Hot, home-cooked meals while outside in nature are one of the best ways for anyone to relax. When you’re camping, every time you are out there for a few days, you’re testing your survival skills in how they make your time comfortable.
Your shelf-stable meals from your long-term storage are meant to be enjoyed. Rotating and trying your prepared meals is a great way to learn new recipes and try what works, and what doesn’t.
Camping is one of the best ways to spend quality time with family. In preparing and helping each other through the phases of meal prep, you find a commonality that’s nice, pleasant, and shared.
Self-reliance sometimes begins with a tiny disconnection from most technology and society — a few days away from it all. When we return home, we remember what we’re grateful for in the comforts of our beds and heated rooms.
Some Camping Tips
When planning for any camping trip, try to make sure you have the best items that make the best camping experience.
A portable stove or firepit is available to grill sausages, steaks, and veggies easily. You have a cooler full of drinks and water canteens filled to the brim. Your clothes are comfortable and pocketed, with your hand-sized gear within arm’s reach. Your waterproof tent fits everyone comfortably, and there are sleeping bags and pillows for all. Bags of trail mix and snacks are in reusable bags, and you’ve got several of your 25 natural, home-cooked meals in easy-to-remove packaging ready for a hot meal with your family after your tents are set up.
25 Easy Make Ahead Camping Meals
1. Mason Jar Parfait
With so many great combinations of every yogurt, fruit, and treat you think of, the yogurt parfait in a major jar is the perfect camping choice. Delightful, fresh, and maybe tarty, used inside of a mason jar, it stores well, is easy to transport, and can be eaten right from the jar with a spoon.
2. Breakfast Burritos
You can make freezer burritos for dinner and wrap any extras in foil before you go camping. Frozen, they’ll help keep your cooler cold. Fill them up with the classic egg, cheese, and bacon combo for a great way to start the day out in the sunshine.
3. Overnight Oats
Overnight Oats are quick and easy and you don’t need any fancy culinary skills to make this happen. Mix them in with your mason jar parfaits!
4. French Toast in Foil
Make your favorite French toast and add fruits for flavor like blueberry, strawberry, or peach. Slap everything on a large sheet of foil, add a slab of butter and drizzle some syrup. Then, create a few layers of foil to wrap your french toast in a square. One more layer of plastic wrap essentially makes it watertight.
5. Banana Bread
When your bananas are getting darker, they’re getting sweeter. It’s a perfect time to make some banana bread that is a great way to enjoy the brisk air of the great outdoors.
Make the banana bread ahead of time, store it in foil, and toss it on the campfire to toast it up!
Try it in a dutch oven for the fun and experience!
6. Breakfast Casserole
Casseroles have been a staple of American homesteads for over two hundred years. Baked into a savory mixture of goodness, any of your portioned ingredients can combine to make a wonderful meal.
If you make the casserole recipe the night before, the combination marinates together for a much tastier second round.
Lunches are so great because not only can you sit around outside and enjoy them, but you can pack them up for your daytime adventures while hiking or exploring the areas around your campsite.
7. Crockpot BBQ Sandwiches
Texas BBQ pulled pork sandwiches…mmmhmmm. Use a Crockpot to slow cook your pork or beef to get those tender strips of tangy meat. Store the slow-pulled mixture in a container and pack some buns. When you’re ready for lunch, scoop out your pork onto the buns, add some pickles, and enjoy!
8. Grilled Cheese with Ham
A grilled ham & cheese is an easy classic sandwich you can make anywhere. Good for hours after you make it, once they’re wrapped in foil, they’re easy to place in a brown paper bag for lunch.
When camping, you can also get that little extra smokey flavor from your camping fire; take out your griddle and enjoy that cheesy goodness outdoors.
9. Hot Dog or Sausage on a Stick
Roast hot dogs or sausages (pork, beef, or veggie) directly over the fire, or broil them in a pan.
Bring packets of ketchup for extra flavor with that smoky taste. Buns, rice, or bread make for an easy place to cool them down before munching down.
Made with pancakes, croissants, or puff pastry, combine your hot dog or sausage with some butter and syrup for another traditional American dish.
You will want to plan those dinners in advance to make sure you have what you need for the last meal of the day. Here are some of our favorites.
Marination of your kebabs the night before makes for the best kebabs! Skewer pretty much anything you like to eat with chunks of chicken tenderloin or breast, and soak in a mixture of salt, pepper, olive oil, and a sauce of your choice, and place them in a large plastic Tupperware container.
Heat up your grill after trying these amazing camping kebab recipes and grill them to perfection.
12. Shepherd’s Pie
Apt, this make-ahead camping meal is called Shepard’s pie because sheepherders for generations have been enjoying this recipe for ages. With your classic cast iron skillet, you can actually make this in the campfire. Layer it in a foil on the bottom to prevent excess carbon on the bottom of your skillet, and place it on your campfire grill for about 20 minutes and it will be good to go.
Another classic that you can cook over a campfire: Enchiladas. Make them classic, or mix up the ingredients, and always remember your packet of enchilada spice mix!
This is a classic camping dish and it’s really so easy to make. There are many different ways to make chili (at home, in a skillet, in a camping pot) and so many different ingredients you can use — make chili your way.
Freshly caught, thawed, or frozen, you can wrap your fish in foil with lemon, olive oil, garlic, and butter. When you’re ready to eat, place your fish-in-foil on the embers of your fire, or in the skillet.
If you’re camping – or in a survival situation – you will probably burn a lot of calories getting things done. This is why snacks can also be very helpful. Here are some of our favorites;
16. Homemade Trail Mix
Trail mix is one of those beautiful snack foods that pack a punch in nutrition and has so many combinations between sweet and savory.
17. Tex-Mex Dip
If you like chips and dip while camping or anytime really, consider making a Tex-Mex dip. Layered nicely, just like a potluck, you can take off the lid and dip.
18. Salsa and Chips
Salsa is mostly just tomato, onion, and cilantro. Mix it up with some oil and some lime, and you’ve got a fresh salsa to go with your tortilla chips. Package it up, and bring it with you camping.
19. Protein Balls
This is a great snack you can make before you go camping, store in plastic baggies, and eat whenever you want a little treat or extra energy.
20. Crispy Chickpeas
Packing tons of protein in each chickpea, bake them for a crunchy, crispy treat on the trail.
21. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is a classic. Buy it or make it, beef jerky belongs on pretty much every camping snack checklist with packaging that’ll handle any camping conditions.
You can learn how to make your own in an oven or in a food dehydrator and bring your own cost-effective beef jerky with you camping.
22. Fruit “Leather”
The fruit version of beef jerky is easy to make. By drying out fruit, your snack not only provides fiber but also stores for a long time. Simple to make in batches, just roll it up and throw it in the camping pack!
All you need is a bar of chocolate, graham crackers, large marshmallows, and a campfire and you have the quintessential campfire classic. Make sure you have all of your ingredients as well as your spits and surfaces to toast the crackers and melt the chocolate.
24. Candy Bark
The sweeter, funner version of peanut brittle, candy bark is a great ziplock bag treat to include while camping. All of these little snacks pack loads of calories, perfect for being in “camping mode”.
25. Dessert in a Jar
Remember you can use major jars as baking dishes for pies, turnovers, and other pastries. Once cooled, you can screw on the lids and take them with you on the journey to the great outdoors.
The Camping Food List
If you take the time to write up your camping food list before you go shopping, then you can gather all of your supplies and enjoy preparing your meals. Enjoy part of them for dinner and save the rest for your trip and be happy that you’re getting two things done at once.
Everything that can be cooked, canned, dried, or otherwise stored can be done before leaving for your camping trip, which is the best part of prepping! You’ll have everything you need before you need it.
What would you put on your camping food list?
Have you ever tried any of the 25 make-ahead camping meals on your own trips into the wild?
“Always Be Ready” Max