Having a good camping food list is more important than you might think. It helps to reduce the planning time – which is great if you want to have a head start over other campers. It also helps with making sure you have all the right things for each family member coming on the trip. The 3 key factors to the best camping food list.
In This Article, You Will Find
- The 3 Key Factors to the Best Camping Food List
- A Good Camping Food List Should Work for You
- Camping Food List Ideas for Breakfast
- Camping Food List Ideas for Lunch
- Camping Food List Ideas for Dinner
- Camping Desserts
- Camping Condiments and Spices
- Camping Drinks
- Printable Camping Food List
The 3 Key Factors to the Best Camping Food List
For a great camping food list, you could use on any trip, think about the usefulness and logistics of the meals you are planning. If you want to know how to make a food list for camping, just make sure you follow these key rules.
The food must be nutritious
Going camping means spending quality time outdoors. It also means doing a lot of fun and often exhausting recreational activities. Make sure to add healthy food to your camping list. It is important to provide your body with the needed minerals to maintain high energy levels. Nutritious food means a balanced mix of carbs, proteins, and fats. You should also try to make sure your meals are filling. You might not have the time to cook an extra meal if someone’s still hungry.
Make sure the food is non-perishable
The longer the camping trip – the harder it is to plan out the food. I recommend getting as much non-perishable food on your list as you can. This way, you can make sure you won’t need to do any unnecessary store trips. It will also protect you from accidentally consuming out-of-date food. If you can’t imagine a perfect camping trip without some perishable food – plan to use it on your first day of camping.
The food must be durable
Depending on the type of camping you are planning, you might want to choose to bring more durable food. It might not be as important if you’re RV camping. But if you’re heading out to the backcountry – you want your food to last throughout the whole trip. So, make sure you get sturdy food and the right packaging. No one wants to find a squished leaking tomato sandwich in their backpack after a long day of hiking.
A lot of people might recommend taking more food to be safe or if something unexpected happens. But I recommend planning out your meals. Take enough for your trip and just a little bit extra, in case you get delayed somewhere. If you’re front-country camping and you have a vehicle, chances for you to starve are very slim. Food that you would not be able to use might go out-of-date and you would have to throw it away. And wasting food is not something we should be doing.
A Good Camping Food List Should Work for You
Whatever recommendations you find, make sure it’s something that works for you. The food you are taking should work with the current diet you or your family members are on. It should also be something you like and know about preparing it. At the end of the day, camping should be a fun activity and camping food is a big part of the whole getaway. So, make sure your selected meals are enjoyable and beneficial for you.
Cooking at your campsite should be fun for the whole family. Make sure you pick something you are all happy with. Another reason to stick with the food you know is the risk of getting a bad stomach if you don’t know how to properly prepare a meal.
Camping Food List Ideas for Breakfast
I believe that breakfast is the key meal of the day. If you’re out in the wild, you want your first meal to be healthy, nutritious and prepare you for a day full of adventures. These picks of the camping food list for breakfast are helpful if you are looking for a healthy and fast first meal.
- Granola (471 calories per 100 gram). Granola is a great choice for a quick and easy breakfast. It’s a good source of protein. It also contains high levels of magnesium, iron, and potassium. Even though it’s usually quite tasty, it often contains high levels of sugar and sodium. So, I would recommend swapping it to the whole-grain cereal. Yet, this option might be easier if you’re with small children.
- Whole-grain cereal (265 calories per 100 gram). Whole-grain cereal is one of the keystones of our diet. It has high values of fiber, protein, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Vitamin B6. It’s something we should all be eating more. Even though it’s not as sweet as granola, adding a mix of juice and yogurt and some fruit or berries makes it a great breakfast food.
- Eggs (155 calories per 100 gram). Even though eggs do not fit the description of being a durable food, it’s an important ingredient in cooking. If you have a good storage box, take a box of eggs. You can use eggs to make pancakes, crepes, hotdog toppings, and a lot more. Eggs are a great source of protein and high in Vitamin D and B12. Even though it’s nutritious, you should not consume eggs too often. It can bring your cholesterol levels up. Note that if you want to bring eggs just for the pancakes, you can consider swapping them and flour for a pre-prepared pancake mix. To me, they don’t taste as great, but it would take up less storage and it’s quicker to prepare.
- Flour (364 calories per 100 gram). Flour has a long shelf life, is durable and easy to store. It’s an important ingredient for many meals. You can use it for crepes, pancakes, flatbread or thicken a sauce.
- Bread (around 250 calories per 100 gram). Bread is high in Iron and Magnesium and is great for sandwiches, grilled toast, or just as a side dish.
- Cheese (353 calories per 100 gram). Cheese is high in Calcium and Vitamin A and is one of my favorite foods to bring camping. I love it in a scrambled egg, inside a crepe, or on a sandwich. Leave some for your dinner and just have it as a light nibble with an evening beer.
- Pasteurized milk (69 calories per 100 ml). When I’m not out in the wilderness, I would always prefer whole or raw milk. It has much higher nutrition values and is good for you. But when camping, I’d usually avoid the risk of spoiling the whole milk and take the pasteurized one. It has a much longer shelf life and you can use it with meals, like pancakes, crepes, or add it to your coffee or tea.
- Greek yogurt (59 calories per 100 gram). Greek yogurt is high in Calcium and contains Vitamin B12. I usually use it with granola or the whole-grain cereal, as it’s a lot healthier than the flavored yogurt or juice. If you don’t like the plain yogurt taste, I recommend mixing it with a bit of juice; that makes the flavor a lot nicer.
- Instant soup (343 calories per 100 gram). Instant soup is usually not a healthy choice of food, but it’s something I love to take with me. If it’s a chilly morning or it’s raining outside, a cup of instant soup is a great way of getting your body warm without much hassle.
- Apples (52 calories per 100 gram). Apples are quite durable and have a long shelf life. They are high in fiber and Vitamin C. They are great to add to granola or the whole-grain cereal. They are also an excellent fruit to bring on hikes or just eat when you’re craving for a healthier snack.
- Pears (57 calories per 100 gram). I prefer pears to apples. I like adding them to my cereal. Pears are good for you because they have Vitamin C and are high in fiber.
- Mangos (60 calories per 100 gram). Mangos are one of my favorite fruits and are very nutritious. They are high in Vitamin C and A. They also have a good shelf life, if you pick the right mango. It’s a great fruit to add to your whole-grain or granola.
Camping Food List Ideas for Lunch
When I plan my camping lunches, I always try to plan for something quick, easy to prepare, healthy and/or tasty. During lunchtime, I am usually hiking or doing other activities, so these meals should be great to take with you or fast to prepare.
- Cured meats (150-500 calories per 100 gram). Cured meats, like pepperoni, salami, cooked or cured ham have a very long shelf life and are a great food to bring camping. Although it’s worth noting that even though they are high in Vitamin B6, B12 and Iron, last researches show we should avoid eating processed meat. Cured meats are great for cold or hot sandwiches and will last long enough to take it on a hike.
- Hotdogs (around 200 calories per 100 gram). Hotdogs might not be on the healthy side of food, but they are very quick to prepare, especially if they are pre-boiled. Chuck it into a bun for a great hotdog meal or slice it and throw it on some pasta.
- Onions (40 calories per 100 gram). This might not be everyone’s favorite, but when I’m making hotdogs, I need to use onions. The difference in taste is just night and day. Onions are high in Vitamin C and are a great ingredient if you want to add flavor to different kinds of meals.
- Hotdog buns (120 calories per 100 gram). If you’re taking hotdog sausages, you’ll need to get the buns too. A good hotdog is one of the staple meals of a great camping getaway.
- Cereal bars (around 300 calories per 100 gram). Cereal bars are sort of cheat food. They usually taste great, take no time to eat and are full of calories. I always take a bunch of them on a trail, especially if I don’t have the time to prepare any serious meals beforehand.
- Bread or buns (250 calories per 100 gram). Bread is an important food in our diet and I always take more of it. Sometimes it’s just what you need to get full, and sometimes I just love a grilled piece of bread or bun with butter for a simple breakfast.
- Crackers (504 calories per 100 gram). Crackers usually have quite a bit of sodium, so I tend to avoid eating too many of them. But I usually take a pack with me. They are great if you want to have a quick filling snack before the bigger lunch. And they usually don’t take up much space in the backpack when you’re going on a hike.
- Melted cheese spread (300 calories per 100 gram). I won’t lie, melted cheese is not very healthy. But sometimes you just want something more interesting than butter or another boring spread. It’s also great to mix into your pasta, to get that extra cheesy flavor.
- Canned Salmon (160 calories per 100 gram). Salmon is high in Vitamin B6, B12 and Omega 3. It is one of the healthiest foods out there. If you want to get the best stuff, look for wild Alaskan salmon. It’s great to use it for your lunch sandwiches or to chuck it into your pasta or rice.
- Canned Tuna (140 calories per 100 gram). Tuna is also high in Vitamin B6, B12 and Omega 3 and it tastes great on sandwiches. They have an amazing shelf life when they’re canned.
- Spam (340 calories per 100 gram). Spam is quite popular in North America when it comes to camping. It’s not healthy food, but it’s a good source of protein. It’s quick to use as a spread on your sandwiches or to add it to your pasta.
- Nuts (600 calories per 100 gram). Nuts are our power food. They are full of calories, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron and Vitamin B6. They fill you up fast and are easy to carry. I recommend taking a bag of nuts on your hikes as a great lunch snack.
- Dried fruit (359 calories per 100 gram). Dried fruit is great to take on hikes, easy to carry, and is quite filling. They don’t have as much nutritional value as the fresh fruit, but they usually keep some of it, so they are useful. It’s a healthier option than crackers or chocolate bars.
Camping Food List Ideas for Dinner
The foods on the camping dinner list might not be the fastest to prepare, but they are something I crave for when I get back after a day full of adventures. They are nutritious and need a bit more prep time. But I think cooking on a camping trip is fun, so I don’t mind spending a bit more time on that.
- Pasta (131 calories per 100 gram). Pasta is a great choice of carbs, and it’s also high in Iron.
- Potatoes (77 calories per 100 gram). Potatoes are high in Vitamin C, B6 and are also a good source of Potassium.
- Sweet potatoes (86 calories per 100 gram). I prefer the regular potatoes, but the sweet ones are a superfood. They are very high in Vitamin A. They’re also a great source of Vitamin B6, Magnesium and Potassium and are considered as anti-diabetes food.
- Carrots (41 calories per 100 gram). Carrots are also very healthy. They are high in Potassium, Iron and Vitamin C and are a great ingredient to many meals.
- Squash (17 calories per 100 gram). High in Vitamin C and B6, squash is a great vegetable you can add to any meal as a side dish. Because it has few calories, you can eat quite a bit of it without concerns about your figure. Squash is also quite durable and has a decent shelf life.
- Cabbage (25 calories per 100 gram). Cabbage might sound boring, but you just need to know how to prepare them right. They are durable and have a great shelf life. They are healthy for you and are a great source of Vitamin C. Put some of it in a pan and throw in some spices and you’ll have a great juicy side with any meal.
- Broccoli (34 calories per 100 gram). Broccolis are a great source of Vitamins C, A and B6. They are not as durable; thus, I’d recommend using them during your first days of camping. In general, they have quite a good shelf life.
- Parsnips (75 calories per 100 gram). Parsnips are high in fiber and Vitamin C. I usually swap them out for carrots, but it’s a great vegetable if you want a greater variety.
- Canned green peas (50 calories per 100 gram). Green peas are a great source of Vitamins and are quite tasty. You can eat them out of a can, add it to other meals, or cook them for more flavor. They have a great shelf life and are easily stored in containers.
- Couscous (112 calories per 100 gram). Couscous is a good source of protein and Vitamin B. I usually prefer rice, but couscous is great for making your food list more varied.
- Steak (271 calories per 100 gram). I know steaks don’t come under the 3 key rules of this guide, but I love a great steak when I’m camping. I would plan the steaks on the first day of the trip. It’s a great source of Iron and Vitamin B6. But eating too much red meat is not recommended. So, I consider it a great treat for my trips.
- Canned tomato paste (38 calories per 100 gram). High in Vitamin C, Iron and Potassium, tomato paste is great to add to your pasta or rice dishes.
- Canned pasta sauce (29 calories per 100 gram). Consider pasta sauce you like. It can be a pesto sauce or a Bolognese sauce.
- Parmesan cheese (431 calories per 100 gram). Parmesan cheese is great to have if you got some extra space. It’s not a food you must bring, but it makes a big difference in flavor if you’re cooking pasta, want to add a stronger cheese taste to your sandwiches, or even rice.
- Peanut butter or chocolate spread.
- Gummy bears.
Camping Condiments and Spices
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Black Pepper.
- Other spices.
- Maple syrup.
- Chili sauce.
- Hot chocolate.
- Beer & Wine.
- Water (just in case).
This list is just something you should consider when you’re going camping. You should scrap the items you don’t like and add those you do. Make sure your items are something that fits the diet of your whole family. Remember, camping should be fun and so should your meals!
Make sure to keep your food in proper storage. If you’re close to wildlife, follow the park’s food storage rules. Use bear boxes and bear containers if you are in a bear populated area. This will not only keep you safe but will ensure the safety of the wildlife surrounding you. In most of the national parks around the world, bears and other predators that get their claws on human food are usually terminated.
For those who want to save time on preparing food, here’s a great article on no-cook camping food ideas.
Printable Camping Food List
Here is the printable camping food list you can download as a PDF. Use it as a base list and add the thing you like. Or you can scrap the things that don’t work for you and swap it with the foods you prefer.
Download the printable camping food list.
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Mins Lukas Savela is a travel writer whose main focus is adventure travel. His passion for wildlife and nature has carried him to many countries in the world. He loves hiking the best trails on earth and sharing his experiences through writing. He hopes his experiences will help more people to start their own adventures and appreciate the world surrounding them a little bit more.
Mins Lukas Savela (also known as Lukas Saville) has written numerous articles that have been published on websites like Wandrly magazine, Go Nomad, Osprey.com, RAD Season, Wilderness Society, The Los Angeles Beat, California.com, Nature Conservancy, and many others.