No Cooler Easy Camping Meals

Troy De Ville

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Core mountaineering camping meals

If you want to get out to the wilderness quickly or you don’t enjoy cooking while on the trail, there are tons of easy camping meals to bring with you. A little preparation can go a long way for a few days out on the trail. Let’s look at a few ideas for easy camping meals.

Using fire for every meal becomes a chore. If you’re not gathering wood, it’s another cost for your camping trip. A campfire for cooking is also an inconvenience because you can’t simply leave it alone, someone must be around to watch it. 

Stick to the basics

Just about every meal you can cook at home, you can also do on the trail, but it’s best to simplify everything. Oatmeal, instant coffee, prepped at home foil dinners like potatoes thinly sliced with onions are easy to eat and transport. Cans of chicken with beans with tortillas are simple too.

A beautiful thing about instant oatmeal is its relatively neutral flavor, and you can add just about anything to it like new nuts, dried fresh fruits, and spices. 

For lunch, I usually do pre-packaged sandwiches and a piece of fruit. On other occasions salami, tortillas and sliced cheese. These don’t have to be kept in a cooler for a few days, and they’ll still be good. A nice thing about tortillas that I like is that I can throw them in my bag and not worried about them getting crushed like a loaf of bread. The same thing with bagels, even if they do get crushed, they seem to bounce back with relative ease. 

I prefer a jetboil, but any camping stove will work for warming up water for instant coffee or soup in the afternoon. If you don’t have a camping stove, it seems like an easy camping item to borrow, check around before committing to buying one. 

Next time you’re walking the aisles of a supermarket check out all the shelf-stable easy prep meals, there are tons of them now. Pouch tuna or chicken that’s preseason is also one of my favorites as well as instant potatoes.

Tortilla tips

I think jelly is a pain to bring when camping, it’s sticky, and it might break in a jar or a bag. I want to spread peanut butter on a tortilla and add some dry raisins or cranberries to it. For a little more crunch, a couple of almonds inside do the trick.

I like to warm a tortilla on an open flame. It takes less than a minute, and warm tortillas always better than a cold one. Spread some peanut butter or butter to make it extra tasty.

This is more of a desert, but it works well in the morning if you have kids. Spread a little butter on your tortilla and heat it over an open flame. Then I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar and roll it up. 

Another tortilla dessert is spreading applesauce and cinnamon sugar on the tortilla. This is also nice warmed up, and it only takes a few minutes.

I like to keep Monterey jack or mozzarella string cheese with me when camping. It keeps for a long time, and because they’re individually packed, they stay clean. Warm your tortilla over the open flame, pull the string cheese apart in about six different pieces, and put on the tortilla. I like to use a pack of chicken in the tortilla, but any meat will work. This works better on a pan to warm up the cheese in the tortilla together, but you could also turn your jetboil or canister stove upside down to warm up the cheese, but it’s not necessary. 

None of these ideas is probably too surprising, but I think the critical thing to remember is to pick out the stuff you like and don’t overthink it. Choosing meals on the trail shouldn’t be something you stress about, relax and enjoy your time outside! 

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