» Camping Food List

Camping Food List

A camping food list is a good brainstorming tool for novice campers to find ideas for interesting food to take camping. A good list can also help with camping-meal planning.

Family tent campers can choose to make their meals as simple or elaborate as they please.

Novice campers with limited experience and minimal cooking gear will prefer ease of preparation. Experienced camping chefs may prefer fairly elaborate outdoor meals.

The foods in this list are divided by difficulty of preparation at the campsite, so families can choose from an assortment of camping food that suits their camping style.

Tent campers usually have limited counter space and cooking equipment and should plan their meals accordingly. A camp kitchen or a gear trailer can greatly improve camp cooking.

Camping Food Chart

Camping drinks

Cold Drinks

Soda pop
Sports drinks


Iced tea

Fruit juices
Vegetable juices

Mineral water



Other spirits, if allowed at the campground

Drinking water, if unavailable at campsite

Hot Drinks

  Milk, cream
  Powdered or condensed milk

Instant flavored coffee packs
Single brew coffee cups

Cold-brewed coffee jugs


Apple Cider

Since tent campers do not have access to refrigeration, canned drinks should be chilled before they are put in a cooler to be taken to a campsite. The ice in the cooler will last much longer.

Canned drinks like soda pop are usually kept in a separate cooler, because the beverage cooler is accessed a lot, and also, if canned drinks get warm, they generally do not spoil.

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Ready to eat camping foods

Equipment needed

  • Fingers
  • Plate or cup to hold a serving

These are foods or snacks that can be eaten by hand from the package. Many of these foods do not need to be chilled in a cooler.

Dry foods

Granola bars
Breakfast bars
Protein bars
Candy bars
Chocolate bars

Trail mixes
Dried fruits
Packaged snacks


  Peanut butter
  Cream cheese
  Other spreads
  Caviar ;)


Fresh, ready-to-eat fruits, veggies, etc.


Yoghurt packs
Instant pudding packs

Smoked meats
Smoked fish

Tent campers looking for some interesting camping treats should visit a local specialty foods store.

Nacho chips and hummus are an interesting combination.

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Camping foods served cold with light preparation

Equipment needed

  • Serving plate or bowl
  • Serving spoon
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Can opener
  • Plate
  • Silverware

Many of these are foods that campers would bring to a picnic.

Dishes are prepared at home and brought to the campsite to be served. Some of them will need to be chilled in a cooler.

Sandwiches & spreads

Sandwich breads
Pita bread

Flour or corn tortillas
Peanut butter
Jelly or jam

Cream Cheese

Chicken salad
Tuna salad
Other spreads


Cold cuts
Lunch meats
Sliced beef, turkey, ham
Other deli meats


Canned tuna, salmon, herring, sardines

Salads & sides

  Leaf salads
  Bean salads
  Potato salads
  Pasta salads
  Cole slaws

Other cold dishes and desserts

Vegetables and dips
  Bell peppers
  Snow peas

Canned fruit
Whole watermelon or pineapple

Cold breakfast cereals & milk

Tortillas and pita bread are very suited to camping meals. They…

  • pack well
  • are difficult to crush
  • can be quickly reheated in a pan
  • hold loose ingredients well, and
  • can be used in a multitude of ways.

Pitas generally do not have as many preservatives as most commercial breads, so they should be kept cool.

Granola mixed with flavored or plain yoghurt makes a very nice camping breakfast.

Sardines and salsa are an interesting combo on bread for an easy-to-prepare outdoor sandwich.

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Heat-to-serve camping foods with moderate preparation

Equipment needed

  • Camping stove
  • Fry pan
  • Cooking pot
  • Can opener
  • Stove coffee maker

These are pre-cooked or dehydrated foods that need to be heated or added to boiling water to be prepared. They mostly do not need refrigeration in a cooler.

These foods are handy for putting together a quick, hot meal at the campsite. They cook the same way at a campsite as they do at home.

Pre-cooked and dehydrated foods

Pre-cooked hot dogs and sausages

Canned soups
Dry instant soups in packages
Ramen noodles
Other instant noodles

Canned chili
Canned pastas
Other canned foods

Corned beef
Other canned meats

Pre-packaged mac & cheese
Stove-top meals

Instant potatoes
Parboiled rice

Canned vegetables
Canned beans

Other heat & serve meals

Hot cereals
  Cream of Wheat
  Malto Meal

Boxed frozen waffles

Freeze-dried camping meals


Freeze-dried camping meals are available at camping stores and in the sporting or outdoor section of some department stores. These meals come in pouches and are usually prepared by emptying the contents of the pouch into a bowl, adding boiling water, and waiting for the dish to reconstitute itself.

Some of these freeze-dried camping meals are fairly posh--Beef Stroganoff and Chicken Teriyaki are available.

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Campfire roasting foods

Equipment needed, depending on cooking style

  • Campfire coals
  • Hot dog forks or sticks

  • Pie irons
  • Aluminum foil
  • Grilling basket
  • Dutch oven
  • Reflector oven
  • Grate

These are meals that offer a unique camping experience. Tent campers will need campfire coals in order to prepare them.

Cooking time varies from about 2 minutes for a roasted marshmallow to 10 minutes for a roasted hot dog to an hour or more for some dutch-oven dishes.

Basic campfire meals

Roasted hot dogs or hamburgers
  Buns or bread


Roasted fish and shrimp

Roasted marshmallows
Roasted chestnuts

Aluminum foil or hobo meals
  Steak strips
  Chicken strips

  Sliced or chopped vegetables
    Sweet corn


Other campfire meals

Pie iron sandwiches (pudgie pies) or treats
  Cheese melts
  Rueben sandwich
  Pastries with fruit or fruit preserves

Dutch oven meals
  Deep dish pizza
  Breads and rolls

Reflector-oven baked foods
  Fresh biscuits
  Oven-ready rolls

Foil cooking

Foil meal recipes are often chopped vegetables, hamburger and seasonings. The flavors run together and make a tasty, casserole-like dish.

Other meats can be cooked in foil--it's usually best to cut steak or chicken into strips, so that it cooks more quickly and evenly.

Vegetables can be cooked in a separate foil packet, if campers prefer to separate the meat and vegetable flavors. Oil helps prevent sticking.

Foil-wrapped whole potatoes can also be cooked on coals. Since they are not cubed, they will take substantially longer to cook.

An ear of sweet corn can also be wrapped in foil and cooked on coals. First, pull the husks away from the tip and remove the silk. Then lay the husk back on the ear and wrap in foil.

Campers can try cooking half a small squash in foil on coals.

Kebab skewers

These are handy for grilling cubed meats and veggies over a fire or charcoal.

The metal skewer cooks the center of the meat more thoroughly, which is important for outdoor cooking.

Grilling baskets

A grilling basket is handy for roasting hamburger, strips of meat, meat strips, fish, shrimp or vegetables over campfire coals.

The wire grates clamp around the food and make it easy to flip and roast the other side.

For food that falls apart easily, such as cooked fish, it helps to apply oil to the raw food before clamping it in the basket. First try to remove any excess water from the raw fish with a paper towel.

A grilling basket is also handy for roasting chestnuts.

Pie iron

Pie irons and a campfire offer campers a hot sandwich melt with minimal preparation.

The crust is usually trimmed from the two bread slices before placing them in the pie iron halves.

Any hot sandwich a tent camper might prepare at home with a skillet can be prepared at a campsite with a pie iron. Try a pie iron Rueben Sandwich.

Pizza toppings between 2 slices of bread become a pie iron calzone.

Canned pie filling between 2 slices of bread becomes a pastry.

Pie irons can not safely cook raw meats or eggs between bread slices. Any filling between the bread slices must be edible without cooking.

The pie iron will heat the filling--a lot!--but cannot safely cook raw foods, without burning the bread slices.

Dutch oven

A dutch oven allows campers to prepare any dishes they would bake in an oven at home.

The oven also bakes roasts, potatoes, squash, breads, rolls and desserts.

A dutch oven only uses charcoal briquettes for heat.

It looks like a cast iron kettle with short legs that sits on charcoal and has a lid to hold charcoal briquettes.

Heat from top and bottom cooks the food inside the dutch oven.


A small grate with legs that stands over coals is handy for kebobs, grilling baskets, hamburgers and steaks.

A flat grate without legs can instead sit on rocks over coals.

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Camping foods to prepare and cook or grill 

Equipment needed

  • Camping stove
  • Grill
  • Fry pan
  • Cooking pot

These foods offer tent campers a feast at the campsite. They take more time to prepare, because they need not only to be heated, but cooked, in order to serve. They also require preparation time.

Lunch & dinner

Raw meats or fish

  Chicken or other fowl

  Fish, shrimp or other seafood
  Fresh caught and cleaned fish

  Hamburgers and buns/bread
  Hot dogs


Corn on the cob
Baked potatoes
Other raw vegetables


Pasta with tomato or pesto sauce
Macaroni and cheese.

Fresh raw vegetables
Frozen vegetables



  Hash browns

Pancakes from mix
Waffles from mix
French toast

Bake & serve, oven-ready rolls, breads and pastries
Biscuits from mix
Fried flat breads from scratch

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Basic camping condiments and spices

Worcestershire sauce

Tobasco sauce

Olive oil
Cooking oil

Salad dressings
Fish sauce



Onion powder
Garlic powder

Italian seasoning
Greek seasoning
Cajun seasoning
Other mixed spices

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Tips for campsite cooking


It's recommended that campers press a hole in the center of a raw hamburger patty before placing it on a grill or in a frying pan. This helps ensure that the hamburger cooks evenly and is not undercooked in the center.

Ground meat that has been transported in a cooler needs to be thoroughly cooked.


Fish batter can be easily created in a bowl by stirring:

  • an egg or two
  • broken saltine crackers, flour, flour mix, corn flour, corn flakes or thin rolled oats
  • milk, beer or wine
  • salt
  • your choice of: chopped onions, garlic, peppers; butter, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, favorite spices, tabasco sauce, etc

Lay the fillet in the batter and fry in a pan.

Fish fries quickly. When it flakes apart easily with a fork, it's ready to eat.


Bacon is a handy staple for camping.

It can flavor many dishes that would otherwise be a bit bland. It's sliced and ready to heat or fry.

If it isn't pre-cooked, it's best to fry it separately and then add it to a dish.

Since it is cured by salt and smoked, it keeps better than raw meat.

Canned meats

Canned meats, such as corned beef or spam, are usually pre-cooked and ready to eat. However, most campers prefer to prepare them first.

These meats can be sliced and fried, like bacon.

They can also be chopped and added to scrambled eggs, pastas, foil meals, dehydrated meals or other dishes to add flavor.

They can be mixed with potatoes and fried to make hash.

They keep well and are easy to work with at a campsite.

Campers who would like to add meat to their meals, but do not want to fuss with raw meats, often bring canned meats to the campsite.

They do contain plenty of salt, so it will usually not be necessary to add any more.


Sourdough muffins, pitas, tortillas or bagels make good mini-pizza crusts.

If using ready-to-eat toppings, such as pepperoni or canadian bacon, campers will only need to warm the pizzas instead of having to cook or bake them.

If using a fry pan, it may still be useful to warm the toppings separately, add them to the crusts, heat the crusts and serve.

If using a fry pan to prepare a pizza with raw meat, dough, veggies or other toppings that needs cooking, campers will need to first thoroughly cook the raw foods separately, then cook one side of of the crust, flip, add the toppings and cook the other side of the crust.

If the crust is already baked, then it is probably only necessary to heat one side.

A pizza can be baked from scratch on a grill with indirect heat or in a dutch oven. The flame on a grill is much closer to the food than the flame in an oven, so campers should bake accordingly. Put the pizza on one side of the grill and run the opposite burner; turn the pizza more frequently; bake half a pizza at a time; etc. The pizza and the toppings should finish cooking at roughly the same time.


Ready-made bread or pastry dough can be baked in a dutch oven, on a grill with indirect heat, in a pie iron or even wrapped around a stick and held over a campfire.

Some items that are normally baked can be prepared in a fry pan with low-to-moderate heat. This includes flatbreads, biscuits, rolls--even cookies. Campers may need to flip them to ensure proper baking.

Canned tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are versatile and can be used to flavor scrambled eggs, omelets, pastas, foil meals, casseroles, etc.

Tomato paste will thicken sauces or can be used as catsup.

Canned tomatoes need little to no refrigeration for outdoor use.

Salsas can be used on eggs, hamburger, steaks, potatoes, and other dishes. These may need to be stored in a cooler, especially after opening and in very warm weather.

Dried soup packets

Dried soups in packages, even if they cook 'too thin' to make a suitable meal, are often very effective at flavoring and seasoning other dishes, stews, casseroles, foil meals, etc.

For example, french onion soup powder can be mixed with raw hamburger to flavor it. It can also flavor an aluminum foil dish.

Canned milk

Canned condensed or evaporated milk is useful to add flavor and body to hot camping dishes.

Canned milks keep very well, and offer tent campers in the wilderness the availability of milk for cooking.

Canned condensed milk is sweetened, while evaporated milk is not, so campers should use them accordingly in their dishes or foods. Either is fine for a coffee creamer.


Buttermilk is handy for breads and pancakes. It flavors and, when mixed with baking soda, leavens.

It does need to be chilled in a cooler, but keeps fairly well.

Powdered milk

Powdered milk is an easy way to add flavor and body to camp dishes, without needing to be kept cool.


For a posh camping breakfast, jam or pie filling along with pancakes, french toast or waffles makes a camping crepe. Whipped cream adds a finishing touch.


Leftovers can be recycled into sandwiches, pie-iron sandwiches, stews, foil dinners, burritos, omelets, pasta sauce, snacks, etc.

Keep them cool and try to incorporate them into the next meal, so they do not sit too long. Be sure to cook them well.

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Tips for packing a cooler

Drinks and chilled snacks should be in a separate cooler that can be frequently accessed. Divide food to be chilled into perishable and non-perishable and put each in a separate cooler.

Keep coolers in the shade out of direct sunlight.

Water containers

Frozen containers of water in a cooler will chill foods and can be drunk as they thaw.

This also keeps water from pooling at the bottom of the cooler and saturating foods.

Quart plastic milk containers are handy for keeping ice in a cooler. They pack well and are small enough to easily handle.

Resealable bags

Use resealable bags to bag all food items not already in a plastic container in the cooler. This keeps melt water from saturating food items, which can make them unappealing to eat.

This will also keep any melt water from being contaminated by foods and keep the inside of the cooler clean.

Wax paper

Consider wrapping individual perishable food items in wax paper instead of plastic wrap when practical. Wax paper will also seal foods against quick spoilage.

Wax paper wrapping burns well and can be used for fire starter, as long as the it isn't saturated.

Several wax-paper-wrapped items can then be placed in a resealable plastic bag to protect against melt water in the food cooler.


Raw meats should be frozen when packed.

When packing a cooler, double bag raw meats in 2 resealable plastic bags. This keeps any juices from contaminating other foods in the cooler.

Coolers with perishable contents should be opened as seldom as possible, usually only to retrieve food for cooking or a meal.

Coolers with perishable foods should not be allowed to run out of ice, especially if they contain raw meat or dairy.

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Food safety tips at the campsite

Tent campers need to take extra food safety precautions, when handling raw meat and dairy products.

Camping foods may not stay quite as cold in a cooler as in a refrigerator or certainly a freezer. Foods are prepared outdoors, where the temperature is warmer than in a climate-controlled building.

Bacteria have a warmer environment to multiply. People who have never had an issue with food poisoning at home may become victims at a campsite.

Cook raw meats and dairy as quickly as reasonably possible after removing from a cooler. Don't let meats thaw in warm outdoor temperatures. Let them thaw or marinate in a chilled cooler instead.

Try not to transfer bacteria from raw meat to cooked meat. Keep cooked meats away from any surfaces, dishes or utensils that have touched raw meats. Use a separate plate and utensils for raw foods.

Wash and sanitize any hands, surfaces, dishes or utensils that have touched raw meat. Anti bacterial dishwashing liquid is helpful.

Wrap or bag raw meats in serving size portions, when possible. Use the wrapper to transfer thawed foods from a plate to a grill or pan. Throw the wrapper away immediately. Take care that it does not drip.

Use a meat thermometer to test that all meats and dishes are fully cooked before serving. 

Leftovers should be chilled in the cooler until they can be eaten, preferably at the next meal.

If spoilage is suspected, any raw or leftover food should be re-wrapped and discarded at the campground trash station.

1 part bleach to 4 parts water also makes a fairly strong disinfecting solution, but should be rinsed off to avoid irritation or corrosion.

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