You’ve got a tent, sleeping bag, food, water, and a stove. What else do you need? Don’t forget all the food that you’ll want to take on your next camping trip! Need some tips on food to take camping without a fridge? I’ve got you covered.
Camping is fun, but it also requires some preparation before heading out into nature. If you don’t want to carry around a refrigerator or freezer, then you’ll need to pack something to store your food – or choose food that doesn’t take refrigeration.
There are plenty of foods that you can bring along to camp, such as dried fruits, nuts, granola bars, and even chocolate. The key is finding the right combination of ingredients to ensure that you stay well fed throughout your trip.
Here are great camping food items and ideas for breakfasts, lunch, snacks, dinners, and drinks that are great for backpackers and campers.
Non-Refrigerated Camping Food Tips
Camp cooking doesn’t require much equipment, and most times, you don’t even need a stove. Just some pots and pans, a grill, and maybe a cooler.
If you’re camping in the heat, it’s important to keep your food cool. But what happens if you forget to pack ice packs or buy too many, or don’t even have a fridge for storage?
Here are simple ways to make sure your non-refrigerated foods stay safe and delicious.
- Cook up something quick like pasta, rice, or potatoes. They’ll take longer to cook than meat, but they won’t spoil quickly.
- Make soup. Soups are a good way to use leftovers. Add vegetables, beans, or noodles to make a hearty meal.
- Freeze veggies and fruits. Frozen produce lasts longer than canned, and it tastes better. Use frozen fruit for smoothies, or add frozen berries to yogurt.
- Keep drinks cold. Ice cubes work best for beverages. Put water bottles in a cooler filled with crushed ice. Or fill a large plastic bag with ice and tie off one end. Hang the bag over your campsite’s tap.
- Bring along snacks. Pack trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, cookies, chips, popcorn, candy, and anything else you might crave.
- Buy a cooler. Coolers come in several sizes, including small, medium, and large. Choose a size based on how many people you plan to feed.
No-Cook Camping Breakfasts
Camping doesn’t always mean spending hours in front of a hot stove preparing meals. In fact, many people enjoy camping because it gives them the opportunity to try out some different types of food.
If you’ve ever been camping, you know how important it is to bring along snacks and breakfast items that don’t require much preparation.
I always try and find foods that have a good shelf life and can also make quick snacks. Even though I’m not a breakfast eater per se (camping coffee for me!), here are some quick foods that are easy to start off the day.
Oatmeal and Fruit Parfaits
You can easily make a fruit parfait with some yogurt for a quick snack.
Take 2 cups of instant oatmeal, a bit of brown sugar, 3/4 cup of water, and fruit like bananas, strawberries, blueberries, apples, pears, etc. Mix everything together and enjoy.
Eating cereals without milk is so good! It’s like having a dessert without even knowing it. You can also buy some shelf-stable almond milk to pack along as well.
Start off the day with some nuts and fresh fruit. There’s nothing hard about it, and it’s delicious. Plus, the kids will dig having a camping tradition where they can just wake up and start eating.
Toast is great, but you can also do bagels, fruit bread, English muffins, and more.
Bars of any kind are always great to pack!
Camping Lunches With No Refrigeration
If you’re planning to hit the trails and camp this summer, it’s important to know what foods are best suited for camping out.
Camping packed lunches don’t require much preparation, but there are some tips to follow to ensure that you’ll enjoy your meal once you arrive at your destination.
Here are some camping meal ideas that are simple and easy to do for lunch.
Make these ahead of time and keep them in a small cooler. That way you can eat them on the road to the campsite or enjoy them right away when you arrive.
Mason Jar Salads
Talk about the perfect food options for your day of adventure. A nice salad is delicious, and you can always top it with some olive oil and salt and pepper.
Grabbing a handful of a great protein mix can be perfect. It requires no prepping, no cooking, no coldness, nothing!
Camping Food Ideas That Need No Refrigeration
Camping doesn’t always mean eating out of a box. If you want to cook up some delicious meals while enjoying nature, there are plenty of options for those without access to electricity or running water.
Here are over 50+ camping food ideas that don’t require refrigeration.
- Dehydrated fruit
- Cashew butter
- Tuna packs
- Store-bought pre-cooked bacon
- Black olives
- Store-bought hard-boiled eggs
- Canned foods
- Dehydrated meats
- Cheese whiz
- Chicken pouches
- Peanut butter
- Nut butter (cashew, almond, sunflower seeds)
- canned tuna
- Fresh green beans
- Canned baked beans
- Powdered milk
- Canned chicken
- Instant Potatoes
- Canned fruit
- Black olives Almond butter
- White bread
- Chocolate chips
- Junk food
- Homemade banana bread
- Canned vegetables
- Fruit leather
- Beans – black beans, kidney beans
- Banana chips
- Fresh vegetables – baby carrots, celery, salad mix, radishes, onions
- Individual packets of trail mix
- Condiment packets
- Juice boxes
- Canned fish
- Protein bars
- Fruit snacks
- All types of bread
- Peaches, Nectarines
- Potatoes/Sweet potatoes
- Apples, Oranges, Bananas
- Potato Chips
- Boxed Mac and Cheese
- Candy bars
- Instant foods like mac and cheese/potatoes, etc.
- Rice cakes
- Salt, Pepper, Sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, curry powder, marjoram, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, red peppers, green onions, lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, honey, maple syrup, molasses, agave nectar
- Protein shakes
Healthy Camping Food That Doesn’t Need to Be Refrigerated
You don’t want to bring too much food because it takes up space and weight, and you don’t really want to buy unhealthy snacks because you’ll probably end up eating them anyway. So what do you do?
Well, you could always pack a cooler full of ice packs and canned goods, but that’s pretty boring.
Or you could try bringing along some freeze-dried meals, but they take up a lot of room and weigh a ton.
What if I told you there was a better solution?
While camping isn’t exactly like being on vacation, there are still plenty of ways to make sure you’re getting enough nutrition while you’re gone.
Here are five healthy options that won’t require you to worry about refrigerating anything.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. They’re also easy to carry around, and they don’t need to be refrigerated.
Just remember to keep them in airtight containers and avoid storing them near heat sources, such as campfires.
Fruit is another option that doesn’t need to go in the refrigerator. If you’re packing apples, oranges, bananas, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, grapes, strawberries, cherries, kiwi fruit, melons, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, mangoes, papaya, nectarines, mangosteens, and persimmons, you can easily cut them up and put them in plastic bags.
Then you can toss them in a cooler next to your stove or grill.
Vegetables are a great way to have a healthy snack that everyone can just grab and eat!
Drinks to take camping without a fridge
You don’t want to end up stuck somewhere because you forgot something basic like water or food.
If you plan ahead, though, you won’t have to worry about forgetting anything important. Here are some things you should consider packing for your next adventure into the wilderness.
Instant Coffee & Hot Chocolate Mixes
You know how much I love coffee, but sometimes you just want a cup of hot cocoa or tea. These mixtures are perfect for making quick cups of hot beverages while you’re camping.
Just add boiling water and stir. They’ll come together quickly and taste delicious.
Liquor is also an option to take camping and will stay fine in various climates. Just understand that you need to find a way to mix it with something, so this is where a cooler is going to be important.
Water is essential for survival, especially if you’re planning on spending a lot of time outside. Make sure you pack plenty of bottled water! Bottled water doesn’t go bad, and it tastes good too.
Plus, you’re less likely to run out of drinking water if you buy a case of bottled water rather than buying individual bottles.
Meats to take camping without a fridge
You need to stick to canned meats or dehydrated meats if you dont’ have a fridge.
If you have a cooler, you can bring hot dogs, brats, bacon, steak, ground meat, and more!
How to keep food cool without a fridge
Just because your camper doesn’t have a fridge doesn’t mean that you can’t pack cold items.
The easiest way is to have a cooler packed full of ice and then have your meats, cheeses, and drinks in there.
The cooler won’t keep it cold for long, but if you’re planning on eating it that day, it’s a great option.