31 Clever Camping Food Hacks (From Experts) | Camping Storage and Packing Ideas, Coffee Tips, Meal Prepping, Cool Gadgets You Will Love

Camping Food Hacks and IdeasCamping Food Hacks and Ideas

31 Clever Camping Food Hacks | Travel-Mi.com

When it comes to camping meals, we love cooking easy, delicious and filling meals your family or large groups will love. 

But we've got some tricks to make it easier...

  • Camping storage hacks and ideas, meal ideas, snacks, coffee making tips, meal prepping, and cool can't-live-without gadgets you will love!

A few of our delicious meal ideas require no fire. There are also several "no cooking" meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We even have some cooking ideas for kids so they can participate in the fun!

How cool is this?!...

A few avid camping bloggers from all over the world and I put together a helpful list of our favorite camping food hacks to help you plan your next camping trip. (So you don't just have to read my nut ball ideas)

  • Oh, and check out our camping necessities and cool camping gadgets throughout this post! 

We hope you try our camping food hacks while staying at Michigan's campgrounds or wherever your travels may lead you!

Use Pill Packs for Spices!

Camping Food Hacks-Spices Packed in Pill PacksCamping Food Hacks-Spices Packed in Pill Packs, Photo: By Outdoor Exploring

By Kate Comer | Outdoor Exploring

When preparing for our camping trips we always pack spices to be used with our food.

Spices and seasonings bring a delicious flavor to food and can take a camping meal from boring to something the whole family wants to devour.

Space is always a commodity on camping trips, so we use stackable pill packs to keep our spices in.

Camping Food Hacks-Spices Packed in Pill PacksCamping Food Hacks-Spices Packed in Pill Packs, Photo: By Outdoor Exploring

It is important to not just put any spices in, make sure you pack the spices that will go with the food that you are taking on the trip.

For instance if you are having a steak, mix up a steak rub before the trip and then there's no prep on the camping trip.

  • For our family I like to keep one stack as family friendly and the other for hotter spices. That way there's no mix ups! 

Use a sticker to clearly mark what each pack contains and don't forget salt.

  • These stackable pill packs can be used for so many things while traveling and camping (make-up, tiny items, sunscreen, lip balm)!
  • Chalkboard labels are super fun and cute to label your spice and food jars!

Prepare Your Food & Store in Mason Jars Before Leaving

By Jarod Heil | Ramble Around the World

One of the best things about camping is cooking food over an open flame, barbecuing or setting up a personal camping burner set and enjoying a tastefully seasoned, well-cooked meal under the stars or with the daylight slowly dissipating to a colorful sunset.

But one of the worst things about camping is dealing with the cleanup of cutting boards, knives and other cooking utensils you used to prepare the food — especially when there's no running water in sight and you don't want to waste clean drinking water to do the dishes.

Properly cleaning the food prep station by the Leave No Trace standards is a tall task to undertake. So just don't try it.

Instead, I prepare and season all my food before leaving for the campsite, store them in mason jars and keep them in my trusty RTIC cooler.

By taking steps to prepare all my food beforehand, I never forget to bring herbs, spices and olive oil because my food is already seasoned with them.

  • I never have to clean up any cutting boards or utensils caked with raw chicken or turkey. Instead, my hands hardly touch raw meat at all and I can easily throw on a five-star meal after 14 miles of hiking.
  • When the ice melts in the cooler and creates a pool of water, I don't have to worry about that water seeping into my food because the air-tight mason jars keep everything out — and keeps the food fresh.

As someone who's been camping almost every weekend for three months, preparing food beforehand and storing it in mason jars cuts the hassle and ensures I always have a great meal to look forward to after a long day of hiking.

  • These Mason Jars have airtight lids perfect for meal prep, food storage, drinking, overnight oats, dry food, spices, salads and yogurt and vegetarian recipes.
  • Cool Alert: Prefer plastic?  Check out these non breakable plastic Mason Jars!  Perfect for lighter weight camping.
  • Chalkboard labels are super fun and cute to label your spice and food jars!

How freakin' cool is this inflatable couch from Amazon? So many colors, super cheap, use it at the beach, music festivals, camping and at home in the back yard with the kids! (Perfect for star gazing!)

Don't Forget the Coffee (or Cappuccino!)

By Lotte | Recommended by Lotte from Gezond Weekmenu

If there is one thing I can't live without, it's my morning coffee. Over the years, I have perfected the art of making my own cappuccino while out camping. You only need a couple of items to create the perfect camping cappuccino: 

  • A percolator
  • A portable milk frother  
  • A (portable) stove with a tank of gas  
  • Ground coffee   
  • Milk 
  • A bit of patience... 

For coffee addicts like myself, these items are a must-have on any camping trip (and camping food hacks list)... Luckily, they don't take up much space and don't cost much. In any case, here is how to make the perfect camping cappuccino.

If you have never used a percolator, check out this instruction movie to see how it's done. It's not hard, it just takes a bit of time. You will definitely want to add it to your list of favorite camping food hacks!

When your coffee is done, heat up some milk and get out your milk frother. Froth away until you are happy with the amount of foam. Pour the coffee in a fancy reusable bamboo cup and add the milk.

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy your cappuccino with hopefully a lovely view from your campground. 

  • For the perfect percolator coffee, choose a medium roast. Otherwise, the coffee will be a bit bitter. Also, try to find ground coffee specifically intended for a percolator.

You can use regular ground coffee, but this is often a bit too fine and you'll end up with a bit of sludge on the bottom of the percolator. Not a huge issue but if you can find a brand like Lavazza or similar, go for it, it will make your freshly brewed cappuccino taste even better.  

Regarding the milk, whole milk gives the creamiest foam but if you're watching your calorie intake skimmed milk works as well.

  • If you are lactose intolerant, you can also use soy milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or almond milk. Just know that these don't create as much foam as regular milk.

This Bialetti Moka coffee maker is affordable, transportable and easy!

Need a milk frother? You know you are curious...

Bring Lots of Fresh Fruits and Veggies! (mmm...Avocado!)

By Chris | Punta Cana Travel Blog

As vegetarians, it is always important for us to bring fresh fruits and vegetables on a trip, especially as we don’t like processed food.

Products we always take for camping include apples and mangos for breakfast (quite sturdy and don’t get mashed that easily in a backpack) and cucumber, carrots and tomatoes (among others) for savory lunch and dinner dishes.

  • Nuts and raisins can also be part of flavorful fresh salads.

Our signature “dish” for camping is fresh bakery bread, garnished with sliced avocados and tomatoes, finished off with splashes of lime. That’s super easy to prepare and doesn't require any cooking tools – which is especially suitable for beginners if you don’t want to buy and carry all the equipment when going camping for the first time.

Especially the avocados here in the Dominican Republic, where we often go on remote hiking trips to discover waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers and remote beaches, are super delicious, but they should be available in your home country as well. To top it off, take some salt and pepper to give it an extra dash of flavor.

For breakfast, we usually have granola with yogurt, sliced apples and mangos – that’s quick to prepare, healthy to eat, gives you energy for the day and can be enjoyed perfectly while watching the sunrise on the campsite (or the morning sun if you slept too long ).

Don't forget to toss in a Food Saver Sheet to keep your fruits & vegetables fresh for 2-4x longer! These thin sheet doesn't take up any extra space.

Cool Alert: These Debbie Meyer Green Bags work great too! Perfect for lettuce, strawberries and bananas.

Camping Food Hacks: Meal Prep, Storage Ideas and a Creative Breakfast Idea

Camping Food Hacks by Bec | Travels in Gippsland

Camping in Australia can be epic and there are so many things that you have to consider but there is one thing you can't go without on a camping trip. Food!

Whether you are going camping for a couple of days or even a few weeks here are some of our top camping food hacks for taking food camping.

  • We freeze our first two nights meals normally a spaghetti or a casserole for easy reheating on the camp stove or over the fire. It also helps keep items cold in the esky (portable cooler). 
  • We freeze the meals in large zip lock bags that we can reuse for food scraps if there are no bins at the campsite.
  • I freeze a loaf of bread and take a fresh one to eat when we get there. The frozen one will defrost, last a couple of extra days and not get squashed!
  • Sometimes I buy a supermarket made coleslaw (will last a couple of days if kept cold) and take some potatoes. You can wrap the potatoes in foil, cook them in the coals of the fire and then put butter and coleslaw on them for an easy meal.
  • Freeze small bottles of water instead of buying a lot of ice for the esky. Not only do they last longer than ice you can also use them to drink as they melt. It also stops everything from getting wet in the esky.
  • If we are bush camping we take a tin of ready-made coffee and milk with us. You just add hot water to the mix for your daily fix rather than having to keep milk cold. 
  • To make an awesome breakfast make a hole in the middle of a piece of bread, butter the bread, place it on the hotplate and then crack an egg into the hole. Cook some bacon on the hotplate as well and you have a great breakfast!
  • Camp ovens are a great way to cook a roast in the coals of your camp fire.

This Lodge pot is perfect for campfire cooking! PLUS: The lid inverts to use as a griddle! The legs allow the oven to sit perfectly over your campfire. Cool!

Ever Heard of a Travel Kettle?

Spardar Travel Kettle heats/boils water, coffee, milk, tea!Spardar Travel Kettle heats/boils water, coffee, milk, tea!

By Martina and Jürgen | Places of Juma

One of our favorite items for a perfect camping trip is our electric travel kettle for cars.

This little helper is especially practical for long journeys and strenuous excursions with motorhomes, campers and cars. And we love the fact that we don't have to look for a restaurant or a gas stations when we drive somewhere.  

Connected to the cigarette lighter, it boils water in only 10-16 minutes while driving.

Perfect definition of camping food hacks, right?

Electric travel kettles are perfect if you want to make yourself and your family tea, some milk or a hot chocolate along the way.

  • Instant noodles, soups and even boiled eggs can be prepared with a good electric travel kettle.

This is really a great thing, especially if you need something warm instead of a sandwich.

For us, a travel kettle makes traveling, but also camping in nature much more easier!

We can recommend the super cool kettle from Spardar. Ingenious here is the digital temperature display and the high-quality, scratch-resistant stainless steel used as material for the inside and outside walls.

This super cool Spardar 12 volt car kettle quickly heats or boils water! Also perfect for tea, coffee and milk! 

Meal Planning and Preparation is Key!

By Susan Gan | Thrifty After 50 

Doing some basic meal planning and food preparation before going camping is one of our favorite camping food hacks. 

It means that not only are you guaranteed to have a relaxing holiday but you will also get to enjoy some really tasty meals as well. 

There are lots of ways that you can pre-prepare food that will save time and mess:

  • Meat - Purchase fresh meat, chop it into the appropriate size at home, place the required portions into a zip lock bag then freeze. This is also the perfect time to add any marinades.
  • Vegetables - Save time and water by washing your vegetables in advance. Chop them into the appropriate size and place in a bag ready to use. TIP: Place all the vegetables that you would add to the recipe at the same time in the same bag.
  • Herbs & Spices - Measure in advance. If adding several to the same recipe then store in the same bag.

Label all the bags clearly.

For my favorite Pumpkin Risotto recipe, I pre-roast the pumpkin and place it in a bag then freeze. I also chop up the onion and garlic and place together in a bag with some olive oil then freeze. All other items I measure the ingredients in advance to ensure I have the correct amounts.

Use Colorful removeable food storage labels to label spices, pancake mixes, etc.

Cool Alert: These durable Ziplock bags have expandable bottoms!

Camping and Hiking Tips

By Paulina | Paulina on the Road

There is nothing better than sleeping under the stars, away from the chaos. Camping gear can be one of the best gifts for outdoorsy women too. But it becomes a worry when it comes to getting food.

But don't worry, whether you are a camping pro or a novice, here are some camping food hacks that can make your food worries go away. 

Bring hiking snacks with you that are rich in protein to get more energy.

While you are camping, you can't cook a meal again and again. So, it might help if you take something filling and energetic, like eggs.

  • You might wonder how to carry eggs. Well, you can break and collect all the eggs in a bottle and bring it with your camping bag. 
  • You can take a transportable frying pan for cooking.

For a meal, you can prepare an oatmeal batter and pack it in a zip-bag, easy to cook, and store.

Bring along a box with ice in it to store your battery in a cool place. Place the food with thin packaging in the cooler for effective packing.

Apart from that, you can take shop towels for easy clean-up.

Cool Alert: These clear plastic (food grade) juice bottles are awesome for transporting liquid - and eggs as they have a screw lid.

Definitely add these bottles to your camping food hacks list!

What Kind of Cooler Is the Best?

By Rai | A Rai of Light

Knowing how to keep your food cold while camping could mean the difference in whether the experience is a memorable or miserable one.

For food safety and to prevent any risk of food poisoning, it is recommended that food be stored at a temperature of 40 °F or below.

The most important aspect of temperature control is having the right cooler, with the best ones being well insulated.

Steel and fiber glass coolers are made to keep food chilled for several days.

  • Prior to going on the camping or hiking trip be sure to pre-chill the cooler by filling it with some frozen ice packs. 

Crushed ice cools items faster, but block ice is recommended as it lasts longer. Lastly, pack the cooler the right way by ensuring that all regular items are placed on top to avoid opening the cooler too frequently and that any air pockets are filled with an ice pack to prevent cold air from going out.

Did you know this steel-belted Coleman Cooler has a 4 day ice retention in 90 degree weather?  Plus the retro design is super cool. 

It holds up to 85 cans and you can sit on the lid up to 250 pounds!

Campfire Corn and Potatoes

By Ron | Unearth the Voyage

When cooking things like ears of corn or whole potatoes, tin foil can be all that you need for campfire cooking!

Let's roast corn...

Simply take the ear of corn, pull down the husk, add a little butter or even some salt and pepper and then fold the cornhusk back up.

Now wrap the entire ear of corn in tin foil and toss it in the fire! It generally speaking only takes a few minutes and the corn will need to be rolled around for even cooking, but that's all there is to it. The butter will melt quickly and then start to steam inside of the cornhusk creating the perfect side to any campfire meal.

Let's roast potatoes...

Potatoes are even easier still. Simply rub a little butter on the outside of the potato. Use a fork to punch plenty of holes in the potato skin, wrap the whole thing in tin foil and toss it in the fire.

Potatoes generally speaking take a bit longer than corn but the size of the fire can help to speed that along.

So...when packing up your supplies for campfire cooking don't forget that roll of tin foil! 

This heavy duty over-the-fire grill rack fits corn, chicken and burgers!

Cool Factor: Don't want a mess?  These aluminum grill bags hold in the flavors (and mess). They are recyclable & disposable. Definitely deserving of your camping food hacks list.

Get the Kids Involved!

They can...

  • Wrap potatoes or corn in foil
  • Thread vegetables onto skewers
  • Sprinkle spices onto meats
  • Pull the tops off strawberries for breakfast

Need More Camping Food Ideas?

Camping Necessities! 

If you are camping with a vehicle (not hiking), we have a few helpful recommendations. The griddle is fantastic for so many types of food! Steaks, burgers, pancakes and eggs are a necessity!  Use your griddle over a Coleman stove or a grate.  

Coghlan's Two Burner Non-Stick Camp Griddle *16.5 x 10-Inches


Great griddle with a Coleman 2-burner stove or a grate.  Burgers, eggs, hotdogs, pancakes! 

Inflatable Couch - Use at home, at music festivals, the beach, camping-ANYWHERE!


Who doesn't want to be comfortable while camping! So cheap!

Camp Chef Lumberjack Over Fire Grill 36"


Folding legs, 18" x 36" cooking area

Great sturdy grill grate for fire pits

Emergency EDC Survival Tools


37 multi-functional accessories-Fire stone, tactical pen, flashlight, emergency blanket, kindling, wire saws, buckle, whistle, hooks, pliers, first aid kit 

Marshmallow Roasting Sticks with Wooden Handle

$13.58 for set of 5

Perfect for grilling hot dogs, sausages, marshmallows!

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    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "Travel-mi.com." A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

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