Skip to main content

Best Camping Foods, Pt. 1

Learn how to pick the best camping foods from Heather Menicucci, author of Let's Get Primitive, in this Howcast video, part one of two.


What you eat when you are camping is going to be as individual as what you eat when you are home, for the most part. If you are primitive camping, and what I mean by that is, that you are hiking into a campsite a couple of miles in from the road, then you probably are not going to be able to bring a cooler unless you are camping with a bunch of people who are willing to carry a cooler that far. But if you are hiking in six, eight miles and the terrain is rough, then you’re definitely not bringing a cooler.

So what does that mean? It means that stuff that you would normally need to refrigerate, you're not going to be able to. A situation where you are not going to be able to refrigerate, that's where the planning really has to come into play. If you’re able to refrigerate, or you are driving into your campsite, then your camping menu should include everything you love to eat. Ribs, steak, eggs, everything you love to eat. You can put it in a cooler, you can drive it in, you can walk it in, and it will be awesome. If you're not in a situation with a cooler or a car, then you need to plan.

Here are some basics that I like to plan for. Protein is going to be not as plentiful, so I usually bring beans. I bring cans of beans. They are heavier, but they are easier. Dried beans in bags are light, they are a great source of protein, you just have to plan ahead with soaking them overnight. Those are really great for camping. Another good source of protein, believe it or not, is cheese.

Cheese traditionally doesn't really need to be refrigerated. In the United States and in modern times, we refrigerate our cheese, but you don't really have to, at least for a couple of days, particularly with really dense cheeses. So, I always bring cheese camping, I think it's awesome.

Rice and grains, any kind of dried grains are going to be great for camping, because again they are light to carry. Pasta is a great camping meal, because it's light.

One thing I like to do, is for my first day, I will plan to bring stuff like maybe bacon, maybe even a steak, depending on how far I am hiking in, and I'll eat that stuff that normally has to be refrigerated that very first night. So, the first meal is awesome and it's all this stuff that you really can't usually have when you’re camping, but it will last long enough un-refrigerated for a couple hours.

You can really treat yourself on that first dinner when you’re camping. Then from there, I usually just go to beans, beans and rice. In the morning, I do a lot of flapjacks and biscuits and oatmeal. I often bring a lot of seeds and nuts. Fruit is great for camping. Again, it doesn't need to be refrigerated. It's a great snack.

Popular Categories