If you’re planning to be out in the wilderness for a while, you’re gonna need some food (unfortunately foraging isn’t really a valid option in this day and age). Naturally, the foods you take will be tailored to your personal preferences and varied for the length of your trip, but here are some essential camping foods you won’t want to leave behind.

Peanut Butter and Jelly
It’s not a necessity to serve them together but packing both of them will give you numerous varieties of sustenance while trekking through the outdoors. Peanut butter is high in protein with a similar fat content that allows for a more level calorie burn—essentially keeping you from “crashing” and keeping hunger at bay for longer periods of time. Make PB&J’s, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or just take a spoonful for energy when you’ve got a down moment. Jelly similarly is perfect on toast in the morning, over pancakes as a berry option, or as part of a dessert concoction.

Bananas (or other fresh fruit)
Odds are you won’t be hiking in the sun long enough to get scurvy, but fresh fruit is a fantastic addition nonetheless. Fruity flavors are a pleasant variation to the palate when you’re away from society for a long time, and the best part is that most fruit lasts for a quite a while at room temperature. I recommend bananas because they’re easily transportable with little mess (if you haven’t seen Kirk Cameron explaining his understanding of a banana’s design then you’re missing out), not to mention that bananas are high in potassium, which is something your muscles will thank you for if you’ve spent a long day hiking up a mountainside.

Canned Beans
There’s a reason we associated baked beans with the old west—cowboys lazily stooped around a campsite at sunset with the low gurgle of beans cooking over an open fire. It’s hard to explain to somebody who isn’t at least a casual camper just how much a warm meal means at the end of a long day. I’ve definitely made the mistake before of thinking that I’d be fine with just cold cuts in the evening. And that’s where canned beans can come in handy. You could go super old school and get yourself a dry sack, but canned beans tend to come with all the flavors you’ll need already mixed in. That mix of protein and complex carbs makes a great base into which can you throw chopped vegetables, more protein, and rice or a can of corn. Mmm mmm.

Pancake Mix
It’s light and easy, just needs water and a skillet and you’re starting your day off with some tasty flapjacks. Don’t forget the syrup with this one.

Tortillas are a perfect camping food for a whole bunch of reasons. They’re easy to pack and unlike traditional loafs of bread, they don’t really get crushed when accidentally sat on and squished. They hold meat and other ingredients well, making them the ideal carb receptacle when you’re low on napkins and operating on a primarily fingerfood basis. Additionally, they heat up quickly in a pan (hello, quesadilla) and can be used for a variety of different purposes.

Little known fact: harder cheeses like cheddar and parmesan last much longer at room temperature than we often think. Like a week longer than we often think. A good, well-wrapped block of cheese can last you for a good while, is perfect with sandwiches or to melt with pasta, and is a filling source of protein as you go. A cheese quesadilla is always a warm welcome treat.

Hot dogs
Do I need to explain this one?

Pasta & Pasta Sauce
The same “warm dinner really makes a difference in the wilderness” rule applies here as to the baked beans, but here’s a good chance to mix up those nightly flavors. One cannot live on TexMex alone. Pasta is obviously easy to boil and pasta sauce is easy to mix in. Get yourself a can with meat already in the sauce, or if you’re able, grill your own meat over the fire and have yourself a real tasty experience.

Achievements in this Article