Make Camping and Local Travel Meal Prep a Snap
Meal prepping for a camping trip is one of the most challenging parts of your trip. Whether you are new to camping, using a tent or a full RV setup, or even visiting an AirBnB or VRBO, knowing what to bring and how to pack it is crucially important. In this post, we’ll discuss several tips for making travel meal prep a snap!
Food prep in RV trips, tent camping & vacation rentals
If you are just starting out in the world of camping, an RV is an easier choice in terms of comfort and what is available to you in the RV. An RV typically has:
• A stove and possibly oven
• A microwave
• A small refrigerator
• A sink
• A table for dining
• A toilet
It’s like a mini-home on wheels, so planning for an RV trip is a lot easier. You may even have a full set of pots, pans, and silverware that always stay in the RV. You will still need to plan your meals carefully, but the cold storage and cooking won’t be nearly as hard.
For those driving to a vacation rental, as long as you can bring a cooler with you, you can bring many meals prepped ahead. Once you are at your rental, you can chill what you need to in the fridge, and reheat items on the stove, oven or microwave.
Tent camping is the opposite! You won’t have any of the comforts of home, and will need to rely on coolers, your fire (some campgrounds have grills), or a portable propane cooktop. It’s also helpful to bring a large portable water dispenser with a spigot to give your hands or food items a quick rinse. Bring flameproof cookware for cooking over the fire. We’ll go over some more important tips in the next section.
Meal prep before your trip
Planning what food to bring can be a job in itself. One tip to help keep you organized is to make a spreadsheet for your camping trip and plan what to eat for each meal. Once you have the meals down, you can start planning your grocery list. By doing this very important step, you won’t worry about scrambling around in your groceries at camp trying to piece a meal together. The spreadsheet also serves another purpose, it can double as your packing list!
Here are a few other tips:
- Save time by packing paper goods. The fewer dishes you have to wash, the better! And it’s recyclable.
- Wash all fruit and veggies before you pack them. Depending on the size of the item, and how well it stays fresh once chopped, you may also want to chop them as well.
- Pre-cook the messier meals at home for ease of use. For nights where you have more time, cooking over the tent stove or fire can be fun.
- Pack lots of easy to grab kid-friendly snacks (if you’re camping with kids).
- Bring some back-up staples in case something doesn’t work out. Peanut or almond butter and crackers are always a good bet.
- Don’t forget the salt and pepper! You’d be surprised how important this is for your meals.
- Bring Zip-loc bags to store leftovers (they’re good for wet clothes, too!).
Choose healthy snacks for energy
While camping or traveling, you’ll likely be more active than your typical workweek. Be sure your meal prep includes healthy snacks you can pack on hikes, to the beach, or on the shore while swimming or fishing.
Here are a few snack ideas from Foodom:
Packing your cooler the right way
You may have never considered packing a cooler an art form, but many campers and travelers would beg to differ!
Here are some important tips:
- Chill your cooler ahead of time by dumping some ice in overnight. Coolers are often stored in your hot garage, and will melt ice quicker if they aren’t cooled first.
- Chill your food and drinks ahead of time, too! You may be making a mad dash to Costco getting room temp drinks, but cooling them ahead of time will help keep everything cooler.
- Use real ice in big blocks vs. cubes when you can. A big block takes much longer to melt. However, you may still need some cubes to squeeze in between things, or as layers in between foods.
- Bring at least two coolers. Keeping a drinks-only cooler is helpful as that will get opened more often. Try to keep your food cooler closed and in the shade.
- Pack your food in layers. The items that need to stay the coldest for the longest should be at the bottom as that will naturally be colder. Items that will be used right away, be grabbed often, or won’t spoil if not thoroughly chilled can stay on top.
Meals that work well for tent camping
If you only have a tent and coolers to work with, your options are a little more limited than RV camping or a vacation rental, but they don’t have to be boring!
Here are a few suggestions for meals that are tent camping-friendly:
- Breakfast burrito – cook fully, wrap in aluminum foil, freeze, then warm over camp stove
- Morning Glory Muffins – cook at home and pack in a Zip-loc bag
- Turkey Chili – cook at home and heat over camp stove
- Chicken Strips with Ranch – cook at home and eat chicken strips cold
- Greek Meatballs – cook at home and heat over camp stove
- Marinated Meats (Brined Pork Chops, Korean Bulgogi, Jerk Chicken) – cook on grill or over fire on a spit
- Farro Salad – make at home and keep well chilled
Meals that work well for an RV or vacation rental
- Baked Balsamic Chicken – make at home and keep chilled and then re-heat
- Turkey Meatballs Stroganoff – make at home and keep chilled and then re-heat
- Macaroni and Potato Salad – make at home and keep well chilled
- Pork Soft Tacos with Pico de Gallo – make at home and reheat meat
- Asian Style Coleslaw – make at home and keep well chilled
- Almond Pecan Protein Bars – bring in a Zip-loc bag for snacking on the go
The easiest way to meal prep for camping
In a hurry to get on the road, and don’t want to do all the meal prep yourself? Use Foodom! Every meal linked in this blog post is available through Foodom. You simply choose the dishes you’d like off of the website, and select a time for a local chef to make the meals for you before you go. We are currently helping campers and travelers in the greater Sacramento area, El Dorado and placer counties, in the Bay area and Los Angeles area get ready for their adventures! Check out the camping and local travel section on the site.
Are you dreading the planning of the meals? No worries, the chefs on the Foodom platform, can take this off your plate too, and plan the meals for your upcoming trip. Reach out to us for get meal planning assistance.
The best of all worlds, have a chef plan the meals for you, do the grocery shopping, meal prep at your home, store the food safely and clean up. As simple as it gets!
Learn how to get started here: how it works
One last tip: S’mores are a camping non-negotiable! Make sure to pack plenty of marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, and skewers!