The open road, blue skies and an adventure ahead — campervan trips have all the potential to be a trip of a lifetime. But before you embark on a journey of memories, you’ll need to tackle and plan for one of the most important parts of your road trip:
Your fuel, and by fuel we don’t mean diesel or petrol, we mean your food fuel!
To help you sort out your food list, meal planning, and packing, we’ve put together this handy blog for creating and enjoying easy camping meals on your next Australian adventure
Before you start fretting about what to pack or get overwhelmed with a huge list of things to bring, know that cooking in a campervan is something you should experience at least once in a lifetime.
Once the whole ceremony of cooking, balancing a cutting board on the top of your water cooler or setting up your camping stove burners for a meal cooked in ‘phases’, you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labour under the stars, with nothing but the breeze and the sounds of nature for company. Pure bliss.
As you’ll be planning your meals ahead of time, you’ll be organised and not waste money on items you don’t need or won’t use. You’ll become more strategic in your food purchasing and naturally, you will focus on camping recipes that save you money, so you can spend more money on the fun stuff!
You’ll have to get creative with your cooking, learning which herbs and spices give the widest variety of veggies the best flavours. Overall, your rations, as well as your cooking utensils, will be in limited supply. You really will be doing more with less.
When road trippin’ around Australia you’ll soon learn that you can pick up local fruit and veg from some farms. Which means you’ll not only start to eat in-season, but also give back to the Australian farmers. Plan to take routes that pass into small towns and villages, making full use of local markets and farms.
So how do you keep your meals simple when you’re on the road? For the most part, you want to try and stick to meals where there are minimal waste and prep work.
One-pot meals, using an instant pot, for example, can give you the number of servings you need for your brood (or just a very hungry twosome!) with minimal prep or cooking fuss.
Don’t forget the top seasoning, herbs, spices and oils – salt, pepper, mixed dried herbs, paprika, cumin, coriander powder, olive oil, soy, and chili.
Condiments and spreads are a great way to make any meal more exciting – ketchup, bbq sauce, mustard, mayo, honey, jams, and the old faithful Vegemite.
Make sure to pack all your grained products, they can come in handy for most meals – pasta, rice, barley, oats, and cereal.
Finally, remember your jarred goods to bulk our most meals – chickpeas, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, canned soups, coconut milk, curry or tomato paste, canned fish (tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel).
Avoid foods that are likely to spoil or develop a fungus or mold quickly unless you’re going to cook them right away. This includes fresh milk (buy long-life UHT milk instead), fresh herbs, cruciferous veggies like cauliflower or broccoli (because they’re a bit of a hassle to cut and clean), and some cheeses.
Without a doubt, the best place to get ‘deals’ on fresh fruits, veggies and meats is to hit up the local, in-season farmers markets. These little make-shift stalls will give you a massive amount of produce for a great price and you’ll be supporting local businesses. Best of all, you’ll be eating fresh food, in-season and homegrown.
The sky is really the limit for camp cooking recipes, anything can be made with the right equipment. Here are our top 3 campervan cooking videos to excite your palate:
Banana bread – a top staple for every Australian adventure.
Pancakes – a dish that can be enjoyed any time of day – morning, noon and night!
Pizza – who doesn’t want to cook pizza in their campervan we ask? If you hire the right vehicle, you can make it happen!
Campervans give travellers the best of both worlds. You can basically ‘rough’ it while also having the luxury of a full kitchen. We recommend using a single, large frying pan or skillet to cook up many dishes. A hearty frittata, multi-person eggs-and-bacon breakfasts, do oatmeal with all the fresh fruit, berry and other toppings you can handle or get fancy with mushroom omelets, poached eggs and even fresh pesto! Opt for hearty stews, chili, or one-pot stir-fry and pasta dishes.
Some other campervan and camping meal ideas that can be cooked in one-pot or a pan:
We’ve got a whole list of campervan and camping recipes, as well as easy camping meals, come and check them out.
First off, if you’re cooking on an open fire or a BBQ, plan to bring charcoal and extra matches. Besides this, your tastes should really guide your camp cooking packing list, but here are some of our top suggestions:
Pack the basics – plates and bowls plus a set of forks, knives, and spoons, chopping board, kettle, glasses and mugs.
Top implements for cooking – deep-dish medium frying pan, medium to large saucepan with a lid and a large mixing bowl.
Top utensils to pack – tongs, serving ladle, chef’s knife, scissors and a trusty bottle opener of course.
Essentials for cleaning – large plastic container, dishwashing liquid, and a brush.
Cooking in a campervan is just as easy and efficient as cooking at home. While the quarters are more tightly packed, the amenities are all readily available. You’ll have a tablespace to actually do prep work, burners to cook with and space to store leftovers.
Cooking at a camp kitchen is the very definition of ‘glamping’. This may be as ‘fancy’ as you can get because camp kitchens usually have their own dishwashing stations, utensils and, sometimes, even their own basic foodstuffs.
Open fire facilities vary between Aussie campsites. And just because there is a fire pit present doesn’t mean it’s necessarily allowed. Fires within national parks, for example, must always be within designated areas. There are times of the year where fires are banned, however, if you’re allowed one then you’ll experience a truly magical moment, as nothing beats the taste of a meal cooked over a campfire.
Public BBQs are everywhere in Australia, so why not take advantage of these national treasures! With websites available to help you locate your closest Public BBQ, make life even easier by using the local facilities available. Just make sure you bring all your cooking gear, as only hot plates are usually provided.
Whether you’re ‘glamping’, free camping or have the luxury of a campervan, the options really are endless while cooking on the road. Whatever you do, just make sure to pack the essentials, and keep your cooking simple yet creative!
Want even more tips for camping meals, ideas for what food to take camping and innovative, delicious and creative camping recipes? Travellers Autobarn has got you covered! Check out our blogs dedicated to easy campervan and camping breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas!
For more recipes, adventures and happy customer stories, come and explore our YouTube channel!