Food Ideas for Camping (Food that Doesn’t Need to be Refrigerated)

Depending on where you are going camping, it can be a real hassle having to lug a cooler around with you, and on occasions, it can be almost impossible.

You might be wondering what the alternative to this is, and the simple answer is foods that don’t need refrigeration.

Back home, we use the convenience of a fridge for milk, eggs, meats, and dairy products, and when it comes down to not having one, we become stuck.

If you find you are heading off camping and either doesn’t have a chiller or find it hard, here is a list of foods you can take without the need for chilling.

Food for Camping tips

Best Camping Food Ideas


Regular cheese might need refrigeration. However, there is the cheese that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and for a quick addition, they are great.

Cheese Whiz or Velveeta are two favorites. You can quickly drizzle them over nachos for a tasty snack or melt them onto pasta for a quick and easy mac and cheese dish.

Canned Evaporated Milk

Keeping in the dairy vein of things, and for those who can’t do without milk. The cans are easy to carry, and it can mean you can have cereals for your breakfast or add a drop to your coffee. It will taste slightly different, but it is a great substitute for any meal where you need milk.

Soy Milk or Powdered Milk

Even Soy milk can be purchased in powdered form, so there is no need to hump a large carton around with you. Powdered milk can be made by adding water, so you only need to make as much as you need.

This can be a great alternative to your cereals and is an easy addition to your coffee. Just add enough to water until you get the taste you like of this non-refrigerated milk, and then you can use it any way you wish.

BreadBread for camping

This is a staple, and if brought fresh, it will last you a few days. It is so adaptable you can use it for any meal of the day.

Dried lentils and Beans

These are light to carry, and the only real downside is you’ll need to soak them overnight, ready to cook the following day. Just make sure you don’t leave them out for any pesky rodents to steal at night.


Another staple food that is so versatile, you can slice them up and fry them like French fries, boil them or wrap them in foil and throw them on the campfire for some crispy baked potatoes.

Foods You Can Make Ahead

There are plenty of simple camping food ideas you can quickly make ahead of time and store in your best camping tent away from rodents who can smell the sweet delights.

Energy Bites

These are made quickly with oats and nut butter and are full of protein. Just keep them in a sealed Ziploc bag, and they are great for a snack or a quick breakfast.

Banana Bread

You can whip up this before you head off and slice it and wrap it in a sandwich wrap, or carry it whole and cut off slices and give them a little toast over the campfire.

Coffee CakeCoffee Cake for camping

A slice of this premade treat is an excellent breakfast that everyone will love.

Foods that Need no Cooking

If you’re looking for camping food ideas and want ones which require no refrigeration, why not go all the way and find the no-cook camping meals which are super tasty.

Snack and Energy Bars

You can make these or buy them and keep them in your backpack for that little energy boost.


This is one for the big kid inside all adults. These tasty treats come individually wrapped, so rip one open at breakfast and get stuck in.


Not exactly something which will make a meal, but for snacks, raisins or other dried fruits are full of pure energy and taste great without adding hardly any weight.

Fresh FruitsFresh Fruits for camping

Many fruits will last a while without refrigeration until they are cut open. Ones that travel well can include apples, oranges, bananas, pears, and watermelons. All can also quench your thirst as well as give you an energy boost. (Read How To Boil Water Camping)

Fresh Vegetables

These are the same as fruits and ay which are cut should be eaten. Corn on the cob, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans are just a few vegetables that don’t need to be refrigerated.

Dry Cereals

Any type of cereal you can think of is ideal for taking on a camping trip. All they need is your powdered milk mix, and you’re good to go. You can also slice up an apple or top it with fresh berries for extra flavor.


These go hand in hand with your dried fruits and are one of the best camping food ideas. No refrigeration is required. They are also jam-packed full of energy-giving protein.

Canned Foods

There are many canned meat and canned vegetables you can purchase, which are great for camping trips.

Deviled ham is excellent on sandwiches, much like canned tuna. If you look and see canned chili, these are real non-refrigerated meals ready for a family. Vienna sausages are great to add to beans or chili.

Hot Meals and Snacks

After a day of trekking, there is nothing like a hot meal, so here is some food for quick, hot, and tasty camping.

Instant Noodlesinstant noodles for camping

You can’t get much easier than this, and all you need is hot water. There are so many flavors available, and you can now get pot pasta to make your choice harder.

Canned Soup

You can eat these on your own or cook some pasta and then pour over the soup. This really is a hearty belly-busting meal and one of the best camping food ideas.

Dehydrated Meals

These are now placed high on many a camping ideas list and becoming more popular. These packet meals are full of calories and go to make a hearty meal. All you need is the same as your cup noodle, so add boiling water.

You can also find MRE’s (meal ready to eat) and are used by the forces, and all you need to heat them is a flameless heater or drop them in a pot of boiling water.

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