Cooking meat on a campfire

Camping Food Checklist

What to Eat: Food Checklist for Campers

Camping is a popular pastime for persons of all ages. One of the biggest questions when preparing to go camping is, “What will I eat?” A seasoned camper would answer lots, but for the first time camper this is a real problem. Some basic rules when making a camping food checklist are:

  • Pack foods that are light since they are easily carried
  • Pack non-perishable items since they can keep for more than two or three days
  • Pack foods that do not bruise easily such as strawberries 
  • Decide if there will be any cooking
  • Are children coming along and what are their ages

Knowing this information beforehand will help you decide whether you need to go shopping for additional items.

Whether it is a camping trip of one or a dozen, it is always best to have food that is easy to prepare and even easier to clean up. When camping, no one wants to spend too much time doing chores, plus cleaning supplies are generally limited.

While there are no rules that certain foods are best for breakfast or dinner when camping, it helps to plan and organize what to have at certain times.


Some handy meals for breakfast while camping are:

  • Cereal or cereal bars such as granola bars
  • Bread
  • Fruits, this can be fresh, dried or canned. Fresh fruits should not be types that bruise or spoil easily unless you are camping from an RV or driving to the camp site. If the camping trip is for a few days, packing fruits in resealable plastic bags will help them keep for a day or two. 
  • Coffee, tea or other beverages
  • Eggs if you plan on cooking


This may be your heaviest meal of the day and can consist of:

  • Fruits are great for lunch as well.
  • Vegetables that can be eaten raw such as carrots and celery are great for camping trips. 
  • Sandwiches
  • Tuna


In most cases, dinner can consist of the same foods eaten for lunch. Sometimes light cooking may be done for dinner. The best foods for dinner while camping include:

  • Vegetables
  • Crackers such as Graham crackers and saltine crackers. Salty crackers and foods should be had sparingly if you’re going hiking especially if the area is hot. Salty foods in hot areas can lead to dehydration. 
  • Soups
  • Sun dried tomatoes

In addition to the above, other food items to pack for your camping trip that can be had at any time include:

  • Water
  • Dry foods that can keep for long periods without refrigeration. 
  • Cheese
  • Instant food that just needs reheating in hot water such as mashed potatoes, pasta or even prepackaged rice made for easy cooking.
  • Sweets such as chocolate as a treat or quick pick me up
  • Canned foods such as beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruits and nuts such as trail mix, raisins 
  • Salt, pepper and small ketchup packets can add flavor to any meal

In addition to food you should also pack utensils and containers that are easy to carry. Plastic plates, disposable plates, cups and aluminum foil are handy and lightweight. A knife and can opener are also important parts of your camping toolkit.

Camping can be a wonderful family experience and lots of fun if care is taken to prepare and take the essentials, especially food. Using a checklist will help identify what is needed. Now that you have a checklist of food that is suitable for a camping trip go and enjoy the outdoors.

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