101 Food Ideas to Take Camping Without a Fridge (With Meal Plans)

Camping is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature.

However, if you’re like most people, you don’t want to spend your trip eating trail mix and granola bars (or maybe you do?).

That’s why we’ve put together this list of 101 food ideas to take camping without a fridge! Plus, we created breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert meal plans using our food list.

So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure – with plenty of good food to keep you fueled up along the way!

101 Foods to Take Camping Without a Fridge

No refrigerator or microwave? No problem!

Here are 101 food and meal ideas that will keep well without refrigeration and please the whole family on your next camping trip!

Meat & Protein

Tip: Many of these camping foods are packaged in cans or pouches that should be refrigerated after opening, so make the most of them while still fresh!

  • Bacon crumbles
  • Beef biltong
  • Beef jerky
  • Beef sticks
  • Canned chicken/Chicken packets
  • Canned chili
  • Canned fish (salmon, tuna, shellfish, anchovies, sardines)
  • Canned ham
  • Canned roast beef
  • Canned tuna/Tuna packets
  • Pepperoni
  • Powdered eggs
  • Summer sausage

Alternative Protein Sources (Vegan Friendly)

  • Almond butter
  • Nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, etc.)
  • Peanut butter
  • Seeds (sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)

Dairy

Tip: Many of these items should be kept out of direct sunlight and may need to be used immediately after opening.

  • Aged cheeses (cheddar, gouda, etc.)
  • Evaporated milk cans
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Powdered creamer
  • Powdered milk (just add water)
  • Shelf-stable milk

Fruit

Tip: While refrigerating certain fresh fruits can extend their shelf life, fruits with a protective outer skin don’t require a fridge and are perfect for your camping trip. Just be sure you don’t pre-cut them before hitting the road, as this will drastically reduce their shelf-life.

Fresh Fruits

  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Watermelon

Pre-packaged Fruits

  • Applesauce
  • Canned black olives
  • Canned fruits
  • Dried Fruit
  • Fruit cups
  • Shredded coconut

Vegetables

Tip: Fresh vegetables, like fruit, don’t always require refrigeration. Just be sure to cut them just before eating. If you’re worried about the veggies spoiling mid-trip, you can always choose canned varieties.

Fresh Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Butternut squash
  • Cabbage (lasts longer than lettuce)
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini

Canned Vegetables

  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Mushrooms
  • Green chiles
  • Green beans
  • Baked beans
  • Black beans
  • Refried beans
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Asparagus

Boxed Vegetables

  • Instant potatoes

Grains

Tip: Look for “instant” or “just add water” versions of popular grain-based foods. They make for a quick camping meal that requires little clean-up!

  • Bagels
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Couscous
  • Dinner rolls
  • Instant hashbrowns
  • Mac n’ cheese (boxed or cups)
  • Naan
  • Oatmeal
  • Pancake mix (look for “just add water” varieties to save time)
  • Pasta
  • Pita bread
  • Pizza crusts
  • Quinoa
  • Ramen noodles
  • Rice
  • Tortellini
  • Tortillas

Snacks and Desserts

When nature’s candy (fruit) won’t quite cut it, there’s an endless supply of sweet treats, snacks, and desserts stocked on the shelves of your local supermarket. Below are just a few:

  • Chips
  • Chocolate bars
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Graham crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Ice cream cones
  • Marshmallows
  • Muffins
  • Nut mix
  • Nutella
  • Popcorn
  • Poptarts
  • Pudding
  • Trail mix

Condiments

A must-have for preparing tasty meals while camping.

  • BBQ sauce
  • Butter spray
  • Cinnamon
  • Condiment packets (ketchup, mustard, mayo, jelly, jam, honey, relish, etc.)
  • Cooking oil
  • Honey
  • Pasta sauce
  • Pepper
  • Salsa
  • Salt
  • Seasonings
  • Syrup

Drinks

I’m sure your cooler will be filled with beer and soda, so here are a few drinks that don’t need to be chilled.

  • Bottled water
  • Coffee (instant or ground)
  • Hot chocolate packets
  • Juice boxes
  • Powdered milk
  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Tea
  • Water flavor packets

Related: 48 Best Canned Foods for Camping

So, what do we do with all of these non-refrigerated camping foods? We mix and match them to make delicious meals!

Camping Meals That Don’t Need Refrigeration

Here are a few quick and easy meal ideas (including a few no-cook camping meals) using the non-refrigerated foods from above.

Non-Refrigerated Camping Breakfast Meals

  • Breakfast Potatoes using instant hashbrowns or seasoned diced potatoes
  • Breakfast bagel with scrambled eggs (using powdered eggs), aged cheese, bacon bits, etc.
  • Cereal with shelf-stable milk
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Instant Oatmeal with nuts and dried fruit
  • Omelets using powdered eggs, shelf-stable milk, shredded aged cheese, bacon bits, and veggies
  • Pancakes with syrup and cut-up fruit
  • Pre-packaged muffins
  • Toast (cooked in a cast iron pan) with peanut butter and sliced banana

Non-Refrigerated Camping Lunch Ideas

  • BCT Sandwiches (bacon, cabbage, and tomato)
  • Boxed mac n’ cheese using powdered milk
  • Canned soup with bread
  • Peanut butter and jelly roll-ups using tortillas
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (could use almond butter, as well)
  • Tuna Sandwiches with mayo
  • Walking tacos with little Dorito bags, canned chicken or beef, cheese, and salsa

Non-Refrigerated Dinner Camping Meals

  • Baked Potato (over the campfire) with chili
  • Canned chili or soup with dinner rolls
  • Chicken tortillas with cheese and tortilla chips
  • Nachos using shredded aged cheese, canned chili, canned black olives, and/or salsa
  • Pizza

Tip: Mix and match the foods above to make a wholesome meal! For example, grab a grain (pasta, rice, tortillas, etc.), add some protein (canned chicken, beef, tuna, etc.), throw in some canned veggies or fruit, shred a little aged cheese, and top it all off with some seasoning and/or a condiment. Get as creative as you want and have fun with it!

Want more non-refrigerated meal ideas? Check out our guide to the best freeze-dried meals for camping! Just add water, and you have a delicious meal in minutes.

Non-Refrigerated Desserts for Camping

  • Baked apples (sprinkle the apples with cinnamon and sugar before wrapping them in foil and placing them on the grill)
  • Banana boat (slit open a banana in its peel and fill it with chocolate, Nutella, peanut butter, marshmallows, nuts, etc.)
  • Campfire cones (fill an ice cream cone with marshmallows, chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, nuts, etc., wrap it in foil, and cook over the fire until the marshmallow is melted.)
  • Cut-up fruit
  • Dessert pizza (Nutella or peanut butter spread over a pita topped with your favorite items – fruit, chocolate, shredded coconut, etc.)
  • Granola bars
  • Pre-packaged cookies
  • S’mores

Guidelines for Camping with No Refrigeration

  1. While we are all for meal prepping as much as you can before your camping trip, that can significantly reduce the shelf-life of some items.
  2. Keep your food out of direct sunlight. Not only can this reduce the shelf-life, but many items can melt, creating a sticky mess and potentially making the item not fit for consumption.
  3. Ensure all of your food items do not need to be refrigerated. It seems like a no-brainer, but some items like milk can be found in the center aisles and the grocery store’s refrigerated section, making it easy to get the shelf-stable and refrigerated versions mixed up.
  4. Some packaged food on the list above may need to be refrigerated after opening. So try to use those up immediately after opening. Buying in smaller pack sizes can help.

Tip: Check out our Camping Food List for 3 Days for more meal plans and a free printable camping meal planner!

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