fresh vegetables, shredded cheese, and herbs not only bring a burst of color and taste to your meals but also contribute essential nutrients, enhancing your overall well-being during your outdoor adventures. In this guide, we’ll explore the practicality of incorporating perishables into your camping menu, providing insights into selecting, storing, and enjoying these fresh ingredients.

  • Eggs – The perfect morning and mid-day fuel food. If you’re bringing a cooler, make sure you bring plenty of eggs for campfire breakfasts, and hard-boiled eggs for lunches out on the boat or on the trail.
  • Bacon – This is a breakfast favorite that can also come in handy for some bacon-enhanced burgers or dogs. It doesn’t take up much cooler space at all and is a great addition to pretty much anything.
  • Hot Dogs – Hot dogs are great for lunches, or dinner here and there, particularly if you will be camping with kids. Most kids get a kick out of finding a branch or using a store-bought roasting skewer to cook their own hot dog over the fire.
  • Ground Beef/Steaks – These are campground favorites and are usually eaten on the first or the last night for dinner since they are often the most valuable “cookout” foods.
  • Cream Cheese – Adding cream cheese to your camping provisions not only introduces a rich and versatile ingredient for both savory and sweet dishes but also contributes a touch of indulgence.
  • Fresh Vegetables – While it might seem challenging to keep vegetables fresh while camping, some varieties, like bell peppers, carrots, and cherry tomatoes, are hardy enough to withstand a few days without refrigeration. They add color, flavor, and essential nutrients to your meals.
  • Cheese – A selection of cheeses can add a gourmet touch to your camping cuisine. From cheddar to mozzarella, they pair well with crackers, bread, or as a topping for pasta and rice dishes.
  • Fresh Herbs – Elevate your cooking by bringing along a small selection of fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or cilantro. They can transform a simple meal into a culinary delight, enhancing both flavor and aroma.

hot cocoa

Beverages to Sip On While Campfire Cooking

Beverages contribute to the social fabric of camping, enhancing moments around the campfire or while sharing stories with fellow adventurers. Whether it’s a steaming cup of coffee to kickstart the morning, a refreshing sip of water to quench your thirst on a challenging hike, or a comforting mug of hot chocolate to conclude the day, beverages can enhance every aspect of the camping journey. Add these three beverages to your camping food checklist.

  • Instant Coffee/Tea – For coffee enthusiasts, instant coffee or tea bags are a convenient way to enjoy a hot beverage in the great outdoors. Pack a travel-friendly coffee maker or a portable kettle for a morning ritual under the open sky.
  • Hot Chocolate Mix – Treat yourself to a cozy cup of hot chocolate on chilly camping nights. Pre-mix the ingredients at home and bring it in a sealed container. Just add hot water, stir, and indulge.
  • Reusable Water Bottles – Staying hydrated is crucial during camping trips. Bring reusable water bottles to reduce waste and ensure you have a convenient source of water while exploring the wilderness.

roasting marshmallows

Camping Trip Dessert Delights

Including dessert in your camping repertoire is more than just a sweet indulgence; it’s a crucial ingredient in elevating the overall camping experience. After a day of outdoor adventures, whether hiking scenic trails or setting up the perfect campsite, a delectable dessert serves as a well-deserved reward.

  • S’mores Kit – No camping trip is complete without indulging in the classic s’mores experience. Pack marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers for a sweet treat by the campfire.
  • Fruit Skewers – For a healthier dessert option, prepare fruit skewers with a mix of your favorite fruits. Grill them over the campfire for a caramelized and delicious finale to your meal.
  • Trail Mix – Bringing trail mix is essential for a camping adventure, offering a convenient and energy-packed snack that combines the perfect blend of nuts, dried fruits, and chocolates, providing sustained fuel for hikes, exploration, and moments of outdoor enjoyment.

Campfire Cooking Hacks

  • Foil Dinners – Experiment with foil packet meals for easy and flavorful cooking. Place ingredients like seasoned meat, vegetables, and herbs in a foil packet and cook it over the campfire or on a portable grill.
  • One-Pot Wonders – Simplify your camping kitchen by preparing one-pot meals. Chili, stew, or curry can be made in a single pot, minimizing cleanup and maximizing flavor.

one pot camping meal

Our Favorite Camping Meals Recipes

Going for a camping trip doesn’t always mean eating potato chips, cold hot dogs and canned food. You can always make better meals and enjoy your trips to the fullest. Sure, there is nothing wrong with having regular camping meals, especially because they save a lot of time and money. However, if you’re in the mood for some gourmet type food while in the desert, continue reading, as we will discuss some of the easiest recipes to try when camping.

Lime and Grilled Salmon

This salmon recipe is bound to refresh your taste buds after spending hours outside in the wild. The best thing about this recipe is that you won’t require too many ingredients.

Here’s how to make it:

Mix hot sauce, half a teaspoon of black pepper, 3 teaspoons of olive oil, a quarter cup of lime juice, three chopped onions and half a teaspoon of honey together. Keep the salmon steaks inside a Ziploc bag for a while and pour the marinade inside. Allow the steaks to marinate for half an hour, and gill them over medium heat for a couple of minutes (each side).

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken

The balsamic vinegar chicken may be the simplest dish you can make during your camping trip. You can prepare this dish with only two ingredients.

Here’s How to make it:

Put balsamic vinegar and chicken inside a Ziploc bag. Try squeezing out air out of the bag and store it in the fridge. Allow the chicken to marinade for eight to ten hours. Take the bag out and separate the chicken from the sauce and throw the remaining marinade liquid away. After that, pan fry or grill the chicken on medium heat and keep cooking it until the juice is run clear. That’s it!

Taco Dip

Taco dip is arguably the best side dish or camping snack for a Mexican meal. What’s best about this dip’s recipe is that you don’t have to cook anything at all. Therefore, there is minimal effort and tons of flavor.

Here’s How to make it:

Spread some refried beans at the bottom of a platter. Follow this up by mixing mayonnaise, taco seasoning, sour cream and spread it on the bean dip. Chop some tomato and onions, followed by layering them with black olives and cheddar cheese. You can also serve this dip with Frito chips

Breakfast Burritos

The last thing you want to do during your camping trip is spend hours for preparing your meals, especially breakfast. You just want to wake up, fix a quick breakfast and go about your day. This is where the recipe for breakfast burritos will come in quite handy.

Here’s How to make it:

Add salsa, shredded cheese, half a cup of hash browns, one chopped sausage, two bacon strips, one scrambled egg into a warm tortilla. And that’s it! Your breakfast burrito is ready!

campfire dinner with hot dogs

Plan Your Next Camping Trip!

Embarking on your next outdoor adventure? Consider the breathtaking beauty and unparalleled experiences awaiting you at Zion Canyon Campground and RV Resort. Nestled in the heart of southern Utah, this campground offers a haven for nature enthusiasts and campers seeking a perfect blend of serenity and adventure. The scenic backdrop of Zion National Park sets the stage for an unforgettable camping experience, where towering red rock formations and picturesque landscapes surround your campsite. With well-maintained RV hookups, spacious tent sites, and amenities ranging from clean shower facilities to a camp store stocked with essentials, Zion Canyon Campground ensures a comfortable stay. As you plan your trip, envision waking up to the crisp mountain air, exploring the park’s iconic trails by day, and unwinding under a blanket of stars at night. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-time explorer, Zion Canyon Campground and RV Resort invites you to create lasting memories in one of the most awe-inspiring natural settings in the United States. Book your stay now!