I’ll be honest. I wish I did more multi day backpacking and through trips. I say this every time we go camping or for a long hike. I miss hiking all day, exploring new places, and the peace and reflection that comes from being unplugged for multiple days in a row.
These days we do more car camping with day excursions. Similarly to others with full time jobs, we have a fuller schedule now that we run a business and making time can be hard. More importantly our lab Maggie May who absolutely loves to hike and camp is getting older (she will be 10 this year!) and is no longer able to make some of the longer hikes.
Car camping does come with some great perks that I really appreciate. One of the biggest perks are the dinner options available when we have a cooler. Food, for some reason, always tastes better cooked over an open fire after a long hike. Below are some of our all time favorites.
No matter what we are cooking we try to make sure ingredients can be used for multiple meals, including condiments. If at all possible, we pre-prep our meals so that it's simple to make at camp and easy to clean up afterwords. At the end of the day the goal is to spend the most amount of time enjoying the outdoors.
Will doesn’t eat breakfast so I usually just eat a Munk Pack or an EPIC bar. Sometimes we will cut up potatoes and cook in a cast iron skillet and add eggs and leftover veggies or beans from the night before. Don't forget the hot sauce.
I am a big fan of apples or carrots and peanut butter. They pack well and Justin’s makes the individual peanut butter pack so you don’t have to bring the whole jar. We also do a lot of hummus on pita with fresh sweet peppers. Will's favorite is summer sausage and hard cheese with crackers and apples. I make sure to pack mustard packs if he does this.
Some of our easy go-to meals for float trip lunches or camping dinners are meals that you can make in one pan. Bratwursts over the fire with onions peppers and mushrooms cooked in a pan or in aluminum foil are a go-to (don't forget the spicy mustard).
I love fajitas because you can make it ahead of time. I cook with flank steak, poblano peppers, red peppers, red onions and garlic. You can season the steak ahead of time and grill it over the fire. I never follow a marinade recipe but make sure that the seasoning always includes a decent amount of fresh cracked pepper, chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder. Slice and put the veggies in a small aluminum foil pack to cook with some olive oil and seasoning from the fajita marinade (if you like the steak rare, this is the best way to do it). You can also slice everything ahead of time and throw it all in one bag with oil and seasonings and then cook in a cast iron skillet over the fire. Serve it with avocado, green chili salsa, Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce and fresh La Tortilla corn tortillas.
Some side options are grilled corn with garlic basil butter and seasoned black beans. I cheat and buy the preseason organic black beans in a can and just put the can in the fire. Make sure to save the leftovers to serve with eggs the next morning.
Baked Bananas. These are Will's all time favorite! Slice ripe bananas long way down the middle with the skin on (one banana per person). Stuff the bananas with chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. You can also add butterscotch chips, coconut, marshmallows, brown sugar or whatever combo you want. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in the coals for 10ish minutes and eat it with a spoon. Make sure to have wipes handy; these things are messy but absolutely worth it.
We also make old fashions with Tincup Whiskey (2 oz Tin cup whisky, dash bitters, tsp sugar, .5 oz orange juice, dash grenadine). You can also make them ahead of time and mix it in a Yeti Rambler and just add ice.
Another favorite is Rosemary gimlet martinis (2.5 oz gin or vodka, 1 oz sweetened lime juice, a sprig of rosemary). Scale proportionally and put everything in a bottle ahead of time and serve on ice.