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The GO Outdoors Guide To Camping Food Ideas

Here at GO Outdoors we recommend that you pack your own food for the week or weekend of camping, festivalling or travelling, so you can save money and also so you can enjoy the camping experience of cooking your own meals.

You should pack your own food for the Outdoor that won’t perish and won't be too heavy to carry so you can stay nourished and energised, whatever you're up to. 

You can pack your snacks in a cool box or a cool bag, dependent on how many people you have to feed, or food can be kept loose in your rucksack.(Keep it in a separate bag to avoid spills and spaghetti scented clothes for the Outdoors duration!)  

Take drinks with you, but if you are off to a festival or camp site, always check the site rules before you get there so you don’t have glass or cans if they aren't allowed. 

Cheap and Quick Outdoor Food Ideas For Adults and Kids

  • Beans – With a ring pull style tin or can opener
  • Spaghetti- With a ring pull style tin or a can opener
  • Packet soups to be mixed with water 
  • Packet noodles
  • Meat ( To be consumed when cooked on a BBQ on the first day, without letting it warm or overheat first)
  • Cous Cous packets
  • Cereal bars
  • Milk for cereal - kept in a cool box for day one. This is a perishable that may need to be replaced. 
  • Crisps- Multipacks
  • Chocolate bars – Multipacks
  • Sausage rolls/Mini pies - Any carbs which can be kept chilled and eaten without cooking
  • Cereal packs - Try mini packs which can be eaten direct from the packet, with milk or alone
  • Home made cakes, flapjacks or granola bars packed in foil or tupperware
  • Rice cakes with high energy toppings such as peanut butter and jam
  • Crackers with a variety of toppings
  • Biscuits in handy bags
  • Bagels for the morning 
  • Travel size speads such as mini jams and peanut butters
  • Apples and other non bruising fruit, or fruit kept in tupperware
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Precooked or pre-packed  food – eg Pizza, sausage rolls, sandwiches that are ready to eat
  • Chocolate (kept cool)
  • Bread ( A small loaf as it may not keep)
  •  Buns for hot dogs/burgers
  • Dried meats such as salami
  • Dairy products for day one only (eg cheese for use with BBQ food)
  • Sauces such as Ketchup or brown sauce

What to Take or Make Before You Leave To Save Time and Money

  • Home made granola bars, high energy cakes or muffins are all great in that they can be chucked in a ziplock bag for eating on the go.
  • Cook up some pizza before and wrap it in foil to be eaten cold whilst you’re on the move. (Obviously this only works if you like cold pizza!)
  • Wraps and sandwiches are ideal for eating whilst on the move or travelling to the Outdoor. 
  • Look for mini chocolate bars and cereal bars that won’t take up much space in your pack. These are great for kids as well.
  • Beans can be eaten cold and are inexpensive.
  •  Also try All Day Breakfasts or cans with spaghetti, raviloi and other similar flavours. 
  • Remember to use a ring pull style, or to take a can opener!
  • Cereal is enjoyable at any time of the day. Try small multi packs which can be eaten as a snack or for breakfast with milk from your cool box. 
  • Snack food with plenty of carbohydrates like bagels or crisps can help keep you energized, even on very little sleep.
  • Packs of noodles are very quick, convenient as well as lightweight and don't take long to cook, ideal when you just want to crash out. 
  • Avoid things that need to be chilled such as dairy past the first day as they may spoil in the heat. 
  • Avoid taking delicate fruit and veg which can get bashed about and bruised unless you intend to eat it on arrival or store it in a case
  • Don’t reheat meat or rice as this could lead to illness. 
  • Don’t forget that many campsites don’t allow glass- so check your food stash before you leave and make sure it complies with Outdoor rules. 

Buying Healthy and Safe Food at Festivals or Away From Home

  • Make sure it’s been thoroughly cooked and the stand and staff look hygienic
  • Ask yourself if you would eat it at home.
  • Trust your instincts when it comes to the look and smell of food. If you don’t trust it, don’t risk it.
  • Try the onsite supermarket if you need some essentials, although bear in mind prices are higher
  • Make sure to choose something filling if you do buy at a stall, so look for high protein and high fibre
  • Cous cous, a jacket potato with beans and tuna, tofu, any thing lentil or legume based and skip the high sugar options.

Drinks and Hydration at Festivals

  • Try and bring your own water rather than paying more at stalls for bottles. 
  • Taps should be located all around the sites. 
  • Check your Outdoor camping site for rules on glass and alcohol and adhere to these.
  • Drinks can be poured into bottles or jerrycans for transportation if glass if not allowed, which can be ideal with spirits. 
  • Bring squash if you don’t usually drink water to encourage you to drink, which is particularly important in the heat of the sun. 
  • Take your own refillable water bottle or flask that can be carried all day.