Camping is still one of the most popular pastimes in the world. But if you are going somewhere with no access to a fridge nor the possibility of taking a cooler along with you, what on earth are you going to do?

How about considering some of these absolutely ingenious tips and tricks for camping food ideas that require no refrigeration!

In this article, we’ll be going over 40 of our favorite no-cooler camping meals that you take with you on your next trip.

Contents

Camping Food Ingredients That Require No Refrigeration

Camping Food Ideas That Require No Refrigeration

So, to start off with, let’s go over this no cooler camp food list with ingredients that don’t require any refrigeration.

You can make a whole bunch of delicious camping recipes with these simple food ingredients and a comprehensive meal plan.

Bananas

Such a versatile fruit that can be used in so many different ways.

One of the simplest camping foods you can make with a banana is to just grab some chocolate, nuts, and coconut flakes and roll it into a banana.

Bisquick

This floury mixture makes a great base for cakes and pancakes. Bring some baking powder to help you use Bisquick without eggs or milk.

Bouillon

A simple broth powder that can make any kind of soup you could ever want. Bring some vegetables to add extra flavor.

Bread

A staple for any diet and a favorite with campers. No need to refrigerate it, but you need to keep it away from direct sunlight.

Butter

Most people don’t realize that butter does not have to be refrigerated. Store it in a cool, dark place and keep it covered at all times.

Canned Evaporated Milk

The best substitute for real milk and one of the best no refrigeration ingredients for camp cooking. Use in all types of cooking, or simply use in your tea and coffee.

Chocolate

There are so many different kinds of chocolate that you can bring on a camping trip without refrigerating. Who doesn’t love chocolate?

Coconut Milk Powder

Perfect for adding an extra bit of moisture and taste to your camping food, especially if you’re trying out more obscure ingredients like acorns or mesquite pods.

Dried Herbs and Spices

Perfect ingredients to store when you’re out camping. All of your favorite spices without the need for a fridge!

Dry Lentils and Beans

There isn’t a meal more popular than rice and beans on a camping trip. That’s why dry lentils and beans are on the list of camping food ideas that don’t need to be refrigerated.

Don’t forget, these ingredients will take a while to cook, so we recommend soaking them in a pot of water for a few hours before putting them on the fire.

Dried Pasta

Some dried pasta will keep for years at a time and you don’t need to store it in the fridge. Bring some herbs and spices if you want to add flavor.

Eggs

This might seem like a no-brainer, but people often forget this when planning their camping meals. Eggs do not require refrigeration so long as they are unopened. Freeze them if you want them to last even longer!

Flour

Always keep your flour sealed in an airtight container to keep it away from insects and rodents.

Honey

Honey has been known to never go bad, so there’s no reason why bringing honey on your next camping trip would be a bad idea!

Oil

Oil can come in different shapes and sizes, so look for the smallest bottle possible. The great thing is, a small amount will go a long way.

Peanut Butter

The great thing about this ingredient is the fact that it is so versatile and liked by both adults and kids alike. You can use it on your sandwiches and/or bring some for dipping!

Potatoes

Potatoes can go on several camping food lists because it is a staple for almost any camper. There are so many different recipes where potatoes can be used and they don’t require any refrigeration.

Powdered eggs

Powdered eggs are great for omelets and also scrabbled eggs and any other way you like to cook your eggs! Make sure to bring a few spices and herbs for extra flavor.

Powdered Milk or Soy

Several backpackers and campers always pack a tub of powdered milk or soy to use as a replacement for real milk. This is one of the best camping food ideas that don’t require refrigeration.

You have the option of choosing low-calorie powdered milk varieties, powdered carnation milk to lactose-free powdered milk brands depending on your preference.

Raisins and Dates

Not only can raisins and dates be used in cooking. They are also a delicious snack that doesn’t refrigeration and doesn’t take up too much space in your rucksack!

Rice

Another staple of camp cooking, rice is one of the best camping food ideas because there are so many different ways you can make it with such simple ingredients. Just add some water and use a pot on your fire or on your camping stove!

Salt and Pepper

Along with herbs and spices, there’s no better ingredient to bring with you on your camping trip than salt and pepper.

Salt and pepper do not require refrigeration and they add some spice to any campfire meal.

Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce is the perfect accompaniment to any meal on your camping trip. This Asian sauce can be used to add flavor to any dish, especially vegetables.

Sugar

A lot of people forget that sugar is used in a lot of dishes and not just to put in your tea or coffee.

Sugar does not require refrigeration, but it can attract insects if left outside. Store it in a cool, dry place, and keep the lid on to keep the bugs away!

Make-Ahead Camping Meals That Don’t Require Refrigeration

Next, let’s take a look at some make-ahead camping meals that don’t need to be refrigerated. These are some of the best camping food ideas you can produce before you go camping.

Make ahead foil packets for camping

Breakfast foil packets

Breakfast Foil Packs are a simple camping dinner that includes morning potatoes, sausage, and eggs.

Potato foil packets

Potato Foil Packets are potatoes that get cooked in foil for easy cooking over the fire. This is one of our favorite camping food ideas, and it’s super simple to make!

Pizza Foil Packs

These pizza foil packs are loaded with pepperoni, cheese, veggies, and sauce. You can also add some marinara sauce on top before you close up the foil packet.

Chicken foil packets

Chicken foil packets are perfect for a quick grilled dinner. It is very similar to the breakfast foil packets, only you add chicken and different spices.

Pancake in a packet

Start by mixing up the pancake mix and adding water until it becomes thin enough to pour out onto a sheet of foil. Add any toppings you like and seal each side up tightly. Place them on the grill for about two minutes per side or until they’re browned to your liking!

Lasagna in foil packs

Lasagna in foil packets is another simple camping food idea that can be cooked right on the campfire. It’s the perfect option if you want to make something hearty, filling, and warm for dinner or lunch.

Fruit Kabobs with chocolate dip

Dip apples into Greek vanilla yogurt topped with crushed nuts or granola. You can also use whole grain pancake mix instead of granola topping!

Chicken and rice foil packs

Similar to chicken foil packs, this camping meal combines some of our favorite ingredients for an easy dish. Be sure to bring along coconut oil to cook the vegetables in and teriyaki sauce!

Veggie foil packets

Great for vegetarians and vegans alike, veggie foil packets are a fantastic option if you’re camping alone. This is one of the best camping food ideas that can be made in no time without too much hassle on your part! They are also one of the healthiest options.

Lumberjack breakfast foil pack

Lumberjack breakfast foil packs are hearty and full of protein to get you going in the morning. If you like sausage, eggs, and cheese for breakfast, this is the camping meal for you!

Sausage & Egg Breakfast Foil Packs

Start by frying up some hash browns before adding your eggs and cooking them until they’re done. Next, add in your pre-cooked sausages before closing everything up tight in a sheet of foil.

These will be ready to eat roughly fifteen minutes after being cooked over an open fire or on a camp stove!  

Some Other Make-Ahead Camping Meals

Here are a few other make-ahead camping meals that are great options for when you go backpacking or camping.

Skillet Spinach-Artichoke Dip With Fire-Roasted Bread

This meal is awesome when heated up on a griddle and is also a popular cast iron skillet recipe that you can bring with you on your outdoor adventures!

Campfire Pizza Wraps

We all love pizza, and these wraps are a fun way to enjoy it without losing any of the flavors. They’re also super easy to make and don’t require any refrigeration so they’re perfect for camping trips.

Southern Skillet Cornbread With Hot Dog Bites

When making this meal, you cook the hot dogs beforehand before wrapping them in dough and placing them next to the fire until fully cooked.

If you like cornbread as well as hot dogs, this is one of the best camping food ideas out there!

Chicken and Black Bean Nachos

Often referred to as a crockpot meal, these nachos are one of the best camping food ideas out there.

You can fully cook this meal beforehand and bring it along with you in a cooler to be enjoyed at your next campsite!

Breakfast Quesadilla With Eggs And Potatoes

Start by heating up some oil on the stove before adding in veggies like onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, and garlic. Next, add in your tortillas and eggs before folding them over.

Bacon-wrapped hot dogs

Here’s another fantastic option for anyone who is looking for easy camping recipes that don’t require refrigeration.

They’re also incredibly simple to make since they only require one step! All you have to do is wrap bacon around the dog and hold it together with a toothpick.

Campfire Mac and Cheese

Of course, we had to include this on the list of camp foods that don’t need refrigeration.

Mac and cheese! Just like regular old stovetop mac and cheese, you can make it right on over an open flame over your camp stove or fire pit.

Be sure to bring along some milk as well as butter and whatever other ingredients you would need for this classic dish!  

Vegetarian Chili with Grains and Beans

Normally done on a slow cooker. This kid-friendly camping idea can be made ahead of time and stored in a cooler to be enjoyed when you’re ready. This is one of the best camping food ideas out there, but it’s also one of the most nutritious!

Crockpot Cowboy Casserole

A very easy recipe that uses leftovers if you have any. Simply chop up your leftover roast beef into small chunks along with some veggies like carrots and celery before adding in your cream-of-mushroom soup (or cream-of-anything soup) before cooking on low for several hours. Often eaten with hash browns and also tater tots.

Campfire French Toast

Another classic that is often heated up on a griddle, don’t in a dutch oven or even pan-fried like regular french toast since it will be a way to dry. Instead, you can wrap the bread in aluminum foil before sticking it into the fire and cooking until done!

Italian Sausage & Peppers With Pasta

If you like your sausages cooked with peppers and onions, this is an excellent camping food idea that requires no refrigeration. Simply cook everything up on a cast iron grill or perhaps even directly on top of the coals if you’re really staying true to roughin’ it.

One Pan Chicken Alfredo Over Angel Hair Pasta

A simple one-pan meal that cooks all of its ingredients together thanks to boiling water pouring over everything.

You should start by bringing some water to a boil adding in the pasta followed by

Hot Dogs With Quick Cast-Iron Beans

This is quite a healthy option that is also heated up with a cast-iron skillet. You can simply wrap the hot dogs in aluminum foil and place them on top of some beans that have been heated up together with chopped onions, bell peppers, and garlic.

Campfire Baked Potatoes

To make a perfect camping food idea that doesn’t need refrigeration you should start by digging a small hole deep enough to store your potatoes horizontally as well as fill it halfway with coals from your campfire.

Next, cover the potatoes completely with more coals before leaving them there for about an hour.  

Marshmallow And Banana Kabobs

Of course, we had to include this version of s’mores since they’re so easy to eat – just pop a marshmallow and banana slice onto a skewer then hold over a flame until everything is toasted!

Banana Bread

Sometimes referred to as a “dutch oven banana bread” this is one of the best camping food ideas that you can bring along if you’re looking for something to eat that doesn’t require refrigeration because it’s baked in the dutch oven.

To make this delicious treat, all you need are eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt before adding in ripe bananas at the very end. Be sure to grease up your dutch oven before putting everything inside.  

Campfire Banana Boats

This is a really fun snack idea that you can easily make with small children since they’re so easy to put together!

All you have to do is slice open an unpeeled banana before stuffing it with chocolate chips or marshmallows then wrap them back up into their original shape.

Canned Tuna

A simple, yet delicious staple that you can take anywhere. Just make sure to bring a can opener!

Cereal

A light but nutritious breakfast for when it’s too early in the morning to really do anything strenuous. Don’t forget the milk!

Hard-Boiled Eggs

They may not sound all that tasty, but they can be incredibly satisfying when dipped in salt and pepper.

Hot Dogs (tinned)

It’s amazing how long hot dogs will last without any kind of special storage techniques. Hot dogs are made from emulsified meat which means they last for much longer than other meats since it has been processed.

Muffins

This is another quick crockpot camping meal idea that you can enjoy with your family in the morning before getting into all that outdoor fun.

Simply add together all the dry ingredients for your muffins in a resealable bag then bring along some canned pumpkin, eggs, oil, and milk to create an incredibly moist treat!

Popcorn

We couldn’t leave popcorn off of this list since it’s so easy to make and eat! Plus, who doesn’t love a warm bowl of popcorn when you’re sitting around in your cozy sleeping bags watching the sun go down?

Rice, Couscous and Quinoa

These meals can either be prepared and sealed in a container or you can dehydrate them after cooking and then seal them inside a bag. A true MRE (Meal Ready to Eat).

No-Cook Camp Snacks With No Refrigeration

Applesauce

You can either make this sweetened or unsweetened depending on the preferences of your camping group. All you have to do is combine applesauce with sugar, cinnamon, and salt before heating up over a fire!

Bananas

Who doesn’t love bananas? Expedite the process by pre-slicing them so they’re easy to throw directly onto the coals.

Canned Fruit Salad

A perfect treat that can be enjoyed throughout the day, just is careful not to eat too much since it will fill you up way faster than fresh fruit would. Plus it’s really easy for even small children to open these cans all by themselves!

Bagels and buns

Best served with butter and jam, these can just as easily be toasted over a fire with your marshmallow and banana kabobs!

Hard Boiled Eggs

Another no-mess quick snack that can just as easily be prepared the night before.

Hummus and Crackers

Homemade hummus is so easy to make – you’ll never want to go back to store-bought again! Then all you have to is bring along some crackers or pita bread for dipping.  

Kabobs

You can always bring along pre-made kabobs from home, but if you’re looking for another camping food idea that’s really quick then try making them yourself on skewers that you’ve broken into smaller pieces.

Breakfast cereals

I know, so obvious, right? But it’s the truth – you can easily bring along a small box of cereal and a bowl to create a quick breakfast. Just make sure to pour your milk into another non-breakable container before eating!

Fresh Fruit

You don’t have to put everything into that dutch oven for this one – just slice up all those ripe bananas, apples, and pears!

Peanut Butter and Crackers

Another no-mess camping food idea since you’re using resealable bags, plus peanut butter is an amazing source of protein to hold you over until lunchtime.

Chocolate

Sorry, we just had to add this to the list. Chocolate doesn’t spoil, right? Right.

Nuts and dried fruit

It’s more than okay to indulge in some extra calories while you’re camping! Try bringing along almonds or cashews with raisins for a sweet but healthy mix of protein and carbs.

Homemade Trail Mix

This is another staple that you can create ahead of time (or even better, during your last grocery trip before leaving). You can bring along different types of nuts, seeds, and candy bars for an additional boost of energy when you need it most.  

Cut up veggies

One of the best pre-prepared camping food ideas is to bring along cut-up veggies like carrots, celery, and broccoli with some ranch dip for a complete meal.

Energy or granola bars

Not the healthiest on the list, but these bars are easy to pack and bring along, plus they’re full of carbs, which is what your body needs most when you’re hiking.

Instant oatmeal

Just like the cereal above, this camping food idea makes for a great breakfast that can be prepared ahead of time without any fuss.

Fruit Cups

Super easy to prepare and pack ahead of time, these fruit cups are a great camping food idea that you can even share with other members of your group.

Almonds

Not only can almonds be used in several recipes, but they also make great snacks that don’t require any refrigeration.

Cashews

Once you start eating cashews it is really hard to stop, so if you want to make sure you keep your consumption under control at least split a bag between friends 😉

Pretzels

If you love crunchy snacks with a little bit of saltiness then pretzels are perfect for camping – they don’t need to be kept cold or warm and usually come in resealable bags.

Hot Camping Meals That Don’t Require a Cooler

Let’s take a look at some cooked foods that last a long time without refrigeration. These are some of the best warm camping meals we could come up with.

Boxed Mac and Cheese

Perfect to pack the kids some lunch or for that quick dinner that you just can’t wait to eat, this is one of the easiest camping food ideas out there.

Campfire Cherry Pies

These go awesome with bread or even biscuits and they can be made ahead of time and stored in a resealable bag or Tupperware container.

Campfire Pizza Bagels

These pizza bagels are easy to make and you can even store them in a cooler if it’s chilly outside, just keep an eye on the temperature of your cooler.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

You may think that this is such an old-fashioned camping food idea but grilled cheese sandwiches taste amazing when cooked over flames! Make sure you pack some extra butter too.

Lemon Pepper Tuna with Pasta Salad

If you love pasta salads then try making one with lemon pepper tuna and veggies (no mayo!) and bring along all the ingredients needed for a complete meal straight to your campsite.

This camping food idea is perfect for those early mornings when you wake up before the sun rises. It’s really easy to make ahead of time and store in a resealable container or bag.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are great because they can be stored at room temperature for several hours without spoiling, plus these cookies are not baked too!

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

If you want to go all out then this is one of the best camping meals you can think of – just bring along baked potatoes with your favorite meats and veggies plus some sour cream and cheese.

Canned Soup

An oldie, but goodie. You can bring along pretty much any type of canned soup with you, just make sure to keep the cans cool if it is warm out.

Classic baked beans

This is one that is on every camping food list there is – baked beans with a hint of molasses and brown sugar, plus bacon… it doesn’t get much better.

Grilled vegetables

Not the most exciting, but grilled vegetables can definitely hit the right spot. Grilled veggies are good for camping because they have a pretty long shelf life so you don’t have to worry about them going bad too quickly.

Instant Noodles

You might think that this is a strange one to add to the list, but they are easy to pack and only take a few minutes to cook over a fire. So if you need some quick carbs then look no further than instant noodles.

Meats That Don’t Need Refrigeration

Not many people realize that there are quite a few meats that you can keep out of the cooler. If you’re looking to save on space in your cooler then these meats are perfect for camping since they require no cooling at all.

Hot Dogs

Sure, hot dogs aren’t the most healthy option but it’s hard to go wrong with a hot dog cooked over flames!

Beef Jerky

This definitely one that doesn’t need refrigeration, but it is an acquired taste.

Bacon Crumbles

You can either fry these yourself or you can buy them in handy resealable containers. Either way, bacon is a camping favorite and these crumbles are good for hours at a time!

Salami

Not only does salami contain nitrates which leave your body feeling great after eating them, plus they have about a month’s shelf life!

Canned Chicken

This is exactly what it says on the tin–canned chicken that you can use to make your sandwiches or pasta salads even more filling.

Canned Chili

You are allowed to cheat a little, and with canned chili, you can have an awesome meal straight out of a can.

Canned Fish

Yep, as obvious as it sounds, canned fish is a camping favorite as long as you keep the can cool and not on the fire.

Canned Ham

When mixed with the right food, canned ham is a great meal. If you keep the canned ham cool you can have a tasty sandwich or a delicious fruit salad.

Canned Roast Beef

Yes, believe it or not, you can get roast beef in a can, and it’s great in sandwiches or even in pasta salads.

Chicken Packets

If it is good enough for your cat to eat it then it is good enough for you!

Some people find that the chicken packets are a bit bland, but they go great with hot sauce or BBQ sauce.

Ground beef

Lovely on a piece of bread or on some buns with BBQ sauce, onions, and pickles. It’s simply delicious!

You can keep the beef cold while it is still in the package so you don’t have to worry about bringing your cooler along.

Smoked meat

Even though this meat doesn’t to stay refrigerated, we still recommend that you keep in a cooler until you are ready to cook it.

Yes, smoked meat is just that – meat cooked with wood chips giving it a savory flavor.

Summer Sausage

The main difference between a regular sausage and a summer sausage is the moisture content. Because it will lose around 15% of its original weight during preparation, dried summer sausage is considered semi-dry meat.

Best Dehydrated Backpacking Meals

Take a look at some of the best freeze-dried dehydrated backpacking meals available for all campers.

Mountain House Breakfast Skillet

They normally come in a six-pack and you can easily freeze them. So if you like your eggs with a little bit of extra flavor then these are perfect for you.

Alpine Aire Bandito Scramble

Fast becoming the most popular freeze-dried meal, the Bandito Scramble can be prepared in a matter of minutes. Simply add water and heat.

RXBar Chocolate Oats

This is a truly healthy option for breakfast and tastes great too! Just add water to get a thick, chocolatey shake.

Backpacker’s Pantry Peanut Butter & Raisin Oatmeal

Normally comes with one serving per pouch and needs no cooking – just mix with hot water and you’re good to go!

OvaEasy Egg Crystals

This is a simple and delicious egg product that you can use to make a fast breakfast. Simply mix with water and you’re good to go.

Peak 2 Refuel Homestyle Chicken & Rice

This is a great meal after you have been hiking all day long and you want something nice and filling. You just add hot water and you’re good to go.

Stowaway Gourmet Los Pollos Hermanas

If you like a simple stew that tastes rich then you will love the Gourmet Los Pollos Hermanas. Simply add water for a nice, hearty stew that tastes great.

What Are Your Favorite No Refrigeration Meals for Camping?

I bet you didn’t realize that there were so many ways to enjoy your meals while camping, but it is true.

Do you have a favorite meal that doesn’t require refrigeration?

Let me know in the comments below!

foods that don't need to go in the fridge when camping.
No Fridge Foods: Camping Edition
About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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