Planning a Trip to the Great Outdoors? Try These Camping Food Hacks

Foil packs and orange peels are about to become your new favorite cooking methods.

With three-day weekends and summer vacations on the horizon, a little time spent in nature seems like the perfect getaway right about now. Of course, grilling burgers and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows around the fire are givens when it comes to cooking on camping trips. But there's actually a lot more you can do over your campfire beyond grilling meat and making s'mores. Whether you're an experienced or novice campfire cook, we've gathered some brilliant camping food hacks you'll want to remember for your next trip.

Always be sure perishable foods are stored safely. According to the USDA, you should keep cool food at 40°F or lower or hotter than 140°F. Consider bringing a durable cooler and a thermometer ($6, Bed Bath & Beyond) that will ensure your food stays cool for as long as you'll be without a fridge.

1. Use Empty Condiment Bottles to Make Pancakes or Eggs

Upcycle your empty ketchup or salad dressing bottles and save them for your next camping trip. Fill them with pancake batter (after cleaning them out, of course) to easily squeeze onto your campfire griddle. Or avoid breaking your eggs on the way to the campsite by whipping together a dozen and keeping them in a bottle to make scrambled eggs for breakfast. You can also make delicious omelets in a bag in advance to take with you. If you don't have any empty condiment bottles, use water bottles or Mason jars.

food in foil over campfire
Kacey Klonsky/Getty Images

2. Use Foil Packs to Make Meals a Breeze

Perhaps the easiest camping hack to dine mess-free is by making your meals in foil. Wrap meat, veggies, and seasonings, and place them in the hot coals or on a campfire grill ($70, Wayfair) until cooked through. Try a "baked" potato to go with your grilled meat. For a simpler meal everyone will enjoy, you could wrap your buttered bread and cheese and roast a melty grilled cheese. You can also make dessert this way! Try our recipe featuring pineapples. Make sure you have some long grilling tongs ($18, Bed Bath & Beyond) to prevent burning yourself when you remove them.

3. Use Skewers for More than Marshmallows

While s'mores are almost a requirement for any camping trip, you can utilize roasting sticks ($16, The Home Depot) to cook other foods, too. Bring along a can of refrigerated biscuits and wrap them around the stick to roast over the fire. Turn your hotdog into delicious pigs in a blanket by wrapping them with some purchased crescent roll dough. Or go for a sweet treat by popping a refrigerated cinnamon roll on the end to get all nice and toasty over the fire. If you want to get really fancy, use REI's tip to turn your reusable water bottle into a makeshift rolling pin to whip up some real dough.

4. "Bake" Muffins and More in Orange Peels

Pack a bag of oranges for your daily vitamin C. Cut the fruit in half and once you're finished eating (or drinking your fresh juice), use the hollowed peels to make muffins for an easy camping food hack. You can mix up your own batter in a jar and keep it in your cooler. Simply wrap your filled oranges in foil and place them in the hot coals for 10 to 15 minutes. For more detailed instructions (including how to make cinnamon rolls), check out this post by KOA.

After you've prepped your camping food hacks, plan for some nutritious snacks to stay full between meals. Make some (no refrigeration needed) snacks no-bake peanut butter energy bites or paleo roasted nuts to tote along the trails.

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