Backpacking Camp Meals

No backpacking trip would be complete without a good selection of camping meals. Sitting by a fire, under the stars, sharing a meal in the great outdoors is one of the pure pleasures in life. Knowing what to cook only adds to the enjoyment of the experience.

Cooking Tools

There are various cooking utensils to use when making camping meals. If you’re nearby a vehicle and can light a campfire, there are more opportunities for making elaborate dishes. If you’re hiking in the backcountry there’s only so much you can carry, and your meals will likely reflect that.

Bear in mind that not only do you need to carry your cooking utensils, but also the water to boil your food – this is often the main method used when preparing camping meals. 

Jetboil is a stove brand that rapidly boils water in an insulated container. It’s relatively lightweight and super fuel-efficient, but it can be a little pricy. Pocket stoves are another popular option that can be screwed onto a gas canister with a pot of water heated on top. Any traditionalists may opt for a Trangia or alcohol-based stove paired with a mess tin!


At a bare minimum, you can get by with a spork, a pot of water, and a mug. That way you can stir and eat your food straight from the tin it’s cooked in, whilst having a separate mug to make hot drinks. You can scale up from this with pour-over coffee, frying pans, and spatulas – but be aware, you will have to carry every ounce of weight on your back!

Best Camping Meals

Kicking off with breakfast, there is an assortment of tasty camping meals you can eat to start your adventure the right way. Oatmeal is a fantastic choice as it can be boiled using only a small amount of water and you can buy pre-made sachets from the store.

You can add whatever you want to bulk it out: dried fruit, peanut butter, nuts, honey. It’s a meal that’s full of carbohydrates and will get your muscles ready for a big day of hiking. Caffeine can also be good. Boiling water for coffee or tea is easy to do and it provides a great moment to relax and contemplate the serenity of your surroundings.

If you enjoy milk, bring powdered milk to stir into your drink as it doesn’t spoil as easily as cartons of cream. It’s also much easier to store and can reduce spillage.

Dinner can be a whole range of things. Pasta mixed with sauce is easy to pack and make. Add pre-grated parmesan cheese or cured meat to give it more substance and flavor. Instant noodles and soup, though not particularly exciting, are tasty and easy to prepare. 

Tinned foods can be used, but they do add to the weight. Tinned tuna with pasta and sweetcorn tastes delicious and it’s very nutritious. If you want to embody the Western cowboy, a bona fide camper’s meal is tinned beans cooked over the fire with tortillas!

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