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Camping food ideas that are easy to do and taste good? Gimme. Nobody wants to go camping, make a mess cooking and then spend a lot of time cleaning it up without the luxury of a kitchen and a sink. And we especially don’t want to go through all of that trouble for a less-than-tasty meal.
Here are our top tips for storing and making the best campfire meals for your next wilderness adventure. Just be sure to pack out all of your garbage so your campsite is ready for the next person to enjoy. We’ve also got a full list of camping hacks to keep things organized, clean, and enjoyable while you savor your time in the great outdoors.
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1. Use a shower cap to keep all your camping food cold for the duration of the meal.
Some foods you just don’t bring camping because they’re too much work to keep at the right temperature. Not anymore. This trick makes it so even those fussy chilled foods are options.
Add ice to a shower cap and then place a bowl filled with cold food (like pasta salad) in the cap. Allow the elastic to stretch over the sides to create an ice-box effect. Your food should stay cool for hours.
And while you’re at it, use a second shower cap to cover any food that’s sitting out. Gotta keep those flies away.
2. Cook cinnamon rolls over the campfire.
Looking for camping food ideas along the lines of non-s’mores desserts? Gotchu.
Buy pre-made Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. Skewer and cook them over your campfire like you’re toasting a marshmallow. It’ll take about 15 minutes for them to cook fully (unless you love that doughy center!). When the cinnamon rolls are done, let them sit for a minute, and then just drizzle on the icing.
Be sure to use Pillsbury coupons so you can save money at the same time.
3. Use a Dollar Tree mesh bag to dry dishes.
Instead of worrying about drying all your dishes by hand, bring along a large mesh bag, and hang them from a tree, your car, or camper.
Another idea is to wrap a belt around a tree and get some small carabiners or s-hooks to hang pots and pans to dry.
Make sure you use Dollar Tree coupons to get items even cheaper. See all the best Dollar Tree deals while you’re at it.
4. Store the spices you need for your camping food ideas in a pill organizer.
Stop taking those bulky spice containers camping with you. Instead, store just enough spice for the weekend in a pill organizer. This is ideal because you can reach in and pinch what you need, opening only the spice you’re using.
Plus, you can find a pill organizer for just $1.00 at the dollar store.
5. Omelets in a Ziploc bag are one of the best camping food hacks.
Dump your eggs and any ingredients you want to add, like cheese, mushrooms, and vegetables, into a large Ziploc bag. Squeeze the bag gently to scramble, and drop the contents into a pot of boiling water until cooked!
Get cheap storage bags with these Ziploc coupons.
6. Make camp coffee using dental floss and coffee filters.
What good are camping food ideas if you don’t have coffee to enjoy along with them? Place a scoop of loose-leaf tea or ground coffee into the center of the coffee filter, and tie it with dental floss. (We prefer unflavored floss for this tip.)
When you’re ready for camp coffee, just use hot water to brew similar to how you’d steep a tea bag.
Another idea for camping food ideas is to bring along a cheap French press, but that’s a bulkier option.
RELATED: Must-Have Camping Deals To Snag Right Now
7. Pack salt and pepper in a contact lens case.
This one’s another huge space saver. Just be careful when you go to use salt and pepper. It would be easy to overdo it or not realize one side is actually open and spill the other side too. Pinch carefully to season things.
8. Add s’mores cones to your “easy camping food” list.
I’m not promising they’re less messy, but they’re certainly a whole lot more fun!
To make s’mores cones, fill sugar cones with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. You can also put whatever else you want inside these cones. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or other chocolate candies work. Wrap in aluminum foil and grill over the campfire for about 7 – 10 minutes. Be sure to keep them away from open flames. Unwrap and eat. Cool them for a few minutes for little ones, though.
9. Make foil-pack meals — the camping food ideas are endless.
There are so many different meals you can make wrapped in aluminum foil over a fire. Barbecue chicken, fish, or ribs are just a few camping food ideas. Prep these at home before you leave and have ready-to-cook meals available for your trip.
Try this barbecue chicken foil pack recipe. All you’ll need are some chicken breasts, pineapple, bell pepper, sweet onion, and barbecue sauce. It’s super simple: just throw it all together and cook it on the grill or over the fire. (Let’s be real, you don’t really even need more than the chicken and the barbecue sauce to make a less fancy version.)
10. Make tacos in a bag for easy and cheap camping food.
To do this, prepare and cook enough taco-seasoned ground meat for your family before leaving for your camping trip, and store in a cooler. It’s also helpful to prepare your toppings ahead of time like:
- chopped lettuce
- shredded cheese
- sour cream
When you’re ready to make this camping food idea, warm the meat over the campfire, then scoop some into a Frito or Doritos bag along with your toppings. Shake up the bag and you’re ready to go!
Don’t forget to save money with coupons:
11. Use a craft box to organize camp utensils and silverware.
The best time to buy these are during the back-to-school sale season, which typically begins in July. But, you’ll most likely want to go camping before then, so put that tip in your back pocket and shop at the dollar store if you need something at a different time of year.
You can usually find cheap containers at Dollar Tree, but make sure you get one with a lid or a snap for easy packing and transporting.
12. Make ready-to-go s’mores kits for an easy camping food idea.
Keep your chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers all together in one spot this way. Or, wrap each s’mores sandwich in foil so they’re ready to go!
If you use a large plastic container like Tupperware, you’re free to only bring what you need, saving space. Unless you have a huge group, or you’re camping for a long period of time, you probably won’t go through a whole box of graham crackers.
Betcha didn’t know foil could do this: Weird & Amazing Ways to Use Foil.
13. Use oats, seeds, and dried berries to make your own granola bars.
Before you leave for your camping trip, it’s good to have some pre-made snacks in case someone gets a little hangry. Make your own granola bars before you go, and have them handy for the kids.
(Or buy ready-made snacks with these snack deals.)
14. Make a banana boat dessert instead of s’mores.
These are super easy, delicious, and perfect camping food. Just cut your bananas down the middle (but not all the way through) and spread them open. Then fill them with your favorite ingredients like chocolate, marshmallows, and graham cracker crumbs. Wrap in a layer of parchment paper and aluminum foil.
It’s easiest to cook these on top of a grate to keep them from burning. Heat them until they’re gooey and melty.
15. Make your own candle with an orange peel.
Who knew you could do this? Cut an orange in half and scoop out or eat the fruit, leaving the center stem attached. Pour an oil, like vegetable or olive oil, into the peel and light the stem. Super easy. Make sure you place these somewhere they won’t get knocked over.
16. You can also bake campfire muffins in orange peels.
Pre-make the mix at home so it’s ready to go for your camping trip. Pour some batter into half of an orange peel, and cook over your fire on a grate.
Test the muffin to make sure it’s fully cooked by sticking a toothpick into its center. If it comes out clean and not sticky, it’s ready to eat.
17. Make baked apples with trail mix or granola.
Carve out the middle of an apple and fill it with trail mix or granola. Wrap the apple up in aluminum foil, and toss it on the fire for 5 – 10 minutes. You can cut it up and eat it like a cobbler, or take bites out of it. But if you take bites, make sure the apple has had enough time to cool first.
18. Put pancake batter in an empty ketchup bottle for an easy campfire breakfast.
Say goodbye to whisks, large bowls, and everything else you need to mix pancake batter. Just put the powder in an empty ketchup bottle, add water, shake, and squirt to cook.
Or pre-make it in the bottle and store it. But if you do that, be sure to keep the batter in a cooler until you’re ready to use it.
19. Store cracked eggs in an empty creamer bottle instead of packing fragile eggs in shells.
As with the pancake batter, you’ll need to keep this refrigerated. But it’s totally worth it if it means you don’t have to mess with eggshells while camping.
Another idea is to buy a hard plastic egg carrier to keep shells protected. Anything is better than worrying about eggs in a cardboard or foam carton in your cooler.
20. Put coolers and boxes in the car at night.
It might go without saying, but if you’re car camping, make sure to lock up all your coolers, boxes, and even your trash bag (or dispose of it before you go to sleep).
If you’re backpacking or in a more remote area, use a bear bag system to keep everything up high and out of reach of creatures. You can find a bear bag system on Amazon, or make your own with a nylon cord, some carabiners, and a bag.
21. Make overnight oats.
Prepare yourself — you’ll be eating overnight oats cold in the world of camping. This may be a put-off, but give it a try and see if you mind it all that much. It’s kind of blissful to not make breakfast in the morning.
Here’s a good overnight oats recipe. You can do this at camp, or at home before you leave.
22. Use dry ice in your cooler for frozen foods.
If you’re bringing along ice cream or popsicles, a small cooler with dry ice is a must. You don’t want to put refrigerated foods in with the dry ice, though. Only frozen stuff.
But think of the options: You can bring frozen taco meat that you don’t plan to use the first few nights and keep it in the dry ice cooler. Heck, you can even bring ice cubes to use in your drinks, not just for keeping food cool!
23. Re-use boiled water.
Boiled water doesn’t need to be thrown out after the first use. If you use water to cook pasta, strain it back into another pot and use it again if you’re making rice or boil-in-bag meals.
Hey, maybe you like warm oatmeal instead of the cold, overnight option. Use the leftover water and enjoy thick, hearty oatmeal that’s hot instead of cold.