Why Aluminum Foil Is The Cooking Tool You Need When Camping

As far as the enjoyment of food goes, it's hard to beat the meals you make for yourself while camping. Maybe it's something about reconnecting with nature or the additional flavor of the wood smoke but, whatever the reason, camp food is always amazing. However, packing everything you need to successfully cook while camping can be a bit of a hassle. Traditionally, there are two options. The first is to lug your heavy pots and pans from home like Samwise Gamgee, and the second is to purchase a special camping cookware set and bring it with you. Luckily, if neither of these two choices sounds that great, there's a secret third option you can use to cook great meals while out in the wild: aluminum foil.

In fact, wrapping some chopped veggies and meat in small burrito-like packets of aluminum foil and then tossing them onto the hot coals of the fire to steam is probably the easiest and most stress-free way to cook while camping. This method is a great choice both for adventurers who want to cut down on weight and those who simply want to avoid washing dishes — because that's the last thing anyone wants to do while trying to relax outside.

How to make your own camping meal packets

Making foil packets for camping is super easy and pretty similar to how you would wrap up veggies in aluminum foil to go on the grill. Any vegetable or meat that steams well (including carrots, potatoes, onions, green beans, broccoli, chicken, hamburger, fish, and more) can be cut and mixed with butter or oil and your choice of spices and herbs, then wrapped in foil and cooked on the fire. For most mixtures, around 25 to 45 minutes placed directly on the hot coals, or on a rack over the flames, should do the trick.

The foil packets should be flipped with tongs a few times to ensure even cooking. Because of this, it is recommended to wrap your mixture in two to three sheets of foil to make sure nothing leaks or falls out when flipping. You should also check any meat with a thermometer before consuming it to make sure it is cooked all the way through.

One of the best things about foil campfire cooking is that these packets can be prepared at the campsite, offering everyone a chance to add their preferred ingredients, spices, and sauces for a fun make-your-own-meal group activity. However, they can also be prepared at home beforehand and then stored in a cooler to free up more time for other things while outdoors.

Foil packet ideas that aren't just potatoes and onion

While potatoes and onions mixed with butter and salt cooked in foil always taste amazing, it's not a full meal. If you want to get more creative, there are plenty of interesting ways to make your favorite meals using just foil and fire. For example, you can try making some delicious hoagies by cooking green and red peppers with onions and Italian sausage in a foil packet and then transferring the mixture to sandwich buns. You can also mix chicken, peppers, and onions with Mexican seasonings for a delicious fajita filling that can be served with tortillas and sour cream.

Fish always tastes great when steamed in foil with garlic, lemon, and parsley. However, fish cooks quickly and should not be placed directly on the coals. Instead, according to the Almanac, a good way to do it is to set the fish packets around four inches away from the fire and flip them every five minutes. Using this method, your fish should be done after around 10 to 15 minutes.

Other campers have also experimented with wrapping up a hamburger patty on a bed of potatoes, carrots, and onions and cooking it all together. For dessert, a tasty and easy option is to coat apple slices in a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter and then cook the packet directly on the coals until the apples go soft and sweet.