Think eating while camping outdoors in the wild can only mean spooning beans out of a tin? Think again. Sure, when it’s just you and Mother Nature, you have to get resourceful about making food – but we’ve put our creative hats on and whipped up a list of mouth-watering, easy-to-follow recipes and snack ideas for all the avid campers out there.
Don’t fear the lack of an expansive worktop and flashy kitchen utensils – we’re going to show you how to treat yourself to delicious meals with minimal effort and equipment so your nutrition doesn’t suffer. You’ll be needing all the energy you can get while taking on the great outdoors, but you also want to make sure the food you’re consuming is still fresh and edible and doesn’t make you ill.
We are of the firm belief that pre-preparing or cooking your own food for your camping trips is part and parcel of the whole experience and shouldn’t be substituted for expensive buys from food stalls in campsites. This will save you money and you’ll also be entitled to fully-fledged camper status if you’re putting in the effort and skills to make your own meals, Scout style!
Before you indulge yourself in our recipes, take a minute to read through our practical list of camping food tips that will help you plan out your meals, keeping waste to a minimum and time on your side.
- Vacuum Flask Meals and Drinks
- Camping Snack Ideas
- Camping Food Ideas and Recipes:
Start your meal planning by considering how many days you’re going to be out camping. The bulk of the focus should always be on dry, non-perishable food that will last you till the very end of the trip. Leave the fresh food and tricky cooking for the early days – the food will keep well up to this point and you’ll still be fresh enough to invest energy and dedication in cooking from scratch.
Try to pack food that isn’t too heavy to carry around, as this will take a toll on you until you start using up your edible supplies. Cans full of liquid food should ideally be kept to a minimum as they will weigh you down considerably if you pile in too many of them.
For food that needs to be kept at a low temperature, cool bags and boxes are the best options. Remember, however, that cooler bags and boxes are not refrigerators, and food stored in them can only be stored at an optimal temperature for a day or so.
Dry food can be kept in your rucksack, but it’s good practice to wrap in a separate sealed plastic bag or two to prevent spills, cross-contamination and your week’s worth of clothes becoming soup-scented.
Remember to consider the camping cooking equipment you’ll be needing, too. Drinks are an integral part of your nutrition while camping, so don’t skimp on these. Water is essential, and if you plan on undertaking demanding physical activities, a sports drink or two wouldn’t go amiss. If you’re dreading the added weight, hydration packs offer a good compromise for their volume capacity.
Vacuum Flask Meals and Drinks
In Scotland, it’s basically a necessity to have a vacuum flask when going camping or outdoors at all.
With the weather often cold and wet, it’s rare to require an ice-cold bottle of water and more common to be in need of a nice hot drink. Vacuum flasks are brilliant for containing the heat to allow you and your fellow campers a warm cuppa even hours after the kettle boiled, and it’s also great for some meals, too.
Wondering what to put in your vacuum flask? Here are our favourite options:
- Hot chocolate
- Hot squash
- Cold drinks – like milk (or regular-temperature squash)!
Camping Snack Ideas
The following foods are super quick and easy snack options for when you’re camping and not in a position to cook:
- Instant soups/noodles/couscous
- Cereal/granola bars
- Multi-pack crisps
- Multi-pack chocolate bars
- Chilled sausage rolls/ mini pies/pizzas/sandwiches/wraps
- Travel-size spreads
- Dried fruit
- Dried meats
- Rice cakes
- Mini cereal packs
- Packaged buns/rolls
- Apples and other long-lasting fruit
Take cans that have a ring-pull style or remember to take a quality tin opener with you, as well as matches and other fire-starting materials.
Never, ever reheat meat or rice, as you’ll be inviting food poisoning, which can make you seriously ill if you’re stuck outdoors with no access to proper shelter or medical care.
Food rich in carbohydrates will give you a boost throughout the day even on little sleep, so stock up on cereal and chocolate bars to keep your sugar levels up. Fibre-rich foods will help stabilise your energy levels and the complex carbohydrates found in starchy foods will keep you going for longer.
All there recipes and snack ideas here – unless otherwise stated – serve four or more hungry campers, so you can prepare them for the whole family or a group of friends.
Campfire Beer Pancakes
- 4 large eggs
- 100ml sunflower oil
- 300g plain flour
- 500ml whole milk
- 1 bottle of light, pale lager (Heineken, Budweiser, and Corona are perfect)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 100g butter
- 100g maple syrup
What to do:
- Combine flour and milk in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Gradually add the beer, 1 tablespoon of the oil and the salt. Mix gently.
- Add the eggs and stir until the mixture is moist and uniform, taking care not to over-stir.
- Heat ½ a tablespoon of the oil in a cast-iron skillet over the campfire and wipe the surface of the bottom with kitchen roll to distribute the oil evenly in a very thin coating.
- Pour some of the batter into the skillet in an anti-clockwise ‘O’ shape, taking care not to pour too much.
- Cook until the batter rises slightly and bubbles start forming on the top, which should take about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown, which should be around 1 minute.
- Repeat with remaining batter, splitting into approximately 8 or 9 equal portions to make as many pancakes. Use the remaining oil to coat the skillet in between pancakes.
- Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup.
Campfire Eggs and Bacon
- 8 large eggs
- 12 bacon rashers
- 4 long skewers
- 4 campsite sticks
What to do:
- Push 2 rashers of bacon into a skewer, kebab-style.
- Cook the bacon over the campfire for 5 to 10 minutes, until golden and crisp.
- Crack open two eggs in a sturdy brown paper bag lined with 1 rasher of bacon.
- Pierce the bag with a stick and hold over the campfire for around 4 minutes, until bacon starts to turn golden and eggs are cooked in a skillet style. Serve immediately.
- 4-6 bags of lunch-size of Cool Original Doritos
- 600g ground beef
- 200g shredded lettuce
- 200g grated mature cheddar
- 200g diced tomatoes
- 200g sliced jalapeños
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 200g taco sauce
- 200g sour cream
What to do:
- Heat oil in a medium-sized camping pot over the campfire and brown ground beef for approximately 20 minutes.
- Add taco seasoning and 50ml water and gently simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Gently crush crisps in each bag.
- Open top and roll down edges of each bag.
- Distribute the cooked meat, cheese and the rest of the toppings (except the sour cream) among the bags and toss with a plastic fork.
- Add a dollop of sour cream on top of each taco mixture.
- 1kg cubed lean sirloin steak (pre-marinated at home)
- 100g BBQ sauce
- 100g Worcester sauce
- 100ml soy sauce
- 100ml olive oil
- 200g whole chestnut mushrooms
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion, halved and sliced
- 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green pepper, cut into chunks
- 200g cherry tomatoes
- 1 can of pineapple chunks
- 1 medium courgette, cut into rolls
- 1 pinch of salt, pepper, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and turmeric
- 6 campsite sticks or long skewers
What to do:
- Pre-marinate the meat at home using a mixture of soy sauce, BBQ sauce, Worcester sauce and spices at home. Prepare the cut vegetables at home.
- Use stick or skewer to pierce through steak cube, followed by a mushroom, cherry tomato, yellow pepper chunk and so forth. Assemble the meat and vegetables in whichever order you prefer on the stick or skewer, and season well with spices.
- Place kebabs over the campfire or portable BBQ for at least 15 minutes to cook the meat well and brown the vegetables, rotating the stick or skewer to achieve even cooking.
- Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil.
Chilli Campfire Bake
- 500g macaroni pasta
- 1 can chilli
- 200g nachos
- 150g shredded mature cheddar
- 1 pinch of salt
What to do:
- Boil the pasta in 750ml of water in a large skillet for 10 minutes, until almost all the water has evaporated and the pasta is cooked.
- Add chilli to skillet and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and top with corn chips, cheese and salt. Serve immediately.
- 600g elbow macaroni (pre-cooked at home)
- 250g Alfredo sauce
- 100g shredded cheddar
- 100g shredded parmesan
- 100g shredded mozzarella
- 100ml whole milk
- 1 pinch of salt and pepper
- Non-stick cooking spray
What to do:
- Boil the pasta for 10 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water at home.
- Transfer pasta back to pot over low heat and stir in the sauce and cheese, adding milk gradually and stirring all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper.
- Pour mixture into aluminium mini pie tins sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover the top with aluminium foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray at the bottom.
- Store in a cooler bag or box until ready to cook over the campfire for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Campfire Monkey Bread
- 1 can of buttermilk biscuit dough
- 100g cinnamon sugar (made by mixing 2 tablespoons of cinnamon with 100g sugar)
- 100g brown sugar
- 150g salted butter
- Heavy-duty aluminium foil
What to do:
- Line a dutch oven with the foil, greasing it with the butter.
- Cut the buttermilk biscuit dough into irregular quarters.
- Pour the cinnamon sugar into a plastic bag and dip dough quarters into the bag, shaking to coat.
- Put the coated dough quarters in the dutch oven, repeating the process until all the biscuits are coated in the oven.
- Melt the remaining butter in a pot over the campfire and add the brown sugar.
- Pour the mixture over the biscuits in the dutch oven.
- Place another layer of foil across the top of the dutch oven and place the lid on top. Bake over the campfire for 10-15 minutes or until puffed up and the centre is cooked through.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve.
Campfire Sweet French Toast
- 1 large loaf of soft, crusty white bread (semi-sliced; cut halfway down the bottom)
- 500g fresh strawberries (half diced, half sliced)
- 150g icing sugar
- 100g granulated white sugar
- Butterscotch syrup
- 50g sliced almonds
- 4 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- Parchment paper
- Aluminium foil
What to do:
- Wrap the loaf in parchment paper and foil it in loosely so that the semi-slices fall slightly open yet the loaf remains whole.
- Sprinkled the diced strawberries and almonds all over the loaf, including in the wedges in the loaf at the top.
- Wrap the foil and parchment paper more tightly around the bread. Pour the egg whites, granulated white sugar, cinnamon and ground spice all over the loaf, spreading them evenly across the surface and in between slices. Put another piece of foil all over the top of the bread and wrap tightly to ensure no leaks.
- Place the wrapped loaf over the campfire and cook for around 40 to 45 minutes, turning occasionally for even cooking.
- The bread should be a light golden brown when ready – if it’s still soggy, cook for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the top part of the foil and sprinkle with the sliced strawberries, icing sugar and butterscotch syrup before serving.
And now… Bon appétit! Be sure to send us pictures of your tasty snacks and meals by the campfire on Instagram by tagging #GoFurther.