With travel looking very different this summer, people who may have never considered camping are pitching tents and exploring locations close to home. My camping (and glamping!) experiences have spanned decades, and there is something to be said for sleeping in the wilderness, cooking your meals over a fire, and paddling along the shore while powering off your electronic devices.

Assuming you have your camping gear in order, it's easy to go into the wild and cook healthy vegan or plant-based meals that everyone on your camping adventure will love.

Children relaxing in hammock with dog
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Your Cooking Gear to Pack:

  • Insulated Coolers, ice packs
  • Pots, cast iron pans
  • Reusable dining set (plates, bowls, spoons, forks, knives)
  • Reusable water bottles, cups, mugs
  • Cooking utensils (Spatula, tongs, large spoon, sharp knife)
  • Can opener, bottle opener, corkscrew (optional)
  • Tinfoil, garbage bags
  • Grate or screen, for campfire cooking
  • Containers to keep food fresh
  • Oven mitts
  • Bin for doing dishes, biodegradable soap, dishcloths, scrubber, sponges
  • Firestarter, matches, fuel
  • Small camping stove and fuel if you want a break from making a fire
  • Large water jugs

Vegan Camping Breakfasts

Rise and shine with an invigorating cup-a-Joe, campfire-style. It’s easy to boil water in a small pot for an instant caffeine fix. Individual portions of plant-based milk such as soy, almond or coconut are ideal if you want a splash in your coffee and have limited cooler space. Pour the rest of the milk carton into a bowl of cereal for a simple breakfast. If you want to get creative with the rising sun, how about a hearty tofu scramble? Prepare the spice mix at home and you can use a variation of the veggies listed in the recipe. Just ensure you pack firm tofu and black beans.

Camping - Tofu Scramble
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Other breakfast ideas:

  • Quick Oats (bring jars for overnight oats as well as nuts, seeds, dried and fresh fruit)
  • Bananas, Berries
  • Pancake mix or create your own (You must make pancakes when camping, don’t forget the maple syrup!)
  • Bagels or bread
  • Peanut or cashew butter, jam
  • Homemade or store-bought granola
  • Ingredients for your tofu scramble

Vegan Camping Lunches

Lunch is all about sandwiches, especially if you are spending your day hiking, canoeing, or exploring the great outdoors away from camp. Wraps are super easy to make and bring in your day pack, only requiring a little cleanup and no cooking.

There are endless sandwich ideas so you don't need to rely on PB&J. Try hummus and cucumber, vegan cashew cheese and tomato, pita pockets stuffed with veggies, a vegan take on the famous BLT loaded with plant-based deli slices, spicy smoked tempeh, BBQ tofu and grilled veggies, egg-less tofu egg salad with green onions or roasted red peppers with vegan mozzarella and vegan pesto.

For more sandwich ideas check out these five vegan sandwich creations, most of which can be made in advance and stored in airtight containers in your camping cooler. I have a weakness for kettle chips, I know they aren’t healthy, but they complete any picnic. Balance them out with an assortment of fruits and veggies.

Other lunch ideas:

  • Apples and seasonal fruits like peaches, plums, watermelon and cherries
  • Veggies to snack on such as carrots, cucumbers, celery
  • Hummus or other plant-based dips such as cashew, ranch, salsa, guacamole or bean (Make your own or pick up at Trader Joes or Whole Foods. We like Kitehill).
  • Seed or grain Crackers
  • Canned soup in case of a chilly afternoon or a rainy day

Vegan Camping Snack Ideas

Being outside and active all day makes you hungry! Here are some snacks to keep on hand either at your campsite or pack them in your day bag before you head out on a wilderness adventure.

  • Healthy plant-based protein bars such as Clif, Vega or Evo Hemp
  • Whole-wheat fig bars by Nature’s Bakery, your favorite granola bars, or make some healthy muffins before your trip
  • Trail mix loaded with nuts and seeds
  • Pretzels, kale chips, roasted seaweed with sea salt or multigrain pita chips

Vegan Camping Dinners

Vegetarian barbeque - corn, zucchini, carrots on the barbeque
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Roasted corn on the cob is a must-have when camping. Shuck the corn, rinse the ears off, add salt, pepper and some plant-based butter (coconut oil works great too) and wrap the corn in tin foil. Twist the ends shut before placing them over campfire coals for about five minutes on each side. Other veggies perfect for campfire meals include baked potatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, onions, yellow squash, asparagus, Portobello mushrooms or Brussels sprouts.

For your main course, Beyond Meat burgers are my current favorite veggie burgers but there are lots of yummy ones to choose from such as Gardein or Field Roast. Beyond Meat takes about 4 minutes to grill on each side and you don’t want to overcook them. Use a sprayed frying pan if you don’t have a campfire grill. Once cooked load them up with your favorite condiments as well as lettuce, tomato and onion and seal the deal in a healthy whole-wheat burger bun.

Daiya Cheezy Mac is easy to whip up over a fire for any kids who would rather some mac n' cheez than burgers. Everything you need is in the box and it’s non-perishable so it won’t even occupy cooler space. All you need is a pot, strainer and large wooden spoon. Add some cooked and chopped veggies for a healthier version.

Premade salads are also delicious, easy and healthy if you aren’t in the campfire mood. Ideas include chilled pasta salad, potato salad, quinoa salad or bean salad. If you are looking for inspiration try this Healthy Summer Salad with Fresh Mango and Pomegranate or this Summer Potato Salad recipe on Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Life website.

Other dinner ideas:

  • Cans of baked beans, chickpeas, lentils, lima beans, and black beans
  • Taco or burrito night; corn or wheat tortillas, salsa, avocado, lettuce, green onions, tofu crumbles, shredded vegan cheese
  • Easy Vegan Pizza, loaded with vegetables and vegan mozzarella

Vegan Camping Desserts

Is it really a camping trip if you don’t have S’mores? Original marshmallows contain gelatin (made from cows or pigs) but now vegans can enjoy all the ooey-gooey goodness without the cruelty thanks to plant-based Dandies. They are light and fluffy and melt like a dream. Search for a long stick in the woods and use your camping knife to sharpen the edges. Pop a marshmallow (or two or three) onto your stick to hold over the campfire flames. Once it’s golden brown take your graham cracker (there are several accidentally vegan brands on the market), add a square of vegan chocolate, another graham cracker and make a sandwich. Voila!

Baked apples cooked on the fire are also a tasty treat, and all you need is a cored apple, brown sugar and cinnamon. Wrap your apple in tin foil and place on the hot coals to cook for five to ten minutes until softened. Whatever treat you choose when the sun goes down enjoy them under a sky full of stars.

Do you have any vegan camping tips? Let us know in the comments below

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