Best Camping Food

Best Camping Food: Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Dessert

Looking for the best camping food? Well, loosen your belt, because we've got some thoughts.

There's no argument, s'mores are the go-to treat for everyone on a camping trip. But what about breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Those tasty little melted chocolate and marshmallow sandwiches are winners every time, but you've got some real meal cooking to do, and it doesn't involve graham crackers.

There are people whose idea of a gourmet camp feast means mixing some dough, making some gravy, and adding fresh sausage for the best biscuits and gravy you ever had, and yet others already have the biscuits and sausage gravy ready to heat up. So which is the better approach, pre-made meals or campsite cooking?

For most camping purposes, a few shortcuts can certainly help. Learning the benefits of a good camp stove, cast iron skillet, and portable utensils can turn you into a true camp chef, and that is something special. With the suggestions that follow, we'll assume you're working with a decent camp kitchen. If not, the time to gear up for outdoor cooking is now.

Short of providing actual camping recipes, we'll zoom in on some of the best dishes for campers looking to broaden their horizons a bit, while also staying within reasonable expectations. These aren't exactly ideal for those doing extreme backpacking, where everything you bring must be carried on your back.

Here are some of the best camping foods you can enjoy in the great outdoors, plus some tips on how to go about preparing and eating them.

Camping Breakfast

The best part about breakfast is that it can include items from multiple food groups. Breakfast ideas can involve a meat like bacon, sausage, or ham along with some eggs. Omelettes are even easier, and serve as a hearty, filling breakfast at the campsite. Don't forget to bring along some veggies like onions, peppers, or mushrooms, chopped at home ahead of time and stored in reusable plastic bags or containers. 

Instead of worrying about transporting a carton of eggs into the backcountry, you can crack them at home into a mason jar or other vessel with a lock-tight lid. As long as you keep them cool, eggs can easily be a mainstay in your camping breakfasts without stressing over cracked shells. This opens up the possibilities to things like French toast, breakfast sandwiches, and other egg dishes.

Remember, a campfire can acts as a toaster if you've brought along bread, bagels, or English muffins. Just brown them briefly over the coals for a warm, crispy carb breakfast. You can also bring a pancake mix or waffle batter already prepared, and plop spoonfuls into the skillet once you get to your campsite.


Maybe the best and most fun choices are the inimitable breakfast burritos, or breakfast tacos. Let's face it, anytime we can roll our favorite meat into a tortilla log with egg, cheese, hash browns, and vegetables, seconds are only a matter of when, not if. Go one step farther and make breakfast quesadillas by cooking in a cast iron skillet, which will make the outer layer perfectly crunchy.

For a sweet breakfast, few things are better eaten beside a fire than cinnamon rolls baked in a Dutch oven. Talk about comfort food!

Camping Lunch

Yes they're simple, but you can take camp lunches further than hotdogs or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Tin foil can be your friend, especially when it's wrapped around some bread with butter on the outside and ham and cheese on the inside. A sandwich wrapped well enough in foil can be tossed right on a pile of coals for a warm, melty meal.

Even better, use an entire loaf of French bread cut in half and place some smoked venison ham inside in strips along with your favorite cheese. Then cut it into sliced pieces for what I call the best venison bomber sandwich you'll ever have.

Lunch is also where a soup or stew can shine, as can chili if most of the ingredients are prepped before the camping trip. Here's where a large Dutch oven really comes in handy.

Camping Dinner

best camping food

Craig Raleigh

When we go camping, there are usually three groups of adults and we have one great rule: each night one couple are the designated dinner chefs charged with the dinner choice, cooking it, and the cleanup after. This keeps it fresh and lively.

One of the best and easiest ideas is the kabob, with all if its possibilities stuck onto skewers. The meat can be cut ahead of time, left in marinade in a cooler, and it can be cooked in short order. The other kabob elements are up to you, but cooked this way, your side dishes are grilled in conjunction with your main protein. Grilling kabobs over a campfire pit isn't too tough either, since everything stays together in a neat line.

Another staple of the campsite dinner are foil packets, or as they're also known, the hobo dinner. Really anything can go into a foil pouch, like beef, pork, venison, fish, even tofu and then easily prepared on a campfire or in a Dutch oven. There are, in fact, so many versions of this great possibility that it's hard to list them all without getting hungry.

Try a cobbler for dessert, cooked in your Dutch oven, and thank us later.

Camping Food Ideas

Camping trips are a reason for celebration, and the food you enjoy during them is important. A good, hearty meal after a long day spent entirely outdoors can put a cap on the whole experience.

You can always grab granola bars and apples, but for your next camping trip, consider taking a few extra steps to make easy camping meals even better. It doesn't matter if you're car camping or primitive camping, thinking about and preparing meals will give you more time for other activities. For more serious camping cooks, mastering the Dutch oven and supplying yourself with the right camp stove, cookwear, and utensils can really pay off.

Often, the camping standard of creating a great dish starts at home by readying the ingredients, packing them correctly, and keeping them fresh until it's ready to be cooked.

Truthfully, the best camping food is something that your entire party enjoys, is relatively easy to make, and is enhanced by an open fire in the great outdoors.

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