Many people have many fond memories of camping trips taken as a child. There were always awesome scary stories, nature walks, roasting marshmallows—you get the picture. Did you ever think how much time and energy your parents put into making the camping trip awesome?
When I was younger, I thought because a camping trip was cheaper, it was also easier, but when I had to plan my own camping trip as the adult in charge, it was a much different story. There are no options for quick dinners on the road or ordering room service during a camping trip. You have to put a lot of time, effort, and thought into everything—including the menu.
Actually, especially the menu.
Probably half of the great camping memories I shared with my family were centered around food in some way, so the camping menu is kind of an understated keystone of your whole trip.
Before you start to panic about planning the meals for your upcoming vacation, Here is a full camping menu for a weekend camping getaway. This is two full days of meals plus some dessert ideas. If you want some other snacking ideas, check out my article on that here.
Breakfast: Bacon, Omelets, Milk
The key to planning a good menu is to have a lot of variety as well as the strategic placement of the ingredients. You may not have access to a lot of ice, so you will want to use your perishable items first. Of course, you have the option of not even including perishable items, but there is something special about eating fresh food while you’re in nature. Maybe it’s just me.
So all of these recipes have perishable ingredients in them, which means they fit perfectly being the first meal of the day. You can bring a small container with chopped vegetables and cheese to put in your omelets, or you can choose to have your eggs cooked differently. The milk will also be used in the eggs and you can use the grease from the bacon to cook the eggs in a dutch oven skillet.
Remember to bring a container that you can keep the remainder of the bacon grease in! It will be a helpful addition to some of your other meals. Also, cook some extra bacon for your lunch meal.
When I’m camping, I like to make sure that lunch is something that can be eaten on the go. Starting a fire to make each meal may seem like fun at the beginning, but it gets old quickly, so it’s best to limit it to twice a day. Most people don’t find it fun to cook over a hot fire during the heat of the day anyway.
Use that leftover bacon from breakfast to make a nice sandwich you can eat while you’re out and about. They’re tasty and easy on the go. Consider cooking up more bacon than you need so you have some for later.
Dinner: Grilled Sausage and Peppers Sandwich
Sausage links are easy to pack and prepare for a quick and easy camping dinner. All you need for this great meal is sausage or brats of your choice, sliced peppers and onions, and some good quality subway rolls.
You can cook these over a grill or in the fire as a tin foil dinner meal and then transfer it straight into the sandwich roll. Top with cheese if desired.
S’mores are a camping classic that you really can’t skip. I always like to have s’mores on the first night when everyone is in the mood to tell scary stories, play games, or sing songs. It’s a camping tradition you shouldn’t do without.
Breakfast: Blueberry Pancakes, Milk
Pancakes may seem like a big effort breakfast, but they are so easy if you plan ahead! Bring a jar or a tight locking bag with pancake mix. Just add water and shake until it’s all mixed together.
Remember to use the bacon grease that you kept from breakfast the previous morning, and it will elevate the flavor of the pancakes. You can add blueberries or any kind of fresh fruit and top with syrup.
Lunch: Pre-made Oatmeal Muffins, Peanut Butter and Celery or Pretzels
Again, having an easy lunch is the best for a camping trip when there are so many things you want to do during the day.
Prepare muffins before you leave and have some other snacks that are high in protein like peanut butter, nuts, hummus, or jerky to keep your energy level high while you are going about your activities.
Dinner: Nacho Tin Foil Dinner
Tinfoil dinners are so fun and so easy. Whether you are a child or an adult, you will enjoy making and eating these. One reason why I lean toward the nacho tin foil dinners is that it is an easy meat-free meal. The only beforehand preparation you will need to do is cook some rice to bring with. And don’t forget a can opener!
So this is how you make it:
- 1 large bag tortilla chips
- 1 can salsa (flavor of your choice)
- 1 14 oz can of black, pinto, or refried beans
- 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
- Mix together salsa, beans, and cooked rice.
- Divide the desired amount of chips between tin foil packets, top with rice and bean mixture, and garnish with cheese.
- Seal the edges of the tin foil dinners and put over a grill or in a fire for 15 minutes.
Dessert: Banana Boats
One of my absolute favorite camping desserts is banana boats. This is the dessert version of tin foil dinners and it is always a hit, especially because everyone can make it exactly what they want.
Everyone starts with a banana cut lengthwise with the peel still on. Stuff the banana with any kind of toppings you want. Here are some of my favorites:
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Milk chocolate chips
- White chocolate chips
- Cherry pie filling
- Carmel nubs
- Butterscotch chips
- Peanut butter
There is something exciting for everyone and it is a perfect end to your tin foil dinners. You don’t want to burn the banana boats, so once you’ve put your toppings in and wrapped it in tin foil, stick them straight into the fire if there are only burning embers left. If your fire is still going pretty hot, suspend them on a grill or in a dutch oven.
It might seem a little daunting to make a camping menu for your whole family, but if you plan ahead and use the perishable ingredients first, you are sure to have a menu your family will love.
What are some of your favorite camping recipes you had growing up?