Even when you’re cooking on a simple campfire with just the bare essentials, you can still make surprisingly tasty and indulgent food. With preparation and a little imagination, cooking can become a great part of your trip, and taking your time to savour meals outdoors can be the best part of your day. The appeal of sausages cooked on an open fire is timeless but, if you’re a regular camper, you might be looking to add some extra colour and spice to your campfire cooking.


Spend a little time before your trip preparing sauces, dips and relish at home to enliven simple grilled food. Rather than just relying on charcoal to flavour your meats, marinate some steaks by placing them in a plastic bag with a mix of oil, soy sauce and herbs. You can leave the steaks in the bag and keep them handy in your chilly bin ready to go straight on the barbi for a delicious meal on your first night. For a change from mustard and ketchup, try a Vietnamese banh mi hot dog. Prepare carrot pickled in vinegar at home then serve with cucumber and jalapenos for a tangy twist on a campfire classic.


Other camping staples like one pot stews and casseroles can be a bit tame. To make your meals more enticing, take a supply of small bags of dried herbs and spices. Then you can turn your one pot dishes into spicy chilis and flavoursome curries. For a complete change from the usual meat feast, grill red and yellow capsicums stuffed with couscous and flavoured with garlic, cumin and coriander. Swap bland potatoes for deliciously sweet baked kumara. Scoop out the inside, mash and mix with cheese then place the mixture back in the skins.


Grilling fruits like pineapple and peaches brings out their sweetness and is simple to do.To make them more exciting, try dipping them in a fondue made from chocolate melted in a pan over the fire. Packaged cakes and biscuits are convenient to take camping but why not bake your own. Scoop out the inside of an orange and fill the skin with a quick and easy cake mix. Wrap it in foil then bake in the embers of the fire for an unusual but delicious dessert.

With a bit of forward planning and some simple touches, traditional camp food can be something quite special. Preparing food at home means you can add interest to your meals without fuss, leaving you time to relax and savour your campfire treats.

Lucy Lees is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across a variety of sectors. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her.