You’ve arrived at camp after a long day of driving or a big day exploring. The first thing you need to do is set up the campsite, no matter what the weather is doing or how exhausted you are.
Then what comes next? The rumbling tummies!
The last thing you feel like doing is cooking dinner, but it’s just one of those essential parts of life. Even on lazy days around the campsite, food remains an integral part of the experience.
Being able to store foods for long periods of time sometimes means that what foods you pack for camping may not be the same as what you would stock at home. Especially if you’re going to have limited fridge space, limited power and limited water. Having a good supply of camping food staples on hand will make camp cooking a whole lot easier.
This camping food ideas Australia list will keep you organised before you even hit the road. Which leaves more time for kicking your feet up around the campfire.
Don’t forget to download, edit and print the Camping Food Checklist + 7 Day Menu Planner. Both are fully customisable and can be used over again for as many trips as you like.
If you’re looking for packing tips, check out the travelling essentials list, which will get you started with over 120 items.
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10 Staple Camping Food Ideas
Wraps & Flatbreads
Unlike bread, wraps last much longer on the shelf before you have to worry about them going stale or mouldy. Flatbread packets are super slim, which means they will take up only a slither of your precious storage space.
In addition, wraps, pita pockets and flatbreads are an extremely versatile camping food idea for your checklist. You can fill them with freshly cooked foods, leftovers, deli and dairy products, fresh vegetables, salad or even tinned foods.
Flatbreads and wraps are great for breakfast, lunch and dinner meal ideas.
Flatbread Meal Ideas:
- Sausage & egg wraps for brekky
- Salad and cold meat wraps for lunch
- Tinned chicken/ tuna pita pockets with salad and mayonnaise
- Hot or cold leftovers in a wrap or pita pocket for dinner
- Taco mince with cheese, tomato and lettuce wraps for Mexican night
Frozen or Canned Vegetables
Generally speaking, caravan and camping fridges are not always as good as household ones at keeping your food at the most optimum temperature. It’s pretty common for veggies on the road to not last as long as they would in your household fridge.
This is where frozen veggies are great (if you’ve got enough space in the freezer). They don’t have to be used within 5 days and are easy to throw into most meals or boil up on the stove top.
Packing a frozen bag or a few cans of mixed vegetables can take up a whole lot less space than storing an armful of fresh veggies in the fridge. On top of that, the fresh veggies just won’t last as long.
Frozen/ Canned Vegetable Meal Ideas:
- Throw into a stir-fry
- Add into a stew in the camp oven
- Add to pasta and rice dishes
- Add to veggie or pasta bake
- Boil the veggies as a side for various meals
- Roasted/ grilled on the BBQ with some meat or halloumi
Canned Tuna, Chicken & Salmon
Now we all know how easy and convenient canned tuna and salmon can be. They take up bugger all storage space and last yonks in the camping pantry.
But, have you ever tried the canned chicken? I know, I wasn’t too keen on the idea either… chicken should be fresh, right?
However, after travelling through some of the more remote locations around Australia, I found that fresh chicken could be expensive and harder to come by. I was also in desperate need of something substantial for hiking and day trip lunches that would fare well in the backpack.
So, it was time to give canned chicken a go and I was actually quite impressed. Yes, you actually get little pieces of chicken breast and you can buy a range of different flavours (like sweet chilli, teriyaki and mayo).
Canned meat is a very adaptable camping food idea to add to your list.
Canned Meat Meal Ideas:
- On crackers with cheese and tomato
- In a wrap for lunch or dinner
- Add to pasta or veggie bake
- Add to some leftovers and heat through for another night’s meal
Instant Mashed Potato
I’ve got to say, I was always an instant mash sceptic until I met Jess and Chocko – a travelling couple who lived out of their car and rooftop tent.
Jess and Chocko really knew how to live simply and keep the food storage to a minimum. Not to mention living on a tight budget so that they could work less and travel longer.
One balmy night in Central Queensland, Australia, I was chatting to this friendly couple as they were cooking their dinner of curried chicken and instant mashed potato. They sung praises over their packet of Deb and I just knew I had to try it myself.
If you don’t know what Deb is, it’s basically dehydrated potato flakes in a packet. Potatoes are dried and then ground into flakes, which makes them still 99% potato. Apparently there’s almost no loss of nutrients throughout the process, except for the Vitamin C.
To make instant mashed potato, all you need to do is add boiling water (and some butter) for the most perfectly smooth mashed potato you’ve ever had in your life!
Fast forward to today, I’m an instant mashed potato convert. It’s actually bloody delicious and is now a pantry staple on my camping food ideas list.
An added bonus is the reduction in time and dirty dishes compared with making regular mashed potato.
To add Deb to your camping food ideas Australia list, head to the canned vegetables aisle at Coles or Woolworths and look for the white and red packet (pictured above).
Instant Mash Meal Ideas:
- Use it as a side for meats/ meat replacements and other veggies
- Mix whatever leftovers you’ve got through it and dig in!
- Perfect for Bangers & Mash
- Mix through some diced bacon and shallots
Rice & Pasta Pouches
Pasta and rice pouches will last on the shelf for quite a long time, which make them perfect for the camping food ideas Australia list! They don’t take up too much space and you can use them as a side for a whole range of different meals or just eat them by themselves.
There are plenty of options available, from plain rice or pasta, to complete meal bases with herbs, spices and flavourings.
Rice and pasta are a great way to bulk out your leftovers to stretch another night or heat up on the stove top for a warm winter lunch. All you generally need to add is water, a dash of milk and a slither of butter.
Rice/ Pasta Pouch Meal Ideas:
- Use as a side for meat and or veggies
- Add leftovers to the pasta or rice to create a second meal
- Throw in some cooked frozen veggies and diced ham/ bacon/ chicken/ sausages for a bigger meal
Baked Beans & Spaghetti
You can’t knock these old school camping staples! Envision a long day in the car, the kids are tired and hungry and you’ve still got to set up camp.
Throw a few tins of spaghetti or baked beans into a pot to heat up (only takes a few minutes) and throw some bread onto the hotplates to toast (or use wraps). Top with some grated cheese and pepper and you’re all filling your tummies in about 10 minutes flat.
There is a lot to be said for that kind of mealtime turnaround!
Baked Beans/ Spaghetti Meal Ideas:
- Baked beans/ spaghetti on toast with cheese and pepper
- Add in some sausages with a tin of peas and corn for a bigger meal
- Serve with bacon and eggs for brekky
The classic supermarket BBQ Chicken has so many uses and you can easily get multiple meals out of one.
Another great bonus for the humble chook is the fact that it’s already cooked. You’ll save on gas by only needing to reheat it rather than cooking from scratch, plus you’ll save you on cooking time.
One trick I’ve learnt is to take the two pieces of breast out (before anyone gets stuck into it) and put them aside for another meal. Then pull all of the chicken meat off the bone and you’re left with a container full of shredded chicken, ready to go for lunches.
You can divvy it all out into smaller portions for different meals, or you can leave it in the fridge to have on sandwiches or wraps. Another option is to just throw a handful of chicken into different meals as you go.
Roast Chicken Meal Ideas:
- Add to a stir-fry
- Add to pasta & veggie bakes
- Sandwiches, wraps & rolls (toasted or fresh)
- Use with meal base pouches & jars – add veggies and rice/ pasta
- Mix into instant mash potato with a tin of veggies
- Tacos and buritos
- Throw into leftovers
- Accompany with roasted or camp fired veggies
Popcorn can be a pretty healthy snack (if you hold back on smothering it with salt and butter).
Have you ever had a dozen hungry kids turn up at your campsite and are scratching your head with what to feed them?
Throw half a cup of Popcorn Seeds into a large pot on the stove with a knob of butter, put the lid on and watch them pop! Once the popping slows down, take the pot off before they start to burn.
Another way to cook popcorn while camping is to put the kernels (with some butter) into a lidded frypan over the campfire. Keep an eye on it and remove once the popping dies down.
You will end up with a very big bowl full of popcorn to hand over to the hungry mob, which should keep them happy so that you can get back to the relaxing.
One little packet of kernels will set you back just a few bucks from the supermarket and takes up bugger all space in the camping pantry.
Popcorn Meal Ideas:
- Lunchbox snack
- Movie/ stargazing night treat
- Kids ‘Happy Hour’ nibblies or pre-dinner snack
Who doesn’t love pancakes for brekky… or lunch?! I recommend picking up packets of pre-made pancake mixes, which will make your mornings around the campsite easier, with less dishes in mind.
The good thing about a pre-made mix is that you don’t have to cart around the extra flour, eggs and sugar – just add water and you’re pouring away.
Pancake Meal Ideas:
- Breakfast, lunch or dinner – whatever you fancy!
Crackers are an essential must-have for your camping food ideas list. When hunger strikes during the day, pull out some cheese and crackers to fill that tummy before the next meal. Or, you could add a tin of chicken or tuna for a filling protein kick.
Crackers will last longer on the shelf than what your bread will, especially if you’re heading out bush and won’t be able to go shopping for a while.
Crackers and dip are also an easy Happy Hour offering, particularly when the fresher foods have been eaten.
Crackers Meal Ideas:
- Crackers & dip
- Crackers with meat, cheese, avocado
- Crackers with spreads for lunch/ snack
- Soup and crackers (instead of bread)
- Crackers with tinned meat and tomatoes for lunch
Camping Food Checklist + Menu Planner
- 4 pages
- 12 food item categories
- Checklists pre-filled with 100+ items
- Menus pre-filled with 21 meals, 14 snacks & 3 desserts
- PRINTABLE & DIGITAL
- Download once, use over-and-over again
Camping Food List Example
Here’s a full camping food list example for your next trip, broken down into twelve categories. Everyone’s needs will look different, but this is a great base to get started with.
Bread & Cereal
☐ Loaf of bread
☐ Bread Rolls
Dairy & Eggs
☐ Sour Cream
☐ Cream Cheese
☐ Ham/ sandwich meat
☐ Pork Chops
Pasta & Grains
Fruit & Veg
☐ In-season Fruit
☐ Lettuce/ Salad Mix
☐ Dried Fruit
☐ Muesli Bars
☐ Hummus & Dips
☐ Tuna/ Salmon/ Chicken
☐ Pies/ Sausage Rolls
☐ Hash Browns
☐ Ice Blocks/ Ice Cream
☐ Peanut Butter
☐ Tomato Sauce
☐ BBQ Sauce
☐ Salad Dressing
☐ Soy Sauce
☐ Pancake Mix
☐ Meal Bases (jars or pouches)
☐ Salt & Pepper
☐ Cooking Oil
☐ Hot Chocolate
☐ Soft Drink
7 Day Camping Menu Example
|DAY 1||Toast or cereal at home||Ham, cheese & salad rolls||Camp oven roast meat & veggies|
|DAY 2||Halloumi, tomato, mushrooms, sausages & toast||Leftover pork & gravy rolls||Spaghetti bolognese|
|DAY 3||Bacon & eggs||BBQ chicken & salad wraps||Grilled meat with mashed potatoes & honey carrots|
|DAY 4||Cereal, oats or muesli with fruit & yoghurt||Platter with deli meat, cheese, crackers, olives etc.||Chicken stir-fry & rice/ pasta|
|DAY 5||English muffins with baked beans||Nachos with tinned chilli con carne, sour cream, avocado & cheese||Sausages on bread with onions, cheese & sauce|
|DAY 6||Pancakes||Baked beans or spaghetti wraps||Campfire potatoes loaded with bacon, shallots, sour cream & cheese|
|DAY 7||Sausage & egg wraps||Crackers with tuna & cream cheese + any leftovers||Tacos/ burritos with cheese, lettuce & tomato when you get home|
Camping Snack Ideas
- Hummus & pita chips
- Dip with crackers & veggie sticks
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Cheese & crackers
- Fruit & nuts
- Granola, muesli or nut bars
- Veggie chips
- Trail mix
- Avocado & cheese on crackers
- Potato chips
- 2-minute noodles
- Cup of soup
Camping Dessert Ideas
Campfire Banana Boats:
- Slice one banana per person from stem to bottom
- Stuff with choc chips & mini marshmallows
- Wrap in foil then cook on the campfire for 5 mins
- Use a spoon to scoop & eat
- Stick a marshmallow onto the end of a stick
- Hold the marshmallow over the campfire to toast
- Once crispy, eat off the end of the stick
Roasted Caramel Peaches with Pecans
- Butter a 6 inch square of aluminium foil
- Drizzle with a tablespoon of caramel (or brown sugar)
- Scatter pecans over the caramel
- Wash 2 peaches, slice in half & remove the pit
- Arrange the peach halves upside down on top of the pecans
- Drizzle with more caramel sauce
- Wrap the peaches up in the alfoil and sit on the campfire coals for 20-25 mins
Grab the Camping Food Checklist + Menu Planner below to make camping planning a cinch!