Camping While Vegan

Every summer, our family goes camping a few times. We love pitching our tent, spending days at a time outside, exploring new places, and dining in the forest.

Porteau Cove

Porteau Cove

Nairn Falls

Nairn Falls

Twin Islands

Twin Islands

It’s taken some trial and error, but over the years, we’ve figured out a few strategies to help make packing food and preparing meals—dare I say it?—almost enjoyable. 

Canoe camping

Canoe camping

Picnic lunch while canoeing (chickpea pancakes with radish greens, hummus, peppers, avocado, sourdough, peanut butter)

Picnic lunch while canoeing (chickpea pancakes with radish greens, hummus, peppers, avocado, sourdough, peanut butter)

Camping up Indian Arm

Camping up Indian Arm

We have a standard two-burner camp stove, but use it sparingly. Although at home I truly enjoy cooking, camping feels more relaxing to me when meal time isn’t a big production. Prepping food, cooking on a small camp stove, and cleaning dishes are all more challenging when camping, so mostly we stick with meals that are even more simple than usual.

Have stove, will travel

Have stove, will travel

Chili, potatoes, salad—this is actually more involved than usual

Chili, potatoes, salad—this is actually more involved than usual

Here are my best camping tips (and I’d love to hear yours, too):

Bring frozen soupy things

If you can get organized, the week or two before you go camping, make extras when you cook a soup, stew, chili, or curry and freeze a family-sized portion. This frozen meal will help keep your cooler cold on day one and can be a meal on day two. A hot meal like this really hits the spot when you’re spending days outside, too. Try black bean soup, red lentil stew, chili, or chickpea curry. 

Eat granola

Granola is nutritious and super filling, and it doesn’t need to be cooked, woohoo! It also takes up minimal space, which isn’t strictly essential for car camping but is still nice. Granola with fruit, coconut yogurt, and soy milk is my go-to camping breakfast. Sorry / not sorry that I’m such a card carrying hippie.

granola

… then eat sandwiches

Sandwiches make ideal lunches because they don’t need to be cooked, they’re filling, and they can be easily adapted for everyone’s preferences. My personal fave is smoked tofu sandwiches,  but here are a few other suggestions if for some strange reason you don’t want to just join me in eating smoked tofu sammies every day yummmmmm

Smoked tofu sammies with Yves veg salami, avocado, mayo, pickles, and lettuce.

Smoked tofu sammies with Yves veg salami, avocado, mayo, pickles, and lettuce.

Buy tetra-pack plant-based milk

Shelf stable cartons of plant-based milk don’t take up valuable cooler space. We use plant-milk on granola/cereal, in hot drinks, and as a drink on its own for the boys, and we tend to to go through a lot of it. Having a few smaller containers that don’t all need to be in the cooler means less mildly annoying food Tetris. It’s the little things, right?

Overnight backcountry food for just me, sans stove: hummus sandwich; cukes, cherries and peach (it was August!), peanut noodles; pistachios, dried mango, dark chocolate; granola with anti-inflammatory turmeric added; tetra pack soy milk

Overnight backcountry food for just me, sans stove: hummus sandwich; cukes, cherries and peach (it was August!), peanut noodles; pistachios, dried mango, dark chocolate; granola with anti-inflammatory turmeric added; tetra pack soy milk

Pack realistic veggies and prep them ahead of time

We mostly pack snackable raw veggies for camping. Our camp stove just isn’t big enough to comfortably stir fry veggies, and I’ve come to accept that big fresh salads, which I normally love, don’t really satisfy while camping. (Just me?) Peppers, carrots, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes help get our veggie fix in and can be enjoyed by all four of us. Chop em up in your own kitchen before you go, when it’s ten times easier. 

Don’t forget the snacks

If you’re camping with children, snacks are a must—but then again, if you’re camping with children, I don’t need to tell you that. Anything relatively healthy that can be grabbed and eaten is A+ snack material in my books. We’re partial to fruit, hummus with crackers or veggies, popcorn, nuts/seeds, and dry fruit. We also usually bring potato chips camping too, which is not something we normally buy so it’s kind of our camping treat. Also, s’mores, because camping.

In case you didn’t know, Dandies marshmallows are vegan

In case you didn’t know, Dandies marshmallows are vegan


Here’s what a typical two-night camping trip meal plan might look like:

Day one, arriving after lunch

Snack: popcorn with olive oil, salt, and nutritional yeast (prepped ahead of time)

Dinner: veggie burgers with potato salad and carrot sticks


Day two

Breakfast: granola with berries, coconut yogurt, and soy milk

Snack: hummus with veggies and multi grain crackers

Lunch: smoked tofu, pickle, and lettuce sandwiches; potato salad

Snack: apples and tamari-roasted almonds

Dinner: black bean and spinach soup with potato chips


Day three

Breakfast: granola with berries, coconut yogurt, and soy milk

Snack: hummus with veggies and crackers

By the time we get home, I’m usually craving a big-a$$ salad, and that’s what we have for lunch—well, that’s what Arden and I have for lunch. The boys eat more like campers most of the time :)