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Convenient Foil Packet Camping Recipes - and what you can use instead of foil!


Aluminium Foil & the BBQ - BFF?Aluminium Foil & the BBQ - BFF?Aluminium foil can be your best friend whilst camping - we all know how extremely convenient it is and clean up after! I always pack a few turns of foil, carefully folded flat, which helps to further insulate our cooler bag as well as being there for creating all manner of things about camp (a stove windbreak for instance).

A word of warning however – the over use of aluminium in personal care and especially cooking has been linked to degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimers so while convenient, it seems it does come with a price. There’s also the heavy waste element of this ‘throwaway’ mentality I feel we’ve let get out of hand in modern times, convenience shouldn’t cost us the earth.


Yes I still use foil, but sparingly now that I know better, and because of that I’ve been trialling alternative ways to get the convenience and function of a cooking ‘packet’ without slowly poisoning us or wasting precious resources! See below for some great convenient ‘foil’ recipes from around the web and alternatives you can use to create them instead:


What else compares?

At home or in the caravan you could make use of a pyrex or ceramic casserole dish with a well fitting lid. (the smaller the better since you want the steam and flavours to stay in one place and not dry out) 


For the camp fire cast iron is king! Ryan bought us a cast iron potato ‘oven’ for using in/on the wood fire and we haven’t looked back! It came as a set with my other new favourite toastie press and has a secure hinged clamp to keep everything together and comes with a hooked handle for retrieving it from the hot coals.


On the BBQ you can wrap fish in several layers of newspaper soaked in water. By the time the outer layers are burning the fish inside should be done. Check out this post by Elinor Hill The Beach Hut Cook explaining the process.

A similar method uses fresh wetted hay or other edible herbs and leaves to protect fish or joints of meat. The hay method is reported to impart a sweet smoky flavour of it’s own which sounds nice.


Grease proof (waxed baking) paper tied at the ends works brilliantly for cooking fish in the oven or for making up several portioned packets within a larger Dutch Oven. (you could simply line your regular foil packet with the paper to reduce how much toxins your food is being directly exposed to, though it does sound doubly wasteful overall...)


If you like getting back to basics survival style you could try encasing your potatoes and onions (with the skin on) in a layer of freshly dug clay to protect them from the ashes of the fire. Of course you need the right geology under your feet to properly pull this one off…


If you’re using it to wrap your sandwiches you can switch to reusable steel or plastic containers, rinse and repeat!


Try nothing! If you’re going camping or planning a dinner of jacket spuds on the beach with the help of a camp fire you may not even need to cover them at all! Let’s face it even encased in several layers of foil you’ll no doubt wind up with plenty of burnt patches of potato skin anyway so really what’s the big deal with cooking directly in the embers? To reduce the time required on the coals pre or part cook the potatoes at home in the oven, pop them into reusable containers and finish them off in the embers of the fire when you’re ready to eat – less waiting and impatient prodding involved makes it a win, win!



Garlic steak and potatoes

Lemon chicken

Baked fishhead over to our recipe for spicy baked trout.

Bacon & Ranch Chicken

Breakfast parcels



Stuffed peppers

Buttered onions – finely slice some onions and top with a generous knob of butter before sealing up, bake for 10 mins or until soft. (mix red and white onions for extra colour and sweetness)

Veg & potatoes with Rosemary

Colourful mixed veg packet



Popcorn – a regular saucepan works fine, check out our ‘toffee apple’ popcorn recipe.

Pineapple upside down cake


I hope you enjoy these recipes and I hope that you’ll try switching out the aluminium, let us know what you think in the comments below!


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Sarah is a UK artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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