The Ultimate Guide To Camping Meals: Tips And Tricks

There’s no denying that camping is fun. But when you’re on the road, it can also be a lot of work. So if you want to enjoy your trip without stressing about having to make meals, follow these tips and tricks for preparing food in the great outdoors.

5 Easy and Delicious Camping Meals | Camp Food Ideas
Key Takeaways
Plan ahead to ensure you have enough food for your camping trip.
Consider the weather when choosing what food to bring on your trip.
Bringing a cooler is a great way to keep your food fresh.
There are many easy and delicious meals you can make while camping.
Be sure to follow food safety practices while camping to avoid illness.
Bringing the right cookware and utensils can help expand your campfire cooking options.
Don’t forget to bring snacks and drinks to help fuel your outdoor adventure.
Be mindful of any food restrictions or allergies of your camping companions.
Leave no trace by properly disposing of food waste and packaging.
Enjoy the experience of outdoor cooking and trying new recipes while camping.

Pack Your Cooler Strategically

The right size cooler is essential for your camping trip. You want to be sure that the cooler will be large enough to hold everything you need, but not too large that it weighs down your car or takes up too much space in your tent.

If you’re planning on taking sandwiches and snacks along with a small dish like macaroni salad or fruit salad, then a 24-quart cooler can hold plenty of food for one person for an entire daylong hike. 

However, if you’re planning to pack more than just lunch items in your cooler—think hamburgers and hot dogs then opt for a larger model at least 50 quarts (65 liters). Also remember these tips when packing your ice chest:

Pack ice around the outer edges of the container so it doesn’t melt all over everything else inside; this will keep everything else colder longer!

Use dry ice instead of regular melting ice packs (dry ice retains its temperature longer) if possible; check with local grocery stores before heading out on your trip if they offer this service available near where they are located.

Looking to plan a camping trip with your kids? Our guide on how to plan the perfect camping trip with your kids provides expert tips and advice for an unforgettable outdoor adventure with your family.

Use Good Storage Containers

The first thing to remember when buying containers is that they need to be airtight. This will prevent food from drying out, which can make it stale and ultimately ruin your meal. 

Also, don’t forget about the size of the container you want them to be large enough for your food without being so big that you have too much leftover.

It’s also important to buy containers that are easy-to-clean and labeled with what’s inside each one. Label your containers with stickers or a sharpie so everyone can tell what’s in them (especially if there are kids camping with you).

Best Storage Containers for Camping

Container TypeBrandDescription
Food Storage ContainersOXO Good GripsBPA-free containers that seal tightly to keep food fresh and come in a variety of sizes.
Stackable ContainersRubbermaid BrillianceLeak-proof and stain-resistant plastic containers with clear lids for easy visibility and are freezer and dishwasher safe.
Dry Storage ContainersGamma2 Vittles VaultHeavy-duty airtight containers ideal for storing dry foods and come in a variety of sizes.
Insulated Food ContainersHydro Flask Food FlaskStainless steel, vacuum-insulated containers that keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold for up to 12 hours.
Collapsible ContainersSilicone Collapsible Food Storage ContainersLightweight and collapsible containers that are perfect for saving space on camping trips and can be used for both hot and cold food storage.

Note: These are just a few examples of storage containers that are ideal for camping. There are many other great options available that may suit your needs better.

Prepare Ahead

Preparing your meals in advance is the easiest way to ensure that you have a hot and delicious meal each night. It means less cooking time at camp, when you’ll be tired and hungry from being out all day.

It also helps you make sure you have enough food for everyone in your group. You can cook more than one meal at a time, saving on fuel costs, or defrosting meals before they’re eaten.

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Use A Cast Iron Skillet

Cast iron skillets are the best piece of camping gear you can have, period. They’re durable, they can be used over an open fire or on your grill, and they’re easy to clean. There are so many ways to use them! You can use them for cooking pancakes, eggs or bacon in the morning; baking brownies at night; or even serving up bread and butter during dinner time.

Best Cast Iron Skillets for Camping

Skillet TypeBrandDescription
Traditional SkilletLodge Cast Iron SkilletPre-seasoned cast iron skillet with a comfortable grip handle and comes in various sizes. It is durable, easy to clean, and perfect for cooking over a campfire or on a stove.
Deep Skillet with LidCamp Chef 12″ Cast Iron SkilletWith a deep-dish design and a tight-fitting lid, this cast iron skillet is great for cooking stews, soups, and casseroles. The dual pour spouts make for easy serving, and the handle loop provides for easy handling.
Combo CookerLodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Dual HandlesThis versatile 2-in-1 skillet and lid can be used as a deep skillet or a shallow grill pan. It is pre-seasoned and comes with dual handles that make it easy to lift and transport.
Square SkilletStansport Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Square SkilletThis pre-seasoned cast iron skillet is perfect for cooking anything from eggs to steak. Its square shape maximizes cooking space and its long handle provides for easy handling.
Easy-Clean SkilletField Cast Iron SkilletThis modern take on the traditional cast iron skillet has non-stick properties that make cleaning effortless. It also has a large loop handle that makes it easy to hold and hang for storage.

Note: These are just a few examples of cast iron skillets that are ideal for camping. There are many other great options available that may suit your needs better.

Use The Right Charcoal Grill

When you are choosing a grill, make sure you have the right kind of charcoal grill. You should have one with a lid, which will keep your food from drying out and help keep the heat in. 

It’s also important that your grill has air vents at the bottom of each side so that when you open it up to check on your food or add more charcoal, it won’t cool down too much. 

Finally, don’t forget about having enough fuel for cooking! You’ll need enough for all of your meals plus extra to get through any unexpected delays or unexpected guests joining in on the fun as well!

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Create Bigger Heat Surfaces With Bricks

You can use bricks to create a larger cooking surface. Bricks are cheap and easy to find, especially if you visit your local hardware store or building supply company. 

The only caveat is that the bricks need to be the right kind they shouldn’t have been treated with chemicals, as this will leach into your food while it cooks on top of them. 

If you do use old bricks from a fireplace, consider running them through the dishwasher first so that they’re clean and free of any dust or debris before using them for campfire cooking purposes.

Bricks can also serve as a base for grills. You can either buy one of those grill inserts designed for brick placement underneath (like this one), or just lay down some sturdy pieces of plywood over an existing grill grate (like this). This ensures that any grease from meat drippings doesn’t fall through onto the fire below where it could cause flare-ups and smokey flare-ups in turn lead air intakes getting blocked by carbon buildup which could lead to injury or worse yet: death!

Best Bricks for Creating Bigger Heat Surfaces

Brick TypeBrandDescription
Baking StoneUnicook Heavy Duty Ceramic Pizza Grilling StoneThis square-shaped baking stone is made of premium ceramic material that distributes heat evenly. It is perfect for creating a larger cooking surface and can be used for baking, smoking, and grilling.
Fire BrickUS Stove Company FBP6E FireBrickThese rectangular fire bricks are made from durable ceramic material that withstands high temperatures. They can be easily stacked and arranged to create a larger cooking surface for campfire cooking.
Paver StoneOldcastle Natural Impressions Flagstone Concrete Wall CapThese natural-look paver stones create an even and stable surface for cooking. They are made from concrete and can withstand high temperatures, making them perfect for outdoor cooking.
Clay BrickGeneral Shale Common BrickThese clay bricks are affordable and easy to find at home improvement stores. They hold up well to high temperatures and are perfect for stacking and arranging to create a larger cooking surface.
Refractory BrickHarbisonWalker International KRUZITE Refractory BrickThese refractory bricks are exceptionally heat-resistant and durable, making them perfect for building firepits and stoves. They can also be arranged to create a larger surface area for cooking over an open fire.

Note: Safety is paramount when using bricks for cooking. Only use bricks specifically designed for high temperatures and cooking, such as refractory and fire bricks.

Wash Up Properly After Meals

After a meal, it’s important to wash your dishes and utensils properly. This is one of the easiest ways to help keep Mother Nature happy. Don’t use chemicals or harsh soaps when cleaning up after a meal; they can pollute the water and soil. 

Instead, use biodegradable soap that doesn’t contain phosphates (which can harm fish) or chlorine bleach (which kills plankton). 

Make sure you rinse your dishes well before packing them away into your camping supplies, so there aren’t any food particles left behind. Dishwashing liquid isn’t actually good for the environment because it contains phosphates; instead, just grab some warm water and scrub away! 

If you’re looking at this list thinking “I don’t want to do all that work,” don’t worry—you don’t have to! There are alternative options available: if you’re looking for some inspiration on what meals might be better suited for car camping than backpacking (and therefore require less cleanup), check out our article on Camping Food Ideas For Every Type Of Trip!.

Whether you’re a seasoned camping pro or a newbie, knowing what to pack for your next trip is crucial. Our ultimate camping trip checklist has got you covered with what to pack and when to go so that you can make the most of your next adventure.

Make Food You Want To Eat Again

Let’s be honest: if you made something that you don’t like, would you really want to eat it? Probably not, which is why it’s important to make food that you actually want to eat. This will save your wallet and your stomach from unnecessary stress when camping.

There are a lot of great recipes out there for campers, but if the ingredients aren’t ones that appeal to your tastebuds or are too complicated for what little cooking equipment you have on-hand, then making those meals won’t be as fun or easy as they could have been. 

The best way around this problem is by finding recipes with ingredients that are easily attainable at local grocery stores—or better yet: make food from scratch!

Set Out The Table

  • Set Out The Table
  • Place a tablecloth over the picnic table, or even better, lay out a blanket on the ground. This will make your campsite feel more like home and less like a wilderness adventure.
  • Place the cooler in the center of the table or on an end where it’s easy to access.
  • Arrange all of your food around it so that everyone can easily grab what they need without having to walk around too much once they sit down.
  • Place a basket filled with utensils and napkins within arm’s reach so that no one has to get up again right away when they need something else from inside their bags or pockets (or off another part of their bodies). Also make sure there are lots of napkins available—you don’t want people wiping grease off their hands with their shirts!

And finally, set out salt and pepper shakers for everyone at each spot setting so everyone can season their meals according to personal preference instead of having just one kind available throughout all dishes cooked over campfires this weekend (which might not work well if someone prefers Italian spices but others enjoy more traditional American flavorings).

The perfect meal can make or break your camping trip. Check out our guide on the ultimate guide to camping meals – tips and tricks for ideas on campfire cooking, delicious recipes, and more to help satisfy your hunger and make your camping experience memorable.

Clean Up As You Go Along

Good camping meals start with a clean kitchen, so it’s important to make sure you’re cleaning as you go along. As soon as you finish a meal, do the dishes and tidy up your campsite before the next meal. 

If you don’t, your mess will pile up and become overwhelming—and it’s no fun having to clean up a big mess when all you want to do is relax!

Also, make sure not to waste any food or let dishes pile up. Packaging labels often suggest freezing leftovers for another day; if this isn’t possible or practical, be sure that any food that won’t get eaten gets packed out of the woods.

Never Let Your Drinks Get Warm

It’s important to keep your drinks cool. The best way to do this is by having a cooler with plenty of ice or keeping your drinks in a sealed thermos. If you have a freezer bag, fill it with water and freeze it for later use; you can use this as an ice pack for keeping food cold or cool down your drink with it!

If you are using a thermos, make sure that it is full of ice and that the lid seals properly. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through drinking your tea only to realize that you’ve been sucking on warm liquid all along—and no one likes hot tea!

Don’t Forget The Sunscreen

Yes, this is a camping trip and you probably won’t be staying inside for more than an hour at a time, but you still don’t want to get sunburned. Sunscreen is important! 

And it’s not just any old sunscreen that will do. You need something that’s specifically made for your skin type (i.e., oily or dry). 

If you’re worried about getting burned while camping, I recommend using an SPF 30 or higher and applying at least half an hour before going outside you need enough time for it to set in so it doesn’t rub off on your clothing later on in the day when you might be sweating from all the hiking around camp!


So, there you have it: the ultimate guide to camping meals! We hope that you enjoyed reading this post and learned some new tips and tricks. 

Camping should be a fun and relaxing experience for everyone involved, so make sure to keep these tips in mind as you plan your next trip.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you plan your next camping adventure:

Camping Food Guide: What to Eat (And Not Eat) in the Great Outdoors – This article provides a comprehensive camping food guide for what to eat (and not eat) during your outdoor excursion.

Camping Food 101: The Ultimate Guide to Delicious and Easy Camping Meals – For campers looking for easy and delicious camping meal options, this ultimate guide has a collection of recipes and other helpful tips.

The Ultimate Guide to Campsite Cooking – This Ultimate Guide from JUSTF offers useful tips, techniques, and recipes for preparing meals whilst camping.


What are some essential items to bring on a camping trip?

Some essential items to bring on a camping trip include a tent, sleeping bags, a portable stove or grill, water bottles, and a first-aid kit.

How can I keep my food fresh while camping?

To keep your food fresh while camping, store perishable items in a cooler with plenty of ice or ice packs and avoid packing items that have a short shelf life.

What are some easy meals to make while camping?

Some easy meals to make while camping include grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, canned soups, and oatmeal.

How do I start a campfire safely?

To start a campfire safely, select a site that is at least 15 feet away from tent walls, trees, or other flammable items, clear the area, and use only dry wood and kindling.

What are some fun camping activities for families?

Some fun camping activities for families include hiking, fishing, playing games, telling stories around the campfire, stargazing, and outdoor crafts.