Camping Food Ideas for Campervans, Tents and Hiking
Leaving the luxuries of modern-day life behind to hit the road or hiking trails means leaving the convenience of your kitchen or local takeaway. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to rely on surviving on packaged meals and road trip snacks. In this guide to the best camping meals, we’ll show you some easy camping food to make in a campervan or tent, as well as when you’re multi-day hiking. We’ll also include a camping food list.
Note that this article focuses on more practical meal ideas, rather than flamboyant recipes that will take you half the morning to cook – no smashed avocado on bagels with poached eggs here!
Camping Food Lists
If you’re only going to do one shopping list for your camping trip, make it one of these.
Campervan Food List
Staples to keep in your campervan:
- Honey/peanut butter
- Salt/pepper (and other preferred herbs and spices)
- Olive oil
- Cheese (halloumi is a hard durable cheese for camping)
- Vegetable stock powder
Fresh food to pick up in supermarkets and markets while travelling:
- Sliced bread
Hiking/Camping Food List
- Bit of honey/spread
- Cheese slices
- Salami slices
- Dried fruit
- Pasta/rice (or dehydrated meals)
- Dried vegetables (or dehydrated meals)
- Canned meat/fish (or dehydrated meals)
- Small packets of salt, pepper and/or preferred spices
- Small packets of sauces, butter, etc.
Easy Camping Meals for Campervans
The great thing about cooking in a campervan is that you can have your staples (see the camping food list above) and pick up seasonal ingredients while you’re on the road.
The biggest difference between cooking in a campervan and cooking at home is that you’ll only have access to a handful of utensils and probably just one pot and frying pan. Only the largest motorhomes have ovens, so it’s likely that you’ll have to make do with just a stovetop.
These cooked breakfasts will warm you up at the start of a cool morning.
- Porridge – Boil rolled oats and milk/water in a pan, stirring until it’s at a thick consistency. Mix in some honey (or another spread) for flavour. You can also add chopped fruit.
- French toast – Whisk an egg then dunk sliced bread into the egg. Add cinnamon powder, if you have it, or sugar and fry on either side. Top up the toast with honey and fresh fruit.
Honestly, many campers just make do with a nice sandwich, but if you want to go warm for lunch, here are a couple of easily cooked camping meals:
- Skewers – Chop into large chunks whatever vegetables you’ve picked up while on the road (red onion, capsicum and cherry tomatoes work well) and pop them on a skewer along with some halloumi. Rotate the skewer over the campfire or barbecue every few minutes until cooked through.
- Cheese toastie – You don’t need a toastie machine for a great toastie. Put your favourite sandwich ingredients between two slices of bread (we like cheese, capsicum and onion) and toast both sides of the sandwich in a lightly oiled frying pan.
And for dinner, make use of the camping staples, rice and pasta, to make a hearty dish. A couple of examples include:
- One-pan risotto – A basic take on risotto, cook and stir one cup of rice and two cups of vegetable stock. Stir for about 20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Add desired vegetables and cooked meat (like chorizo) just before the water is fully absorbed.
- Easy pasta – Fry up your desired vegetables and meat (we like mushroom and onion or leek and bacon). While frying, boil some water then add dried pasta for about 7-12 minutes (taste for softness). When the pasta is cooked, add it to the frying pan. Mix in some cream cheese if you have it. For more pasta recipes, see 5 Easy Pasta Recipes for Backpackers.
Easy Camping Meals for Tent Camping / Multi-Day Hiking
For cooking with a small camping stove or when doing a multi-day trek, you want camping meals that are as light as possible while being made with minimal utensils.
Especially for multi-day hiking, you want to repackage food into reusable ziplock bags to take up less room. Small packets of salt/pepper, hot sauce and honey/spread can liven up a bland meal.
Most hikers prefer to pack dried fruit and vegetables over the fresh stuff, but some foods like carrots and apples have great nutritional value and will last for days in your pack. They’re heavy though, so take a reasonable amount.
Dehydrated hiking meals, which you can pick up at any outdoor stores, are expensive but ultra-light. Most of the time, you just need to cook with hot water to make a good meal.
Porridge with a cup of tea is a great way to get the body warmed up while in the backcountry. But if you’re raring to get up and go, a few breakfast bars are a less healthy option combined with an apple or dried fruit.
- Porridge – Boil rolled oats and water in a pan, stirring until it’s at a thick consistency. Mix in some honey (or another spread) for flavour. You can also add dried fruit.
- Breakfast bars – A few breakfast bars with fresh fruit is an easy non-cook alternative.
Lunch often isn’t very exciting on a hiking trip. Topping up some crackers with lightweight and durable hard cheese and/or hard meat is an easy way to go. Snacking on nuts and dried fruit will fill any remaining holes.
- Crackers – Top some crackers with cheese, salami or chorizo. Add some butter or another small condiment package for more flavour.
- Wraps – Fill with cheese and salami or chorizo and add small condiment packages like butter, mayo, hot sauce, etc. You can even prepare some wraps with salad before your trip for the first couple of days.
Rice and/or pasta are a hiker’s best friend for dinner on the trails. Dried or dehydrated vegetables add more sustenance to your meals, as does canned meats (although cans can get heavy so only take them for a couple of meals on your hike).
- Rice and veges – Boil a cup of rice and dehydrated/dried vegetables with 1.5 cups of water and boil until the water is absorbed. Season with salt, pepper and small packaged sauces/spices.
- Pasta and canned meat – Bring water to the boil then cook dried pasta for 7-12 minutes tasting until soft. Drain the water then add canned chicken or tuna and stir with the pasta. Season with salt, pepper and small packaged sauces/spices.