One of our family’s favorite summer activities is camping!
As soon as the days start to get longer the girls start asking to camp in the back yard and wondering when our first camping weekend will be.
I love sitting around the campfire, unplugging, and enjoying quality time with friends and family without distractions, but my favorite part of camping is the food!
Camping food has always seemed to taste better than everyday food. Even when I was a kid, I looked forward to eating when we were camping.
But when I became an adult, deciding what to make for our camping weekends was just one more decision to make. Every time we went, I had to take a bunch of time figuring out our menu.
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that I’m all about making life easy, and I decided to do the same thing with my camping meal plan.
So in this post, I’m going to show you how to create the perfect camping meal plan the easy way… whether you are going camping by yourself or with a group of friends!
First, we’ll go over how to make a great meal plan when you are camping with just your family.
How to Plan the Perfect Family Camping Meal Plan
1) Create a Master List
One of the challenges with Meal Planning is starting from square one every time you sit down to do it.
So the first thing that I did to make camping meal planning easier was to create a Master List of my go-to camping meals.
If you are a spreadsheet junkie like I am, an excel spreadsheet or Google Docs works really well for keeping everything organized.
If you are more of a notebook kinda gal, you could grab a meal planning notebook to write your master lists on.
No matter where you keep your list, I find it saves a huge amount of time having all my options in one place.
2) Write Down Your Go-To Meals
If you are using a spreadsheet, I like to have one column for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for dinner. Then I list our favorite meals in each column.
Our favorite camping breakfasts are oatmeal, eggs, and hash browns, pancakes, and cold cereal.
Often, we don’t eat big lunches when we are camping because we like to sleep in, drink tea around the fire, then make breakfast whenever we feel like it.
If we do get up and get going early, we typically are going on a hike and need food that we can easily eat on the trail.
So for lunches, we typically bring several options for sandwiches and easy snacks like larabars, veggies, fruit, and chips.
Dinner is my favorite time when camping! This is when we usually do our largest, most involved meals.
Our favorite camping dinners include hobo stews, hot dogs, walking tacos, and grilled sandwiches over the fire.
Here is what my spreadsheet looks like:
3) Pull Meals From the Master List
Now when it’s time to go camping all you need to do is to go to your master list and grab however many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that you need for your camping trip!
If you still have a hard time deciding, let your kids or spouse choose from the list!
How to Create a Meal Plan When Camping With Friends
1) Assign Meals
We love camping with friends. But one of the challenges is how to coordinate meals so that you don’t end up bringing too much food, while also making sure that everyone contributes.
We’ve tried everything from assigning different ingredient lists to different families to assigning meals to each family and hands down the best way to coordinate is to assign meals.
Here’s an example of how we are doing this for a camping trip we are taking in a couple of weeks:
Three families are going camping together for a Friday night through Sunday camping trip.
One family is making both of the breakfasts.
One family is taking care of lunch and campfire snacks.
(Since we usually eat light lunches when we are camping, we combined the light lunches with the campfire snacks and s’mores for one family.)
And our family is taking care of the two dinners. We usually pack up and get home before dinner on Sunday, so we only plan for dinner on Friday night and Saturday night.
For this camping trip, each family has 2 meals that they are in charge of.
We’ve also found it helpful to have whatever family is in charge of the meal to be responsible for making sure they have everything they need to cook their assigned meal.
So if, for example, someone wanted to make pancakes. They either need to bring a camping stove and spatulas, or they need to touch base with the other families to see if anyone else is bringing theirs.
This keeps everyone from assuming that they don’t need to bring something because they are sure that someone else will be bringing it… we have run into this problem a couple of times so now we specify :).
2) Pull From The Master List
Now that you know which meals you are in charge of, just go back to your master list of meals and choose from your options on the list!
Now that you have that master list, meal planning for your camping trip should have become a whole lot easier!
What are you bringing on your next camping trip? Let me know in the comments below!
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How to Create a Set-It-And-Forget-It Meal Plan With Theme Nights where I show you how to choose theme nights for every night of the week for easy meal planning. Plus I give you 50 ideas for your theme nights!
Are You Ready to Stop Feeling Stressed About Meal Planning?
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(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can just grab the Set-It-and-Forget-It Template and work through it yourself. 🙂