I try and spend the vast majority of the summer weekends camping. It would appear my meal prep and planning habits follow me to the wilderness!
Here are my best meal planning and prep tips for Camping so you can be the most efficient!
You can also try some of these Techie Camper camping meal ideas which can help even more with your meal planning.
TIP #1 | Wash and chop your meal ingredients
Nobody wants to pull out cutting boards and knives and spend the time washing and cutting with a camper sink and counter space… or outside of a tent.
Or do those dishes!
If your veggies are already all cut up and prep it is much easier to grab them as a snack and use them up.
For meats, I will often cut and marinate them so I can avoid cutting raw meat in the wilderness!
For my camping meal prep, I may not assemble a recipe at all, I just have everything ready to go so at the campsite, it is just tossing it together onto the BBQ or fire.
TIP #2 | Meal Share with your camping group
If you are camping with multiple couples or families, try meal sharing.
This means each couple or family is responsible for planning a dinner during the trip.
Think about it like this. If a group of 3 families camps for 3 nights, instead of each family planning 3 dinners for 3 nights (9 different dinners), each family plans a dinner for one of the three nights and cooks for everyone.
That is now only 3 meals planned for the group. Just by doing this your group eliminates planning 6 meals. Luckily, its also pretty easy to find spacious tents for multiple people.
TIP #3 | Prep using tin disposable pans or foil packs.
I know this is not the most environmentally friendly tip, but if you have ever tried to carry a cooler filled with glass containers, you know that it is crazy heavy.
You could most definately use reusable plastic too, but the added benefit of the foil pans, is that you don’t need to transfer the food into foil later to cook. I cook right in my foil packs or tins!
Pro tip for this type of prep is to make sure everything in your pan or pack has a similar cook time. This might mean cutting longer cook time items (ex. potatoes) into smaller pieces so your items cook at roughly the same rate.
TIP #4 | Make a conscious plan.
Just like making a weekly meal plan, sit down, and think about how many breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks you will need. Going to the grocery store without a plan or list will end up in 24 hot dogs and only 12 buns.
Think about each meal you need- write them down.
What are all the ingredients you need for each meal? List them and shop for them.
If you want to prep a component, make a prep list.
Make sure you pack them all too. The worst thing is to have a plan, purchase it, and then forget it at home!
Use this FREE printable camping meal prep template to get organized!
TIP #5 | Strategically pack you cooler
OMG please don’t just toss everything in all willy nilly.
There is a right way to pack a cooler!
Here is how:
- Put the ice in the bottom of the cooler.
- Place your meat on top of the ice. This way if it leaks, you only have raw meat juices on your ice and not on all of the rest of your food. This also keeps the meat closest to the cooling source.
- Place the veggies and other items on top of the meat. Make sure your veggies are in a bag or container.
- Do not open your cooler a million times! This means we put our drinks in a separate cooler as that is is opened ALL.THE.TIME.
TIP # 6 | Pack frozen items.
I like to pack frozen items – especially meat because then I don’t worry nearly as much about having food in the danger zone.
If the meat is fully thawed and in the cooler, I do sometimes have concerns that it is not cold enough. Packing frozen meats prevents this. Also, it functions as added ice and keeps the cooler colder! My friend just recently bought a new rotomolded cooler from nomvdist.com and couldn’t praise it any higher. Mine is working well at the moment, but have a feeling it will be on its way out pretty shortly, meaning I can have a look if I need too!
TIP #7 | Rely on some pre packaged items.
I know, I know, I normally am not one to be all about processed or packaged food… but everything in moderation, and since we only get 2 months of summer here in Canada, I am not too concerned about relying on a few pre packaged items.
It is easier and lighter to pack some individual packed items than whole boxes and containers.
Think of the individual packed oatmeal and cereals, individual cheese strings/sticks, yogurt, granola bars, pre popped pop corn. These are all perfect for camping.
TIP #8 | Don’t waste money or space buying condiments you already have in large containers.
Take the condiments you already have and put portions of them into smaller containers to bring with you. Packing a full size of ketchup, mustard, and relish will unnecessarily take up half of your cooler!
So, now you have a few tips to get you started…but now you need some inspiration for some camping friendly meal ideas. I have got you covered. Check out this post I did on Prep Ahead Camping Meal Ideas… and come check out my Camping Food Board on my Pinterest profile!
So, get planning and prepping for your next camping trip, and don’t forget to show us your photos in the Confessions of a Meal Plan Addict Community and give some inspiration to the rest of us!