Adventure, camping, Camping, food, Travel Tips

A Complete Car Camping Menu for a Weekend in the Woods

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What’s keeping you from getting outside this weekend? Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s a crazy schedule, or maybe the thought of packing and preparing for a weekend in the woods is just too daunting. If that’s the case, then you’ve come to the right place! I can’t pack your bags for you, but I can help you get your camp meals together quick, so you can be sitting round a campfire before you know it.

This simple car camping meal plan includes everything you need for meals from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. I’ve included a shopping list and detailed instructions so you can be packed and ready to go by Friday afternoon. The best part? These camping recipes are EASY! You will need to do a little bit of prep work at home, but when you get to camp, you’ll spend more time relaxing than slaving over your camp stove. I promise! As a bonus, these camp meals are easy enough for kids to make.

The Perfect Car Camping Menu for a Family of Four

car camping meals

These meals are wholesome and easy to prepare, taking advantage of foods that are available at grocery stores across the country.

A complete weekend camping menu for a family of four. Includes recipes and a shopping list.

The Weekend Car-Camping Grocery List

Download a printable version

This assumes that you have salt and pepper, but you probably have a bunch of these items in your pantry or fridge.

The Weekend Camping Menu: Staples 

  • 1 jar of natural peanut butter
  • Rice vinegar
  • Soy sauce or tamari
  • Sesame oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Small jar of honey
  • 1 pound of spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccine
  • Chocolate chips
  • Mini marshmallows
  • White flour (2 cups)
  • Buckwheat flour (1 cup)
  • Almond flour (1 cup)
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Dried milk powder (1 cup)
  • Small bottle of maple syrup
  • 1 Package of corn tortillas
  • 1 can of black beans
  • Olive oil
  • 1 jar of salsa
  • 1 jar of white beans
  • Whole fennel (the spice)
  • 2 cups oats
  • Raisins (1/2 cup)
  • Brown sugar (½ cup)
  • Cinnamon
  • 4 foil packs of drained tuna
  • 1 loaf of sandwich bread
  • Roll of aluminum foil

The Weekend Camping List: Produce and Perishables

  • 2 limes
  • A couple of heads of broccoli
  • 4 oranges
  • A bunch of bananas (at least 4)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 4 apples
  • Celery
  • Block of cheddar or other hard cheese

Shopping List for Totally Tropical Trail Mix (as an alternative, you can buy prepackaged trail mix)

trail mix for camping

  • 1 cup roasted almonds
  • 1 cup roasted and salted pistachios (without the shell)
  • 1 cup roasted and salted macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup chopped dried pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped dried mango
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • ⅓ cup cacao nibs

Shopping List for Super-Seed Granola Bars (as an alternative, you can buy prepackaged granola bars)

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbs. flax seeds
  • 2 Tbs. chia seeds
  • 2 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • ¼ cup almond butter

What to Prepare Before You Leave Homemake ahead camping meals

Spicy Peanut Sauce for Camping or Backpacking

This recipe is for a family of four. You can easily cut it our double it to fit your needs.

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 8 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • Juice of two limes
  • 4 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. dried garlic
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper

Mix all ingredients together and store in a plastic ziplock bag or container with lid.

Easy Camping Pancake Mix

This mix will feed four for breakfast, plus make biscuits for Sunday’s dinner.

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour,
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup of dried milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • a pinch of salt

Store in a ziplock bag, and don’t forget to pack maple syrup.

The Best Camping Oatmeal

This mix feeds four easily and includes dried milk powder so you only have to add water at camp.

  • 2 cups oats (regular or quick)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dried milk powder
  • Cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a plastic bag.

Totally Tropical Trail Mix

This is my kids’ favorite trail mix recipe. Find it here, or buy your favorite trail mix for high-energy snacking.

Super-Seed Granola Bars

These granola bars took years to perfect, but they’re really awesome. Gluten free, dairy free, nut free. If you’re short on time, buy your favorite packaged granola bars instead.

Easy Camping Recipes for Your Perfect Weekend

banana boats for camping

Pack your groceries and the meals you’ve already prepared into a plastic tub or cooler. Nothing is too perishable, so a cooler isn’t really necessary, unless it promises to be a scorcher. 

Friday Night Peanut Noodles

  • Bring a pot of water to boil on your camp stove. Add a pound of pasta and cook until done. Pour ⅓ cup of pasta-cooking water into your peanut sauce and mix to combine. Drain the rest of the water into a cat hole away from camp. Add sauce to noodles and cover.
  • Saute broccoli in a frying pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. If you want to do fewer dishes, add the broccoli to the boiling water with your pasta.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature.

Friday Night Banana Boats

  • Make a long slit in each banana. Leave the skins on.
  • Sprinkle mini marshmallows and chocolate chips into the slit.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Wrap tightly in foil and place over a campfire until they are thoroughly mush.

Saturday Morning Pancakes

  • In a bowl mix 2 ½ cups of pancake mix with two tablespoons of oil and enough water to make a fairly runny batter.
  • Pour batter into hot, oiled frying pan.
  • Serve with maple syrup

Saturday Lunch – Black Bean Salad

  • In a bowl, mix 1 can of  black beans, chopped red onion, and a few tablespoons of salsa to taste. Add 1 tablespoon each of rice vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Serve with corn tortillas

Saturday Night White Bean Soup

  • Add oil to a saucepan and heat over your camp stove. Saute chopped yellow onion.
  • When the onion is soft, add 2 chopped potatoes, and one chopped celery stick.
  • Cook for a few minutes, then add a teaspoon of fennel seeds.
  • Add 4-6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • When the potatoes are almost cooked through, add chopped kale.
  • When the kale is cooked through, add a can of undrained white beans.
  • Cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Saturday Night Biscuits

These are essentially really thick pancakes.

  • Use whatever pancake mix you have left and mix it in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of oil and enough water to make a thick dough.
  • Add spoonfuls of batter to a hot, oiled pan. Cover the biscuits so that they cook thoroughly.
  • Flip after a few minutes and cook on the other side. Serve with your soup. Yum!

Sunday Morning Oatmeal

You can make your oatmeal while you’re half asleep. It’s so easy. Pour oatmeal mix into a pot. Add enough water to cover by about an inch. Cook over medium low eat  until most of the water is absorbed.

Sunday Lunch – Tuna Sandwiches

You probably don’t need me to tell you how to do this, but I will anyway:

  • Mix your 4 packages of tuna fish with a cup of chopped celery, plus some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. If you have a mayo addict, you can add that to your shopping list, but keep it in the cooler. One of my kids won’t eat tuna without mayo.
  • Serve on bread with sliced cheese

That’s it – an easy weekend meal plan that will take you from home to the woods and back again. You can find a printable version of the shopping list and recipes here.

If figuring out what to cook is keeping you from that weekend camping trip, I hope this meal plan will help. With just a bit of advanced planning, you can be packed and out the door in no time at all. After all, camping season is just around the corner!

Read Next: The 10 Easiest Car Camping Meals for Families on the Go

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What's keeping you from getting outside this weekend? If it's trying to figure out what to it, this post has you covered. It'a complete car camping menu, shopping list, and recipes.

 

17 Comments

  1. YUM! I’m a details gal, so having this be chock full of every single thing you need is perfect. So easy to just print and go. Thanks!
    Danielle recently posted…The One Thing I Wish Everyone KnewMy Profile

  2. Wow this is amazing! I can’t believe how detailed everything is from the list to the recipe. I am such a big fan that I pinned it. I even like all the recipes like the spicy peanut sauce– woohoo!
    Sarah Kim recently posted…Home Away From Home: Enjoy a Long Term Stay at Element Hotel in AmsterdamMy Profile

  3. This is an awesome post! I never know what to cook on camping trips and end up with hot dogs and hamburgers. This list is way more appetizing 🙂

  4. Ooo! What an amazing menu! My husband and I are car camping enthusiasts, but the meals are definitely where we fall short. This is a mega-inspiration for that though. I’m a vegetarian (probably closer to flexitarian) but I liked that a lot of these are vegetarian options! I’m all about that white bean soup. Thanks for the menu, amazing recipes and, like I said before, that inspiration! Cheers!

  5. This is super amazing! Ive never been camping and I’ve always dreaded the fact that I have to prepare and cook meals without my kitchen but it’s awesome to see that you had a wonderful menu prepared during ur camping trip!

  6. I love camping but unfortunately, I do not get to do much living in London. I love your ideas for a menu preparation and I never would think of doing it. Just looking at some of those ideas makes me hungry 🙂
    Melbtravel recently posted…The Italian side of the Matterhorn, Breuil-Cervinia ItalyMy Profile

  7. Growing up, I had no idea car camping was a thing. I thought camping meant hiking your tent into the woods and setting up somewhere. The first time I went to a campground and it looked like a parking lot in the woods it totally blew my mind! I guess it’s the ultimate American hobby.
    Cori recently posted…Drinking our way through BrusselsMy Profile

    • Definitely a hobby for thousands, Cori – plus it’s a pretty cheap way to travel while spending lots of time outdoors.

  8. These are all such great ideas. I am allergic to nuts, so it makes things a little harder. I have never really gone camping though. It would be fun to try and figure out how to cook in the wilderness. I would probably have a lot of granola bars just in case.
    Stephanie recently posted…10 Things for a Long Haul Flight Packing ListMy Profile

  9. Really interesting article. I have never tried car camping before, but now would love to try. The food itinerary is really great. Love all the recipes, will duplicate the menu .
    Sandy N Vyjay recently posted…Review of Hotel Ibis Bangkok NanaMy Profile

  10. WOW! This is an amazing list. Knowing me, I’d forget one important element, so it’s always proper to have a list to check and check again. I’m excited for the warmer weather to come so we can head out camping again. We took our one and a half year old for her first camping trip last year and she loved it. Now she’s a bit older, I’m sure she’ll love it even more!

  11. I love camping and the simplicity of the lifestyle. Why is it we can always come up with inventive foods whilst away like this and yet other times at home we struggle to inspire ourselves to cook anything. 🙂

  12. Fantastic list! I will bookmark this so that I can come back to it later as well.

    Right now planning to make one of these specialties even if I am not on a camping trip. They just look so tasty and their ingredients are promising a great experience!

    Thank you for sharing these recipes!
    George Ashley recently posted…Best Binoculars For Hunting [Top 5 Choices For 2017]My Profile

  13. Such a deliciously good looking foods. Definitely, I will try some of this with my friends. I love how well organize you are by the way, very informative article! Cheers!

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