Hot dogs and baked beans are the mainstays of camping food: they’re easy, cheap, and delicious. The campfire or camp stove adds a little extra crunchiness to the flavor (maybe that was just a bug?). Although your kids are probably plenty happy to chow down on hot dogs and beans, is there any room for creativity? Of course!

With a little planning, here are some filling and creative meals to try on your next camping trip:


There’s something restorative about pancakes and bacon, and they taste even better when eaten outdoors! Step one, dice up a frozen pound of bacon before leaving on your trip (SO much easier to do when it’s still frozen!). Put the frozen bacon bits on a ziplock bag. Step two, mix up your pancake dry and wet ingredients and pour into a clean, plastic jug. Step three, put the bacon and jug in your cooler, and bring along a cast-iron skillet, spatula, some butter, and maple syrup. This recipe works better with a propane camp stove because of the consistent heat, and it takes no time to get the pan hot. Fry up the bacon first and set it aside. Then, when making the pancakes, sprinkle on the cooked bacon just before flipping the cake over. Round up the family to apply butter and syrup and serve with a cold glass of juice. YUM!


Honestly, just go with hot dogs (you just can’t beat ‘em). If you do want to get fancy, pack some quality brats to grill up, but there’s nothing better than a great ballpark frank. Use your handy cast iron pan to get a nice char on the hot dogs and the buns. Or, if you have good skewers, help kids cook the dogs over an open fire (but the propane camp stove is the go-to here if speed is your objective). Don’t forget the ketchup!


While a great cast iron pan will take you far when you’re camping, let’s get your dutch oven in on the action! For less than $150, you can find a dutch oven with a locking lid as well as a tripod to hang the dutch oven over the fire. BBQ pork? Campfire stew of meat and veg? Nachos? All now in play. When you’re done, it’s time for dessert!


It’s hard to beat a good old-fashioned s’more: graham cracker, milk chocolate squares, and a fire-roasted marshmallow (do you like yours barely browned or burnt to a crisp?). But there’s still room for creativity here, too! Replace the milk chocolate square with a peanut butter cup! Fudge Stripe or Chips Ahoy cookies can substitute for chocolate and graham crackers, and consider trying a chocolate or strawberry marshmallow in place of the standard white. How about a complete left turn? Pour Fruity Pebbles in a bowl and dip your gooey marshmallow in that! Most of all, let the kids use their imaginations and have fun!

Camping meals don’t have to be complicated, but they shouldn’t be just beans from a can, either! Get a little creative on your next trip to see what fun recipes you can whip up in the great outdoors. It’s one thing to put together a meal in your kitchen – now try it under the stars!