Cooking while camping: how to eat well in the great outdoors

Roasting hot dogs over the fire may be an easy, traditional temptation in the evening around the tent. But it’s no less easy to enjoy a tasteful meal outdoors with these original recipe ideas and practical camping tips! There’s a way to chow down well with a minimum of accessories and a maximum of taste.

Plan out your meals

To limit wasting food and to avoid clutter, make menus in advance and make sure you have enough portions for everyone, including a few snacks. Think about packing room: use dehydrated and packaged foods to free up space in the cooler. Soy beverage, for example, can be stored at room temperature until the container is opened. It’s delicious in pancakes and can replace milk in many desserts. Similarly, opt for precooked products, like bacon or minute rice. There’s even quick-cooking pastas that need just a little water. They’ll save you time and prep!

If you want to kill two birds with one stone, cook dishes in advance and freeze them flat in bags that can then be used as ice packs. A few menu items that you can cook up, freeze then heat up easily are chili, spaghetti sauce and Asian-style vegetable stir-fry. All you need is a stove, like the WhisperLite multi-combustible stove, and a pot, like the Sea-To-Summit X-Pot Collapsible Pot that fold up for compact storage. A few minutes on the fire and your dinner’s ready to enjoy!

Then be creative with your leftovers. With chicken skewers, you can make delicious bread stuffed with chicken salad for lunch and, in the evening, transform what is left into tacos, with cheese and a little spicy sauce. One dish, three meals!

Finally, it's worth investing in good cookware designed for camping, like the GSI Bugaboo Backpacker cooking set. Ultra light, it contains everything you need to cook for two people: saucepan, pan, colander, covers, cups, bowls and lids. And even if you don’t camp out regularly, collapsible silicone cups and bowls, like Sea-To-Summit's X-Cup (250ml) and X-Mug (480ml) and X-Bowl, are convenient everywhere, especially when camping as a family. Just wash them after use, collapse them and pop them in your bag.

Cook outside of the box

For breakfast: add dried fruit, nuts and even dark chocolate chips to oatmeal for a nutritious and tasty start to the day. Then just add boiling water, thanks to the Sea-To-Summit's Collapsible X-Pot/Kettle. Or trade oatmeal for a breakfast pudding by soaking chia seeds in soy beverage overnight. When you get up, add the toppings of your choice, a little yogurt if you have it on hand and you're off to a beautiful day in nature!

For lunch: lunch gets the short end of the stick when it comes to camping meals: it often ends in a ham sandwich. Try pasta carbonara in five minutes: dice pancetta, add quick-cooking pasta and a little water; when the pasta is al dente, add an egg and a little butter and mix so that the egg cooks under the heat of the pasta. Garnish with Parmesan, and dig in! Or take a trip to Japan in just five minutes: cook ramen noodles in boiling water, add one or two packets of instant miso soup, dried mushrooms and a few cubes of tofu.

For dinner: Now you can take your time! Cook up a risotto with dried mushrooms, which you stir off and on over the fire while sipping an aperitif, or let yourself get carried away to India on the scents of a good curry (garam masala, powdered coconut cream, diced vegetables, chicken or tofu, all served on minute rice).

For dessert: Wrap an unpeeled banana in aluminum foil. Cut an incision along the peel and slip in some chocolate or caramel squares. Five minutes over the fire and you’ve got a dessert fit for campground kings!

It just takes a little planning, the right cooking equipment and a bit of creativity to treat the whole family to fine outdoor dining, wherever and however you camp out!