Cooking While Boondocking: Must-Haves and Meal Ideas

Cooking While Boondocking: Must-Haves and Meal Ideas

Wherever you’re reading this, you deserve a virtual vacation. Take a moment, and imagine:

 

You’re camping in the wilderness with your favorite people, pets, or peace and quiet.

There’s not a camper or vehicle in sight.

You spent all day exploring and made it back to camp with enough light to settle in for the sunset.

The lightning bugs are getting brighter, and there’s only one question left on your mind:

What’s for dinner?

 

It’s best to think through this important question before you find yourself off-grid and out of options. In this post, we’ve compiled some favorite tips and must-haves for stress-free cooking while boondocking.

Tips for Planning your Boondocking Meals

Boondocking (also known as off-grid, dry, or dispersed camping) is a popular form of camping that takes adventurers far from the beaten path to a remote place where they can be completely self-sufficient. Every camper is different, but common setups include RVs, campervans, pop-up campers, and truck top tents. With every option comes a different set of limitations on power, space, and refrigeration, all important elements to understand when making a meal plan.

It’s important to know what these tanks do, how they work, and how much water they store as water adds significant weight to your RV’s total load.

The number one essential to successful cooking while boondocking is a solid plan.

Below are a few considerations to keep in mind while making your plan:

  1. Keep it Simple: Every inch of space counts while camping, so consider keeping appliances, steps, and dishes to a minimum. If camping for multiple days, choose recipes that use the same spices and avoid anything that could cause a smell or go bad if you lose power to your refrigerator for a short time.
  2. Water is Gold: No matter your setup, water will always be at a premium. Think ahead about your water supply and be sure to have a source for purification if it’s going in your food.
  3. Prep for Success: If you can do it at home, do it at home. You’d be amazed how much less space a red pepper takes up when it’s already chopped and in a small plastic bag. Consider prepping what you can before you hit the road and you won’t regret it.
  4. Consider the Clean Up: It’s a cardinal rule of camping that you should pack out whatever you pack in, so be sure to think through your clean-up plans. And never plan to leave food or food waste outside where wildlife could find it—and you!

Team BMPRO Tip: Paper products can be a camper’s best friend, saving on clean-up and water spent doing dishes. Look for compostable, strong paper plates and napkins for the most earth-friendly and convenient combo

Must-Haves for Cooking While Boondocking

With these guidelines in mind, let’s talk about the must-haves. While the specifics will vary, having a source of heat, a source of cold, and some handy technology, will make it easy to cook great meals while camping off-grid.

Heat

While it is possible to live on bread alone, it is certainly more fun to cook a hot meal, especially when enjoying the great outdoors. The following heat sources are the most common in boondocking setups:

  1. Cooktop: Many RVs and camper vans come with an electric or gas stovetop powered by the RV’s battery or propane tank.
  2. Oven: Common in larger RVs and campers, a small range or pizza oven can provide additional options for cooking (and storage!)
  3. Appliances: Many boondockers travel with a time-saving appliance like an Instant Pot or Air Fryer, choosing just one to cut down on extra pieces and steps in the cooking process.
  4. Portable Grill: Small and lightweight, stand-alone camping grills are a great option for less high-tech setups or backpacking excursions. Powered by a small propane canister, they are easy to carry with you and can take the place of multiple appliances.
  5. Fire: When all else fails, the boondocker can rely on an open flame. Many designated dispersed camping sites have fire pits available, and the avid camper should always be prepared to make a fire.

Cold

In addition to heat, most boondockers will find it essential to have a reliable source of refrigeration for cooking. This might be a fridge, a freezer, or a well-insulated cooler full of ice. While planning your meals, be sure to consider the temperatures at which food needs to be stored safely and be sure to have a reliable way to monitor your fridge and freezer temperature while off-grid.

Technology

Speaking of monitoring, technology can help make sure your plans for delicious meals are a success. We recommend stocking your rig with the following to avoid any last-minute, dinner-ruining realizations.

  • A reliable meat thermometer
  • Multiple lighters to start a fire
  • Sensors to monitor propane levels in any gas grills
  • Power adapters for charging appliances

A radio or portable speaker for a little cooking music.

Easy Meal Ideas

All that prep, and it’s finally time to eat. Below are a few ideas to whet your whistle for a delicious dining experience under the stars:

Easy Grilled Chicken Fajitas from Amanda Outside: This recipe features a pre-made sauce, making it an impressively easy meal to pull together over any heat source.

Cast Iron Frittata from Fresh Off the Grid: This veggie and egg dish is easy to assemble and can be cooked over an open fire or stovetop heat, reminding us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day even when it’s eaten at dinner time.

Grilled Shrimp Foil Packets from Delish.com: This ingenious approach to a shrimp boil packs all the flavor of the real thing into foil packets that are easy to pack, cook, and cleanup.

No Cook Healthy Southwest Salad from Camping for Foodies: Sometimes the best plan for cooking is not to cook at all, and it’s always good to have an option on the menu as easy as this cold, southwestern salad.

Dutch Oven Roast Lamb from BushCooking.com: We’d never hear the end of it if we didn’t recommend a recipe inspired by BMPRO roots in Australia. This dish is as impressive and comforting as a Sunday roast, but as easy as a one-pot meal can get.

Whatever your camping setup this summer, here’s hoping these tips set you up for a delicious and memorable experience.  Cooking really just another great opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures of being away from it all and doing what you love most. Bon appetit!

For more camping tips from your friendly Aussie adventurers, sign up for the BMPRO Adventure Hub Newsletter.

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