How to Pack Food for a Family Camping Trip

A family camping trip is a great way to spend a weekend or even a week. After you decide where you want to go, one of the most important things do is to decide what food to take. One of the keys to a successful camping trip is careful planning and packing of the food supplies.

Check with your children and see what they would like to eat. Let them choose a particular meal, and let them help when it comes time to prepare it. You may have to make a few suggestions. The point is to involve your children from the very beginning.

Once you have a rough outline of what the specific requests are, you will have to fill in the blanks. Make a chart for each day, divided into breakfast, lunch and dinner. Write down for each meal, exactly what you need. Then you make a shopping list and make sure you add ziploc bags of different sizes. Now off you go to the grocery store.

Once you have all of your food supplies, it's time to organize them by meal. If you have different stuff sacks, you can keep all your breakfast meals in one color bag, say blue. Then, your lunches could go in a red bag and dinners in a green bag. Plastic containers or crates work well too.

You take your first breakfast meal and put the ingredients in a ziploc bag. However, you can break it down even further. For instance, if you are having instant oatmeal, first of all take the packets out of the big bulky cardboard box and put what you need for one meal in a small ziploc. Suppose you are serving tang for a drink. Open the jar and measure into another small ziploc just what you need for that one meal. Then you may want to add some bacon and eggs. Just the right amount goes in their own ziplocs. Then all those small ziplocs go into one larger ziploc that is labeled "Breakfast-Day One". There are bound to be ingredients that you might use in many meals, such as cooking oil, salt and pepper or sugar. They can have their own stuff bag or at least a large ziploc.

There's one more bag you should add to the other stuff bags and that is one called "Treats". Treats are an important part of camping, especially when the campfire is involved in preparing them. Several old timers are marshmallows on a stick and, of course, s'mores. Or try splitting a banana in two and putting chocolate squares or mints down the middle. Then wrap it in foil and toast on the coals. Yum!

When I have been camping, I have always found that it was helpful to have crates or bins to keep the food and kitchen utensils in. It makes it easy to carry your food supplies from your car or camper to the picnic table and back. It's very important to keep your food away from critters, large and small. Make sure you clean up after each meal, putting the food back in the car or camper. And never keep food in your tents. That's just an invitation for a nighttime visitor.

It's possible that you might arrive late at your campsite. Therefore, it's a good idea to have a precooked meal that's just needs to be warmed up. If you have a portable camping grill, it will take no time to prepare your first night's meal. If you're building a campfire, make sure you have fire starters and plenty of matches or lighters. Hot dogs would probably be a good choice for your first meal.

It always fun to cook in tin foil. You can cook whole meals in individual foil packets. The time tested standard is a ground beef patty, thinly sliced potatoes, carrots and a slice of onion. Just toss on the hot coals and it's done in about an hour. If you've got hungry kids, it's probably a good idea to have some snacks available to tide them over until their meal's done. There's only one caution here. It takes a while for a fire to blaze hot and then settle down into hot coals. So the fire will have to be started well before you want to eat.

I guarantee you will have a wonderful camping experience, if you take the time to plan and prepare your meals, whether you are in an RV or a Coleman six person tent. So start thinking about it now, and when spring time comes, you will be ready to get outdoors.


Stephanie Trementozzi

About the Author

Stephanie Trementozzi has always loved the outdoors and has camped for many years with her five children. She thinks camping is a great family activity and encourages all families to try it. She is the publisher of her own website which provides information and reviews on outdoor products, such as Nikon binoculars. She can be reached at

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