If you are looking for a list of camping food and recipes that are tailored to your specific diet, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll focus on camping foods and recipes that are suitable for RV camping and car camping. Moreover, we’ll highlight camping food ideas and recipes for vegan, vegetarian, low carb, and gluten-free diets.
How to choose the best camping food
Deciding what food to take with you on the next camping trip is somewhat similar to asking yourself: “What should I make for dinner?”. In both cases, you’re most likely to look at what kind of food you generally like eating, the time needed for preparation and the type of cooking equipment at your disposal.
On top of that, you would also consider preparing a healthy meal that consists of slow carbs, healthy fats, and protein. Depending on your preferred comfort level when camping, the food and consequently the meals you end up making when camping may or may not differ from your home-cooked meals.
In the end, we have narrowed down three factors that will help you decide what type of food to take on your next camping trip.
Type of camping cookware
In most cases, the type of cooking equipment at your disposal will put a constraint on the variety of meals that you can prepare and consequently the type of food you can bring with you. If you happen to have a high comfort level when camping then this shouldn’t pose much of an issue since you will most likely take most of your home kitchen equipment with you.
For instance, unless you are planning on bringing a camping oven and a cooler with you on your camping trip, you shouldn’t bring refrigerated food or meals that require an oven.
If you are interested in learning more about camping cookware, then check out the following article.
Type of camping
There are different types of camping such as RV camping, backcountry camping, kayak camping, bike camping, and car camping. This affects the type of food that you bring along due to the limited space and weight capacity you have depending on the chosen camping style.
For example, backcountry camping, also known as backpacking, requires you to bring food that is light and highly nutritious in order to reduce the total amount of food you carry and therefore minimize the overall weight. On the other hand, RV camping and car camping allow you to carry more camping equipment without taking into account the overall weight.
As a result, you are able to eat the same type of food when RV camping or car camping as you would at home. In this article, we’ll focus on the type of foods that are suitable for RV camping and/or car camping.
If you are interested in knowing more about the type of foods for backcountry camping, then read the following article!
Type of diet
There are several types of diets, which in our case refers to the type of food you prefer eating due to religious, health or personal reasons. Therefore, the type of diet you and your fellow campers have will ultimately influence the type of food you end up taking with you. As you read on, you will find food suggestions along with recipes based on different types of diets.
Camping food ideas and recipes
In what follows we’ll share some easy to make, delicious and healthy food ideas and recipes. There are already a lot of awesome camping recipes out there, so we’ve decided to summarize them based on the type of diet that is best fitting. We took the liberty to zero in on camping food ideas and their related recipes for each type of diet.
No-cook camping meals
Vegan camping meals
Vegetarian camping meals
Low carb camping meals
Gluten free camping meals
How long does camping food last?
This is a difficult question to answer, and it all depends on the type of food. Items like fresh fruits should not be consumed after about 1 day- if they’re kept too long, the sugars in them will cause bacteria to grow much faster than normal, and eventually, the sugar/bacteria can change into harmful chemicals like alcohols.
Also, when you’re camping at a campsite or backpacking, the food will only last if you protect it from extreme temperatures and stay away from humidity. If your exposure to temperature extremes is small, then the shelf life of most products is about 12 months.
The three factors that affect spoilage rates are heat (time/temperature), light (time), and moisture/humidity (moisture). Heat destroys vitamins A, D, E, and K; cold denatures protein and starches; light causes a loss of flavor compounds but may destroy vitamin activity in some foods.
Lastly, moisture contaminates food while destroying vitamin A with prolonged exposure to low-temperature moist air. So, the key to remember is that foods most at risk for going bad are high-moisture foods, like fruits and vegetables. This is why we suggest dehydrating fruits and vegetables to prolong their shelf life and reduce their total weight.
How to store camping food?
There are a few ways to store your food when you’re camping or backpacking, and they all work to some degree. Obviously, since animals know what’s food and what isn’t, storing your food in areas where you would normally find animals is not suggested. Where do animals come into play when it comes to food storage? Well, bugs can contaminate the food with the fecal matter if they crawl on it. The same thing goes with mice- if any of their urine gets on the packaging from transporting it while hiking somewhere remote then the package will eventually swell up causing deterioration inside.
If you’re staying for a few days, it’s worth buying freeze-dried camping food or dehydrating your own. Aim for trail mix of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Avoid grains like rice. Snacks should be small because every calorie matters when there’s nothing to eat but the little food you carry in your stomach on the way there and back.
If you want to take it to the next level then the best way to store any food is in vacuum seal bags. Put them into an insulating container that helps regulate temperature change (e.g., an insulated lunch box).
To keep anything cool (often not even needed), put icepacks inside a freezer bag or zip-lock plastic bag with chunks of dry ice.