Is a camping trip on your vacation agenda? Whether you’re camping in tents or off an RV, you might discover that some of the best meals you’ll ever have on a vacation will be the ones you cook in the great outdoors. Part of the reason could be that you’re extremely hungry after a day of hiking and anything will taste good. However, with a few simple campsite cooking tips, you’ll be able to create meals that are guaranteed to please no matter what the “hunger level” is!

Plan Before You Pack

It’s easy to play, “What’s for dinner?” by foraging in your own kitchen and come up with a decent meal. When camping, the only real food you can depend on foraging would be everything you pack. That is why you need to plan out your meals in advance. Even if you’re going to a place where the fish are abundant, you should still have a backup meal plan just in case the fish are too fast. A good rule of thumb to follow is hot breakfast, cold lunch and hot dinner.

Stack Your Cooler

Once you’ve locked down your meal plan, you’ll want to freeze everything for transportation. Not only will this help avoid bacteria, but your frozen food can act as its own icepack. The best approach to packing your cooler is to stack it based on your meal prep. The dinner you’re eating on the last day should go on the bottom and layer in reverse all the other ingredients for the subsequent days.

Choose Your Cookware Carefully

Most seasoned campers will tell you that the best options for campsite cooking are a cast iron skillet and/or a Dutch oven pot. The one potential drawback is that those two items can be very heavy. Think about how far you’ll have to go from car to campsite before settling on your cookware. Also, don’t bring the good stuff from home. Instead, try picking up a cheap alternative from a Thrift store.

It will also help to bring a percolator kettle to heat up water for hot beverages and washing dishes. Additionally, consider a fire grill that is designed for campsite cooking. This can become your stovetop and they are often very lightweight. The most important implement you can bring is a good pair of tongs. The longer the better. Just make sure they don’t have plastic tips.

Embers vs. Flame

You might think that campsite cooking means cooking on an open flame and you would be wrong. Remember what happened the last time you stuck a marshmallow on an open flame? It burnt to a crisp and ruined your s’mores. The better option would be to cook over burning embers of your fire. Think of them as your coal briquettes. As with most things in life, the best approach to campsite cooking is slow and steady.

Foil Is Your Friend

When it comes to campsite cooking, you can’t have enough aluminum foil. Just because you’re wrapping something up to cook, don’t hesitate adding some herbs, spices and oil to the item. That especially holds true for corn and potatoes. No matter what you’re wrapping in foil, always create “handles” on either end for easy pickup.

As for what you’ll be cooking, that’s up to you but there are plenty of campsite cooking recipes out there to try. Happy camping!