Your Camping Trip Just Got Easier With These Make Ahead Camping Meals
Camping meal planning can be exhausting, especially with a large group or children. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Make ahead camping meals are the perfect way to make your camping trip even better, especially if you don’t have the time or energy to carefully plan out the menu each day.
Taking pre made camping meals with you gives you more time to play and relax. There’s also less cleanup to worry about.
While these recipes aren’t made for people trekking through the wilderness with only a backpack and a sleeping bag, they can make a huge difference for RVing and car camping at a family campground.
We’ve rounded up 23 of our favorite make ahead camping meals, with options for any meal of the day. With this amazing list, you’ll have so many options to choose from, you might need to go camping for an entire week to try them all!
Make Ahead Camping Breakfasts
1. Overnight Oats
Yes, you can even make your camping breakfasts ahead of time. Overnight oats don’t even need to be heated up- just grab them from the cooler, open the lid, and dig in. It’s perfect for those hot summer mornings when no one wants to be near a hot grill.
There are so many different variations of overnight oats floating around the internet. Find some you like, or let your group pick their own recipes.
2. Breakfast Burritos
If your favorite part about waking up on the campsite is a warm, campfire-grilled meal to start the day, you’ll love camping breakfast burritos.
At home, cook up some of your favorite breakfast ingredients, such as scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, peppers, or ham. Then, take a tortilla and add your ingredients with your choice of cheese, roll it up, and wrap in tin foil.
Keep them in the fridge or freezer until you leave, and then throw the foil packages on the campfire when you’re ready to eat.
The best part about this easy camping food is that you can tailor it to your group’s tastes. You can essentially add in whatever ingredients you want. If someone is a vegetarian, they can easily make a meatless version.
3. Make Ahead Pancake Mix
If you make pancake mix ahead of time, all you need to do is lay it out on the pan and flip. Whether you like to make pancake batter from scratch or your go-to is the store-bought mix, whip it together for an easy pre-planned breakfast.
You can store the mix in a variety of ways until you use it. Try a plastic squeeze bottle from the dollar store, or plastic baggies (you can cut the ends off at the campsite to squeeze the mix out).
4. Scrambled Eggs in a Water Bottle
Many campers love to fry up some scrambled eggs on a skillet over the fire. You can make this easier by cracking the eggs ahead of time and storing them in an empty plastic bottle. When you’re ready for breakfast, just heat up the pan and pour them out.
Simple Camping Lunches
We know sandwiches aren’t a revolutionary concept, but they’re so easy to prepare at home and take along with you. There are also tons of ways you can make a sandwich, so everyone can get something they enjoy.
Making a sandwich ahead of time takes minimal effort, and sandwiches keep well in your cooler for days at a time. You can also grill them over the campfire to make them extra melty and delicious.
6. Peanut Butter Banana Rolls
These wrap-ups are great because they don’t need to be stored in the cooler. Just take a tortilla, spread peanut butter on it, then add sliced bananas and roll it up.
For added deliciousness, throw in some chocolate chips. If you don’t want to use bananas, use jam instead for a new take on the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
While these taste great on their own, wrapping them in tin foil and cooking on the campfire makes them even better.
7. DIY Instant Noodle Cups
Instant noodle cups from the grocery store can be full of sodium, ingredients we can’t pronounce, and other unknown things. Not to mention, buying a lot of them for your camping trip can get costly, especially when you’re with a bigger group.
Make these DIY instant noodle cups from The Kitchn. When you’re ready to serve these for lunch, all you need to do is heat up some water in a pot and pour it in. It’s so easy!
8. Cold Pasta Salads
This classic side to any summer barbeque makes a fantastic camping food. Whether you eat it for lunch, or as a side to a picnic dinner, you can’t really go wrong.
Throw together a cold pasta salad and keep it in a container in the cooler. Cold pasta salads and potato salads are perfect for camping because, if you make them at home, they require zero preparation at the campsite.
Choose any cold pasta salad you love. There are so many things to choose from. Try this list of 60 different variations to break away from the norm.
Anytime Easy Camping Food: Snacks, Apps, and Other Munchies
9. Banana Bread
Banana bread is a super easy camping food that can be extremely versatile. You can eat it for breakfast, for lunch, as a snack, or as a dessert.
It’s also great to take along with you. Whether you’re going out on the boat for the day, hitting the trails, or taking a beach day, banana bread is always a great choice.
Here’s a simple recipe for banana bread if you’ve never made it before.
Tip: throw slices of banana bread on the campfire grill for a delicious breakfast.
10. Campfire Spinach Dip
We are firm believers that you can always have your favorite foods while camping, and spinach dip is no exception.
Spinach dip is a widely popular dish that many people love. Nearly every restaurant has it on their menu, and, quite frankly, it’s really easy to make.
Try this recipe for campfire spinach dip for a campfire twist on this beloved dish. Eat it for lunch, as a snack, or an appetizer before dinner.
11. Homemade Trail Mix
We can’t forget about snacks! Trail mix is the perfect hiking snack because it’s easy to carry and you can pack it with protein, fiber, and all the good stuff that keeps you going.
Here are some great combinations you can try out:
- Classic: raisins, peanuts, and M&M’s.
- S’more: mini marshmallows, granola, peanuts, and chocolate chips.
- Movie night: air popped popcorn, dried apricots, almonds, and raisins.
- Spicy kick: dried wasabi peas, cashews, peanuts, raisins, and dried cranberries.
- Breakfast mix: cheerios, Chex cereal, peanuts, raisins, and cashews.
- Autumn mix: pumpkin seeds, dried apple, caramel chocolate chips, and pecans.
12. Energy Balls
These bite-sized snacks are a great source of protein, energy, and other nutrients that keep you full and energized during all of your fun camping activities. Best of all, they don’t require any baking time, so you can just mix, roll, and go.
Energy bites are really popular right now because they are so easy to make, taste delicious, and fill you up all day. They travel well, and don’t take up much room on all of your fun excursions.
Here’s a basic recipe to start with, but you can find tons of other variations with just a quick Google search.
The Best Camping Dinners
This versatile classic can be made in many ways, from a saucepan to a crockpot. It freezes well, so you can even make a huge batch ahead of time and save it until you need it.
Chili is easy to make, easy to reheat at the campsite, and is everyone’s favorite comfort food. There’s nothing like sitting around in your camp chair with a heaping bowl of homemade chili.
Most people have a go-to chili recipe, but if you’re new to the world of chili-making, here’s a quick and easy recipe to start with.
14. Camping Skewers
These camping skewer recipes are perfect to make ahead of time and take along with you in a freezer bag, tupperware container, or tin foil.
Just assemble them at home, throw in your container, and pack! Once you get to the campsite, just put them on the grill and cook. This also gives you extra time to marinate your meat or veggies to maximise that flavor.
15. Camping Macaroni and Cheese
This recipe, from Lauren’s Latest, will make your mouth water. It’s macaroni and cheese you can make ahead and cook over the campfire. People really think of everything, don’t they?
Essentially, you make the macaroni and cheese mixture and scoop it into an aluminum pie pan. Pack it up, and cook when ready. When you cook it, be sure to utilize the grill over the fire so it doesn’t burn.
If you’re camping with kids, especially picky eaters, this is a must. However, it’s always a hit with adults as well!
16. Pulled Pork
Make pulled pork ahead of time in your slow cooker. It keeps well, and when you get to your campsite you’ll just need to reheat it- however, if you really want to, you could eat it cold.
Bring along some buns to make pulled pork on a bun for the perfect camping dinner. Mix together some coleslaw, and you’ve got a hit.
If you prefer, you could also make pulled chicken instead for a lighter version.
17. Tin Foil Packet Meals
Tin foil was basically made for camping.
Check out this list of tin foil camping dinners for some great ideas to make ahead of time and enjoy right on the campfire. All you have to do is wrap them, store in the cooler, and then cook on the campfire coals.
There’s just something about that campfire-cooked taste that makes our mouths water and our stomachs rumble!
18. Tacos and Fajitas
Cook up some taco meat or chicken for fajitas ahead of time, and prep the ingredients. Shred some cheese, cut up some veggies, get some lettuce ready, and throw it all in the cooler.
Once you get to the campsite, all you’ll need to do is heat up the meat and assemble your tacos or fajitas. This is a super easy and fun dinner with a larger group because everyone can assemble their own meal.
19. Campfire Pizza Log
Try this campfire pizza log recipe from the Family Cookbook Project. It’s a great way to feed a large group or family and satisfy everyone’s pizza fix.
Here’s a hint: freeze this pizza log until you’re leaving, and throw it in the cooler. It’ll help keep the rest of your food cold, and will defrost by the time you’re ready to use it.
A Sweet Finale: Simple Camping Desserts You’ll Love
20. Campfire Cones
We couldn’t forget about dessert! This recipe for campfire cones, by Come Together Kids, is made from pantry ingredients, so the cones will keep well until you’re ready to use them.
Campfire cones are going to be your child’s new favorite food, so don’t be surprised if they start requesting them at home, too!
21. Homemade Cookies
Cookies are a classic treat that travel well and taste delicious. Whip up a batch of cookies and pack them for the trip, and hand them out around the campfire.
It’s great to have some homemade cookies on hand to use for s’mores, too. Use them for some of these creative s’mores ideas for a new take on your favorite camping dessert.
You might have to hide your cookies until you get to the campsite, though- sometimes they get eaten up before you make it there!
22. Tortilla Dessert Roll-ups
These tortilla dessert roll-ups from Echoes of Laughter are a great idea for a campfire-grilled dessert. All you really need is a tortilla, some tin foil, and whatever mix-ins you’d like to enjoy.
Here are just some of the possible mix-ins you could try:
- Chocolate chips
- Mini marshmallows
- Peanut butter
- Chocolate sauce
You can let each kid (or adult) create their own winning combination and roll them up themselves. Then, just cook the roll-ups in tin foil over the campfire and you’ve got a gooey, melted dessert personalized to each camper.
23. S’mores Cookies
We all love s’mores. The best part about s’mores is that the flavor combination can be applied to so many different things- like cookies.
These s’mores oatmeal cookies are easy to make ahead and bring to the campsite. You get all the flavor without the sticky, gooey fingers and faces.
With these cookies, you don’t even have to wait until the campfire is roaring. Enjoy them in the middle of the day, or even for breakfast!
You’ve Picked Your Favourite Meal Ideas. Now, Find Your Family’s Perfect Campsite!
Now that you’ve chosen some of these make ahead camping meals that you’d love to try, it’s time to plan a trip to try them out!
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