Eating on Camping Adventures
Updated: Sep 24
If you like to camp, this post is for you! Good food is a must for your perfect outdoor adventures! You work hard and play hard, and need to keep your family fueled. Keep yourself and your family in the adventure spirit by planning ahead and serving simple meals that you can have ready in minutes!
My family LOVES camping. We’ve done a variety of things from backpacking to trailer camping to long boating trips. One of our favorites is camping on the beach at Lake Powell.
Most people seem to do Lake Powell with houseboats. I’m sure that’s fun and grand and all. But houseboat camping is a HUGE production, and comes with an enormous price tag too. We prefer to keep it simple—just us, our boat, and the beach. It makes it possible to get down there several times a year, and it keeps the entire experience much more affordable and personal.
Last September we were down at Lake Powell for 7 days, 6 nights. That is the longest Lake Powell trip I’ve ever done! And without a houseboat’s conveniences, it took some serious planning. But it turned out to be just fantastic!
This will be a multi-part post because I want to give you the full picture of what we did to keep our family fed while adventuring at Lake Powell for 7 days!
Planning & Preparation
The best part of a family adventure is being able to fully participate! And that’s hard to do if you have to stop and prepare meals every 3 hours. To minimize time spent on food while camping, I cook as much of it before we leave as possible, and freeze it. My food travels frozen which helps preserve it longer, and once I’m on the beach, I just have to reheat which takes a fraction of the time!
Step 1: Plan out the menu
This was my menu plan for the week:
A few things I’ve learned for my family—simple is key! Repetition is OK! And a cooked breakfast is not necessary.
We planned one hot breakfast—Breakfast Burritos. It was my daughter’s birthday while we were down there and this was one of her requests. The rest of the breakfasts were cold—yogurt, bagel/cream cheese, oatmeal balls, sausage/egg/cheese biscuits, milk—simple and easy! This was fantastic because it made it easy to feed people as they woke, and got us on to playing and adventuring fast!
Lunches were the same all week: Sandwiches, fruit & chips. Add a little variety with different cheeses, sandwich spreads, PB&J, several chips and several fruits. But repetition is OK!
Snacks are essential. When we play hard, we work up an appetite. Especially little people. We have a family favorite—Lake Powell Goo that we always bring. But the rest of the snacks are a variety of healthy and less healthy (but tasty) options. Bars, trail mix, string cheese, applesauce and some cookies.
Dinners are where the majority of the food prep effort was focused. Dinner is an important meal when camping because it is that recovery period, when everyone is feeling the hunger and exhaustion of the day’s activities! It’s such a wonderful thing to gather around the camp fire with a plate of good food on your lap and be able to just enjoy the evening!
My goals to keep this meal simple—pre-cooked food, prepared in 1-2 pots/dishes for minimal clean-up. It works out great!
Step 2: Shopping
Step 2 is to plan out the shopping list. This is a super important part of the process. Plan it out so you don’t end up making 3-4 trips to the store before you go! I designated which stores I needed to hit and kept track of which meals I was going to make ahead of time. This also helped me keep track of what I had on hand already, so I didn’t spend more than I needed to.
Step 3: Packing
The final step of the planning process is to spend some time thinking through everything you need. This includes the food as well as the equipment and utensils and cleaning supplies needed. This serves as an excellent check list to make sure you don’t forget anything too.
Here’s another little secret: Once you’ve spent the time doing this, you can utilize it again and again for future trips. It’s easy to modify for future trips. You can cut it down for shorter trips, or switch out a meal here and there. But you won’t ever have to start from scratch again, and you will save yourself so much time and effort!
Pack it all up in a way that’s easy for you to use and access while you are camping. The cold stuff is packed in 1 or 2 ice chests. The non-perishables and supplies are packed in boxes and bags. For shorter trips, I am able to eliminate the bags and just use the boxes. It protects things and it’s easy to leave on the beach (with a rock on the lid).
Here are pictures of the meals we prepared for our Lake Powell trip. I will add links to the recipes over several more posts, so come back and check for new content in the next few weeks!
Yogurt Parfait: Yogurt, berries and granola.
Breakfast Burritos: Eggs, cheese, and sausage wrapped in a tortilla. Serve with fruit and milk if desired.
Oatmeal Balls: Click the picture to link to the Oatmeal Balls recipes. Can pair with bagels, yogurt, milk, etc.
Breakfast Biscuits: Click the picture to link to the recipe. These taste pretty good cold or hot. Make ahead of time, and serve as is.
Chicken Salad Sandwiches: Click the picture to link to the recipe. No cooking necessary! Prepare the chicken salad ahead of time, and serve it cold with fruit and veggies.
Mac & Cheese with Hot Dogs: Click the picture to link to the recipe. Pre-cooked sauce and noodles, mix together and warm when ready to eat. Serve with carrots and fruit.
Smoked Pork Tacos: Click on the picture to link to the recipe. Pre-cooked pork and taco fixings. Serve with chips, salsa, and fruit.
Buffalo Chicken & Couscous: Click the picture to link to the recipe. This recipe is ridiculously easy with only 3 ingredients and 3 steps. Serve with a box of Parmesan Couscous, fruit and vegetables.
Cheeseburgers: Pre-made patties, cooked up and served with your favorite toppings
Fire-Roasted Hot Dogs: As simple as it gets, just roast the hot dogs over the fire and serve with fruit and veggie sides for a simple meal.
Lake Powell Goo: Click on the picture below for a link to the recipe. This is not particularly healthy, but it sure is a tasty treat when you are tired from playing hard at the lake!