Travel Tips

Camping: Meal Preparation

Cooking while Camping

Though I was late to the camping game, I have excelled at camping meal preparation. Max has an affinity for going out to eat, but I am conscious of money so I would prefer to cook at home. Camping allows us to cook for ourselves and be outdoors, which Max loves.

The act of cooking over a fire is not hard if you are prepared. I would recommend choosing ‘one pot’ dishes. For example, we love cooking jambalaya for dinners!

Camping Meal Preparation

Our favourite jambalaya

Our Jambalaya Recipe:

This recipe makes enough for 4 servings!


  • 8 oz chicken breasts
  • 4 Andouille sausages
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Creole Seasoning
  • Franks Red Hot
  • Worcestershire sauce


  • Preheat pan over fire. Cook chicken first. Take out and set aside.
  • Dice onion, celery, and garlic. Cook mixture until onions are translucent.
  • Slice sausage on the bias and add to onion, celery, and garlic mixture. Cook until browned.
  • Cut chicken into desired size, add into mixture.
  • Add tomatoes, rice, and chicken broth. Mix.
  • Add desired salt, pepper, creole seasoning, Franks, and worcestershire sauce. Remember that this is a large batch so add more that you think!
  • Let cook for 20 minutes, periodically stirring. This will allow the rice to cook evenly.
  • Once rice has soaked up most liquid- it is ready to serve!

Cook Creatively

Max has gotten adventurous over the years and has made complex dishes. As you can see picture below, he made pasta and a homemade pasta sauce over the fire! We also love making scrambles in the mornings (eggs, potatoes, bacon, onions, mushrooms)

Camping Meal Preparation

Max cooking dinner!

One of my first memories of our African road trip was cooking our first meal over the fire. It was my first time camping and I had no idea what cooking while camping looked like. Max got boerewors (meat) and a can of beans and cooked over a South African braai. What a romantic meal…

He accidentally burned the meat and I neglected to tell him I hated the beans he bought. I ate both parts of the meal with a smile to impress him. I don’t think I would do that today.

Camping Meal Preparation

South African Braai

Camping Meal Preparation

Max taking meal preparation seriously

Cast Iron Pan cooking

The most important tool we have purchased regarding cooking: a cast iron pan.

This has seen more meals at home and camping than I can count. I was initially hesitant because you cannot fully clean a cast iron (NO soap) but it is now seasoned and perfect!

Camping Meal Preparation

The perfect cast iron pan

Camping Meal Preparation

Mmmmm bacon

Coffee while camping

The second most important camping cooking item is our Stanley brew and store coffee. As seen below, it is well loved. Please watch the video at the end of this post for a tutorial!

Camping Meal Preparation

Stanley boil, brew, and store

Camping Meal Preparation

Coffee is essential

Camping Meal Preparation

Coffee is essential

Cooking while camping packing list:

As mentioned previously, cooking while camping is not hard when properly prepared. Here is our packing list:

  • cast iron(s)
  • slotted spoon
  • utensils (for eating)
  • plates
  • salt/pepper
  • butter/olive oil
  • tongs (multiple sets)
  • can opener
  • oven mit (multiple)
  • spatula
  • knives
  • cutting board(s)
  • fire grilling surface (ex: grate)
  • fire starting utensil

I would also recommend dicing/chopping/cutting anything that you can ahead of time. For example, I diced all of our onions for 3 days at home and it saved a bit of time!

Have fun with cooking while camping! Hopefully it all turns out but if it doesn’t, its okay to get take out nearby 🙂


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