Whether you're car camping, canoe camping or adventure camping, the camping season is getting into full swing. While some were camping all through winter, most of us have been waiting for the days and nights to get warmer before we pack our rucksack and venture into the wilderness.
If you've packed your bags with the basics -- tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses -- and you're trying to figure out what food you can bring and cook on your trip, here are 12 camping food ideas. They're easy, quick and importantly, delicious.
1. Soup with a twist
Canned soup is a camping food go-to, but it can get boring real quick. To make a can of soup more interesting (and filling) there are a few things you can do. Try stirring in some ready-made packet rice or canned chickpeas or kidney beans into the pot. You could also serve the soup with croutons (using toasted bread) or flavoured ready-made rice or quinoa.
2. Veggie fried rice or stir fry
Speaking of flavoured ready-made rice, to make a super quick and healthy stir fry or fried rice, simply fry the rice with some chopped veggies (carrot and zucchini keep well) and protein -- whether that's canned tuna, canned salmon, beans or fried eggs. Tip: keep eggs in a portable egg holder to avoid cracking. Stir through packet stir fry sauce to add a punch of flavour.
3. Quick pasta with veggies and lentils
If you've got the room to bring a pot when you're camping, you can easily make delicious pasta under 10 minutes. Just boil pasta of choice and stir in ready-made pasta sauce (which you can bring in double-bagged zip lock bags). To add nutrition, stir in and cook some veggies and/or lentils.
4. Pita bread or bagels topped with your favourite spreads
A loaf of bread often ends up as a squishy mess in your backpack, but other types of bread like pita, crumpets, English muffins and bagels keep well. You can toast them up and use your favourite spread -- like peanut butter, jam, chocolate hazelnut spread, hummus, avocado -- and add slices of fruit or veggies for a quick, tasty meal or snack.
5. Loaded potatoes
Everyone has fond memories of campfire potatoes and waiting patiently as they cook in their alfoil coats. Aside from enjoying them plain, scoop out some of the flesh and fill each potato with whatever delicious ingredients you have on hand -- refried beans, tuna, salsa, tomato, avocado, hummus or cheese (if you're bringing an esky).
6. Rice/corn cakes and crackers
For an even lighter snack, bring rice cakes or crackers to dip or crumble into soup, or spread some cakes or crackers with your favourite toppings. You can even spread the cakes with canned refried beans, avocado and tomato for a Mexican-inspired snack.
A simple nacho dish with corn chips, salsa and cheese definitely does the trick when you're camping. Just fill a pan with the three ingredients, cover with alfoil until the cheese melts and top with avocado.
If you're a big breakfast lover, pancakes are the perfect camping treat. Bring packet pancake mix (or prepare your own dry mix at home), mix it with water and cook on a small fry pan or barbecue. Serve with peanut butter, jam, honey and fresh banana.
9. Fruit salad
If you've got at least two types of fruit, you've got fruit salad. Simply cut up any fruit you have -- apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, cherries and Asian pears all keep and store well. Sprinkle with oats or granola for some crunch. If you're lucky enough to have a cold esky, bring some yoghurt sachets and dollop on top of your fruit salad.
Along with toast, porridge is one of the easiest breakfasts to make when camping. All you need to do is cook instant porridge in a pot with water and top with fresh cut fruit, honey and peanut butter.
11. Baked bean toasties
Baked beans in a can is another camping must-have. You can enjoy them heated with bread or toast, on their own or jammed in a cast iron jaffle iron with bread and tomato. So easy, so satisfying.
12. Anything on a stick
If you only have campfire to cook with, bring skewers or cover a long stick with aluminium foil and barbecue anything you fancy -- corn, potato cubes, meat or tofu kebabs, banana, scones or bread buns.
And don't forget water, marshmallows and tea!