Planning what to have for dinner at home can be hard enough, but trying to decide what you’re going to bring camping can seem impossible at times. It doesn’t have to be this way though!
Deciding what food you should bring on a 3 day camping trip doesn’t have to be difficult. Think simple, yet filling. Things like premade chilli, eggs, bacon, steak, etc. are all great starts. Also, try and pack ingredients that you can use for multiple meals.
When making your food list for camping, try and think in meals, rather than solely about individual food items. This ensures that nothing gets left behind, and nothing too unnecessary gets brought along. Below I feature one of my favourite 3 day camping trip meal breakdowns.
Dinner – Chilli
If you are anything like me, you tend to arrive at camp way too late. Whether this is because you got off work late, or you just got distracted by the beautiful views along the way, it happens to the best of us! To make life easier I have started to make a pot of chilli the week leading up to the camp trip. I try and make enough that I can have a meal during the week, and then freeze the leftovers for the trip. Then the morning of the trip, I put the chilli in the fridge, to let it begin to thaw out. This is such a stress reliever when I get to camp! The first thing I do is break out the stove, place the chilli on low heat and cover it. I just let it slowly heat up while I set up camp. That way when I am finished setting up, I have a delicious pot of chilli just waiting for me to devour it!
Breakfast – Eggs, Bacon, And Hash Browns
There are plenty of tasty food items you can have for breakfast while camping. However, none beat a beautiful plate of eggs, bacon, and some hash browns. The way you cook your eggs is completely up to you. I personally like to stick with the tried and true fried eggs. When it comes to packing your eggs, if you eat medium or small eggs, pack them in a plastic egg protector. However, if you eat large eggs, it is near impossible to find a protector that will fit the eggs. I predetermine how many eggs I will need for the trip, and cut the egg carton to the smallest length I can while still protecting them. I then place the carton into a large freezer bag. This ensures the carton does not become soggy from the ice in your cooler.
Lunch – Sandwiches
Sandwiches are a quick easy lunch meal that everyone loves. Be sure to pack a cutting board so you don’t have to try and slice your ingredients on a dusty table or tailgate. Here is a quick list of things to remember for your sandwiches:
- Cold Cuts
- Head of Lettuce, or Prepackaged
I also recommend bringing sandwich size ziplock bags for your tomato and pickles, so that you don’t have their juices flowing into your cooler.
Dinner – Steak, Potatoes, and Caesar Salad
If you are a steak connoisseur, I will leave the cut decision up to you. As someone who likes to eat well, but stick on the lower end of the budget, I recommend a Top Sirloin Grilling Steak from your local grocery store. The simplest way to cook your steak is of course on the bbq or grill. However, the last time I went camping I decided to make my steak in a cast iron pan, directly on the coals of the fire. If you don’t mind waiting for the coals to get hot enough to do this, I highly recommend this method! The flavour was unreal, and I simply felt super cool. I also recommend seasoning the steak in Montreal Steak Spice before cooking.
For the potatoes you have a number of options, pan-fried, mashed, or even baked on the coals as well. However, what I am about to say, would cause Gordon Ramsey to instantly parish – boxed potatoes. They are so simple. There is absolutely no prep. Simply boil water, add butter, mix the potatoes in, and serve after cooking for a minute. They also compete pretty well with handmade mashed potatoes, but the simplicity when camping, can’t be beaten!
The caesar salad can of course be made from scratch, but again, I am a simple man. I grab a bag of my favourite caesar mix from my grocery store, and I am on my way. You can mix the salad in the bag, and serve it directly from there as well. This cuts down on dishes, and let’s be real – you don’t like doing dishes at home, and you certainly don’t want to be doing them while camping!
Breakfast – Pancakes & Breakfast Sausage
Once again, you have the freedom to make pancakes from scratch, but I like the boxed mix where you just add water. Make sure you don’t forget the syrup and fruits for on top!
Lunch – Sandwiches
A simple repeat of the lunch from the previous day. This makes sure that you use all your ingredients, and keeps things simple.
Dinner – Perogies & Farmer Sausage
When I first moved out on my own, I am pretty sure I survived on perogies and farmer sausages. Now though, they are mostly reserved for camping trips. They are a super simple and relatively inexpensive meal to have by the campfire. I like to pan fry my perogies to crisp them up a bit, and cook my sausages over the campfire.
Cooking up some onion, and green beans is a nice little touch as well.
Breakfast – Eggs & Bacon
The dynamic duo are back! This is the day that you are packing up and heading out, so keeping it simple is the name of the game.
Lunch – Sidekicks Pasta & Canned Chicken or Turkey
Before you throw a spatula at me for suggesting canned chicken or turkey, hear me out. You’ve had canned tuna, right? Same, same, but different. Eating this combo is something I learned about on an 11 day bike packing trip I did in 2021. Being on bikes, we had to be very strategic when it came to packing food, and counting our calories and protein numbers. Sidekicks pasta is super simple to make (make sure you get the packs that only need water), and only leaves you with one pot to clean. Once it is cooked, simply add your chicken or turkey, and you have a meal that will fill you up and keep you going for the rest of the day.
Dinner – A Restaurant
Unless you live close to where you are camping, I recommend heading out after lunch, and grabbing dinner on the road. Otherwise, you’ll be unpacking your vehicle in the dark, and that’s no fun!
What snacks should you bring camping? Well, this is certainly up to you! Be sure to pack your favourites, but most importantly – don’t forget the marshmallows! I have done this way to many times, and it is a tragic event, each and every time. For your convenience, here is a short list of snack ideas:
- Graham Crackers
- Kit Kat Bar
- Chips and Dip
- Jiffy Pop to make over the fire
- Veggies and Dip