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Are you looking for non-perishable camping foods for camping or road trips? If you’re a camping or road trip enthusiast, then you know that food is one of the most important elements of any successful trip!
But, what do you do when you don’t have a refrigerator to store your food? That’s when you need this list of camping and road trip food ideas that don’t need refrigeration!
Non-Perishable Foods For Camping & Road Trips
When you’re on a camping trip or a road trip, finding the right food to bring can be a challenge- especially if you don’t have a cooler to keep your food chilled!
You need food that’s easy to store, won’t spoil, and will keep you energised and satisfied for your travel adventures.
That’s why these non-perishable camping food and road trip meals are the perfect solution.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best road trip and camping food ideas that don’t need refrigerating.
Best of all, many of these non-perishable meals are no cook camping meals too, making them perfect for short trips!
Quick Tips For No-Chill Camping Food
Don’t forget your can opener
Keep your food out of direct sunlight
Make sure you have a heat source if you plan to do any cooking Don’t forget your seasoning and condiments
Store food in plastic containers to help them stay fresh longer
It is a good idea to always read the label as some foods are shelf stable only until opened and then require refrigeration
Anyone who loves to camp or travel knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day It’s the meal that sets up your day of adventures by fueling the body.
So of course, you need something substantial.
Here are some of the best non-perishable breakfast ideas for camping and road trips:
Breakfast muffins – Muffins with oats, fruits and nuts are a great non-chill breakfast idea that you can make before you leave home and store in a container until breakfast.
Porridge (Oatmeal) Packets: Oats are a great breakfast option that is easy to make and transport. You can buy instant porridge packets that can be mixed with hot water or bring a small long-life milk that doesn’t need refrigeration. You can also make your own oat mix by adding in your favourite mix-ins such as nuts, dried fruits, and spices.
Granola Bars: Granola bars are a great on-the-go breakfast option. They are easy to pack and can be eaten quickly. And of course, they are no-cook breakfasts too! Look for granola bars that have a good balance of protein, fibre, and carbohydrates to keep you full and energised for longer.
Fruit: Fresh fruit is a great way to start your day and provides you with essential nutrients and fibre. Apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes are easy to pack and can be eaten on their own or added to oatmeal or yogurt.
Dry cereal: This sure isn’t for everyone but my kids eat Cheerios dry all the time and there are a few breakfast cereals that are equally appealing as a dry snack if you don’t want to bring milk. If you can’t stomach the idea of dry cereal, long-life milk can stay unrefrigerated until opened so bring smaller cartons to suit a single breakfast.
Bread & spreads: One thing I remember so well from our first visit to Paris was having a basket of different breads and rolls and condiments. While it won’t be so fancy for your road trip or camping trip, this is a breakfast you can have anywhere!
Canned fruit: Canned fruit is a convenient breakfast option that doesn’t require refrigeration. Look for options that are packed in their own juices, rather than sugary syrup.
Breakfast bars: Breakfast bars are similar to muesli bars, but are specifically formulated to provide a balanced breakfast. They keep you full longer and are great when you don’t have a lot of space to pack food. They also work well for backpacking meals!
Pancakes: A pre-made dry pancake mix just needs water added to make your own breakfast pancakes. This is great if you do have hotplate or pan to cook on and simply wanted some meal ideas that don’t require space in your cooler. Don’t forget your maple syrup!
Bagels – Topped with jam or honey.
Non-Refrigerated Lunch Ideas For Camping & Travel
It’s not just camping trips and road trips where non-refrigerated lunches can be a great option.
If you are staying in hotels without a fridge, these non-perishable lunch ideas are also great for any type of travel where you want to save costs on dining out for lunches every day.
Most hotels do have a bar fridge but not always, so having a few of these on-the-go lunch ideas can definitely be great to know!
There’s no rule that says you need to have hot camping meals for dinner either so many of these lunch ideas work just as well for camping food ideas for dinners too.
This is especially the case if you don’t have a camp stove, so be sure to check out these no-cook camping meal ideas too!
Here are some of the best non-refrigerated lunch ideas:
Cheese & bacon rolls – My husband will tell you I am obsessed with these when I travel and it’s true! I always get a pack when we stop anywhere for a grocery stop while travelling and they are always a go to for camping lunch or breakfast too.
Sandwiches – Using non-perishable fillings such as nut butters, jam, cucumber, avocado, tomato or canned meats such as tuna, canned chicken or beef.
Avocado boats – Remove the pit and fill the centre of a halved avocado with protein of your choice and seasoning. This is a perfect healthy food idea for camping. It can also make an easy breakfast idea.
Wraps – Use tinned protein or try a honey and peanut butter wrap (my kids love this weird combo)
Rolls – With canned meats or spread with avocado or spreads.
Pita bread – Often a healthier alternative than bread but you can use the same filling ideas
Savoury scrolls – Make your own savoury scrolls with just 2 ingredients plus fillings. They are made with Greek yogurt and flour for the dough and then you can add all your favourite add ins like bacon, cheese, herbs or go for an Aussie twist with Vegemite and cheese!
Tip: Collect single-serve packets of condiments like those you get from fast food stores with ketchup, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise etc for your next camping trip.
While it’s pretty easy to come up with breakfast, lunch and snack ideas that don’t require refrigeration, it can take a little more creativity when planning non-refrigerated meals for camping.
You won’t be getting the same variety you might have if you’re planning a big feast, like these Dutch oven camping meals or foil packet camping meals. But for short trips or road trips, when you don’t have your full set up, these meals can be huge time and space savers!
These also make great backpacking meals for when you won’t have a cooler with you!
Many of these camping food ideas include canned or dry goods that can be combined to create one-pot meals.
Tinned food such as baked beans or spaghetti
Pasta & spaghetti sauce
Toasted sandwiches (use a pie iron for easy campfire toasting)
Instant ramen noodles
Boxed mac and cheese
Flavoured rice packets
Pan roasted potatoes (or cooked in foil in the campfire)
One of our favourite lazy night dinners at home is a one-pot baked bean concoction that works great for camping too. Baked beans, tinned tomatoes, seasoning and then anything you have in the fridge. During a camping trip, you can bring pre-cooked bacon, tinned sausage, olives, etc and throw it all in. So good with bread or toast!
Tip: Mix canned vegetables, dried pasta or rice into canned soup in your pot for more hearty and delicious meals.
Non-Refrigerated Snacks For Road Trips & Camping
Finding non-perishable snacks for camping and road trips, or travel in general, is much easier than planning meals without refrigeration. Thankfully there are plenty of options that include healthy snacks too!
Check out this snack camping food list:
Sweet or savoury bread
Cake – This depends on whether it is iced and it does need to be eaten within the first couple of days
Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
Tip: When looking for food to take camping without a fridge take note of what food isn’t stored in the chilled sections of the grocery store, as this means they will likely have a long shelf life vs fresh or baked goods that might last a few days when not chilled.
Drinks That Don’t Need To Be Refrigerated
If you’re wanting something more than water to keep you hydrated during your trip, there are quite a few options that don’t need to be chilled.
It might not be as satisfying as it would be coming out of a fridge, but it’s still perfectly fine for drinking.
What if there are a few favourite camping meals you really don’t want to miss out on, even though you don’t have any way to keep your food chilled?
That’s okay because there are substitutes for many perishable foods that you can bring instead.
Long-life milk – It does need refrigeration once opened so if you buy mini cartons rather than the larger size, you can use most of the milk up during a single meal
Grated parmesan cheese
Powdered eggs – This means you can still enjoy omelettes or scrambled eggs without having to bring fresh eggs with you.
Evaporated milk – This can be great to mix into pasta dishes
Shelf-stable almond or soy milk – Just like the long-life milk, these only need to be chilled once they are opened so a smaller carton works well for a single meal.
Processed cheese – There are certain processed cheeses you can buy off the normal shelves of the supermarket that don’t require refrigeration and these are great for camping.
2-Day No Cooler Camping Menu
Heading on a weekend camping trip or a 2-day road trip soon? If you’re planning a trip without a cooler, this sample weekend camping menu is entirely made up of foods that don’t need refrigeration.
This is an easy meal plan to adapt to your own food preferences if you’re looking for food to take camping without a fridge or esky.
Instant oatmeal packets (just add hot water)
Instant ramen noodles with canned chicken
Hot cocoa mix
Rice cakes with your favourite spread
Chopped-up fresh vegetables
Pancakes (just add water to your dry mix and cook on a pan or make them at home and bring in a sealed container)
Canned tuna & tortilla wraps
Canned beans (mix in other canned extras like meat, tomatoes, etc)
Toasted marshmallows for dessert
Tip: Remember to bring along plenty of water and other drinks to stay hydrated throughout the day.
A non-perishable camping meal plan can be a convenient and practical option for those who are looking to minimise the need for refrigeration while camping.
By using a variety of non-perishable ingredients like canned goods, dried fruits, and nuts, you can still have delicious meals and quick snacks, that won’t take up much space.
So whether you’re planning a weekend camping trip and don’t want to fuss with chilled meals or you’re going on a longer adventure but simply don’t have the space to fit everything into a single cooler, some of these non-perishable foods could be the perfect solution!
Check out more easy camping food ideas and recipes: