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There’s nothing better than embarking on an exciting outdoorsy adventure with family and friends. When camping with a large group, the possibilities are endless! You and your loved ones build a large fire and tell stories, go on hikes, go canoeing, and play all sorts of outdoor games.
That said, we understand that preparing food for large groups of campers can be a daunting task. Not only do you need to consider everyone’s tastes but you also have to find quick and efficient ways of preparing it using either a campfire or relatively limited grilling equipment.
In this article, we’ll give you all the tips and tricks you need to take the stress out of your next camping adventure plus food and recipes for you to test out with your loved ones.
Let’s start with the basics.
The last thing you want is to venture out to your campsite only to realize that one of your friends or family members can’t indulge in the meals you planned because of dietary restrictions you didn’t know about. Be sure to communicate clearly with every member of your camping party in advance.
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Planning your meals in advance is the best possible strategy to coordinate with everyone. This way, you’re eliminating having to make decisions on the fly and avoiding conflicts that can arise on the campground. Figure out what your menu options are beforehand. Make a sharable Google Doc and be sure to consider everyone’s input. This extra planning goes a long way when you’re out there.
Another key to good communication: once you’ve planned out your meals, figure out who is in charge of what. Make sure everyone who’s coming knows exactly what they need to bring and what dish or ingredients they’re in charge of preparing. Again, this eliminates food-related conflicts when you’re actually on the camping trip. The more you plan, the easier everything becomes later.
Note: This includes plates, napkins, cups, cutlery, and anything else you might need to prep, cook, and eat. It’s best to overestimate what you need rather than underestimate and find yourself without something essential. There are loads of environmentally-friendly, fully recyclable sets of products that you can bring camping that aren’t single-use plastics.
Now that we have those three major tips down, let’s get into some recipe ideas.
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Pancakes - This is probably the easiest breakfast food you can make for a large group of people. Pancake batter is something you can prep beforehand to avoid having to do it at the site. All you’ll need is an outdoor grill. Or, a pan that you can hold over the fire works just as well! Feel free to bring fruits and other garnishes to amp up the flavors. If you have kids on your trip, throwing a pack of chocolate chips into the mix makes a huge difference.
Meats (Bacon and Sausages) - The same thing goes for breakfast sausages and bacon. They’re super easy to make in this setting and they’re big crowd-pleasers. Depending on your group’s different tastes, you can do either — or both!
Cereals - If you want something really simple, there’s always the option of bringing several large boxes of cereal. Just about everyone loves cereal. It can feed a lot of people in a short amount of time and you won’t have to wait for anything to cook. It’s a great option for a quick meal when you’re eager to get on with your day.
Eggs - As far as egg dishes go, we highly recommend cooking up some scrambled eggs over a grill or an open fire. Scrambled eggs are super easy to make plus they go very well with any of the options listed above.
The key to most of these recipe ideas is to bring the right condiments and extras so that everyone can customize their meal to their liking. Maybe your family wants hot sauce and ketchup or table salt to spruce up the flavor of their eggs or cinnamon and sugar in their pancake batter. This is also something you should ask about beforehand so you can see what types of things the group likes.
Sandwiches - Sandwiches are without a doubt the easiest lunch option for you and your group. Bring a selection of pre-made sandwiches to the site or do something more customizable by bringing a selection of different kinds of buns, toppings, condiments, and various ingredients. Try peanut butter, pizza toppings, or grilled cheese. Turn the sandwich-making table into a fun communal activity!
Salads - If you’re having big breakfasts and dinners, you may want to offset this by having a simple lunch. Salads perfectly compliment sandwiches plus they’re super healthy and light on the stomach. There are loads of recipes like pasta salads or green salads that can easily be prepared for large groups.
Of these three categories, dinner is arguably the easiest to account for. Here are some of the easiest dinners to make for large groups of campers:
Well, there you have it! Happy camping!