Reduce Cook-Time, Storage and Waste with These Camping Food Favorites and Tips!

Posted by Patricia Colomy on

Reduce Cook-Time, Storage and Waste with These Camping Food Favorites and Tips!

It’s official! Summer is in swing, and the great outdoors are filled with RVs, tents and trailers. This year, millions of campers will set out on their outdoor adventures at national parks, cabins, beaches, popular camp grounds and less-known sites tucked back beyond the beaten path. And there’s no doubt that a bevy of delicious snacks, drinks and meals will be packed up and hitting the road with them.

There are so many considerations when it comes to camping cuisine; storage, cleanup and waste all need to be taken into account when planning your meals. To help reduce some worry, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite camping foods along with some cooking and prepping tips that can help save space, time and clean-up. Let’s dig in!


Liquid Warmth

One of the most beautiful camping experiences is rising with the sun and sounds of the wilderness. It’s nothing like waking up to the alarm clock for work or school. It’s an organic awakening, moving with the relaxed pace of nature. The fresh crisp air fills your nose, the softness of your blanket wraps you warm, and there is no need to go anywhere.

Liquid Warmth - Coffee by the Fire!What could possibly make this moment any better? A cup of hot brewed coffee, snuggled in your favorite camping chair, of course! Instant, percolated, pressed, black, sugar, cream or both… there’s nothing like hot coffee on a cool camp morning.

Space Saving Tip: If you’re not a big fan of instant coffee, but short on space, there are several innovative options for tea bag and pour over style coffee making methods! You can also create your own single-serve coffee bag by pouring a scoop of ground coffee into a traditional coffee filter and tying it closed tightly with thread or dental floss. 


Wakey Wakey…

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So why not do it right? Just because you’re typically limited on space when camping, doesn’t mean you have to limit your favorite breakfast foods.

Did someone say Bacon?One-skillet meals, omelets in a bag and Dutch oven recipes are simple ways to get all of your favorite breakfast foods onto the camping table: eggs, ham, your preferred bacon or sausage, potatoes and other veggies, etc.

Also, prep everything you possibly can before your trip. For example, if hash browns are a must-have, grate them ahead of time and place them in a food storage bag or container, rather than packing potatoes and a grater.

Prep Tip: Pre-scramble your eggs and pour the mixture into an empty water bottle (or similar container) for easy storage and pouring when needed. Getting rid of the egg shells at home will also create less waste and bring less critter attention to your campsite.

Prep Tip: Premix your pancake batter at home and pour it into an empty squeeze bottle (like a ketchup bottle). This trick saves space, time, waste and cleanup, and it creates an easier than ever pouring method for cooking!

Prep Tip: Breakfast burritos are another easy breakfast option that will please the masses. Prep and roll them at home, wrap them in foil and simply reheat over your campfire when ready!




Foil Is Our Friend

As we just discovered with the aforementioned burritos, foil can be a powerful camp cooking ally. Anytime you can make a one-pot meal when camping - do!
Foil is Our Friend! It used to be that foil wrapping was reserved for baked potatoes, which are a great accompaniment, but you can also cook chicken, beef, seafood, veggies or any combination of ingredients in a foil pack for a one-pot style meal.

Foil-pack meals are a versatile, low-mess, low-stress option. Simply wrap your preferred food, seasonings, marinade, etc. into a tight foil pouch and place on the grill or in the hot embers (outside of the direct flame) of your campfire.

Time-Saver Tip: Eat your meal right out of the foil pack to reduce clean-up time and dirty dishes.


Over an Open Flame

Roasting hot dogs over an open fire is one of the most iconic camping images. There’s a simplicity and nostalgia to it that we all somehow inherently feel, no matter how many decades may separate us.

Hotdogs Roasting on an Open Fire...Are you a bold into-the-fire chef who likes them charred ‘til they split? Or are you the gentle hoverer, barely touching the outer flame ‘til their just warm all the way through?

Although hot dog options have increased greatly these days - all-beef, turkey, vegetarian, vegan, apple smoked chicken, etc. - they’re all welcome to roast at an open fire.

Food Tip: If you’re not much of a hot dog fan, don’t fret! There are plenty of other foods that can be creatively cooked over the fire, so you can roast with the best of ‘em. 



Grilled Anything… Yes Please!

Grilling is as synonymous with camping as jelly is with peanut butter. Many campsites either provide fire rings with optional grill tops or charcoal grills on site, so it’s likely you won’t even have to pack your own. A small amount of pre-campsite research can confirm this detail for you.

Grill All the Things!The best thing about the grill is that you can use it to cook any number of foods: beef, chicken, seafood, vegetables and fruits. It’s also very helpful with cooking several different foods at the same time. Sure, you may have to foil wrap a few items or start them at different times, but once you become familiar with average cook times, it’s fairly easy to make sure everything finishes at the same time. Another added benefit is that you don’t typically have any pots or pans to clean afterward.


Chicken Isn’t the Only Soup for the Soul

A pot of chili is a great solution to several cooking concerns. One pot can feed a whole family and leftovers can be used for chili dogs another day. It can be made Chili by the Campfire. Yes, please!at home and reheated later at your campsite, and we all know that chili tastes better after it’s sat for a day or two, anyway.

Another benefit is that it can be made to suit any taste preference: beef, turkey, vegetarian, vegan, with or without beans, spicy, mild, etc. Plus, a warm bowl of chili around the campfire is a great way to settle into the end of the day.

Not a chili enthusiast? Other yummy soups can be premade and reheated at your camp site and are just as comforting after a day in the wilderness; a hearty vegetable or vegetable with beef soup will warm all hearts on a cold night. 


Fresh Cooked Accomplishments!

Dinnertime!For many people, fishing is a main activity during their camping trip. Camping near or around lakes and rivers can be scenically beautiful and sustenance bountiful - when the fish are biting, of course.

Cooking fresh caught fish is another food option that reduces the amount of packing you need to do before your trip. It’s easily dressed with some simple herbs and/or citrus that you were probably going to pack anyway and can be grilled, foil-packed or cooked on the stove.

While fresh caught fish may not be the tidiest meal to prep, eating food that you caught or foraged yourself is always its own reward. 


The Sweet Side of Camping

You didn’t think for one minute that we were going to forget about the s’mores, did you? Not a chance! This warm, gooey treat is the epitome of camp food delights. The ingredients are small, light to pack and go a long way. One bag of mallows, one box of grahams and a few chocolate bars should last the entire trip… unless you invite me. BYO s’mores!

S'mores!Time-Saver Tip: If you need to make multiple s’mores quickly, or have little ones who aren’t quite ready to roast on their own, yet, try using a s’mores grilling basket or roasting rack.

If you’re looking for a sweet treat that offers a little more than pure sugary bliss, watermelon is a great choice. It has a 92% water content, so it’s super hydrating and surprisingly full of vitamins and nutrients - perfect for warm days or after a long hike. Strawberries, cantaloupe and peaches are also sweet snacks on the list of top hydrators.

For added snack time fun, you can use stainless steel cookie cutters (or fruit and veggie cutters) to pre-slice your watermelon into fun shapes for the kids - and let’s be honest, for the adults, too! This will also make it easier to pack and store your watermelon for traveling.

Tidy Tip: Using an artificial ground cover is a great way to provide a neat, comfortable picnic area for the kiddos to enjoy their snacks. It can also help keep the bottom of your coolers clean and go under your camping chairs for added comfort.


The Delicious Bottom Line

All food tastes better in the wilderness! But the stress of packing, cleaning, storage and amount of waste can put a damper on your respite recipes. Luckily, with a just little bit of keen planning and a fair amount of prep work, the chore of cooking will quickly become another enjoyable element of your camping adventure.