Unless you’re an incredibly talented chef, camping trips often aren’t gourmet experiences. What your camping recipe looks like really depends on the type of camping you’re doing. If you’re country camping or sleeping in your campervan, you can bring out the cast iron skillet and the dutch oven and have a feast if you like. Backcountry campers will probably look for more convenient camping food.
If you’re heading deep into the backcountry, feel free to adapt these recipes however you like to fit your backpacking camp stove and utensils. If you want to make these ahead of time and wrap them in tin foil, you can reheat these with your campervan stove and pans, or a backpacking stove!
If you want to save some money on dehydrated food and make some of your own campfire meals, here are ten easy camping meals for your next campervan trip!
Camping Breakfast Ideas
The only real trick to breakfast burritos is properly rolling the tortilla when you’ve put all the ingredients in it. If you’re unsure, watching a quick video will illustrate just how easy it actually is!
Cook some eggs, bacon, sausage, peppers, and whatever else you like in your breakfast burritos. When done, throw everything in the tortilla, top with salt, pepper, cilantro, cheese, and any other toppings you like, and roll it up! If you like, you can crisp them a bit in a skillet or bake them for 10 minutes if you have access to an oven or dutch oven.
The same exact principle as the breakfast burrito applies to your breakfast sandwiches. First, cook any meat or eggs that you want and assemble them on your bread. Then, with a little bit of butter or oil, you can give these a quick fry in a cast iron until the bread crisps. From there, feel free to season, add avocado, your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
While quintessential to breakfast, french toast does require a decent amount of cleanup afterward. While not challenging to cook, you will need at least a pan and a bowl. If cooking over a camp stove, you’ll want to make especially sure the pan is well-buttered, so everything cooks evenly.
For half a loaf of bread, mix one cup of milk with three eggs. The rest is to your preference, but a good rule of thumb is two tablespoons of sugar (and a bit more if you want to sprinkle sugar on later), one teaspoon of cinnamon, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat the eggs first and mix in the rest of the ingredients afterward. Make sure your bowl is large enough to fit thickly sliced pieces of bread. Dip each slice in the mixture for about 10 seconds, and then let the excess drip off. Sprinkle extra sugar on if you like and place the slice into a well-buttered skillet. From there, rinse and repeat, adding any maple syrup or fruit you enjoy as a topping!
Camping Lunch Ideas
Of all meal ideas, grilled cheese may be the simplest. If you don’t want to worry about making anything fancy, slices of cheese between buttered slices of bread are all you need—around two minutes on one side and 30 seconds on the other is usually the sweet spot. But, of course, a touch of garlic powder after you finish cooking can make a big difference.
Of course, if you feel like taking things up a notch, you can add a meat of your choice or some jalapeños to give it some spice! Then, with a side of veggies or chips, you have a full meal in 10 minutes or less!
You can never go wrong with simple Mexican food options when planning out easy camping recipes. Most of the work is just cooking the ground beef and adding any seasoning you like, and even that isn’t much of a task!
If you want a side dish to go with your tacos, cooking black beans with rice is a simple addition guaranteed to enhance your lunch (or dinner)! In addition, make a taco salad with the leftovers for another meal.
Camping Dinner Ideas
Hot Dogs or Brats
The king of easy camping recipes for dinner. After a long day of hiking, hot dogs are atop the list of easy camping recipes. All you need is a cast-iron skillet, buns, and any condiments you enjoy.
You could boil water for your hot dogs (or brats), but the simplest and quickest way is to get a cast-iron skillet nice and warm over the fire and fry them in the pan—Cook for three to four minutes or until browned to your liking, turning over every minute. If you don’t have a cast iron or don’t want the extra cleanup, boiling them is a perfectly good alternative. Boil uncovered for 4-6 minutes or until hot dogs plumped.
Want to kick up the flavor a bit? Boil, or saute, your brats in beer.
The easy campfire meal version of kabobs doesn’t require you to have a full BBQ grill, so fear not! All you need to do is dice any protein you have into small chunks that will cook quickly and fit easily on the skewers. Then, add any veggies that you like, and you’ve got a true campfire meal! Bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms are a great base for any kabob and cook fairly quickly. You may want to put the mushrooms on first, though, as larger mushrooms can take a bit longer to cook than bell peppers or onions.
Kabobs are a great meal to prep before your road trip begins. Dice the protein, throw it in a container with a marinade, and you’ll minimize the mess, create more room in the cooler or fridge, and add a ton of flavor to your meal.
While a skillet over a fire or a pot on a camping stove will work, a dutch oven is your best choice for camping chili. If you’re using ground beef or any other meat, brown it in your dutch oven over the fire first. Next, add chopped onions, bell peppers, and any other vegetable that you like and cook until softened. From there, it’s as easy as dumping the rest of the ingredients in. Whatever beans, stock, tomato sauce, or spices make your chili yours, throw it in! Bring to a boil, and then let simmer until your chili reaches the thickness you’re looking for.
Unless you want to slow cook your chili and you’ve got hours to devote, simmering for 20-30 minutes should do the trick. Let cool for five to ten minutes and then serve. If you end up with leftovers, you’ve basically got sloppy joes for tomorrow’s lunch!
Camping Dessert Ideas
It wouldn’t be a true camping trip without the s’mores! After a long day and a good dinner, there’s nothing better than roasting s’mores by the campfire. You’ve probably got this one down and don’t need any instructions. If you’ve got graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows, you’ve got s’mores! Now, the only thing to debate is whether you lightly toast your marshmallows or stick them in the center of the campfire to get a good char!
Yes, you could argue that cinnamon rolls are an appropriate part of a camping breakfast, along with fruit, bacon, and maple syrup. I’m not here to take that away from you, but cinnamon rolls are also a great end-of-day treat! So whether you think they should be served for breakfast or dessert (or lunch, if you really like them), cooking cinnamon rolls in a cast iron skillet is essential to the camping experience.
Cook your cinnamon rolls by spraying a cast iron with the cooking spray of your choice. Put your cast iron over a moderate heat campfire for 10-15 minutes or until golden and cooked through to your liking. Turn them every two to three minutes.
So what are you waiting for? Rent a campervan and start planning an epic road trip around the U.S.
For additional campervan tips, check out these articles.
Budget Road Trip Tips for Travel in the USA
10 Epic Places to Campervan in the U.S.
Campervan vs. Motorhome – What’s the difference?
Safety Tips for Winter Camper Van Trips
12 Packing Tips For Your USA Campervan Road Trip
8 Must-Have Camping and Road Trip Apps for Your Campervan Adventure
About the Author
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.