9 Lifehacks for Cooking While Camping

December 20, 2021

man cooking while camping outside in the woods

Blog written by Wise Owl Outfitters.

Camping is one of the most popular and fun outdoor activities both kids and adults love. Every year, more than 40 million Americans go on camping trips. While you are enjoying yourself by taking in nature and embracing the wild, your appetite is likely to spike. That's why camping food has to be nutritious, healthy, and easy to cook.

Cooking while camping can turn into another exciting activity. Taking the right approach can make a difference between enjoyable meals and time-consuming cooking struggles.

Let's take a closer look at important camping food hacks.

 man cooking while camping outside cooking eggs in a campfire

What to Cook While Camping  

Camping food needs to be simple. Since you may not have running water or electricity, consider avoiding complex meals. Here is a quick list of foods to think about when planning your next camping trip:

  • Foil Packets – put veggies, meat (or tofu), and seasonings into a foil packet and put them over a heat source.
  • Sausages – since sausages contain minced meat, they cook faster. Simply place them over coals and watch how they turn into a tasty meal right in front of your eyes.
  • Potatoes and Corn – these vegetables are perfect for camping meals. You can put them into foil packets, add some butter and garlic, and cook over coals for 15 minutes.
  • Hamburgers – if you have a grill basket, hamburgers are a breeze. Simply place the meat in the basket and keep it over hot coals for 10 minutes (5 on each side).
  • Scrambled Eggs – eggs taste amazing when you are outdoors. So bring a saucepan or a frying pan and cook eggs for breakfast. If you have hot coals, it will only take a few minutes.

If you are bringing kids, don't forget about marshmallows. They are perfect for campfire munchies!

Overall, cooking while camping isn't complicated. All you need to do is bring all the ingredients. If you don't have a source of electricity for the cooler, you may have to settle for dry and canned food. Thankfully, such food can also turn into amazing camping meals.

man following campfire safety tips by putting water out on fire

Safety Tips for Cooking While Camping

No matter how fun cooking while camping may seem, you should always keep safety in mind. A simple mistake could result in a serious wildfire. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Don't cook over an open fire. All you need are hot coals.
  • Always stay near the campfire. Leaving it alone even for a few minutes could lead to a disaster.
  • Keep the campfire small. This way it's easier to control.
  • Don't allow children to play near the fire unattended.
  • Bring a bucket to the camping site and fill it with water before starting a fire.
  • If your clothing catches fire, roll on the ground to put it out.
  • If the weather is dry and windy, avoid making a campfire. When choosing which food to cook when camping, don't forget to bring ready-to-eat options like cereal, snacks, granola bars, bread, etc.
  • Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids to start a camping fire.
  • Always put the fire out. Even if the campfire site looks cold, some coals may still be hot underneath. Use water to put them out.
  • If you are planning to use a camping stove, make sure to check it for gas leaks. Always disconnect the gas after use.

Remember, campfires may not be permitted on the camping site of your choice. Check with the local fire department to ensure compliance.

tips for cooking while camping

9 Lifehacks for Cooking While Camping

Cooking while camping can be even more fun and exciting with these simple lifehacks.

1. Do what you can in advance – while you have electricity and running water, mince the meat, wash the veggies, and cut food into portions. You can place everything in Ziploc bags and label them accordingly.

2. Store your tools and food - everything from the gas stove and saucepans to meat and potatoes need to be stored in your car or tent. Otherwise, you could attract unwanted visitors like wild animals. You can use a dry bag to store your food when hiking and keep it in your tent. You can also store food that needs to stay cold using a sling cooler.

3. Add some oil – if you are using a grill basket, spray some oil on it before cooking. This will prevent the food from sticking.

4. Bring a lot of foil – foil is the perfect outdoor cooking tool. You will need a lot of it.

5. Don't forget snacks – granola bars and beef jerky may not be the healthiest way to snack, but they keep hunger at bay between camping meals. You can also bring fresh hard fruits and veggies like apples and cucumbers for snacking.

6. Freeze meat – if you bring a cooler, freeze the meat before putting it inside. This way it will stay fresh longer while giving off cold to other foods in the cooler.

7. Bring garbage bags – from cans to Ziploc bags, cooking generates a lot of rubbish. Make sure you have enough bags to hold it. Hang garbage bags from trees overnight so wild animals don't rummage through them.

8. Be smart about perishable food – if you don't have anywhere to hook the cooler up to, you need to be careful about spoiled food. Find out exactly how long each food can last before expiring. For example, both raw and cooked meat shouldn't be left at room temperature for over two hours.

9. Don't try anything new – the camping site (especially if it's far from the city) is hardly the place where you want to deal with severe allergies or food poisoning. Always bring and cook familiar foods.

Plan each camping meal before you leave home. This way you won't bring excessive food or face a shortage when you are at the campsite.

Taking Advantage of Camping Food Hacks

Turn your camping trip into a tasty adventure by planning your meals. Cooking while camping doesn't have to be complicated. With the right approach, it will be fun and exciting. By following simple cooking and safety tips, you can take your camping recipes to a new level.

While you are gathering your camping gear, pay special attention to your cooking plans. Your camping partners will say "thank you."


Contributing Writer: Julia Suh

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