Camping Menu Template (FREE printable camp meal planner & tips to use it)
One of the most requested camping tips I receive sounds something like this: “HELP, how do I make camping meal planning easier?” A camping menu template is the best tool to keep you organized when it comes to …
- menu planning,
- creating a shopping list to take to the grocery store and
- preparing your food at the campsite.
Psst we’re compensated…see our disclosures.
How To Use A Camping Menu Planner
Arranging a camping menu can be a daunting task, especially if you need a weekly meal plan or something for even longer expeditions.
We have a meal plan template in our comprehensive FREE printable kit we call our Camping Trip Planner Template. So, go grab your copy and let’s get planning!
10 Tips For Using Camp Menu Templates
1. Length of trip.
You need to determine how many meals you need to plan. Ask yourself how much food you will be preparing yourself vs how many meals you will be eating out. There may be a day of the week you want to explore a local town including its restaurants and you won’t be eating at your campsite at all that day.
2. Number of people you are feeding.
If you are not cooking for the same number of people throughout your trip, plan meal groups based on how many portions you need to prepare. Do you need camping meals for two or are you feeding crowds and need easy camping meals for large groups?
3. Time available for camp cooking.
Do you have a very active trip planned leaving less time for preparing food? Consider your prep time, cook time and clean up time. For super busy trips you may want to plan lots of make ahead camping meals that allow you to quickly dump and cook or dump and reheat at the campsite.
4. Cooking equipment requirements.
The longer our trips, the more variation we want with different meals. We like to make our camping smoker recipes but we don’t always travel with our portable smoker. One thing we always travel with is our cast iron Dutch ovens (we have three of them, no judging LOL). We have tons of Dutch oven camping recipes that we make for every meal of the day. We have options for breakfasts, dinners, snacks, desserts and baked goods.
Heavy cooking equipment is not great for limited mobility camping. For people with mobility challenges, it is often easier to prepare food at home in a kitchen that has been modified for accessibility … then just “dump and reheat” at the campsite.
5. Plan for unexpected weather.
If you have a weekly menu template that is filled with easy campfire recipes BUT you can’t have campfires or any open flames because of fire restrictions, you might find yourself grocery shopping at the nearest convenience store loading up on cold cuts! I like having a camp menus section dedicated to “any kind of weather cooking” so I can easily adapt if I need to adjust for weather.
6. Serving utensils.
One of the best ways to ensure you have enough plates is to avoid using them. Foil packets are a great way to eliminate the need for lots of plates … and the need to wash them. You can make campfire meals in foil for small groups or large ones. The other nice thing about foil packs is the ability to customize the food you put inside each packet which is great for picky eaters. Just make sure you have enough forks for each camper.
7. Perishables first.
Make sure you are applying camping food safety practices and maintaining your food at proper temperatures as well as eating the most perishable items on your trip menus at the beginning of your trip. You don’t want a complete weekend of eating hot dogs and canned beans because your other food went bad.
8. Skip meals.
You don’t have to eat 3 square meals a day on your trips. We will often make one of our more substantial camping breakfast ideas and just take snacks on a day-hike … then have one of our yummy camping dinner recipes when we get back to camp.
9. Remember the condiments.
If you have been around here very long you know my husband is a “hot sauce nut” … the first time I forgot to bring his favorite condiment, I thought he was going to freak out. Needless to say, I updated my to-do lists to add a condiment section to my camping meal plan template as well as add a standing item on my personal grocery list.
In addition to having perfect meals, using a camp menu plan will also help you practice camping organization techniques so your camp site is clean and clutter-free from the first day of your trip all the way through the last one!
10. Plan for your food storage space.
Whether you are camping in a tent, travel trailer or huge motorhome … space planning is just as important as meal planning. You need ample space to keep your food fresh. Cold storage space is the most challenging so check out these tips on how to pack a cooler because even if you have an RV refrigerator, you may need additional cold storage options. You also may need to plan for interim trips to restock if your trip is long enough to require it. You may want to plan for some camping food recipes no refrigeration required also.
Get Your FREE Camping Meal Plan Printable
My food planning template is part of my comprehensive FREE printable kit. So, go grab your copy and let’s get planning: Camping Trip Planner Template.
Completed Camping Menu Planner Template
If you really don’t want to go through the trouble of planning your own camping meal plan, you can get our FREE printable 3-Day Camping Menu Planner And Grocery List where we have done all the work for you!
Experience New Recipes
It is great to have your personal lists of your old standby menu items like pie iron pizzas, pasta salads and campfire s’mores but on your next camping trip, think about adding some camping-friendly new food ideas too.
If you’re looking for awesome ideas for yummy camping food, you’re in the right place! Here’s our entire camping recipes list.