Camping can be an amazing experience. There’s a sense of freedom and adventure that comes with being out in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But what do you eat? With limited cooking equipment, there is a limit to what you can create for dinner. In this post we will outline 5 dishes perfect for camping!
The pleasures of camping
Camping is a great way to spend time with family and friends. It helps people get back to nature, away from the stress of their jobs and responsibilities. It offers a way to connect with nature that you simply can’t find on other types of holiday. It’s relaxing, peaceful and exciting all at the same time!
Getting away from things is only the half of it. When you go camping you open up the world to your holiday as you can stay in places that are normally off-limits. Camping is a great opportunity to explore areas of the world that you might not have thought about visiting before and stay in places untouched by holiday resorts, hotels, and, dare we say it, tourists.
People who enjoy camping will often take a “leave no trace” approach as well as make an effort to protect wildlife habitats and minimize their environmental impact. This makes nature a priority while camping and ensures that all future visitors can enjoy the same beauty without causing any damage to it.
Cooking while camping
All this is true, but it doesn’t mean that we need to go foraging or hunting and gathering for food when we’re staying out in the wild. No, we can respect the environment we’re visiting by bringing food with us and cooking it at our campsite. Then, as long as we clear up after ourselves, leave no trace and dispose of all trash, the wilderness is left just as we found it. In fact, cooking in this way even feels like a way to reconnect with nature in itself.
But with limited equipment, it means you can’t cook up too much food or prepare anything too complicated. You won’t have access to your fancy non-stick pans or your usual kitchen appliances so don’t try making any dishes that require an oven, multiple spots on the stovetop, or a quick blitz of ingredients in the blender. This is rugged cooking and you’re going to be cooking rugged dishes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cook tasty dishes at all. Oh no, on the contrary, when you’re cooking in the wild you want to cook up a treat.
Campsite kitchen equipment limitations
The type of cooking equipment you’ll have will place limits on the types of dishes you can make while camping. Most people only have limited camping cooking utensils so we’re going to limit our camping recipes here to dishes that can be cooked with:
- A single burner stove
- A maximum of three pots (can be used as mixing bowls as well as to cook in)
- A small assortment of camping cutlery
- Something small and flat to chop things on
- Some sort of vessel for washing dishes
Campsite kitchen ingredient restrictions
The other thing to consider with campsite cooking is transportation and storage of perishable and non-perishable foodstuffs (aka your ingredients). Here, however, we’re going to lean once again on how most people will be camping. We’re not writing a guide here for ultra-light campers who are looking to hike through national parks for weeks at a time. In this respect, the recipes that follow will have access to fresh fruits, milk, and in some cases fresh or cured meats (if you’d like some camping recipes with non-perishable ingredients only, let us know in the comments). These types of foodstuffs must be cooked properly, however, so be sure to check the FDA website for recommended cooking temperatures or check out this handy food safety infographic.
5 great dishes to cook while camping
So taking everything we’ve said up to now into consideration, let’s look at some great campsite recipes.
Mac and cheese
This is the perfect camping dish as it’s quick and easy to make (you’ll only need a single pot), and if you’re feeling extra adventurous you can even jazz it up by including edibles that are also found in nature like wild onions, garlic, mushrooms or even dandelion leaves. As for any Camping Recipe Macaroni Cheese, you’re going to need some milk which you’d better bring with you. This goes great with that other camping staple, red wine, a few salad leaves, and the crustiest bread the forest can deliver.
Chips, salsa, and guacamole
These are perfect for camping because the chips will stay fresh in their bag until you open them and you don’t actually have to cook anything to make the salsa and guacamole, which will just require chopping, squeezing, and mixing. To make sure you don’t have any problems with the guacamole you’ll need to make sure that the avocados are fresh. For everything else, you’ll just need tomatoes, sweet onions, cilantro, some chili flakes, salt and pepper, and fresh limes.
Spicy chicken and chorizo rice (or pasta)
This is a simple camping recipe that requires no fancy pots or pans, you’ll only need to bring along some rice (or pasta), and chicken thighs. With the chicken thighs, it could be a good idea to bring them frozen so that they’ve been defrosted in your cool bag by the time you need to cook them. You can use canned tomatoes here if fresh ones aren’t available but make sure they’re of good quality. You can use cured chorizo too, which doesn’t need to be kept chilled. This one-pot dish simply requires you to brown the meat, add the vegetables and then add some water and a stock cube. Then when it’s all boiling away throw in your rice and pasta, cover, and wait until it’s all cooked! If you don’t fancy the idea of taking chicken with you when you’re camping, this will work fine with just the chorizo.
The great thing about pancakes and waffles is that you can make them using just your single burner stove and a pot. The batter for these will need some buttermilk, flour, baking powder to help them rise, and then eggs and vanilla essence at the last minute. You’ll need to use a tablespoon at first, making them small so that they cook quickly and you can flip them easily if need be. You can even throw in some fresh berries or chocolate chips.
If you don’t want to go full-on campsite kitchen, you could just stick to S’mores. You can’t really go wrong with a s’more. You’ll need to bring along chocolate bars, marshmallows (ideally the mini kind so you can roast a lot at once), and graham crackers. All you’ll need to do is toast the marshmallow and sandwich it with some chocolate between two pieces of graham cracker, toast them on your fire until nice and gooey, then enjoy!
It’s hard to go wrong with a camping recipe that only requires the use of one pot and a stove. The dishes we’ve covered in this blog post are perfect for when you’re roughing it outdoors! Whether you want something sweet, spicy, or savory, these 5 dishes will have your mouth watering by the time they’re done cooking. Just remember to clear everything up after you once you’re done.