Camping Food Essentials & Meal Planner

Camping Food Essentials

Which foods you take camping will largely depend on where you’re going and what cooking facilities will be available. You could be hiking across a mountain range changing sleeping spots every night in which case you’ll most likely be hovering over a light single cylinder stove to prepare your meals. On the other hand, you might be bunking down for a week-long camping trip in the Peak District where a small but mighty BBQ could be a better choice. This camping food essentials list primarily focuses on the latter mainly because there’s only so much to be said about dehydrated food. Just kidding, I actually know little about dehydrated food so I’m only going to talk about what I know which is ‘BBQ orientated long weekend camping’ meals. My one true love the Webber BBQ (in blue) honestly comes with me everywhere but if you can travel with a camping stove as well, foods like porridge and rice dishes become much easier to pull together. It is crucial that whilst you’re camping and exploring that you keep your energy levels high and meals full of nutrients. Eating regularly and well is vital. Lastly, but certainly most importantly, whilst cooking on a single stove or small BBQ might seem daunting at first, stick with it and get creative! Good luck!

Amateur Tip: Creating a meal plan and going food shopping before you go will save time and help you prepare for your trip. You never know if corner shops and supermarkets will be open when you get there… if there even are any. To see my meal plan for a long weekend camping skip to the end.

Food Essentials To Take Camping

Dry Foods

  • Cereal bars
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Ketchup
  • Honey
  • Tea
  • Bag of pre-mixed spices – I pack these in sandwich bags so that you can add meat or veg, shake and cook. Sandwich bags can be rinsed out and used again if needed. I’ve yet to find an eco-friendly alternative but my ears are open!
  • Wraps, pitta bread and bread rolls
  • Crisps
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate
  • Dried fruit such as mango, apricots, bananas
  • Canned fruit
  • Vegetables – peppers, potatoes, courgettes and carrots
  • Spinach
  • Fruit – oranges, apples and lemon (for drizzling on salads and meats)
  • Rice
  • Porridge
  • Cereal
  • Hoummous

Amateur Tip: When hiking it’s important to keep plenty of water and snacks on you. Seeds, nuts, cereal bars and fruit are all great to have as well as your prepared packed lunch in case your walk is longer than planned. 

Coolbox Foods

  • Milk
  • Meat – sausages, bacon, chicken, burgers, ham, pork chops, chorizo
  • Halloumi and cheddar

Don’t forget to pack your cooking essentials for your camping trip otherwise all your effort will go to waste. I try to make sure that my coolbox contains only foods which should be cold such as meat and dairy. If your campsite has an onsite freezer you can easily swap in your ice packs during your stay. Below is a meal plan I’ve used for various bank holiday weekend camping trips to give you some inspiration. I currently don’t have a camping stove so there’s no porridge for me yet. Sad times.

Weekend Camping Meal Plan

Day 1

Breakfast: Cereal and tinned fruit

Lunch On The Go: Ham and cheese sandwiches with crisps for snack

Dinner: Chicken, peppers, courgette and halloumi kebabs

Day 2

Breakfast: Bacon sandwich

Lunch On The Go: Leftovers from Day 1 dinner in a wrap with hoummous and carrots for snack

Dinner: Pre-marinated pork chops and spinach (#lemondrizzle)

Day 3

Breakfast: Sausage sandwich

Lunch At Camp: Jacket potatoes with cheese

Dinner: Burgers with cheese and bacon

Amateur Tip: You must try these banana boats for dessert. As in MUST!

What are your go-to meals when camping?

(Images: Photo by El Chefo on Unsplash)