10 Things to Eat for Breakfast on Your Next Camping Trip
Looking for breakfast ideas for your next camping trip? Camping & Hiking Expert Hannah K. details 10 things you can make for each morning meal.
As the saying goes, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Now although not everyone agrees with this, and there are days where I miss breakfast entirely, when I am camping, breakfast is my favorite way to start the day. Regardless of if you are hiking, swimming, or hanging at the campground, we could all use an energetic boost to help us stay safe and have fun in the great outdoors. From classics like oats to eggs, to pancakes and more, there are a variety of both easy and complex meals waiting to become the next fan favorite dish. This list has something for everyone, whether you are an “eat and go”, or a “take my time” in the morning person.
1. Homemade Oats
First off, if you have not already read about why oatmeal is my favorite backpacking and camping meal, and the many ways to prepare it, I would start there. Homemade oatmeal is one of the easiest meals to make while camping. It is lightweight, can be sweet or savory, packs easily, and is relatively easy to clean up (unless you burn it and it sticks to the pot—try not to do that). A basic way to make it is with cinnamon, brown sugar or maple syrup, and topped with some granola. The reason oatmeal is my favorite breakfast on the road is because there are so many ways to dress it and top it. With options like fruits, spices, peanut butter, even sriracha and an egg with some cheese and vegetables of choice, I never get bored with the varieties. They also require the least amount of tools and equipment to make, which is great for those wanting to pack light.
Overnight oats are another way to make eating oatmeal even easier when camping. Soak them overnight with your favorite spices (I like nutmeg and cinnamon) and in the morning add your walnuts and berries and they are ready to eat.
If you have not had pancakes while camping, what are you doing? Yes, it may be more complicated and time-consuming but they are worth it. To save some time, you can mix the dry ingredients at home and pre-measure the wet ingredients. This will also reduce the number of dishes you’ll have to do later. Garnish the pancakes with your favorite chocolate chip, berry, banana, or syrup toppings.
3. Breakfast Burrito
Breakfast burritos are easy to assemble once you have everything else mise-en-place (in place). If you get store-packaged items, the only dishes you may have to do later are the pan from the eggs and sausage, as well as the knives and plates. This is a great, protein and calorie-packed meal to give you ample energy for the rest of your morning. Your items list can include tortillas, scrambled eggs, sausage or tofu, spinach, tomato salsa, avocado, green onions, and more. But be careful not to add too much to the tortilla or it may turn into a breakfast taco!
4. Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon buns are a more complex meal to make, however, the rich, sweet flavor and dense pastry will fill you up and get your day started right. You will need more equipment (a dutch oven or cast iron) and ingredients depending on whether you are making the dough from scratch or buying puff pastry from the market. To make things easier, I’d recommend making the dough at home before you leave. Despite the effort required, there is something magical about biting into a warm cinnamon bun from the comfort of your warm sleeping bag—it is highly recommended.
5. Egg and Potato Hash or Hash Browns
An egg and potato hash is a great way to incorporate a carb, fat, protein, and vegetable into your morning meal. It is also relatively easy to make. Start adding oil to a hot pan and add the onion and garlic, then add your potato(es) of choice. Let that cook until the potatoes are nice and soft, and add in your eggs. Top it off with some spinach, salt, and pepper. This one-pot meal is easy to prepare (especially if you chop your veggies at home first), easy to clean up after, and nutrient dense. If you want to get fancy, add some other toppings that you like. I am a fan of microgreens or sprouts, and sriracha or jalapenos.
6. Cast Iron Frittata
If you have ever wanted to cook over an open campfire this cast iron frittata is the way to go. While your veggies (onion, broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers, etc.) are sauteeing in the cast iron, mix up the eggs in another pot. Next, pour the eggs over the veggies and let the fire do what it does—cook. If the top is still runny feel free to add a lid or piece of tin foil over the eggs to help the top layer cook faster. Additional yummy toppings include cheddar cheese, nutritional yeast, bacon, ham, or freshly picked tomatoes from the nearby farm you are hipcaming at.
Yogurt is the easiest meal to bring for breakfast. Depending on preference and how many you are feeding, you can get yogurt that is ready-to-go in a serving size unit, or yogurt in a large tub. There are many kinds of yogurt, like greek, cashew, and coconut, and they come in hundreds of different flavors like plain, vanilla, berry, and so on. You can eat it plain or top it off with granola and fresh berries or fruit of choice. You can bring separately packaged granola to add to your yogurt, or one of your packed granola bar snacks can suffice. You can break one up and add it to the yogurt just the same.
8. Dehydrated Breakfast Meal
Dehydrated foods are popular with backpackers because of their packability, light weight, and because they are easy to cook. The minimum requirement is boiling water, unless you cold soak but I never will! I like hot food and think the weight of a light stove and pot are worth it. Among the many popular brands out there are Mountain House, who make a breakfast skillet, and Backpacker’s Pantry, who make blueberry walnut oats. Although they make cooking and cleanup a breeze, some of these meals taste better than others and may not be as filling as you need. Check the ingredients, calories, and nutrients of each dehydrated meal before purchasing, and try them at home before heading outside.
9. French Toast
French toast is another decadent morning meal the kids will love. It’s carbs and sugar galore but it is oh-so yummy. For this meal, you will need a cast iron, an open fire or large stove top, and of course the milk, egg, bread, and sugar. Don’t make the same mistake I made and forget your spatula—two forks will work but it won’t be pretty. My best trick for the perfect french toast is to buy or make a loaf and cut it yourself, i.e., do not buy pre-sliced bread. Pre-sliced bread is often too thick and will crumble or cook too quickly to achieve a nice golden crust.
10. Breakfast Sandwich
The breakfast sandwich is a meal inspired by the fast food Egg Mcmuffin. For this one, you will need English muffins, eggs, sausage, and cheese of choice. This recipe may take longer to make as everything needs to be heated individually before being heated once more together so the cheese can melt. The outcome will be a self-contained carb, protein, and fat meal that will warm you up from head to toe.
Whether you are a strict coffee in the morning or an “I need to eat as much as I can” kind of person, I encourage us all to expand our palates, try something new, and be unafraid of cooking outdoors. Remember, everything tastes better when you have an awesome view and are exhausted from hiking to the vista. If you need some new recipes to try out, these easy camping breakfasts will surely inspire your next trip. French toast in the Swiss alps? A lakeside frittata? Cinnamon buns at the mountain peak? Don’t mind if I do!