Camping can be one of the most tranquil activities you can do. It can also be one of the most physically demanding and difficult activities you can undertake, or it can be relaxing and blissful. In order to get the most out of your camping adventure, and to ensure that you make it to the site, you’ll need to have the right type of fuel.
Food for camping is not like regular people food. Camping food needs to give you a ton of energizing calories and still be light enough to carry in your bag the entire time. It’s got to be quick, delicious, and convenient.
There are lots of different types of camping food available. Depending on what types of things you like for your campsite meal, you will have a pretty good range of options to satisfy your cravings. But, if you aren’t familiar with food specific for camping, you may need a little bit of guidance. That is what this guide is for. Here is a list of the 10 best camping foods. Later, we will talk about why some are better than others.
Don’t forget to buy a camping table!
View The Best Camping Food Below
1. Mountain House Biscuits & Gravy
Freeze dried is one of the best forms of food available for campers. It is super easy to make. All you do is boil the recommended amount of water, stir it into the pouch, let it sit for the recommended amount of time, open up and enjoy. Freeze dried food usually takes about 10 minutes to fully prepare. With Biscuits and Gravy by Mountain House, you get a tasty, calorie-filled nutritious meal in minutes.
You can get a variety of sizes or packs and in each pouch, you get approximately 2 servings. A single serving of biscuits and gravy will give you 310 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 36 grams of carbs, It is a really hearty meal that will satisfy your trail cravings with ease. The packaging is really lightweight and easy to carry in your bag.
+ High in calories
+ Easy to prepare
+ High in carbs
+ Multiple pack sizes
Why we like it – Who doesn’t love Biscuits and Gravy after a long day of hiking? This package is absolutely delicious and will fill you right up. It is suitable for two people to share if you’re not super hungry, or you can finish it off yourself if you have a hollow leg.
2. Mountain House Breakfast Skillet
Ahhh breakfast. Amidst the cold morning dew, it can be really hard to scrape yourself out of bed. One thing that might do the trick is looking forward to taking your first bite of this breakfast skillet. This pouch has some of our favorite breakfast staples. You’ll get hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, savory sausage, and delicious vegetables. Just like any good freeze-dried mountain food, all you need to do is add hot water and wait for the magic to happen.
Inside the package, you get 14 g of protein, 30g of carbohydrate, and 400 calories. That is only if you eat half of the goodness inside this package. If you eat the whole thing, you get double the nutrients. This package will give you a full morning worth of energy to satisfy your appetite in the wilderness.
+ Tons of calories
+ Hashbrowns, eggs, sausage, veggies
+ Cook with hot water
+ Lightweight pouch
Why we like it – This is a fantastic breakfast to start off your day with. It could seem weird to add hot water to these ingredients, but once you try it, you’ll understand the magic and you’ll be craving it every morning. You might need a backpacking stove for this one…
3. Peak Refuel | Freeze Dried 6 pack
One of the best ways to go for your camping food pack is to get a variety. Especially if you haven’t found your favorites yet. This can be an awesome way to try out different flavors and find out what you like most. This way you will also avoid getting tired of eating the same thing every meal.
This package comes with 6 different flavors for you to try. Chicken alfredo, sweet pork and rice, beef marinara, chicken teriyaki, breakfast skillet, and strawberry granola. You will have enough to have two different delicious breakfasts and 4 lunches or dinners. Whether you’re sharing it with a hiking buddy or not, you will have plenty of energy.
Each pouch is packed with calories and nutrients to keep your energy levels high. The freeze-dried pouches are also lightweight and ideal for longer hikes. Just add hot water and you’re ready to go in minutes.
+ High caloric content
+ Lightweight and packable
Why we like it – Sometimes variety is key. If you’re eating the same thing every day or every meal, you’re going to get tired of it quickly. This 6-pack gives you plenty of options to choose from and you’re bound to find one you absolutely love.
4. Mountain House Beef Stroganoff with Noodles
Generally, when you’re camping, the last thing you want to do is spend time preparing food at the end of the day. You use up all your energy seeing the amazing views and climbing mountains. When you’re done, you want to heat up some water, put it into the pouch and enjoy some delicious beef stroganoff by Mountain House.
Here’s what you get in one of these freeze-dried pouches: beef, onions, mushrooms, in a savory cream sauce, on a bed of tasty egg noodles. It is aptly packed for you to store numerous packages in your camping backpack so you can have the right amount of calories for the entirety of your hike.
As far as nutrient content is concerned, the package holds about 2.5 servings. In each serving, you will get 250 calories, with 11 grams of protein and 29 grams of carbohydrate. It is low in sugar cholesterol and fiber. If you’re looking for tasty energy, this may be the hot meal you’ve been waiting for.
+ Delicious beef stroganoff
+ Low sugar/cholesterol
+ Lightweight package
+ 2.5 servings per package
Why we like it – We love it because it’s delicious beef stroganoff on the mountainside. It’s easy to make and it’s everything you want if you’re craving a tasty and filling pasta after a long hike.
5. Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze
For a little bit of a shift in gears on the types of camping food we’re featuring, here is a delicious, nutritious convenient breakfast pack that will get you going in a hurry. These healthy and delicious snacks are so good you’ll want to stock up so you have some for home as well as the trail. Munk Pack Fruit Squeeze snacks are non-GMO, plant-based, kosher, gluten-free, dairy-free, sustainable, and BPA-free.
They have your health and the environment in mind when they are creating these delicious snacks. You can pick up packs in a wide variety of flavors to suit your style. They are the perfect snack for getting you over the afternoon hump to finish off the final leg of your hike.
+ Ethically sourced and packaged
+ Variety of packs
Why we like it – Oatmeal fruit squeeze packs are delicious and convenient. You can take them anywhere with you to have a tasty, healthy treat. They are great for the trail, or for around the city.
6. Mountain House Essential Bucket
The Mountain House Essential bucket is what you’re going to want to load up with if you’re going on a longer hike and you’re going to need all the calories. Even if you’re just looking for some emergency backup food in case a disaster strikes. The essential bucket comes with 12 pouches.
You get four pouches of house rice and chicken, chili mac with beef, and spaghetti in meat sauce. In total, you will get 32 servings of high-quality freeze-dried food. The nutrient and caloric information will vary from recipe to recipe. But, you can be sure that these packs will fill you up perfectly and give you the energy you need to take on the following day.
The buckets are stackable if you decide to pick up a few, and all the meals are ready in minutes with hot water only. The value you get by going with the essential bucket is amazing. 32 servings of delicious food at a fantastic price. Great to bring along for the whole family for the campsite.
+ 3 different recipes
+ Highly filling
+ Perfect for longer trips
Why we like it – The recipes included in the essential bucket are amazing. They taste great and they satisfy those hunger urges that you get at the end of the day. Having all of these recipes at a great value is truly satisfying.
7. The Backpacking Kit – 18Ct Premium Lightweight Meals
If you’re looking for a really healthy option for your camping adventure, then look no further. You will be able to give your body the nutrients it wants and needs. All of the ingredients in the packs are GMO-free, kosher, gluten-free, and without additives and preservatives. All ingredients are ethically sourced and designed to be the healthiest option for your camping pack.
The nutrient-rich packages have had their vegetables dehydrated at the height of their potency to give off the highest nutritional value. Packed with beans, lentils, vegetables, and put into a lightweight, portable packages that won’t weigh down your bag and will offer you the healthiest form of energy possible.
+ Ethically Sourced
+ Highly nutritious
+ Tons of veggies, lentils, and beans
Why we like it – Some of the hiking and camping food you find is not as healthy as you may like. These packages are fantastic because they give you all of the nutrients you want in convenient, healthy packages
8. Wise Foods Company Favorites 72 Hour
This is a really smart 72-hour pack that contains everything you could need in order to take care of yourself for three days in the woods. You get 18 servings of all of the meals you need including breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner. The shelf life is up to 7 years so you can keep these packs handy for years in case you need them around the house, or if your adventure gets postponed.
all of the meals have been made with a higher level of protein and less sodium. Sometimes salty treats can be good on the trail but overall, they’re not the healthiest option for you. Each meal is easy to prepare and you just add water and wait until things get soaked in nicely. Included as the lunch and dinner recipes are chili mac with beef, alfredo with Chicken, and gluten-free teriyaki chicken.
+ 72 hours worth of food
+ Variety of meals
+ Healthy source of protein
+ 7-year shelf-life
Why we like it – You get a lot of variety with the 72-hour pack. A good choice of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Everything tastes good and provides the healthy nutrition you need for a few days in the woods. all conveniently put together in a package.
9. Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Lasagna with meat sauce is one of the best ways to finish off your long day of walking in the woods. It is hearty and filling and curbs any cravings you may have. Coming again in a very lightweight, portable package that doesn’t take up much room in your food bag and will be super easy to carry on your hike. Just add water to the pouch and wait the allotted time until the lasagna is ready to be enjoyed.
Each pouch contains 2.5 servings and each serving will emit 240 calories, with 14 g of protein and 29g of carbohydrates. You will also get 6 g of sugar and it is a high source of vitamin A and vitamin C. The pouch has a shelf life of over 10 years so it is perfect for any long time hiker or anyone who is looking to be prepared in case of disaster.
+ Delicious recipe
+ 2.5 servings per pouch
+ Easy to prepare
+ Good value for the money
Why we like it – This is simply one of the most delicious recipes you will find in freeze-dried food. It’s a perfect way to satisfy those cravings after a good grueling hike.
10. Mountain Beef Stew – Paleo Meals to Go
Mountain beef stew by Wild Zora Foods is a great choice for people who are looking for a paleo option. They make their meals available in wider packaging so that once it is prepared, it is much easier to eat out of rather than a really narrow package.
All of the ingredients are sourced in a way that makes sure that they are the healthiest option for you. All the meat is pasture raised and grass fed and there is no sugar added to any of the recipes.
The mountain beef stew recipe is really hearty and is meant to leave you satisfied. As with any great camping food, it is really easy to prepare in just minutes by adding hot water. You will love this recipe to curb your cravings at the end of the day.
+ Delicious mountain beef stew
+ Easy to prepare
+ Paleo friendly
+ Naturally sourced ingredients
+ No sugar added
Why we like it – Finding the best camping food that is good for you can be a huge win. With not a lot of extra salt, or sugar added, you know you’re getting the nutrition you need with a recipe that tastes good.
Camping Food Buyers Guide
What to consider when buying the best camping Food
The best food for camping and hiking will share similar characteristics to the rest. It will be easy to make, easy to carry, and filling. But, there are a few other things that can give one brand an edge over the other. What are they? That is what we are about to discuss.
How much food will you need?
If you’re packing for a multi-day hike which will have you planning meals for every day beforehand, you may be wondering how much food you actually need to take with you. It is an important concern, because if you under pack, you will be hungry in the woods, and that’s simply unpleasant.
A good way to pack for the woods is to think about what you would normally eat on a regular day. You may end up needing to switch your diet up a little bit because taking ingredients to cook your favorite jambalaya may not be the most practical meal idea for a camping trip.
The average person will need to intake approximately 1800-2200 calories per day. Feel free to check your actual index online. In the case of a hiking trip, you will want to increase this number by about 30-40%. Does that seem like a lot? Well, you will want a little extra because you’re simply burning more calories and therefore need to replace them.
If you’re buying freeze dried foods, it can be a good idea to pack one pouch per meal per person. This may end up being more food than you can eat at the time, but as far as value for money goes, they are right on the button, and, it is much better to have too much than to not have enough. Having leftover pouches after a hike just means that you’ll have some left over for another time, or, you can be everyone’s favorite hiker and share the love.
What if I want to eat Healthily?
This is a valid concern. A lot of hiking food available is loaded with sugar, salt, and fats that don’t necessarily follow a healthy food guide. Luckily there are plenty of options for healthy food seekers. Wild Zora Foods makes some delicious and nutritious recipes and source their foods ethically.
Also, the Munk Pack food prep package is a great way to get all of your healthy nutrients in a convenient and packable form. You just need to use your own research as far as the ingredients in specific packages, as to break them all down individually would be information overload.
How easy are freeze-dried meals to Prepare?
They are designed to be the easiest way to get your calories on the trail. When the company says it only takes 10 minutes to make, that means it only takes 10 minutes. From the time you start boiling the water, to the time the first bite hits your palate. Most pouches come with instructions for how to cook them and they make it super easy to follow, you will have no trouble.
What About Snacks?
Many of the meals we have featured are main meals like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But if you’re anything like the hobbits, you know that there are a number of meals in between to keep you going. If you’re looking for good snacks, the rule of thumb is always to pack lightweight but calorie dense foods. Granola/power bars, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, these are all foods that will fit the bill in terms of satisfying your craving and providing the next tier of energy you need.
I’ve never tried any recipes before. How do I know which ones to get?
If you’ve never tried them, you really don’t know what you’re getting. Some people love the taste of the freeze-dried meals, others are not so excited about them. The key is to find ones that you’re going to enjoy.
You can either take your chances and pick up a variety of options and try them on the trail. Or, you can grab a few from your hiking store beforehand and try them out at home. The former option is fine for people who are not so picky eaters. Whereas, if you tend to have a decisive stomach, you may want to try the second option.
You now have the info you need in order to pick out the best foods for camping. For more detailed information about what goes into the pouches, consult the pages we have linked and you can find out all of the specific ingredients and nutritional information there.
For the end of the day, our tip is to simply make sure you have something that will satisfy your final cravings. Something sweet like dark chocolate can go a long way in satisfying your body’s need for that meal finisher before you can drift off to sleep.
Did you know?
If you’re really savvy, it is possible to freeze-dry your own meals at home. If you are interested you need to pick up the proper equipment and learn the craft. This way you can decide exactly what goes into your recipes and have a truly home-cooked meal on the trail.