Simple Weekend Camping Menu

We recently had the chance to try family camping again - this time, building on the failures things we learned from our last trip by bringing the toddler's potty, packing extra snacks, and just having the Little Lady sleep in her car seat instead of a pack-n-play.

We went to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and camped at the Passaconaway Campground along the Kancamagus Highway (folks here call it "The Kanc").  I know, that was a lot of terminology right there.  Maybe I should rewrite that sentence and say, We went to the mountains up north and camped along a scenic highway at a campground with really great tent sites.  There.  That wasn't quite so jargony.

Anyways.  The weather was beautiful (except for one rainy afternoon, perfect for a nap) and the mountain scenery was refreshing to our souls.  We relished the waterfalls, creeks, gorges, and puddles, and put up with a lot of Harleys (of course we would happen upon this natural gem during bike week).
Swift River at Passaconaway Campground
Instead of posting a recipe from the weekend (because, unless you're planning on cooking dinner over open flame, what would that do for you?), I'm going to share our basic camping menu, along with the list of ingredients I packed for the long weekend.

I'm sharing this because I always wondered how people knew what to pack to eat while camping, until I started thinking it through myself.

Here goes ...
Friday supper: tortellini pasta with olive oil and herbes de provence (cooked on the camping stove)
Saturday breakfast: sausage links, eggs, toast (fried bread, really ... it was delightful!) (cooked on the iron skillet on the fire)
Saturday lunch: summer sausage and cheese (no cooking)
Saturday supper: bratwurst, seasoned potatoes, and bread (cooked on the iron skillet on the fire)
Sunday breakfast: pancakes, leftover sausage links (cooked on the iron skillet on the fire)
Sunday lunch: chicken salad on bread (no cooking)
Sunday supper: foil packets - meat, potatoes, carrots, and onions with herbs and butter wrapped in foil  (cooked in hot coals)
Monday breakfast: eggs, leftover meat and potatoes from foil packets, bread (cooked on the iron skillet on the fire)

What went into the cooler:
milk and cream (for coffee and for pancake mix)
butter (for toast and for foil packets)
meat for foil packets - I had about half a pound of leftover roast, but we've also done foil packets with ground beef
sausage links
summer sausage
8 oz. block of cheddar cheese
1 dozen eggs
chicken salad (already made)

What went into the dry goods box:
package of tortellini
olive oil
vegetable oil
hot chocolate
pancake mix
potatoes, onions, and carrots
salt and pepper, herbes de provence
peanut butter
trail mix, crackers, pretzels, and stuff for smores
brown sugar, raisins, and oatmeal (in case we needed a quick meal in a pinch)
sugar for coffee
seasoned potatoes
I've found that when preparing food for a camping trip, it's helpful to think through meals with overlapping foods.  We ate potatoes a few times by just cooking extras at one meal, and keeping the leftovers in the cooler to be reheated for the next meal.  Lunch plans were easy with picnics that required no prep or cooking (we carried a small knife and tiny cutting board with us on our hikes, so we could slice up our food when we were ready for it).  Also, envisioning what you're going to be feeling like before preparing the meal will help - are you just going to be pulling in to the campsite?  Will you have returned from a long hike?  Who else can help you prep the meal?  Thinking through the timing of other plans may help avoid meltdowns (from the kids or yourself).

I would love to have some reader feedback regarding meal planning for camping trips.  I am such a newbie at this, and appreciate any and every idea.  Please leave a comment if you can with your tips for menus while you're enjoying the outdoors with friends and family.


  1. What does your iron skillet look like? where is the best place to get one?

  2. Mandy, we have a Lodge cast iron griddle - it is flat on one side and has ridges on the other. I think we got it from Target - they had a few different ones in stock at the time, and this one was the heaviest and best quality. I want to say it was around $40 but I could be wrong. We've also used other cast iron skillets while camping, but the flat griddle turns out to be the most versatile for the kinds of things we cook. Hope that helps!