Tips for Planning Camping Meals

Camping can be a fun and inexpensive way to take a vacation and enjoy the outdoors. One of the most important things you’ll have to plan before you leave is a camping menu. In order to make a camping menu, you’ll have to make sure you’ll have plenty to eat and a way to cook all of your meals.

Consider Refrigeration Options

Before planning the meals for your trip, consider whether you’ll have a way to keep things cold safely. For example, if you’ll be in a camper with a working refrigerator you’ll have an easier time keeping things cool. Of course, if you’re car camping, you can still use coolers, whereas if you go backpacking you’ll only be able to carry lightweight items that don’t need refrigeration.

Keep Cooking Methods in Mind

Also, keep in mind potential cooking methods. Campers and RVs have stoves, but otherwise, you may have to rely on a camping stove. The steady heat of a camping stove makes it easier to cook some foods. If you do decide to use a camping stove, remember to pack extra fuel.

If you don’t want to buy a camping stove or want to camp in a more traditional way, you can use a campfire. Make sure campfires are allowed where you plan to camp and pack matches so you can start a fire.

Plan Out Every Meal and Snack

Because you can only bring a limited amount of items when camping, you’ll want to plan out every meal and snack, making a list of all of the ingredients and all of the supplies necessary to make them.

Also, make a list of all the utensils and other essentials you’ll need, including dish soap, dishtowels, a large pot or dishpan, plates, an oven mitt, cups, pots and pans.

Prep Ahead of Time

You won’t want to spend all your time preparing food when you’re camping, so prep what you can ahead of time. This means premixing the dry ingredients for recipes, chopping vegetables, cooking rice or pasta and chopping and marinating any meats. Those with refrigerators or coolers can make soups or stews ahead of time and freeze them in zip-close baggies to use as ice packs.

Repackage to Save Space

Many items have somewhat bulky packaging. Portion out just what you need and repackage the items in zip-close baggies to save space. Label each bag with what’s inside, what meal it goes with and any directions for preparation. After the item is used, the baggies can be reused for trash or leftovers.

Plan to Use Camping Staples

One of the best foods you can bring camping with you are foods that don’t require any refrigeration, such as:

  • Dry pasta
  • Rice
  • Canned tuna or canned meat
  • Pancake mix
  • Dehydrated soups
  • Meals that just need hot water to prepare
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Smores

You can also consider bringing UHT milk in small containers because you don’t need to refrigerate it until opened. All of these camping staples will be useful as you camp.

Use Most Perishable Items First

When planning when to eat camping meals, plan those that require perishable items, such as fresh or frozen meats and precooked meals, as close to the beginning of the trip as possible.

For example, if you want to use fresh eggs instead of powdered eggs, do so the first day or two of your trip, especially if you don’t have a refrigerator.  Fresh fruits and vegetables that might go bad should be used before dried versions.

Pack Items With a System

Pack the more perishable items in one cooler, the main components of meals in another box and snacks and items that need to be accessed often in a third box. Put the items that will be used last near the bottom. Everything should be stored in the car away from the tents, or up high, as well as in a waterproof container or baggie, and plastic bins can double as dishpans.

Peace Surplus carries a wide variety of camping and hiking supplies. Come visit our store today and our knowledgeable staff can advise you on what items will best suit your purposes.

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