Essential Guide to Camping Meal Packs: 7 Recommendations

Camping prepacked food that is ready to use will save space and a lot of weight when you’re backpacking or camping. These are ready-to-eat and pre-made meals, making them an ideal option for those who are low on time and space and want to carry less. Camping food kits and meal packs are essential when backpacking and camping as they offer enough nutritional variety. Carrying only one meal type will not satisfy you throughout your trip. Bringing multiple camping meal packs will offer enough nutritional value to your body and provide all the energy you need. 

4 Types of Camping Meal Packs (MREs, Canned Foods, Freeze-dried Foods, and Dehydrated Meals)

Of course, there are numerous types of food you can bring camping. These can be divided into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks, but the most prominent types are MREs, canned foods, freeze-dried foods, and dehydrated meals. These are the most popular options already prepped for your use. When it comes to the length of each meal, fresh and frozen options are the ones that have the least shelf life in the outdoors. After that are MREs and dried foods; the meals that can last the longest are canned and freeze-dried. Nevertheless, let us explore these options individually and how they are prepared.

1. MREs

MREs, or meals ready to eat, are quick options when you need food instantly. These ready-to-eat meals require no cooking and are convenient to prepare during outdoor trips.

2. Freeze-dried Foods

Freeze-dried options last the longest and can be mixed with fresh and frozen food. These are staples like bread, rice, and pasta. You will most need to add water or boil these options. They can last up to 30 years but must be stored at lower temperatures, usually with low humidity.

3. Canned Foods

Canned foods are popular and can last longer. They are helpful when one can cook and doesn’t have a problem using boiling water, but they must be kept in lower temperatures, dry conditions, and low humidity. Still, they can last up to 30 years. On the other hand, canned goods are unsuitable for backpacking because cans can be pretty heavy, especially if you carry bigger bulks of food.

4. Dehydrated Foods

Last is dehydrated food, which can go wrong if not stored correctly or in dry conditions. These types of food often need to be vacuum-sealed, boiled, and let sit in water before eating. Still, they are light and easy to transport because they take up very little space, making them perfect for longer backpacking trips.

Make Your Own Camping Food Kit (7 Ideas) 

These are our favorite kits when preparing food while camping: 

1. Breakfast Oatmeal Bowl

This is an excellent option if you are looking for a quick and tasty breakfast while on the trail. If needed, you will need ingredients such as peanut butter, oatmeal, powdered milk, dehydrated berries, and sugar,

Place these ingredients in a vacuum-sealed or portion bag, with the peanut butter and powdered milk stored separately. You can also place them in small containers.

To prepare it, add hot water to the oatmeal mix to liquefy the powdered milk. Stir in the peanut butter and dehydrated berries. Let this sit for around 5 minutes, and the rehydration process is finished.

2. Instant Pancake Mix

Another great option is instant pancake mix. This camping meal packs option is easy to carry from home and can be stored in a cooler to use anytime. To make it a complete kit, bring your pancake mix, powdered eggs, powdered milk, and your preferred pancake spread.

Pre-measure all the portions and place them into ziplock bags or a bottle. To prepare this camping meal pack, mix the dry ingredients and water to make the batter. Heat a skillet and pour the pancake mix onto it. Flip when needed, then add your spread to the pancake. Voilà, your breakfast is ready!

3. Breakfast Burrito

This can be a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even snack option, perfect for those on the go and when you need more time to prepare anything intricate. You will need tortillas, scrambled eggs, dried sausage, and cheese. Ensure the ingredients are vacuum-sealed and placed individually, while your tortillas can be stored in a ziplock bag.

To prepare, rehydrate your eggs and sausage in hot water by letting them soak for five minutes. This will allow the ingredients to rehydrate properly. Once they do, assemble by placing the ingredients onto your tortillas. If possible, heat them. You can also bring these options pre-made with you.

4. Chili Con Carne

Another camping staple is chili con carne, which can be served with a side dish. This kit includes dehydrated ground beef, dried beans, chili spices, and tomato powder. We recommend couscous for the side dish.

Pack each ingredient in a vacuum-sealed bag. They can be packed together or individually. To prepare, rehydrate the beef, beans, and spice mixture by boiling water, adding the ingredients, and letting them sit for five minutes to cool. Heat the couscous first and then add water in the same amount. Let it sit until it’s ready.

5. Instant Mashed Potatoes with Gravy

This classic but straightforward camping meal will take you back to childhood. For this pack, you will need instant mashed potatoes and gravy mix as the base. If you’d like, add powdered eggs or powdered milk to the mashed potato mix, along with some aromatics, for an extra kick.

Preparing it is extra easy. You just have to add hot water to the mashed potato and gravy mix separately and stir until the mix is combined and hot. While packing and preparing your meal, ensure that both mixes are in separate Ziploc bags.

6. Mac and Cheese

Another child-friendly option is mac and cheese. Of course, you can buy prepackaged mac and cheese for camping, but making your own is much more fun, especially if you have time at your campsite. You will need pasta, cheese powder, powdered milk, and herbs.

To prepare it, boil the pasta, drain some water, and then mix the cheese sauce, including the cheese powder, powdered milk, and herbs. Ensure the ingredients are vacuum-sealed to prevent them from spoiling while you are on the trail.

7. Rice and Beans

Most people love rice and beans. For this camping meal packs option, you can use hydrated instant rice, pre-packed ready-to-eat rice, and canned or dehydrated beans. To prepare it, rehydrate your beans in hot water or heat them if they’re canned. Then mix in the ready-to-eat rice or prepare the instant rice separately.

If you want to add seasoning and sauce, ensure you have enough. Pack the rice and beans separately and manage the portions. If you use dehydrated and ready-to-eat options, ensure they’re in vacuum-sealed bags.

Our Camping Meal Pack Recommendation

Try our KAMUI Freeze-Dried Dehydrated Japanese Gomoku Mixed Rice is a camping meal pack option for a delicious dining experience while camping or backpacking. Made from 100% Japanese rice and authentic vegetables sourced from Japan, it captures the essence of Japanese cuisine. Pre-cooked and dehydrated in Japan for maximum flavor and quality, add hot water and enjoy in 15 minutes (or an hour with room temperature water). Free from 28 allergens and gluten, it’s convenient, lightweight, and has a 5-year shelf life without refrigeration. It is ideal for any adventure and packaged in a user-friendly pouch for easy preparation anywhere.

KAMUI Mixed Rice for backpacking food

How to Prepare Camping Meal Packs While Camping

Last but not least, the answer to preparing your camping meal packs and making them as tasty as possible. This method is generally easy and straightforward with the right approach. Whether you are using an MRE, dehydrated, freeze-dried, or canned foods, most people will boil their food first and let it sit for up to five or ten minutes after boiling.

  1. Ensure you have all the supplies, including your camping gear, utensils, water, and the specific camping meal pack you desire to use. Of course, you can also use a campfire. 
  2. Boil the water or heat your pot. 
  3. After opening your pack, add the water and mix it into your pot or add the water into the pouch. 
  4. Let it sit for the desired time, and then it is ready for consumption. Serve and enjoy once your meal is rehydrated or hot.


These meal options are outdoor-friendly, whether as dehydrated camping food, backpacking food, base camp food, or expedition food! Ensure your serving size or foil pack is sufficient, or your hiking food or emergency food will not be enough! 

We hope you’ve reviewed our selection of camping meal pack ideas and discovered options that save space and weight and provide ample nutrition for your camping or backpacking adventure. Ensure your meals include a balance of salty, sweet, and savory flavors and that your body receives sufficient nutrition.

  • Made with 100% Japanese rice
  • Authentic taste of Japanese cuisine
  • Tasty freeze-dried meal
  • Add hot water. Ready in 15 minutes
KAMUI Camping and Backpacking Food - Blocksy Content