Instant Foods for Kids Going on School Camp (similar to that at Anaconda's)

How to get cheaper Camping instant foods / pre-make at home recipes. To give to high school kids going on 5 day long camp.

( Anaconda is so expensive)

Year 10 in public school
Can't take tins/cans
A small Trangia/pot is provided


  • Canned food? Baked beans and tuna or chicken? My son just went and he told me the camp organisers gave him Heinz chicken and corn in a can as "food".

  • +8

    Don't school camps usually have catering? Can't say for public school but the private school I used to work for, provided enough food for the kids, they aren't expected to pack their own food.

    • +2

      Yeah, I've gone on a few school camps in high school and there was always a cafeteria with food which was included in the bill for the camp? Unless it's meant to be like a survival type camp where you're out in the wilderness or something.

  • +1

    A week is long time to self cater, especially if hiking.
    - do they have to carry their own food for the duration? Or are they staying put at a site?
    - are any facilities available? Can they use a communal stove/fire/bbq? Is there ample fresh water? Will there be any chance to resupply with things like ice?
    - do they need to remove all their waste? If planning to burn it, what if there is a fire ban?
    - do they have to carry other equipment too, like tents etc?

    Even when my kids did Duke of Edinburgh etc. It wasn’t for that duration.

    • Our kids did this for school camp; 2.5 days hiking and 2.5 days rafting. BYO everything (plenty of water available in rivers / streams).
      And, they had to buy their food themselves within a nominated budget.

      Pasta is a good option (can be eaten 'raw' if need be), and relatively light to carry. Tinned goods are pretty heavy and probably aren't proportioned well. Fresh food (without refrigeration) is a waste of time and money after day 1. Flat bread lasts for a few days at least.
      Some of the students realised that they could share stuff, so a can of spam (as an example) could be carried but shared between a couple of kids with pasta for one meal.

      OP doesn't mention ages, but ours were Year 9.

  • they will supply food. But try any army surplus store, make or buy some beef jerky. Cans of braised beef with onioion is my fav. But there are dead set 1000 things to buy from wollies.

  • Beef jerky, dried fruit & nuts, canned beans / veg, energy bars, you can get them all from the supermarket…

  • Def get kids to pack their own snacks. I remember school camps were always very light on with the meal servings, or sometimes (for the bush camps) there was questionable hygiene and refrigeration practices and I would eat my own food. Neurotic, yes, did I $hit myself from food poisoning, no.

    Jerky, dried apricots/peaches/bananas are good but make sure your kids know how to make them last. Lollies for days. Museli bars (watch out for nut allergy kids, not fair on them, the teachers may confiscate contraband). Keep away from anything that might leak or can't be sealed properly. All rubbish disposed of thoughtfully. Get them to bake some anzac biscuits.

  • I've found these aren't that good in taste or filling. My suggestion would be to get the instant pasta or rice packs + jerky or tuna pouch from supermarket.

  • On school camp where we had to hike for 3 odd days only had 3 canned food for dinner. The rest were museli bars, dried food like jerky, fruit and nuts. Had powerade powder to mix with water. Canned food at night and museli/dried for eating on the go. If water is not an issue go pasta but consider food that doesn't require much water if they have to carry their own. Don't want to weigh the kid down with cans only but also it's meant to be fun so lax the food requirements. Ziplock bags are your friend to reduce size

  • Instant meals at colesworth?
    Get the ones that can be cooked on a stovetop without extra milk or anything.

  • Depends what the kid will like/eat.

    You can get pasta. plus sauces/fish/veg in pouches rather than cans from the supermarket fairly cheap. eg Safcol Tuna Pouch Red Beans & Quinoa 160g is $2.5

    You can get tortilla that will last a few days once openned - so get smaller packets and open one first day and the other on day 3.

    Porridge maybe for breakfast or powered eggs or just museli bars.

    They are probably wanting to camp light so it's not about replicating a sit down meal but getting some calories/carbs in without a lot of hassle.

  • +2

    I did something similar in high school, and I remember bringing these:

    • instant mash (Deb)
    • sugary cereal which I ate as snacks (it was Corn Pops, if anyone remembers those? Otherwise dry Nutri-Grain is great as a snack)
    • sachets of cup-a-soup (nice and light to carry, and the Lots-a-Noodles ones are filling)
    • muesli bars
    • nuts
    • 2 minute noodles - I ate these raw with the flavour sprinkled over it…like most 80s kids did! :P
    • a block of the Kraft cheddar cheese (now Dairylea) that doesn't need to go in the fridge until you open it — my friends and I shared this with crackers on our last night. We felt quite fancy, and even the teachers were jealous! ;)

    We were allowed to bring cans though, so I also had Spam, braised steak and onions, tins of cocktail franks, beans/spaghetti, etc.

    Some other ideas could be:

    • chunky soup pouches (Coles does a good range of pouch soups now, lamb/pearl barley and chicken/veg/buckwheat are nice)
    • flavoured microwave rice pouches, like Ben's (you can heat these up in a pan)
    • long-life noodles (hokkien, etc) with an Asian-style pouch sauce over the top
    • long-life fruit or jelly cups
    • pouches of pineapple pieces
    • fruit puree or custard in pouches with the nozzle on the top for drinking

    Whatever they end up taking, I hope they have a great time!