Packing to camp as a family can be time-consuming and chaotic. You need a lot of things to make your camping trip a success, and you don’t want to compromise on your meals! Keep the whole family happy with these seven easy camping meals, our family favorites, that you can prepare beforehand to make cooking at camp quick and easy. All of these meals can be heated up over a campfire or on a propane camping stove or grill.
Mac & cheese
Mac & cheese is one of my favorite camping meals to prepare ahead of time. You can cook it at home, package it in a travel container and then quickly heat it up. The best part about this meal is you can make it as fancy or as simple as you want. Sometimes we go with old reliable, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, when we are short on time or want to save money. When we are feeling more motivated, we make homemade mac and cheese with rotini noodles and four types of freshly grated cheese. It is always a crowd favorite, especially because it heats up in just a few minutes!
Sausage sandwiches are always a hit because there are so many varieties to choose from and they are so simple! You can do hot dogs, Italian sausages, bratwursts or a fancy local sausage unique to your grocery store — there is a sausage type for everyone. They are easy to cook on the grill before leaving so you just have to heat them up at camp, or they are equally easy to make at your campsite. Pair it with a bun, your favorite condiments and your choice of a side, such as baked beans, corn on the cob or chips, and you have a great meal.
Walking tacos or taco in a bag
This was a meal I grew up thinking everyone knew about, but as an adult I have realized that is not the case. Let me tell you how much you’re missing out on if you have never had walking tacos. As a kid, this was our favorite camping or post-soccer game meal. It is so simple and completely customized to every person at camp. Walking tacos are a personal-size bag of Doritos, seasoned taco meat and whatever toppings you desire. We bring sour cream, cheese, salsa, guacamole and veggies. We prepare the meat, veggies and toppings beforehand so when we are ready to eat at camp, we can put all the ingredients into the bag of Doritos, cover, shake and enjoy.
Chili in a bag
Chili in a bag is a similar concept to walking tacos but a completely different and delicious meal. It is chili in a bag of Fritos plus all of your favorite toppings. We make homemade chili in the slow cooker the day before we leave and package it in a travel container. If you are short on time or on a budget, you could buy canned chili or premade chili from your grocery store. We bring cheese and sour cream to add as toppings. Same as above — put all your ingredients into the bag of Fritos, shake and enjoy!
If you like to cook meals over the fire, these are the easiest and most delicious option! The basic concept is putting all of your ingredients in foil, wrapping them up and then cooking them in the fire. You can prepare your foil packets before leaving, throw them in the cooler and then cook them at camp. You can use any ingredients you like in these, so every family member can have something different. One of our favorites is potatoes, corn on the cob and Polish sausage.
These are a fun family activity because everyone makes their own personal pizza before we leave for our camping trip. There are a few variations in the base that we have tried. The first is grocery store packet dough; because you are cooking it on a fire or grill, we found this base to be a little flimsy. However, cutting it into smaller, personal-size pizzas definitely helped. Our favorite as a base is naan. You can buy this bread at most grocery stores; it is sturdy, filling and delicious! We premake the pizzas with a variety of toppings and wrap them in foil for transportation. At camp, we simply place them on the grill and close the lid while they cook.
Think about your favorite restaurant nachos piled high with delicious toppings — well, you can have these while camping, too! As with the other recipes, we do most of the prep beforehand, including cooking the meat and veggies. Once at camp, we use a foil cooking tray or tin and assemble the nachos with tortilla chips, meat, veggies and cheese. Then we place them over the fire or on the grill and let everything heat up. We bring other toppings to add after cooking, such as sour cream, lettuce, guacamole and salsa. There is always plenty for the whole family.