Camping solo or with your immediate family is always a great idea, but what happens when you extend that invite to a larger pool of people? With a large camping group, you are sure to never have a dull moment! While it’s certain to be a great time, figuring out camp cooking for large groups is probably one of the biggest hurdles that you’re going to have on your mind. Don’t fret. Even though you might be breathing into a paper bag right now trying to calm down at the thought of it, cooking for a large group of people really isn’t that much more work on your end at all.
While some may opt to have each family cook for themselves or adopt a potluck method to group meals, this article offers advice on how to prepare large meals that everyone can enjoy together. These simple tips and tidbits of advice can help you tackle camp cooking for large groups without putting a ton of extra stress and work on your own shoulders in the process.
What is the best food to take camping?
This really is going to depend on what you and your crew are wanting to eat. Some people like to go camping and take fresh foods while others decide that the easiest and less hectic route is best. Personally, I don’t like to stray too much from what I eat at home. I like to eat whole, fresh foods and enjoy my time cooking. However, I know that when it comes to camping for most, the easier the better.
Some of the easiest food to take camping includes:
- Hot dogs
- Beef jerky
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- S’mores (you can’t camp without s’mores, right?!)
- Pre-pattied hamburgers
- Bacon and eggs
- Salad ingredients
While this might seem like it’s all over the board, I find that a combination of varying foods tends to work the best. This is especially true if you’re trying to figure out some sort of menu for a larger group of people. When it comes down to it, not every single person is going to adore all the meals. Try not to focus on appeasing picky eaters, but instead keep meals general and varied when possible. Be sure to ask if anyone is allergic to anything or is vegetarian or vegan.
Keep in mind that the easier the food, the more relaxed the time. No one should have to spend their time cooking away and not enjoying the true meaning of camping which is being one in nature with those that you love.
What are some easy camping meals for a large group of people?
In my opinion, creating a meal plan for a large group of people is actually kind of fun! If you’re in charge, you also then get to delegate what you want everyone to bring as well. And that my friends, is power!
Sit down and plan out how many meals you’re going to need for the duration of your camping trip and then figure out how many people you’re trying to feed. Once you have those numbers in hand, you can then start thinking about great camping meals for a group.
Some of my go-to camping meals include:
- Hamburgers/hot dogs
- Giant breakfast buffet
- Seafood boil
- Minestrone Soup
- Sandwich and potato chip bar
All of the meals above are simple, easy, and quick to make. Plus, they are created to feed a crowd!
How do you delegate who brings what when camping with a large group of people?
Probably the hardest part about going camping with other people is that not everyone camps the same way. Some camp in tents, some “glamp” in state of the art campers, and others are just there to have the experience for their very first time. Before trying to get everyone on the same page, just stop and understand that it’s not going to happen.
Instead, use this time to start delegating things that everyone is interested in and that just happens to be eating and delicious camping food. It’s no secret that part of the camping fun is just sitting around the campfire, noshing on great food, and having even better conversations.
Taking charge from the beginning is what will help this process go smoothly. Make a list of things that need to be packed and brought for the camping trip, and then delegate those tasks out evenly to everyone who is coming.
Camp cooking for large groups – Tasks to Delegate to Others
While some of the campers might just want to show up and have fun, it’s not quite that simple. Make it clear from the beginning that everyone needs to do their part. Here are some simple tasks to delegate to everyone so that your camping and camp cooking for large groups will go off without a hitch.
Give someone the responsibility of bringing the paper plates and utensils
Using paper plates and reusable utensils are important for two main reasons. First, it takes away the need to have to do an abundance of dishes and secondly, they’re so much better for the environment than the disposable, one-use plastic ones sold at the store. When you’re camping in the beauty of nature, appreciate it and be as eco-friendly as possible in the process.
Delegate someone to bring fruits and vegetables
Healthy snacks and side dishes are important when camping since everyone is going to be spending so much time outdoors exploring and looking around. To ensure you don’t have too much of one fruit, give one person or family the responsibility of bringing the fruit and veggies. Make certain that they know to wash and prep it beforehand so it’s ready to eat upon arrival or as wanted throughout the trip.
Let each family attending provide the meals for a day
If you’re staying for 5 nights and you have 5 families camping together, for one whole day, each family will buy and create the meals for everyone on that day. While that might seem like a lot at first, it’s actually a great way to stay organized and make certain that everyone is doing their part. The meals that they make can be simple or not as it’s totally up to them and what they’re comfortable with.
Make certain each family brings their own beverages and chairs to sit on
Sometimes there’s enough room for everyone to sit and eat and sometimes there just isn’t. To alleviate that worry, have everyone bring their own chairs to sit on. And as for the drinks, let each family know that their coolers are their responsibility for the duration of the camping trip since everyone likes to have different drinks with their meals.
Don’t forget about the snacks and desserts
Snacking happens so it’s a good idea to remind everyone to bring any extra snacks or sweets to enjoy during the trip. This can be a bit flexible and fun as most people will want s’mores or something along those lines. Having a dessert each night isn’t really a priority but if you have enough for everyone to share, just keep that in mind as it’s a great way to wind down and close out each night of camping. I also have a ton of baking recipes that you can complete at home before you head out that are great snacks or desserts. You can check these out here on my recipes page.
After every meal, everyone helps to cleanup
This is key. While sitting around and eating food is fun and grand, it’s the cleanup that most people tend to shy away from. If you make certain that everyone understands this from the beginning, the cleanup every single night is going to be a breeze. You can even have the families rotate nightly so everyone knows how to quickly and easily tidy up.
On the first night, one family can wash dishes, another family can dry, the third family can clean up the table area while the fourth family gathers up all the trash and disposes of it in the proper trash and recycling areas. Then, rotate those job duties each and every night. When there’s a plan in place, camping cooking with large groups of people can go smoothly for sure.
As you can see, camp cooking doesn’t need to be stressful. Allow yourself to plan a little bit ahead of time and let everyone know the process that’s in place. More than likely, they were probably having the same thoughts and worries as you were so you taking charge and putting a solid plan in place will be welcomed with open arms.
Have fun camping with a large group of people. You’re getting to relax in one of the most beautiful and natural settings in the world surrounded by your closest family and friends. And there are few things in life that can top that!
Do you have any other tips to share about camp cooking for large groups?