It’s that time in Colorado to dust off your camping gear and fill your calendar with fun weekend adventures.
Maybe you’ll take off in your RV or rig up the raft for a multiday trip. Perhaps you’ll pitch your tent in your favorite primitive camp spot, one yet to be discovered by tourists. No matter how you enjoy the outdoors, planning delicious camp meals is essential.
Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, camp food always tastes better when enjoyed in the fresh air, surrounded by nature and good people. These camping tips and easy camping recipes – suitable for a large group or a small family – will help you enjoy the beauty of the outdoors without spending too much time over the stove.
Some of these make-ahead, easy recipes are no-cook camp meals, while others require a camp stove. Be aware of fire bans in place at your camping spot. Here a few tips to help you prepare your food and food storage for your camping trip.
Soups, chili, stews, meat, pasta and rice can be made ahead of time. Depending on how long it will be between preparation and eating, you can choose to refrigerate or freeze the meals. Store them in a thick, heat-safe ziplock bag. You can reheat your meal by boiling a large pot of water and dropping the bag inside (seal the bag well). If you’re using this method, be sure non-potable water does not come in contact with your food.Get tips for camping with kids with these great stories:
If you freeze your meal ahead of time, make sure to lay the bag flat in your freezer so it will fit nicely in the bottom of your cooler and become an extra ice pack.
Items you plan to cook on your camp stove can also be prepped ahead of time. Scramble eggs at home and keep them in a Nalgene bottle or other reusable bottle (a clean coffee creamer bottle works well). Scrambled eggs will last a few days in a cold cooler. Also, precook sausage or bacon to add to your meal during the last few minutes of cooking.
You can chop veggies at home and store them in an airtight container or bag.
Instead of boiling your meals in the bag, you can reheat them in a skillet (cast iron) on a camp stove. For rice, reheat by steaming it in a saucepan with a lid, add a little drinking water and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally.
If you plan ahead, you don’t need to buy a block or crushed ice for your cooler, which can make a watery mess in your cooler.
Four to five days before your camping trip, freeze drinking water in clean milk, juice or 2-litter soda jugs. Then use them to keep your cooler cold, and they double as drinking water at the end of your trip. These large “blocks” of ice will last longer and not get your food soggy.
Are you taking juice boxes for the kids? Freeze those that come in pouches a few days ahead of time and place them in the air gaps in your cooler to keep food cold.
To make more room in your cooler, remove foods from their original packaging and place the food in reusable tubs or bags. After the tub or bag is empty, it can double as storage for leftovers. This method also helps cut down on the trash you’ll pack out after camping.
This flavorful meal can be made ahead of time and reheated, or made on a camp stove in about 15-20 minutes. Make the two mixes ahead of time. Serves 4
Premix together in a medium-size leak-rpoof container before your trip:
Premix together in a small leak-proof container before your trip:
This is an excellent meal for the last night of a long trip because none of the ingredients (if you choose to use canned food) need refrigerating. It’s a great camp meal for large groups, and you can save leftovers in a Ziplock bag or plastic container. It all goes into one pot in a few minutes and takes about 10-15 minutes to heat up on your camp stove. Makes 10-12 servings.
If you are making this for a smaller group, you can drain some of the items, like the corn, instead of using the juices. For more food, add more cans of the ingredients. You can sub out canned items for fresh items if you please. You can make this camp dish vegetarian by using vegetable broth and leaving out the chicken.
An easy plan-ahead camp meal with a premade sauce pouch takes about 10 minutes to reheat. Serves 4.
This idea is great for a small family or a large group. Prep the toppings ahead of time. It would help if you had a lid or tinfoil for your skillet to get the cheese nice and melted before the bottom of your tortilla gets too crispy. Makes 8-12 tortilla pizzas. Most people are satisfied with one pizza, but cut into slices and let everyone enjoy one pizza while you make up another. If you do this, try using different topping combinations.
This one produces a bit more trash if you use individual chip bags, but it does make cleanup a breeze. You can also choose to get larger chip bags and use camp bowls. The number of individual bags will determine how many you can feed, but this recipe is for about 10.
The secrete to this one is precooked bacon. You can either cook your bacon or buy precooked bacon from the store. Pull the bacon out of the cooler to let it warm in the sun as you prep the lettuce and tomatoes. Try adding hummus or cream cheese instead for those who don’t like mayo.
Another meal where you toss everything in the bag and eat. It requires only a can-opener and spoon or fork — no camp dish cleanup. Prep everything before you go and just add the mayo. Makes 4 wraps.
This is an easy meal, but it is included here because it’s often a forgotten camp meal. Serves 2
A favorite morning meal, especially when you have activities planned for the day and don’t want to spend too much time cooking and cleaning up. Serves 8.
Set it out with a few knives and let everyone enjoy a cream cheese bagel with smoked salmon on top.
Make ahead of time and wrap in a foil pack. You can heat these on your skillet in the morning or try the bag-in-boiling-water trick to reheating. Another option is to put water in the bottom of your big pot with a steamer (so your breakfast burritos stay out of the water), put a lid on and let them steam to perfection. This makes about 6-8 burritos
Blueberry pancakes are tremendous, but dried cranberry pancakes are just as good, and it doesn’t take up room in your cooler.
This makes a great loaf of bread that you can wrap in foil and put in a Ziplock bag or make individual muffins that allow for an easy grab-and-go snack or camp breakfast. Makes one loaf or about 16 muffins.
Popcorn is a simple (and less sticky) alternative to smores. Use the big pot you used to make everything else, and this snack takes about 10 minutes. If you can enjoy time around a campfire, this is a great treat that won’t leave your fingers and face sticky like the other well-known campfire treat. It’s best cooked on a camp stove and not over the fire.
Get the most popular stories delivered to your inbox monthly
UCHealth advertising supports our core mission and helps us improve our site as a resource for trusted health content. For inquiries please contact us.
Para información en español llame al