I honestly can’t remember a year of my childhood that didn’t involve a camping trip. Whether this was in the UK or in France, there was at least one every year. This can be a tricky part of the holiday whether you are a beginner or regular camper.
We also have experienced a number of different types of campsites, tents and camping methods. One of the things that can really hold you back while camping is your food supply. This is my camping food list and everything you need to know and take!
I wanted to start off by splitting this into categories because there are your fresh produce and your long life foods. I will also break it into meal sections for you so you can see what kind of foods you might want for certain meals and how much you will need. Of course, this all depends on how long you are camping for and if there is a place nearby to replenish.
Tips For Helping You Create The Perfect Camping Food List
There is no point packing a load of food and heading off when in actual fact 2 out of 5 people eat it. You want to think about simple and easy meals that you can cook and make while camping. If you want to be super efficient make a meal plan, this way you can keep track of what food you will need.
Don’t forget you want to remember what everyone will want to eat. If you use specific milk or special cereal don’t forget to include it. Remember to pack for all meal times, whether you plan to dine out on an evening still pack something you could have if you decide to stay on site.
Try and pack non-perishables like tinned soup, noodles and chicken curry in a tin. These small items can make a difference when it comes to mealtime. Pasta and sauce is a really good dish that also has a long shelf life, perfect for camping!
Top Tip: Make a list of the meals you will be camping for, so X many breakfasts, X many lunches and X many dinners. From this, you can work out how much you will want to take and what meals you will be cooking for.
Camping Food List: Fresh Produce
This is fresh produce you want to keep in a cooler box. If you are planning on taking these items with you can find a number of cooler boxes that plug into the car and then come with a mains plug. These are also items you could look at finding when you need them, depending on your location.
- Cheese – For Sandwiches or Pasta
- Ham/Cooked Meat – Mostly for sandwiches
- Cheese triangles – Never thought about these but actually make a nice snack
- Meat For a Barbeque – Some towns/villages may even have butchers so you can get it fresh.
- Salad Items – Coleslaw, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, spring onion, peppers
- Pepperami – great snack choices
- Fruit – great for snacks.
Camping Food List: Cupboard Staples
These are the items that most likely you have in your cupboards and I am not talking about all the spices you have stored you probably don’t use. These are items such as pasta sauce, tomato soup or baked beans.
- Tomato Soup
- Baked Beans
- Spaghetti Hoops – Or the other kinds are good too!
- Packet Cous Cous – great for adding to a salad
- Packet Noodles/ Pot Noodles– Great for kids to have warm lunches
- Dried Pasta Packets – These are great as they are quick to make and can be a great emergency meal.
- Pasta Sauce
- Tinned Tomatoes – Perfect with full English breakfast
- Cereal/ Porridge
- Breakfast bars/protein bars
- Chocolate/biscuits and sweets
- Sugar/ sweetener – mainly for tea
- Sauces – Tomato, Brown Sauce, Mayo and Salad cream
- Salt And Pepper – If you by a picnic set you can often find a small pot of each inside.
- Honey/ Syrup – Topping options for porridge
Camping Food List: Drinks
I feel this is maybe something that doesn’t get a list of its own. But as both myself and Cora drink entirely different things it is safe to say we often make a list to accommodate what the other needs.
- Water – always good to have on hand even if it is from a tap in a reusable bottle
- Fizzy Pop – Cora pretty much drinks Diet drinks so we always have them to hand.
- Dilute – I mainly drink dilute so we take a small bottle for me.
- Tea/Coffee/Hot Chocolate – both parents drink tea and can’t start the day without it.
- Sports Drinks – I know from experience that taking an energy drink or something similar is great if you are doing walking or hiking.
- Fresh Fruit Juice – I love having fresh orange juice for breakfast so this had to be on the list.
Camping Food List: Equipment
This is a really basic list of equipment you might want to look at taking or getting. Depending on whether this is your first time camping or your 100th time.
Like many styles of holiday, camping can mean something different to everyone. So look at what your planning on doing on your trip, are you planning on eating out every meal or planning on cooking most?
- Cutlery set
- Plates and Bowls – picnic sets are great to get as a complete set
- Hob Stove – you can get a number of sizes that suit every budget and family size
- Sharp Knives – one thing that often gets forgotten is a sharp knife
- Cooking tools – this is if you are feeling really ready to cook on your trip
- Washing Up Bowl – easy to through the dirty pots in and ready to carry to the washing up station.
- Teatowel – both for washing up and for carrying hot pans.
- Tin Opener/bottle opener – This is a key item many usually forget.
I would have loved to recommend a picnic basket but don’t currently have one and honestly, it depends on how many people are on the trip.
Camping Food List For Backpackers
If you are looking at backpacking and need to pack light you can find hiking meals that you simply warm up and eat. We used these on our trip to Iceland to help keep our food costs down. They taste good, compact and light and are made to be nutritious for hikers.
- Tea/Coffee – you can find small sachets that give you what you need to stay warm and hydrated.
- Water – You can buy plenty of backpacks that have the water tank built in.
- Packet Pasta – These can be the cheap ones you buy at the supermarket or the more expensive range from outdoor stores.
- Packet Noodles – These can be really cheap and easy to store in small spaces. Not always full of flavour but great as a backup meal.
- Dried Fruit/ Nuts – these are great for long lasting energy an nutrients.
- Chocolate – If you like chocolate anyway its good to give yourself something you enjoy right?
- Soup Packets
- Rice Packets
- Powdered Drinks – If you are planning on drinking mainly water, these can offer a good alternative to the same taste over and over again.
- Fresh Fruit – this can depend on how long you are backpacking for and your weight limit.
- Porridge/cereal – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all.
- Powdered Milk – Especially helpful when making tea/coffee.
You can buy foldaway stoves that take up little room and will cook a single pan meal. A great tip is if you are warming a meal by hot water in the packet, you can then reuse the water to make a hot drink.
Best Ways To Store Food While Camping
There are a couple of ways people going camping will transport and store their food. When I and Cora took our trip to Carlisle we happened to camp one of the nights. We took some food with us to have for breakfast and snacks along the way.
If you are packing plenty into the car then you want to remember you don’t want your crisps and cereal crushed by your tins and tent.
- Boxes – mainly plastic as they are better for keeping dry and the damp out. We used a 35L really useful box.
- Cooler boxes – these are great for keeping fresh things cool while travelling and at the campsite.
- Cooler bags – this is another great option if you aren’t going far or they are items that don’t need to be in the cooler box but still kept cool.
- Carrier Bags – if you are pretty low on boxes or don’t want to use the money to buy some, bags for life are great as they are built to be sturdy.
- Packing Cubes – these are handy for backpackers wanting to keep stuff organised and secure together.
That is everything on my camping food list, if you have been camping before and know of something that you couldn’t camp without let me know in the comments. Also if you have any useful tips and tricks be sure to let us know.