Neither of us claim to be great chefs. My go-to dish at home is pulled pork or something with eggs. Believe me both options are not the greatest and pulled pork is delicious, but mediocre pulled pork is easy to make. And I could very well be the king of mediocre pulled pork.
Preparing dishes when camping provides a whole other difficulty. You do not have the luxury of your kitchen on hand. You need to use what is available to you to prepare a meal that is worthy of tasting well.
We really love to go camping, but as with at home the cooking portion of the experience is something we do not particularly look forward to. Making a campfire is enjoyable, but besides that I do not get much enjoyment out of making food.
That is why we opt for easy to make camping dishes. Things that will be prepared in minutes and not take much time out of our camping experience. A lot of these do not have great nutritional value, besides the freeze dried food, so it is always a good idea to pack some snacks like protein bars, beef jerky, trail mix, and fruit and vegetables.
These snacks, along with our recommended easy to prepare camping dishes, will provide you with the fuel to get through your camping experience.
Easy to Prepare Camping Dishes
Easy is our favorite word when camping, especially when it comes down to food preparation.
For this list, we tried to focus on foods that will not spoil. Therefore, you do not need to rely on a cooler keeping your food from going bad. This will help by reducing the amount you would need to carry when you go camping and also reduce the amount of food that could attract wildlife to your campsite.
We also focus on dishes that are the easiest to prepare rather than focusing on things that would require a significant amount of time to prepare and taking the time out of your day. Every once in a while it is fun to really spend some time preparing the best campfire meal, but you do not always have that luxury when camping. Carrying around a cooler and making sure your food is not going to spoil can be stressful. That is why we prefer foods like these when camping.
Camping Food Checklist
Freeze Dried Meals
Look, I am not trying to be insensitive calling this a hobo meal. I do not know what it is normally called, but this was my favorite campfire meal growing up.
These require the most preparation time in comparison to everything else on this list. What you would need would be a variety of produce like carrots, potatoes, onions, peppers, and anything else you would want to throw into an aluminum packet with oil inside. Make sure that the vegetable are chopped and into fairly small pieces so that they cook quickly. You can add salt, pepper, and any other spices that you may have on hand.
With a campfire started, you need to wait until you get some good coals and then you place your aluminum sacks of vegetables onto the coals to cook. You turn it part way through and take it out to check if the vegetables are cooked. Obviously you will need to have something to protect your hands when taking the packages out.
You can add meat to these packages if you have some or anything else you would want to throw into these packets. It really makes for a delicious and fun to make meal preparation.
Canned foods can be great when you are camping. There are so many to choose from and they wont spoil on you. You can get specific flavors or foods for each person you are camping with. They only require to be heated up so you would need to make a campfire and have a mess kit with you or to have a portable stove to help heat it up. They taste fine and have little preparation time.
However, canned foods can be heavy. They have the additional water weight that you will need to carry around if you are not driving right to your campsite. That means you will be lugging that extra weight of the can and the water weight with you everywhere you go. That is why we pack meals like instant noodles or freeze dried food.
We love instant noodles. Simply boil water and pour into your noodles. It does not get much easier than that. The best part of these are that they provide the fuel you need to get through a day and they are lightweight because you are not carrying around that water weight that is in canned foods.
All you need is to be camping near a water source, have a way to get the water to your campsite, and boil the water to kill any bacteria and to cook your noodles. We like to use our portable stove to boil our water for instant noodles.
These are great to pack because they are light and easy to prepare. There are also so many varieties to choose from and they will not spoil during your trip.
It is as easy as choosing the flavors you want, packing them, boiling water on the camp site, and adding it to the package. In minutes you have a full meal to eat with minimal preparation and headache.
You do not need to carry around water anywhere because you can grab some from a water source nearby and boil it using a portable stove that we discussed in an earlier post.
With most of these packages you simply add the boiled water to the package and stir. In minutes you have a nutritious and pretty good tasting meal. With so many different packages to choose from, there is a flavor for everyone in your party.
Flavors include: beef stroganoff with noodles, lasagna with meat sauce, chicken teriyaki with rice, noodles and chicken, beef stew, granola with milk and blueberries, and so many more.
As described earlier in this post, it is always important to pack some snacks that will provide some nutritional value that you may be missing in an instant noodle package. We always pack things like protein bars or other types of bars with some nutritional value to them. We also have a package of trail mix to go along with those.
Beef jerky is always good to have with you as it will not spoil during your camping trip and will provide a source of protein. Also, if you pack a small cooler with some fruit and vegetables like carrots and apples this will keep you going through the day and provide much-needed vitamins during your camping trip.
It is always important to eat healthy, so keep in mind snacks that will provide you with the nutritional value required on your camping trip.
We hope that this post helps provide you with some ideas on how you can make easy meals for your camping experience this coming season. We tried to focus on meals that are easy to prepare, lightweight and easy to carry, and that also taste good.
The freeze dried meals really cover all of this and even provide some nutritional value to them as well. However, we love a pot of instant noodles from time-to-time as well. It all depends what you are looking to eat, how long you are camping for, and how much you are willing to carry. With these meals that we suggested, we kept the water weight that you would be carrying down as much as possible so you would need to be camping somewhere close to a water source to provide you with the water necessary to prepare these meals.
If you are only camping for one or two nights, you may be able to pack a cooler full of hamburgers and hot dogs. If there is a town nearby you may be able to make some trips into town to enjoy their restaurants or pick up some food daily from the grocery store. This would be an easy way to prepare some delicious food night in and night out.
However, you will not always have this luxury when you go camping. This is where the list above comes in.
What do you pack when you go camping? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below.
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