Camping can be an exhilarating experience, but planning for a camping trip can feel like a chore. The goal of enjoying the outdoors, being part of nature, and returning to our campsite seems a long way off when packing, especially when worrying about what to eat and how to cook while you’re out in the wild.
Anyone who has been camping knows that the combination of fresh air and a self-made fire makes food uniquely delicious, but to achieve this you need to have some forethought and prepare accordingly.
Kitchen Items to Bring Along
No matter where you go camping or the number of people with you, there is some basic kitchen gear that everyone will need:
- Grill and fuel
- Fireplace grate (for cooking over a fire)
- Cookware (pots, bowls, plates)
- Cast iron skillet and griddle
- Cooking utensils
- Cutting board
- Matches or a lighter
Additional items you may consider include:
- Roasting utensils
- Plastic storage containers
- Biodegradable soap and sponges
- Trash bags and paper bags
- Camp tables
Plan Your Meals
One of the necessities of camping is to create meals with a no-waste philosophy or at least as little waste as possible. Limitations on the food items you can take with you when camping encourages creativity in crafting tasty meals that use your items wisely. Here are some tips on how best to use what you have, without needless waste:
- Use up the items that spoil easily first (fruits, veggies, and thawed meats).
- Make a large meal with soon-to-expire items and save the leftovers for the next day.
- Throw leftover scraps of meat and vegetables into the skillet with eggs to create a hearty breakfast.
- After a day of hiking, swimming, or canoeing, few will want to spend hours preparing a meal, so make smart use of aluminum foil. Put leftovers combined with corn, seasoning, butter, and even potatoes in an aluminum foil wrap and let it cook all by itself on the fire.
Camping Food Hacks
While planning your meals and bringing along all the proper items will set you up for success, there are still a few things to keep in mind. Here are some special tips:
- Eliminate egg breakage by putting your eggs in a plastic bottle. Close the top and make sure it’s kept cool. You can just pour the contents into the pan for cooking when you’re ready.
- Orange muffins campfire style: Bring muffin batter with you in a plastic storage container. Also bring oranges along and use them for a meal, but save the halved peels. Pour the batter into the peels and cook them by placing them on a grill over the fire.
- Coffee without the coffeemaker: If you hate the taste of instant coffee and want the “real thing,” just put enough coffee grounds for one cup in a coffee filter and tie it at the top with floss or fishing line. You have now created a coffee-bag. It’s like a teabag for coffee.
- Camping-worthy mac and cheese: Make up the mac and cheese before you leave, coat foil pie tins with cooking oil and put the mac and cheese in them. Wrap very tightly with aluminum foil. When the fire is down to hot embers, put the wrapped tins on just long enough to heat up and melt the cheese (about 8-10 min). Check on the tins frequently because temperatures can vary.
- Put your favorite seasonings in straws and label them. Then seal them up top and bottom with a lighter. Snip when ready to use, and save on time and packing space.
Do you have any camping cooking tips you want to share? Leave a comment below.