When you go camping, you are usually foregoing your ability to indulge in your favorite meals and takeout items.
Sometimes, you are even taking yourself so far into the wilderness that you won’t be near a grocery store for the duration of your trip. Packing good food for camping is essential if you want to have an enjoyable adventure.
Camping inspires minimalist packing. However, that doesn't mean you skimp on the necessities like nutritious camp food.
If anything, food and water should be what you pack the most of.
You can survive wearing one shirt for two or three days, but you can’t last without daily sustenance especially with all the calories you will be burning in the wild.
The following camping food list will touch on some basic (and important!) items that you mustn’t forget to bring with you.
Camping Food Checklist | 7 Good Camp Foods
1. Easy-to-Cook Meats
Protein is such an important part of the diet that you would be silly to go without it.
It will fill you up and give you the energy you need as you go hiking. Most proteins can be bought in bulk and in the family size if needed.
Sausage, hot dogs, and beef patties can all be brought along and kept in a cooler until the time is right. They are affordable and can easily be cooked all at once.
Hot dogs are a classic camping food item so make sure you don't go with them.
They are quite easy to cook and all you need is a fire pits or grille. I have found that most camp grounds come with an easy to operate grille.
Just don't forget the lighter!
2. Carbs, Carbs, Carbs
Camping activities, such as hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming all require a lot of energy.
Be sure to pack some dry cereal, instant oatmeal, and energy bars to have with you as meals or snacks during the day.
Often it’s not a great thing to stack up on carbs if you are trying to keep your waistline in check.
However, if you are out in nature hiking away and burning lots of calories, I think it’s okay to stack up on some carbs. I would still stay away from refined carbs like bread which provide only short term energy bursts.
If you love bread it would be a good idea to get a 100% whole wheat and make yourself some PB&J sandwiches to take with you. The peanut butter provides some excellent protein.
If jelly isn't your thing you can always swap that out with cup up banana.
Carbs are essential to your diet, but just make sure you are getting the right ones!
3. On-the-Go Snacks
If your moving around from place to place, it’s important to bring along some on-the-go snacks.
Be sure to have something everyone can eat on the move without having to prepare in the moment.
Some good examples are protein bars, granola bars, trail mix, and peanut butter crackers. These are all great foods for everyone should have on hand.
As with the previous selection above, try and stay clear of overly sugary snacks. They will give you a quick sugar rush but then leave you high and dry a few hours later.
That’s one reason why I prefer water over Gatorade. Gatorade might give you some extra electrolytes but it is also heavily saturated with sugar.
A good trail mix that has lots of high fiber nuts like almonds and cashews is usually my go to snack. Make sure you don’t pick up a bag that is pure M&M’s and chocolate chips.
Just because it says "trail mix" doesn't mean it isn't just candy bag disguised in different packaging.
4. Dried Fruits and Vegetables
If you are looking for healthier options, your local grocery store is sure to have some dried fruits and vegetables for your next trip.
Fruits are natures candy. It is important to note that even if you do get dried fruits without added sugar, it is still going to have quite a bit of natural sugar.
Dried fruit is a heck of a lot better than eating a candy bar, but that still doesn’t mean that you can eat a mountain of it! Keep it in moderation and you will get a nice energy boost.
Vegetables should be a big part of everyone’s diet whether you are going camping or staying at home. World class football quarterback Tom Brady is known for eating vegetables 80% of the time!
Make sure to bring along some carrot sticks or dried vegetables on the trip.
It will be hard to bring along your greens, but if you have a cooler, why not do what I’ve done and pack some spinach and mix them with your morning eggs. Delicious!
Nuts are another great source of protein and will fill you up rather quickly. Anything from walnuts, to almonds, pistachios, or peanuts can be bought at any gas station or grocery store.
These are all fantastic nuts that provide fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants to keep you healthy and sustained on your journey.
Nuts are my go-to snack in the office so I would be a fool not to bring them along on my next camping trip.
They are easy to eat and you don’t have to prepare anything to consume them. You just pop a few in your mouth on the go and you will get some essential vitamins and minerals.
They also taste great when mixed in with other foods! See the trail mix mentioned above.
They are truly the ultimate hiking snack.
Every now and then you can splurge, right?
I know my list so far has steered towards healthy foods. This one most certainly does not.
What would a camping trip even be without s’mores?
No kids? No problem! It’s never wrong to have the classic ingredients on hand for those nights around the fire.
If not s’mores, be sure to have something sweet on hand to help you unwind and enjoy your trip.
These are the perfect camp foods when you need a sweet treat on hand.
Water should be the foundation of what you drink on your camping trip. In fact, if it was the only thing you drink, I would be okay with that.
However, I imagine you want to drink something with a little more flavor at times.
If you have a way of heating up your beverage by the campfire than I highly recommend bringing some tea packs or coffee to give you that nice morning burst that you likely have at home.
Often you can get water additives that aren’t loaded with sugar and can be added to any ordinary water bottles. Stay clear of soda as it is unfortunately just sugar water.
Use cold packs and coolers to keep your beverages cold. Adults should be okay bringing alcohol such as beer and wine if you enjoy a cold one from time to time.
Make sure you are at a campsite that allows for bottles though as it might be best to bring cans as glass tends to break.
Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are generally discouraged, but if you must I would say it’s okay to drink sparingly after working up a full days swat. This is for those doing a lot of daily activity and needing those extra electrolytes.
Any Important Camp Food Items I left Out?
Before you go, plan your big meals and account for each person so you aren’t short on food!
Ramon noodles, canned meats, and eggs have all been solid choices for most camp goers. They are easy to prepare and provide some much-needed nutrition.
If you are staying at popular campgrounds, most will include a fire pit or cooking stove to use. Just make sure to bring the matches and fire starters.
If you are hiking to remote locations for your trip, be very certain of how much food you are packing. Go with the lighter options like the ramon noodles mentioned above.
Pack extra to accommodate for when things go wrong. You really never know! If you are sleeping outside, make sure to bring animal-proof storage that locks the food tight at night.
Hopefully, this camping food list gave you some basics and essentials for having a great camping experience.
Head to your local supermarket and pick up some of the best camp food you can buy.