We get it, you’ve been traveling to the campsite all day, you are tired and you just want something quick, easy, and scrumptious to wolf down.

We are here to help, with easy first-night camping meals that will definitely tick all the boxes!

There’s nothing worse than arriving at your pitch after a long drive and having no fresh ingredients for dinner – it ruins the whole experience of enjoying the great outdoors!

Here are some tasty recipes so you can cook up something delicious on your first night in the woods.

First Night Meal Suggestions

Easy First Night Camping Meals Family Edition

The easiest things to cook on your first night are make-ahead pre-prepared meals or meals that only take minutes to cook.

Our first-night meal suggestions are:

Camp Fresh Pasta

Buy a packet of dry pasta and some pesto sauce before you leave for your trip, then boil the pasta when you get there.

Jacket Potatoes

If your campsite has access to electricity then use it to cook jacket potatoes on your first night! Just wrap some in foil with some oil and herbs, place them over the embers of the fire and they’ll be cooked in half an hour.

If there’s no electricity at your site, don’t worry! Wrapping potatoes in foil is perfect for cooking over a campfire without any power source.

Cheap Meals to Make at Camp

If you are on a budget and are looking for some cheap meals to make at camp, you’ve come to the right place!

Our cheap meals to make at camp include:

Spicy Lentil Soup

Red lentils cook down quickly and become very soft, creating a nice thick soup. They naturally have a bit of spice so we added some cayenne pepper and paprika for an extra kick.

Campfire nachos

The great thing about nachos is they are cheap to buy and super quick to make when you get to the campsite. You can make a range of different campfire nachos including vegetarian and meat options.

Sausage and bread rolls

These take a bit more time and effort than nachos and jacket potatoes but they are still quick to make when you get to your campsite. Spit roasting sausages over the fire gives them a wonderful smoky flavor!

Campfire Pork Belly Bites with Sesame Slaw

These succulent bites of pork belly, cabbage, and sesame seeds can be made in advance then cooked quickly when you get to camp.

Chicken tzatziki skewers

Chicken is one of the cheapest meats you can buy in bulk, which makes it perfect for camping.

Simply marinade these the night before the trip, thread onto skewers, and put them in the embers of the fire for ten minutes or so to cook.

Fish kebabs

These are another tasty fish options that make a healthy camping dinner. Marinate the fish overnight then throw onto skewers along with chunks of vegetables like peppers and onions to cook over open flames while you tell scary stories around the campfire!

Cheap camp meals for a large group

If you are looking for some cheap meals to cook for a large group at camp, this category is ideal for you!

Our cheap meals to cook for a large group at camp include:

Vegetarian pasta bake

For this recipe, you simply cook up your favorite kind of pasta in one pan then pour over an egg and milk mixture before baking until golden brown.

The final stage is to sprinkle with cheese and bacon bits! Yum!

Camping chili con carne

Chili con carne has been made by campers for decades so we thought we should add it to our list.

It uses a lot of cheap ingredients and it can be cooked in bulk then frozen for use on your next trip!

Taco salad

Camping taco salads are the perfect all-in-one meal to make for a large group, as they feature everything you need – protein, carbs, and veggies.

Just make sure you bring along tortilla chips or cornbread to serve it up with!

Easy Dinners for Two or Date Night Meal Ideas

If there are just the two of you and you have left the family at home, you’ll be looking at some quick, easy, and romantic camping dinners for two!

Our easy dinners for two include:

Stuffed mushrooms

These are great as a starter (or even as your main if you’re really hungry!) Serve with crusty bread to mop up the cheese, or some quinoa or couscous if you want to be healthy.

Pizza on the BBQ

Making pizza at home is simple enough but making it in nature is far more satisfying. Just make some dough (we recommend using pizza yeast), mix in some tomato paste before adding your toppings of choice!

Then put it on top of some piping hot coals on the edge of the barbecue fire for five minutes, then flip over until done!  

Jacket potatoes again!

Yes, they are simple but great for a first-night camping dinner. Just make sure you pick the right kind of potatoes!

We recommend waxy ones like red delight or desiree that have a nice thin skin that is easy to wrap up in foil with butter and salt. You can also sprinkle on some cheese if you’re feeling indulgent!

Steak on the BBQ

Buy yourself what is perhaps the ultimate camping cut of steak – hanger steak. This is because it has about twice as much flavor as rump or sirloin which means it doesn’t need too many spices or sauces to taste amazing when grilled over an open fire!

Calzone again… plus pineapple pizza!

If making your own dough seems too much work, you can always buy some hot dog buns and stuff them with whatever ingredients you like! Just make sure you pre-cook the filling so it doesn’t go soggy when baked in the oven.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it, if you find yourself looking for a few easy first-night camping meals, you can’t go wrong with these.

Now get out there and enjoy yourself!

Let us know your favorite camping meals in the comments!

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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