No matter where you go in the world, every single trip will have this one thing in common – FOOD. It’s delicious, it’s fun, it’s energizing…but it can be expensive at times. Berty and I are on the road a lot, and we’ve run into problems of eating out and buying gas station snacks, but these habits can really take a toll on our health AND our wallet. Through some good old trial and error, we’ve come up with a list of go-to meals that are cheap and healthy. Yes, Berty and I like to make meals that are easy and to the point so we have plenty of time to explore the world around us. Therefore, in this post, we’re sharing easy camping meals that we’ve made and loved! These are simple enough to take on any road trip and fit into any kind of journey. Happy eating!
10+ Easy Camping Meals To Make On A Road Trip
Let’s first start with talking about cooking tools. These can be very customizable depending on your space, length of trip, desire to cook, etc. Read through this list and figure out what fits for your journey! What adventure you are taking depends on what kind of gear will fit your trip style. Here are some examples below of tools we’ve used for easy camping meals:
- Jet Boil – This is our most used cooking tool. The Jet Boil is a 1-liter carbon cup that can boil water in 2 minutes. This little guy is ideal for morning coffee, adding water to freeze-dried meals, and heating up soup. It’s compact, safe, and easy to use for minimal hassle and maximum time outside. Best for: backpacking trips, ultra-light packing, meals that require simply heating up or just adding water.
- Camping Stove – If you want to cook a full-size meal like a pasta or soup for friends, a single-burner camping stove is portable and easy to pack. It’s a little bigger than a jet boil, so it’s not suited for backpacking, but can be ideal for road trips and car camping. Best for: car camping, traditional campsite cooking, cooking for 3-4 people (or two very hungry ones!).
- Reusable Cookware – There are tons of options for camping cookware. From super-light backpacking sets to eco-friendly sets for two to a mess kit for four, you can find any combination that fits your trip! Just make sure to dispose of your gray water (waste-water) in a designated area or follow the LNT principle #3. Best for: all trips.
Coffee – Coming from Seattle, coffee is an absolute essential for us on the road! We’ve pretty much packed and used everything from instant coffee to a complex Chemex setup (yes, scale and all!). For simple use and storage, we suggest a drip cone like this one from GSI. For the coffee lovers, we suggest a camping French press like this one or this easy-clean steel one!
Read More: How We Prepare Coffee On The Road
Veggies that can be cut – Easy and healthy snacking foods like carrots, celery, and bell peppers can be eaten fresh! Make sure to eat them fairly quickly so they don’t spoil. You can always find a grocery store and replenish on the way. Buying whole veggies instead of pre-cut ones can save money too. Bring this portable cutting board/cook set on your next trip!
Egg Scrambles – During our two-week adventure in Alaska, we spent a lot of time cooking in the kitchen set up of a vintage VW Westfalia van. Our favorite quick meal to make was scrambled eggs with any leftover veggies, and pre-cooked + cut sausage. It was easy, filling, and fit into one pan. If you want to be extra fancy, you can add a tortilla to make a breakfast burrito!
Instant Oatmeal Packets – All you need is hot water and you’ve got a nutritious breakfast in these instant oatmeal packets! You can also throw in a few berries and some peanut butter for an extra energy boost. Use a Jet Boil to heat up water in no time to fuel up and get on with your adventures!
Pancakes – Pack some easy “just-add-water” mix like this kind from Krusteaz for a mess-free breakfast. Store dry mix in a container with a squeeze lid, and add water when you’re ready! Top with berries, syrup or peanut butter for some quick and easy camping meals!
Berty and I realized that while lunch can easily be skipped, it was ESSENTIAL that we stopped and ate something during this time. After a few days of passing over this meal, we ended up hangry and tired because of the lack of fuel. To save our bodies (and our marriage, LOL) we came up with some quick and easy lunchtime meals to give us that afternoon boost…
PB&J Tortillas – This meal can be for those days you just want to eat and get on with your next adventure. Swap out the bread for tortillas for easy packing and fewer chances of your carbs getting squished in the car. You can get creative with different recipes too – flavored jams and crunchy peanut butter is just the start of it!
Self-Cased Fruit (Oranges, Apples, Bananas..) – Fruit with its own casing (like oranges, bananas, etc) will last longer than soft-sided fruit like berries. It’s also easily packable if you’re planning a mid-day hike!
Home-Made Trail Mix – Be creative and add your favorite nuts, chocolate (lots and lots of it), dried fruit, and whatever else you want. It’s your trail mix! These kinds of snacks are perfect to pack in a day pack for a pick me up on the trails as well. Click this link for a super healthy and easy recipe idea from Neighbor Food Blog!
Protein Bars – Make your own protein bars ahead of time or buy them on the road, but these easy meal/snacks will keep your energy up mid-adventure.
Beef Jerky – Beef Jerky can get a little pricey so we only picked up a few packets on our trip. Great for snacking or adding to a trail mix (weird, but actually super good).
Mountain House Freeze-Dried Meals – This company makes really good backpacking food, but who says it just has to be for backpacking? We’ve been packing a few of these on adventures that require us to make quick food. Mountain House can get a little pricey, so if you’re not willing to empty your wallet on a whole box (we don’t blame you) consider getting just a single packet or two of a dinner and dessert for a special occasion.
Cup of Noodles – Can you get any easier than noodles in a cup? When you’re finished, you can use the styrofoam cup as a cup/bowl for others foods too! Just rinse it out and re-use!
Pre-Packaged Meals – We used Pasta Roni boxes to make some meals because we had a working stove and a little bit more time on our hands. I also found some from the same brand, but the easier “just add water” type if you want a simpler option. These cups can also stack together once you’re finished to minimize space waste.
Tin Foil Dinners – The pinnacle of easy camping meals is this simple food hack! If you have a campfire for cooking, consider this easy and delicious trick. Wrap all ingredients in tin foil and throw it on a grill top over the campfire. Easy ingredients are things like potatoes, peppers, cheese, steak, and onions. After about 30 minutes (when the potatoes and meat are fully cooked), pull it out of the fire, grab a fork and enjoy!
There are so many ways to eat well on the road. Whether you’re backpacking in the wilderness, or camping in a van for two weeks, you can easily create camping meals that work for you. We hope our suggestions have given you a few ideas and inspired you to cook what you love!
What are some of your favorite easy camping meals to make on a trip/on the road? We’d love to hear more recipe suggestions in the comments below!
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