Skip to content

Camping Food Packing List And Easy Guide – Read Here!

  • by

Camping Meal Planning

Eating your favorite full-course meal outdoor is the dream. Although it could be a reality, it would take significant planning.

The food that you should generally bring for camping are those that are easy to pack, easy to prepare, don’t need refrigeration, won’t spoil easily, sustaining for the whole trip – and that’s not even everything you have to consider.

But, before you get overwhelmed, we’re here to guide you on what to add to your food packing list.


Factors To Consider When Camping Meal Planning

Type Of Meal

What type of meal you want and need is one of the most important things to consider.

Refer to your itinerary and see how many breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks you need to plan for before you contemplate on what.


Number Of Campers

You need to figure out what each person needs before you go camping. You also need to consider the amount of food for all your fellow campers for the whole trip.

You should figure out how long you’ll be away and come up with a menu together.

Also, keep in mind any allergies and preferences of your fellow campers.

It’s important to bring more food than you think you’ll need. It’s better to have leftover food to use at home than to run out of food at the campsite!


Camping Location

Backpacking trips require different meal planning than camping at a campsite. Campsites are usually secluded to really give you a full immersion experience in nature.

That is why camping meals should be light and easy to pack. You need to plan your meals ahead of time because your access to things like refrigeration is limited in a camp kitchen.

The trip to the campsite is also something you should include in your planning. The longer the distance, the less you should bring anything that can easily spoil. If miscalculated, your food might spoil before you even get to your camp.

All the meals you take must be small, portable, easy to cook on a single burner backpack stove.

You can easily bring a cooler along on your family car camping trips, but you have to know where you can get ice refills. If you do, you can pack almost anything you usually eat at home.

If your campsite happens to be near a grocery store, then that’s great! You can pack less and just buy at the location.


Your Camping Kitchen Setup

Cooking camp meals is very easy if you’re RV camping because most modern RVs have a basic kitchenette with a fridge, stove, and even sink.

But if you’re not traveling in an RV, you need to plan accordingly.

Would you bring soup ingredients if all you have is a grill? No, right?

That’s why you should also consider the camping kitchen cooking tools and equipment you have and then decide what you can make with those.

Of course, you can always do it the other way. Decide the menu first, and then get the cooking items you need.

It’s great to know if your campsite camping kitchen offers any cooking equipment rental. You can utilize that and broaden your menu choices.

Make sure you have everything you need before going out.


Space And Weight Restrictions

Car camping requires more planning than other types of camping. You need to consider how much room you have in your car and how much weight you want to carry.

You also need to think about whether you’ll be stopping in towns along the way.

If you are stopping in towns, you can carry less at the start of your trip and just add as you go.



It’s important to use ingredients that won’t spoil during your trip. You can get away by bringing some things like cheese and salami if you eat them in the first few days of your hike, but for the most part, you want to skip any perishable items.


Cooking Time

Cooking time is an important factor in determining how much food you should take. You don’t want to spend too long cooking your meals because you’ll end up spending more time eating than enjoying nature or activities.



Last but not least is nutrition.

Consider foods with higher caloric value if your itinerary is packed with activities.

It’s also important to maintain any dietary requirements and comply with any dietary restrictions while on the trip, especially if it’s due to medical conditions.

This also includes any allergies.


Tips In Camping Basic Meal Planning

Go through the list and take off the items you know you will never use.

There’s no point packing tin cans of oysters if no one even eats oysters in your group!


Customize the list.

No matter how much we want to give you all the answers, you are the only one who can complete your list.

Maybe someone in your group needs ketchup every time they eat? Or maybe someone needs kimchi for dietary purposes? Some may find that unnecessary, but put those on the list!

Customize your list based on your essentials.


Use the list multiple times.

Save your list so you can refer to it next time you go camping.

It will save you time and frustration.

You will only have to tweak the list a little based on your wants and needs for the new trip.

It’ll also be helpful if you note what food worked and didn’t on your past trips so you can use that to guide your next plan.


Pack more than you expect.

There’s nothing wrong with always being prepared for an emergency situation.

You may enjoy your trip so much you spontaneously extend it. It may rain, and you suddenly can’t cook the meal you planned anymore. You may get stranded and not have access to the cooking equipment you thought you would. Or your group became a bunch of hungry, hungry campers that just need more food.

Anything can happen, so it’s best if you have enough food and water for your trip and more.

Bring versatile ingredients that you can use for different menus.

Also, bring foods that are sturdy so they can survive the trip. It’s also ideal that you bring foods virtually don’t expire, like canned and dried foods.


Essential Camping Food Ingredient List

Dry Foods

  • Cereal
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Bread (plain sandwich bread, or even banana bread, your choice)
  • Tortilla
  • Pasta/ Noodles
  • Rice
  • Powdered milk
  • Crackers
  • Pancake mix
  • Commercial Freeze-dried meals
  • Nuts and Seeds mix
  • Energy bars/ Granola Bars
  • Jerky
  • Instant Potatoes
  • Chips & Crackers
  • Boxed macaroni and cheese
  • Butter powder


Fuel Food

  • Eggs
  • Fresh Fruits & Veggies


Canned Foods

  • Beans
  • Tuna
  • Meat (Corned beef, spam, etc.)
  • Soups
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit




  • Sauces (hot sauce, barbeque sauce, pasta sauce)
  • Jam
  • Peanut butter
  • Sugar
  • Seasoned salt or Plain salt
  • Oil



  • Water
  • Tea
  • Coffee/ Instant Coffee
  • Hot chocolate
  • Powdered milk
  • Juice Mixes/ Juice boxes
  • Any instant drink that you can just add water/ hot water to


Snacks/ Camping Desserts

  • Energy Bars
  • Chocolate & Candy Bars
  • Jerky
  • Chips & Crackers
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Fresh or Freeze-dried Fruits & Veggies


Camping Food Mix and Match Menu Ideas

Breakfast Options

  • Pancake with Butter powder
  • Energy bars
  • Commercial Freeze-dried meals
  • Eggs
  • Instant Oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts
  • Dried fruits
  • Beverage of your choice


Lunch Options

  • Jerky
  • Tortilla wraps
  • Sandwiches
  • Energy Bars
  • Instant ramen
  • Canned vegetables and fruits
  • Tuna pasta with Butter powder
  • Rice with span and canned vegetables
  • Boxed macaroni and cheese
  • Commercial Freeze-dried meals


Dinner Options

  • Instant Potatoes
  • Commercial Freeze-dried meals
  • Corned beef pasta
  • Instant ramen with egg
  • Canned vegetables and fruits
  • Boxed macaroni and cheese (add hot sauce for chili mac)


Snack Options/ Camping Desserts

  • Energy Bars
  • Chocolate & Candy Bars
  • Jerky
  • Chips & Crackers
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Fresh or Freeze-dried Fruits & Veggies


Healthier Options/ Vegan Menu

  • Fresh or Freeze-dried Fruits & Veggies
  • Dehydrated & Freeze-dried Vegan & Vegetarian Meals
  • Vegan Jerky
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Peanut butter sandwich
  • Vegetable pasta


Final Words

Camping is fun, but it can also be stressful if not planned well. So, take some time to list food items you personally need for your camping trip to make your trip run smoother and your meals more enjoyable.


To summarize, the food your should pack should be:

  • enough for at least three meals per day per member with extra
  • should be lightweight but sturdy
  • could be easily prepared in the camp kitchen/ cooking setup you have
  • has long shelf-stability
  • is versatile
  • is nutritious and complies with any dietary restrictions
  • and most importantly, delicious!


Douglass Connor

Douglass Connor

A seasoned traveller and frequent flyer, I love everything about travel. I have a weird obsession with luggage. Having worked at a large luggage store during my college years, I have picked up a lot of knowledge on them. It is for this reason, that I started!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *