Easy Camping Meals
Spring is right around the corner and I’m super excited to dust off the old camping gear and sleep under the stars!
Spring in Texas is the perfect time to camp. It’s plenty warm during the day, but still chilly enough at night to enjoy a campfire and be comfortable in a tent. But before packing up the car and heading out to the closest national park, I need to perform a gear check. After being in storage for a year, it’s inevitable that some of my equipment will need repaired and even replaced. There’s usually at least one or two major things that need replacing each year.
After that, I will start working on which weekends I can get away. Then the real planning begins:
- Researching locations
- Reserving spots
- Inviting friends
- Requesting time off if needed
- And one of my favorites—planning meals
Some of you probably don’t enjoy this, but I do, so let me do the work for you. I hope these ideas make meal planning your camping trip stress-free!
Camping meals need to be easy, compact and packable as not to take up too much space in your cooler, feed a crowd, and quick, but also fun and delicious. Anything cooked over an open flame usually does the trick. There is a variety of ways you can cook over a campfire or charcoal grill—with cast iron, Dutch oven, wrapped in foil or on a stick. I like to plan meals that don’t require plates or utensils, which with a little imagination, is easier than you think! Also, I pre-cook and pre-package as much as possible at home. This can virtually eliminate meal prep like washing, cutting, dicing, peeling, etc., as well as make clean-up quicker and easier. No one wants to waste more time than necessary preparing and cleaning up meals. There’s just so much more to do when camping!
Here are some of my favorite quick, cheap and easy camping meals:
Cajun Feast Hobo Packets
An old standby!
- Pre-cooked and pre-sliced sausage
- Washed and cut potatoes
- Corn on the cob cut into thirds
- Peeled or unpeeled (whichever is cheaper) uncooked shrimp
- Butter or olive oil
- Chicken broth
How to make it: Divide up all the ingredients into individual foil packets. Drizzle with olive oil or put a few pats of butter in each—or heck, do both! Add two tablespoons of chicken broth to each packet. Wrap them up tightly. Put the packets on the grill or close to hot coals in the campfire for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping them once halfway through cooking time.
Pizza Roll Foil Packet
This meal is prepped at home beforehand. Everyone loves pizza, but no one expects it while camping, which makes it extra special!
- Canned pizza dough
- Pizza sauce
- Your favorite toppings
- Shredded cheese
How to make it: Roll out your pizza dough and cover it with pizza sauce, toppings and cheese. Roll it up into a log and seal it by tucking in the edges. Wrap the whole log in heavy-duty foil. Put the pizza log into the freezer until it’s time to go. Keep it in the cooler to thaw. Once thawed, put the log—still wrapped in foil—on a hot grill or campfire, cooking it 15 minutes per side for a total of 30 minutes.
Tacos in a Bag
This is another meal you can prep at home.
- Use your favorite taco meat—hamburger, brisket, pulled pork, turkey or chicken. You can cook the meat before you go or buy a package of fully cooked seasoned meat to heat up right at the campsite. Depending on how many people you are feeding, you can make things more exciting and use more than one type of meat,
- Taco toppings: lettuce, salsa, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, avocado (all cut at home and divided up into zip lock bags)
- Individual bags of Doritos chips
How to make it: Warm the meat up. Lay out all the ingredients and let everyone build their taco inside the Doritos bag. You don’t even need forks—use the chips to scoop. All that is needed is serving utensils. Not much clean up after this meal!
Foil Packet Sandwiches
Did you know you can make a hot/grilled Panini-style sandwich in a foil packet? Make up your favorite sammie, wrap it tightly in foil, place it in the campfire near hot coals or on a grill for about five minutes. Ta-da! Since you will have bread, use the rest of the loaf for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the next day. Bonus if you have leftover Doritos from Taco Bag night.
One of my favorites!
Using the previous night’s leftovers from the taco bags, add some scrambled eggs and tortillas and you have breakfast! Add breakfast sausage or chorizo cooked on your gas camp stove if you wish. I like to heat up my tortillas in a little bit of butter in the cast iron skillet placed for extra flare.
Tip: Crack eggs at home, mix them with a little milk and using a funnel, put them in empty water bottles or ziplock bags to save space and preventing them from breaking.
And don’t forget the all-time favorites—roasting hot dogs on sticks and S’mores, of course!
These seven easy camping meal ideas are all you need for an entire weekend. On Sunday, don’t mess with starting a fire, getting anything out you’ve already packed up or dirtying any dishes. This is the day for muffins, donuts or other packaged foods.