Camping is an incredible way to get out and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors, connect with nature, and build relationships with friends and family. One of the most difficult challenges when camping, particularly if you’re on an extended excursion or a long hike, is discovering convenient and speedy meals to prepare. Cooking while camping can be intimidating, but with some forethought and understanding, you can create delicious and easy camping meals that will provide you with the energy you need for your journey. In this article, we’ll investigate some fantastic alternatives for camping meals that require little effort, so you can concentrate on the joy and serenity of camping. From pre-made meal kits that you can take with you to no-cook options that can be ready in minutes, there are plenty of great ideas to make camping meals easy and delicious. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can create tasty meals that don’t require much work.
Out of the Pouch Options
When it comes to easy camping meals, nothing beats the convenience of pre-packaged meals. There are a plethora of options out there, ranging from those that are just add-water-and-cook-style to those that require minimal stovetop cooking. No matter what type of pre-packaged meal you’re looking for, we can help you narrow down the choices. Here we’ll highlight three of the most popular pre-packaged meal options: West Coast Kitchen, MREs, and Backpacker’s Pantry.
West Coast Kitchen is a Canadian company that specializes in creating delicious and nutritious meals for campers and outdoor enthusiasts. Their convenient, lightweight pouches make it easy to prepare meals with just hot water. Popular options from their menu include chili mac, shepherd’s pie, and chicken teriyaki, all of which are packed with protein and calories for a filling and energizing meal. Not only are their meals great for camping, but they are also perfect for anyone who enjoys exploring the great outdoors and needs a satisfying meal to fuel their adventures.
MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat, are military-style meals that come conveniently packaged in individual portions, designed to be consumed on the go without the need for cooking or refrigeration. What’s more, MREs are highly versatile, offering a wide range of main dishes, snacks, desserts, and even hot drinks to choose from. While they may not be the most delectable meal option, MREs are a great choice for long camping trips where access to food is limited, or in the case of emergencies when you need sustenance quickly and safely.
Backpacker’s Pantry is a company dedicated to creating lightweight and easy-to-pack meals that are perfect for camping and hiking. Their freeze-dried meals come in pouches, and some of their most popular options include Pad Thai, Jamaican-style jerk rice and beans, and spaghetti and meatballs. All of their meals are designed with active campers in mind and are packed full of protein and carbs for those long days out on the trail. Their meals are designed to be quick and easy to prepare, making them an ideal option for those who don’t have a lot of time to cook or don’t want to carry a lot of extra gear. Backpacker’s Pantry has become a go-to choice for campers and hikers looking for healthy and delicious meals that are easy to prepare in the great outdoors.
Freeze Dried Cooking
If you’re looking to take your camping meals to the next level, freeze-dried cooking is an excellent option. Freeze-dried food is perfect for camping because it’s lightweight, has a long shelf life, and requires no refrigeration. Plus, many freeze-dried meals come in easy-to-prepare pouches that just require hot water, making them incredibly easy to cook.
Another great option for freeze-dried cooking is to create your own meals. Many outdoor retailers sell individual freeze-dried ingredients like vegetables, fruits, and meats. With these ingredients, you can create your own custom meals that cater to your tastes and dietary restrictions. For instance, you could make a delicious pasta dish with freeze-dried vegetables and beef or chicken. You can also mix and match different freeze-dried ingredients to create your own unique meal combinations. With freeze-dried cooking, the possibilities are nearly endless!
Other Easy Camping Meals
If you’re looking for a way to enjoy delicious and nutritious meals while camping without having to rely on pre-packaged options or freeze-dried food, there are plenty of other easy camping meals to choose from. Whether you’re a fan of cooking on the campfire or you prefer to make meals ahead of time that can be reheated on the trail, there are plenty of ideas to make camping meals a breeze. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Baked Potatoes – Wrap a few potatoes in tin foil and place them in the coals of a campfire. Let them cook for about 45 minutes, turning them occasionally until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Unwrap the potatoes and top with your favorite butter, sour cream, bacon, chives, cheese, or any other topping of your choice. Enjoy this classic campfire meal with friends and family.
- Fish in Foil – Place a piece of fish on a piece of tin foil and add your favorite seasonings and vegetables. Fold the foil to create a pouch, then place it in the coals of a campfire. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and its juices are running clear. Carefully unfold the foil and enjoy a delicious, healthy meal that’s packed with flavor.
- Hot Dogs – This classic camping meal is always a hit. Roast hot dogs on sticks over the campfire or cook them on a portable grill. Serve with your favorite condiments and sides, such as baked beans and potato chips, for a meal that everyone will love.
- Cans of Beans or Chili – Another easy option is to heat up a can of beans or chili on a portable stove. These hearty meals are perfect for cold camping nights and are easy to pack and prepare. Serve with some freshly toasted bread or a salad to make a complete meal.
- Pancakes – Make pancake mix ahead of time and store it in a plastic container. All you need to do is add water and mix the batter. Cook on a portable griddle or over a campfire for a delicious and easy breakfast. Top the pancakes with fresh fruit, nuts, and syrup for an extra special treat.
- S’mores – No camping trip is complete without s’mores. Roast marshmallows over the campfire until they are golden brown and gooey. Sandwich them between two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate for a sweet and easy dessert. Enjoy this classic campfire treat with friends and family.
Vegetarian and Vegan Easy Camping Meals
Vegetarian and vegan camping meals can be just as delicious and nutritious as non-vegetarian meals. There are plenty of easy and creative options that are perfect for the outdoors, so you can enjoy a variety of flavors and fuel your body on your camping trip. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Lentil-Based Stews and Soups – Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein, and they make a great base for stews and soups. Simply add in some veggies and herbs, and you have a delicious one-pot meal that will keep you going.
- Bean Burritos – Bean burritos are a great way to pack in some protein and carbs for a filling meal. Simply heat up some canned beans, top with your favorite veggies and salsa, wrap it all up in a tortilla, and enjoy.
- Veggie Burgers – Veggie burgers are a great option for camping, as they can be cooked on a portable grill or campfire. Just make sure to pack some buns, condiments, and toppings to make the perfect burger.
- Nuts and Seeds – Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats, and they make a great snack. Pack a variety of nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds, for a nutritious and delicious snack.
- Trail Mix – Trail mix is a great snack for camping, as it’s lightweight and full of protein and healthy fats. Create your own mix with your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and other ingredients for a delicious snack that will keep you going.
- Energy Bars – Energy bars are a great way to get a quick burst of energy while on the go. Pack a few of your favorite bars for a convenient snack that you can have on the trail.
By incorporating some of these vegetarian and vegan options into your camping meals, you can create delicious and nutritious meals that will keep you going on your adventure.
Camping meals don’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. With a little bit of preparation and knowledge, you can have easy and delicious meals that will keep you fueled for your outdoor adventure. Whether you choose pre-packaged meals, freeze-dried food, or easy campfire meals, the key is to keep it simple and make sure you have the ingredients you need. When you’re packing for your camping trip, make sure you have the basics like spices, condiments, and other ingredients that will help you create a flavorful meal. Don’t forget to bring along a few of your favorite snacks!
When it’s time to cook, remember to keep it simple and enjoy the experience of being outdoors. If you’re cooking over the campfire, you can make one-pot meals, like soups, stews, or simple sandwiches. You can also opt for simple dishes like grilled vegetables and roasted potatoes. Whatever you decide to make, it’s the perfect time to experiment and try something new!