10 Tenting Meals You Received’t Discover within the Sporting Items Aisle


Jordan Estrada 12/10/21

How long can you eat beef jerky, granola bars, and trail mix before your body demands a proper meal?

Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry products are great, but what else could you get out of a regular grocery store? It’s no secret that specialty foods marketed to the outdoor community have a high markup per calorie. So what standard foods could we reuse as camping food?

In order to set some parameters, I am looking for a camping food. Ideally it should be:

  • Shelf stable / non-perishable: If you have to bring a cool box or ice with you, its use outside of the car / mobile home camping is restricted.
  • Very portable and resistant to travel damage.
  • Easy to prepare with an open fire and simple storage utensils.
  • Inexpensive – there are already many expensive specialized camping meals available.

We’re not going to talk about snacks because any snack is great for camping and you probably don’t need any help deciding which snacks to bring. We’re also not going to talk about ramen noodles, spaghetti-o’s, wieners or anything in that category. Yes, these can technically be efficient camping foods, but we’ll try to move up a bit higher in the chow hierarchy, starting with:

1. Butter packet

Photo: www.webstaurantstore.com

If you don’t think butter is a food, you’ve probably never been to Antarctica. Eating raw butter is a proven technique for conserving energy and body mass in extremely cold environments and during times of physical exertion.

Butter is also one of the most versatile and useful condiments, and when you bring it to camp, you can turn “food” into “food”. It’s one of the few spices that has real nutritional value, with healthy fats and proteins.

These packs are neat and portable and don’t need to be refrigerated for short term camping trips.

Butter can be used in cooking, can be used as a topping and seasoning, and can even be added to coffee for a morning boost. One of the great things about butter is that the fat content slows the sugar release from rapidly metabolizing foods and gives your body more stable energy instead of energy peaks and troughs.

At the time of writing, you can get a box of 720 butter packets for $ 36 from Webstaurauntstore.com. If you need more than that for the camping season, you are probably Julia Child.

2. Ben’s ready-made rice

Photo: Walmart.com

Ben’s “Ready Rice” packets are one of my top camping staples. Although the packets are designed for the microwave, they can easily be heated over a campfire. Simply empty the packet into your saucepan, add a drop of water (and butter if you follow this list), and stir frequently to avoid sticking. After a few minutes you will have hot, flavorful rice.

The rice on its own is high in nutritional value (7 grams of protein per packet), but you can increase the number by adding a can of beans or even canned chicken breasts. Canned chicken breast is pretty unsavory in its own right, but when heated and mixed into a serving of rice – well, as Carl Weathers would say:

Ready-made rice is inexpensive, with packages available at most grocery stores for around $ 2.

3. GoGo yogurt sachet

Photo: Walmart.com

Did you think yogurt sachets were just for kids? Think again Dairy products are an important group of foods, but they are difficult to take with you on camping trips as they are usually perishable and rarely portable. My goal is to have three dairy products on this list and with butter first, yogurt would be second.

Yogurt isn’t just rich in nutrients; It also contains probiotics, which are beneficial when sanitation is limited and nature’s microbes are rampant.

Yogurt sachets are a great snack on the go, but if you have a little more time, you can mix the contents of the packs with nuts and fruits into a camp-ready parfait.

Yogurt packs cost about $ 1 each; cheaper if you can find a private label.

4. Pre-cooked bacon

Photo: Walmart.com

There’s nothing like waking up to a breakfast of hot bacon, but dragging a pound of raw bacon through the woods is not something I would recommend. That’s why shelf-stable, pre-cooked bacon is such a great camping option.

It’s ridiculously easy to make – I just drape the strips on a stick and hold them over the fire. Since the bacon is already cooked, you only need to keep it on for a few minutes to reach the ideal temperature. It’s pretty pliable out of the box, but you can get it nice and crispy if you wish.

A packet of pre-cooked bacon costs between $ 4 and $ 6 and can be a great addition to breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Note: Once opened, the bacon should be consumed in one sitting as it needs to be refrigerated after opening.

5. Tuna packages

Photo: Walmart.com

We’ve all probably had a can of tuna camping before, and while it’s not the most appetizing thing, it can be a great way to ingest large amounts of protein quickly. If you want to eat tuna, these packets are ideal as they are even less weight and volume than a can and do not require a can opener. They can be spooned and heated or eaten straight from the package with a spoon.

As a bonus, they are very cheap – usually around $ 1 per pack.

6. Flour tortillas

Photo: Walmart.com

Tortillas are a simple and versatile bread substitute for camping. They take up significantly less space than a loaf of bread, and you don’t have to worry about them getting crushed (pre-flattened for your convenience!).

When I eat hot dogs while camping, I almost always wrap them in tortillas instead of a hot dog bun. Tortillas can also go great with Mountain House scrambled eggs and bacon for an instant breakfast burrito. There isn’t much that you can’t eat as a wrap, including other items on this list (for example, turn # 1’s ready-made rice, beans, and chicken into a dinner burrito).

They can also be eaten straight or toasted with butter, and if you want to make chips, you can drape a tortilla over a stick until it’s warm and crispy enough to break into pieces.

7. Parmesan cheese

Photo: Walmart.com

I promised three dairy products, so let’s go. While there is some debate, experts agree that Parmesan cheese doesn’t need to be refrigerated. If you remember reading Treasure Island, you may remember that Dr. Livesey always carried a piece of Parmesan cheese around in his snuffbox – a key plot point in the book and possibly something people did in Robert Louis Stevenson’s day.

Whether or not you’re battling pirates on a tropical island, parmesan cheese is both a delicious topping and a snack. Growing up in an Italian household, a block of cheese and a grater were omnipresent at every meal. My siblings and I always cut off large slices and ate them straight.

After a strenuous day of sweating, the salt content in Parmesan is a welcome refreshment.

A block of Parmesan cheese is available at any grocery store for around $ 5 to $ 7.

8. Hot peppers

Photo: Walmart.com

Pepperoni – whether pre-cut or in block form – is a great culinary addition that is easy to bring to camp. Once the peppers are sealed, they don’t need to be refrigerated (although once you open them you should plan to use them within a few hours).

Hot peppers would be a great combination with two items already on this list – rice and parmesan. Mixed with rice, you can turn the dish into a kind of camp gumbo. Parmesan and pepperoni pieces are excellent toppings for crackers.

I haven’t made it yet, but there is probably a way to make “camp pizza” with tortillas crusted and hot peppers topped. It’s only a matter of time before I figure out how to do this, but feel free to try and beat me (or let me know if you’ve already done it).

Packaged hot peppers cost between $ 3 and $ 5 per pack.

9. Potatoes

Photo: Walmart.com

Potatoes (sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes or the normal baking pan) are one of the few items in the aisle that neither need refrigeration and are not torn apart in a bumpy backpacking trip.

There are two ways to cook potatoes on an open fire: first, they can be wrapped in foil and rolled on hot coals. But if you don’t have foil, you can put the potato right on the hot coals. You can’t eat the peel, but once you peel off the charred outer layer, the potato meat inside is hot, soft, and ready to be spooned.

WARNING: Whichever method you use, it is very important to cut an X or poke holes in the potato and foil before putting it on the fire. Without a vent, superheated steam under the potato’s skin can create enough force to explode and hurl scalding potato chips at you and innocent bystanders.

Combining a Camp Baked Potato with the butter and bacon chunks previously mentioned on this list would be a filling and filling meal to enjoy in the wild.

Potatoes typically cost less than $ 1 a pound.

10. Quinoa Salad

Photo: Walmart.com

I only recently started seeing these ready-to-eat quinoa salads at my grocery store, but they might be the healthiest on this list. Quinoa is extremely nutritious and is great for a quick meal that doesn’t require preparation.

I’ve seen several flavors available, but my favorite so far is the basil pesto variety pictured above. You can also add a little more parmesan cheese for extra flavor.

Packaged quinoa salads cost around $ 3 to $ 5.


So there are ten options that aren’t junk food or backcountry specialties, and there are probably a lot more. The next time you’re in your grocery store, scan the aisles for other products that would make great, unexpected camping meals – then share your ideas in the comments below!


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