Pack the Best Foods for Camping
Before you head out on your next adventure, make the most of your grocery space by including some of the best foods to bring camping. Some of these are staples with multiple uses, and others are quick and easy foods that are sure to please the picky eaters in your crowd. Many of these foods will work if you don't have access to a refrigerator or cooler too.
Bring Noodles and Pasta
Noodles and pasta are light and easy to carry on backpacking trips or canoe portages. They're also incredibly versatile and don't require refrigeration. Consider cups of mac and cheese for the kids, as well as crowd-pleasing spaghetti, quick-cooking ramen noodles, and anything else that strikes your fancy. Most of the time, you simply need access to boiling water to create a delicious and hot meal everyone will love.
Don't Forget Oatmeal and Granola
Oatmeal is another versatile camping food that doesn't need refrigeration, and granola is a similarly great option. You can make oatmeal with hot water and add nuts for additional protein. Granola is great on its own, or you can add Greek yogurt and fruit to make camping parfaits.
Cheese It Up
Cheese makes everything tastier, and it's a great way to add protein to camping meals. As an added bonus, the USDA reports that hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan don't require refrigeration to be safe to eat. All cheeses will last longer in a cooler, but if you're doing some backcountry camping, your cheese will be fine for a few days. Eat it with crackers for lunch and add it to chili and other simple dishes for dinner.
Let Them Eat...Bread
Bread is an incredibly versatile food to bring camping. You can use slices of bread to make a sandwich, dip bread in egg and make French toast, or pair bread with soups and stews for a hearty meal. It's also great as a snack or with some cheese for a simple lunch. Bread will keep unrefrigerated for several days.
Experiment With Quinoa
Quinoa might not be the first camping food you think of, but it's actually the perfect ingredient to make a variety of great camping meals. It doesn't require refrigeration, and it cooks quickly with water or broth. There are several ways to use quinoa while camping, from simple hot cereals with dried fruit to salads made with fresh ingredients. Quinoa is full of protein, which makes it a great choice as a vegetarian camping meal.
Remember the Incredible Egg
Eggs are amazing when it comes to camping foods. They can help you bind things together, such as breading on the fresh fish you catch or as an ingredient in a pancake mix. They also work well on their own. You can hardboil eggs for lunch, scramble them for breakfast, fry them anytime or make an omelet with whatever you have handy. No matter how you cook them, they do need refrigeration, according to the USDA. However, you can use a powdered egg substitute if you don't have access to a fridge or cooler.
Take Along Carrots and Other Root Vegetables
Veggies aren't always easy to get while camping, especially if you can't keep food cold. While some vegetables like lettuce will wilt if not refrigerated, root vegetables are hardy and versatile. You can eat carrots raw as a snack or to go with lunch, or you can cook them as a side dish. Other root veggies, like potatoes, parsnips, turnips, and beets, keep well at the campsite and can make great additions to any camping meal.
Pack the Trail Mix
Trail mix makes a healthy snack, and it's a popular backpacking essential for people who want to keep their energy up while hiking. You can make your own trail mix by combining your favorite nuts, dried fruit, and candy. Keep it in an airtight container like a jar or plastic bag and bring it out when everyone is getting snacky.
Bring the Bacon
Bacon is a popular camping food for a reason; it's delicious. It's also very useful. You can wrap other foods in it, such as fresh-caught fish, add it to baked potatoes as a topping, or simply fry it up for breakfast. You'll need access to a cooler or fridge to use this staple, but it's worth it. If you can find shelf-stable, cured bacon, the USDA says it's safe to store at up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don't Forget Beans and Stew Ingredients
Beans are a staple food to bring camping, and they offer lots of ways to create a delicious meal everyone will love. Bring dry beans or canned beans, depending on whether you have weight limits while packing. You can make baked beans that will delight a crowd and offer plenty of protein and fiber. You can also use beans in salads and make bean soup over the campfire.
Pack Ingredients to Make Chili
Chili is the ultimate camping meal, especially because you can make a vegetarian chili from canned ingredients that don't need to be refrigerated. You'll need canned tomatoes, beans, corn, chili peppers, and lots of spices. You can customize the chili to suit the crowd, adding extra spice or keeping it tame. If you have access to a cooler, you can also bring along ground beef or even cooked chicken to make a white chicken chili.
Remember the Marshmallows
Whether you love making s'mores or simply enjoy roasting marshmallows over the campfire, you can't skip these tasty sweets when you pack the food for your next camping adventure. Everyone loves marshmallows, and the fun of roasting them offers entertainment as well as a camping dessert.
Enjoy Cooking in the Great Outdoors
When you're camping, everything tastes better. Whether you're making meals prepared over a campfire or using a camping stove to cook dinner, you'll know everyone will love the food you cook.