Preparing and cooking food while camping can be a chore, carrying and storing the ingredients, making a fire and then cooking the food can all be a drain when all you want to do is enjoy yourself. This is why most people when out camping use the simplest of recipes that often lead to the blandest of meals, just to get them through the days and nights.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, you can use clever camping hacks to store your food in different ways, prepare your food in advance and produce tasty meals that do not have to be a grind to cook. It takes some ingenuity and forward thinking, but if you plan everything, preparing and cooking the food can be as much as an adventure as camping itself.
As we go along in this article you will master the best camping food hacks to impress your friends and family while out on your adventures, either with traditional tent camping or out in a camper van.
1. Ziploc bags
It might seem obvious to some people, but plastic Ziploc bags will keep your ingredients fresh and save you a whole lot of space when carrying and storing things while camping.
The bags being plastic might not be the most ecological way to store things, but you can reuse them multiple times. You can also clean them (Clean them well!) and use different ingredients inside them. When you are finished, you can always recycle them to make yourself feel better.
Some of the most simple inventions can be the most helpful and rewarding and a ziplock bag can be used for anything while out camping, but especially with food.
Space Saving is key while camping
Using a Ziploc bag instead of the original packaging will save you a great deal of space. Instead of that big cylindrical tin for your coffee, why not put your coffee in a Ziploc? Therefore your coffee stays fresh and you don’t have to carry around cumbersome packaging and tins.
Of course, coffee is only one example, you can store tea bags, tissues, cutlery and a whole host of other things. The beauty of a ziplock bag is that it will keep things fresh, clean and tidy which is perfect for camping.
You can use Ziploc bags to portion out your ingredients so that you can prepare meals quickly and efficiently. This means you do not waste food and you can make sure you have enough food for your whole camping trip.
You can even put whisked eggs in a Ziplock bag (As long as you keep them cool) so that you can easily make an omelet or scrambled eggs for breakfast. It also means you don’t have to carry whole eggs around, which will be nearly impossible unless you are driving around in a camper van.
One of the things we like to do is create meal bags, where you place a mix of seasoning, marinated chicken etc in a bag and then you just need to pour it all into a pot to cook when needed. These meal bags, save time with preparation when you are tired from a long day trekking and having fun.
2. Tin foil
Tin foil is so versatile, it is the ultimate camping food hack. You can pretty much cook anything in tin foil and it will come out very tasty and all you have to do is leave it to cook. Whatever is covered by the foil will either cook in its own juices or from whatever you have marinated it in, like Olive oil for example.
You will see many instances of food later on in this article that will use foil as the main way of cooking the food, so it is imperative that you bring some foil along with you on your camping trip. You can wrap food in the foil and add it directly to the fire or create a baking tray to cook things on a grill.
Remember to dispose of any foil you use responsibly, it can be very dangerous for any wildlife in the area.
3. Omelet in a bag
We have already mentioned the ziplock bags and how versatile they are, and here is how you can put it into action. Mix up some eggs, add different ingredients to your liking, zip up and wait until morning.
All you have to do is empty the contents into a pan and get a simple, yet tasty omelet for your breakfast.
Just for some inspiration, we like to add some tiny cubes of ham, with chives and a little onion to our omelet mix to make as the main component of our morning breakfast while camping.
4. Banana Boats
So the key to a great camping food hack is simplicity, fun and it needs to be tasty. Making your own banana boat hits all three of those descriptions. Your tastebuds will be thanking you later for the dessert you are about to eat.
All you need are some peeled whole bananas, slice them lengthways and then fill with chocolate chips and marshmallows. Wrap them in tin foil (as mentioned above) and cook until the marshmallow and chocolate chips are melted and gooey. Grab yourself a spoon and tuck into one of the best camping desserts you are ever going to taste.
5. Mac n Cheese
Now so far we made something for breakfast and a dessert, but missed out the main meal?! So here we are, everybody loves pasta and cheese, you can’t go wrong. So this easy to use Mac n Cheese recipe is ideal for camping.
The hack comes into the form of the tin foil again as usually Mac n Cheese is cooked in an oven, but if you use foil and place just over the fire, it can cook you up a really nice camping Mac n Cheese.
In the recipe link, it uses pie trays, but you can easily fashion a tray from your roll of tin foil, or if you are feeling particularly lazy, you can just wrap the Mac n Cheese into a ball with the foil, if you are not worried about presentation.
6. Muffins cooked in Orange peels
Now this one is a great space saver while you are out camping and an ingenious hack to cook muffins using a campfire. All you need is some muffin mix and some oranges, then you have everything you need to cook your muffins.
When you need some Vitamin C, get your orange and chop it in half, scoop out the orange and either make some juice or eat it. But remember to keep the hollowed out peel, as this will create your muffin casing for cooking.
It is best to use the fresh peel rather than letting it dry out, but it doesn’t really matter. Using the freshly cut peel will add a hint of orange to your muffins that will give it its extra flavor.
Now pour the muffin mixture into the hollowed out orange halves and put on top of a camping grill and wait until they have risen and are cooked to your liking. You can then eat straight away, or store in your bag while trekking to have a much-needed snack before meal times.
7. Cheesy bacon Hot dogs
We all love a hotdog, but although you can stick a hotdog on a stick and cook over the campfire, it can often lead to unevenly cooked or charred hotdogs. With this technique, you can add a few extra ingredients like cheese and bacon and make perfect hotdogs that taste amazing.
So, you will need to use foil again for this recipe, but before that get the hotdog and wrap it in cheese (Strips of sandwich cheese is ideal for preparation, but any cheese will do), then strips of bacon. Then put the hotdog in foil and place onto the fire, remembering to turn every so often.
The beauty of this is that the hotdog will cook in its own juices and the cheese will melt, while the bacon gets all nice and crispy to create a mouthwatering snack to enjoy with your camping buddies around the campfire.
Camping tools to help you with your cooking
Now you know what and how to cook, we would like to point out some great tools that will help you with your camping food hacks. These tools will make your life easier when preparing and cooking your food and you may actually enjoy the cooking part of camping more than the trekking and adventure.
The omelet you made earlier needs some accompaniment at breakfast time, what could be better than some nice toast with your choice of topping. With the Camping toaster, you can make multiple slices of toast to have with your breakfast.
No more burnt toast prodded with a stick over the fire, no more cold slices of toast while cooking each slice of toast separately. You can place up to 4 slices of toast on this apparatus, which connects to a gas stove. So you can get 4 slices of evenly cooked toast in a matter of minutes to have with your meals.
Get yourself a cooler
If you are out camping sometimes it is not practical to take a big cooler with you, but if you are going to be at the same campsite for the whole duration of your visit or are investing in a camper van, then you need to get yourself a cooler.
The coolers we have linked to are not just your average coolers, they supply the coolers that you have dreams about. The Cooler comes with Bluetooth speakers, power charging, plates, and utensils. A cutting board and bottle openers are all also included, so you get everything you need for the perfect party around the campfire.
A lot of people associate coolers with alcohol, but if you want to cook meat across your camping holiday, you will need to be able to store it in a cool place to keep it fresh and edible. So investing in a cooler is imperative and it also helps if it does a lot of other jobs for you as these coolers can do.
Portable espresso maker
We haven’t focused at all on drinks in this article, and understand the need to give yourself a lift during your camping expedition. So this great little camping gadget can give you your caffeine fix.
You just need to add hot water and the ground coffee of your choice and then pump away. It is very easy to use and all it requires is your hand pumping ability, no batteries or electrical source needed.
So you can be anywhere and enjoy your favorite coffee and get your early morning boost to get you through the rest of the day.
So there you have it, you have some great cooking hacks for when you go camping, you can use some of these ideas with some of the gadgets mentioned above to make your camping trip go with a culinary bang!
What it proves is that with a bit of planning and ingenuity, you can have a great experience cooking your food in a timely way so that you can get on with trekking and your many adventures.