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5 Day Camping Meal Plan for Families

We have a large family (four kids and two adults). We also enjoy camping and we also enjoy saving money.

Recently we went on a long trip out west. We were five days into our trip before we bought our first meal outside of what we packed. This helps save money AND makes life easier so you’re not scrambling to find things to buy when you’re setting up campsites and getting established.

I wanted to share with you our meal plan in case it might be helpful for your camping trip. Below you will find tips for meal planning for camping and a 5 Day Camping Meal Plan. Enjoy!

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Tips for Camping Meal Plans

Here are a few tips for meal planning your camping trips that I hope you will find useful!

  • Make food ahead of time. This is my TOP meal planning tip. Anything you can cook, prep, or prepare ahead of time will save you a load of time on your camping trip. You can also freeze things like muffins, soups, and meat so you can heat them up and eat them later.
  • Prepare and bring foods you’ll actually want to eat. I highly recommend bringing foods your family will enjoy. Don’t use your camping trip as a place to completely change your diet. If you don’t like eating it you won’t want to get it out and feed everyone after you’ve gone through all the work tasks of setting up a camp.
  • Bring some treats along. Camping is a lot of work. Bring little food treats along that you can enjoy as a reward for all that work!
  • Pack extra snacks. You’re going to be hungrier when you’re camping. I was constantly hungry when were camping and it’s no wonder. We were setting up our camp, hauling things in and out of our van, and going on long hikes. Snacks are a blessing and they help keep kids happy when they have to wait between meals.
  • Pack foods that take up less space in your vehicle. For example, we brought more flat tortillas instead of loaves of bread in our car. We also liked using freeze-dried meals that take up very little space but are packed with nutrients and calories.
    • Some of our favorite freeze-dried meals are:

Backpaker’s Pantry’s 3 Sisters Stew (a good vegetarian option)

Mountain House Buffalo Style Chicken and Mac & Cheese

Chicken Fried Rice from Mountain House

  • Adjust meal plan for driving days. Depending on what type of camping you’re doing, you may have long days of driving before you reach your destination. Our out west trip involved many days of driving with days-long-stops in between. I chose the easiest meals for when we were driving and saved the harder meals for when we had a dedicated camp spot.
  • Use fresh produce first. Fresh produce won’t last a long time on your camping trip so try to plan meals that involve fresh produce to be eaten earlier on the trip (or after a grocery stop). I made rice and vegetables the first night of our camping trip so they wouldn’t go bad. We also made a buffalo chicken salad one night directly after we bought groceries which didn’t give the lettuce time to wilt.
  • Get a camp stove you like. We used our camp stove a LOT on our camping trip. It was highly useful to us and made it easier than always starting a fire to cook our food.
    • We have a Coleman 2-burner propane stove that we really liked. It doesn’t take up too much space and it’s not overly heavy. The only thing we don’t love about it is that you have to use a lighter to light it. It’s budget-friendly and did everything we needed it to do.
  • Use a good cooler. There are some coolers that simply keep food colder longer and require fewer ice fill-ups. We really like our Otterbox cooler as it keeps things cold for a long time. We did have to add extra ice along our trip, but we were happy with how cold it was and how much ice remained between fill-ups. RTIC coolers and Yeti coolers are also good options.

These options are a tad pricy compared to your average Igloo cooler, but I do think they’re worth the investment for longer camping trips.

Day 1 Camping Meal Plan

  • Breakfast: Chocolate chip muffins (made ahead of time and freeze)
  • Lunch: Pepperoni rolls made ahead of time and frozen (you can use our dough recipe here for making pepperoni rolls).
  • Dinner: Cut up vegetables and rice sauteed on a camp stove or over the fire (make the rice ahead of time and store in the cooler)

Day 2: Camping Meal Plan

  • Breakfast: Cinnamon rolls. I made these ahead of time and froze them in plastic Tupperware in the freezer and then put them in my cooler when we left.
  • Lunch: Favorite fruit, flat tortillas with lunch meat or peanut butter and jelly, and chips
  • Dinner: Chicken tacos (prepare chicken ahead of time and freeze. Toppings can also be prepared ahead of time) Chicken can be heated up on the camp stove or over a fire in a cast iron skillet.

Day 3: Camping Meal Plan

  • Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, and rice (or toast)
  • Lunch: Soup that has been prepared and frozen ahead of time (heated over a camp stove or in a cast iron pot over a fire)
  • Dinner: Freeze-dried meal. There are a TON of freeze-dried-meal options and though they are a tad pricey, they can be so helpful when you’re trying to make a quick hot meal for your family. 3 freeze-dried meals generally could feed two adults and four children in our family.

Day 4: Camping Meal Plan

  • Breakfast: Breakfast burritos cooked on a cast iron skillet (add favorite fillings)
  • Lunch: Favorite fruit, flat tortillas with lunch meat or peanut butter and jelly, and chips
  • Dinner: Salmon patties made from salmon pouches and buttered noodles (can add favorite vegetables to this meal. We fried up some onions to go on top).

Day 5: Camping Meal Plan

  • Breakfast: Pancakes
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese and tomato soup
  • Dinner: Hotdogs, s’mores, mountain pies. Can’t go wrong with classic camp foods that everyone loves.

What Would You Add to Your 5 Day Camping Meal Plan?

I love hearing about other people’s camping meal plan ideas as well. What are your camping favorites? Let me know about them in the comments below!

For more ideas about camping, check out our 22 Tips for Van Camping With Kids.

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