Six Phases of a Camping Meal

Having great meals while you are camping can be an easy thing to do with a little bit of planning and forethought.

Six Phases of a Successful Camping Meal

Having great meals while you are camping can be an easy thing to do with a little bit of planning and forethought.  If you plan the right way, the people you go camping with will think you are the greatest camp cook ever.  If you pay attention to the Six Phases of a Successful Camping Meal, you will not only enjoy great food at camp, but you will have the praises from those around you.

  1. At Home Planning.  Several days before your camping trip, make a grid on a piece of paper and write down each of the meals you will be eating at camp.  Across the top of the grid, label each of the columns the days you will be at camp and down the left side label each of the rows Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks and Appetizers, Dinner.  Then start filling in what you are going to make for each of those meals.  I try to plan camping meals that several of them use some of the same ingredients.  For example, shredded cheese can be used in scrambled eggs in the morning and quesadillas in the afternoon.
  2. Shopping.  Making a shopping list with the grid of meals should be easy.  I also try to coordinate some of the supplementary ingredients with others who are also bringing food on the camping trip like butter, ketchup, mustard and other things that can be used for multiple meals.
  3. At Home Preparation and Packing.  Depending on what you are making, the meal at home camp meal preparation can be anything from as simple as packing the food you brought to making elaborate sauces or slow-cooked meat and then freezing it.  Whatever you plan on making, make sure you have enough time to do the at home portion with plenty of time to pack for the trip.
  4. Camp Preparation.  I always try to make camping meals where the preparation in camp is easy – even if that means I do some difficult preparations at home.  For example, on several winter time camping trips where I have served meals to 40 or more people, I made several gallons of home-made chili then froze it.  When it came time to serving the chili, all I needed to do was heat it up in large pots and serve it.  Doing all of the difficult preparation work at home and leaving simple work at camp earned me countess compliments and a reputation of being a great camping cook.  I really didn’t do all that much at camp, I did it all at home and then brought it to camp and that was the secret to serving a great camping meal to a lot of hungry campers.
  5. Eating and Enjoying.  This is the best part of any meal, let alone a meal in camp.  But it can only be enjoyable if the people you are serving the meal to like what they are eating and you haven’t worked your fingers to the bone getting it in front of them.  The entire experience should be positive and enjoyable, and if you prepared the right way to serve an exceptional meal in camp and the people who are eating it like what they are eating, then you have been successful.
  6. Clean Up and Doing the Dishes.  This is probably the least fun part of any meal, regardless of whether you are at home or you are camping – but it’s necessary.  With a little bit of planning and meal selection, you can make the clean-up and washing the camp dishes as easy as possible.  One example of planning ahead to make the clean-up easier is I no longer take raw bacon on camping trips.  As wonderfully good as it is, after one four day camping trip where we had bacon on the first morning and could never get the dishes completely clean after that because of all of the grease, I vowed to never do that again.  Instead, I now only take pre-cooked bacon on trips and ask those on camping trips with me to do the same just to make the clean-up easier – and it’s just as good to eat too, especially when you know you aren’t creating a huge mess of grease that is extremely difficult to deal with in camp.