It’s that time of year again when you load up the car with camping gear, yummy snacks, leave the technology behind and live out in the wilderness for a few days so we thought you might like a little help with your camping food list. If you used to go camping as a kid, you might have had the stereotypical camping fare: hot dogs, hamburgers, breakfast bars, cans of beans or soup, and the like. It’s 2022 and for some, dietary needs and palettes have changed. With that in mind, we’ve cultivated a comprehensive list of food that isn’t the traditional camping stuff that you might want to pack.
Camping Grub: The Essentials
Although we may be tired of traditional camping food, there are some things that you should always bring with you. You’ll find that the food on this list are essential items that you should never “forget” to pack when you’re going to go camping.
- Bread – Not only does bread not need to be kept cold, but it can also be used for a variety of meal options.
- Fresh Fruit – Fruit like bananas, apples, pears, and oranges can be left at room temp and are healthy snacks.
- Granola Bars – Though you might be tired of these, they are perfect to throw in your backpack for a quick pick-me-up when hiking or to lounge by the lake.
- Water – Although you may bring sports drinks, juices, teas, and sodas, this should be a no-brainer because it’s important that you keep hydrated, and nothing can do that better than water.
- Condiments – Ketchup, mustard, relish, salad dressings, spices… Whatever you want to add to make your food not taste so bland, be sure to bring it! If you take sugar, make sure it is sealed well—you don’t want ants getting into it!
Camping food list: Meat Options
With the essential foodstuffs out of the way, let’s look at proteins. Typically when you go camping, you’ll have things like hot dogs and hamburgers, baked beans, and some kind of canned soup to eat. While these things are good, it’s understandable that you’ll want to make things a little more interesting. Here are some different protein options:
- Chicken – Whether you want to bring a whole roasting chicken or different cuts of the bird, you can’t go wrong with chicken. Bonus points if you make kabobs with chicken breast and fresh veggies.
- Beef – Whether you decide to have steak, ribs, or stew, beef is a great option to bring with you when camping. Many cuts of beef can be cooked on directly a grill (like different cuts of steak or even ribs), but if you have a pot or pan, you can make a great stew or even chili.
- Seafood – If you don’t plan on going fishing while on your camping trip, you can bring your own seafood like salmon steaks, flounder, shrimp, scallops and the like. With some of these, you may not want to cook directly on the grill. We recommend using foil packs, making kabobs, or a pan to cook.
- Cold Cuts – This is a great option for those quick lunches where you just want to slap some meat and cheese between some bread and call it a meal.
- Pork – Pork chops, bacon, pork ribs, sausage, and even a pork roast… All of these are excellent camping options. Add some BBQ sauce or a great seasoning rub and you’re good to go!
Note: We should mention that when you are bringing any sort of perishable item camping, you’ll want to ensure that it is kept cold, either by packing it in ice, using dry ice, or purchasing a portable refrigerator/freezer. These portable refrigerators may be pricey, but they are well worth the investment, especially if you are an avid camper.
Camping food list: Vegan Selections
Perhaps there is someone in your group that is a vegan, and you want to ensure that they have plenty of food choices. Here are some vegan options that you may want to bring along with you. Oh, and the best part? These choices can be enjoyed by non-vegans too!
- Fresh Veggies – Zucchini, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli… Whatever kind of vegetables that you want to bring along with you go for it! Fresh veggies can be skewered to make kabobs, roasted on the open fire, or sautéed in a pan with some fresh garlic and olive oil.
- Pasta – You can make pasta at home and reheat it in a pan at the camp site. If you have metal pans like you’d get from an Italian take out place, you can put ziti or lasagna in it and set it on a grill with indirect heat to warm it up.
- Veggie Burgers – Yes, we know we said no burgers, but veggie burgers (or even mushroom burgers) are great choices.
- Quinoa – Not only is this nutritious, but it’s also easy to cook and versatile. You can use it as a breakfast product or use it to replace a meat product (quinoa burgers anyone?).
- Trail Mix – This snack is a great treat to tide people over in between meals. It’s healthy, full of protein, and if you add some dried fruit and dark chocolate, it can be that something sweet that you may crave.
Dollar Store Grub
Do you remember when the dollar store only had cheap, no-name brands that you were skeptical about eating? Those days are gone and if you were to go to any dollar store, you’d be able to find a bunch of camping-friendly foodstuffs—especially snacks.
- Snacks – Whether you want chips, cookies, popcorn, or candy, the dollar store is a treasure trove of delicious snacks. Just be sure that you don’t go overboard with the sweets! Of course, you have healthier snack options like popcorn kernels (for fresh popcorn that isn’t loaded with fake butter and salt), sunflower seeds, nuts, and raisins.
- Drinks – You can pick up your gallons (or individual bottles) of water, coffee, tea, and juice drinks here for a fraction of the cost if you were to purchase them at the grocery store.
- Canned Goods – Whether you want canned veggies, tuna, or soups, you can find it all. Just be sure to pack a can opener!
- Dried Goods – Beans, pasta, and rice are excellent finds at the dollar store. Whip these bad-boys up with some protein, veggies, and seasoning, and you’ve got an affordable meal.
Camping is a fantastic way to take a break from our everyday lives and get back in touch with nature. Although you may not have all the comforts of home, that doesn’t mean you have to eat poorly. With a bit of planning and improvisation, you can dine on delicious meals made with a variety of food that doesn’t include hot dogs or hamburgers! We hope you enjoyed our Camping Food List.