My favorite methods of camp cooking are on an open fire and with a Dutch oven. I like doing creative cooking with my kids and the fire. We boil eggs in paper cups, make muffins in an orange peel, and make s'mores. When cooking in this manner we also make sure to teach fire safety.
One of my favorite foods while camping is marinated meat which is meat that I cut up and marinate for 2 days before cooking. We cook this on camp marshmallow roasting sticks over an open fire and it is so YUMMY! We also use this meat to make kebabs.
Another favorite is tin foil dinners, this is great for kids because they can add what they like. I usually have onions, hamburger patties, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots cut really thin, broccoli maybe steamed a little bit, canned or boiled potatoes. I have for toppings, Italian dressing or a cream soup or gravy. I double wrap my dinners in tin foil and put them in coals, I know when the coals are ready when I hold my hand about 4-6 inches above the coals and it takes about 4 seconds for it to be unbearably hot on my hand. This temp is about medium heat. We use a permanent marker to put the name of the person on their dinner to make sure they don't get mixed up.
We brought a crockpot with us to Yosemite, but we were in a tent and did not have electricity. We have a power cord converter in our van and we plugged the crockpot into the cigarette lighter. There was quite a bit of driving, we were not camping inside the park and Yosemite is quite large. So by lunch time the chili in the crockpot was hot, and we had Frito Chili Pie inside Yosemite. I was glad that it worked out! I don't usually bring crockpots camping, especially if we are in a tent, anything I can make in a crockpot I can do in a Dutch oven. In this case, we did not plan on going back to the campsite for lunch, I just had a crazy idea and luckily it worked. Using a crockpot works better in a cabin usually provides electricity so no plugging anything into a cigarette lighter.
- Bring extra towels, even if no swimming is involved, children tend to find water and mud even in a desert and can end up looking like my daughter in the picture on the right. Bring extra blankets, nights get cold even in the summer time.
- Bring lots of sunscreen and hats to prevent sunburns, and aloe in case someone still gets burned
- Bring jackets for the night or unexpected weather
- Bring extra socks and shoes, especially for the kids! I put them in their worst shoes first! If they are growing out of shoes and you have to replace them anyway, bring these camping, you may just throw them away when you get home.
- When packing food freeze whatever can freeze that won't significantly alter the taste. This helps me be able to make sure my food is not going to go bad, on day 3 of a 4 day camping trip, and also helps me to be able to pack more food without as much ice. Some things I freeze are butter, lunch meat, drinks, chili, and any meat I want that is already cooked like taco meat, etc.
- Use sleep sacks that go inside of sleeping bags, these can be taken out after camping and washed very easily without having to wash our sleeping bags every time we go camping. We made them out of queen size flat sheets, folded them in half and sewed around the edges, leaving a little bit unsewn at the top that can fold down. I feel a lot more sanitary since we started using these. My mother embroidered everyone's name at the top of theirs. (You can also use these at Youth Hostile's)
- Always pack extra outfits, especially for kids. I have never regretted doing this! I pack layers, so that they can start a day out in a sweatshirt, then take it off and just have a t-shirt when it gets warmer.
- Bring extra batteries for anything that needs batteries, like flashlights and electric lanterns.
- Don't depend on a fire, bring a stove and warm clothes.
- Staying dry and warm is the most important thing you can do, so don't neglect your kids' clothing just because they're growing out of clothes quickly.
- Use Ziploc bags and garbage bags to keep things organized and dry is a must.