Camp Meal Ideas

by Brandy on September 11, 2012

If you love camping, you know that it’s an endeavor that requires a go-with-the-flow attitude—but also that every bit of preparation saves you a lot of time and trouble. One thing that’s easy to plan ahead when you’re camping: meal ideas and snacks. No one, not even your pickiest little eater, really wants to eat tomato soup for four days straight. Change up your dinner ideas and think of your camping trip as a time for culinary exploration—or, you know, a time to make the most of meals on-the-go.

Campfire cooking in a foil wrapper

Campfire cooking in a foil wrapper

Really, your best asset when you’re planning your camping meals is preparedness. If you take a few hours to prep everything at home, you can enjoy more time singing around the campfire and avoid suffering indigestion or a rumbly stomach. Here are a few meal ideas to get you started.

Meat and Veggie Kabobs (Skewers)
Kabobs are super easy to prepare ahead of time—just cut up all your ingredients and marinate. Kids and adults alike love kabobs because they’re easy to customize and you get to build your own. You’ll need bamboo skewers and charcoal.

At home, cut up veggies or fruit and meat into bite-size chunks (chicken, stew meat, and game meat work well). Marinate the chunks in your favorite marinade for at least an hour. Pack in a sturdy plastic bag over ice while you’re in transit. Soak bamboo skewers in water, then thread the meat and veggies onto the skewers and cook on a charcoal fire. Turn occasionally to ensure that your kabobs turn evenly, then cook to taste. A few good meat/produce combos: steak with onions, bell peppers, and tomato, or chicken with apple and onion.

Foil Meal Ideas
When you’re cooking on a grill or a fire, heavy duty tinfoil is your best friend. I like to make foil packets because they’re easy to assemble, easily customizable, and the results are always delicious.

Basically, you prep ingredients at home—cut up your meat and veggies, then refrigerate in a sturdy Ziploc bag. When you get to camp, make a foil packet by laying out a sheet of foil (more is more in this case) and layering ingredients in the center. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray, and put meat toward the bottom, as it needs the most time and heat. Put vegetables on top.
Don’t forget to add some moisture—I use plain olive oil or half a can of a creamy soup to get a mildly saucy texture. You’ll want to place the packets on hot coals rather than directly on the fire. Cooking time will vary with ingredients, but plan for at least 20 minutes of cooking time.

A foil packet is the perfect way to cook that humongous fish you caught earlier (with your bare hands, if I heard correctly).
You can also use foil packets to cook fajitas, quesadillas, and loaded baked potatoes.

One-Pot Meals
Stew is my saving grace when I’m camping in cooler weather. All you need is a big pot. (And a fire would help.)

I love to experiment with my soupy concoctions, but my old standby is vegetarian chili (which is sure to satisfy more carnivorous beings, too). I mix my favorite spices in a plastic bag at home (garlic, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and a bit of salt and pepper—but I like it spicy). If I’ve got fresh veggies on hand, like carrots, corn, and onions, I chop those up and bag them for the trip. However, it’s easiest to just grab a few bags of frozen veggies. You’ll also want canned beans (black beans and kidney beans are best) and tomato paste and sauce.

Dump everything in the pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for a good 30 minutes. Enjoy with crusty bread and good cheese.

For breakfast, oatmeal is an easy and filling one-pot option. Just add water, spices, and any fruit you feel like.

And Finally…Snacks

What’s that? You sometimes get hungry between meals? Sounds like you need some snacks. These are easy: homemade trail mix, nuts, granola, hard candy, and sturdy fruit will keep your energy up and your backpack light.

Photo credit

This post was written by Brandy

Brandy enjoys camping, hiking and RV-ing. She contributes to Floyds RVs Lifestyle blog ( an Oklahoma RV dealer) and sponsors summer camp excursions for city kids.

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4 comments… read them below or add one

Zach January 29, 2014 at 12:01 pm

One of my favorite camping meals (and at home as well) is chicken and rice. For camping I use Knorr bag rice, chicken flavor. And the 10-12 ounce cans of chunk chicken. One of each will serve 2 people.

I put the rice on, add the chicken in, bring to a boil, let simmer for 10 minutes and it is done.
If possible I take some shredded cheese to top off the rice.

Reply

PeterTaylor March 13, 2014 at 7:03 am

My favourite camping meal is made with foil wrapper.
I peal a few potatoes, cut them into slices, then apply salt, pepper, and some grill spices. If you want to you can add chili. I love hot food, but nobody in my family does, so chili is out of the question most of the time:)
Then you lay a few slices of bacon on top of the potatoes, so that the bacon covers all of them. The last ingredient is some kind of meat. You can use chicken, beef, pork, anything goes with this food. You can even use the fish you have caught.
Wrap the whole thing in tinfoil, and put it on ember. It should be ready in 30-40 minutes.

Reply

Justin March 13, 2014 at 6:56 pm

We skip cutting the potatoes, slice them once long ways, the 5-6 the other way, and fill them with cheese and bacon. Toss them in the fire. Mmmmm Mmmmm!

Reply

jaison April 18, 2016 at 11:32 am

I was looking for some good camping meals, to make when I go camping, that are simple to make. thanks for some good foil meals. thank you…

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