Camping Food and Cookware Advice

For first time campers, you may be at a loss when it comes to the types of food you should pack for your camping trip. Like any trip or vacation, when it comes to food and camping, you just need to plan and prepare ahead of time. Here are some considerations and ideas to give you some guidance and inspiration as you pack for your next camping trip.

One factor you will want to keep in mind when deciding what food to bring is whether you will be camping or backpacking. If you are driving to your campsite via car, you will likely have much room to transport and store your food. Hence, you will have a variety of options and flexibility when it comes to the type of foods you can bring. If you have room in your car to fit a cooler, you should bring one. A cooler allows you to pack perishable items, such as milk, dairy, and raw meats.

However, if you are backpacking, you will want to be considerate about how much food you pack, as well as what types of food you pack. While backpacking, you will have limited space in your pack to store items. As with any type of gear, you need to carefully plan how much food to bring and the weight of the food. It is also important to keep in mind that backpacking entails a lot of hiking and exercise, so you will need to replenish your energy supply often. So not only do you have to pack consciously and minimally when preparing food for backpacking, but you also need to make sure whatever food you pack is loaded with protein and nutrients as to provide you with a good source of energy.

Camping Cookware

When it comes to the cookware and food related tools you pack for camping, you have a variety of options. You will want to pack some form of dishware and utensils, depending on what type of meals you have planned. Though you can pack disposable paper and plastic plates, bowls, and utensils, reusable and durable plastic or metal dishware is likely a better option.

Not only will it save you money over time to pack reusable cookware, but it will also limit the amount of waste you create. Though many campgrounds have dumpsters to dispose trash in, if you are backpacking or camping in remote areas, you will likely have to carry out any trash and used cookware. Another cookware option that is especially great for backpacking is a mess kit. A mess kit is a collection of utensils, dishware, and cookware that packs together in a compact, minimal kit. They take up minimal space and are reusable, making them perfect to take on a backpacking or biking trip. Keep in mind that if you choose to opt for reusable dinnerware, you will likely want to wash them after each use. When backpacking however, a rinse off with fresh water may suffice.f you are camping, it may not hurt to pack some natural soap and a scrub brush.

While you can eat nonperishable foods for the whole of your camping trip, sometimes it is nice to have a warm meal after a full day of outdoor activity. If you want to cook some meat, warm up some soup, or boil some water for washing, there are two easy ways to do so: over a fire or on a portable gas stove.

If you travel with a car then you can easily bring along a portable gas stove along with a pot or pan and be set to make dinner. Or you could opt to cook your dinner on a grate over a fire. Many campsites have permanent grills or grates set up over their fire pits. For those sites that do not, you can always bring your own portable grate and place it over the fire pit. These are sold online and in some outdoor supplies stores. Two of our favorite, affordable fire grills are the UCO Grilliput Portable Camping Grill and the Portable Compact Scout Outdoor Grill by Cameron. A portable grate is never bad to have on hand and are not too expensive, so you might as well add one to your camping supplies.

Another handy item to pack on any camping trip is aluminum foil. As simple as it may sound, aluminum foil has a variety of uses and can be a life saver at times. It is great to use for cooking in fires. If you lack a stove, grill, or grate, but still want a warm meal around the fire, then aluminum foil may just do the trick. Wrap meat, potatoes, or vegetables in aluminum foil and stick on the edge of the fire to cook. It may take some time, but eventually you will have a easily made, hot meal. But be careful: the foil will be hot!

Food Ideas


If you have a propane stove or access to a fire pit grate or grill, you can heat up a variety of foods in a pot, such as baked beans, rice, or canned soup. For those of you who spend your days hunting or fishing, there is no better camping meal than fresh fish or game grilled over a fire. Another classic campfire meal is hotdogs or sausages, roasted on a stick over the fire.

If you are backpacking, in which case you are likely limited to nonperishable foods, “instant” meals, such as egg powder or rice dishes can give you some variety in your diet. Though you may not eat as luxuriously as you would on other vacations, there is something authentic and special about enjoying a simple meal around a campfire.


There is a chance you will spend your days enjoying the many great outdoor activities near your campsite, in which case you will need snacks for fuel. Foods high in protein and other nutrients are the best sources of energy. Snacks like trail mix, nuts, granola bars, and fruit provide sustenance and beneficial calories, keeping you going all day long. Better yet, such snacks are simple and easy to store and carry: perfect for hikers and backpackers.


No camping trip is complete without an evening of s’mores. Often associated with camping, s’mores are fun, easy, and indulgent treats that are bound to satisfy any camper with a sweet tooth. For those of you few unfamiliar with the s’more, it is simply a marshmallow roasted over a fire until golden brown, sandwiched in between a piece of chocolate and two gram crackers. S’mores are a sure way to get the kids gathered around the campfire and engaged in the camping experience.

If you happen to pack a portable gas stove, or even a pot, instant hot chocolate is another great treat to have while camping. Nights can grow cold while camping, so there is no better way to wake up and see the sunrise that with a warm cup of coco.

Food is one of the most important, and most enjoyable, aspects of our daily lives: camping is no exception. Though packing food for a multi day nature trip may seem hard, with some consideration, planning, and creativity, it will all fall into place. Hopefully this article gave you some inspiration as to what types of food to bring on your next camping trip.

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