10 camping meal ideas

Are you going camping and want easy and practical alternatives to eat? In this post you will find several ideas and tips to vary from the classic pasta with tomato sauce and enjoy simple, varied and tasty meals.
We have always liked camping a lot , in Chile we did it at least 2 times a year. But since we came to live in Spain we hadn’t had the opportunity to do it -not for lack of desire, rather because we didn’t want to buy all the accessories again-.

But this summer we decided to rent a camper van and go to tour the Pyrenees on the Spanish and French sides for 10 days.

Although going by van-camper has comforts that you don’t have when you go camping, when it comes to organizing meals the challenge is quite similar.

The only difference is that we had a mini refrigerator (fridge) that helped us keep various things cool during the time we were on the road. The truth is that it is something very useful and comfortable, especially for when it is hot and you are going away for more than three days of travel.

Regarding our first trip in camping meal ideas a camper van, I wanted to tell you that it was quite an adventure. In short, on the second day a hose burst 5 km from the border with France, a crane had to rescue us and we were unable to move for two days.

Luckily the man from “Rey Car” was able to make a spare part and fix the Forgo for us to continue our trip. After that little incident, we spent six days touring a good part of the French Pyrenees, where we met fairytale towns, went on beautiful walks and hikes surrounded by nature, and slept in places where there was nothing but starlight.

An adventure that we will undoubtedly repeat in the future.

I won’t bore you anymore and let’s go to what interests us, here is the list with several ideas and tips for simple, varied and tasty meals to take camping 😉Ah! And at the end you will find a list of very useful and practical kitchen utensils and accessories, or at least they save my cooking life during camping trips.

1. For breakfast: Homemade granola and ready-to-eat cakes

  • On our last trip to Costa Rica we spent several days in a house on the beach. There I learned from my mother-in-law that bringing food already prepared from home can save a lot of time, especially when you’re on vacation and you don’t want to waste time in the kitchen or bring ingredients that could be a complication.
  • For breakfast it is best to bring a good amount of homemade granola to accompany with yogurt or milk. You simply have to prepare it at home and carry it in an airtight container. It lasts up to 3 weeks in perfect conditions, here’s the recipe.
  • Another good idea is to make a banana cake, a carrot cake or whatever you like and take it for breakfast or mid-afternoon. It lasts 5 to 7 days without refrigeration.
  • If salty breakfasts are your thing, then a good option is to bring eggs, bread and butter. In the same pan you can place a little butter and toast the bread and leave it aside. Then you make the eggs in the same pan, so you don’t mess too much and you have a delicious and filling breakfast.

2. Easy sandwiches for trekking, walks or activities

When we go camping, it is very common to do walks or activities during the day, and for that, the most practical thing is usually to bring sandwiches.

The key to a good sandwich (heavy and rich) is to put 2 to 3 ingredients and a sauce so that the bread gets a little wet and binds the other ingredients.

Here are some ideas of my favorite easy sandwiches:

Ham, cheese and sweet pickles, with mustard sauce on the base.
Capers sandwich: with mozzarella cheese (or goat cheese), tomato and pesto sauce on the base (you have to use a thick bread so it doesn’t get too wet)
Tuna with mayonnaise , green leaves (lettuce or spinach) and peppers in strips
Filled with ground egg paste with mayonnaise (or mustard) and pickles (or olives)
Spanish type: Cheese, Serrano ham (it can also be salami or feet) and a crushed tomato base
If you want to get away from the classic sandwich, you can also bring a Tupperware with a “strong” salad like the ones I propose below.

3. “Heavy” salads

Hearty salads are my favorite alternative for camping since they can be eaten cold and also taken on a walk in a Tupperware.

To make them forceful, I suggest you make a combination of carbohydrates (rice, pasta, quinoa or couscous) and/or protein (tuna, egg, cheese, legumes and/or nuts) + mix of vegetables (tomato, cucumber, corn (corn ), Italian courgetti (zucchini), carrot, spinach, etc.) The combinations are endless, you just need a little imagination!

I recommend you bring canned goods such as tuna, ready-to-eat vegetables or corn (corn) to have alternatives when making your salad.

I had intended to take some photos of the delicious Tupperware that we took on a hike we did, but the hunger was stronger and I completely forgot about it.

4. Pasta: a classic that does not fail

The classic pastas are a must for camping, here I give you three tested and super approved ideas that can not be missing on our trips:

Pasta with pesto and dried mushrooms or dried tomatoes:

pesto sauce can be bought ready (at the supermarket) and dried mushrooms and dried tomatoes are an excellent alternative to add and flavor pasta and other preparations (such as hearty salads) , they only need to be 5 minutes in boiling water to hydrate, the water is strained and they are added directly to the preparation.

Pasta with cream (or evaporated milk) with ham or bacon:

a preparation that does not fail, and if you add a little grated cheese (whatever you have) it is even richer and tastier. Ideal to eat after a long walk or if you are very hungry.

Pasta with tomato sauce and soy meat: soy meat (textured soy) is an excellent alternative to take camping, especially because it comes dry (it hydrates with water) and gives a rich texture to the tomato sauce . In order for the tomato sauce to be tasty, I recommend incorporating a sautéed onion and garlic and a mix of basic spices into the preparation (which I will tell you about in point 6).

5. Rice with beans (beans)

This simple but tasty combination has become a must in our campsites. It is a super practical preparation since everything is done in the same pot. The rice is cooked and the canned beans (black or red) with their juice are added. If you want to give it more flavor you can add a little tomato sauce, a can of tuna, some dehydrated mushrooms or dried tomatoes.

A strong and tasty preparation, ready in 15 minutes!

Tip: Bring a good assortment of canned goods and you will be able to prepare many different dishes, hearty and full of flavor. Some ideas: corn (chocolo), peas (peas), tuna, mussels (mussels), etc.

6. Couscous with vegetables and egg

  • I love couscous because it takes only 5 minutes to prepare and you only need boiling water.
  • To make the couscous I recommend that before adding the water you add a pinch of salt, pepper and 1 tsp of curry powder and mix well with the dry couscous. Then you add the water and it will be much tastier.
  • The rest of the dish is simply made by chopping the vegetables you have available, such as: carrots, zucchini, peppers, etc. You fry them for 5 minutes in a pan and then mix them with the couscous.
  • To give it a final touch you can crown it with a fried egg. Simple and delicious.
  • Tip: Always take a set of basic spices (salt, pepper, oregano, curry and chili powder or paprika), believe me it will make the difference between a bland meal and a delicious meal.

7. Marinated chicken with white rice

  • For camping meal ideas We had several months to think and plan this last trip (we rented the van 4 months before). And since we had never done a trip in a camper van, we began to read various blogs and watch videos of people who do it frequently.
  • In one of the videos I saw a tip that caught my attention, and it was to bring frozen meats already marinated . So a couple of weeks before, I decided to marinate a couple of boneless chicken breasts and freeze them to go. Cut it in half (to make fillets) and marinate it with fine herbs. And another 2 breasts I cut into cubes and marinate them with a tikka masala paste (Indian spiced sauce) that I had at home.
  • The result was a success! I only had to prepare a white rice to accompany the chicken, which was really tasty. The only problem was that we didn’t have a freezer, so since they thawed the first day we had to eat them within the next few days.
  • It is an excellent alternative, just remember that you have to eat it the first 3 days so that it does not spoil.

8. Snacks and appetizers “between meals” or to take on walks

  • Don’t forget to bring snacks! They are a lifesaver for when we get hungry between meals (ahem, every day) or when we go for walks for the day and want to recharge batteries without wasting much time.
  • Snack ideas for camping: dried fruit (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, raisins), whole fruit (apple, banana, grapes), cereal bars, cocadas, vegetable chips, vegetable sticks (carrots or celery), etc.
  • Regarding the appetizers, I recommend them to “kill” hunger while the food is cooking or as an alternative to a dinner at night when you don’t feel like cooking.
  • If you can make fire..
    Always carry a grill (or grid) in case you can make a fire at the campsite or in the place where you are going to camp. For me there is no camping without one (or several) nights of campfire and grill, always accompanied by a good red wine (just thinking about it makes me want to leave again).