Your sleeping bag is rolled up, the tent is in the trunk, and your bags are packed: now what? Before you take off for the great outdoors, it's time to do a little meal prepping to figure out some simple but nourishing backpacking dinners that will keep you fueled for your adventure.
Not sure where to start when it comes to dinners for camping? Consider this your definitive guide to camping food that you can prep ahead of time or whip up over the fire. And even better, these ideas are low-waste, good for the body, and kind to the planet – so no single-use plastic bags or foil packets here, just the beauty of sustainable, endlessly reusable Stasher bags.
Camp Kitchen Recipes
These prep-ahead burritos are the perfect camping meal. (And plus, who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?) First, make all of the fillings – some of our tried-and-true favorites are black beans, potatoes, and egg or plant-based egg substitute. To avoid a soggy burrito fiasco, make sure all the ingredients are cooked and fully cooled before rolling them up in tortillas, and be sure to skip the salsa. Roll them up tightly, wrap in unbleached parchment paper, and freeze in a Stand-Up Mega Bag. When you’re ready to eat, just pull them out of the cooler and reheat! Skip the foil packet and instead reheat over the fire on a cast-iron pan, turning the burritos over every once in a while.
Lay a tortilla on a pie iron, and add cheese, onion, beans, and any other taco fillings you like. And the second tortilla over the top, secure the pie iron, and then trim off any excess tortilla. Cook over the fire for about 5 minutes, turning halfway through. Let cool a little bit, and dig in!
If you don’t have a pie iron, try adapting the recipe using this fun tortilla hack.
If tacos aren’t quite your style, then try these loaded campfire nachos! In a camping dutch oven, create a base layer of tortilla chips, followed by a layer of cheese, olives, and green onions. Repeat the layering, and cover with the lid. Place the dutch oven directly in the fire, or over a grate if you're using a cast-iron skillet. Cook for 10-15 minutes, and top with homemade guacamole made in a Stasher Sandwich Bag and fresh cilantro. (You can skip the last step if you’re one of those cilantro-tastes-like-soap people.)
Waffle Iron Grilled Cheese
For the ultimate comfort food with a satisfying crunch, try out this pie iron grilled cheese. Butter the outsides of your bread, and place one piece into a camping waffle iron. Add your favorite cheese, followed by the second slice of bread. Cook the grilled cheese over the fire, about 5 minutes per side, and prepare to never want standard grilled cheese ever again.
Pie Iron Pizza Pockets
You can never go wrong with campsite pizza pockets! As your pie iron preheats in the fire, cut a slice of premade pizza dough the same size as your iron. Sprinkle it with mozzarella and two spoonfuls of pizza sauce, along with your other favorite pizza toppings. Add another slice of premade pizza dough on top, and use your fingers to pinch the edges and seal everything in. Butter each side of your pizza pocket, and carefully pop it into the hot pie iron. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side.
Pie Iron Caprese Panini
Butter the outsides of your bread, and nestle one of them into the pie iron. Add tomato slices, mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze. Add the second piece of bread, buttered side out, and secure the iron. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes. Click here for the full recipe.
(Veggie) Hot Dogs and Burgers
Hot dogs and burgers (veggie or otherwise) are a classic camping dinner and can be prepared on a cast-iron pan over the fire. Before you head out on your trip, chop up any fixings like onion, pickles, and lettuce, and store them individually in Stasher Snack Bags in the cooler. While you’re grilling up your burgers, just pull your reusable silicone Stasher bags out of the cooler, and let everyone make their own creation.
The day before your trip, slice up any kabob-worthy fruits or vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and zucchini, and store them in their own Sandwich Bags. In another bag, add chunks of the fully cooked meat of your choice. (Pro tip: if you don’t want to go the fully cooked route, you can also marinate your meat right in a Stasher Bag, like we did with these Paleo Fajitas!) Once the campfire is ablaze, have everyone skewer their favorite foods onto reusable kabob skewers, and gently roast over the fire, turning frequently.
To make dehydrated risotto, first whip up the risotto rice mixture and veggies at home using as little butter and oil as possible – this will prevent your risotto from going bad once it's dehydrated. Using a dehydrator, dry the rice and vegetables (we love zucchini and mushrooms for this) at 135F for 4–8 hours. Once dry, store all that dehydrated risotto goodness in a Half Gallon Stasher. Once you're in the wilderness, combine the mixture with 2 cups of water, and simmer in a pot on the campfire or backpacking stove.
Grain or quinoa bowls pack a nutritional punch when made with fiber-rich ingredients, which is why we love this dehydrated quinoa burrito bowl! For extra calories, be sure to add olive oil when your meal is rehydrating.
Beans and Rice
Beans and rice are a simple, nourishing meal that rehydrates quickly – this recipe uses dehydrated veggies, instant rice, and a chicken broth packet. Mix all of the ingredients in your Stasher Bag of choice, but be sure to leave the broth packet unopened until you're ready to eat. Combine the dry ingredients, chicken broth, and water into a pot, and heat over the fire or on a camping stove until the mixture reaches a boil. Remove from heat, and let sit until rehydrated.
Wraps with Hummus
At Stasher, we're big wrap lovers (like the food, not like MC Hammer). Try one of these wrap hacks, or experiment with your own. For extra backpacking-friendly protein, make and dehydrate hummus ahead of time and dole it out into single-serving Pocket Bags. When you're ready to eat, add water and olive oil to a pocket bag, pinch to close, and knead it until it returns to hummus consistency.
This tortilla soup is one of our favorite backpacking recipes, because it's made entirely from freeze-dried ingredients that you can buy in bulk or dehydrate yourself ahead of time. You can pre-mix the dry ingredients in a Half Gallon Stasher Bag prior to your trip, and simply pour the contents into a saucepan and simmer with water for 20 minutes.
Rice and Curry
Another no-waste dehydrated meal for backpacking is this vegan curry rice. Before your backpacking trip, throw the dry ingredients together in a Half Gallon Stasher, or scoop individual portions of the dry ingredient mixture into Stand-Up Mid Bags. Once you're ready to eat, just add hot water, and let the bag sit (or stand, that is) for about 10 minutes.
Another one of our favorite make-ahead backpacking meals is chili. Whip up this hearty chili before your trip, and slowly dehydrate it at 145F for about 10 hours until brittle. Divide the dried chili into single-sized portions (about 1 cup each), and store each in a Stand-Up Mid Bag. While backpacking, add hot water right into the Stasher bag, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Voila!
Whether you're heading out for a few days of quiet camping at the lake or a week of extreme backpacking in rugged mountainous terrain, don't forget to meal prep ahead of time! With your trusty Stasher Bags in hand (and a dehydrator, if you're a backpacker), you have a whole world of camping dinners at your fingertips.