Best Camping Food: What Should You Eat in The Wilderness?

Camping food meals
Written by Dennis Owens

Cooking while you go camping: Cooking food while you go camping doesn’t have to be hard. All the recipes described below are quick to make, delicious to taste and very easy to wrap up. We’ve tried to curate the best camping food for everyone trying to enjoy the wilderness and get the joy of the whole experience outdoors.

Depending on what you crave for, you can adjust these recipes accordingly. Whether it is seasoning, spices, toppings or herbs; you can mix it all the way you want and make up a dish of your choice.

Obviously, one would suggest you pack up food from home if you are going outdoors but then again, that holds good only if your trip is to last one or two days. What if you are on a survival run for a month or two? You can’t pack all that food, can you?

That’s when cooking outdoors makes more sense. You need to know some basic techniques tips and tricks to wrap up that lip smacking goodie even in the wilderness.

Bring food for camping

Whether it is the savannas or the Andes; you can survive it all simply by mastering the recipes below. The List of camping food described below is categorized under breakfast, lunch, and dinner to make it easy for you to make a decision. We believe that every survivalist, hiker or camper must be an expert in cooking food outdoors in order to truly be able to fathom the complete experience of being in the woods.

All of the recipes mentioned below can be cooked over a portable stove, a barbecue grill or even over a campfire. You simply need to know the combinations to make them delicious even in the midst of wilderness. We’re here to guide you through the process of cooking food even in the most extreme of situations too.

Best Breakfast Meals for Camping

We love to wake up to a good and healthy breakfast, don’t we? Now imagine that but you being surrounded by trees or rivers and so on.

Omelette in a bag

The list below describes some of the most popular camping meals or foods preferred by campers all around due to the simplicity, ease of making and the energy it provides that you require for sustaining yourself in the woods.

  • Mac and Cheese: Kids often wish for some lip-smacking food to satisfy their youthful taste buds. The Mac and Cheese recipe can be made in the woods especially if you are accompanied by children there. This is perhaps one of the most amazing ways to get your little ones to munch on some vegetables too.
  • Fresh Fruit, Granola along with Milk/Yogurt: This dish pretty much requires the least of all efforts and is perhaps the single best camping breakfast food that you can make. The “WYSIWYG” phrase holds true for this. It is very much self-explanatory and as the name suggests this dish needs very minimal effort to prepare too. You can make an alternative to the dish for the little ones too by simply packing a box of cereals as well.
  • Omelette in a bag: Sounds funny right? Well let me tell you this, it tastes incredibly delicious. All you need to make this dish in the wilderness is a jar of jam and a loaf of bread. Just plan ahead of time to make this breakfast dish a big success. Purchase one of that gallon size zip lock pouches and pour two eggs per person per day inside it. You can pour more depending on the number of people. If you wish to add in any type of meat, or veggies or perhaps some tofu, feel free to do so. Fire up the stove in the morning and let a pot of water boil for at least 15 minutes. Put the bag of egg in it and let it cook for 12 minutes or so. While that happens, toast up some bread and voila! You’re all set for some incredibly tasty breakfast in the woods.
  • Breakfast sandwiches: If you truly want to get the pure enjoyment of being in the outdoors and experience the nature, prepare this food out in the woods while camping just like that. These easy to make sandwiches fit just right on the list of things one must eat while camping outdoors. Simply cut the bread and fill a place in anything that you like whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian; you simply cannot go wrong here. Some really cool ideas for camping sandwiches include bacon, ham, sausage, egg, cheese and more. In order to keep these sandwiches clean and fresh, foil them up and you’re all set.
  • Pancakes: Who doesn’t love pancakes? Let me tell you, nobody. It is a perfect choice of breakfast for all of us. It is delicious, soft and easy to make. Simply mix together a few eggs, honey, oil and milk and that’s about it. You can even try and find yourself a ready-made pancake mix that you find these days too. You just need to pour some water on it and bake them. Making pancakes in the wilderness is easy too. Get the stove out, light it up, place a pan and get cooking.
  • Oatmeal: The oatmeal camping breakfast is a rather simple one to prepare. Carrying a pack of oatmeal, walnuts and almonds are quite easy. Besides consuming a healthy bowl of oatmeal breakfast with walnuts and almonds will offer the much-needed energy that one requires to make it through the day while camping outside. A lot of folks opt to even add fresh fruits on the side of it too.
  • Tofu/ Egg Veggie Scramble: You could either go for the tofu or perhaps some egg for this dish in the wilderness while you camp outdoors. Campers cook this dish on one of their outdoor camping stoves as it is that easy to make. Simply carry along your favourite additions like red peppers, sweet potatoes, cilantro, tomatoes, butternut squash and the list is practically endless. While you cook your stuff, mix in the eggs or the tofu during the last 10 minutes of the cooking time. If you wish to save up on some valuable time, try and chop the veggies back at home before you leave.
  • Blueberry Muffins: Love to cook over the fire in the woods? Well, this is the right dish for you. Probably the most versatile dish ion this list. You can choose the flavouring of your choice, boxed or packed readymade mix or perhaps homemade too. The dish takes lesser than 20 minutes to be prepared and is very satisfying a food for campfire cooking.
  • Breakfast Burritos: It doesn’t matter as to what time of day it is; Burritos are simply a very wonderful choice for food regardless of anything. Simply light up your mini stove outdoors, fill the burritos and get cooking. It will taste delicious especially with the aroma of nature around you.
  • Campfire French Toasts: How about starting your wilderness morning with a French toast, cooked over the campfire? I’m almost sure that after having this toast, you will feel so much warmer as well as much toastier too.

Best Lunch Meals for Camping

It is the time of day when the sun is right overhead and you’re in desperate need of some food to get you going. Most survivalists and camping enthusiasts begin got feel hungry during the noon as by that time they would have exhausted themselves of all their energy.

Quesadillas on camping

Try out the lunch varieties below for your next camping adventure.

  • Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich: Don’t tell me you’ll go wrong making this dish. It is as easy as it gets. You can make a modification to this as well by changing the peanut butter with coconut butter. A lot of campers prefer jam at times too. To top off the sandwich you make, get yourself some lemonade along with a bag of chips. Veggie chips could be refreshingly good too. This is a very good choice for a filling lunch while you’re out in the wilderness and need the energy to pull through the day.
  • Quesadillas: Probably the most scrumptious lunch you could prepare whether it is you’re outdoors or perhaps at home; Quesadillas are a very good treat to your stomach. Prepare the veggies like any other dish by finely chopping, slicing and dicing them accordingly. Store all of the vegetables carefully even for later part of the day or for a later meal in sealed zip lock bags. Contain the shredded cheese and the salsa in airtight packets too. You could even try guacamole too. Mexican dish in the woods, sounds fascinating right? Top it all off with some roasted red peppers, corn, and tomatoes.
  • Fireside Toastie: There is practically no limitations to this delight in the woods. Make a pick whether it is veggies, meat, meat alternatives or cheese; doesn’t matter as to what you pick, it simply can’t go wrong. You can opt for making the grilled cheese per se over the portable stove that you carry with you. However, there is another substitute which is to buy a French loaf of bread and slicing it along the length of certain intervals. Spread, butter and toppings as you like may be cheese, onion rings or whatever pleases your mod.
  • Noodle Salad (Cold): As Asian as it can get; this dish will take you to a whole new world. If you aren’t exactly planning to do much of adventurous stuff apart from lying around the tent, this is pretty much the best snack for you to choose for lunch. Start by prepping your noodles as usual. After having made the noodles, you need to whip it up and with tahini, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. You can toss it all together along with diced veggies like cucumber, cilantro, tomato, scallions etc.
  • Couscous with Clementines: This lunch recipe in the wilderness requires chickpea, dates, and olives. Does it sound good to you? It is a brilliant lunch and breakfast option for all hikers, campers, trekkers or even survivalists. You can change it according to what you feel comfortable with. Add or omit ingredients depending on what suits your taste buds. Try the same with goat cheese, cranberries or butternut sauce as well.
  • Nachos: Nachos is a good alternative for lunch as it is filling and can be perfectly made if you’re running short of time. I’d recommend you to try out the sweet potato, butternut squash, and tomatillos or pinto beans. A lot of camper friends of mine like to try making nacho recipe with shredded cheese, salsa, and some homemade guacamole. Simply crumble up your tortilla chips on the top and get snacking.
  • Hot Dogs: Whether it is camping meal or home meal, nothing beats a good old’ hotdog. Light up your camping stove, fire up those wooden sticks or heat up the gas; that is all you need to roast the hot dogs. Nowadays, most food stores have a vegetarian option for hotdogs too. So if you are a vegan and still wish to enjoy snacking on the delicious hotdog and experience camping like your non-veg buddies, get a bag of veggie hotdogs and roast em up. You can make it more interesting by adding some baked beans along the side of the dish and top it off with the most common mustard and ketchup.
  • Baked Bean Tacos: Do I need to add anything more? Much like the previously described nacho recipe, the baked bean tacos are simply one of the most adaptable dishes you can have in the wilderness. It is really filling and you will certainly feel the necessary warmth after eating it. Heat up the tortilla; fill it up with beans and a good sauté mix of any of your favourite vegetables. It is often loaded with meat stuffing too. Baked bean tacos are extremely delicious with salsa, cilantro, parsley and goat cheese.
  • Leftovers from the previous night dinner: Plan ahead of time and you can have a few Ziplock bags full of homemade food that you just couldn’t finish last night. If you know you’re leaving for a wilderness camping trip tomorrow, you might as well pack up some healthy food beforehand. Reusable baggies come in handy in this case.

Best Dinner Meals for Camping

You are done for the day and now you wish to head into the tent and zip yourself up in your sleeping bags. But before you do that, you wish to fill your stomach before you go to bed.

Pasta and sauce

After a hard day’s toil, we may not feel like cooking so below are a few dishes that are extremely simple and easy to make for dinner in the woods.

  • Pasta and sauce: Sauté up some vegetables or perhaps some meat slices on the stove outdoors or perhaps on the barbecuing grill and this pasta and sauce will feel like something straight out of Master Chef’s kitchen. After having gone through a long day of trekking, hiking, or perhaps rock climbing; the pasta with sauce is a real good end of day meal for everyone. It is incredibly delicious, hot and tasty too. You could make it all the more brilliant by sprinkling oregano, parmesan cheese and basil from the top.
  • Fire Roasted Vegetable or Meat: Very easily prepared at home. Cut and dice your vegetable with a knife. Pick the filling of your choice like may be potatoes, peppers, onions, cauliflowers, cabbage, zucchini, celery, fish or even meat. Add salt and pepper to better the taste. It also makes sense to add fresh herbs from the top to add to the seasoning as well but that is optional. Wrap the dish in aluminium foil and leave it to be frozen ahead of your departure to the camping trip. Simply place the entire foil with the food in it on top of your grill outdoors and let it heat up for being cooked to eat.

In Conclusion

Since it is an outdoor survival adventure for a lot of you reading it, you may not have kids accompanying you.

However, in case you do have kids coming along with you to your family excursion or outdoor camping, you need to plan separately for their food necessities too. Walking tacos, Mac and cheese, Hotdogs, basic burritos are some of the best meals for kids while camping. They are easy to make and kids love them.

Burritos on camping

If you are camping outdoors for several nights in a row, cooking camping food outdoors is certainly beneficial. It is cost effective and also provides a complete experience of the entire life in the woods thing. But in case you’re only planning to go out for 1 night or so, it makes sense to simply pack food from home itself.

That will help you reduce your burden of cooking food outdoors extensively. But by that, we don’t mean to question that “Is cooking food outdoors worth it?” We instead feel the need to ask rather “what should you cook when you are outdoors?”

Simply adhere to the guidelines mentioned above and you should be able to make yourself any snack anytime of the day whenever you want. Once you’re back from your adventure, you will truly realize the joy of having made food outside while you were camping instead of packing or buying food for your wilderness trip.


Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.