Planning food for camping
We love going camping with friends, but our camping food experiences have been very different.
The first year we were keen and eager, grouping together to buy ingredients and then cook for everyone, with people taking the lead each evening. But it always seemed to be the same people doing the work, and cooking for up to 16 kids and then another 8-10 adults was manic.
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So the second year we either sorted out own by tent, or teamed up with just one other. That worked so much better, especially having some of the men there as well. We also slacked off – we tended to cook for the kids (poor things ate a lot of pasta, until I offered to do salmon for N and the little girl we were doing the cooking for. It went down well). Then the adults and older children tended to have takeaways from the theme nights at the takeaway shack/café on the campsite. Ok, so it cost us a bit more money, but it was stress-free and ended up meaning us all eating together and relaxing while the kids had had theirs an hour previously and were back off playing again.
But this year I want to cook some of the cool camping recipes I’ve spotted over the years and never got round to cooking.
I only have a single gas stove, although linking up with friends means we’re usually working with 2. So assuming I’ve 2 to play with, gives more flexibility. We just have basic stoves as well – no fancy stuff – and use single gas canisters. They’re generally pretty good and easy to use as long as the wind isn’t too blowy and the gas isn’t running out.
Top tips for basic cooking while camping:
1, Stick with one pot options where possible. It just makes life easier cooking and sorting out timings, plus you need fewer pans and less washing up.
2, Don’t bother with camping pots and pans. Some might be ok, but I’ve found pound shop or discount non-stick pans do the job.
3, Take a frying pan and larger saucepan or small stock pot with a lid
4, Remember oil or butter for cooking
5, Handy utensils are a wooden spoon, tongs and a ‘fish’ slice
6, Before you go make up a one pot meal like chilli or Bolognese and freeze it. Let it defrost while you travel, and you’ll have a simple meal ready to heat up when you arrive and don’t fancy cooking from scratch. Just add pitta bread for stuffing, or make nachos. If you’ve a second pot you can add rice or pasta.
7, Plan meals in advance – if you’ve favourite meals, just adapt them for whatever type of stove you have.
8, Make sure everyone eats together. You don’t want to be making different meals for different members of the family.
9, Don’t forget pepper, herbs and spices. They can pep up any meal.
10, Get the kids involved in chopping, mixing and generally helping out where age appropriate
11, You’ll likely need at least 1 table or flat area for cooking on, ideally sheltered from the wind. I try and take 2, or book a picnic table so we’ve somewhere different to eat.
12, Don’t worry about using convenience options or that camp food may involved more snacking than usual. Your holiday may be more active than usual so a week or so of more relaxed food isn’t going to matter.
My easy meal ideas – food for camping:
- BBQ – burgers and sausages
- One pot mince dish like chilli con carne or spaghetti bolognaise – easily eaten as Sloppy Joes, over nachos, or in pitta breads
- Chicken and veg kebabs
- Salmon cooked in foil or parchment paper, with veg and new potatoes.
- Vegetable rice – stir fry the vegetables first (and meat if you want to add), then remove and keep warm while you cook the rice, then drain and add the veg again to rewarm through.
- Fajitas – fry onions, pepper strips and beef or chicken strips, then wrap in tortillas (or top over tacos) with guacamole and sour cream.
- Pasta carbonara – add bacon and a creamy sauce to cooked pasta
- jam sandwich ‘donuts’
- Fruit and marshmallow kebabs
If you want to try a bit harder than my easy dishes, try some of these bloggers’ recipes:
BBQ chicken and veggie packets – alternative to my salmon parcels. Just make sure the chicken is cooked (chop smaller pieces for faster cooking)
Egg bacon and cream cheese bagel – these are cool with the egg in the hole!
Campervan egg fried rice – I love one pot cooking, so easy when camping
Sausage and cider campfire skillet – you can’t go camping and not have sausages
S’mores cones – a new take on bananas in foil
Chocolate apples – like baked apples of yesteryear but with chocolate in the core instead of raisins
Check out my camping pinterest board for more camping tips and food ideas
How do you cook when camping? What sort of recipes do you do?
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Great tips! I love cooking outside, but it can be stressful for large groups and different ages etc. I agree with keeping it simple, it’s usually the best way! #TheListLinky
There’s often not big enough pots for large groups. So much easier in small groups although not as much fun. There’s fewer of us going this year, so we’ll see what we do this time
Great post and so funny that I’m reading it from my campervan bed at a festival!
Totally agree that one pot meals are where it’s at – no one enjoys washing up at the best of times!
Ha ha, fab. We’re off to a festival today but not camping because we only live round the corner (I need good showers and loos when camping – although our water is off at home, so maybe we should have camped!)
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