Good morning! I love fall camping! The colorful fall leaves, the chilly temperatures, the need for an all-day fire! When it gets really chilly though, I would also like all-day warm drinks. I don’t drink coffee after mid-afternoon, so fall camping calls for camping cocoa!
Camping cocoa is a homemade, large batch cocoa mix that I make all-year round. It is easy to make, stores well in mason jars and even is a great small, chocolate treat in the summer- much better than making and eating most of a chocolate cake!
Since it does store easily in mason jars, camping cocoa is one of my camping pantry staples. I stock and keep it in the camper at the beginning of camping season and refill the jar when I need too.
Making and storing the frugal camping cocoa mix is easy, but so is using and serving it. I love options and, happily, there are 4 different options to make and serve camping cocoa!
Option 1: The Campfire
Of course, my favorite option is warming the water over a campfire! I use a campfire coffee pot or a campfire pot to heat the water.
My campfire coffeepot and pot are just like the pie irons- since they get sooo sooty every time I use them, I don’t wash the outsides very often and they never go in the camper. Instead, they are stored in a grocery bag so the soot doesn’t get everywhere.
When the water is almost boiling, I pour it into coffee cups and add 1/3 cup of camping cocoa mix. It is a warm, cozy chocolate drink that is even great with breakfast!
Option 2: The Microwave
A more practical way to warm the water, right in the cup, is the microwave. Using the microwave is quick and easy at home or if we have an electric hook-up camping spot.
Option 3: Large Batch Cocoa- with electricity
A large coffee pot (or coffee urn) works great to heat the water when we have a crowd and electricity available.
I only heat the water with the coffee pot, adding the camping cocoa mix to individual cups. I’m not sure if the coca mix would clog the coffee pot, but this way I don’t waste any if we don’t drink a whole pot of cocoa.
The large coffee pot is also a frugal option- I see them often at garage sales and thrift stores. I’m using my second one, but they only cost about $3 each.
I have learned to use the whole coffee pot, even when just heating water. I don’t know how they work, but mine seems to need the insides in place- even if I’m not making coffee.
Option 4: Large Batch Cocoa- without electric
When we don’t have electricity available or we don’t want an electrical cord in the way, I use an igloo to hold hot water. This was a brilliant tip from our church Boy Scout friend, the same one who recommended leftover scrambled egg pie irons (yum!) and spaghetti food flop pie irons.
When he suggested an igloo, we were hosting a youth mission project in the fall. I wanted to provide hot cocoa, but was concerned about the electrical cords tripping the busy youth.
After telling me “You dropped your pocket!” (He’s so silly, though I did look down!), he said “Here, use this” and handed me an igloo.
It worked great!
The kids had hot cocoa all morning and it was much safer than running cords to the outside tables.
We added warm-hot water to the igloo, not boiling water- maybe it would warp the plastic or ruin the container. The water stayed a good temperature for cocoa all morning.
Instead of a mason jar, we taped directions to a Tupperware container, full of camping cocoa mix and a 1/3 cup measuring cup. This easily helped the youth stay warm all morning too!
Camping Cocoa Mix Recipe
Dry milk powder/Instant Dry milk– the box that makes 8 quarts
1 ½ cups Coffee creamer
1 cup Baking cocoa
3 ½ cups Powdered sugar – I have used half powdered sugar and half regular sugar, when I ran out of powdered sugar, it was still yummy.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Sometimes, I use a large bowl with a lid or an ice cream bucket with a lid and shake it to combine.
Store in a sealed container. I keep one mason jar of camping cocoa in the camper pantry and one by the microwave at home.
To serve– add 1/3 cup of camping cocoa mix to an 8 ounce cup of hot water, stirring to combine.
Staying warm and cozy is important for fall activities and fall camping. While I love an all-day fire, I also love camping cocoa and the 4 different options for making and serving it! I hope you are able to enjoy fall camping and some camping cocoa!
Happy Camping (or enjoying camping cocoa with breakfast!)