Setting up your tent is the easy part.
When it comes to campsite know-how, outdoor cooking is what stymies most would-be adventurers. Often, campers resort to store-bought dehydrated meals, spending $8 to $12 per person per meal on some just-add-water concoction you’d turn your nose up at back home.
Fear not! We’re here to help with our amazing three-day campsite meal plan. Below, you’ll find grocery and supplies lists and a tasty, nutritious meal plan for a weekend (three-day/two-night) camping trip for two adults. Adjust as needed for additional campers and nutritional/dietary needs.
Note: this list is suitable for car-camping or canoeing; backpackers generally need to put greater consideration toward lightweight foods and supplies.
Camp Supply List
- Camp stove (with fuel)
- Saucepan (1L capacity)
- Frying pan (6 to 8 inches)
- Wooden spatula/spoon
- Wash tub
- Pot scrubber
- Biodegradable dish soap
- Potable water (filter or access to clean drinking water)
- Food storage bags and/or cooler
- Zip-lock bags
- Hard-sided food storage containers (Tupperware)
- Reusable bottles for cooking oil and condiments
Eating (Per Person)
- Water bottle (750ml)
- Hand sanitizer
- Pancake mix (250 grams dry/just add water)
- Protein powder (1/4 cup, optional)
- Instant oatmeal (4 packs)
- Dried fruit (1/2 cup)
- 4 bananas
- Instant coffee or tea bags (8 servings)
- Hot chocolate powder (4 servings)
- Maple syrup (100 ml)
- 4 bagels
- Cream cheese (125 grams)
- Cheddar cheese (125 grams)
- Salami/cured meat (400 grams)
- 1 Long English cucumber (medium size)
- 2 Tomatoes (medium size, firm)
- 4 slices whole-grain bread
- Peanut butter (250 ml)
- 4 Whole-grain pitas
- Hummus (250 ml, store-bought; for homemade, see recipe below)
- Jambalaya* mix (approx. 350 grams dry/just add water)
(*Substitutes include: Dirty Rice, Rice & Beans, Spanish Rice or similar)
- 2 Chorizo sausages
- Green cabbage (one quarter)
- Red cabbage (one quarter)
- 1 Lime
- 2 Hoagie buns
- 2 Large smokies
- Mustard (50 ml)
- Flour (2-1/2 cups)
- Baking powder (2 tsp.)
- Sugar (½ tsp.)
- Brown sugar (¼ cup)
- Cinnamon (1 tbsp.)
- M&Ms (family size)
- Mixed nuts (450 grams)
- Milk chocolate (2 bars)
- Graham crackers (8)
- Marshmallows (6+)
- Cookies (4)
- Cooking oil (250 ml)
- Salt & pepper
- Hot sauce (optional)
Bannock mix, dry: Combine 2-1/2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. sugar and ½ tsp. salt in a zip-lock bag. Mix ¼ cup brown sugar with 1 tbsp. of cinnamon in a separate zip-lock bag.
Pancake mix: Pick up some just-add-water mix—but if you want to make your pancakes extra-satisfying, mix in a quarter-cup (or so) of protein powder ahead of time. Store in zip-lock bag.
Hummus: Easily purchased, but homemade is best: 250 ml chickpeas; 1 tbsp. sesame tahini; 1 or 2 cloves of garlic; 3 tbsp. olive oil; fresh lemon juice to taste. Blend in food processor, add salt and pepper to taste; adjust these measurements to your preferences.
Trail mix: Mix M&Ms and nuts. Store in zip-lock bags.
Other: Cook chorizo sausage. Wash all vegetables. Shred cabbages and mix together. Pre-cut bagels.
Food Storage Tips
- Powders/mixes in zip-lock bags.
- Bread/bagels in zip-lock bags.
- Vegetables in Tupperware.
- Cheese in foil, wrapped in insulating material* or in cooler.
- Hummus in Tupperware, placed in cooler or wrapped in insulating material*.
- Meat wrapped in foil and insulating material* or in cooler. (If not using cooler, freeze meat the night before.)
- Oil/syrup/hot sauce/seasoning in reusable bottles.
- Other items in bags/box/plastic containers as needed.
*Insulating material: Newspaper, insulated foil or insulated food bags. Penny-pincher’s tip: recycle the insulation from an old ironing board to wrap around packaged foods.
*Food storage advice: Whether using insulation or a cooler, take extreme care to limit the amount of times you expose the food to warm air. Open the cooler only three times daily. Remove food from insulating wrap, then re-wrap remainder immediately.
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Campsite Meal Plan—Day One
At home. Protein and whole grains will keep you full until lunch. Think: eggs, bacon, whole-wheat toast and fresh fruit. Now, you’re fueled up and ready for a weekend of camping. Off you go—from here on, you’re at the campsite!
Make-your-own sandwiches. Slice half of the cucumber and half a tomato. Make open-faced sandwiches with bagels, cream cheese, veggies and Salami/cured meat (optional). Split a chocolate bar for dessert.
Trail Mix. Perfect combo of energy and taste.
Appetizer of whole-wheat pita (one per person) and hummus (125 ml, for both). Main course of Jambalaya* with chorizo. Cut up cooked chorizo while bringing water to a boil (amount as per instructions). Add dry Jambalaya* mix and chorizo to water. Rapid-simmer for half as long as package recommends; turn off heat to conserve fuel, but leave lid on and let stand undisturbed for remainder of time. (If fuel is not a concern, or cooking over a campfire, slow-simmer for full amount of time.) Add hot sauce if desired.
S’mores! Toast marshmallows to desired doneness. Break off two squares from a chocolate bar and place between two graham crackers. Add the toasted marshmallow to the mix. Enjoy, repeat. Boil water for hot chocolate, if desired.
Pancakes with sliced bananas and maple syrup. Add water as required to pancake mix and cook in frying pan with oil. Add one sliced banana per person and a generous amount of maple syrup. Enjoy with instant coffee or tea.
Make-your-own sandwiches. Slice remainder of the cucumber and half of a tomato. Make sandwiches with bagels, cheddar cheese, veggies and Salami/cured meat (optional). Two cookies each for dessert.
Appetizer of whole-wheat pita (one per person) and hummus (remainder). Main course of smokies with fresh coleslaw. Slice lime and squeeze over shredded cabbage mix. Salt and pepper to taste. Close container lid and shake. (Add some peanuts from your trail mix for a Thai-influenced flavour.) Roast smokies over campfire or fry in pan. Serve smokies in hoagie buns with mustard and sliced tomato, coleslaw on the side. Add leftover cheddar cheese to smokies, if available. Add remainder of cucumber (sliced) on the side, if available.
Sweet bannock. Add 3 tbsp. of oil and 1 cup of water to Bannock mix, in the bag. Mix well. Roll into lengths and roast on stick or make biscuits to fry in a pan with oil. Coat in cinnamon-sugar mix when cooked. Boil water for hot chocolate, if desired.
Instant oatmeal with dried fruit. (Two packs of instant oatmeal per person will satisfy.) Add boiling water to oatmeal, as per instructions, as well as dried fruit. Add some leftover syrup, if desired. Enjoy with instant coffee or tea.
Peanut butter and bananas on whole-grain bread (two slices per person). You’re departing today, so you don’t want to make a mess or fire up the stove. Open-faced peanut butter and sliced-banana sandwiches make a perfect trip-end lunch. No dishes; minimal cleanup.
Trail mix, for your final hike or paddle, and/or leftover bannock. You’re headed home in the afternoon...
At home. Eat your favourite comfort food—you’ve earned it!
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- Aim to drink two to three litres of water daily.
- For a coffee drinkers, instant is the easiest choice—but a camping French press with coarsely pre-ground beans is a good option too. Just drink it black. Dairy doesn’t travel well.
- If you’re bringing in some boozy beverages, remember to keep it reasonable (so you can respond to an emergency) and pour your potent-potables into reusable containers: flasks or stainless-steel wine bottles and/or growlers. Cans and bottles are persistent sources of litter in the woods, even when unintentional.
- Always use hand sanitizer before every meal or snack. Food contamination presents a major risk of gastrointestinal illness while camping. Often, such illnesses are confused with waterborne bacteria like giardia/beaver fever—when it was just dirty hands.
- However, giardia/beaver fever and other waterborne illnesses are real concerns. Always filter or purify water from a natural source.
- Wash your dishes in a tub and dump the grey water 30 metres from any natural water source. Don’t wash dishes directly in the river or lake—it’s pollution.
- Always build campfires in an established ring. And extinguish them fully before you go to sleep or leave the campsite.
- Store food in your vehicle or in a hanging or hard-sided bear cache.
- Practice Leave No Trace ethics.
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