It’s a funny thing about nature: No matter what season it is, we can always find solace sitting in a chair, eyes transfixed on the fire. But, as soon as a whiff of the burnt hot dog from lunch wafts back through the hot coals, everyone’s chair seems to scoot a little bit further away. Sometimes camping meals sound better than they smell.

Bring everyone back together with a few dashes of seasonings and a few twists on the everyday camping meal. Even if you have the type of family that wants to rough it out in the wilderness, these meals will make you feel like you’re glamping like that family over there, sitting in their air conditioning, watching Survivorman on the plasma.

Go-to Camping Meals for the Adventurous Family

The Flame-Grilled Burger

This may seem basic, but the secret is in the seasoning. Just because you’re out camping doesn’t mean you can’t have a really great burger. Before you leave, mix these seasonings together, store in a baggie, and you’re ready to go! The fixin’s are just extra, if you want to bring fresh produce with you. But, trust us, the burger will defend itself without anything extra.

The seasonings:

  • Sea salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • A dash of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • Dash of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • Dash of dark brown sugar
  • Hamburger patties
  • Hamburger buns

The fixin’s:

  • Spinach or iceberg lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Cheese singles

Just mix all the seasonings together before leaving and pour in a baggie. Then grill away as soon as you get to the open flame!

Go-To Camping Meals

Mountain Man Breakfast

This recipe does require a cast iron Dutch oven, which makes this one-pot meal super easy:

  • 1 lb sausage or ground turkey
  • 1 lb frozen hashbrowns
  • 4 eggs, beaten with ½ cup water
  • 1 cup grated cheese

Over a bed of hot coals, fry and crumble the meat inside the Dutch oven. Remove the cooked meat and drain on paper towels. Using the drippings, brown the potatoes and spread evenly at the bottom of the dutch oven. Now place cooked meat over the potatoes, pour eggs over the meat, and sprinkle cheese on the top. Cook with about eight coals underneath the oven and 16 on top for 20-25 minutes.

Go To Camping Meals

Boy Scout Dinner

As the name suggests, this meal is a tried and true recipe for growing boys wandering around the great outdoors, which means it will definitely fill up your family:

  • Ground beef and turkey
  • Sliced potatoes (don’t peel)
  • Sliced carrots
  • Sliced onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garlic to taste
  • Oregano to taste

Add all the ingredients to individual-serving packets of foil, place on a bed of hot coals. Cook 10 minutes and then flip foil packets to the other side, and cook for another 10 minutes.

Go-to-Camping Meals

Two-Day Chicken Marinade

Planning camping meals for kids (or picky spouses) can be difficult. Chicken fingers aren’t always available, but this chicken breast recipe is sure to please even the most difficult eater in the family:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp cilantro
  • 1/8 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 lbs chicken breast

Like the flame-grilled burger recipe, prepare this quick recipe before you leave. Mix all the seasonings together, and then add the juice and oil. Pour over your chicken breasts and let marinate in bags the day before you leave. When you get to your campsite, wrap the chicken in foil and place on the fire! Bonus tip: It’s always OK to make more marinade than the recipe requires. Let those chicken breasts soak!

Banana S’mores

No list of camping meals would be complete without s’mores! Finish off your evening by the fire with a semi-healthy twist on the classic campfire treat:

  • 1 banana
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips
  • Graham crackers (crushed)

Take one side of the banana, and peel back the skin, but leave the piece intact at the bottom. Carve a space along the length of the banana and remove (or eat for an early snack). Fill the hole with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, and top with crushed graham crackers. Place the peel back over the opening, and wrap the entire banana in foil with the slit facing up. Then place on hot coals for eight to 10 minutes.

Are you headed out to the great outdoors? Leave the MREs in the supply closet, and test out some of these camping meals! Let us know how it goes on our Facebook page, Instagram feed, or in the comments section below!

Need the perfect outdoor scene for these meals? Try Hamada Beach, just two hours from MCAS Iwakuni or some amazing spots near Quantico.

camping meals for adventurous families


Photo Credits: Renee Dolan | Unsplash

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