Camping Food Hacks: Ultimate Camping Cooking Guide

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Camping Food Hacks? Let’s face it – food is almost as an important part of the camping experience as the location and tent. As long as you plan to enjoy nature instead of hunting out the local restaurants, we should have you covered in our camping cooking guide.

Camping food hacks article collage image with camp food

Camping Cuisine varies per person or family

The type of food that you eat while camping is totally dependent upon the type of storage you have for your food. If you have an RV, you can store and prepare meals that aren’t much different from home. But if you only have access to a cooler, a campfire, and maybe a grill, then everything is different. These Camping Food Hacks will try to help you cover all the bases.

Consider Storage

OK, not a Camping Food Hacks, but important. Can you keep cold food cold and hot food hot? If not, then you may want to opt for safer raw food ingredients like salad and fruit, along with canned items.

One way to do it is to eat well the first night (something like steak and potatoes cooked over the fire), and then the latter days eat more canned food since food in a cooler will only last as long as you have ice. We did write about this before: How do You Keep Your Food Cold When Camping Without a Fridge?

Prep before You Go

HUGE on the lists of camping food hacks! However you decide to do it, always prep everything before you go. Get all the prep for each meal and snack out of the way because it’ll be a lot easier to pack and store this way. Plus, it’ll make fixing it a breeze. You don’t want to spend all your vacation cooking and cleaning, so make it easy for yourself.

OK – I love these 10 quick tips and how it helps pack the cooler before you actually leave the house!

How do you plan food for camping?

If you’ve been camping before, then you know how difficult it can be to make healthy eating choices when camping. The desire to just pull out hot dogs and nuke them in the microwave or roast them over the fire on a stick can be difficult to ignore.

However, just because you’re in the great outdoors doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice healthy eating choices for convenience. Here are a few tips on how you can still meal plan for a camping trip.

Camping Food Hacks: Breakfast Burritos

For those who love to start their day with a hot meal, then you can easily meal prep breakfast burritos before you leave for your camping trip. All you need to do is cook your ingredients like scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, bacon, and peppers.

Then you simply wrap them in a tortilla, add whatever ingredients you desire for further flavor, and then wrap the entire burrito in tin foil. These should be kept in a freezer or fridge until it’s time to cook them again. At breakfast time, simply throw them on the fire inside of their tin foil to heat it up. 

Pancakes

You can even make pancakes while out camping! All you need to do at home is prepare the batter. You can either make it yourself from scratch or simply mix together the store version. Once the batter is prepared, you just have to store it in a plastic squeeze-bottle or even a plastic baggie. Once breakfast time arrives, you can just squeeze the batter onto a pan and cook the pancakes over the open fire. 

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Chili

It’s difficult to go wrong with chili. Not only is it a favorite meal for many but it also freezes quite well. That makes it the perfect choice for campers. You can easily cook the chili at home. Then store it in a container and freeze it until it’s time to cook. Again, cooking it can be easily done over the fire.

This is an easy recipe to cook in bulk. So, if your family doesn’t mind eating the same meal for a few days, then this could be all you need for your dinners. Bring along a few extra ingredients to top off your chili in order to make it fresh and exciting.

I don’t want my vegetarians to feel left out! There are a lot of tasty ideas that work great for your too: Outdoor Gourmet Vegetarian Camping Food and Recipe Ideas.

What are easy foods to take camping?

Foil Pack Meals are always easy! You can cook them over any heat source, they are self-contained, and a complete meal in one easy to eat out of the package.

I want to share one important tip if you are preparing for a camping trip: do not assemble the foil packs in advance. Things like potatoes don’t age well if you cut them a few days in advance, even if you freeze them.

You are better off bringing all the ingredients with you, having most veggies pre-cut, and then assembling the foil packs just before you grill. We have a great list for you to pick from here: 40 Great Hobo Packets for Camping.

Think about Where You’ll Be Cooking

Another thing to think about is where you’ll be cooking. If it’s a hike from your sleeping site due to the rules and regulations of the area, consider how you’ll tote everything there and back. This is where sandwiches and protein bars come in handy. If you are big into hiking, this would be a great video to check out:

Why buy MREs when there is this great video about do-it-yourself backpacking meals! Thrifty too!

Are you cooking on a camp stove? In your RV? Over a fire pit? Then you really can’t go wrong with Cast Iron Pans.

This camping hacks video has some awesome 5-Minute Simple Ways To Cook Outdoors!

Why You Need a Cast Iron Skillet

If you are new to cooking or just looking to upgrade your cooking skills, the equipment you use is crucial. This includes getting some top-quality pans and definitely having at least one cast-iron skillet in your culinary arsenal. Here are some things to know about cast iron skillets and why you should start using them.

It is a Lifelong Investment

Cast iron skillets are unique in that they can last a lifetime or longer. They might cost a little more, but you are getting a pan that you should never have to replace. If you find one at a garage sale or antique sale, buy it!

If your grandmother passed a set down to you, definitely accept them. These will work just as well as when the cast iron skillet was new. In fact, there is really no reason to buy one new since you can probably find one secondhand and it will be amazing quality.

Your Food Will Taste Better

There is no doubt about it; food cooked in a cast-iron skillet just tastes better. This is a very high-quality type of pan where the more you cook on it, the more it gets seasoned.

When you do that, everything else that gets cooked in it gets those unique flavors, and it brings out the natural flavor of foods so much better. Try cooking fish or meat in your cast iron next time and see if you notice a difference in how it tastes.

They Are Naturally Non-Stick

When you “season” a cast-iron skillet properly, it becomes non-stick naturally, and therefore you don’t need to grease it or use oil spray before cooking something in it. When you are using less oil, not only do you not change the flavor of your meal, but you also keep it a little lighter. Nothing wrong with that!

It is Much More Versatile

There is a lot you can do with a cast-iron skillet, not just in what food you can cook in it, but where it can be used. They actually work great with any type of heat, even bringing it camping with you and cooking food right over a fire.

You can start cooking your meal on the stove, then transfer the cast-iron to the oven. It works great for desserts in addition to main dishes, veggies, and so much more. We actually have 25 Camping Cast Iron Skillet Recipes put together for you!

Why is this in our list of Camping Food Hacks? It IS important to know how to care for that awesome pan – here is a great video for the right way to clean it:

With these cast iron maintenance tips and taking care of your cast iron properly, you’ll have it forever.

The Best Must-Have Camp Cooking Gear: Utensils and Kitchen Aids is a good article that goes a little more in depth on basic things you may want.

Bring a Backup

Probably the most important of all when looking at camping food hacks: When something can go wrong, it will. While a campsite might advertise that they have gas for gas grills, what if they’re out and there is no one to call? What if your camper fridge breaks? You don’t want to have to cancel your trip due to starvation. If you are wondering what is the best food to take camping?

Consider packing potatoes, bread, peanut butter, and canned items that are easy to cook and prepare regardless of the situation.

When looking at meals for camping, skewers can be your friend! The best part about Campfire Food on a Stick is that the food can be cut and bagged before the trip – even with the marinade, so all you would do at the campsite is pop them on skewers and toss them on your hot grill.

Keep It Light and Easy

No one wants to spend their vacation cooking and cleaning. If they did, they’d likely prefer to stay home to do that because it’s easier with all the conveniences.

It’s just a short time, so you don’t have to worry about perfect nutrition every day. An apple and a peanut butter sandwich taste delicious when you’re hungry from having fun. We keep it simple in this article as well as giving you an upgrade option: What Should Be In Every Camper’s Cooler.

Last, but not least, don’t forget the marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate. No camping trip is complete without s’mores. I love the s’more cones that Tasty has in this video:

Remember, it’s all about having fun and providing your family with an experience of togetherness that they will carry with them throughout their lives.

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