Beginner’s guide to easy camping food


I’m a big advocate of keeping it simple while camping, but if you’ve never gone before it’s still hard to know where to start out.

Hot dogs and Spaghetti-O’s are my go-to for dinner, but if you have room in the cooler and want to bring snacks to make things a bit healthier, have at it. I stick to finger foods so I don’t have to worry about utensils – my favorites are carrots and hummus, grapes, pretzels, or chips.

I’m also a big advocate of desserts. While you can keep it super simple with some cookies from the store, it’s not really camping if you don’t at least try to make smores. They’re impossible to screw up, and all you need is graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows and a stick. If you want to get crazy and invest about $5 in a skewer from Wally World you can contain the stickiness (what to pack for your first camping trip).

On my first-ever camping trip, Billy and I had smores and beer for breakfast before heading to the diner at Shenandoah National Park. Since then we’ve graduated to dropping the morning smores and heading for the closest restaurant for brunch on our way home.

Last summer, I went on my first ladies camping trip and my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of a campfire breakfast. We still kept it simple, but being able to wake up slowly and enjoy some coffee in a camp chair over girl talk (or talk for whatever gender you identify with) is something I’d recommend for any outdoor beginner.

Cue the breakfast burritos.

I cook them ahead of time, wrap them in foil, and pop them in the freezer so I can take out as many as I need whenever I go camping. This solves the issue of “it’s Tuesday and I have time to do this now, but I’m not going camping until Saturday night.” They’ll thaw a bit in your cooler once packed for your trip, and will only take a few minutes to heat up over the campfire.  There are tons of online recipes for breakfast burritos, but they’re not rocket science to make. You’ll need:

  • Tortillas (I use the 8-inch ones for small burritos)
  • Breakfast meat of your choice (Frozen Jimmy Dean turkey sausage is cheap and easy, if not best-looking considering it comes in tube form)
  • Eggs (I scramble them)
  • Shredded cheese (dealer’s choice on the blend)
  • Breakfast potatoes (Potatoes O’Brian from Ore Ida come with peppers and onions pre-chopped and mixed in)
  • Anything else you may want to stuff in there, including sauces, seasoning, or other veggies.

Cook eggs, potatoes, meats, and veggies per instructions on the packaging before doling them out into each burrito. Put a piece of foil on the counter, then the tortilla on top of the foil.

It’s up to you how much of each item you want in the burrito, but once you’re done filling the tortilla, wrap it up. Start by folding in the left and right sides before rolling the whole thing from top to bottom. Hold it down and repeat the same wrap with the foil. The tortilla will stay together once it’s frozen. (These are also a great to-go breakfast for the work week!)

Camping in the mountains gives you the gift of crisp mornings, even in the heat of summer. Having something hot to drink around the campfire can be so cozy and nice – and instant coffee is easy to do. We just packed cream, sugar, and a teapot. Most campgrounds have a grate over the fire ring, so we put some bottled water into the teapot, and combined with some Starbucks Via once it was hot to take care of our daily dose of caffeine. You can obviously sub instant coffee with tea bags, hot chocolate, etc.

Normally, I get most of my adventuring in on the same day I arrive at the campsite, so by the time morning comes I’m ready to hit the road and get some brunch and a hot shower. But for days that you do want to enjoy lingering around the campfire in the morning, you don’t need to plan much more than your regular camp routine.

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