Going camping for the weekend? Your main course does not have to be ramen or hot dogs with a side of Sriracha — get creative and cook meals like you would at home! Plan ahead with the great tips below for delicious, fuel-efficient meals that will get you ready for any kind of adventure.
(Our guided camping and hiking trips include awesome full fresh meals!)
The key to preparing delicious meals in the outdoors is to plan ahead. Keep in mind the amount of days you’ll be out there and how many (full) meals you’ll need, how you’ll keep the food fresh, how many people you’ll be cooking for, and your trip’s activity level.
Plan the right meals: If you’re headed out to the wilderness to relax, you may have time to cook more complex dishes. But if you’ll be hiking, swimming, or fishing all day, you want to plan meals that are easy and fast.
Nutrient-balanced meals: Meals with a balanced amount of protein, carbs, sodium, and healthy fats are crucial to supporting an action-packed weekend (or week). Consider simple substitutions, such as protein-rich quinoa instead of rice or whole dried fruit to snack on instead of sugary granola bars.
Keeping food fresh: Plan to cook the most perishable meals first. Freeze water gallon jugs ahead of your trip to use as ice (they’ll last longer than bags of ice) to keep the food cool. Once they melt, they’re a convenient extra water source.
Prep!: You may not have the time, space, or energy for meal-prep once you’re in the outdoors. Cut up the veggies, pre-make dishes that won’t spoil, marinade the meat in big plastic baggies, etc.
Kitchen Equipment: Make sure you have all the pots, pans, dish rags, and garbage bags that you need. To consolidate leftover food, always bring ziplocks or storage containers. See our blog on a Perfect Camping Setup for help on what kind of kitchen equipment you may need.
While lunch is usually eaten along the trail (pre-made sandwiches, granola bars, trail mix, dried fruit or produce that travels well, and some cheeses and meats), there are still options for easy-to-prepare lunches that will hold you over until dinner.
If you come prepared with all the ingredients and equipment, and are aware that it takes longer to cook while camping than at home, then making awesome camping meals should be a breeze.
Still doubting your camp cooking skills? Go on a guided camping trip and have the guides take care of the planning. Relax in camp while they prepare fresh, healthy, three course dinners (and all other meals) for you!