The Best Camping Lunch Ideas

The Best Camping Lunch Ideas

By: Kalli Hawkins

Preparing and cooking lunch while camping is all about convenience. While you might spend more of your time preparing and cooking breakfast and dinner - when it comes to lunchtime, having a quick and easy meal is often preferred. It allows you more time in your day for hiking or fun outdoor adventures. So I've put together a list of quick lunch ideas in case you're on the go and a handful of easy campfire ideas to enjoy for a warm hearty lunch!

Quick Lunches

  • Classic Sandwiches
A PB&J or meat and cheese sandwich is a staple to any roadtrip, hiking, or camping adventure. Reflecting on my childhood camping trips with the family, this was an easy option that the whole family could enjoy with minimal effort. Still to this day, when packing for a camping trip, I make sure bread, lunch meat, pepper jack cheese, and spicy mustard are at the top of my list. If you have time and want to spruce up your sandwich a bit, set up the stove and grab a pan to make a warm and delicious grilled cheese.
  • Small Snacks

If you're on the go, hiking, fishing, or mountain biking during the day and are having too much fun to stop and prepare a meal, then some quick snack items may do the trick. Some great small snack ideas are veggies & dip, jerky, trail mix, granola bars, and my favorite apples & peanut butter.

A woman cuts into an apple above a jar of peanut butter.

  • Soup

What's more convenient than a reliable can of soup? Whenever I go camping, I always stash one or two cans of my favorite soup, usually a beef stew or savory chicken and wild rice option, just as a backup for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. Another option that would require a bit of pre-camping prep work would be to cook your own soup recipe at home in the crockpot and store it in Tupperware so that you can enjoy a hearty homecooked meal while on your camping adventure.

A woman cooks assorted vegetables over a camp stove outdoors.

  • Dehydrated Meals

If you want the taste of a homecooked meal without the hard work, then pick up a couple of dehydrated meal options for your camping trip. With a little boiled water, you can have your choice of Mac & Cheese, Pad Thai, Lasagna, or my favorite Turkey Dinner Casserole. If you have experience dehydrating your own food, create a few tasty meals before your trip!

Campfire Lunches

  • Vegetable Medley

One of my favorite items to cook while camping is a delicious vegetable medley consisting of zucchini, yellow squash, and sugar snap peas or broccoli. It's great as a healthy standalone meal or can easily be paired with instant rice for more subsistence. Thinly slice your zucchini and squash and place them in a pan with olive oil. Add in other veggies such as snap peas, broccoli, or even sliced carrots. Lightly sautee for 10-15 minutes and season to taste. Want to know my secret seasoning ingredient? Ms. Dash - Garlic and Herb.

Zucchini and broccoli cooking over a camp stove from above in a cast iron pan.

  • One-Pot Pasta

Whether you're a marinara, alfredo, pesto, or stroganoff fan, flavorful pasta is a great afternoon lunch idea. With a bit of pre-camping prep work, you can make this dish in a matter of minutes. By pre-cooking the pasta at home and storing it in Tupperware, you can save yourself time, water, and dishes so you can get back to adventuring even sooner. Start building your one-pot pasta dish by adding your favorite protein, veggies, and sauce to the pan. Top it off with your pre-cooked pasta, and you have a quick and easy lunch right at your fingertips.

A finished camp stover meal with vegetables and pasta.

  • Tin Foil Fajitas
A great dish that requires minimal effort but is packed full of flavor is tin foil fajitas. Grab a large piece of tin foil, fold the sides to create a pouch, and then place your steak or chicken strips inside. Layer your flavorful tin foil pouch with sliced peppers, onions, or favorite fajita veggies. Then fold up your pouch and place it on the fire grate or tuck it into the hot campfire coals. Easy as can be! Check at 15-20 minutes and enjoy a quick and savory campfire lunch.
  • Sloppy Joes & Corn
While this dish can get a bit messy, hence the name, it's an easy and comforting meal to prepare all in one pot. I love sloppy joes because you can tweak the ingredients to your preferences. For example, I like to mix it up and use ground turkey or venison instead of the traditional ground beef for my sloppy joes. Finally, put some sweet corn over the campfire and enjoy a delicious meal at your campsite.
  • Quesadillas

Tortillas are a handy and versatile item to pack on a camping trip because you can use them in various ways. Whether you use them for your breakfast burritos, fajitas, tacos, or quesadillas, they offer flexibility for every camping meal. With your favorite cheese, peppers, and salsa, you can whip up some quick and easy spicy campfire quesadilla.

A hand holding a cut pita bread triangle.

Well, there you have it! Try out one of these camping lunch ideas on your next trip and enjoy a tasty and satisfying meal. It will leave you fueled up and ready to take on your next outdoor adventure.

About the Author: Kalli Hawkins

Kalli Hawkins is an outdoor, gear, and adventure writer based in Colorado. An avid explorer and backcountry enthusiast, Kalli can often be found on a backroad exploring the outdoors with her pup, Riley. When she's not writing or adventuring outdoors, she enjoys woodworking, homebrewing beer, and trying her hand at gardening. If you would like to connect or follow along, you can find her at @kallihawkins.