Camping can be a very memorable experience if you carefully pack and bring everything that you need. Besides basic survival gear such as a tent and some firewood for staying warm, you will definitely also want to have some great food when hunger strikes.
However, bringing the right food is an art. After several years of trial and error, careful research, and keeping the nutritional needs of the human body in mind, here is a great camping food list for you. Of course, feel free to adapt this list to create your own custom camping food list.
Best Food For Camping: The Basics
When you are camping, you will likely be dealing with much less cooking equipment than you are probably used to. As a result, leave the recipe books at home. Camping food is supposed to easy to make with little-to-no cooking equipment. This way, you can leave as many bulky cooking tools at home as possible. Instead, you want food that is:
- Packaged sturdy enough not to be crushed.
- Long-lasting (nonperishable is ideal)
- Healthy & nutritious.
Camping Food List: For a Family
Remember that even while camping that you need to get all your daily nutrients. This doesn’t necessarily need to include a perfect diet following the food pyramid, but it is still important that you have food which comes with fruit and vegetables. Here is a great list for you to use.
Graham Crackers, Marshmallows, and Chocolate Bars
Let’s just go ahead and throw this one out there first. These three types of food are not entirely healthy by any means, but they are a traditional camping food that you simply should not forget. Start by putting a marshmallow on a stick over the fire, get it crispy, and make a smore sandwich by putting it with chocolate and graham crackers.
Bananas, Apples, Oranges, Etc.
This is a must-have. Do not leave home without bringing a hefty collection of your favorite fruits. They are normally very easy to carry around, take several days to rot, and can easily be eaten on-the-go. At the end of your camping trip be sure to add all your extra fruit together into a fruit salad so that you don’t waste any food. If you don’t eat it all, you can always leave it in nature since fruit is biodegradable.
Easy Camping Breakfast:
Here are some ideas that can easily be made while camping for breakfast.
- Fruit (see above)
- Granola bars
- Cheese and Crackers
- Instant Coffee
Easy Camping Lunch:
Once breakfast is out of the way, you probably will go for a hike or any other sort of outdoor activity. You will come back hungry. However, save your big appetite for dinner. Here are some simple camping lunch ideas:
- Pita bread (doesn’t smash easily)
- Beef jerky
- Sandwich meat (pick your favorite)
- Canned protein (tuna, salmon, beans, etc.)
- Canned soup
- Peanut butter
Camping Dinner: The Best Meal
After a long day of hiking, fishing, or whatever outdoor activity you choose to do, you will build up a nice appetite. Think of dinner as being the best meal of the day. Breakfast and lunch should be filling, sure, but dinner should be where you cook the good stuff. Here are some simple, but good ideas:
- Pasta (pesto or spaghetti sauce)
- Burritos (add meat and cheese, beans, potatoes, and whatever you want)
- Chips and Guacamole
- Hamburgers & fries
- Hot Dogs
- Cooking Spices
- Garlic, Italian seasoning, chili powder, etc.
- Ketchup and mustard.
Camping Food List: Liquids
Another thing you need to be ready for is how you will drink water. You might choose to bring plenty of bottled water. However, there are a couple other ideas for you to consider.
Boil Lake (or River) Water
If you want to save space for other camping gear, remember that boiling lake or river water is always a possibility. To do this simply harvest some water, light up the campfire and bring the water to a rolling boil for a few minutes. This is also a great time to add some ground coffee beans and prepare some wilderness coffee.
Bring Portable Water Filters
Not everybody wants to boil lake water, and might instead choose to use a portable water filter. One product, in particular, that is great for filtering water is the LifeStraw, which can be used on natural water sources worldwide. They are used safely by millions every day in water that you might otherwise never even consider drinking.
Liquids for the Cooler:
Once you have your water situation decided upon, you might also choose to bring other bottled liquids just because. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Fruit Juice
- Alcoholic beverages
- Soda of your choice
Camping Food List: Main Takeaways
The above camping food list should be used solely as a reference, and not as the professional advice from a dietician. Of course, you will sustain life and eat healthy enough food following the above list, but also use your own personal discretion. This is especially true if you have special diet needs. In the end, remember that camping is supposed to be fun. Remember to relax, stay up light by the campfire, look at the stars, and explore the sites around you.