How to Organize RV Food Shopping Trips
Making a camping grocery list may sound like a bit of a no-brainer, but getting what you need for a trip is an important step in getting ready. This is particularly important if you plan to camp in a remote area or are boondocking.
- Be sure and ask yourself some important questions before you begin your planning.
- Are you wanting to cook complicated meals while you are in your RV?
- Is there a specific day you might want to go out to dinner or lunch or need something really simple?
- Do you want to cook over the campfire every night?
Ready to shop? Let’s go!
Build a Meal Planning Camping Grocery List
Assuming you have some of the above answered, it’s time to start planning.
The menu should include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. That doesn’t mean you can’t vary from that, but at least you have a starting plan. A menu will also help you prepare a grocery list so you know you will have ingredients for everything you plan to prepare.
Take time to check off items on the list that you already have. You can find a free, downloadable and printable camping meal planner from Outdoor Travella. Make your own that works for your family. You can also divide your menu into several categories including:
Oven/in the rig meals
Campfire meals are the best, particularly when you have kids. Think hobo packets with the meat and veggies all wrapped up in foil and cooked in the fire’s coals. Baked potatoes are a great campfire meal too. Tuck those Idaho potatoes down in the coals and make it a meal with some butter, cheese, sour cream and more. Grab a stick, make a sharp point, and get hot dogs as crispy as you want. Those sticks are great for s’mores later on. Of course, steaks, chicken, or hamburgers on the fire are best.
Don’t forget to plan at least one campfire breakfast. You can do bacon, pancakes, eggs, skillet meals, and just about anything over the open fire. Use a griddle outside if a campfire isn’t a morning option. Everything is better outside.
Did you know there are some great desserts done over the campfire? Before you go, if you don’t have them already, purchase some pie irons. They can be square or round with two sides that clasp together and a long handle.
Butter two slices of bread and coat with granulated sugar. Put a buttered slice on each side with the butter/sugar side against the metal. Fill one side with your choice of pie filling and clamp the two sides together. Put the iron into the coals and make sure you turn it over at least once. It shouldn’t take long before you have a yummy campfire pie. (Recipe source)
You will surely want to put some on-the-go meals on your camping grocery list. If you want to plan a day trip or go hiking in the mountains, you will need food that is easy to pack and doesn’t need refrigeration. Peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars, trail mix or crackers are great go-to’s for a long hike. I would skip the potato chips, they are too easy to crush. Of course, you can pack food for a cooler also including sandwiches, cheese, and fruit.
If you have kids around, you know they are always hungry. (Oh wait, so are the adults.) Put out a bowl of fruit with apples, oranges, grapes, and bananas. Yogurt and granola are also a great snack for hanging out at the RV. Pretzels, Chex mix, crackers and cheese, and nuts are also pretty healthy snacks that are easy to pack. Check out the snack mix below for another great snack idea.
2. Check off items on the list that you already have
Make sure and do a thorough check in your pantry and see if you can use items that you already have. This will keep you from buying too much and it will save you on the grocery bill.
Take things off the menu that take too much time, especially inside meals. Make those inside meals easier by using a slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Keep the evening meals to one or two items such as hot dogs and beans, or chicken and potatoes, or maybe steak and a veggie. Involve the family and ask them for their ideas. You can also do a more complicated meal with some preparation before you leave.
4. Plan for packed meals on days away from the camper and plan at least one meal out
We like to plan for at least one meal out when we are traveling. You know it’s going to happen anyway. Mom is tired, dad doesn’t feel like cooking or making a fire, you’ve all had a big day so that is a great night to check out a local restaurant. When you put it into your plans, you don’t have to feel guilty about it either.
5. Scope out nearby grocery stores for missed items or a change of plans
It is not unusual for something to get forgotten or for plans to change. Do some research before you go or check out the area when you arrive for the nearest grocery or convenience store. Many resorts have a small grocery area with bottles of ketchup or oil. You might have to pay a premium for those, however.
6. Don’t forget the s’mores
No camping grocery list should be without the makings for s’mores – a staple for a great camp-out. S’mores include Hershey’s chocolate bars, large marshmallows, and graham crackers. Please don’t try to fake it with chocolate graham crackers like someone I know did. It’s just not right.
7. Snack Mix recipe
Don’t forget to add these ingredients to your camping grocery list. Thanks, mom, for this one that keeps us from buying and eating stuff we shouldn’t.
- 1 package Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 package pretzels
- 1 package Bugles
- 1 box Extra Toasty Cheez-Its
- 12 oz can of cashews
In a large bowl add the chips, sprinkle ranch seasoning, drizzle vegetable oil, and toss to combine. These are easily stored in a bowl with a lid or in large sandwich bags.
8. Traditional GORP (good ol’ raisins and peanuts)
This is a great, healthy snack you can mix up prior to your camping trip. Here are some ingredients you can use, but feel free to make it your own with your favorites.
- Nuts – Almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts
- Raw seeds – Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds
- Dried fruit – Raisins, dried cranberries
- Chocolate – M&M’s or chocolate chips
Mix together, add a little sea salt, and enjoy.
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Terri and her husband, Todd, are full time RVers and work campers. They have been living full time in their RV for nearly three years with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Newton, and their Mini Aussie puppy Remi. They are currently wintering in Arizona with plans to continue their travels next summer. Writing is Terri’s passion but she also loves hiking, kayaking and anything she can do outside.