CAMPING FOOD MADE SIMPLE AND AFFORDABLE
The meaning ‘going to camp‘ differs for everyone as soon as the season opens up. Enjoying the great outdoors is a passion for many people with or without a tent, camper van or cabin and little to no cooking appliances.
What constitutes the ultimate camping food?
Well, I had a chance to speak to seasoned campers which included my sister, in-laws and many CBB readers who jumped at the chance to share their camping food stories with me. I was amazed at what recipes people were willing to make on a campfire and just how important the BBQ really is when one is cooking away from home.
Although some of you campers might have a microwave stashed away for many there is no room in the camping space for such kitchen tools. Roughing it in the woods and enjoying nature is what camping is all about, so I’ve been told.
The most important camping tools for the rugged campers are cast iron everything, tin-foil and knowing how to start a camp-fire to cook your food.
If you have a Dutch oven to use when you are camping it’s important to make sure that you are using the right temperature before starting your meal.
Check out this informative Dutch Oven Temperature Chart for more info because it doesn’t hurt to know how to use cooking tools efficiently.
Good camping food means you will have to do some planning before you head off for the weekend or even the full season. This might mean you prep meals in advance such as mini quiches or casseroles that only need heating up over the fire or on the grill.
I’ve been told that some of the best camping food comes from trial and error just like any kitchen meal but sharing ideas has been tradition in my wife’s family over the past 20 years.
Apparently you’d be amazed at what you can cook over a camp fire. Have you considered camp-fire nachos? I’d eat them! How about traditional S’mores but in the form of a dip made in a cast-iron pan? So many camping food ideas come to mind and today I hope to inspire and bring to life some of your traditions for campers who want to add to their camping meal plan.
What I do for a week of back country camping is, I put the cooler in the freezer & then add one meal at a time in reverse order. The first day we usually have chili (frozen in jars) – at the top. And then we work our way down. We stop at a store to buy fresh fruit & veg & ice eventually but most of it is frozen or in the second Non cooler food storage box.
I have found triple layer tinfoil let’s you bake almost anything between the coals – hobo packs (with mushrooms & corn on the cob in addition to regular potatoes, onions, carrots), home made calzones, burritos, even small frozen casseroles. – Faith L.
I’ll be upfront and say that I’ve never really went camping as I was a wandering traveller in my 20’s which took me all over the world. The closest I’ve been to camping was when we hosted a German student and the organization held a campfire dinner that consisted of hot-dogs on huge stainless skewers and S’mores for dessert. That was the first time in my life I had ever heard of them or eaten them. I’m not going to lie, they are damn fine.
Who doesn’t like chocolate, graham and marshmallow? So good.
Moving forward both my parents and sister have campers and set out once a year to a local camp-site where they’ve built friendships and laid down some roots. They know the area and the kids are comfortable there and it’s still a frugal way for the family to get away without breaking the budget.
The biggest investment was the upfront costs of buying the camper which transitioned into purchasing an SUV to tow it around. Other than that they have no complaints and look forward to packing up as often as they can during the UK summer months.
We haven’t been camping since we’ve been married however Mrs. CBB’s siblings continue to camp to get away from the hectic city-life. “It was nice to leave everything behind for a couple of days just to be with friends, family and enjoying bonfires and laughter”, something Mrs. CBB started doing in her teens.
Camping was not typical of my wife’s background as camping meant being the backyard with a BBQ and sleeping in your own bed. Alternatively going on road trips and renting an inexpensive hotel or motel for the family became a family vacation tradition. “Most often we would go to Niagara Falls and stay at a Motel just off the strip, which is still operational today.”
There were no fancy hotels with swimming pools in their budget because the money they saved for holidays went to sight-seeing and eating out. They weren’t the family who would pack food to go because on holiday they wanted to enjoy the not-so-common lifestyle they didn’t have back home.
It wasn’t until Mrs. CBB’s sister’s boyfriend introduced the family to a local campground where his family had camped for years. Although very hesitant her father purchased a camper that he would tow with his truck.
There was an adjustment period but camping became a yearly ritual for the family up until he started to get very ill. It was then he sold the camper and resolved to camping in the back garden or going to local beaches in the surrounding area.
I did manage to chat with my family members for this blog post about camping food recipes because I wanted to know what people needed to stock up on before setting off. Not all camping areas have full grocery stores available and when they do you will pay higher prices especially in a remote area.
“It’s advisable to stock up on your kitchen essentials before you go camping”, my sister-in-law stresses because you want to stretch the money you do have for the entire camping season.
The last thing you want to become is a lazy camper which can end up being far more expensive unless you start hunting your own food. We all know that won’t happen for the average campers who would rather be part of the woods and not own them.
What you should know how to do is build a fire just in case you find yourself in an emergency. Think Tom Hanks, Wilson and the movie Cast Away. You never know, so having basic skill knowledge in the woods could benefit you.
I remember crossing over to Manitoulin Island with my family back a few years ago and it looked like an abandoned village, at least the part we drove through.
Apparently this is where everyone went to camp but we didn’t see much of that. I admit I was lost but we did manage to stumble upon a petrol station out of the cowboy era and a local grocery store.
If I remember correctly it was Foodland which we all know comes with a high price-tag for groceries. It was then I realized that these remote grocery stores earn profit from boosting the prices on everyday items and most often you’ll find the higher-end grocery stores in smaller towns for that reason.
Sure, like every other grocery store there will be sales but with fewer options to shop elsewhere. It’s the take it or leave it type of grocery shopping trip.
Camping Food Ideas
Freeze Dried Camping food, dehydrated camping food are also popular ideas for campers who want to bring along foods which they can keep in advance. If you are in a tent you likely won’t have a freezer to keep stuff cold but coolers filled with ice-packs and cubes which works perfectly fine but doesn’t last long. You’d have to keep filling them up as the ice melted. This is why freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are great.
I would freeze hubby’s stuff too and all the frozen stuff went into one cooler that he was to open once a day to take out that day’s food to thaw. Things stayed frozen fairly well. – Christine W.
Beef Jerky is the perfect snack to bring along camping for times when you’re sitting around enjoying a beer or beverage of choice and want something to nibble on. There are so many camping snacks but today I’m picking my favourites and those that are reasonably priced for Canadians looking to save money while enjoying their camping trip.
Campfire food recipes also include cultural dishes.
S’mores, hotdogs, marshmallows…Canadian food. Now for the Filipino side, pork and chicken barbecue skewers, grilled corn and a host of other goodies. When we go camping, it’s like a Fiesta every meal. Strange, but loads of fun!- Mona M.
Sample Camping Meals Menu
- Juice, Coffee, Tea, Milk etc.
- Campfire Pancakes with Maple Syrup and Butter
- Fresh or dried fruits
- Grilled Ham and Cheese Campfire Sandwiches
- Pickles and olives
- Hot bowl of tomato soup
- Beverage of choice
I love camping and I guess I would bring a casserole of homemade lasagna!! With a side of beer sounds fantastic. – Laura N
- Beans and Weenies
- Campfire donuts
- Beverage of choice
Add any snacks that appeal to you!
- Campfire Nachos
- Chips including Nacho chips
- Trail Mix and mixed nuts
- Breakfast bars
- Protein bars
- Beef Jerky
- Dried fruits
We would always roast marshmallows on sticks and try not to catch them on fire…I usually burned mine black, lol – Colleen K.
- Fresh fruits (watermelon, apples, oranges and pears are great options)
- Rice Cakes
- Hard cheeses
Junk! Lots and lots of JUNK!– Jo Anne B
You can’t go camping without hot dogs and all the S’mores ingredients. Pioneer woman puts her snores ingredients into a split banana then wraps with foil. Looked delicious. I want to try it this summer. We used to take those Jiffy Pop popcorn pans. – Donna P.
Camping Breakfast Ideas
- Quesadillas are the ultimate breakfast, lunch or dinner for me and super easy to fill wrap and cook over a camp fire.
- Instant oatmeal or anything that you can add hot water to.
Camping French Toast is the perfect start to the morning especially when it looks like this beauty from This Little Piglet.
Campfire Breakfast Burger which is perfect to make in your muffin tin
You have to check out this Campfire Bacon and how easy it is to make!
Camping Lunch Ideas
If you have a Dutch oven to use when you are camping it’s important to make sure that you are using the right temperature before starting your meal. Check out this informative Dutch Oven Temperature Chart for more info because it doesn’t hurt to know how to use cooking tools efficiently.
Hotdogs wrapped in crescent roll dough on a stick is a great idea for lunch because the dough is portable in the tube it comes in and inexpensive. Simply wrap your hotdog with crescent dough, put it on your skewer and hang out by the fire-pit. Just try not to burn it like you would a marshmallow.
Extending Marshmallow Roasting Sticks 34″ Set of 6 Telescoping STAINLESS STEEL Smores Sticks Skewers Bonfire, Camping Cookware Utensils, Set, Campfire Grill,Fire Pit,Hot Dogs, Safe for Kids by Monojoy
- Instant soup or noodles, mac n cheese
I like to bring things pre-made or pre-assembled. Some of our favourites are bacon/egg/cheese wraps, farmer sausage perogie casserole, bacon wrapped cheese stuffed hot dogs, meatballs, marinated steak and then of course all the salads.
For special campfire stuff….we have a pie maker that gives endless possibilities like grilled pizza sandwiches, grilled peanut butter and jam, pie filling pockets etc. Banana boats and campfire popcorn are good too! Nachos with beef and cheese and all the toppings. Mmm, I’m hungry now! – Samantha J.
This Mini Corn Dog muffin is ideal to add to your camping food ideas especially since it is simple enough to make and cornbread mix is simple to prep-ahead.
Hot Ham and Cheese campfire sandwiches will always be a hit even for the kids.
Camping Dinner Ideas
Kebab – Kym M
My contribution would be beans from the can. When we camped with the children they loved to have hot dogs with a can of beans warmed over the fire.– Bonnie B
Hubby would take the makings for spaghetti, chili, hot dogs and hamburgers when he went camping. Spaghetti was the first night and those leftovers rolled into chili and so on with him. – Christine W.
Adobo is a must have as there’s no need for refrigeration. Best eaten a day after cooking. Pork and chicken barbecue on skewers are also great marinated at least overnight.
Rice is always on hand. Usually made into garlic fired rice for breakfast. There’s an assortment of pork sausages, pork and chicken sweet meats (Tocino) and fried beef tapa (similar to jerky). This is just a few of the kinds of food we bring for camping.– Mona M.
Grilled Halloumi Tacos Low-Carb
Camping Dessert Ideas
Bush pies have been a family favorite ever since I was a kid. Simple in design, “pie irons” allow you to make a toasted sandwich over a campfire by encapsulating the ingredients between two pieces of bread*. The variety of bush pie ingredients is only limited by the imagination.
Bush Pie is a must with a campfire….heck we even make it when we have a fire in our fire-pit.- Colleen K.
S’mores dip in a cast iron pan or cones
Camping food- can’t forget the S’more cones– Patricia L.
Hip to Save has some delicious looking Campfire Cones too~
Camping Beverage Ideas
- Alcohol if permitted Camping Sangria
- Juice boxes, Pop, Water
- Tea and Instant coffee (perhaps a kettle if you aren’t interested in waiting for a campfire for your brew)
- Milk and other dairy if you have a refrigerator
Camping Food List
When creating your camping food list only take the items that you will use otherwise you will be taking up valuable space for other items you do need. Always consider that there may be an emergency where you will need extra food or you decide to stay a bit longer. In these instances packing a bit more of what you will use doesn’t hurt especially if it costs far more at a local grocery shop where you are camping.
Another thing to consider is where you will be storing your items. If a cooler is all you have you may want to consider other methods for preparing food in advance. A refrigerator and freezer certainly opens up more variety for your camping food list.
- Eggs, powdered eggs or dehydrated eggs
- Sliced bread or bread making ingredients
- Cereal, instant oatmeal, cream of wheat
- Pancake mix
- Chocolate spread
- Nut butters
- Snack bars and cakes
- Pickles or other pickled items
- Cheese, cream cheese, Cheese Whiz etc.
- Bagels, Wraps, Tortillas, Pita bread, croissants
- Hot Dogs
- Beans, Beans and more beans canned or dry
- Flour, Almond flour, coconut flour, Almond meal etc.
- Dehydrated meats
- Canned Chicken or Ham
- Fish, Canned tuna and salmon
- Graham Crackers
- Ice-cream cones
- Apples, Watermelon, Oranges, pears etc.
- Canned fruits
- Yogurts and Cheese
- Variety of vegetables carrots, celery, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, potatoes
- Pie filling
- Peanut Butter
- Jams and Jelly
- Condiments- Mayo, Ketchup, Relish, Mustard, BBQ sauce, Hot sauce etc.
- Health Foods
- Coffee Whitener
- Pasta sauce
- Milk/Cream/powdered milk/evaporated milk
- Instant noodles, pasta, soup etc.
- Canned tomatoes and tomato paste
- Cocoa, Instant hot chocolate
- Fats- Butter, Oil, Lard, Coconut oil etc.
- Snack items
Camping Bits n Bobs
You will need to stock your camp kitchen essentials before heading off to camp and REI Coop has an exclusive list that I’ve chosen to share with you.
- Baking and eating utensils including a muffin pan, loaf pan, baking sheet etc.
- Fire starter, logs, sticks *just in case
- Cups, bowls, mugs, dishes, pots and cast-iron pans galore
- Lodge 10-1/4-Inch Logic Pre-Seasoned Skillet
- Camp Chef True Seasoned 14-Inch Cast Iron Pizza Pan
- Camp Chef CIBP9 Home Seasoned Cast Iron Bread Pan (Black)
- Geen-Coller Outdoor Camping Cooking Survival Pot Water Tea Coffee Kettle
- Old Mountain 78235 Cast Iron Ol’ Iron Kettle
Campfire foods I love are smokies on a stick, pizza sandwiches made with the sandwich makers you can buy for campfires, I put pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese in mine, also good with cherry or apple pie filling- Tammy B.
There are plenty of campers who have hacked the system and know of ways you can create delicious food without all the fuss. Using tinfoil is not only one popular method to cook potatoes but so is cracking eggs before you leave home and securing them in a container.
Pinterest Pin- Pancake Mix Hack in a ketchup bottle
My daughter’s favourites are pizza sandwiches, dough boys, and tacos in a bag. She also likes banana boats. Girl Guide camp food is quite good.– Susan D.
I’m more than sure that all of you have other camping food ideas and hacks that you would love to share with the CBB community so please take a moment to leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading,
May Grocery Game Challenge
Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!
- Last shop April- How to bring affordable organic food to your table
Free Money Saving Tools 2018
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2018
The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.
Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.
Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
2018 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings or that you would like to track on your own)
- Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Optimum Points to Spend: 3,200,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet -$0
- Checkout51- $1.50
Our Grocery Shop This Week
Shoppers Drug Mart
4 x 4litre bags of milk $4.25 each plus 6000 PC Optimum points
Total Out-of-Pocket $17
Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $262.16
- Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $0
- Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $140 Saved
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $116.54
- Total spent this week: $17
- Total spent so far this month: $17
- Total over/Under spend this shop: under
- Total left to spend for the month: -$245.16
- Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $337.84+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
We didn’t need much as we are stocked up and I’m away for 4 days. There is plenty of food in the house for Mrs. CBB and our little guy until I get back. The milk at SDM has been great with the 20x the points. It’s as if you get a free bag each time but with PC Optimum points. 🙂
Have a great week friends.
2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps
If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll add it below.
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.
- Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
- Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals
Grocery Game Challenge 2018 FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2018 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month for review in order to make improvements for the next.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2018!
Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?
- Follow Me on Social media by clicking any of the buttons below on the blog.
- Check out my new Free Recipe Index
- If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving List
- Don’t forget to Subscribe to Canadian Budget Binder by Email to get my daily email. Once you subscribe you MUST VERIFY your email account so check your spam folder and inbox for that email! By Subscribing you get all the inside scoops first plus any new finance tools and tips.
- If you notice and broken links or errors please email me or leave a comment below.