What Food to Take Camping

Group of friends gathered around the camping stove cooking breakfast.

Group of friends gathered around the camping stove cooking breakfast.

The key to a fun, comfortable and safe camping trip is preparation. If you’re making your kit list ready for your trip, don’t forget about food and drink supplies. You’ll also need cooking equipment along with cutlery and crockery, as well as other accessories for your pop-up camping kitchen.

Let’s take a look at some of the best foods for camping and how to pack, store and prepare them. 

What food can you take camping?

Practicality has to come first when planning your camping food supplies. This doesn’t mean you can’t have tasty, nutritious meals, but you do need to consider how you’ll carry, store and cook everything. 

The best kinds of foods for camping include:

  •       Canned beans and soups - these are easy (a little heavy) to carry and quick to heat up
  •       Dried noodles and pasta - these supplies are very light to carry, and all you need is hot water to prepare them
  •       Cereals - these are filling, nutritious and easy to prepare, as you simply add a splash of milk
  •       Crackers, biscuits and other snacks - these are perfect for hikes or in-between meals. 

Other popular camping foods include eggs, bacon and BBQ food, although you will need to think about how you carry and keep these supplies cool. You may even want to try a spot of wild foraging - for blackberries or wild garlic, for example. But make sure you know what you’re doing, as some wild foods are easy to misidentify and they can make you ill. 

What kind of food should you take camping? 

How much and the type of food you pack for your camping trip all depends on how long you’ll be away for. You may also prefer to have main meals in a local pub, so will only need a few supplies for breakfast and snacks. 

If you’re planning a longer camping trip, consider packing some of the following:

  •       Canned soups, beans and vegetables
  •       Instant noodles, couscous and soups
  •       Dried pasta and pasta sauce
  •       Picnic foods - such as pita breads, hummus, fruit, bagels, sausage rolls, biscuits and spreads
  •       Crisps, crackers, cereal bars, nuts, dried fruit and other snacks
  •       Travel-sized cereals and spreads
  •       Fruit such as apples and oranges that have a long life and won’t get bruised in your bag. 

When it comes to drinks, make sure you have plenty of water - and squash is a great choice for the kids. You’ll also want to take some instant coffee or tea bags, along with a wine box (much less breakable than a bottle) if you fancy a tipple under the stars. 

Think about how much cooking and washing up you are prepared to do. If you’ve filled the car boot with all manner of pots, pans and cooking equipment, you could be more ambitious and prepare some delicious recipes. 

For example, you could take the ingredients for breakfast pancakes or omelettes in the morning. Or why not cook burritos, tacos or even kebabs cooked over the campfire in the evening? Some campers love to take a disposable BBQ with them on summer camping trips, while others like to make a hearty stew or curry that feeds everyone from one pot. 

Cooking essentials for camping

While you are jotting down a list of food and drink supplies, don’t forget the other cooking accessories you’ll need. For example:

  •       Mini salt and pepper
  •       Cooking oil
  •       Can opener (alternatively, choose cans with ring pulls)
  •       Small chopping board and knife
  •       Cutlery, including serving spoon/ladle
  •       Crockery and cups 
  •       Tupperware and/or foil
  •       Bin bags for food waste
  •       Cooking stove
  •       Washing up bowl, soap, sponge and tea towel. 

As you can see, the simpler you keep it with camping cooking, the less you need to pack. 

How to keep food cold while camping

One of the most crucial pieces of kit you can take on your camping trip is a decent cool bag. This keeps all of your fresh food cold, and also provides a handy bag to carry everything in. 

You can keep items that need to be chilled in a cool bag or box with ice packs inside. Remember though that they’ll only be kept cool for a day or two, as cool bags don’t provide the same chilling power as a refrigerator. 

How to keep milk cold while camping

A cool bag or box should keep your milk cool enough for a day or two. Avoid packing too much milk though, as it could easily go off if you don’t use it. 

If you don’t have a cool bag, there’s another trick you can use. Simply fill a bowl with the coldest water you can find, pop your sealed milk in it (standing up) and put a wet tea towel on top. This only works in colder temperatures, especially overnight. 

You can also use an insulated flask to keep milk colder for longer, or why not try freezing it before you go? If you’re only camping for a day or two, the milk should thaw out gradually and stay at a cool temperature. 


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