Considered by many to be the perfect time of year for camping, fall also happens to be a foodie favorite. Roasted veggies, soups and stews, apples and cinnamon … warming, hearty dishes are back now that sweltering summer days have passed. While camping and comfort foods are each great on their own, why not combine the two for the ultimate seasonal celebration?
Pack your tent and sleeping bags and head out into the wild with these creative camping recipes to enjoy between hikes and other activities. Trail mix, jerky and granola bars are great for snacking, but these real-deal meals will make the experience memorable for campers of all ages.
Before You Go: Prep and Pack Like a Pro
The key to stress-free-but-totally-tasty campsite cuisine is great prep work. Do all the slicing, dicing, mixing and measuring you can beforehand in the comfort of your own kitchen, so the meals are ready to heat and eat later around the glowing fire.
Seasoned campers often recommend packing the food in coolers with frozen bottles of water, which stay cold longer than ice cubes and prevent the food from floating around in slush. Once melted, of course, the bottles also serve as drinking water. You’ll want to load the foods you’ll be eating last at the bottom of the cooler and work up to the first meal on top.
One last tip: Just as you wouldn’t forget to bring a first aid kit, take note of these important hiking and camping food safety tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Try These Easy Camping Meals (Plus Dessert!)
These recipes fall into three popular camp cooking categories: foil wrap, Dutch oven and Mason jar meals. Be sure to use durable materials: heavy-duty foil, cast iron oven and well-sealed, airtight jars.
At the campsite, do your cooking over white-hot coals rather than open flames — they provide a more consistent, reliable heat source. You can simply create a pile of cooking coals on one side of the fire and let the flames continue to light and heat the campsite.
Fabulous Foil Wraps
Also a go-to of grilling gurus everywhere, foil packet meals are low maintenance and minimize cleanup duties. Add your pre-prepped meats and veggies in individual servings to the pouch, seal it up and let the coals do the rest.
Dutch Oven Delights
Dutch ovens and fires have gone hand-in-hand for centuries. These heavy pots can produce everything from stews to cakes. We love to make our favorite one-pot meals in them!
Mason Jar Munchies
While some meals can be cooked in the jar, this method is ideal for pre-mixed salads, side dishes and desserts. They’re also an excellent storage container for raw ingredients — consider filling a few jars with beaten eggs, cheese, meats and veggies, ready to become a delicious Dutch oven omelet.