12 Camping Food Hacks For The Outdoor Chef

camping hacks

As wilderness warriors, we don’t always have the luxury of cooking a five-course meal at the campsite, but…

Just because you’re in the woods doesn’t mean you have to eat like an animal.

Instead of lugging your entire kitchen to the campsite, there are plenty of simple tools, tricks, and recipes you can use to whip up a tasty meal. Follow these 12 camping food hacks and become a master outdoor chef.

1. The Aluminum Foil Multitool

aluminum foil grill

It doesn't matter if you forget every piece of cookware on your next camping trip as long as you have aluminum (or tin) foil. You can use this rolled up miracle to:

  • Create a makeshift pan for over-, or in-the-fire cooking
  • Fold it to make a bowl or pot to heat up food
  • Ball it up and scrub your dishes
  • Make a top for your mug to keep your coffee or cocoa hot (and to keep the bugs out)
  • Store your leftovers

The best part is that you can just ball it up and throw it away when you are done!

2. The Swedish Fire Log Cooker

If you don’t have the benefit of a campfire grate or grill, don’t fret. There is still an age-old, Scandinavian trick that you can utilize: the Swedish Fire Log. Here's how:

  • 1
    Before heading out to the campsite, see if you can find a 2 ft. log, about 12”-18” in diameter, and flat on both sides.
  • 2
    Using a chainsaw (and proper safety gear), cut a star-shaped pattern into the log, but only go down about half-way. Okay, you probably don’t have a chainsaw just hanging around but ask a friend or rent one from the local hardware store.
  • 3
    Next, start a small fire in the middle of the cut using dry kindling.
  • 4
    Slowly, push the flaming kindling down into the center of the log, and continue adding more tinder on top. Soon you’ll have a hot, flat surface to use to cook some of your favorite meals.

Sure, it may seem difficult to construct, but you’ll definitely impress your camping buddies with this interesting cooking technique.

3. The Bottled Ice Pack

frozen bottle water

Can’t find enough ice packs to keep your freezer cold at the campsite? No problem! Simply freeze a bunch of plastic water bottles, and use them as ice packs to keep your food at or below 40°F.

Verify this by putting a thermometer inside your cooler so that you can have the peace of mind that your food is safe to eat. For more information, check out how to store food properly at the campsite.

4. The Can Opener Without a Can Opener

Personally, I think there is no worse feeling of dejection than have a bunch of canned food, and nothing to open it with.

Luckily, several other campers have faced the same issue, and they’ve spread the word about different techniques to open a can without a can opener.

open can with knife

Use a Pocket Knife: On a flat surface, position the tip of the pocket knife on the edge of the lid. Firmly holding the butt of the knife, tap your hand so that a small hole would form in the can. Continue to do this around the outside of the can until you can pry off the lid with the flat side of the knife.

open with spoon

Use a Spoon: Position the spoon in between the can’s lip and lid and slowly work it back and forth until a hole is former. Continue to do this around the entire circumference of the can, or until you pry off the lid.

open with rock

Use a Flat Rock: Place the can upside down on a rock and firmly rub the can back and forth on the rock (but not too hard). By doing this, the lid should come off with a simple squeeze of the can, or if you need a little more help, use a flat object like a knife to open.

5. The DIY Coffee Bag

There is nothing more refreshing than waking up to the crisp woodland air and starting your day with a fresh cup of coffee. But brewing a pot of java can be difficult in the outdoors. Sure, you can go the instant route, but it’s just not the same as what you’re used to, is it?

That’s why you should make your own homemade coffee bags to itch your caffeine scratch at the campsite. Here's how:

  • 1
    In a normal coffee filter, place your desired about of ground coffee in the center.
  • 2
    Fold up, and twist the filter so that the coffee grounds stay in place (think about how a lollipop is wrapped, but upside down).
  • 3
    Use a rubber band or unscented dental floss to tie it off.
  • 4
    From there, you’ll just steep it in boiling water at the campsite.

6. The Spice Transporter

store spices in dispenser

If you’re like me, you use a lot more seasoning than what the recipe calls for: a little salt here, a little garlic powder there, and some ground pepper to top it off. But how are we supposed to bring the whole spice rack to the campsite?

We improvise.

To bring store seasonings to the campsite, you can use

  • Old tic tac boxes 
  • Pill organizers 
  • Plastic wrap to tie off your spices. 

If you know what you will be cooking at the campsite, you can even pre-mix all your spices together so that you don’t have to carry separate containers.

7. The Repurposed Squeeze Bottle

squeeze bottle

Instead of tossing out your old condiment squeeze bottles, repurpose them to create an easy way to store liquid foods at the campsite. 

First, you’ll need to thoroughly clean out an old plastic squeeze bottle. I use an old BBQ sauce bottle and clean it with hot water and soap, and then baking soda to deodorize.

Once the bottle is completely dry, you can add in your favorite prepared foods like your homemade pasta sauce, pancake mix, or even scrambled eggs!

Voila, a storage and delivery method all in one simple bottle.

8. The Ziploc Bag Omelette

ziploc omelette

Start off your adventurous day in the outdoors with an easy to make ziploc bag omelette.

  • 1
    Boil water over the fire or with whatever method is available.
  • 2
    While waiting for your water to heat up - Crack a few eggs into a ziploc bag.
  • 3
    Add cheese, vegetables, and whatever other ingredients of your choice, and seal it up tight.
  • 4
    Place the omelette mix in the boiling water for 12-15 minutes, then remove carefully.
  • 5
    Let it sit for a few minutes before you dig in so you don’t burn your mouth.
  • 6
    Dig in. You can even eat it right out of the bag if you want!

9. The Walking Mexican Food Bag

walking taco

We all love spicy Mexican food. No no, if you disagree, you're wrong.

But, how are we supposed to pack all those hard-shelled corn tortillas to the campsite?

The simple answer is that you don’t have to! Instead, grab a bag of your favorite chips, add in your taco ingredients and eat it with a fork. 

It's simple to clean up, and best of all, you don’t have to worry about all those toppings falling out of the back end of the taco.

10. The Cooking Tool Organizer

Nobody looks an unorganized kitchen, and the same goes for the outdoors. Rather than having pots, pans, and cooking utensils spread across the campsite, you can use a rope and carabiner to tie them to a tree.

If there are no trees in the area, or if you don’t want to go through the hassle of rigging up an entire kitchen storage unit, use a shoe organizer. That way, all of your kitchen campsite will be neatly put away in its proper place and you won’t have to worry about forgetting an item when you head home.

11. The Soda Can Popcorn Maker

aluminum can popcorn

While you may not be able to relax in front of the silver screen, you can still enjoy a delectable bag of popcorn a the campsite by using only a soda can.

  • 1
    First, get any aluminum can. There's usually one or two beer drinkers at the campsite, ask them.
  • 2
    Cut a flap in the middle to eventually direct the popcorn into a pot or pan. 
  • 3
    Next, you’ll want to add kernels into the bottom of the can, and throw in some oil or butter (I always carry an airplane liquor bottle filled with olive oil).
  • 4
    Place the can on the campfire, or in it if you have to, and catch the popped kernels in a heat-resistant container. That’s it!

12. The S'more Remix

waffle cone smore

camping smore

We'll finish these camping hacks with everyone’s favorite campfire dessert: the S’more. 

But, instead of sandwiching two graham crackers together, you're going to cook a waffle cone that will have your entire campsite wanting more.

The trick here is to not use bars of chocolate and giant marshmallows, but small marshmallows and chocolate chips. Here's what you do:

  • 1
    Layer the chocolate chips and the marshmallows into a waffle cone, one after the other, until you reach the top.
  • 2
    Wrap each cone in aluminum foil, and toss it directly in the campfire.
  • 3
    After five minutes, you’ll have a tasty, gooey dessert that is a lot simpler than making traditional S’mores.

Final Thoughts

Impress everyone at the campsite with all the expert camping food hacks that you’ve learned about today. Think we missed an outdoor kitchen hack? Leave your comment below!

Jay toes the line between hiking enthusiast and vagabond as he treks across the world, soaking in it’s natural wonders. When he’s not exploring the trail, he writes articles to help guide others through their outdoor conquests.

Best 4-Season Tents of 2018

If you’re anything like me, you best enjoy the cold season from behind a glass, holding a cup of hot chocolate with the heat turned up to eleven.

But be honest...

There's something unique about the winter atmosphere. That tranquility and serenity of the untouched snow-covered landscapes. Early nights and freezing early mornings. Escaping the harsh cold, huddled around a warm fire with your friends.

The thought to experience it firsthand is enticing, but only if you have the proper gear! Winter pants, weatherproof coat and a cold-proof tent.

Let me show you some of the best 4-season tents around, just in case you decide to release your inner winter warrior.

How To Buy a 4-Season Tent: The ‘Six S’ Method

winter landscape 2

Here at In Case of Camping, we like to hammer home the ‘Six S’ method of tent buying, because it's so damn effective. For 4-season tents though, each category is slightly different as opposed to the corresponding 3-season one.


While most three season tents come with ample living space, you’ll rarely see a spacious 4-season tent.

These shelters are meant to withstand a large amount of snow (in case of blizzard or small avalanche), so they are built compact and sturdy. Less interior space means the tent will stay warmer, as it will trap in your body heat more efficiently. Furthermore, a smaller footprint also helps when pitching on the sides of mountains.

As per weight, it comes as no shock that 4-season shelters tend to be made up of heavy materials, which can put a strain on your body as you carry them to the campsite, or even across the alpine ridge. Although, with camping technology constantly improving, some products are able to cut down on the overall weight while still maintaining their strength and stability.


Although 3-season tents are aptly-named, as they perform well in the spring-summer-fall temperate climates, calling a tent 4-season can be misleading since they are typically only used in the one coldest season: winter.

These tents act more like huts in frigid conditions. The thick-walled fabric and sturdy pole structure work to protect against the elements while trapping in the camper's body heat.

The one big difference between 3- and 4-season tents when it comes to protection from the elements is ventilation. While 3-season shelters are sometimes constructed of almost 80% mesh, their cold weather counterparts contain little to no mesh. Instead, they have small vents to regulate air flow so that condensation doesn’t build up (and freeze) on the underside of the fly. 

The 4-season pole structure is usually made from aluminum, so that they can withstand blistering winds and heavy snowfall and hold up their thick fabrics.


If you thought that pitching a dome tent in the comfort of a warm, dry campsite was difficult, wait until you have to pitch a heavy tent in freezing temperatures, snow flurries, and double-digit wind gusts! 

While hopefully you never have to deal with that icy hell, you should still look into ease of setup as one of your buying consideration.

Compared to the 1 or 2 pole support system of 3-season tents, 4-season tents can have anywhere from 1 to 12 poles to ensure the stability of the structure.

Also, instead of normal plastic clips that attach the support system to the canopy, they tend to use sewn-in fabric sleeves which provide more durability. So if you want to become an expert pitcher, you’ll have to practice, practice, practice.


Perhaps the most important category when considering purchasing a 4-season tent is security. And by security, we mean questions like: Do you feel safe in your tent? Are you prepared for inclement weather? Will your shelter last through the night? 

As for the longevity of a 4-season shelter, it can be hard to predict its lifespan. Most support poles are made from strong structural aluminum and the fabrics have a higher denier count (indicative of the density or thickness of each product). Your mileage for tent lifespan may vary, if you tend to camp in extreme conditions.


Interior storage (corner pockets, light pockets, loops, etc.) doesn’t change much between 3- and 4-season shelters as each one has its own unique features.

Although, one storage design aspect that differs greatly is the vestibule.

Most of the time, 3 season shelters have 1 or 2 vestibules to store your gear so that you have more space to spread out in your tent, but this long flap doesn’t extend all the way to the ground since air is meant to flow through it.

With 4-season shelters, the vestibules tend to extend all the way down to the ground (and sometimes with an inward-facing flap) to prevent snow drift getting inside.


Due to the more expensive and expansive materials, you probably will have to shell out more than a few hundred dollars to purchase a 4-season tent. But, there are still plenty of affordable 3-season tents that will prevent you and your bank account from freezing.

Since camping in the winter can be deadly, always be cognizant of the fact that you shouldn’t skimp out on a higher-end shelter, as it could cost you your life.

Case Study: 3-Season vs. 4-Season Tents

Let’s take a look at two tents from a world-renowned tent company, MSR, to highlight some of the differences between a 3-season and 4-season shelter.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX (3-season)

MSR Access 2 (4-season)


29 sq. ft., 3 lbs. 13 oz.

29 sq. ft., 4 lbs. 1 oz.


3-season and great ventilation

4-season, and warm (limited mesh)


Simple Pitch

Simple Pitch


Featherlite NFL poles

Easton poles and nylon


Large vestibule and interior pockets

Vestibule with interior pockets





  • check
    Great ventilation
  • check
  • check
    Easy setup
  • check
    Lightweight, 4-season
  • check
    Strong support structure
  • check
    Easy setup


  • Doesn't withstand harsh conditions
  • Questionable durability
  • Tight interior
  • Expensive
  • Prone to condensation
  • Tight interior

As you can see, some of the main differences between the two tents include the stability, ventilation capabilities, and overall price.

The Access 2's stable structure is formed by heavy duty Easton poles to ensure that snow and strong winds don't collapse the shelter. This is in stark contrast to the lightweight poles of the Hubba Hubba NX. 

The fabric is heavier in the Access 2 and is comprised of significantly less mesh than its 3-season counterpart. This results in less ventilation, but much better heat insulation. 

As for overall price, you'll be paying top dollar for the additional weather protection benefits of a 4-season tent.

Best 4-Season Tents

Now that we’ve covered some of the major differences between the 3- and 4-season shelters, let’s look at some popular tents to fulfill all of your winter camping needs.

marmot thor 2p


36 sqft, 7 lbs 1 oz

32.5 sqft, 8 lbs 8 oz

40 sqft, 9 lbs 13 oz

34.5 sqft, 7 lbs 15 oz 

38 sqft, 10 lbs

34.4 sqft, 7 lbs 1 oz









Easy Single-Wall Pitch

Time consuming


Quick (Tear-Down Difficult)

Simple, quick

Simple, quick


Durable ToddTex Fabric

Nylon and Polyester Construction

Heavy nylon, Featherlite poles

Polyester Materials

Nylon and DAC NSL Poles

Durable Kerlon Fabric


Pockets, No Vestibule

Vestibule and Interior Pockets

Ample space

Vestibule and Gear Loft

Dual Vestibules

Large Vestibule

Price $$








  • check
    Ultimate weather protection
  • check
    Enhanced ventilation
  • check
    Simple pitch


  • Expensive
  • Little head room
  • May feel cramped

Named after a treacherous peak in Himalayas (and 32nd tallest mountain in the world) the Jannu is the ultimate 4-season shelter.

It offers more-than-sufficient protection against the harshest of wintery conditions with strong 9mm poles and a weather-resistant Kerlon fabric exterior. Needless to say, you won’t have to worry about this shelter collapsing during a heavy snowfall.

So, with all of this strength, you may expect the Hillberg Jannu to break your back as you lug it up the alpine trails. But that’s not the case. Weighing only seven pounds, the Jannu 2 is unbelievably lightweight compared to many of its competitors.

Although, as with every product, there are a few downsides to consider.

First off, the Jannu will cost you a pretty penny, but what else would you expect from a tent that can withstand blizzard-like conditions?


There's not much head room and it may feel a little tight for two people, but there's a reason for that (other than cuddling up to your camping buddy in the blistering cold).

See, this tent was designed to summit mountains. There isn’t always a lot of room to pitch on the high hilltop, so they keep the footprint small to nestle into the flat alpine ridges.

Speaking of the pitch, it's ridiculously simple for a tent this sturdy and capable. See the video below.

You're probably thinking one of two things by now: “This tent is awesome, but I’m no mountaineer,” or “Where do I buy tickets to start climbing Mount Everest?” 

Here's the rub: ​​​​You don’t have to be an expert mountain climber to enjoy the amazing features of the Hillberg Jannu 2. 

Any tenderfoot trekkers will love it’s doomsday-esque storm protection while sure-footed sherpas are sure to enjoy the fast, simple setup.  

I think it goes without saying (but I will say it anyways), the Hillberg Jannu is definitely one of the top-tier 4-season tents on the market. Head over to Hillberg’s website for more detailed information about this award-winning shelter.

marmot thor 2p


  • check
    Spacious interior
  • check
    Easy setup
  • check
    Ample storage


  • Heavier than competitors
  • Condensation issues
  • Known manufacturer defects

For the adventurer (or the Avenger), the Marmot Thor 2P is a great 4-season, double-wall tent that will provide you with all the weather protection you need in the high altitude of the mountains.

From windstorms to rainstorms to snowstorms to the “God of Thunderstorms,” the Thor utilizes a unique six-pole design (composed of DAC Featherlite NSL) to remain upright and sturdy in the harshest of conditions. That way, nearly every “weak point” is supported to take on any impending blizzard.

Aside from the aluminum frame, the rest of the tent is composed of different densities of ripstop nylon. Both the canopy and the rain fly are composed of 40-Denier nylon (with a thick waterproof coating on the latter), while the bathtub floor comes in at a thicker 70-Denier, which makes in more durable against the sharp rocks in the mountains. Although, the thicker material can lead to poor ventilation and internal condensation, which could be an issue if you neglect to open the vents in exchange for warmth.

Unlike other four-season tents, Marmot has engineered the Thor so that you and your winter camping buddy have plenty of headroom (44” ceiling height), just in case you get trapped in some heavy powder.

Then when you’re ready to leave and move on to the next location, you’ll have no problem moving, as the pitch/breakdown is simple and quick. A 7 lbs 10 oz carryweight means you can easily carry it to your next stop.

Anyways, the Marmot Thor 2P isn’t just for intense thrill seekers. If you are planning to camp at a higher elevation, you should probably be packing a long a 4-season tent due to the ever-changing conditions.

Whether you’re simply enjoying the view or trying to climb to the top of the earth, the Marmot Thor 2P will keep you safe and secure - no matter how miserable the weather.


  • check
  • check
    Easy pitch
  • check
    Ample storage


  • Poor ventilation
  • Not great in high winds
  • Difficult teardown

You don’t have to bring in the big bucks to enjoy the outdoors in the depths of winter.

The Alps Mountaineering Tasmanian 2 provides an affordable solution to all your 4-season camping needs.

Some of the more noteworthy features of the Tasmanian 2 are the ample amount of storage in the hoop-shaped vestibules, mesh interior pockets, and an overhead gear loft.

tasmanian 2 gear loft

You'll quickly be able to pitch this tent, thanks to the support poles being tethered together by a weatherproof shockcord. A godsend when you want to jump into your sleeping bag after a long day outing in the freezing cold.

While it does have ceiling vents to create airflow, you may want to crack open the vestibule during warmer conditions as airflow and condensation can be a problem.

Overall, the quality of this tent is not the best on the market, but it will serve its purpose of protecting you from the elements. The heavier polyester fabric may hold a few inches of snow, but the aluminum poles don't hold up very well to mountain peak gusts. So stay below the tree line in the Tasmanian 2.

Still, if you simply want to venture into the woods in freezing temperatures on a budget, then Alps Mountaineering has created the perfect product for you.


  • check
    Easy pitch
  • check
    Spacious interior
  • check
    Adequate protection


  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Poor ventilation

It takes two to Trango in the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2.


Seriously, it really does take two people to carry around this nearly-10 lb. shelter, but it’s definitely worth its weight.

mountain trango 2 canopy

The Trango 2 has been trusted by mountaineers, climbers, and winter warriors for years. Basically, it’s a standard X-shaped design, with two extra pole featherlite aluminum supports and heavy nylon fabric which means you can take on the frosty fury of the ever-changing alpine conditions.

One important feature that Mountain Hardwear has incorporated into the Trango 2: space. The 40 sq. ft. of interior space will give you and your camping buddy plenty of room to hang out.

The setup is quick with “Direct Connection” secure points between the tent canopy, pole supports, and rain fly. You won't have to wait long to retire from the cold.

mountain trango 2 interior

As a slight negative, the Trango 2 doesn’t have the best ventilation which may lead to unwanted condensation. One thing is for sure though: this tent it will keep you safe any season.

northface mountain25


  • check
    Great stability
  • check
    Ample space
  • check
    Great ventilation


  • Difficult setup
  • Heavier than competitors
  • Questionable durability

The North Face is an industry leader in quality winter gear, and their Mountain 25 4-season shelter is no different.

If you are embarking on a expedition into the mountains or simply desire to experience the fresh winter air, then this tent may be right for you.

Other than the brand name itself, the best feature about the Mountain 25 is its protection against harsh wintery conditions. Similar to the Trango 2, it uses a reinforced X-shaped structure with 2 cross supports (or as The North refers to it: “bomber squared”). In combination with the heavy nylon and polyester fabrics, this tent will remain rigid when the weather is frigid.

northface mountain25 exterior

One feature that separated the Mountain 25 from the rest of the available 4-season shelters is moisture control.

The “bucket” floor is coated with an unprecedented 10000 mm polyurethane coating which offers great protection against water from entering from underneath. (Most tents offer around 2000 mm.) The North Face has engineered this tent to incorporate a High-low venting system, which breezes past its competitors and provides campers to use it as a shelter all-year round, not just in the bowels of winter.

Of course there are a few downsides to The North Face 25 as well. The setup is arduous and difficult, since the pole sleeves can turn the tent into a giant kite if not properly staked down. The materials are great against weather, but they do seem a little thin, which leads me to believe that long term durability may be an issue.

northface mountain25 interior

Still, with more features like No-stretch Kevlar guylines for a taut pitch, dual doors, two vestibules (8 sq. ft. and 3 sq. ft), and tested down to -60°F you’ll be stay warm in any storm.

Climb to new heights, join the ranks of the cragsmen (and cragswomen), and conquer every side of the mountain with The North Face Mountain 25.


  • check
    Strong and stable
  • check
    Single-wall structure
  • check
    Great weather protection


  • Expensive
  • Interior setup
  • No vestibule

Aptly named after the awe-inspiring, yet terrifying Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia, the Black Diamond Fitzroy is a great option for any mountaineer, guru or greenhorn

The unique single-wall structure and bomber design provide plenty of stability and protection from high-altitude conditions.

What sets the Fitzroy apart from the rest of its 4-season competitors is the attention to detail. The unique ToddTex fabric offers long-lasting durability with three separate layers, which promote warmth, dryness, and security. The double-mesh provide another layer of protection against potential bugs and help with the ventilation as well.

Unfortunately, Black Diamond has made their top-of-the-line tent a little difficult to pitch. Unlike most shelters, the tent poles are located on the inside, rather than the outside, of the fabric. While this ultimately benefits when it comes to overall security, it can be extremely difficult to pitch.

Also, with no vestibule, it may be difficult to keep your gear out of the elements (even though there is plenty of interior space).

All in all, the Black Diamond Fitzroy is an expensive, secure option for any winter warrior and may be the toughest of the tough when it comes single-walled 4-season tents.

Your Turn - Enter The Winter Wonderland

4-season shelters are much different than their 3-season counterparts. Their main purpose is to keep you safe and protect you from the most disastrous of weather conditions.

If you’re thinking about hiking high above the tree line in the mountains, or want just want to breathe in the crisp December air, you now know where to look to find the best 4-season shelters of 2018. Camp on!

Jay toes the line between hiking enthusiast and vagabond as he treks across the world, soaking in it’s natural wonders. When he’s not exploring the trail, he writes articles to help guide others through their outdoor conquests.

How to Make Firestarters with Sawdust

sawdust firestarters

Build a campfire. How hard could it be, right?

You just gather up some leaves and twigs from the woods, light a match, and then relax as the flames warm your fingers and toes.

Yeah. if it were only that easy.

If it's been raining for a few days, or if you’re just having trouble catching a spark, building a fire can seem like an impossible task. That is, unless you have the magic-like firemaking shortcut in your hands: the firestarter.

Read moreHow to Make Firestarters with Sawdust

10 Delicious Recipes for Vegetarian Campers


Being a vegetarian in the wilderness can be difficult.

While your friends are barbecuing, you're the odd one out with nothing to do. But don't worry. You don't have to sit in the corner, chewing on raw vegetables all day at the campsite. You can still grill, fry, and concoct some of the most delicious campfire courses.

Today we'll look at 10 vegetarian camping food recipes that will make your mouth water. Show off your skills at the camping barbecue and become a wilderness Gordon Ramsey! 

First - How to Heat Your Food


Heat + food = dinner, right? If you are in the outdoors, you may not always have the luxury of a dual-burner stove to boil water or a propane grill to have a barbecue. Here's a few different methods to cook your meals at the campsite.

1. Campfire

Seems simple enough, but how are you exactly supposed to cook over an open flame?

Ideally you'll have a fire pit with a grate on top of it, but if you’re deep in the backcountry, you’ll need to get creative. There is no one sure-fire method, but many backpackers use a combination of campfire coals and a circle of ash as a makeshift stove.

2. Charcoal Grill

Most popular campsites come with a fixed Charcoal grill, so you’ll want to pack plenty of coals and lighter fluid.

Camper's tip: Make sure you thoroughly brush the communal grill before using it, especially if you or your camping buddies are allergic to certain foods.

3. Camping Stove

A great, reliable method to cook your meals at camp is a camping stove. Whether you go for a lightweight, single person version, like the MSR PocketRocket 2, or a larger Coleman Triton Series, these fuel-powered stoves are perfect in adverse conditions.

Next - Let's Look at Your Cooking Equipment

So now that you’ve decided the best heat source for your campsite let’s look into some of the basic camping cooking equipment that you need to be an outdoor chef.

Cast Iron Skillet

The most durable and king of all camp kitchen equipment is the cast iron skillet.

This heavy pan is meant to brave the elements of the outdoors, and since it has a high heat tolerance, it’s better to use over a campfire which is difficult to regulate. Also, with the nonstick coating, clean up should be a breeze. Check out some cast iron skillets here.

Dutch Oven

If you know your way around the camp kitchen, you’ll know that the dutch oven is a great way to make “one-pot” meals to minimize cleanup.

These cast iron pots can be placed directly in the fire if need be, or hung from a support above the flames. If you want to look at more dutch ovens online, you can do so here.

Cook Set

If you aren’t using a skillet or dutch oven you’ll probably need a small camp cook set. Typically, there will be a a few pots, a cup, some utensils, and other essential outdoor kitchen items. If you are backpacking, this will be the type of cookware that you will most likely use. For more details, check out some products like the GSI Outdoors Microdualist Halulite cook set.


Being in the outdoors doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your manors. While you can always bring plastic utensils to the campsite, they may create more trash in the long-run. Instead, try a multi-use product like the Orblue 4-in-1 camping utensil.


Usually, I’ll just eat out of whatever vessel I cook in, but that might not be the best option if you are camping with several friends. Instead, look into collapsible plates an​​​​d bowls so that they take up less space in your car and backpack.


Finally, something I always forget are all the miscellaneous items: spatula, whisk, butchers knife, cutting board, ladle, etc.

Instead of worrying about these kitchen products in the outdoors, prepare for your campsite cooking at home. Dice those tomatoes, chop those onions, and whip up that pancake mix. That way, you won’t have to worry about lugging along every little thing in your kitchen.

You’ll Need To Store Your Food

Let's face it. It’s difficult to properly store you food at the campsite.

Of course you can bring a big cooler, fill it with some ice from the local gas station, and place it outside your tent. You want to ensure the food remains at, or below, 40℉ so that it doesn’t spoil. Read more here about how to keep food cold when camping.

Then there's keeping your food safe. Your campsite is like a beacon for forest critters announcing that there is free food for the taking. Ensure that all your coolers and trash bags are locked (use a bungee) AND tied off to a tree (or a permanent fixture in the area).

That way, no creatures can drag your food supply deep into the woods.

10 Vegetarian Camping Food Recipes

Are you all set with your heat source, cooking equipment, and food storage? Alright, good. Let’s bust out the outdoor cookbook with 10 amazing vegetarian camping recipes that will make you feel like nature’s Michelin Chef.

Note: Any equipment that may be needed for each recipe will be appear in bold in the description, rather than simply listed.

1. Camping Quesadillas


A quick, convenient snack that will have everyone at the campsite wanting more. Campfire quesadillas are a healthy, calorie-filled snack that’ll fuel any outdoor adventure.

Prep Time: 10-20 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 1 red onion
  • 10 white mushrooms
  • ½ cup corn
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno (optional)
  • 4 flour (or corn) tortillas
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, chili powder (to taste)

Using a cast iron skillet (or simply aluminum foil if you travel light), heat up the oil over the campfire great. While you'rer waiting for the oil to get hot, dice up your vegetables.

Toss the cut veggies into the oil, sprinkle your desired spices (I love chili powder), and let cook for about five minutes, or until they are tender.

While the veggies are cooking, lay out four pieces of aluminum foil for the tortillas.

Spread your choice of shredded cheese on half the tortilla, then once the veggies ready, place them on top of the cheese.

Fold the tortilla in half and wrap the entire thing in aluminum foil. Place the foil on the campfire rack, and allow for the quesadilla to cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Then, simply enjoy!

Jay’s Tip: Typical cheeses include Colby Jack or Pepper Jack, but if you lack refrigeration at the campsite, you may want to switch to a hard cheddar since it lasts longer. Also, don’t forget the hot sauce.

2. Campfire Corn On The Cob


The classic picnic snack of flame-grilled corn on the cob is easy and convenient, just make sure you packed your toothbrush!

Prep Time: 10-90 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 4 ears of corn
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • Salt, pepper, butter (to taste)

First, do not husk your corn. Soak it for about an hour in a clean pot of water (you may add the ½ cup of sugar to the water, or save some for later).

Once 60 minutes has passed, place the corn on the campfire grate, turning it over on its side every few minutes so it cooks evenly. Once the husk begins to turn brown, which is approximately 15-30 minutes, you can remove the corn from the fire.

Peel back the husk, add salt, pepper, butter, sugar, or whatever spices you desire, and dig in.

Jay’s Tip: If you don’t have the time to soak your corn, you can open the husk slightly and pour in a few tablespoons of water. Wrap the ears in aluminum foil and cook.

3. Nature Nachos


A vegetarian take on a everyone’s favorite bar snack, nature nachos will provide a fun, tasty treat to the entire campsite.

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes

Serves: 2


  • ½ lb. of tortilla chips
  • 8 oz. (1 can) of hot tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (your choice)
  • 8 oz. of black beans
  • 1 diced white onion
  • 1 diced avocado
  • 1 lime
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, chili powder

In a large dutch oven, use the olive oil to coat the pot to ensure that your nature nachos don’t stick (and cause a huge headache when it’s time to clean up).

You’ll then want to add about ½ your nachos (¼ lb.) and ⅓ of the rest of your ingredients to form a nice bottom layer.  For the second layer, add the rest of your ingredients, starting with the chips, and ending with the cheese.

Cover the dutch oven, and place it on the campfire grate for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

When ready, make sure to remove the dutch oven using oven mitts (or a t-shirt because who brings oven mitts to the campsite?). Squeeze a little lime juice on the savory treat, and add salt, pepper, and chili powder as desired, and start eating.

Jay’s Tip: Instead of packing the entire spice rack, you may want to buy a pre-mixed packet of taco seasoning mix, like this one from McCormicks. It tastes absolutely delicious on nachos.

4. Backcountry Pancakes


You don’t have to pack up and drive to IHOP to enjoy a stack of flapjacks. They taste doubly delicious when you whip them up at the campfire.

Prep Time: 5-20 minutes

Serves: 4 (12 pancakes)


  • 1 cup of flour
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup skim milk powder
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water
  • 4  tbsp. Olive oil (for skillet)
  • Maple syrup (optional)

Before you head out to the campsite, mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, and whisk together so that they are mixed thoroughly. Add the pancake mix to a waterproof plastic bag and pack it in your bag.

Once you get to the campsite and are ready to fuel up for the day, place the mixture in a large bowl, and mix in the egg and 1 cup of water.

While you let the batter sit for five minutes, place an iron skillet over the campfire grate and coat with oil (do not use all of it). You’ll then want to ladle the wet pancake batter onto the hot skillet (whichever size you desire).

Once the top of the pancake starts to bubble, use a spatula to flip it. Wait about another minute, or until the center bubbles, then remove onto a separate plate.

Continue the same process with the rest of the batter, and try to oil the pan in between each pancake in order to avoid a messy clean up. When your large stack of fluffy flapjacks is ready, drizzle on some maple syrup and fuel up for the day.

Jay’s Tip: For vegans and people who don’t want to use eggs, you can use smushed banana as a binding agent instead.

5. Vegan S’Mores


As a vegan camper, you often have no choice but to sit on the sidelines and watch your friends enjoy a warm camper's snack. That's about to change. Check out this delicious, animal-free S’more by the fire.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 8 vegan marshmallows
  • 16 Nabisco Graham Crackers
  • 8 squares of Vegan Chocolate

First, you are going to want to grab a long, skinny stick from the woods.

Next, stick the marshmallow onto one end of the stick (I like to push it all the way through so it doesn’t fall off).

Then, using the stick, hold the marshmallow about 1-2 inches away from the campfire flames so you don’t get a charred S’more.

Place the chocolate on one of the graham crackers, and when your marshmallow is a gooey golden brown, place it on the same graham cracker as the chocolate. Use the second graham cracker to create a “sandwich,” and squeeze down, sliding the marshmallow off the stick in one motion.

There you have it, Vegan S’mores.

Jay’s Tip: It may be hard to find vegan graham crackers in your local grocery store, so maybe grab some oreos (yes, they are vegan) and use the outside crackers instead. Of course, don’t forget to lick the tasty oreo filling off first.

6. Wilderness Kebabs

vegetarian kebabs

Cut up your favorite vegetables and grill them on a metal stick with this tasty vegetarian take on classic meat dish.

Prep Time: 10-20 minutes

Serves: 4


  • Your choice of vegetables
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, pepper, seasoning (to taste)

There really isn’t much to making wilderness kebabs.

Cut up your favorite vegetables, like squash, zucchini, eggplant, onion, mushroom, etc., into a thin disk-like shape (you can do this at home).

Using a metal skewer stack on the cut veggies, alternating between varieties. Either drizzle, or brush, olive oil and the seasonings of your choosing onto the uncooked kebab, and place directly on the rack over the campfire.

Rotate every few minutes until the vegetables are brown (try not to burn them, it doesn’t taste very good).

When ready, you can either dig right in, or slide off the veggies one by one, and voila, you’ve got a wilderness kebab.

Jay’s Tip: Call me crazy, but I love the taste of grilled pineapple. Seriously, add it to your next kebab.

7. Peanut and Sweet Potato Stew


Warm up on those chilly nights with a hearty, and freshly-prepared stew that will have you wanting more, even after the last bite.

Prep/cook time: 30-45 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 diced sweet potato
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 diced white onion
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, chili powder (to taste)

Coat your dutch oven with the olive oil and place over the campfire (let heat for a few minutes).

Toss in the onions and garlic, stirring with a spoon or rubber spatula to bring out the aromas.

Once the onions and garlic are brown, add in the peanut butter, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and desired seasonings, and then pour on the broth. You’ll want to continuously stir the stew to ensure that the peanut butter doesn’t form nasty coagulated clumps.

Leave the dutch oven uncovered over the campfire for about 20 minutes (you can pick out a sweet potato to see if it’s tender).

Finally, add in the chickpeas and spinach, and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Now, you have a wonderful, hearty stew for those chilly nights. Soup-er!

Jay’s Tip: If you’re a fan of spicy Thai food, you may want to add in a few chili peppers and coconut milk.

8. No-Cook Mediterranean Couscous


An easy, delicious recipe that will leave you full without having to go through the hassle of setting up the fire.

Prep time: 1-2 hours

Serves: 2


  • 1 cup of couscous
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil
  • ½ cup dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, etc.)
  • ½ cup of almonds
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin (to taste)

Instead of dealing with hassle of a fire, you can actually soak couscous to soften it without boiling water.

In a 16 oz. sealable jar (like an old peanut butter container), add all of the ingredients, and then add your water. You’ll want to let the mixture sit for at least an hour, or until the couscous has absorbed all of the water.

When you’re ready to eat, open the jar and enjoy. It really is that easy!

Jay’s Tip: Since the couscous takes time to soak, I usually prepare it around lunch time and then store it away in my backpack. That way, when I get to camp and am hungry from a long day in the wilderness, dinner is already made.

9. Dutch Oven Pasta


Everyone’s favorite family-style Italian meal makes it way to the campsite with the savory, cheesy, dutch oven pasta.

Prep-time: 20-60 minutes.

Serves: 4


  • 1 lb. pre-cooked pasta
  • 1 16 oz. jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 16 oz. can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups of shredded parmesan cheese

Before you leave the house, cook one pound of your favorite pasta until al dente (I go with rigatoni, but it’s your preference.

Once you arrive at the campsite, you’ll want to mix all the ingredients together in a dutch oven (except the cheese), and place it on the campfire grate for about half an hour. Carefully remove the lid and stir in the parmesan cheese and cook for another 10 minutes.

When the time is up, you can use a big spoon to serve the pasta family style to all of your campmates.

10. Freeze-Dried Meals

Don’t have the skills of an iron chef? Don’t worry.

There are plenty of delicious (and nutritious) vegetarian freeze-dried meals that will feed your hunger at the campsite. 

Typically, you just add the desired amount of boiling water, let the package sit for a few minutes, and then enjoy. Let’s take a look at some different brands and check out what satiating meals they have offer.

Backpacker’s Pantry

Backpacker’s pantry offers a full line of vegetarian and vegan dehydrated meals, including Cuban coconut rice and black beans, Katmandu curry, Chana Masala, and so much more. You should be able to browse options at your local REI or outdoor camping store.

Mary Jane’s Farm

Specifically made for vegans, Mary Jane’s Farm offers all-natural, organic, dehydrated meals to enjoy in the outdoors. Some of their more popular products are ginger sesame rice, Lebanese peanut bulgur, and velvety black bean soup. Heck, they even have freeze-dried vegan brownies!

Good To-Go

Offering a variety of vegetarian options, Good To-Go is an essential product for any backpacker. From meals like herbed mushroom risotto to Indian vegetable korma, your stomach will always be filled with delicious food with Good To-Go.

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to have a gourmet outdoor feast or a simple campsite picnic, hopefully you’ve learned a little bit of camp kitchen knowledge from these 10 vegetarian camping food recipes.

Remember to choose your heat source, pack the right equipment, and always store your food properly so that you can dine in the five-star restaurant of the outdoors. Next thing you know, all your friend will be coming to you for advice for their campsite cuisine.

Jay toes the line between hiking enthusiast and vagabond as he treks across the world, soaking in it’s natural wonders. When he’s not exploring the trail, he writes articles to help guide others through their outdoor conquests.

How To Get Campfire Smell Out Of Clothes

smoke out of clothes

Sitting around campfire instantly transports you into a state of nostalgia.

The unique aroma, the dancing flames, the tangible warmth, and that guy who only knows one song on the guitar (you know who I am talking about); a wave of serenity floods over you.

Yet, after time passes, the smell of the smoky, wood-burning fire lingers (I love the scent of campfire as much as the next person, but only when it’s fresh). When the noxious fumes latch on to you for more than a day, it can lead to an obnoxious headache.

Read moreHow To Get Campfire Smell Out Of Clothes