Food is an essential of life. It is a necessity for survival, it is an indicator of personality or personal preferences, and it is a centerpiece to all kinds of family and social gatherings. No matter where we go or what we do, some kind of food will always be around – camping is no exception to this.
In fact, it may even be more necessary to have a proper camping food checklist with the right types of food and right amount you bring when going on a nice camping trip. Having a nice stocked pack of food during your trip will keep everyone happy, full and satisfied. Whether you are out camping by yourself, with some friends, or your family, we are going to look at some of the basic food items you can and should bring with you out in the great outdoors.
#1: Breakfast Foods
The most important meal of the day is breakfast and just because you’re out camping doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice start to the day. For those who aren’t bringing a portable cooker on your trip, you can bring:
- Oatmeal (with dehydrated fruits if you want some as well)
- Orange juice (or other fruit juice)
As a tip, if you are brining milk for your cereal, buy them in small, individual boxes if you don’t have a cooler to store a bigger box of milk once it is opened.
If you’re bringing a portable cooker on your trip, you can add:
- Pancake mix (or ingredients for pancakes made from scratch if you prefer)
- Maple syrup for your pancakes
Don’t forget that you’ll need to store eggs in your cooler as well, along with the milk, and butter if you like butter with your pancakes, as well as yogurt if you bring it. If you are curious about the proper way to store and treat eggs, especially when you are out on a party, a picnic of a camping trip, you can read more about it here.
#2: Heavy Meals
Each person is different when it comes to the amount of food they eat and when. Some people eat more for lunch than dinner while for others, it will be the opposite. Since people’s preferences are different, here’s a list of heavy food that you can bring on your camping trip for those times you eat your big meals. Or when you’re just hungry from a long hike.
- Your favorite sauces (canned or in a jar)
- Tip: you can empty out the contents into a freezer bag and label it if you want to save space or reduce the weight from the cans. Just remember to rinse your freezer bags, reuse them and bring them home so you’re not leaving waste in the campsite. Check the can/jar though first. If it says “refrigerate when opened”, keep those freezer bags in the cooler as well.
- Canned goods (canned tuna, salmon, sardines, oysters, beans, soups, etc.) Once again, you can also transfer these into zipper bags. Just check the storage information if they need to be kept refrigerated.
- Hotdogs (and buns of course)
- Dry soup mixes
While some of these meals will be easier prepared if you bring a portable cooker along, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to have a big, warm meal if you don’t have a cooker. Another option is something called “freezer bag cooking” in which all you’ll need is hot water, and properly prepared meals ahead of time. You can visit Trail Cooking to learn more about this option. There are a bunch of different recipes for freezer bag cooking as well as instructions on how to dehydrate foods on your own if you want.
These are some foods you can pack and much on during the trip. You can keep them in their packets or once again transfer them into zipper bags to give you some extra space.
- Your favorite bread spreads (peanut butter, cheese, marmalade, jams, chocolate spreads, butter, etc.)
- Rice cakes
- Trail mix (especially if you’re going out hiking)
- Granola/protein bars
#4: Fun For The Kids
- Graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate syrup (to make some S’mores, of course)
- Chips (you can even bring some healthier variety if chips if you want)
- Fruits (pack your kids favorite fruits. The best ones to bring are oranges, apples, pears, and berries. Avoid bringing bananas as they can get damaged easily during transportation and they tend to attract more fruit flies as they over-ripen and when it gets hot).
- Healthy snacks (such as carrot sticks)
#5: Fun for adults
Really, the only thing in this category is alcohol. You can bring some beers or other liquor during your trip to loosen up and have some fun. Bring a cooler if you can so your drinks are nice and cold. Just remember to designate someone who will not drink to make sure everyone is all right. You need to be extra careful when drinking during camping.
- Water (an essential you must have and should not forget)
- Note: There is some debate as to how much water a person needs every day as the number seems to constantly change and be different when you ask different people. Health.com says you need to have eight, 8oz of water (almost 2 liters) per day. So as much as possible, try to bring this much water to properly stay hydrated or do research to see if your campsite has free water.
- Hot chocolate
#7: Final Toppings
Basically, these are all your condiments or extra things you like to add to your meals to make them perfect for you. These can include things like:
- Hot sauce
- Herbs and other spices
- Salt and pepper
Check your pantry and see what condiments you cant live without. You can transfer these into tiny zipper bags as well to save space.
While everyone’s eating preferences vary greatly, these are some of the basics that you can bring. Of course, it will be quite different if you have a special diet like if you are a vegetarian or a vegan for example.
The key to successful food packing for your camping trip is to plan it out and prepare ahead of time. Utilize zipper bags when you can and be sure to read the storage labels on your food items if they need to be kept in a cooler.
Camping is a great experience and having all your favorite foods available will make it a little bit more special. What about you? What’s in your camping food-packing list? Comment below and tell us what food you can’t live without and what you will definitely bring with you camping. Or feel free to share this article if you enjoyed it or if you know someone who is getting ready to go on a trip, so they don’t forget all the food essentials they will need!