A few key staple ingredients can go a long way in the outdoors. Here’s ten ingredients Vanessa doesn’t leave for an adventure without.


Having a prepared and packed camping kit, complete with camp kitchen, can make you feel organised AF. But even if you’re not quite this methodical about your adventures, having a few staple ingredients at the ready can get you through almost any meal, with enough for a sweet treat afterwards.

1. Pasta

Pasta is one of the staples most of us have in our pantry, so why not chuck a few packets in your car for cheap, quick and easy recipes? From loaded spaghetti bolognese or macaroni cheese, to adding the small crushed pieces in your minestrone soup, save time and get cooking!


2. Noodles – Your choice! Hokkien/Udon/Soba/Vermicelli

Who’s not a fan of ramen? Grab some stock cubes, soup sachets, and/or stir-fry sauces from your local supermarket, or if you feel fancy you could make your own. These noodles don’t need refrigeration which makes them very handy to carry on your long-haul adventures (and they fill you up)! 



Some recipes you can try to recreate in the bush include; spicy laksa soup, beef noodle soup AKA pho (who doesn’t like pho?), honey soy Hokkien noodle stir-fry, Singaporean style curry noodles, Korean hot pot, the list goes on. Basically, make your soup base or stir-fry sauce, then add your choice of noodles and whatever else your tummy desires. VOILA!

Read more: How To Make This Hiking Pad Thai


3. Lentils

Winter means getting warm around the campfire with a bunch of friends and chucking a whole pot stew on the open fire. Lentils are big in nutrients and perfect for satisfying your hungry tummy – they’re the perfect way to go if you’re looking for a healthy meal as they can also work as a substitute. 

You can find bags of mixed lentils, or you can even get them in cans if you’re not worried about weight, both work the same way; only dry lentils will take longer to cook. 

From curries like one pot dahl, thai red curry, middle eastern chickpea stew or shakshuka, to chicken and chickpea pie, and making your own cheese and cracker dips like hummus and spicy lentil dip (try adding different types of crushed nuts to elevate it), lentils are great to experiment with.

Read more: Indian Style Lentils


4. Dehydrated or Freeze-Dried Vegetables

When I’m off grid, I must say I do miss my veggies. But there are so many ways to bring them along on the adventure – from dehydrating your own vegetables, to purchasing readily available dehydrated or freeze-dried instant veggies.

On your next adventure why not try mixing dehydrated veggies into these hearty meals – beef stew, tom yum soup, chicken and ginger porridge, ramen, stir-fries, taco mix for burritos, burger patties, warm couscous salad, butter chicken or spaghetti bolognese. 

Hot tip: Dehydrated mash potato can be used as a soup thickener.

5. Spices


Spices are probably one of the easiest and most convenient ways to add flavour to a meal. Let’s be real, most of us probably already have a little spice kit stored away in our packs or car pantry.

Typically, you might find cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, garlic, turmeric, five-spice, and curry spice mix. If you prefer you can make your own spice mixes the night before to save on space and weight.



Cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger are great spices to use in curries such as massaman and noodle soups, warm fruity desserts like apple pies and even to sprinkle on toast, in a cosy mug of spiced tea or mulled wine.

6. Hoisin Sauce

An Asian condiment I love having is hoisin sauce which you can grab at pretty much any supermarket now.

This sauce is used mainly in savoury dishes, it’s a great one to have because it has that sweet kick to it (so you might not need to carry sugar). Perfect for fried rice, vegetable stir-fries, dipping sauces and an addition to soup broths. 

Hot tip: Try adding ¼ tsp to your beef ramen.


7. Stock Cubes (Chicken, Beef, Vegetarian or Vegan)

Convenient, light and fast. No doubt these are one of the perfect ingredients to have in your pantry. Unlike spices, these are readily available and need no extra work. Whether you’re cooking noodle soups, stews, curries or gravy, just add water and let it dissolve. 

Recipe ideas that might tickle your fancy I recommend are pho noodle soup, green Thai coconut noodle soup, tofu noodle soup, chicken and corn noodle soup. If your taste buds desire that extra flavour you can add other pastes or spices to the mix.


8. Chocolate

I can’t deny my chocolate cravings from time to time, it’s a serious thing. Chocolate is one ingredient I always try to remember when I head out, even if it’s just a granola bar with chocolate bits in it! 

Chocolate can be eaten as a snack if you need a sugar hit out on the trails, added to a cake mix you bake over the campfire, chocolate ganache drizzled over fruit, with a thick hot chocolate in your other hand to end the night. Now that’s luxurious living! 

Read more: Boozy Hot Choccy


9. Banana

A healthy option as a trail snack, or topped on your granola or oats for breakfast, woodfired banana drizzled with honey for dessert, it’s one fruit we definitely give a thumbs up. 

Hot tip: if you carry a banana in your pack make sure it’s in a container and consume within 1-2 days before it goes brown.

Read more: Grilled Chocolate Bananas


Grilled Chocolate Bananas – The Ultimate Desert, Rafaela Khodai

Photo by Rafaela Khodai

10. Orange/Mandarins

These can take a banging! They’re easy to store if you’re off-grid, maybe a little heavy in the pack, but very convenient for car camping. After a long day of adventure, that juicy orange awaits you, cut it up and have as a refreshment, maybe squeeze a little and add it to your water. 

Hot tip: If you’re out of sweetener, sugar or maple syrup for stir-fries, substitute with orange juice (trust us, it’s the bomb).


Follow @thecampstovechef for more hiking and camping recipes!