Excited to go camping, but don’t know what kind of food to bring camping? We have the ultimate camping food list to help you get started.
I love camping and one of my favorite parts about it is preparing and cooking camp food. If you have the right kitchen gear and a little knowledge, no food is off limits for your camp menu.
You can make your camping food list easy and straight forward, or more complex if you want. If it’s your first-time camping, keep it simple and build up to more complicated meals as you get more familiar with your camp kitchen.
Some of my favorite meals have been on a camp picnic table. There’s just something about the camping environment that makes your food taste so much better. If you’re looking for ideas for camp breakfast, camp lunch, and camp dinner, then I’ve got you covered with this list!
What Kind of Food Should I Bring for Camping?
Plan for each meal while you’re at camp. For example, if you are arriving Friday night, and leaving Monday morning, you’ll need 3 breakfasts, 2 to 3 lunches and 3 dinners. Anything goes when it comes to camping food. If you can make it at home, you can make it at camp!
Make the first night’s camp dinner easy
Keep it simple for the first night. You just pulled a half-day at work, and likely drove for 2–3 hours. After setting up camp, getting your bearings, and relaxing for a second it’s time to make camp dinner.
This could be grilling or boiling up hot dogs, grilling burgers, or heating up a soup you pre-made at home. Bagged salads or prepackaged sides go great with this meal, given they are already done and ready to go.
Dont get too fancy for camp lunch
Bring fixings for camp lunch that allow you to be on-the-go. I usually find myself on a hike, going to the lake, on a boat, or hitting the dirt road during lunch time. Sandwiches work great. Make them right after breakfast, throw them in a soft edge cooler, and start exploring.
have fun with camp breakfast and dinner on your full days
The days you wake up and and go to sleep at camp are the days you want to have fun making breakfast and dinner. You have plenty of time to prep, cook, and clean. Don’t be afraid to get creative. If you’re concerned, take a couple cans of chili in case you burn everything.
Make your last day’s camping meal easy
Just like your first meal when you showed up, you want your last breakfast at camp to be easy. Get everyone fed quickly with minimal clean up, so that you can take down camp, pack up the car, and get back home.
PRep at home as much as possible
If anything requires cutting, dicing, or cleaning do it at home the night before. Cut up melons and put them in an air-tight container. Slice onions and tomatoes for your sandwiches and keep in a plastic bag.
You could even cook a chili or chicken noodle soup a week before, freeze it, and heat it up the first night in camp.
don’t forget the camp snacks
Make sure to pack camp snacks for when you’re hanging around the camp or out exploring nature. Bring whatever sounds good to you. I like to bring chips, trail mix, tangerines, grapes, beef jerky, and sunflower seeds.
Camping Food List and ideas
If you’re looking for a tent camping food list and you want to have some good eating, this tent camping food list will get you started. Just remember, some items need specific kitchen gear. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your camp kitchen, keep your planning to more simple meals.
I put recommended kitchen tools in parentheses to remind you of what camp kitchen gear to pack.
Camp Breakfast Ideas
- Coffee (French press or percolator). I think this is required. Camp coffee is the best coffee.
- Juices and Milk. Juice is great anytime of day and milk has multiple uses.
- English muffin breakfast sandwiches (skillet, stovetop toaster, stove). An English muffin with a fried egg and ham. There are even propane stove toasters that work great for this.
- Eggs and bacon or sausage (skillet, stove). This is a classic for a reason. Get some extra thick bacon or super fancy sausage to go the extra mile.
- Egg and beef scramble with cheese and green onion (skillet, stove). Use the leftover tri-tip from the night before. Camp style steak and eggs!
- Skillet potatoes (skillet, stove). Skillet potatoes go great with anything mentioned above or on their own.
- French toast (skillet, stove). Use your leftover french bread from the night before.
- Pancakes (skillet, stove). Premeasure your pancake mix for a fun and easy camp meal.
- Bagels and cream cheese (stovetop toaster). This is a quick and easy option. Use that stovetop toaster on those bagels.
- Cereal and milk. Keep it simple and kid-friendly.
- Oatmeal (pot, stove). Oats and water. Easy to pack, easy to store, and easy to cook.
- English muffins and fruit (toaster). This is another quick and easy option.
- Muffins. Pick up a pack at the store or bake them at home for something quick and easy.
- Breakfast bars. Sometimes you just don’t have time to sit around. Grab a breakfast bar and go hiking!
Don’t forget to pack ancillary food needed to make the above. Butter, oil, salt and pepper, sugar and syrup may be required.
Camp Lunch Ideas
- Deli sandwiches, potato chips, and fruit. Throw in as many sandwich toppings as you want. Make your sandwich after breakfast, toss it in the portable cooler, and go hit the lake.
- Salami, cheese and crackers, olives, and canned oysters. This is just a grab bag of snacks that makes a hearty lunch for camping at the picnic site.
- Chili dogs (pot, stove). If you’re looking forward to a lazy day at camp, break out the chili dogs.
- Tri-tip sandwiches. Use leftover tri-tip from the night before and make yummy sandwiches.
- Power bars. Again, you didn’t have time to sit around and get gourmet. Throw some high-calorie energy power bars in your pack and hit the trail.
Don’t forget to pack ancillary food needed to make the above. Mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, and sandwich spread may be required for your plan.
Camp Dinnner Ideas
- Hotdogs, potato salad, and watermelon (pot, stove or BBQ grill). Make sure the potato salad is pre-made and the watermelon is pre-sliced. This is a great meal for your first night at camp.
- Hamburgers, coleslaw, and grapes (BBQ grill). Have your patties formed and your toppings and cheese pre-sliced. Again, make sure your coleslaw is pre-made, and your grapes are pre-washed.
- Soup, bread, and salad (pot, stove, salad bowl). Make your soup a few days before. I like the bagged salads for their ease of use.
- BBQ Tri-tip, potatoes, and bagged Caesar salad (BBQ grill, Dutch oven or fire, salad bowl). Now we are getting fancy. Grill up that tri-tip over some charcoals and wrap your pre-forked potatoes in aluminum foil and toss them next to the fire.
- Grilled pre-marinated chicken, beans, and corn (BBQ grill, pot, stove). Make your marinade at home and start soaking that chicken the night before you leave. Use the corn husks as a handle and roast the corn on the BBQ grill as well.
- Chicken and vegetable kabobs, French bread, and Rice-a-Roni (BBQ grill, pot, stove). Precut your kabob pieces before leaving for camp, and assemble the night of dinner. Rice-a-roni makes a super easy and tasty side.
- Beer brats and chips (pot, stove). These are hotdogs for adults. Grill the brats slowly, and then let them soak in a beer bath with onion.
- Made from scratch chili with cornbread (pot, stove). You can either make the chili completely before leaving for camp, or assemble the chili at camp. If assembling at camp, prep as much as possible, and mix in your Dutch oven or pot.
- Pulled pork sandwiches and macaroni salad (pot, stove). Make the pulled pork at home and heat the night of the dinner.
Don’t forget to pack ancillary food needed to make the above. Butter, oil, condiments, salad dressing, and salt and pepper may be required for your food plan.
Snacks for your Camping Food list
- Potato chips and sour cream and onion dip or blue cheese dip. This also makes a good side for a lot of the meals above.
- Chips and salsa. This also makes a good side for a lot of the meals above.
- Apples, bananas, or any fruit. Bring fruit to go along with any meal or for snacking at camp or at the river.
- Trail mix. Outdoorsy people made trail mix famous for a reason. Grab a couple bags and toss in your pack.
- Beef jerky. It doesn’t require refrigeration and lasts a long time. Great for the backpack.
- Sunflower seeds. My personal favorite. Bring a spit bag so we don’t have to see your shells.
- S’mores. Ok, this isn’t a suggestion, this is a requirement, especially if your camping with kids.
Camping food lisT for no Fridge
When camping and you don’t have an RV or Trailer with a fridge, you will either have to get a good ice chest or pack meals that can be stored dry and don’t require refrigeration.
Ice chest camping tips
When packing an ice chest, remember to put items in the ice chest already chilled. If you put soda cans in the ice chest warm, it will require too much of the ice to chill them. This will result in your ice chest needing more ice sooner.
If you pack your ice chest cold, add ice, and store in the shade, you will maximize the life of the ice. There are also tricks for additional insulation to keep your ice chest as cool as possible.
no ice chest, no regigerator, no problem!
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to pack camping food and you don’t have an ice chest or refrigerator, just simply pack dry goods or freeze dried goods that don’t require to be kept cool. Things like:
- Granola bars and Power bars. There are numerous brands targeted on bringing you energy and calories.
- Bread, peanut butter, and honey. Honey lasts forever. Make yourself a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Just make sure you have peanut butter that doesn’t require refrigeration.
- Raisins and other dehydrated fruit. Bring some bags of your favorite dehydrated fruit. These pack well and last a lot longer than fresh fruit.
- Rice and beans. Rice and beans pack well, and just require boiling water for cooking.
- Canned tuna. Really any canned meat works. Make a sandwich or cracker topper with your favorite canned meat.
- Canned chili. A good hearty chili is great on a cool night. Just heat and eat right out of your mini pot.
- Oatmeal. Oatmeal is easy to make and hearty. Pre-measure the oatmeal into bags so you don’t have to worry about measuring at camp.
- Freeze dried meals. These are a lot of fun and have a huge diversity in flavor and style. Just add boiling water and you can have eggs, fried rice, Italian pepper steak, or beef stew. These also pack well, and some advertise a 20 to 30 year shelf life.
So now that you have some good ideas for camp meals, put your camping food list together, load up your ice chest, and get ready to camp.
Just remember to keep your camping food list within your comfort zone until you become more comfortable cooking, grilling, and baking outdoors.
As you get more and more experienced cooking while camping, I am sure you will come up with your own favorites and custom recipes you can make while camping!
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