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Easy camping food ideas

Updated on December 23, 2012

Food is something that puts many people off camping however with these easy camping food ideas this will never be an excuse again.

Maybe you are someone who wants to try camping but are worried about what you are going to eat to survive or maybe you are an experienced and seasoned camper who is stuck in a rut and bored of the usual camping food.

Whoever you are and whatever your circumstances you will find some easy camping food ideas in this article that will make you re-think about camping food.

Easy camping food ideas - tinned foods

Canned foods
Canned foods

Proper outdoor camping involves sleeping in a tent under some canvass, or on those really hot nights alfresco under the stars, and roughing it. Living in such basic accommodation means you won't have access to a freezer or a refrigerator therefore camping food has to be items that have a long shelf life and will not perish, such as tinned can foods.

Fortunately, there are loads of tinned can foods available and nowadays it is possible to buy almost every type of food you can think of in a tinned can. Tinned can foods include basic things, such as baked beans, spaghetti and pasta shapes through to vegetables, such as potatoes, peas and carrots through to meat, such as ham, spam and meatballs through to complete meals, such as curry, sweet and sour chicken, casseroles and breakfasts. The range of tinned can foods is extensive and there is something to suit all requirements and tastes. All of these tinned foods are easy camping food ideas and all of them are great for any camping trip. All you need to do is choose your favourite tinned foods before your camping vacation and then stock up.

Coleman single burner stove

Petrol stoves are very powerful and if you want to boil a kettle in super quick time, or cook some noodles in a matter of seconds then a petrol stove beats a gas stove hands down each and every time.

Coleman is a well know manufacturer of camping stoves and their products are second to none. This single burner petrol stove is ideal for those people who travel light and only want a single stove. This stove is well made, tough and durable which makes it perfect for camping. Compared to other petrol stoves this Coleman product may be a little bit more expensive, but it is well worth spending the extra on this excellent product.

Easy camping food ideas - packet foods

The amount of dried or dehydrated packet foods available is not as vast as that of the tinned foods, however there is still a reasonable number of choices available, such as pasta, rice, couscous, bulger wheat and noodles to name but a few. All of these packet foods are light, nutritious, versatile and, since they only require hot water, very easy to cook. All of the dried foods will accompany any tinned food so you can mix and match as much as you like. Some people argue that curry has to be eaten with rice, although this is not the case and I frequently eat curry with pasta or bulger wheat on my camping trips.

Tinned and dried foods are all well and good, however you can't really call them 'exciting', even the tinned meals that (you would think) are packed full of flavours such as curries and oriental cuisine. Don't get me wrong, these canned foods do have some flavour, but they could always do with a bit of enhancement.

Easy camping food ideas - baked beans

Baked beans
Baked beans

When I go camping I like to eat foods that are easy to prepare, quick to cook and create as little mess as possible. And one of the best foods for this has to be baked beans.

I do like to eat baked beans straight out of the tin, however there are times when I add some flavouring. If I want a spicy dish I will add some hot chilli powder, if I fancy a curry flavoured dish I will add some curry powder, if I fancy an Italian flavoured dish I will add some mixed herbs etc. The point I am trying to get across is that you can really change the way a staple tinned food tastes by adding some dried flavourings, so make sure you always have a selection of your favourite herbs and spices to hand on your camping trips.

If you add spices and flavourings to baked beans always warm the beans through as the dried flavourings simply don't work with cold beans and taste awful.

Yu can add spices and flavourings to any tinned food you want to give it a bit more taste however if you do you need to warm the tinned food through when adding spices or flavours to make them work.

Easy camping food ideas - meat

burgers on a grill
burgers on a grill

Meat is one of those food groups that have a very short shelf life, unless you can refrigerate it of course. Meat that is past its best is dangerous and can cause a whole array of stomach upsets, which is not nice on any vacation let alone a camping one, and even death. Because of the dangers involved I never take fresh meat on a camping vacation, although I will eat canned meat.

Canned meat does not taste anywhere near as good as fresh meat, but you can enhance the flavour by adding some of your favourite herbs and spices, which is what I do.

Coleman double burner stove

If one burner isn't enough and you need an additional burner, this Coleman petrol stove is the perfect product. Like all Coleman products this stove is tough, durable and well made. This stove is quite large and heavy therefore it is not really suitable for backpacking adventures. It does, however, packs away in to its own carry case so it is easily transportable.

This Coleman burner is very powerful and if you're not careful it is easy to char pots and pans, so you need to make sure you watch the heat.

Once again, compared to other petrol stoves this Coleman two burner stove is a little expensive, but you really do get what you pay for.

Easy camping food ideas - fish

Grilled fish
Grilled fish

Fish is another one of those food groups that have a short shelf life and it is something I never actually take with me on a camping vacation. That said, I am a keen angler and really like the taste of fresh fish therefore I always take a rod and line with me so I can try and catch my own.

Gutting and dressing fish is not that difficult, nether is cooking it. Simply put the fish in some tin foil, brush with a little olive oil, wrap the fish up and then cook on the BBQ or stove for five minutes each side before eating.

You can flavour the fish with some of your favourite herbs, spices or seasonings if you wish, although I prefer not to and think that fresh fish is tasty on its own.

Easy camping food ideas - Vegetables


There are some types of vegetables that have a long shelf life and will last for ages without being refrigerated and these vegetables are great for camping trips. In fact, these vegetables will last for several days or even weeks and whilst they may root all you need to do is cut them away and the vegetable is perfectly edible.

One of the best camping food vegetable dishes is jacket potatoes. Potatoes last for ages and whilst they will sprout all you need to do is cut them off and wash the muck off the potato. Next par boil the potato for ten to fifteen minutes, wrap in tinned foil and then place in the BBQ coals for at least forty five minutes until cooked through. Once cooked serve the jacket potato with curried beans, chilli beans or any other tinned food you fancy.

Other great camping vegetable include carrots and corn on the cob (both of which are cooked in the same way as the jacket potatoes albeit for less time) which are then coated in olive oil prior to serving.

Easy camping food ideas – final thoughts

As you can see food doesn’t have to be boring and tasteless when you go camping, especially since there are so many easy camping food ideas out there to play with.

So, when you go camping there is never any need to worry about meal times and what you are going to eat especially since there is a huge variety of tinned and dried foods available as well as a selection of vegetables. Always take some your favourite herbs, spices and flavourings to sprinkle

Lightweight camping gaz stove

If you are backpacking or need to travel light you are going to want the smallest and lightest stove you can possibly find and this Camping Gaz product will be perfect. You can use this stove with either butane or propane gas so it is very versatile.

Lightweight Large Burner Classic Camping and Backpacking Stove. For iso-Butane/Propane Canisters
Lightweight Large Burner Classic Camping and Backpacking Stove. For iso-Butane/Propane Canisters

This stove is dead easy to use and simply involves screwing in to a gas canister (which you have to buy separately) and lighting.

This Camping gaz stove is simple, works very well and cheap, which makes it well worth a purchase.


Cooking implements for camping

Camping vacations involve carrying your kit around with you therefore it makes sense to travel as light as possible and take the bare minimum, i.e. "essentials" you can get away with. Whilst it would be nice to have every pot and pan you own to hand, as well as every type of kitchen gadget you can possibly think of, it is not very practical. So, keeping the "travel as light as you can" thought in mind, what cooking implements do you need for camping?

Since the tinned can and packet foods are going to be the staple part of the camping diet it makes sense you should always have a tin opener to hand. In fact, I would go so far as to have two or three tin can openers, just in case one fails. In addition to a can opener you are also going to need a shallow pan to warm the tinned food, deep pan of some description (to boil water for rice, pasta, bulger wheat or whatever dried food you have), at least two serving spoons, a colander to drain the dried food, a sharp knife, a fish slice or spatula and a knife and fork with which to eat.

Granite steel cooking kit

Cooking obviously requires pots and pans and this granite steel set is perfect.

Stansport Black Granite Steel Mess Kit
Stansport Black Granite Steel Mess Kit

This kit includes a frying pan, a boiling pot and a plate (which you can either eat off or cook on) all of which neatly stack together to form a transportable package. This set is tough and durable, and can withstand some high temperatures so you can use it with either gas or petrol camping stoves.

It is important to note the handles are made from steel and get very hot during the cooking process, so you need to be careful and ensure you use some gloves or a towel when putting your hands on the pots.


Cuisinart 3 piece folding tool set

Since space is a problem when tenting, camping equipment needs to be as small and light as possible and these fold up cooking tools are ideal when preparing camping food.

Dining kit

This 24 piece enamel kit is simply perfect for camping. The kit consists of four 10 inch dinner plates, four 10 ounce mugs, four 6 inch bowls. You also get four spoons, four knives and four forks, all neatly wrapped up in a cutlery case.

Coleman 24-Piece Enamel Dinnerware Set, Red
Coleman 24-Piece Enamel Dinnerware Set, Red

Like all Coleman products, all individual pieces are very well made and good quality, so they will provide years of good service. Whilst the packaging says all items are suitable for dishwashers I would avoid against this as dishwashers are harsh and can reduce the life of any piece of crockery.

All in all this kit is awesome and great for all camping trips, and it sure beats eating off paper plates.


If you have any questions, comments, thoughts, ideas, rants, raves or anything else you want to get off your chest please feel free to note them in my guestbook

Your comments are welcome

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    • peggygallyot profile image


      6 years ago

      i have never been camping but it looks fun

    • HenkWillemse profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nice ideas, and a fun read, thanks.


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