5 Simple Tips for Better Campsite Cooking

Camp food can be tasty and easy to prepare, if you spend a little time before your trip planning and packing. Here's what you need to know to eat right.

The Tools You Need

When it comes to appliances, you don't need more than a campground fire pit and a grill attachment. But, if you're unsure of your camping conditions or are headed for a long trip, it's wise to pack your own cooking device. A small portable stove can be versatile and save you from building a fire.

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One pot with a strainer lid and metal utensils should cover all of your cooking needs, according to Ben Ozug, an avid camper who recently cycled and camped his way across the United States.

That doesn't mean you should forgo all luxury items. An insulated coffee mug can keep coffee or soups hot much longer, especially during freezing cold mornings of breaking down camp and making breakfast, says Ozug.

Consider Your Company

Who you're camping with affects what to pack and what to eat. If you're camping solo, look for freeze-dried meals or one-serving meals for a quick and easy alternative to cooking a full spread each night. If you're cooking in a group, take the time to meal plan before your trip, and assign people the food they need to bring. This makes for a lighter pack for each individual.

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Finally, consider your company's eating habits. Do they drink coffee? This can be a simple item to add with instant coffee packets. Hoping to have cereal in the morning? Opt for powdered milk on backcountry trips. If you're car camping and plan to bring a cooler, use block ice, which takes longer to melt, to keep your milk and other perishables cold.

Cook Inexpensively and Quickly

For quick and cheap food while camping, peruse the nonperishable aisle.

"By far the best and most portable food we found for cross-country riding and camping was precooked rice and cans of chili beans," Ozug says. "The chili beans are dirt cheap and come in their own flavored sauce, and the rice doesn't need to be boiled and comes in a whole bunch of flavors. You just heat up the rice, add the beans, and heat till they are warm."

More: How to Pick a Camp Stove

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