Camping Food Ideas [How to Plan and What To Bring — Full Guide]

When you’re going out on a camping adventure you want to be able to still eat yummy, nutritious food. But bringing all the ingredients and utensils with you that are needed for cooking isn’t always possible.

So how to choose the best camping meal?

Dehydrated meals to go are a real lifesaver for these trips. They allow you to easily make a full meal just as if you were at home, but without any of the effort.

What better way to keep the outdoor spirit inside you then whacking out a ready to eat beef stroganoff.

I’ve listed below a bunch of healthy ideas, quick recipes, and the best instant meals to put on your backpacking food list. I’ve also snuck in a few essential camping tips and tricks to help you guys out…

Food To Bring Camping Comparison

The below links will bring you to Amazon:

  1. Greenbelly Backpacking Ready-to-Eat, All Natural Meal Bars****
  2. Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles — Easy cheap meals
  3. Backpacker’s Pantry Chana Masala Two Serving Pouch — Best for Vegetarians
  4. Nutristore Freeze Dried Raspberries by Amazing Taste — Best Snacks
  5. Augason Farms Breakfast Emergency Food Supply — Best for Breakfast
  6. Astronaut Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich — Best for Kids
  7. Good To Go Pad Thai — Best for Lunch/Main Meal
  8. Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Colombian Coffee

Camping Food Reviews

1. Greenbelly Backpacking Ready-to-Eat, All Natural Meal Bars

Greenbelly Backpacking Meals | All Natural Hiking Meal Bars | 650 Calories & High Protein | Peanut Apricot, 5 Count

Let’s see what we enjoyed eating the most!

Ultralight backpacking meal and one of our top picks

Made for long-distance hikers by people passionate about hiking these are made to be as efficient as possible.

Made with weight, size, and taste in mind, Greenbelly has outdone itself with these bars.

What I liked about it

  • How filling they are! I’m the kind of guy who buys a pack of nutrition bars from the supermarket and then ends up eating all 6 in one sitting. These are different. Each one has a crazy 650 calories in them which is more than 3 times the amount of calories in a regular snack bar.
  • They’re hella healthy too. Balanced so that if you got all your calories from them you’d also get all of your daily nutrition of carbohydrates, proteins, sodium, fat, and fiber.
  • With these not only do you not need to cook, you don’t even need boiling water. Just rip em open and dig in. Each pouch is also resealable so if you get full after eating half you can still keep the other half fresh.
  • They don’t have any weird ingredients in them only natural whole foods. With big bits of fruit and just in them, they’re super tasty and aren’t heavy in your stomach because they are gluten-free.

Who are they for?

Anybody who goes long distances carrying their food needs to try these.

They’re lightweight and easy to eat while on the go, perfect for hikers.

But what makes them so special is how tasty they are, they’re not hard and not artificial tasting.

Some other sweet things

  • These are SO tasty! They’re made by a French trained culinary chef and each bar is made fresh to order. They’re not like those bars that you have to force yourself to finish or your jaw gets too tired from chewing. They’re just yummy, tasty deliciousness.
  • Super lightweight, which is ideal when you’re carrying your life on your back.
  • This is run by a company that really cares about their customers and believes in their product. They have a ‘100% satisfied Trail Guarantee’ with each product they sell.
  • The more you buy the cheaper they get but for 3 meals they’re just over 20 bucks.

2. Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles — Easy cheap meals

Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles 6-Pack

Mountain House have been making delicious nutritious food for almost 50 years. Supplying the United States Special Force they are well-known for producing reliable, non-perishable food.

What I liked about it

  • The beef stroganoff is one of Mountain Houses most popular meals, and you can see why  it’s damn tasty. Made with real beef, mushrooms, and onions all mixed into a creamy sauce it tastes just like a homemade meal.
  • The packs are designed to be eaten directly out of, all you have to do is add hot water and you’re good to go. That means no more carrying around heavy plates and pans and no more cleaning!
  • Costing just over 40 bucks for 6 packets, buying in bulk saves you a decent amount of money here and makes them a very cost-efficient option.

Who’s it for?

These are perfect for anyone going on a long multi-day trek or camping trip (assuming you like beef stroganoff).

They’re super tasty, a decent size and ready to eat so you don’t have to wait around for a delicious meal, you can just boil some water and tuck right in.

Some other sweet features

  • This comes with a 30-year taste guarantee, so you don’t have to worry about it going grim by the time you use it. This is one of the longest guarantees in the industry that you’ll ever come across.

3. Backpacker’s Pantry Chana Masala Two Serving Pouch — Best for Vegetarians

Backpacker's Pantry Chana Masala - Freeze Dried Backpacking & Camping Food - Emergency Food - 21 Grams of Protein, Vegan, Gluten-Free - 1 Count

This is a tasty meal that should be on any vegans camping food list.

What I liked about it

  • It tastes just like a normal curry, and nothing’s better at making you warmer than a curry. Filled with chickpeas, chiles, and rice it’s one of those meals that’s super comforting after a long day spent walking.
  • Backpackers pantry is an incredibly morally conscious company and so is the food they produce. This is gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and free from GMO.

Who’s it for?

This isn’t just for vegetarians it’s for anyone and everyone who likes a good curry.

It has a fresh, warming taste to it that’ll make any backpacker go ‘Ahhhh’.

Some other cool stuff

  • Very lightweight but still filled with nutritional goodness, the packets only weigh 127 grams while still having 410 calories and 14 grams of protein in them.
  • Backpackers pantry is a member of 1% for the Planet, and donate 1% of all their sales to nonprofit organizations that focus on protecting the natural environment.
  • Costs just over a fiver per pack.

4. Nutristore Freeze Dried Raspberries by Amazing Taste — Best Snacks

Nutristore Freeze Dried Raspberries Amazing Taste | Healthy Snack | Survival Food (2-Pack)

Nutristore is known for being one of the best producers of freeze-dried foods that are still filled with nutrients.

What I liked about it

  • The taste! Even though they’ve been frozen they don’t lose any of that delicious raspberry taste. This is achieved because of two things. Firstly, only the best quality raspberries are used and then through a special freeze-drying process all the nutrients and taste are locked in.
  • Makes a much healthier snack than standard snack bars or biscuits.
  • They’re also great to use in smoothies or as an extra thrown onto a meal.

Who’s it for?

If you’re looking for healthy, tasty, freeze-dried snack ideas, Nutristore are the people to be shopping with.

For quality camping food, they never disappoint.

Some other cool stuff

  • As they have been freeze-dried no fridge is needed to keep them fresh. In fact, they have a 25-year shelf life, so no matter what you’ll be able to have some healthy food.
  • They’re a bit expensive costing just over $50 for 2 packs but each pack is pretty huge and will last you a good long while.

5. Augason Farms Breakfast Emergency Food Supply — Best for Breakfast

Augason Farms Breakfast Emergency Food Supply 4 Gallon Pail

A pail filled with 162 servings of lightweight, survival food.

If you get yourself one of these you can guarantee you’ll always have a different tasty breakfast waiting and ready to be eaten.

What I liked about it

  • The sheer amount of food! With 17 different food pouches and 162 servings, one of these will last you a long time indeed, even if they were all you were eating they’d still keep a single person well fed for a month.
  • Packed with calories (20,120 in total), they give you the energy you need before a long days trekking.
  • With a shelf-life of up to 20 years, even though there are so many meals you still should be able to finish them off.

Who’s it for?

This is for people who go out regularly on multi-day camping trips or treks.

If you’re looking to stock up on meals on the go but don’t want to break the bank then spending less than 60 bucks for over 160 meals is an opportunity not to be missed.

What meals are inside?

  • Buttermilk pancake mix – there’s nothing more warming and comforting than pancakes in the morning, and now you can easily have them on the road.
  • Six Grain Banana Cereal – Filled with goodness like Vitamin C, Iron, and protein this makes for a great faster and lighter meal.
  • Strawberry Creamy Wheat – a lovely, warming whole wheat meal that has just the right amount of sweetness. If you want to make this really tasty mix some Nutristore freeze dried raspberries with it, it actually makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
  • Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal – Filled with fiber and only taking a couple of minutes to make this is a great old school breakfast choice to guarantee a good start to a good day.
  • Morning Moo’s Low Fat Milk Alternative – This tastes surprisingly similar to normal fresh milk you’d get from the supermarket. Very tasty and very good for you.
  • Banana Chips- A tasty and easy to eat snack, these are perfect for when you’re out and need a quick hit of energy.

6. Astronaut Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich — Best for Kids

Backpacker's Pantry Astronaut Foods Freeze-Dried Ice Cream Sandwich, NASA Space Dessert, Vanilla, One Serving Pouch,Multi,102207

This is a fun little snack that’s always sure to raise someone’s moral if they’re feeling down and tired while on a long trek.

What I liked about it?

  • A yummy snack that reminds me of being a kid, what’s not to like.
  • The chocolate wafers are the perfect level of softness that just makes it so good to eat.
  • Has a decently long 84-month shelf life.

Who’s it for?

I think these are great to bring on treks as gifts for other people. They’re just such a random treat, that everybody loves and you’d never expect to be able to eat on top of a mountain or in the middle of a dense forest.

Some other sweet stuff

  • They cost just over ten bucks.
  • They’re low in sodium.
  • Ready to eat with no preparation needed.

7. Good To Go Pad Thai — Best for Lunch/Main Meal

GOOD TO-GO Pad Thai | Camping Food, Backpacking Food (Single Serving) | Just Add Water Meals, Backpacking Meals | Dehydrated Meals Taste Better Than Freeze Dried Meals

Nothing beats a classic Thai dish of Pad Thai.

Eaten all over, at street vendors, restaurants, homes, and takeaways, this is just as tasty as all of them.

What I liked about it

  • Ready in just a couple of minutes all you need to do is mix with boiling water.
  • Makes a hearty and decent sized 12.45 oz meal.
  • Made with rice noodles, carrots, caramelized onions, bean sprouts and peanuts that are mixed in a
  • Wild American Shrimp and Tamarind sauce, damn it’s tasty.

Who’s it for?

If you want a proper big filling meal after a long day, want it to be yummy but don’t want to put any effort into it this is perfect.

Some other sweet stuff

  • Only cost about 10 bucks per meal, very cheap for something so filling and so tasty.
  • It’s pretty healthy for you and is pescatarian, gluten-free and low in sodium.
  • Made in America it has a best before date of 2 years and manages this without the use of any preservatives.

8. Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Colombian Coffee

Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Colombia Coffee, 50-Count

Coffee in the morning is often more than just something you want, it’s something you need.

But instant coffee often lacks taste and ends up being a real letdown.

Well, I can tell you that Starbucks Colombian coffee is not only different from the rest, it’s actually something really special.

What I liked about it

  • Simple and easy to prepare. Just rip open a packet, add hot water, wait 10 seconds and stir. Simple as that and you have a smooth, rich and refreshing coffee to enjoy.
  • A uniquely flavorsome coffee with an essence of walnut flavor means every cup feels like a treat.

Who’s it for?

If you’re a coffee lover, who like many others, don’t want to be separated from a delicious brew just because you’re in the wilderness then this will be your savior.

Some other cool stuff

  • The individual packets are light as a feather and can be fit into pretty much any pocket, so there’s no excuse to not have at least one emergency pouch on you.
  • For less than 40 bucks you get 50 packages. So each coffee cost you less than a dollar.

What you gotta bring?

You need food that’s easy to make without an oven or all the normal kitchen utensils you’re used to having.

You need enough food. It’s much too easy to think you’ve got enough and end up hungry.

It’s better to bring too much than too little.

How Should You Plan Your Grocery List?

Think of what you like to eat, think of the weight it’s going to add to your pack and think variety.

Make a summer camp checklist or overnight camping checklist and then tick off the items as you pack them.

This is really worthwhile so you don’t end up forgetting half the stuff you need.

There’s nothing worse than eating nothing but beans, sausages, and biscuits for two whole days, believe me!

One night trip

For a one night trip, you don’t need to overthink it too much. Make sure you’ve got a good hearty breakfast in the morning and lots of snacks.


Having some kind of instant coffee for the morning can be a lifesaver too.

Long trip

For a long trip, you have to be slightly more strategical.

Instant meals are a lifesaver here. You can plan out each and every day’s meal and that way know you’ll be well-fed. They also can be one of the lightest types of food, which is important if you have to carry it all.

For a car camping trip and camping food tips and tricks

Make things easy for yourself.


Nothing sucks more than cooking till it’s dark then spending the rest of the evening washing up.

Food you can eat right out the pack or just with boiling water are ideal.

Backpacking and Hiking

This is where it’s most important to have lightweight foods that are high in energy. When trekking you use a lot of energy and so need to eat a lot of food but you also really don’t want your pack weighing 40 kilos.

Be strategic.


With kids

Make it fun! There are loads of cool instant meals out there that are pretty funky and kids get really excited when they see.


The ice cream sandwich I review below is a perfect example.

Soups and drinks

One of the best options is soups and tea and coffee. Both are easy to make and really comforting.

Be careful with overpacking soups as they can be quite heavy.

With coffee it’s the opposite you’ll run out far quicker than you think!

Car camping essentials

Snacks, snacks, and snacks!

It’s all very well getting a nice meal but late at night when you’re chatting away in the back and having some drinks you’ll want a few things to nibble on.

Don’t forget to bring some snacks!



What supplies do I need for camping?

This really depends on what other activities you might be doing but there are a few essentials –

  • A tent
  • A sleeping bag
  • A torch
  • Medical supplies
  • Rope
  • Matches
  • Knife
  • A folding chair
  • Clean underwear and socks
  • A good book

How to pack for a camping trip?

Make a clear list of what you want to do and what you need to do those activities.

Write these down, then get all the equipment you need and lay it out neatly on your bed.

Make sure you’re not missing anything, then get packing!

Where to store camping food?

With these, they’re simple and easy to store as they’re all so compact.

Have a ‘food section’ in your bag and put the stuff you think you’ll eat first at the top and work your way through.

How to keep camping food cold?

Ice packs and cool boxes are the way.

However, if you get meals like the stuff on this list most of them don’t even need to be kept cold!

Where to buy camping food for a party?

The best place to get camping food is online on sites like Amazon. They have such long shelf lives and if you buy branded products, you get exactly the same stuff for cheaper.

How to prepare camping food without fire?

All the camping food on the list requires no cooking and no refrigeration, all you need is boiling water and you’re good to go.

A great bit of kit that I recently came across is the JetBoil Flash that can boil water in just 100 seconds. It’s super portable too and is the perfect bit of kit for when you’re out in the wild exploring.

Can I eat camping food if I’m pregnant?

Yes, you can! The most important thing when pregnant is to eat a balanced, nutritious diet.

Most camping food or ‘tent meals’ have been designed especially with nutrition and healthiness in mind, so are perfect for any health conscious person.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: