Camping Meal Plan: Low-Waste & Plant-Based

Tips and tricks for a plant-based, low-waste car camping trip with friends and family.
plant based camping meals
May 29, 2019 3 Comments 3 min read
"The mountains are calling and I must go"
— John Muir

#RiseandGrind. Sound familiar? While the day-to-day hustle can be energizing, sometimes it’s normal to feel threadbare and in need of a reset. When I’m feeling depleted, there’s nothing more grounding and nourishing for me then reconnecting with our beautiful, wild living home.

There’s something satisfying in the payoff of hunting down the right campsite to call home. Or the joy found in nestling against a mighty oak or towering sequoia for support.

Getting out into nature is a healing act for many, whatever that looks like to you —whether it means being enveloped by rugged mountains, feeling the warm morning desert sun on your skin, or taking a walk with towering, ancient giants in a forest. Or maybe camping is about creating new memories with your friends and family, circled around a crackling, smoky fire. Personally, I love to sip on hot cocoa and share stories passed down from my “quirky” dad, who had the best spooky tales.

Whatever your reason, if you’re looking to have a healthier, plant-based car campout that’s also a low-waste getaway, look no further.

pancakes in a skillet

First Step? Prep!

Before you gear up to get the heck out of dodge, check (and triple check!) your supply list and map out your meal plan in advance. You’ll be so much more relaxed knowing that you’re good to go and don’t have to dig around for last minute roughage.

Low-Waste Swaps
Pack reusables: while disposables might be tempting, packing reusable dishware and flatware goes a long way to keep waste out of the landfill! All you need is a mug, bowl and utensils (or, you can invest in a multi-tool so you can have an all-in-one toy!).

Instead of paper towels or napkins, try using bandannas or a small dish towel instead. You can always wash, rinse and wring out after use.You can also opt out of packing plastic or paper grocery bags and tap into your stash of reusable totes — unless you carry a tackle box full of spices (a hack from one of my friends).

So fresh and so clean: one tip I found really helpful is to bring bar soap and solid shampoo (shampoo in bar form!). You can find these products at places like Lush, which also has other low-waste goodies. If Lush isn’t your jam, there are heaps of places to find products like these online.

Rock out with your flask out (ok, I mean a Hydroflask): bottled water is a huge contributor to plastic pollution and landfill waste. Instead of packing a case of plastic water bottles, bring a refillable bottle that you can top off at your campground.

Recommended Staples
Here’s a short go-to list for a low-waste, plant-based campout:

  • Cast iron skillet
  • Pot with metal handles
  • Mason jars
  • Tupperware
  • Oven mitt
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Reusable tote bags
  • French press (ok, this might not be “essential” 😉)
  • Chef’s knife
  • Metal skewers
  • Tongs
  • Reusable dish set and utensils
  • Foil

plant-based chai tea

Meal Planning Your Plant-Based Campout

Tucking into a hot bowl of food after a long hike might be the best part of camping. And you don’t have to survive on baked beans or peanut butter sandwiches, folks! Camping is a perfect time to get creative and excited for all the grub you can enjoy while kicking your feet up under the stars.

Word to the wise: if you can swing it, do as much food prep as you can in advance to not only save time, but to also have a low-waste jaunt outdoors.


Lunch and Dinner

simple mushroom skewers

Image: Campfire Vegan

Kabobs from Campfire Vegan




Veggie Burgers and Dogs

vegan camping chili

Image: Chanel C. (photographer); The Dyrt Magazine

Vegan Chili from The Dyrt




Vegan S’Mores (vegan marshmallows and dairy-free chocolate)


What’s Next?

Ready for more? Check out our blog about how to connect with your inner and outer nature!

About the Author

Jessica Jewell Lanier is OMD’s Communications and Social Media Manager. When not eating plants, you can find her reading spooky dystopian novels, exploring SoCal’s local trails or cuddling her dog, Penny the Rescue Puppy.


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