Camping is one of our favorite summer activities and we are willing to bet that it is yours too. There’s nothing more fun than feeling the smell of fresh, green grass, hear the murmur of the woods as the summer breeze comes by, and enjoy the taste of delicious barbecue cooked at a camp fire. It’s amazing to go camping with friends and family and the taste of food cooked outside, at a fire wood is absolutely delightful.
Today we’re going to enjoy ourselves a little bit and talk about how to cook some very easy camping meals (we can’t eat only barbecue, right?). Don’t expect to find fancy recipes, when you go camping you want to return to nature and you give up your home’s comfort and fancy food. No, we’re going to talk about how to make basic foods using some pots, a grill, spices, and fire woods.
Usually people that go camping like to relax which is why we thought about easy meals for camping that can be cooked quickly and don’t require a lot of work. No one wants to cook for hours when others play or lay in the grass and rest.
Camping is for enjoying yourself and spending time with your family and friends, not for stirring in the pot. Also these easy camping meal ideas can get the entire party involved: someone needs to go and pick woods for the fire, someone needs to bring some fresh water from the source spring, someone needs to clean and peel vegetables, someone needs to prepare the meet, and so on.
Camping and cooking under the clear blue sky and sleeping in a tent, tucked in a sleeping bag are not actions that anyone can do. Still, if you decide to do it, you don’t need super skills to go out camping. For example if you’re a 9 to 5 kind of guy, who’s only daily occupation is to sit and stare at a computer screen all day long, it might be a bit frightening at the beginning but you will still be able to do it. You just need to do some research first but this is not hard, as the internet is right in front of you, all day long.
There are two main ways you can cook delicious food while camping:
- to bring the necessary ingredients from home and cook them on the camp fire
- to gather the ingredients from the woods or to hunt and / or fish your dinner
A beginner camper should definitely start with the first option but in time, you can try the second one too. This way you’re having fun and training for living in the wilderness in case of a big disaster like zombies taking over the planet or something like this. It’s also recommended to get yourself a special cookware set for camping day – it makes things a lot easier. We have reviewed some of the best products in this niche and you can read more about this in our article, here.
Well, it’s time to start our journey through the best easy camping meal ideas. During this part of the article, we’re going to present you a few delicious easy camp meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner that are easy to make and don’t require more than $20 investment in ingredients.
Grilled sausage and corn with beans and rice
You can already feel the smell of sausages roasting on the fire right next to the corn, right? Yes, it’s a very tasty dinner or lunch recipe that doesn’t require a lot of time to cook.
You will need the following ingredients:
- sausages that you can buy in any supermarket or you can make them at home if you like preparing food at home;
- two or three earns of corn that you can pick up on the road from a field, or you can buy from the store
- some rice – we recommend the boil in bag variety because it’s the easiest way to cook rice when you’re camping (or at home)
- one can of kidney beans
- Tabasco sauce
- other spices that you like (oregano, rosemary, etc)
- salt and pepper (careful with these as the sausages are already seasoned)
You will also need a grill, a piece of aluminum foil, woods, and fire. To prepare this kingly dinner you will need to start the fire for about an hour before you need to eat and let it burn until there are only glowing charcoals left. When the heat is medium (you don’t want to burn your food), put the grill over the fire and let it burn for about five minute. After this, put the aluminum foil on top and then the sausages and the corn over it.
The aluminum foil serves as a hot plate evenly transferring the heat from the charcoal to the food that is cooking nice and slow. The juice from the sausages will combine with the corn creating an incredible mixture of taste and flavor.
On a camp stove fueled by propane you should put the rice in boiling water and when everything is done, you can mix all the ingredients and add the necessary spices. And that’s it, a simple, easy and exquisite meal for camping. Of course that you can get creative and add some mushrooms near the sausages and the corn on the grill, or you can add a salad; anything is possible when camping. The only rule you need to follow here is to make good food.
Potatoes and other vegetables on grill
Potatoes are a universal food when camping. They are easy to pack, carry and unpack. You don’t need a cooler to keep them cold and they don’t need any special conditions during transportation. Also they are extremely simple to cook on the grill and they don’t require constant supervision.
To make some of the best easy camp meals there ever was, you will need the following ingredients and items:
- potatoes (as many as you like) – don’t peel them
- water to wash the potatoes really well
- a tube of aluminum foil
- woods and fire
Wash each potato really well until there is no dirt left on the skin, cut them in half, add seasoning and wrap the potato in aluminum foil. Put this package between the glowing charcoals and cover it to make sure the potato is baked evenly from all sides. To make this dinner even more delicious you can add one or two cloves of garlic crushed under the blade of your camping knife. Of course, potatoes are not the only vegetables that make easy camping meals, you can also add tomatoes on your grill, or avocado, zucchini, or anything else you like.
If you’re the survivalist kind of family you can even grow these vegetables by your own. This way you’ll learn about growing vegetables in case some sort of global disaster strikes.
As you can see, camping cooking is not just a rewarding activity, it’s also a way of training yourself for living in the wilderness. You develop your survival skills and you get to test yourself, to see if you’re capable of feeding through your own forces. That’s why it’s important to leave your supermarket food at home sometimes and try to rely on the food you can find around. The best example we can offer you right now (as we’re talking about grilled vegetables) is the mushroom.
During summer, you can find many species in the woods, and some of them are big enough to feed a grown man. You just need to know how to make the difference between ones that are poisonous and ones that are good to eat. Besides not picking up the ones you don’t know, there are a few other ways you can see which mushrooms are toxic:
- Don’t pick up ones that look too good. Poisonous mushrooms are always more attractive than edible ones. They put on “special clothes” to attract gullible victims.
- If the mushroom has a spicy smell when you pick it, don’t take it.
- If it starts to turn blue, once you’ve picked it up, don’t eat it.
- Put some vinegar in the water when you boil them, the toxic ones will turn blue.
If you start to feel bad after you ate mushrooms and you don’t have any medication with you, drink milk. The milk cuts off the effect of the toxin and allows you to recover faster. Still, don’t be superficial about this, look for medical care as soon as possible.
Pancakes – the best of the easy camp meals
We know, it doesn’t sound very manly or survival like but, oh! How great it would be to wake up in the smell of freshly backed pancakes! You don’t need super ingredients and you can even mix the batter before you leave your home. If you decide to take the ingredients with you, they are easy to carry. You’ll need:
- flour (white or wheat)
- baking powder
If you want to keep the survivalist idea, you can give up the milk, eggs and baking powder and still end up with a very tasty breakfast. You’ll also need something to grease the bottom of the skillet but you can save some fat from when you grill the sausages.
If you want to make the batter from home you can put it in a ziplock bag and freeze it. This way you’ll be able to store it in the cooler and when you want to make the pancakes the batter will be just ready. You can even cut one corner of the bag and use the bag as a measuring cup for the batter. Simple and efficient!
Just imagine waking up in the morning, birds singing in the woods, and fresh morning air carrying the sweet, familiar smell of pancakes. This is absolute heaven!
Broiled fish – cooking the food you catch
This is one of the easy meals for camping that actually make you feel like a true survivalist. If you know you are going to camp near water where there’s fish, you must make this! We even dare you to leave any fishing gear at home and test your survival skills. Of course that we also recommend taking other food with you, in case you don’t manage to catch anything.
So, before you actually get to make the fish, you have to catch it. In order to do that you are going to need a fishing line and you can improvise one using the following items:
- One hook that you can make out of a sharp twig, bobby pins, paperclips, or broken pop-tops. You will need to bend the item you use into a hook shape so you can actually catch something;
- Now you’ll need the actual line. For this you can use any piece of rope you have lying around or a piece of paracord (if you have a paracord bracelet on you). If nothing comes to mind, you can use a shoelace or you can unravel some strings from a piece of cloth. You can also use tall grass.
- The bait – now, that you have your super sophisticated fishing gear, you need to lure the fish with something. Fish are attracted by almost anything so you can use pieces of meat, leaves or colorful pieces of plastic. Use anything that looks like fish food.
- The place – now fish are not as easy to fool as you might think. If you don’t fish in the right place, you can stay there a long time without any success. You need to go where the fish is, meaning shadowy areas like the overhangs of banks, within water plants, below overhanging trees, or under and around rocks.
When you feel the fish biting, don’t try to pull the line out of the water really fast, because it will break and you will lose your dinner. Try to have a piece of cloth or a bucket nearby to use it as container and get the line of the water really smoothly. If you’re completely new to the fishing game, we have a great tutorial for the beginner angler so don’t forget to take a look.
Now that you have your fish you can return victorious to camp and put other members to work. After the fish has been gutted and cleaned up real nice, it’s ready to cook. Now there are two ways you can cook the fish on the grill: broiled and smoked.
If you decide to go with the broiled version, try to find a forked branch and hold the fish inside it. Try to make a holding place using twigs and sticks you find around so as to hold the fish in place. Of course if you have a grill there’s no point for the branch unless you want to continue your survival training. Using the branch, make sure the fish is exposed to the fire on both sides until you consider it’s done.
If you want to do it smoked, you will need fir. Pack the fish in fir and put it directly on glowing charcoal. The fir will catch on fire, smoking and tenderizing the fish inside. Make sure the fire is not too strong, to burn everything and ruin all you efforts.
If you want to complete this and transform it in one of the easy camping meals you would put in a book, bring some lemon and some spices with you. Of course, you can add some grilled vegetables next to the fish and some salad. After a day of testing your survival skills, you can finally rest and enjoy an amazing dinner.
Scrambled eggs – the best of the easy camping meal ideas
Eggs are a very nutritious food and it must not be ignored when you go out camping. We know you are going to say, how can someone transport eggs in a backpack, following a trail? If you take the car, maybe you can save some of them but otherwise it’s impossible. Well, the solution is to break them before you leave home.
Don’t worry, we’re not going to make you cook the omelet from home, you just have to make the mix. Mix everything you want to put in the omelet like bacon, pepper, salt, tomatoes, onions, parsley, and so on. Put everything in a ziplock bag and pack it in your cooler. The mix will stay fresh until you’re ready to cook it. When you want to make the eggs, simply get the bag, open it and throw the content in a frying pan that you previously heated on the fire. Stir everything up until the eggs are done and enjoy while admiring nature’s beauty.
There are thousands of other easy meals for camping with simple ingredients and amazing taste. And, of you want to know more about camping and food, take a look at our article with camping recipes.
Camping must be a period of relaxation and connection with nature, which is why the food must be so easy to make. You will discover new tastes and textures in the nature and we invite you to try it at least once in a lifetime. When you’re camping it doesn’t really matters if you’re not too into survival training and learning new skills.
You will learn new things and acquire new skills anyways so don’t be afraid of letting the computer screen at home and enjoying a little bit of nature. If you’re not into extreme camping, that’s OK, you can have comfort in a tent too. You just need to know what to bring with you. When it comes to food, camping is easy and fun. Try it and you will see!