Easy Car Camping Meals for Your Next Trip
July 1, 2021
Planning a car camping trip with friends or family? Take time to plan some delicious meals, too! Whether you plan to cook around the fire pit or on a double burner stove, there are tons of tasty dinners, breakfasts and lunches you can conjure up. Here are some easy car camping meals to give you some inspiration.
Creating Car Camping Meals
Unlike backpacking, which requires basic meals for nourishment and survival, car camping allows you greater flexibility and luxury — especially in terms of your camp kitchen and the types of foods you can bring along. Need milk and eggs for your trip? Store it in hard coolers to keep it preserved and fresh. Want to grill up some burgers and steaks? Learn how to use dry ice in a cooler to keep everything cool the entire weekend or longer.
Another tip for car camping meals is to prepare what you can ahead of time in the comfort of your home kitchen.
Car camping meals can be as easy or gourmet as you want them to be. Make the dish casual or dress it up however you like.
Car Camping Meals for Dinners
Pasta and Noodle Dishes
Pasta and noodles in general make great car camping meals. Most pasta and noodles cook in a boiling pot in a matter of minutes, making a quick dinner when the kids are hungry. All that’s left to do is pour the sauce of your choice over and stir! Plus, pasta and noodles also offer lots of carbs to help replenish energy after a long day.
So what are some pasta and noodle dishes you can make at a campsite? Here are some easy ideas:
- Veggie Primavera Penne Pasta
- Bowtie Pasta with Peas and Carrots
- Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce
- Broccoli and Steak Noodle Stir Fry
Burgers and Hot Dogs
A true classic, burgers and hot dogs are a must for any car camping trip. Instead of making them plain Jane, elevate them a bit and change the ingredients and toppings for a more gourmet car camping meal. For example, pick up some burger patties or franks that have unique flavors and choose toppings from there.
Here are some ideas for making better burgers and hot dogs:
- Turkey Burgers with Swiss Cheese and Hot Relish
- Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce and Onions
- Veggie Burgers (Beyond Meat, Quinoa, Black Bean, etc.)
- Portobello Mushroom Burgers
- Chorizo Hot Dogs with Onions, Salsa and Radishes
- Bahn Mi Hot Dogs with Pork, Cucumbers and Jalapenos
- Reuben Hot Dogs with Sauerkraut and Russian Dressing
Soups and Chili
There are countless styles of soups and chili you can make for car camping meals. Warm and hearty, they also make great dinners. You can also add side items, toppings and garnishes to complete the meal, too. Add cornbread to a bowl of spicy, meaty chili or fire-grilled sourdough bread to soak up every last bit of tomato soup. Bring along some spring onions, croutons and sour cream for some toppings, too.
Here is a list of soup and chili-based meal ideas for your car camping trip:
- Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Tomato Soup
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Indian Dhal
- Tuscan White Bean Soup
- Roasted Pepper Chili
Car Camping Meals for Breakfast
Oatmeal with Toppings
A bowl of warm oatmeal can offer a boost of energy in the morning. You can grab some pre-made, flavored oatmeal packets from the grocery store or even create your own DIY mixture at home. Either way, here are some topping ideas to take it to the next level:
- Brown Sugar
- Banana Slices
- Diced Apples
- Sliced Almonds
- Raisins/Dried Fruits
If you need to start your day off with some Mexican-inspired dishes, there’s always easy meals that can be done with soft tortillas and a little salsa. Make it as spicy as you like and get creative:
- Cheese and Egg Quesadillas
- Breakfast Burrito with Diced Peppers and Onions
- Avocado Toast with Over-Easy Eggs and Salsa
- Spicy Chorizo Hash Browns with Eggs
Yogurt and Granola
Yogurt and granola makes a quick and simple car camping breakfast staple. Make homemade granola before leaving or buy a bag or two of different flavors. A quart-sized container of yogurt stays cool for at least a weekend, if not longer in a heavy-duty cooler. So grab whatever style of yogurt you prefer — Icelandic, goat milk or milk alternatives — and add the following as you please:
- Chia Seeds
- Shredded Coconut
- Maple Syrup
Car Camping Meals for Lunch
For car camping lunches, there are lots of possibilities. In fact, a late breakfast could become your lunch, supplemented with a snack later in the day. To make it easy, bring a loaf of bread or wraps and other sandwich makings, allowing everyone to make whatever they feel like.
- PB&J Sandwiches
- Grain Bowls
- Granola/Protein bars
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