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Lazy Camping Food: Quick Easy Meals for Families and Car Camping
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Lazy Camping Food: Quick Easy Meals for Families and Car Camping

Camping meals have come a long way from their humble roots in military-style MREs (short for Meal, Ready-To-Eat) and foil hobo packets. No offense to MREs and hobo packets, but the camping food of today tends to be far more enjoyable.


Cooking extravagant camping meals has become a pinnacle of the outdoor experience for many. If you’re one of those people, you need a Trident 2-in-1 portable propane camp stove and campfire and our new camping and overlanding skottle, the Skwok. But some of us just want something quick and easy to fuel up for the next adventure. And even seasoned camp chefs need a break sometimes. 

Mouthwatering Meals in Under 10 Minutes: Our Favorite Lazy Camping Food

Simple and minimal effort doesn’t have to mean bland or boring. Enter lazy camping food. 

You could also call it camping comfort food. Decadent. Warming. Cravable. Indulgent. Everything a wholesome camping trip should include. Minimal gear or know-how required. 

Lazy Camping Food for Families

Kids are picky. Everyone knows it. Getting them to eat enough food while camping can be a challenge that keeps some families from getting out there as much as they’d like. When you’re planning lazy camping food for your family, simplicity and variety are the two key ingredients. 

Simplicity, meaning simple meals that are popular among kids and adults. And Variety in that you can easily pack a variety of snackable options so there’s something for even the pickiest eaters to enjoy. 

A lazy camping food meals egg and sweet potato skillet for the whole family.

Sweet Potato and Bacon Breakfast Scramble

This hearty breakfast scramble is lazy camping food at its finest. Simple and delicious. One big cast iron skillet-full will fill the whole fam up. 

  • If you prefer to make this lazy meal even lazier, you can dice the vegetables ahead of time and pack them in Tupperware or ziplock bags. 
  • Use a large cast iron skillet prepped with oil or butter. Cook on a grate over the campfire or on a burner like a Coleman camp stove or LavaBox Trident. 
  • Add one sweet potato, finely diced, to the skillet. Let it cook close to the flame (or on high heat) for about 5 minutes. 
  • Add diced red onion and a few strips of fully cooked bacon from the package. Let cook for about 2 more minutes. 
  • Lastly, add 6 eggs. Alternatively, if you don’t want to bother traveling with whole eggs, eggs from the carton will do. Pour eggs from the carton into the skillet until it’s about half full. Add salt and pepper and cook to your liking. 
  • Bonus points: Got a picky kid or a vegetarian? Cook the bacon on the side. Sweet tooth in the group? Add in some maple syrup while the eggs are cooking and give it a stir. 
Shake and pour pancake mix, one of the best lazy camping food ideas for families and car camping.

 

Quick Mix Squeezable Pancake Batter

Is there anything easier than squeezing premade pancake mix out of a bottle straight onto a hot griddle over the campfire? Probably not. And eating pancakes at camp first thing in the morning is sure to engrain fond memories of camping in your kid’s mind for life.

  • We recommend the Kodiak brand Power Cakes Flapjack Quick Mix
  • Protein cakes are more filling than typical pancakes and taste just as good. Your kids won’t know the difference and they’ll stay full longer to power through whatever adventures the day holds. 
  • Just add properly filtered stream water or bottled water to the squeeze bottle, shake, and squeeze out the mix onto a griddle prepped with butter over the campfire.
  • Once cooked, top your pancakes with whatever your family loves from maple syrup to squeezable marshmallow fluff. 

Walking tacos in a Doritos bag, lazy camping food meals for family camping trips and car camping.

Walking Tacos

When you bring the walking tacos, you become the hit of the whole camping trip. Everyone loves walking tacos. They’re the perfect lazy camping food in that they leave minimal dirty dishes, take no time to whip up, and everyone can serve themselves with whatever fixings they do or do not want added.

  • Go to Costco or Sam’s Club and grab one of those giant variety boxes of snack-size chip bags.
  • Pack ground beef (get the fully cooked kind if you want to reduce the time you spend cooking it), a packet of taco seasoning, a bag of shredded cheese, jars of salsa and queso, and whatever other fixings you’d like. 
  • Easy fixing options: avocados, canned black beans, shredded lettuce, hot sauce, jars of pickled jalapenos or pickled onions, sour cream, etc. 
  • Cook (or warm if you bought the pre-cooked kind) the ground beef with taco seasoning over the fire or camp stove using a cast iron skillet
  • Set out all the fixings and let everyone have a fiesta!
  • Choose a chip bag as the base of your walking taco, add ground beef to the bag, and then add whatever fixings you prefer. 
  • Walking tacos are eaten straight out of the bag with a spoon. Toss the empty bag in your camp trash. No mess no stress.

Backpacker's Pantry backing meals are the best desserts for lazy camping food

Backpacker’s Pantry Desserts

When you’re kicking back around the campfire after dinner and craving something sweet, Backpacker’s Pantry’s dessert selection can’t be beat. And when it comes to lazy camping food, nothing is lazier than boiling water, pouring it into and bag, and having it magically turn into creme brulee. 

These are no MREs from the 1950s. Backpacking meals have come a long way and, as someone who has tried many of them, Backpacker’s Pantry makes some of the best. We recommend you and your family try… 

Lazy Camping Food For Car Camping

In my opinion, a good car camping or overlanding setup is one that’s always ready to go. Pack all your gear into the appropriate boxes at the start of the season and let it live there until the season ends. 

This way, whenever nature calls or the opportunity arises, you can get up and go. There’s no excuse not to get outside and camp. Your gear is always packed. Just chuck those designated “car camping” boxes in your trunk and go. This includes food. 

Pack your car camping food box full of nonperishable food items that can last inside of it for months or more. Multipurpose ingredients that don’t require refrigeration and have long shelf lives are your lazy car camping food staples. If you have a cooler and need to subsidize your pre-packed pantry with perishable items, you can do that with a quick pit stop on your way out. 

Lazy camping food ideas: canned chili cooked over the campfire

 

Chili From The Can

Nothing holds a place in my heart like this tasty, nostalgic lazy camping food. It may sound simple but don’t knock it til’ you try it. There is no easier more quintessential camping meal in my opinion.

  • You need: a can of Vegetarian Hormel Chili with Beans or Turkey Hormel Chili with Beans, ½ an avocado per can of chili, a fresh jalapeno, and sour cream if preferred. 
  • Use the pull tab to remove the top from the can of chili and place the can directly in the ashes on the perimeter of a nice hot campfire. 
  • Let it heat up and stir it as it cooks for about 5-7 minutes. 
  • Once it’s bubbling, use a Fireproof Glove or hot pad holder to remove the can from the fire. I’ve even been so lazy as to use a fork to do this part (I don’t recommend it). 
  • Use a pocket knife to add some avocado slices and slice some jalapeno straight into the can — cowboy style. Add sour cream if you like and chow down. 

Three Cheese Campfire Nachos 

This is another lazy camping meal that you can throw right on the campfire. The only dish you’ll need to dirty is your good old cast iron skillet. We have an entire blog post devoted to this decadent campfire meal.

Car Camping Essentials: Lazy Camping Food Staples To Pack for Every Trip

Now, you're probably wondering about that box of nonperishable lazy camping food staples I mentioned. The essential camping food items that can be mixed and matched to make a myriad of meals for car camping. We’d never leave you hanging. These are our must-have lazy camping food staples to keep packed in your car camping pantry all season long. 

  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Coffee
  • Coconut oil or ghee
  • Powdered coffee creamer 
  • Hot sauce
  • Sugar packets
  • Jerky or packaged meat sticks like BoboLinks Beef Sticks
  • Emergen-C packets
  • Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion salt, taco seasoning
  • Cans of cream of mushroom and/or cream of chicken soup
  • Uncooked white rice 
  • Bobo’s oat bars
  • Cans of chili and/or soup
  • Dried fruit like mango, apples, pineapples, cranberries, or banana chips
  • Granola
  • Just add water pancake mix
  • Cans of evaporated milk or a carton of unopened shelf-stable almond or soy milk
  • Extra backpacking meals like Backpacker’s Pantry or Farm to Summit 
  • Instant mashed potatoes and instant gravy packets
  • Chocolate bars (as long as you don’t store your camping box anywhere too warm)
  • Hot chocolate packets
  • Graham crackers
  • Marshmallows 

Packing Lazy Camping Food Lets You Make the Most of Your Time Outdoors

Some trips call for extravagant camp cuisine. Others call for quick snacks and lazy camping food. Cooking camp meals doesn’t ever have to be stressful or time-consuming. And quick, easy meals don’t have to mean you’ll be resigned to eating prison gruel. Whether you just prefer to spend as much of your time climbing, paddling, or on the trail as possible or you straight up don’t like cooking, there’s no judgment here! 

You can still pull together tasty, indulgent meals in record time and camping feels much more approachable when you know you're prepared with lazy camping food that will keep the whole family full and happy.

Always remember to adhere to local fire restrictions. If there’s a fire ban prohibiting you from cooking over a traditional campfire, The Trident produces a fiery orange flame in campfire mode and an adjustable cool blue flame for cooking on. It complies with Stage 1 and 2 Fire Restriction requirements in most of the U.S. and is the perfect addition to your lazy camping arsenal so you never have to think twice about whether or not you’ll be able to have a campfire when you head out camping.

 

LavaBox Portable Campfire propane camping stove with brautwarsts, a great easy camping meal, cooking on top.

 

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