Liv Nomadic

Quick, Easy and Cost Effective Camping Meals

Are you searching for some inexpensive meal options for your camping trip? It’s not necessary to blow your budget on dining when you’re enjoying the company of loved ones in nature. 

Camping is, after all, one of the most cost-effective ways to take a break from daily life. Regardless of whether you prefer front country country or back country camping, there are many budget-friendly, quick and easy dining options you can try.

In this guide I hope to introduce you to new camping meal ideas that are inexpensive, don’t require many ingredients and have minimal clean-up time. 

Breakfast

As we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately, when you are camping it is hard to make a very large spread without creating excessive mess to clean and without requiring you to pack several coolers. 

Our go to strategy is to have a very carb and protein filled breakfast to make sure that we have all the energy we need to be able to tackle the most challenging hikes

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is by far our main go to breakfast meal. All it requires is a mug, hot water and the little oatmeal packets. These are very energy dense, filling, tasty and require minimal time for set up and cleaning. Not to mention, it is very good at helping you warm up after a colder night in a tent or hammock. 

Toast

Toast is another good option, top it off with your favorite spread (nutella/peanut butter is my go to) for another quick and filling meal. The main downside of this is it can be quite difficult to toast the bread evenly on a camping stove. With a little practice I’m sure you will be able to get the hang of it. 

Cereal

Cereal is a really good option for the whole family as everyone can choose their favorite flavors. We always make sure to get the small personal variety pack to make sure there are no fights and everyone can choose what they like. 

As with the other options, cereal is packed with many carbs, vitamins, sugars and proteins, giving you all the energy you need for the day. Unfortunately unlike the other options, cereal is a bit more labor intensive as you will need to wash out your bowls/mugs to avoid attracting wildlife.

In addition you will also have to be mindful to keep the milk cold so that it doesn’t spoil. Due to this, it is a good option for car camping but might be a bit too much for backpacking.

Boiled Eggs

Boiled eggs are a very good option as it is easy to make (you just need water and a pot) and has minimal clean up. Eggs are also high in vitamins and proteins which will help keep you full longer throughout the day.

Lunch

When it comes to lunch we like to keep things quite simple. When we go camping we mainly spend all day exploring the park trails away from the campsite. 

Because of this, we tend to pack simple light foods that will help keep up our energy and hydration levels but wont sit too heavy in our stomach.

Fruit

Fruit is a must for all hiking lunches. They are all full of sugars and water which will help keep you hydrated and full of electrolytes. They are also very easy to pack and depending on the fruit they create very minimal garbage that you have to bring back. 

Our go to fruits are apples, pears and oranges. If you plan to bring fruit on the trail, think ahead and be sure to pack a zip lock bag for the peels and apple cores so the animals don’t get to them. 

Sandwiches

Sandwiches are another very good quick option for lunch. We always choose to assemble the sandwiches in advance and then simply add the condiments the morning of the hike. This helps save time in the morning and also doesn’t give them a chance to get soggy….. No one likes a soggy sandwich.

Tuna/Crackers

Tuna and crackers are a very quick and easy option for a hiking lunch. Again it is high in protein and carbs which will help keep you full all day.

 We normally get the small tuna cans that don’t require a can opener but you can always make a full tuna salad with mayo and celery and pre pack it in a tupperware container. 

Again with this meal, be sure to bring a ziplock bag so that you can pack up your garbage and avoid attracting wildlife to the trail.

Veggie/Dip

If you want to incorporate some more veggies into your camping diet a good way to do that is by bringing veggies and dip with you on the hike. We always opt for the small personal spinach dip containers and baby carrots/ celery sticks. 

Dinner

Since breakfast and lunch are meant to be quick and easy, we always like to have a more filling dinner. The good news is this doesn’t mean that you need to spend all afternoon prepping a feast. 

We find the best way to avoid all the unwanted setup and cleanup is to prepare the meals before the trip and then simply cook them on the fire. This avoids having to take out the grill and also avoids all the unwanted prep work. 

Hot Dogs

Hot Dogs are another one of those go to meals for us. They are quite filling and are very easy to make. Simply roast them on the fire and then put them on a bun loaded with all your favourite toppings and you’re set. 

Roasted Potatoes

Roasted potatoes are a very tasty, filling, easy meal that doesn’t feel rushed. We dice the potatoes and coat them in veggie seasoning and olive oil, then wrap them in individual tin foil packets. 

When you are ready to cook them, simply place the tin foil packs on the grill of the firepit. After about 30 mins of cooking the potatoes should be all set.

If you want you can also toss in some onions and bell peppers or other toppings of your choosing! 

Chicken/Veggie Skewers

The chicken and veggie skewers are very similar to the potato meal in that you do most of the preparation work before the trip. One thing that we found to be helpful is to precook all the chicken/beef before assembling the skewers. Then once the meat is cooked and cooled you can add the raw peppers and onions.

When you are at the campsite we bring the corrugated tin trays and place the skewers on the tray and put the whole thing over the fire to cook. Once the peppers and onions are cooked and the chicken is warm it is ready to eat. 

         

Sausages

Sausages are similar to the hot dogs in that you just simply have to roast them over the fire and then simply add condiments and eat with bread.

 One thing I should mention is you can either get raw or smoked sausages. We always opt for smoked sausages because it eliminates the risk of the meat going bad. 

Soup

Soup is a meal we normally like to have as breakfast or with dinner. It is quite nutritious, quick to make, hydrating and will help warm you up. We normally opt for the dried soup packets or ramen and they will make for light quick packing especially when you are backcountry camping. 

If you are front country camping you could still use these or you may opt to have home made soup. If you make soup at home before your trip, all you will need to do is simply heat it up and serve. 

We generally choose not to do this because it requires us to clean up the pot after but if you don’t mind the extra cleanup it could be a good option too. 

I hope this article gives you some ideas about potential food ideas to pack for your next outdoors adventure. If anything, hopefully this guide will help direct your thinking towards healthy quick easy meals to bring. 

Please remember that if you are planning to bring any food items on a hike, be sure to bring a method for garbage disposal to make sure you don’t attract any wildlife. 

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