Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.
Greg Kempers | 05.09.2019

One of the best parts of a campsite is the campfire. The crackling in the background and the aroma of woodsmoke are hard to beat—and it's also one of the most convenient ways to cook!

Cast-iron skillets and pots work great here, but with a little preparation, the easiest and quickest way to make several meals at once are pre-made foil packs. (See a note at the end of this article for recycling tips.) If you do the work ahead of time, all you need to do when you come to the campsite is start a fire, wait for it to die down, and get cooking!

At home, chop up and combine your ingredients on a sheet of tinfoil and wrap the contents up tightly. For most of these recipes, you want to keep the steam from escaping to cook everything properly. Once you're at your campsite, get a campfire rolling and burn it down to coals. Spread the coals out and gently place the foil packs on the coals. That’s it!


Fresh food is a luxury, but not an impossibility. Stuffed bell peppers are easy to prep and, with proper storage, keep for a day or two. Greg Kempers.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • 1 bell peppers
  • 4 oz. pork sausage
  • 1/4 c. shredded cheese

Cut the top out of the pepper and set it aside. With a spoon, clean the pepper of seeds and membrane. Stuff the pepper with sausage and cheese. Place the stem back in and wrap tightly. Place in coals for 20-25 minutes. Remove from fire and let it cool down for 5 minutes.


Campground Sweet Potatoes

  • 1/2 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/8 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • dash salt

At home, chop up the sweet potato and toss with the cumin, chili powder, oil, and salt. Place in a plastic baggie. At the campsite, wrap everything in tinfoil and place on coals for 15 minutes.


Tinfoil wrappers make prep and cooking a breeze. Baked cinnamon apples are a treat to carry on the trail. Greg Kempers.

Baked Cinnamon Apples

  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of salt

At home, chop up apples and toss them with the oil, cinnamon, and salt, and place in a plastic baggie. At the campsite, wrap everything in tinfoil. Place foil packet on coals for 5 minutes. Remove from fire and let it cool for 5 minutes.


Campfire Banana Boats

  • 1 unpeeled banana
  • semisweet chocolate chips
  • miniature marshmallows to taste

Place the banana on a square of foil and shape the foil so they are stable on the coals. Leaving the top open, cut each banana lengthwise and stuff with a small handful each of chocolate chips and marshmallows. Throw on the coals for 5 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown.


Campground Breakfast Scramble

  • 1/4 c. chopped onions
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1/4 c. shredded cheese
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced

If you are hiking to your campsite, combine all the ingredients in a plastic baggie at home. Make a bowl with foil, pour in the ingredients, and seal the top. Place on coals and cook for 7-10 minutes. Remove from fire and let it cool for 5 minutes.

Recycling Your Aluminum

  • Reuse is the best advice! If your tinfoil remains usable, take advantage for your next meal.
  • To recycle, clean your tinfoil of remaining scraps of food. If contaminated, it can’t be recycled. Burns and holes do not affect whether it can be recycled.


The safety of a campfire's penumbral glow is a place to cook and contemplate. Kyle Jenkins.

Backcountry Fires

Be sure to observe Leave No Trace principles in the backcountry, but especially those pertaining to fires. If you can answer these questions, you're ready to build a backcountry fire:

  • The most important consideration when deciding to use a fire is the potential damage to the backcountry.
  • What is the fire danger for the time of year and the location you have selected?
  • Are there administrative restrictions from the agency that manages the area?
  • Is there sufficient wood so its removal will not be noticeable?
  • Does the harshness of alpine and desert growing conditions for trees and shrubs mean that the regeneration of wood sources cannot keep pace with the demand for firewood?
  • Do group members possess the skills to build a campfire that will Leave No Trace?


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