Camping

10 Easy Food Prep Tips for Camping

10 Easy Food Prep Tips for Camping! Simple and practical tips you can do at home to make your camping experience easier than ever!

Food is always the biggest challenge when it comes to camping.  What to bring, how/where and when to cook, what to make ahead, and how to pack it.  But don’t stress, I’m sharing some simple at-home food prep to make your next camping trip easier than ever.  Simple food prep tips, recipe ideas and more!

a view of an inside of a pop up camper. there are navy blue curtains, yellow bedding, a table set with green and pink dishes

Use a Checklist

One of the things we find most useful when preparing for camping, is to use a food checklist.  Over the years, and many camping trips later, we’ve come up with a list that covers all of the camping food essentials for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This list is a great guideline and starting point for your next camping trip. CLICK HERE for that checklist (I’m sharing this list over on my This Big Adventure travel blog).

Meal Plan

The biggest tip I can give for camping is to meal plan! Sit down with pad of paper and your camping food checklist, then plan all of the meals for each day, then create your shopping list. This planning ahead of time is absolutely worth the effort once you get out to your campsite! Once you have a plan, and meal time arrives you know what to do! CLICK HERE for some easy and delicious meal ideas to help with your planning.  Also, here are some printable Meal Planning sheets that you might find helpful.

Pasta salad and sandwiches for a picnic

Wash All Your Fruit and Vegetables Ahead of Time

This may seem like a silly thing to suggest, but honestly having all of your fruit and vegetables washed ahead of time is one of the things that I find most helpful when camping. Wash all fruit and vegetables, let them air dry, then pack in bags or containers. It just makes everything more easily accessible and you’ll be glad you took the time!  Washing fruit and veggies in a campsite is really a waste of time and energy.

a top down view of a tea towel covered with apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, oranges, watermelon, pea pods and sliced strawberries

Grate Cheese at Home

Grating cheese is messy, so why not grate it at home and put it in a ziplock bag? This is also great because having pre-grated cheese around is handy for campfire nachos, a topping for chili and on scrambled eggs.

Prep Your Meat at Home

Handling raw meats when camping is tricky, so I try to prepare them as much as possible at home. I also like to freeze them first, so they stay nice and cool while we travel.

  • Marinate chicken or pork chops and put them into easy to access ziplock bags and freeze.
  • Make burger patties at home, freeze them and put into ziplock bags.
  • Cook your hamburger for Tacos in a Bag, at home. That way you don’t have to worry about handling raw meat in your campsite.

a top down view of two ziplock bags. in one is marinated chicken and in the other are raw frozen hamburgers

Take Pre-Made Meals

I like to do a lot of the meal making for camping at home before our trip. That way, once dinner rolls around all you have to do is reheat and enjoy!  Here are some ideas:

a top down view of an open ziplock bag with dry pancake mix. off to the side is a measuring cup

Remove Store Packaging

Food packaging like boxes and bags can take up a lot of valuable room when you’re packing for a camping trip, so get rid of it. This also reduces garbage while you’re camping. Once packaging is removed I can often get most of our food into 1 or 2 plastic bins.

Make and Pack Double Duty Foods

If you’re making campfire macaroni and cheese for dinner one night, why not cook extra noodles for a pasta salad for lunch the next day! Make a big batch of pulled pork (at home) and have pulled pork buns one night, and pulled pork over baked potatoes the next night. Take a big batch of granola and use it for both breakfast and snacking on hikes.  Think meals and leftovers…camping is the one time that leftovers are really really appreciated!

a top down view of an outdoor dinner table with a pulled pork dinner. there is a bowl of pulled pork, a bowl of coleslaw, a plate of buns

Prep Snacks

If you really want to get ahead of the game, prep all your snacks at home too. Chop carrots, celery and other vegetables for dipping. Put together a snack kit that’s easy for the kids to access, and fill it with granola bars, trail mix and other snacks that are easy to eat. Make a batch of cookies or muffins or oat bars for mid day snacks (and breakfast), and freeze them ahead of time.  Put together a container of cheese strings, juice boxes and yogurt.

a top down view of a tea towel covered with lemons, peppers, blueberries, cherries, grape tomatoes, plums and nectarines

Label Everything

After you’ve done all of your food prep, make sure you label everything so you don’t forget what you packed! Make sure to use leak-proof bags and containers, and pack them in easy to access spaces in your camper or vehicle.  You will thank your pre-planning self!

Create a snack bag for the car!

If you’ve got a long drive ahead of your camping trip, put together a bag of snacks that is just for the car ride. That way you’re not spending a bunch of money at convenience stores, and you’re not having to dig into your camping food.  A small cooler with drinks, cheese strings, and sandwiches, and a bag full of chips and other easy snacks.

Take the time to prep, you’ll thank yourself later!

I hope you found these camping food prep tips useful! The goal of camping is to have a great time, so anything you can do ahead of time helps to make that happen.

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Happy Camping!

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