Between the morning hike and afternoon bike ride, there's little to no time left to plan and prepare a meal.
If cooking is taking up too much time during your camping adventures, use these time-saving tips to speed up the process so you can enjoy every minute of your trip.
1. Mix Dry Ingredients Together
Don't clear your cupboards to bring a bunch of spices, a big bag of flour, a whole box of baking soda etc. Instead, put dry mixes together beforehand. This is particularly helpful if you want to make campfire muffins, pancakes or a rub for your chicken.
It's also one of the few time-saving tips that help when packing, too—fewer items mean more room. When you prepare your dry mixes ahead of time, remember to:
- Label every bag so you don't confuse the pancake mix with the dry rub. Note liquid requirements, as well, so you know how much water, milk or broth to add when it's time to cook.
- Bring the essential spices like salt, pepper and garlic powder, even if you've already added them to your dry mixes. It's always good to have these on hand when cooking.
2. Prepare Meals Ahead of Time
Don't prepare every meal at your campsite. Instead, do as much of it at home as you can. Take time to prepare one meal a night in the week leading up to your trip. This will help you save time packing and prepping at home. All you have to do is heat the food at your campsite. For example:
Cook Soups and Stews: Once cooked, freeze them so you can just reheat over the campfire.
Prep Fruit and Vegetables: Chop these the night before you leave so they're still fresh when you pull them out of the cooler.
3. Decrease Cooking Time
Covering your pots and pans with lids is one of the simplest time-saving tips. This not only helps your food cook faster by retaining the heat, but it also keeps bugs and dirt out if a gust of wind blows through your campsite.
4. Make One-Pot Meals
Throw your meat, veggies spices and broth in a cast-iron pot and let it sit. Think chili, beef stew or tofu tortilla soup. While this won't reduce the cooking time, in fact it may take a little longer to cook, the effort needed to prep the meal yourself is little to none. Let everything slowly cook together while you relax around the campsite and get the kids ready for mealtime.
Need one-pot meal ideas? Try these 5 recipes