camping food

19 Best Foods to Take Camping

Camping is an excellent part of many people’s lives. It helps reduce stress, provides better sleep, and boosts your connection with nature. This is especially true if you use a tent instead of an RV. 

However, both are excellent choices for a camping experience. In this case, you might be wondering what the best foods to take camping are. 

The best foods to take camping are those that do not perish very quickly, like fresh fruit and veggies that you do not have to refrigerate. Other foods include condiments, cookies, crackers, and breads. Lastly, consider bringing cured meats that do not need refrigeration. 

This article will describe the best foods to take during your camping trip. We will briefly discuss the foods and some frequently asked questions and tips you will need to know before camping. Given that information, let us continue reading down below! 

What Are the Best Foods to Take Camping?


As mentioned above, the best foods to take are primarily non-perishable items. However, some rules and exceptions exist, such as if you have a cooler or will be in an RV with a fridge inside. Still, here are some wonderful ideas for you and your family or friends to bring along! 


1. Tortillas


You can use tortillas with many of your meals, especially if you plan on having a burrito night! They are great for on-the-go lunches, breakfast burritos, or simply putting cheese inside and making a delicious tortilla. You can also put whatever seasonings you wish inside, giving it a unique flavor. 

Consider bringing some flour to make a tasty tortillas! They will be fresh, and you will know what ingredients are inside.


2. Bread


Who wants to go camping without making a sandwich? Bread is also versatile and can be used in every meal. Consider bringing it to make toast, pizza, garlic bread, or even buttered bread while eating that warm, tasty chili meal. 


3. Potatoes


Potatoes are one of the best options for a camping trip. They provide energy, so make potatoes and eggs for a healthy and hearty breakfast. You can also make an excellent meal with potatoes, onions, and peppers. 


4. Cheese


You can put cheese on almost anything and be a happy camper (yes, pun intended.) This goes well with crackers, bread, sandwiches, or even dinner! Also, consider making a charcuterie board for a fancy wood experience. 


5. Sausage


Sausage contains more nutrients than hot dogs, so consider bringing links instead. This is because they will keep you full longer and provide a healthy meal. An excellent meal is a sausage wrap with many veggies and some ranch sauce. However, the sky is the limit regarding what you can do with this! 


6. Chili


Chili is extremely easy to make, especially while camping. Although you can make chili with dried beans, we suggest using canned food for an easy meal. However, you can easily add fresh veggies such as peppers, onions, and tomatoes to make an excellent meal for the entire camping gang! 


7. Fruit


Many fruits will last well at room temperature for days to come—having something fresh while away from your home is one of the best things you can do! Remember to consider the temperature at which said food items will be in. For example, if it is 75+ degrees outside, fruit like bananas or tomatoes will not stay fresh very long. 


Here is a small list of some fruits for you to bring camping:


  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Citrus fruits
  • Plumbs
  • Mangoes
  • Avocados
  • Kiwi
  • Tomatoes (depending on the temperature)


8. Instant Mac and Cheese


Mac and cheese is an excellent choice regardless of your age. This is especially true if you love comfort foods… and cheese! Consider getting instant mac and cheese, like this 8-count Kraft brand. This makes for a quick snack that calls for an easy clean-up afterward.


9. Trail Mix


This specific snack offers many options, including but not limited to dried fruit, nuts, chocolates, pretzels, and more. This is an excellent option for anyone who loves a specific flavor but does not necessarily want to enjoy eating just one thing. Consider getting Nature’s Garden snack packs for more variety.


10. Pretzels


For a salty snack, pretzels will be an excellent option. This is also good for anyone who prefers to avoid mixing their foods, like trail mix. However, it is still a good addition to any sandwich you might have or want something to eat between meals. 


11. Popcorn


If you have never had popcorn cooked above a fire, you are missing out! Popcorn is one of the simplest snacks you can make. Consider bringing popcorn kernels and telling fantastic stories or playing games right by the campfire!


12. Cookies


Cookies are a great way to get some sweets on your camping journey. If you do not wish to make them, buy them at the store or online for better convenience. Not only that, but they are already pre-packaged and less likely to break. 


13. S’Mores


Camping without s’mores? Since when? S’mores are a massive staple of camping in itself, especially when you are sitting by the fire! Remember the main ingredients: graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows, not to mention the sticks that go along with it. 

This will be a sticky mess, so if you do not have any nearby bathrooms, make sure to have some water or wipes to clean yourself off afterward.


14. Granola Bars


Granola bars last a reasonably long time, making them an excellent snack for camping. If you are doing a lot of hiking, consider getting something like Nature Valley protein bars, which contain 10 grams of protein in each one. However, for a simple snack, consider buying a variety pack.  


15. Crackers


For those wanting to make a meat platter or make their own Lunchables, bring crackers with you as they make excellent additions to any meals or snacks you may have.


16. Condiments


Although condiments are not necessarily food you eat, bring plenty to go with the food you will be making. For example, if you make fries with potatoes, consider getting ketchup. Since you will be outdoors, consider bringing sauce packets instead of bottles to ensure it goes smoothly. 


17. Cereal


Cereal is, of course, many people’s go-to breakfast. Consider bringing cereal, especially if you like eating it dry! However, if you wish to bring milk along for the ride, it may be more challenging to store, but you can still do it. Here is an article on how to bring milk on a camping trip. 


18. Fruit Leather


Fruit leather helps if you have younger children or want to snack on something small while not getting fresh fruit out. Not to mention, it is excellent if you are low on fresh fruit or do not have any left. Consider making your own inside the oven before camping as well. 


19. Dried Fruit


Another great option is getting dried fruit. Many options, such as freeze-dried or chewy types, are available. These would make an excellent addition to an oatmeal breakfast or if you want to have a healthy snack somewhere throughout the day. 

What Meat Doesn’t Need Refrigeration?


Certain cured meats do not need refrigeration. This is because they are typically smoked, cured, or dried, making them less perishable than other types of meats, like raw chicken. Here are some examples down below:


  • Pepperoni
  • Salami
  • Summer sausage
  • Sausage sticks
  • Jerky 


If you want to make these into a meal, add cheese, crackers, and olives to create a nice-looking charcuterie board!

Does Cheese Need Refrigeration?


According to Ask USDA, soft cheeses like shredded, goat, and cream cheese need refrigeration, while others do not. However, hard cheeses like cheddar, block, grated parmesan, and processed cheeses (like American) can all stay out of the fridge. The USDA still recommends refrigerating your cheese as it lasts much longer this way. 

On the other hand, if you wish to freeze hard cheese before camping, you can do so except with cottage, ricotta, and cream cheese. 


Some Meal Planning Tips


Before packing everything, plan out your meals. For example, if you are camping for an entire week, plan your meals so you know what to bring and do not overpack something. 

However, for those going on a weekend trip, it might be a different experience altogether. Given that information, here are a few tips you would like to know beforehand. 


1. Prep Your Food at Home


Suppose you have a lot of things planned on your camping trip, like boating, hiking, fishing, geocaching, etc. In that case, it would be wise to prep your meals at your house the day before. 

That way, you do not have to worry about doing so much during that time, especially cleaning up. Not only this, but you will have a lot of fresh veggies and fruit available, too! 


2. Pack What You Need


If you have bulk items at home, consider repacking said things in a smaller container or bag. For example, only bring the ingredients needed if you will be making homemade bread. This saves a ton of space in your bag as well! 


3. Marinade Your Food


For those wanting something delicious, consider starting your marinade at home before going on the trip. For example, if you cook steak, put said meat in a plastic ziplock bag and let it sit for a few days to create a juicy, tender flavor. 

However, avoid acids like lemon juice and vinegar for marinating. If you wish to put these on a food item, add them during your trip to ensure the meat is not rigid or mushy. 


4. Keep a Backup Meal or Two Handy 


Suppose you wish to stay an extra day or so. In that case, consider bringing an extra meal or so. That way, you and your family can enjoy the outdoors for longer! Not only that, but you do not have to worry about running out of food during your camping trip. 

What Camping Food Gear Should You Consider Bringing?


You should bring plenty of camping food gear, especially if camping inside a tent and making your meals outside with a fire. However, even if you go inside a camper, bringing said items with you is still wise. Here is a quick list down below:


  • Cast iron skillets (we love these as they have lids and silicone pieces to add to the handles)
  • Cutting board
  • Stove (for larger families, consider getting a 2-burner stove)
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener / corkscrew
  • Pot (here’s a 4 to 6-person hanging pot)
  • Tongs
  • Large mixing spoons
  • Spatula
  • Kitchen knife with cover
  • Foil
  • Pot holders
  • Coffee maker
  • Dutch oven (optional, depending on what you are going to make)
  • Instant read thermometer


Final Thoughts


The options are (almost) endless when it comes to bringing what food you would like while camping! However, the best ones are mentioned above. Get creative on what to make during this time, as you might surprise yourself! 

We hope this article has helped you. As always, we want you to have a fantastic time camping and doing any outdoor endeavor during your time away. Most importantly, remember to relax and enjoy yourself with whoever you spend this time with! 

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