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Camping Food Packing List: Free Printable Camping Food Checklist

Heading on a camping trip soon? This is the ultimate camping food packing list and to make your trip prep even easier, we’ve even got a printable camping food checklist for you to make sure you don’t forget any of those essentials.

When you’re planning a camping trip, one of the most important things to consider is what food to bring. A well-planned camping food list can make all the difference in ensuring that you have enough food to last your trip and that you don’t forget any essential ingredients or cooking equipment.

So let’s make sure you do it right!

Essentials of a Camping Food Packing List

When planning for a camping trip, it’s crucial to create a comprehensive camping food packing list to ensure you have all the necessary items for your meals.

Your camping food packing list should be tailored to your specific needs and the style of camping. Consider factors such as the length of your trip, the number of people in your group, and any dietary restrictions or preferences.

You’ll also want to think about the type of camping you’ll be doing – car camping, backpacking, or RV camping – as this will affect the amount of food you bring and the cooking equipment you’ll have access to.

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Here are some essentials to include in your list:

1. Non-perishable Foods

Non-perishable foods are a must-have for camping trips. These foods don’t require refrigeration, and they have a longer shelf life than perishable foods. Many of these foods are also perfect for snacking on while hiking or for quick and easy meals.

  • Canned goods (check out our guide to the best canned food for camping )
  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts or trail mix
  • Energy bars
  • Smores ingredients
  • Pancake mix (without the wet ingredients added)

2. Fresh Food & Perishable Goods

Perishable foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats can be a bit more tricky to pack for camping trips unless you’ve got somewhere to keep them chilled.

Make sure you have a reliable cooler or portable fridge that will keep your perishable foods chilled for the duration of your trip, or at least long enough to consume those foods at the start of your camping trip. Be sure to pack them in airtight containers or bags to prevent leaks and spills.

  • Lunch meat/sandwich meat
  • Fresh fish or other seafood

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Other fresh fruits
  • Pre-cut vegetables
  • Pre-made or bagged salad

These foods do not need to be stored in a cooler, however, they do need to be eaten within a couple of days before they spoil:

  • Hamburger buns
  • Hotdog buns
  • Wraps or tortillas
  • Instant oats

3. Spices and Condiments

Spices and condiments can make your camping meals taste better. Some of these need to be chilled, while others are shelf-stable and can be kept in a tub.

  • Salt & pepper
  • Cooking oil/non-stick cooking spray
  • Peanut Butter

5. Water and Beverages

Staying hydrated is crucial during camping trips, so be sure to pack enough water for your entire trip.

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Hot chocolate mix
  • Electrolytes (bottle or tablet form)

5. Cooking Equipment

When it comes to cooking equipment, a camp stove is a must-have. It’s a portable and convenient way to cook meals while camping. Additionally, you’ll need pots, pans, utensils, and a camping knife for your camp kitchen. If you plan to grill, you’ll need a portable grill or a campfire grill grate.

  • Fuel for stove
  • Cookware (pots and pans)
  • Cooking utensils (spatula, cooking spoon, tongs, ladle)
  • Grill grate or campfire grate
  • Campfire tripod and Dutch oven
  • Plates, bowls, and mugs
  • Eating utensils (forks, knives, spoons)
  • Cups and drinking vessels
  • Cutting board
  • Peeler and grater
  • Food storage containers
  • Ziplock bags
  • Aluminium foil
  • Mixing bowl
  • Portable coffee maker or coffee press (if needed)
  • Bottle opener
  • Lighter/waterproof matches
  • Water bottles
  • Food thermometer

6. Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies are essential for any camping trip. Pack biodegradable soap, a sponge, and dish towels to clean your dishes. Additionally, bring along trash bags to dispose of your garbage properly.

  • Biodegradable soap
  • Small scrubber or sponge
  • Dishwashing basin

7. Meal Plan

Creating a meal plan is crucial when camping. It helps you pack the right amount of food and ensures you have a variety of meals. Be sure to include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in your meal plan. You can also plan ahead and pre-cook some meals to save time and effort.

By including these essentials in your camping food packing list, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious and nutritious meals while camping.

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Planning Your Meals

When it comes to camping, planning your meals ahead of time is crucial. Not only does it save you time and effort during your trip, but it also ensures that you have enough food to sustain you throughout your adventure.

Start by creating a meal plan for your next camping trip. This plan should include all meals and snacks, as well as the time of day you plan to eat them. Consider simple meals that are easy to prepare and don’t require a lot of ingredients or equipment.

When planning your meals, make sure to take into account any dietary restrictions or preferences of those in your group. This will help you avoid any potential food-related issues during your trip.

To make your camping meals even more enjoyable, consider incorporating some delicious camp meals into your plan. There are plenty of recipes out there that are easy to make and taste great in the great outdoors.

When packing your food, make a list of all the ingredients you will need for each meal and snack. This will help you avoid forgetting anything important and ensure that you have everything you need to prepare your meals.

Overall, planning your meals ahead of time is key to a successful and enjoyable camping trip. With a little bit of preparation, you can enjoy delicious meals in the great outdoors without any stress or hassle.

Simple 3-Day Camping Meal Plan

Creating your own camping meal plan is definitely the best way to make sure you don’t forget anything. Write down your planned meals and snacks and then you can use this camping meal plan to create your grocery list. Pre-make your lunch for day 1 so you can have something quick and easy to eat after (or during) your camp set up.

Here is a simple camping meal plan:

  • Hot Chocolate
  • Toasted marshmallows
  • Breakfast beans (baked beans with bacon and eggs mixed in)
  • Instant Coffee, Tea or juice
  • Tuna Salad Wraps (Combine canned tuna with mayonnaise or dressing and wrap it in tortillas)
  • Veggie sticks
  • Granola Bars
  • Campfire tacos
  • Fresh Berries
  • Cheese platter and crackers
  • Fresh fruit
  • Campfire Quesadillas
  • Hot chocolate
  • Sweet biscuits

This meal plan is straightforward and requires smile campfire cooking, making it perfect for a short camping trip or if you prefer to keep things easy in the great outdoors. Make sure to pack all the necessary ingredients and follow proper food safety practices while camping.

Choosing the Right Foods

When it comes to camping, choosing the right foods is crucial for a successful and enjoyable trip. You want to make sure you have enough food that is easy to store, prepare, and eat while also providing the necessary nutrients and energy for your outdoor activities.

When creating your comprehensive camping food list, consider including a mix of fresh and non-perishable food items.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals, while non-perishable food items like peanut butter, trail mix, and canned chicken can provide protein and healthy fats.

When packing raw meats, it is important to keep them separate from other food items to prevent cross-contamination. Consider using airtight containers or resealable bags to store your meats, and always cook them thoroughly before you eat them.

Dried fruits and dehydrated foods are also great options for camping since they save space in your cooler and are easy to pack with a long shelf life. Freeze-dried camping meals are another convenient option as they only require hot water to prepare.

Packing and Storing Food

When it comes to camping, packing and storing food is a crucial part of the planning process. You want to make sure that your food stays fresh and safe to eat throughout your trip. Here are some tips to help you pack and store your food properly.

Use Resealable Bags

Resealable bags are a great way to pack food items that need to stay fresh, such as fruits, vegetables, and snacks. They are also great for storing leftovers. Make sure to label the bags with the contents and date so you don’t forget what’s inside or how long it’s been in the bag.

Use a Separate Cooler

If you’re planning on bringing perishable items like meat or dairy products, it’s important to keep them in a separate cooler from your drinks. This will help prevent cross-contamination and keep your food at a safe temperature. Make sure to pack the cooler with plenty of ice or ice packs to keep the temperature in the safe zone .

Bring a Large Container of Water

Having a large container of water is important for both cooking and cleaning up. You can use it to wash your hands, rinse off dishes, and even refill your water bottles. Make sure to bring enough water for drinking and cooking, as well as some extra for emergencies.

Overall, packing and storing food for camping can be a bit of a challenge, but with these tips, you should be able to keep your food fresh and safe throughout your trip.

Best Tools for Cooking and Preparation

When it comes to preparing and cooking food while camping, having the right tools can make all the difference. Here are some of the best tools to bring along on your camping trip:

  • Dutch Oven – A Dutch oven is a versatile cooking tool that can make a wide range of dishes, from stews and soups to casseroles and baked goods. It’s especially useful for cooking over an open flame or hot coals. Dutch ovens come in different sizes and materials, but a cast iron Dutch oven is a durable and reliable choice for camping.
  • Aluminium Foil – Aluminum foil is a must-have for any camping trip. It can be used to wrap food for cooking over an open flame, as a makeshift plate or bowl, or to line a cooking surface to make cleanup easier. It’s also great for wrapping up leftovers or storing food in your cooler.
  • Pie Iron – A pie iron is a fun and easy way to cook sandwiches, pies, and other treats over an open flame. It consists of two hinged metal plates that clamp together to cook the food inside. Pie irons come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but a classic square or round iron is a good place to start.
  • Foil Packs – Foil packs are a simple and delicious way to cook food over an open flame. Simply wrap your ingredients in aluminium foil and place them on the coals or grill. Foil packs can be used to cook everything from vegetables and potatoes to fish and chicken.

Having these tools on hand will make preparing and cooking food while camping a breeze. Just be sure to pack them carefully and follow all safety guidelines when using them over an open flame.

Free Printable Meal Planner

camping food packing list printable.

Conclusion: Planning Your Camping Food List

When you’re camping, you don’t want to spend all your time cooking and cleaning up. That’s why it’s a great idea to pack some convenient and quick meal ideas that are easy to prepare and will keep you fueled for your outdoor adventures. This camping food packing list will help you plan simple camping meals and avoid forgetting any of those essential ingredients!

camping food packing list with a free printable camping food checklist.

For more camping food tips:

  • Healthy camping snack ideas
  • Campfire cooking tips
  • Crockpot camping meals
  • Camping lunch ideas

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Camping Food List (Camping Grocery List for 3,4,5,6, or 7 Days)

Updated: Jun 2, 2024 by: Summer Yule · This post may contain affiliate links. · Leave a Comment

camping food list

These camping food list ideas will make planning your next camping trip so easy! Get a camping grocery list packed with essentials for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whether you need a camping food list for 3 days , camping food list for 5 days , or camping food list for 7 days , I’ve got you covered. Snag my helpful printable camping food checklist pdf here!

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🏕️ Camping Food List

The best food list for camping , in my experience, includes a mix of fresh produce, proteins, and carbohydrates to keep me energized throughout the trip. Some of my go-to items include hearty grains like rice or quinoa, versatile proteins such as canned tuna or chicken, and easy-to-pack vegetables and fruits. Moreover, planning meals ahead and incorporating a few quick yet delicious recipes will ensure that my time at the campsite is enjoyable and hassle-free.

Here is a camp food list of items to consider taking on your next car camping trip:

Pack eggs in a cooler with ice for camping. If you’re worried they’ll break, crack raw eggs into a clean empty water bottle to scramble.

How to use: Eggs can be scrambled or fried in a cast iron skillet. Alternatively, serve eggs boiled over a campfire or portable stove. They provide a protein-rich and versatile ingredient for various camping meals, from breakfast omelets to dinner frittatas.

Bacon and eggs are a classic camping breakfast. If you cook the bacon first, you can use the fat in the skillet to fry your eggs.

How to use: Cook bacon in a pan over a campfire or portable stove. Its delicious flavor enhances breakfast sandwiches or adds a savory touch to other dishes like baked potatoes or salads.

If you’re hiking or spending time away from the campsite, you may need lightweight foods to pack for camping that don’t require cooking. Bread is a staple carbohydrate that provides lots of energy when you’re on the go.

How to use: Bread is a convenient camping staple for making sandwiches, french toast, or serving as a side with meals. Its simplicity and portability make it an easy choice for any outdoor adventure. It’s one of my favorite camping food ideas in terms of versatility!

How to use: Wraps are ideal for creating mess-free and portable meals during camping. Fill them with ingredients like deli meat, cheese, and veggies for a quick and satisfying lunch.

English Muffins

How to use: Toast English muffins over a campfire or portable stove, then top with jam or peanut butter for a delightful breakfast. They are also great for making mini pizzas.

Oatmeal and cold breakfast cereal are another common camping breakfast idea. They’re inexpensive, lightweight, and are high in carbohydrates to energize your morning.

How to use: Prepare oatmeal by adding hot water and your favorite toppings like nuts, dried fruits, or honey. It's a nutritious and hearty breakfast to fuel your camping adventures. Don’t forget to add some milk to the cooler if you’re packing cold cereal.

Pancake Mix

How to use: Prepare pancake mix with water or milk and cook fluffy pancakes on a griddle over a campfire. Top with syrup or fresh fruits for a tasty camping breakfast.

Rice and Pasta

How to use: Rice and pasta are easy-to-cook, filling, and versatile camping staples that can be paired with canned goods or fresh ingredients to create delicious meals. You can cook grains for camping ahead of time, or bring a pot for cooking at the campsite.

Granola Bars

How to use: Granola bars are perfect on-the-go snacks for hiking and outdoor adventures. Packed with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, they provide a quick energy boost when needed.

How to use: Trail mix is a ready-to-eat snack that provides a boost of energy during hikes and outdoor activities. Its mix of nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate keeps campers fueled and satisfied. It’s perfect for an easy camping food list.

How to use: Potatoes are versatile camping staples that can be roasted in foil over a campfire for baked potatoes or cooked in a pot. They make a delicious side dish or can be added to soups, stews, or clam chowder.

How to use: Potatoes aren’t the only veggie in town! Fresh or canned vegetables can be incorporated into various camping meals, from simple salads to stir-fries or grilled veggie skewers.

How to use: Fresh fruit is a refreshing and nutritious food to pack for camping . It requires no preparation and can be easily packed for on-the-go consumption. Canned fruit, dried fruit, and freeze-dried fruit are other great options, and they don’t even require a cooler.

Canned Beans

How to use: Canned beans are a versatile protein source for camping meals. Heat them up and add to tacos, soups, or serve as a side dish for a satisfying and easy dinner option.

For protein, bring fresh meat in a cooler, or pack canned or vacuum-sealed meats like canned chicken or canned tuna. For vegan and vegetarian campers, don’t forget the canned beans, and you can also bring options like tofu and veggie burgers.

How to use: Meats like hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken are perfect for grilling over a campfire or portable stove, providing a hearty and satisfying meal. Canned meats are a convenient and protein-rich option for making sandwiches, salads, or pasta dishes during camping trips.

Deli meat is a convenient option for quick and easy sandwiches during camping. It requires no cooking, making it a time-saving choice.

Peanut Butter

How to use: Peanut butter is a high calorie camping food, perfect for when you need extra energy. Spread it on bread, crackers, or use it as a dip for fruits and veggies for a quick and satisfying snack.

How to use: Enjoy yogurt as a refreshing snack or breakfast option during camping trips. Its cooling effect and nutritional benefits make it an excellent choice for warm days. Only bring yogurt if you have a cooler with ice available, as it’s very perishable.

Block, shredded, or sliced cheese is a super food to bring camping . Freeze the cheese before packing in the cooler, so it will last longer.

How to use: Cheese is a versatile camping food that adds flavor and protein to various dishes. It can be sliced for sandwiches, grated on pasta, or melted into gooey goodness for nachos. (I’m sure you don’t need directions on how to use cheese.)

Canned soup is a comforting meal option when camping, and perfect for those who don’t like to cook. You can also meal prep your favorite soup and pack it in a thermos to take along.

How to use: Simply heat soup over a campfire or portable stove for a warm and hearty dish. IMVHO this is the best camping meal during cold weather.

How to use: Like soup, canned or pre-made chili is a filling and flavorful camping meal option. Simply heat it up over a campfire or portable stove for a satisfying dinner.

How to use: Snacks like chips, crackers, pretzels, popcorn, and cookies provide quick energy during outdoor activities and can be easily carried in backpacks. They’re truly grab and go, and don’t require a cooler. If you’re camping in hot weather, avoid sticky or chocolate candy that melts easily.

S'mores Ingredients

S'mores are a classic camping dessert made by sandwiching roasted marshmallows and chocolate between graham crackers for a sweet and gooey treat. No food for camping list is complete without this one!

How to use: Toast marshmallows on sticks over an open fire. Break a graham cracker sheet in half, and use it as the “bread” with chocolate and toasted marshmallow as the filling. After eating it, I bet you’ll want s’more (some more)!

Spices and Condiments

IMVHO, the best camping food list must have a selection of spices, herbs, and sauces to add flavor to your camping dishes. Some common ones to bring along are salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili flakes, maple syrup, ketchup, and mustard.

How to use: These add-ons enhance the flavor of camping meals. From adding sweetness to pancakes with maple syrup to giving burgers a kick with ketchup and mustard, they elevate the dining experience.

Cooking Oil

How to use: Cooking oil is essential for sautéing, frying, or greasing cookware during camping. It ensures food doesn't stick and adds flavor to various dishes. You can use olive oil, cooking spray, or try fats like butter or ghee.

Don’t forget to bring drinks for camping, in addition to the food. Milk (including almond milk) in aseptic packaging can be transported without needing to take up cooler space.

How to use: Staying hydrated is crucial during camping, and bottled water, milk, and beverages like tea, coffee, and juice quench thirst. Beer and hot chocolate offer comfort and relaxation around the campfire. Make sure hot water is available to make beverages like coffee, tea, and hot cocoa.

➕ Camping Grocery List

Get my pdf printable camping food list here! You’ll find a camping food list for a week (or less, if needed):

When I prepare for a camping trip, I always start by creating a camping food shopping list to ensure I have all the essentials for my outdoor adventure. My camping grocery list usually consists of items from multiple food groups so that I can maintain a balanced diet.

I begin by listing fruits and vegetables that are easy to pack and have a longer shelf life, such as apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers. These are not only great for snacking, but they also provide essential vitamins and minerals. Bagged salad mix, lettuce, spinach, and potatoes are additional must-haves for quick, healthy meals.

Moving on to dairy products, I make sure to pack butter, milk, yogurt, and cheddar cheese. It's important to store these items in a cooler to keep them fresh during the camping trip. For protein sources, I include bacon, burger patties (homemade or store-bought), and deli meat on my list.

Camping trips are also a great opportunity to indulge in some crowd-pleasing treats. That's why I always include marshmallows, hot cocoa, and pancake mix in my grocery list. Other items that provide multiple meal options include bread, eggs, pasta, noodles, rice, and couscous. Don't forget to pack essentials like sugar, flour, and powdered milk if desired.

For extra flavor and variety, I add items such as crackers, biscuits, nuts, instant potato mix, instant pudding mix, and powdered soup mix to my camping food list. I also throw in some graham crackers for making s'mores around the campfire.

Camping Food List for 3 Days

Camping Food List Day 1:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Bacon and English Muffins
  • Lunch: Deli Meat Sandwiches with Chips
  • Dinner: Campfire Grilled Hamburgers with Veggie Skewers

Food List for Camping Day 2:

  • Breakfast: Pancakes with Maple Syrup and Fresh Fruit
  • Lunch: Tuna Salad Wraps with Trail Mix
  • Dinner: Campfire Chili with Cornbread

Camping Food List Day 3:

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with Peanut Butter and Banana Slices
  • Lunch: Chicken Caesar Salad with Granola Bars
  • Dinner: Campfire Foil Packets (Potatoes, Sausages, and Veggies)

Camping Shopping List (3 Days):

  • English muffins
  • Deli meat (e.g., turkey, ham, roast beef)
  • Cheese slices
  • Ground beef and burger buns
  • Veggie burger patties (if preferred)
  • Veggie skewers
  • Pancake mix
  • Maple syrup
  • Fresh fruits (e.g., bananas, berries)
  • Canned tuna
  • Wraps/tortillas
  • Trail mix (store-bought or mix your own with nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate chips)
  • Canned chili
  • Cornbread mix
  • Peanut butter
  • Caesar dressing
  • Chicken breast or precooked chicken strips
  • Foil for foil packets
  • Sausages (e.g., hot dogs or sausages of your choice)
  • Veggies (e.g., bell peppers, zucchini, onions)

Additional Items:

  • Cooking oil or spray
  • Salt, pepper, and other favorite spices
  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.)
  • Aluminum foil for campfire cooking
  • Snacks of your choice
  • Granola bars
  • Drinking water (if not available at the campsite)
  • Paper towels

Remember to consider any dietary restrictions or preferences within your family when planning the menu and shopping list. Happy camping and enjoy your delicious meals in the great outdoors!

Camping Food List for 5 Days

Day 4 Camping Food List:

  • Breakfast: Breakfast Burritos with Sausage, Eggs, Cheese, and Salsa
  • Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches with Carrot Sticks
  • Dinner: Campfire BBQ Chicken with Baked Beans and Corn on the Cob

Camping Food List Day 5:

  • Breakfast: Yogurt Parfaits with Granola and Mixed Berries
  • Lunch: Turkey and Cheese Wraps with Veggie Sticks
  • Dinner: Foil Packet Fish (e.g., Salmon or Trout) with Lemon and Herbs, served with Rice

Day 4 Camping Shopping List Day 4:

  • Sausages (precooked or uncooked, depending on preference)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Tortillas or wraps
  • Salsa (store-bought or homemade)
  • Jelly or jam
  • Carrot sticks (or other favorite veggies for dipping)
  • Chicken pieces (legs, thighs, or drumsticks)
  • Canned baked beans
  • Corn on the cob (fresh or pre-shucked)
  • Foil (if more needed)
  • Additional items listed for days 1-3

Camping Shopping List Day 5:

  • Yogurt (individual cups or a large container)
  • Mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
  • Turkey slices
  • Lettuce or spinach (for wraps)
  • Additional veggies for wraps (e.g., tomatoes, cucumbers)
  • Fish fillets (e.g., salmon or trout)
  • Foil for foil packet cooking
  • Fresh or dried herbs (e.g., dill, parsley, thyme)
  • Rice (instant or precooked for convenience)

Camping Food List for 7 Days

Day 6 Camping Food List:

  • Breakfast: Breakfast Burritos with Scrambled Eggs, Potatoes, and Cheese
  • Lunch: Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Veggie Sticks
  • Dinner: Campfire Vegetarian Fajitas with Grilled Peppers, Onions, and Black Beans

Camping Food List Day 7:

  • Breakfast: Dutch Oven Campfire Cinnamon Rolls
  • Lunch: Caprese Salad with Fresh Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Basil
  • Dinner: Foil Packet Shrimp with Garlic Butter, served with Quinoa

Day 6 Camping Shopping List:

  • Veggie sticks (e.g., carrot, cucumber, bell pepper)
  • Bell peppers (assorted colors)
  • Canned black beans
  • Fajita seasoning mix
  • Olive oil or cooking spray

Camping Shopping List Day 7:

  • Canned cinnamon rolls (for Dutch oven cooking)
  • Dutch oven (for cinnamon rolls)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • Garlic (fresh or minced)
  • Quinoa (instant or regular)

⛺ Camping Pantry

Aside from food, there are several other essential items you need to bring and make camping meals:

  • Camping Stove or Campfire: Unless you plan to cook all your meals over a campfire, a portable camping stove is essential for cooking food efficiently and safely.
  • Cookware: Bring a set of camping cookware, including pots, pans, a griddle, and a kettle for boiling water. Lightweight and compact options are ideal for camping.
  • Cooking, Eating, and Drinking Utensils: Pack essential cooking utensils like spatulas, tongs, a ladle, and a can opener to prepare and serve meals. Bring plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery for eating and drinking during your camping meals.
  • Cutting Board and Knife: A portable cutting board and a sharp knife are necessary for chopping and preparing ingredients.
  • Cooler and Ice: If you're bringing perishable food items like meat, cheese, or milk, a cooler with ice packs or ice is crucial to keep them fresh.
  • Fire Starters and Matches/Lighter: For campfire cooking, bring fire starters or matches/lighters to easily ignite the fire.
  • Food Storage Containers and Ziploc Bags: Keep leftovers and ingredients organized in food storage containers and Ziploc bags to avoid mess and spoilage.
  • Biodegradable Soap and Sponge: Bring biodegradable soap and a sponge to clean cookware and utensils after use.
  • Paper Towels and Trash Bags: Pack paper towels for quick clean-ups and trash bags to keep your campsite tidy and dispose of waste responsibly.
  • Camping Fuel: If you're using a camping stove, make sure to pack enough camping fuel for your entire trip.
  • Aluminum Foil: Aluminum foil is handy for cooking food over a campfire or wrapping ingredients for easy cooking and cleanup.

By ensuring you have these essential camping kitchen items, you'll be well-prepared to cook delicious and enjoyable meals during your camping adventure.

How can I keep food fresh while camping?

Keeping food fresh during a camping trip can be a challenge, but with strategic planning and some handy equipment, it's quite manageable. Here are a few ideas:

  • Utilize a high-quality cooler: Invest in a reliable cooler with solid insulation to keep perishable items fresh for longer. Ice packs or frozen water bottles work well for maintaining a cold temperature.
  • Store food in air-tight containers: Using air-tight containers can help protect food from moisture, bugs, and odors. Utilizing these for perishable items can also help prevent cross-contamination.
  • Separate raw and cooked food: Keep raw meats, seafood, and poultry separate from cooked or ready-to-eat food items to avoid foodborne illnesses.
  • Keep perishables in the shade: When setting up your campsite, keep your cooler and perishable items in a shady spot to help maintain their freshness.

By having a well-stocked camping pantry and employing smart food storage techniques, I can enjoy a variety of tasty and satisfying meals throughout my camping adventure.

How do I make a food list for camping?

To make a food list for camping, start by considering the number of people, the length of the trip, and any dietary restrictions. Plan meals around non-perishable items and easy-to-cook ingredients. This printable camping food checklist is helpful in making sure I've covered all the essentials.

What kind of food should I bring camping?

Bring non-perishable, easy-to-cook, and nutritious foods. Some staples in my camping food list include canned goods, trail mix, dried fruits, granola bars, and instant meals. Whenever possible, I also pack some fresh fruits and vegetables that can stay fresh without refrigeration for a few days.

What do you cook your food on while camping?

While camping, you can cook food on a portable camp stove or a campfire. The camp stove offers convenience and efficiency, while the campfire provides a more authentic camping experience. It's important to be prepared with the right camp kitchen equipment, such as pots and pans, utensils, and fuel.

What food to take camping without cooking?

Sometimes it's easier to pack food that doesn't require cooking, especially for shorter trips. Opt for items like wraps or sandwiches, fresh fruits, trail mix, energy bars, and pre-made salads. Bring a cooler with ice packs if you plan to keep perishable foods fresh.

What are camping foods for meals without heating or refrigeration?

When camping without a cooler or fire, try shelf-stable, ready-to-eat options. Canned foods, such as tuna and beans, as well as peanut butter, crackers, and trail mix, are excellent choices. Also include some dehydrated or freeze-dried meals, which can be rehydrated with cold water if needed.

How much food should I pack for a 3-day camping trip?

For a 3-day camping trip, pack enough food for three daily meals, plus snacks and beverages. This varies depending on individual appetites and dietary preferences. It's always a good idea to pack a little extra in case of unexpected delays or increased hunger from outdoor activities. Keep in mind the food weight, volume, and storage requirements when planning your meals.

🧐 More Camping Food Essentials

Here is some more info on equipment and food essentials for camping:

  • Best Canned Food for Camping
  • Campfire Cooking Kit

📖 Recipe Card

Watch how to make it.

Camping Food List

Camping Food List (Camping Grocery List for 3,5, or 7 Days)


  • ▢ eggs
  • ▢ bacon
  • ▢ bread
  • ▢ wraps
  • ▢ English muffins
  • ▢ oatmeal
  • ▢ pancake mix
  • ▢ rice and pasta
  • ▢ granola bars
  • ▢ trail mix
  • ▢ potatoes
  • ▢ vegetables
  • ▢ fruit
  • ▢ canned beans
  • ▢ meat
  • ▢ peanut butter
  • ▢ yogurt
  • ▢ cheese
  • ▢ soup
  • ▢ chili
  • ▢ s'mores ingredients (graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate)
  • ▢ snacks
  • ▢ spices and condiments
  • ▢ cooking oil
  • ▢ drinks


  • Choose the foods from the list you'd like to take on your camping trip. Try to get all the food groups for a more balanced diet.
  • Get the camping grocery list and menu for camping meal ideas for up to 7 days.
  • ▢ Cast Iron Skillet
  • ▢ Cast Iron Dutch Oven

All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.

The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.

"To taste" means to your preferences, which may have to be visual to follow food safety rules. Please don't eat undercooked food x

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Photo of Summer Yule, MS, RDN

Hello! I'm Summer, a registered dietitian and home chef who loves to cook, eat, and create high quality content for you! Every recipe on this site has been tested by me to help ensure your success in the kitchen. All eaters are welcome here 🙂

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30 Camping Foods That Don’t Require Refrigeration - Tuff Stuff Overland

30 Camping Foods That Don’t Require Refrigeration

Camping out in the wild means one thing- you are far away from any source of electricity. This limits your ability to charge your devices and completely eradicates equipment like microwaves, rice cookers, and your trusty fridge.

While there are other means of transporting raw food on your camping trips, like using coolers, this means a heavier load and one more piece of equipment to take care of. So what alternative do you have?

Cooking during your camping expenditure doesn't always require refrigeration. As proof, we have provided 30 deliciously easy camping foods you can enjoy without refrigeration.

camping-foods that-don't-need-refrigeration-jeep-with-roof-top-tent

Camping Food Without Refrigeration

Most campers will agree that a cooler is one of the essential camping equipment they bring along on every trip. This portable fridge is perfect for storing drinks and perishable food items to enjoy at your campsite.

However, it is essential to note that coolers are not exactly nifty. Bringing a cooler box with you as a part of your overland gear or camping equipment means you have one more bulky piece of equipment to hoist and haul around.

Even if you are lucky enough to own an RV refrigerator, there is just so much you can fit in your little fridge. If you find either option challenging, we have just the perfect solution for you!

While it still makes sense to bring a cooler on your subsequent camping expenditure if you like, you should note that it shouldn't be a priority. Understandably, you need an option to store all your perishable ingredients and keep them fresh, but have you ever considered other convenient options like not bringing ingredients that need refrigeration?

Before you fret, we are not saying you should toss out your dreams of eating delicious meals while camping and sticking to cinnamon rolls on a stick. We are saying that there are tons of food options that do not need refrigerators to explore.

With these foods, you don’t have to worry about topping the ice in your coolers.   It doesn't matter if you are camping in the peak of summer or exploring the outdoors in the cold , you can enjoy these meals without lugging a cooler around with you.

It also doesn’t matter if you are a picky eater, vegan, or lover of hearty meals, these foods are the perfect option for you. 

This doughnut-shaded goodness is the perfect non-refrigerated breakfast food you can ask for. It is fast, easy to prepare, and highly delicious. As a plus, you can enjoy it however you want abs with whatever topping or drizzle.

Simply butter up your bagels and toast them on both sides in a camping frying pan or girdle. You can enjoy your bagel plain or add a few slices of fresh vegetables like tomatoes and onions. If you feel adventurous, pair your babes with peanut butter or Nutella.

Butter is essential for many camping meals. If you need to grease up your pan to create a savory dish or simply prepare a meal that requires oil to cook, a slab of butter always comes to the rescue.

While many campers often keep their butter in a cooler, it isn't always necessary. Butter performs just as well without a refrigerator. You can store your butter in a Ziploc bag and toss it in Tupperware and pack it with other dry foods. You can also wrap your butter on parchment paper.

Popcorn is the perfect camping snack for kids and adults alike. Most importantly, it doesn't need to be stored in a refrigerator!  Your popcorn kernels can be stored in a tightly sealed jar and kept in a cool, dry place.

This will help it last longer and stay fresh. Your popcorn can be popped over the campfire and enjoyed with melted chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, and any dressing you like.

Just because you don't have a cooler or refrigerator doesn't mean you have to kick meat out of your camping diet totally. The solution is to bring meat that does not need refrigeration.

Some long-lasting canned meat products fare well in cool and dry places. Canned chicken, chicken packets, sausage links, precooked bacon, beef jerky, and canned ham are viable protein substitutes. 

It is important to note that while they may not require registration, they need to be consumed quickly after opening or refrigerated as soon as possible.


Eggs are a significant part of camping meals. From scrambled eggs to being a sandwich assemblage, eggs are versatile and make every dish they are paired with taste better.

While we traditionally keep eggs in a fridge, it is important to note that eggs can be kept outside a fridge. While this is great, as eggs are very fragile, you should transport them carefully in a plastic storage box.

When shopping for camping eggs, opt for fresh eggs that have never been in a fridge. You can also add powdered eggs to your list as a substitute.

Cheese is a staple in many camping meals. They taste fantastic when eaten alone or paired with burgers and many other foods. 

Cheese can survive outside a refrigerator without difficulty. All you need to do is ensure you don't leave your cheese sitting in the sun, as this will reduce it to a gooey mess. You can wrap the blocks of cheese in cellophane, seal them in a small bag, and keep them in a cool place.

7. Instant Foods

Instant foods on a camping trip are lifesavers. They are delicious, convenient, and do not need to be stored in a refrigerator.

Instant noodles, instant rice, and instant potatoes are tasty and filling food options. They are lightweight, do not take up excess space, and are easy to make.

Grains are great camping foods - especially for backpackers- as they do not require refrigeration. Most grains are easy to cook and can be used to create hearty and filling meals.

From pasta to rice, couscous, and Quinoa, grains are a must-have on any camping trip.

Bread is a great food option for backpacking or regular company. However, it is essential to note that they can be bulky and get squished during transit.

While your loaf getting squished doesn't ruin its taste, it might ruin your plans to make toast or sandwiches. If this doesn't bother you, then pack a tasty loaf of bread to the camp. If the bread was hot before your trip, air it to lengthen its shelf life.

If you, however, want tasty flour bread substitutes to enjoy during your trip, we recommend dinner rolls, pita bread, and Sandwich rounds.

Fruits provide dietary fiber and are a great way to stay healthy during your adventures.

At home, fresh fruits are primarily kept in the fridge to extend their shelf life. However, just because you choose to keep fruits in the fridge doesn't mean they won't survive outside one.

Fresh apples, oranges, kiwi, mangoes, watermelon, pineapple, and even avocado can be enjoyed without a fridge. Just ensure you finish eating them after slicing them up as soon as possible. This will help you keep bugs away.  You can also opt for dry/dehydrated fruits or canned varieties.

11. Vegetables

Just like fruits, veggies can be enjoyed without a fridge. You simply have to store them in paper bags to lengthen their shelf life and slow the ripening processes.

Use air-tight containers to store your vegetables unless it requires aeration. Substitute cabbage for lettuce as they last longer.  If you don't want to pack fresh vegetables, you can choose canned vegetables instead.

Just because you don't have a fridge in the wilderness doesn't mean you shouldn't pack milk. There are other varieties of fresh milk that you can enjoy on your camping trip.

Powdered milk is a prevalent option. All you need to do is add water, and you are going to be rewarded with a cup of hot or cold milk, depending on how you like it.  You can also choose cans of evaporated milk, creamer packets, or cartons of soy milk.

13. Dried Lentils

Dried lentils do great outside a refrigerator. They can remain fresh for a long time if you keep them sealed and tucked away from moisture and heat. Lentils can be stored in thick mylar bags and food-grade pales.

14. Fish Substitutes

Tuna is a great fish substitute that doesn't require refrigeration until after opening. It works well as a salad or coupled with other dishes.  You can also choose canned salmon.

15. Breakfast Cereals

Everyone loves cereal. They are especially great for camping trips because they are dry foods which makes them easy to move and store.

When going camping, simply pack your favorite brand of favorite cereal. You can enjoy it with powdered milk and a little sugar if necessary.

16. Muffins

Muffins come in different shapes, sizes, and flavors. They are tasty, convenient, lightweight, and easy to prepare.

You can make your muffins at home and store them in air-tight containers to bring to the campsite. 

17. Tortillas

Tortillas are excellent camping food options. They are rich in calories, require little to no prep, and can last more than a week without a refrigerator. They are easily customizable, so you can fill your tortillas with whatever filling you want and enjoy a delicious meal.

18. S’mores


Every camper will agree that s’mores are a camping classic. They are fun, tasty, and can be quickly prepared. Smores can be prepared over a campfire or a grill. 

19. Oatmeal

Oatmeal makes an easy campsite breakfast. It is easy to store and can be enjoyed in various ways by adding your favorite nuts, berries, and fruits.

While traditionally, many people cook oats over a campfire or on coals, there is a heatless and equally delicious way to prepare your oatmeal. Simply soak it overnight and stir in your favorite seeds and nuts.

It is no surprise that honey makes our list of campfire foods that do not require refrigeration. Honey is the world’s oldest food and can go months without getting spoilt.

Honey is a natural food with profound health benefits that range from gastrointestinal to cardiovascular advantages. It is the perfect sweetener addition to tea or coffee. It can also be drizzled over bread, potatoes, or even oatmeal. 

To store your honey, leave it tightly sealed in its bottle and keep it in a cool place away from sunlight.

21. Chips, Pretzels, And Crackers

Chips, pretzels, and crackers are light snacks that you can enjoy in various ways. They are perfect for large groups and family camping expenditures.

Chips, pretzels, and crackers are dry snacks and do not require refrigeration. They are easy to move and can be stored in storage boxes.

Sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts are packed with flavor, nutrients, and essential minerals. They can be eaten as they are or paired with foods like oatmeal.

Seeds are easy to store and last a while. Since humidity and warmth shorten a seed’s shelf life, it is important to store your seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry place.

23. Granola Bars

Do you need an emergency snack? Granola bars are the perfect fix for you.  Packed full of oat, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and chocolate, granola bars are the perfect energy source. They do not need to be refrigerated, and you can fit multiple bars in your fanny pack or wallet

24. Canned Beans

Canned beans have a long shelf life, even outside a refrigerator. As long as you consume your beans as soon as you open the can, you will enjoy fresh food.

Canned beans can be paired with other foods that do not need refrigeration, like rice and bread.

25. Trail Mix

A trail mix is a perfect camping/hiking snack. It consists of dried fruit, nuts, and sometimes candy. A typical trail mix is nutritious, easy to carry, and even easier to store.

Because a trail mix is made mainly of nuts and fruit, you can customize it however you want. To store your trail mix, simply keep it in a tight container away from direct sunlight.

26. Seaweed

Who says you can't bring seaweed wraps on your camping trip? No one!  Seaweed is perfect for outdoor life because it doesn't require much effort for storage. They will survive the heat of the sun and remain tasty.

Seaweed wraps can be used to eat dishes like rice and canned salmon. Think of it as a tortilla wrap substitute.

27. Canned Hummus

Why make hummus from scratch when you can easily get one in a can? Hummus is a healthy food that can be paired with tortilla chips, pita, crackers, carrot sticks, and even sandwiches.

Thanks to its packaging, canned hummus doesn't have to be kept in a refrigerator until you open the can. As long as you consume the hummus immediately after opening the can, you will get nothing but fresh food.

28. Canned Soup

Just because you don't have a fridge doesn't mean you cannot enjoy delicious soup. While fresh soup is excellent, canned soup is just as tasty and filling. 

Plus, they are easy to store. As long as you keep your canned soup away from heat and light, you do not have to worry about not having a fridge until you open the can. Simply heat your soup and serve it out alone or with any dish.

Nuts are a source of numerous health benefits , from providing essential high-quality vegetable protein to reducing your cholesterol level. From peanuts to cashew nuts and almond nuts, there are just so many dishes you can enjoy with nuts. They are easy to store and can last you a while.

30. Cheese Whiz

If you need a cheese substitute that is not actually cheese but tastes a lot like cheese, Cheese Whiz is your go-to option. This brand of processed cheese sauce can be enjoyed with burgers, nachos, tortillas, and even pasta. Not to mention, it is also a non-refrigerated food option.

As a bonus, here's a meal plan of non-refrigerated foods you can try during your subsequent expenditure!


Non-refrigerated Camping Breakfast 

  • Oatmeal and powdered milk with fruits
  • Sliced fruits. Can be grilled
  • Pancakes, honey, and fruits
  • Omelettes made from powdered eggs, bacon, and veggies
  • Instant potatoes with veggies
  • Fruit and Grain bars
  • Scrambled eggs

Non-refrigerated Camping Lunch

  • Rice and beans
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Mac and cheese
  • Avocado toast
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Potato with bacon and vegetables
  • Tuna packets, crackers, and veggies
  • Avocado boats
  • Banana boats

Non-refrigerated Camping Dinner Ideas

  • Baked potatoes 
  • Canned chili and potatoes
  • Canned soup
  • Baked beans
  • Instant noodles
  • Canned chicken
  • Pasta and sauce
  • Customized charcuterie board
  • Black beans, Quinoa, and rice

Tips To Keep Your Non-Refrigerated Food Fresh

Although these foods can survive without a refrigerator, it is essential to take proper measures to ensure they remain fresh. Some of these measures include:

  • Keep your food in the shade. Most food will not survive exposure to direct sunlight, so it is vital to ensure they get all the cover they need.
  • Don’t just abandon the food. Check on them regularly.
  • When shopping for your non-refrigerated food inventory, always opt for non-refrigerated foods. 
  • While many of these non-refrigerated foods don't need a fridge, keep in mind that when you open their packages, you will need a fridge for storage. To avoid wastage, plan your meals, buy smaller packages, and finish the food as soon as you open the package.

No Fridge? No Problem

While you might be tempted to bring a cooler along on your subsequent expenditure, understand there are delicious alternative meals that don't need refrigeration. We have provided 30 foods you can pack, but there are undoubtedly more foods out there that don't need refrigeration.

Remember to store your foods properly. This will help you enjoy deliciously fresh foods for longer.

Are you looking for more camping advice? Check out our tips on the overland gear and equipment basics for your subsequent expenditure.

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10 Camping Storage Ideas For Your Next Trip - Tuff Stuff Overland

10 Camping Storage Ideas For Your Next Trip

50 Easy Camping Meals For Your Next Adventure - Tuff Stuff Overland

50 Easy Camping Meals For Your Next Adventure


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How to Eat Whole-Food Plant-Based While Camping

By Tami Fertig ,

Following a whole-food, plant-based diet in the great outdoors can be a breeze—with a little planning, that is. Just remember the following tips, and check out the tasty vegan foods fellow readers love to make while camping, as well as a few camp-ready Forks Over Knives recipes . Happy trails!

Essential Tips 

I’ve stuck by these rules for many camping trips and have always eaten well.

Know Your Setup:  A cast-iron griddle can be handy for grilling over a campfire. Check if your campground has campfire restrictions, and, if so, be sure to bring a portable propane grill or camp stove.

Make a plan: Plan how you’ll prepare each meal, down to the ingredient, and pack plenty of healthful shelf-stable snacks just in case your gear malfunctions: trail mix, energy bites, nut butter, whole-grain crispbread, crackers , and precooked rice or quinoa.

Veg Out: Unless you’re going backpacking, allow yourself some fresh or frozen vegetables. Yes, their dehydrated and freeze-dried cousins weigh less and save space, but when you’re out in the woods, nothing beats munching on crunchy carrots, juicy cucumbers, and loads of veggies grilled in foil packets. Plus, anything frozen will double as ice in your cooler.  

Prep at Home: Do as much as you can before hitting the road: Wash and chop veggies, pre-measure seasonings, cook a hearty soup or stew (and freeze it in small batches to defrost and reheat at your campsite). In the evening, when your omnivorous companions throw their hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, you’ll have an even easier dinner ready to go.

Get Inspired: Forks Over Knives Readers’ Go-to Vegan Camping Meals 

Not sure what to cook? Consider some of these camp-friendly cooking suggestions, crowd-sourced from the Forks Over Knives audience.

Confetti Quinoa: Violet Hurley says she likes to cook quinoa and mixed veggies together, adding garlic, ginger, black pepper, and liquid aminos. “So good next to the campfire,” Hurley says.

Grits: “We love grits for breakfast,” says Rebecca Wold. “I mix mine with diced potatoes, chives, and onion.” She tops it off with some ketchup .

Chickpea Salad Wraps: Paloma Lucia makes a “chickpea salad,” mashing together chickpeas, avocado, and turmeric. Then she simply spreads hummus and roasted red peppers on whole wheat wraps, adds the chickpea salad, and rolls them up.

Carrot Dogs: “I steam large carrots until they are the consistency of hot dogs,” says Ginjah Gardner. Once at the campsite, she grills the carrots and serves them on buns with relish, ketchup, and mustard.  With this FOK Carrot Dogs recipe, you can prep and marinate the carrots at home, then pack them in your cooler so they're ready to grill at your destination.

Hearty Stew: A warm cup of stew pairs perfectly with crisp nights. Reader Nate Castro stews canned chickpeas and lentils in whole peeled canned tomatoes, adding sautéed greens.

Oatmeal: Ginger Bracamontes Connelly makes her own oatmeal packets, with quick oats, oat bran, chia seeds, “and all sorts of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds.” 

Lentil Bolognese: Liz Shread likes to add lentils or chickpeas to pasta for a simple, satisfying dish that offers fuel after a long day of hiking. To try this yourself, cook whole-grain pasta and lentils or chickpeas at home; pack in separate containers. (Alternatively, you can skip cooking lentils or chickpeas and instead purchase low-sodium canned versions, which are already cooked.) Pack an oil-free marinara sauce. When suppertime rolls around, combine lentils (or chickpeas), pasta, and marinara in a large cast-iron skillet over the campfire, and warm until heated through. 

Potato Scramble: When it comes to vegan camping, potatoes—great for breakfast and dinner—are a must. Char Schlorke likes to make a potato scramble, with red- and yellow-skinned potatoes, cut into cubes; canned black beans; and chopped onions and bell peppers. “Sometimes we add mushrooms, asparagus, or corn,” Schlorke says. She cooks it all up in a large cast-iron skillet over the fire, and serves it with avocado and salsa.

Chips and Salsa: You can’t go wrong with this classic combo, which Nikki Angel says is one of her go-to vegan camping snacks. She tops hers with beans for an even more satiating snack. Try Chef AJ’s simple recipe for Baked Tortilla Chips to make ahead and bring along. 

Zucchini and Portobello Mushrooms: “I marinate portobello mushrooms overnight in liquid smoke,” says Cathy Hedding Staelgraeve. She cooks the mushrooms alongside slices of zucchini (seasoned only with salt and pepper) in a cast-iron skillet over the campfire. “Mmm.” For more ideas on how to grill veggies over a campfire, check out our article on How to Make Veggie Steaks .

Grilled Corn on the Cob:  “I love grilling corn in the embers,” says FOK contributor Lisa Esile “I soak whole cobs of corn in water first (husks on), then wrap them in aluminum foil and throw them in the embers for 15-30 minutes, depending on how hot the fire is. We do this after dinner while we’re sitting around the campfire. They're a yummy evening snack, and there is always plenty leftover for the next day.” Also check out Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Lime Rub .

Campout-Friendly (Mostly) Make-Ahead Recipes from Forks Over Knives 

Make the following travel-friendly dishes ahead of time and free yourself up for some quality time with Mother Nature.

Mexican Chocolate Brownies

raw food camping trip

Who needs s’mores when you can have these?

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

raw food camping trip

These wholesome, tasty granola bars are great for breakfasts and snacks.

Easy Baked Beans

raw food camping trip

Make the barbecue sauce at home, and transport to campsite with canned beans for maximum portability.

Pumpkin Seed Granola with Millet and Oats

Vegan Camping Food: Pumpkin Seed Granola

This deluxe homemade trail mix is healthier than the kind you’ll find at most grocery stores. Bake it at home and tuck it away in your backpack.

Pineapple-Cucumber Salad

Pineapple Cucumber Salad

This sweet, juicy salad is just the thing to rejuvenate you while you’re roughing it. Prep ahead of time and pack with ice or frozen food.

8-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Chili

Vegan Camping Food: Slow Cooking Chili

There’s nothing better than chili by the campfire. Make it ahead; freeze in small batches for easier thawing; then heat it on the camp stove.

Vegan Cheesy Crackers

These yummy crackers taste great eaten plain, or served with toppings such as: hummus, tomato slices, olives, cucumber slices, avocado, and sprouts. Kept in an airtight tin or plastic bag, they’ll stay crisp for up to 10 days.

My Mama's Potato Salad Recipe

A plate of potato salad in front of a large serving dish full of potato salad

Setting up camp can be time-consuming and often comes after a long drive. This creamy potato salad from Chef Del Sroufe is an easy and delicious first-night meal combined with a few greens and/or grilled veggies.

Summer Squash Veggie Skewers Over Edamame Quinoa

Summer Squash Veggie Skewers Over Edamame Quinoa on a blue plate

This ginger-infused savory soy sauce marinade with toasted sesame seeds tastes heavenly on grilled veggie skewers. Make it at home and brush over skewered veggies at the campsite.

Lunchbox Chocolate Chip Cookies

A plate of chocolate chip cookies

These travel-hardy chocolate chip cookies are oil free and packed full of classic chocolate chip flavor. Keep them in an airtight container to maintain freshness.

Basic Veggie Burger Recipe

raw food camping trip

Pre-made burger patties provide a quick and scrumptious meal. Just throw them on the grill, and enjoy!

Farmers at the Rodale Institute gathered around harvesting organic carrots

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The Ultimate Camping Food List: 50 Must-Have Items for Your Next Adventure [2023]


  • December 1, 2023
  • Camping Food and Nutrition

Picture this: you’re surrounded by nature’s symphony, the crackling of the campfire, the rustling of leaves, and the distant call of a night owl. You’re ready to whip up a feast under the stars, but are you equipped with the ultimate camping food list? Fear not, fellow adventurer! We’ve got you covered with our comprehensive guide to all things culinary in the great outdoors.

Table of Contents

Quick answer, quick tips and facts, camping cuisine essentials: a comprehensive guide, mastering camping meal prep, the art of packing your cooler, must-have camp cooking gear, camping without fridge: food ideas and tips, delicious camping recipes to try, recommended links, reference links.

In a rush? Here’s the lowdown: We’ve curated a comprehensive camping food list featuring 50 essential items to elevate your outdoor culinary experience. From mouthwatering recipes to expert meal prep tips, we’ve got everything you need to turn your camping trip into a gastronomic adventure.

CHECK PRICE on: Amazon | Shop Camping Food on: Walmart | Etsy

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of camping cuisine, let’s sprinkle in some quick tips and fascinating facts to whet your appetite:

  • Did you know that the average camper consumes nearly 3,000 calories a day while adventuring in the great outdoors? That’s a whole lot of s’mores and trail mix!
  • Pro Tip: Opt for lightweight, non-perishable foods to minimize the load on your backpack and maximize your energy for hiking and exploring.

Now that we’ve teased your taste buds, let’s embark on a flavorful journey through the world of camping cuisine.

When it comes to assembling the perfect camping food list, variety and versatility are key. Whether you’re a gourmet outdoor chef or a minimalist meal prepper, our handpicked selection of 50 essential items ensures that you’ll never go hungry in the wilderness.

Feeling hungry yet? We’re just getting started! Each item on our camping food list is carefully selected to cater to a wide range of tastes and dietary preferences. Whether you’re a carnivore, herbivore, or a bit of both, our guide has something for everyone.

Ready to elevate your camping cuisine game? Let’s move on to the next section for expert meal prep tips and tricks.

Ah, the art of meal prep—crucial for ensuring that your camping culinary escapades are as seamless as possible. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Embrace the power of marinades and pre-seasoned meats to add flavor without the need for a fully-stocked spice rack.
  • Opt for pre-chopped veggies and fruits to save time and reduce the risk of food-related mishaps while wielding a knife in the wilderness.

By mastering the art of meal prep, you’ll spend less time cooking and more time savoring the great outdoors. Stay tuned for our insider tips on packing your cooler efficiently to keep your ingredients fresh and your beverages chilled.

Packing a cooler may seem like a straightforward task, but there’s an art to it that can make or break your camping culinary experience. Here’s a sneak peek at our top cooler-packing tips:

  • Layer strategically: Place items that need to stay coldest at the bottom, followed by layers of ice packs and insulation, and finally, items that are less sensitive to temperature fluctuations.
  • Maximize space: Utilize every nook and cranny by packing items tightly and efficiently to minimize air gaps.

Now that your cooler is packed to perfection, it’s time to delve into the world of must-have camp cooking gear. From portable stoves to versatile cookware, we’ve got the lowdown on everything you need to whip up a feast in the great outdoors.

No camping food list is complete without the essential gear to bring your culinary creations to life. Here’s a snapshot of the must-have camp cooking gear that will take your outdoor cooking game to the next level:

Armed with the right gear, you’ll be ready to whip up gourmet meals that rival those of a five-star restaurant. But what if you’re camping without a fridge? Fear not, we’ve got you covered with ingenious food ideas and tips for keeping your ingredients fresh.

Camping without a fridge doesn’t mean sacrificing delicious, fresh meals. Here are some ingenious food ideas and tips to keep your culinary creations fresh and flavorful:

  • Opt for shelf-stable ingredients: Canned goods, dried fruits, and vacuum-sealed meats are your best friends when refrigeration isn’t an option.
  • Leverage natural cooling methods: Store perishables in shaded areas, near streams, or in coolers with ice packs to maintain freshness.

With these savvy strategies, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh, delectable meals even in the absence of refrigeration. But what’s a camping trip without a repertoire of mouthwatering recipes to tantalize your taste buds?

From hearty one-pot meals to indulgent campfire desserts, we’ve curated a collection of delicious camping recipes that are sure to elevate your outdoor dining experience. Whether you’re a culinary novice or a seasoned outdoor chef, these recipes are designed to impress even the most discerning campers.

Stay tuned for our mouthwatering recipe collection, complete with step-by-step instructions and expert tips to ensure that your outdoor meals are nothing short of extraordinary.

person about to cook food

What kind of food should I bring for camping?

When it comes to camping cuisine, versatility is key. Opt for a mix of non-perishable staples, such as canned goods, dried fruits, and shelf-stable grains, as well as fresh ingredients that can withstand the journey without refrigeration. Check out our comprehensive camping food list for a curated selection of essential items to elevate your outdoor culinary experience.

Read more about “… How to Pack for a 4-Day Camping Trip: The Ultimate Checklist”

What food to pack for a 2-day camping trip?

For a 2-day camping trip, focus on compact, non-perishable items that pack a punch in terms of flavor and nutrition. Think trail mix, energy bars, canned goods, and pre-prepped meals that require minimal cooking time. Our camping food list features a range of items perfectly suited for short outdoor excursions.

What is your favorite food to cook while camping?

Our favorite camping meals strike the perfect balance between simplicity and flavor. One-pot wonders, such as hearty stews and pasta dishes, are a go-to for their convenience and deliciousness. Stay tuned for our collection of mouthwatering camping recipes to inspire your next outdoor culinary adventure.

Read more about “What Every Woman Needs for Camping …”

What food to take camping without a fridge?

When refrigeration isn’t an option, it’s essential to opt for shelf-stable ingredients that can withstand the elements. Canned goods, vacuum-sealed meats, and dried fruits are excellent choices for creating fresh, flavorful meals without the need for refrigeration.

For more expert insights and insider tips on all things camping cuisine, head over to our comprehensive camping food list and meal prep guide.

Read more about “… What Food Should I Bring Camping? A Comprehensive Guide”

steak on barbecue grill

As the embers of the campfire glow and the stars twinkle above, we hope our comprehensive camping food list has ignited your passion for outdoor culinary adventures. From essential ingredients to expert meal prep tips and must-have cooking gear, we’ve covered every aspect of elevating your camping cuisine game.

In conclusion, our camping food list is a treasure trove of culinary inspiration, ensuring that your next outdoor escapade is filled with delectable meals and unforgettable dining experiences. So, pack your bags, sharpen your cooking skills, and get ready to embark on a gastronomic journey like no other.

Looking to stock up on essential camping food items and gear? Check out our curated selection of top-notch products to elevate your outdoor culinary adventures:

In addition, if you’re seeking further inspiration for your camping escapades, consider exploring our related articles on Camping Preparation Guide, Camping Food and Nutrition, and Camping Gear Basics for a comprehensive guide to all things camping.

For further reading and in-depth insights into camping food list and meal planning tips, we recommend exploring the following reputable sources:

  • Fresh Off The Grid – Camping Food List and Meal Planning Tips
  • Camping Checklist™ – Camping Preparation Guide
  • Camping Checklist™ – Camping Food and Nutrition
  • Camping Checklist™ – Camping Gear Basics

With a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, you’re well-equipped to embark on a culinary adventure in the great outdoors. Happy camping and bon appétit!

Now, are you ready to elevate your camping cuisine game to new heights? Let’s embark on a flavorful journey through the world of camping cuisine.

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Veggie Vagabonds

Ultimate Guide to Vegan Backpacking Food, Trip Planning + Recipe Ideas

Girl eating vegan backpacking food

All the info and recipe inspiration you need to have the best vegan backpacking food for your next adventure

Lightweight, nutritious, tasty, affordable and easy vegan backpacking food…  sounds pretty niche, right? Well, it’s simpler than you think!

As the vegan community blossoms, plant-based foods are going through the roof and the possibilities for vegan adventure trips constantly grows.

This is amazing for backpacking because, though it’s awesome, it’s also damn HARD work physically. You need to be fuelled with the best vegan food possible to make the most of your trip.

And, you don’t need to be a pro chef with heaps of vegan nutritional knowledge to make it work either. Just a love for backpacking and perhaps an appetite for taste testing!

We put together this vegan backpacking guide to share all our knowledge and help you hit the trail with complete confidence, in true adventure-herbivore mode

Keep reading this backpacking guide to find:

  • Things to consider when choosing food for a backpacking trip
  • What types of vegan foods to take on your trip and nutrition information
  • How many calories and nutrients do you need?
  • Backpacking meal planning
  • Different backpacking foods and how to take them
  • Good vegan backpacking staples to buy from shops
  • Things you need for backpacking food and eating
  • Tips for pimping your meals
  • Breakfast recipe inspiratio n
  • Snacks and homemade vegan recipes for the trail 
  • Lunch ideas
  • Dinner ideas and recipes

Your questions answered – FAQ

This article may contain affiliate links, they will never cost you more money but helps Veggie Vagabonds keep making content like this – thank you!

Man making vegan backpacking recipes

Before we get into backpacking talk, if you’re a vegan adventure lover we think you’ll love our mailing list. Sign up for outdoor guides, tasty plant-based recipes and ethical gear!

1. things to consider when picking food for a vegan backpacking trip.

There are several equally important elements to think about when choosing food for your trip. Ticking all the boxes can seem like a bit of a conundrum but once you know what you’re looking for, finding the right foods comes naturally (and boy you’ll be glad once you’re on the trail!).

1.1 Nutrition

The nutrients you put into your body will keep you feeling strong and full of energy. You don’t want to feel sluggish when climbing mountains. Instead, you want to be full of beans (both figuratively and literally).

For backpacking, focus on high-energy foods with plenty of calories, carbohydrates and protein, salts to replenish your electrolytes, fats, minerals and enough fibre to keep everything… flowing . Believe me, on a multiday hiking trip, you’ll regret just taking 20 packets of instant noodles.

There’s a reason people shorten toothbrush handles and ditch heavy food packaging: a lightweight rucksack is a happy rucksack!

Perhaps you won’t need to be chopping toothbrushes, but you don’t want to be packing in everything from the health food aisle either.

The key is choosing foods which are nutrient-rich but lightweight. You’ll find plenty of examples below .

Girl eating vegan camping breakfast

1.3 Convenience

Consider how convenient your grub is to carry, store and eat. It needs to be capable of handling a little bashing too.

Think about easy-to-eat foods that can be gobbled down one-handed whilst on the move or quickly once you’ve made camp. You want to chow down and replenish with as little effort as possible!

1.4 Weather

Depending on the conditions, sitting down for a midday picnic may not be an option. Think about having some lighter vegan hiking foods to eat on-the-go for a quick energy boost (we’ve listed ideas further down).

The climate you’re hiking in will also affect the foods you bring.

In the summer, you don’t want to consume too much salt whilst on the move as it’ll dehydrate you, but then you’ll need to replace those lost electrolytes at the end of the day.

Planning out your vegan camping dinners will mean you can get back lost nutrients with a bigger meal later, potentially in your tent if the conditions are pants.

1.5 Location

If you know you’ll be able to pick up some fresh fruit or veggies along the way, you can add these to your evening camping meals.

This will give added nutrients and you won’t have to carry as much. If, on the other hand, you won’t be passing civilisation for some miles or days then you need to make sure you’re prepared, bringing enough food to keep you going.

In summary : the best vegan backpacking foods will be nutritious, lightweight, easily stored and easily eaten!

If you’re just going to be camping or weight isn’t an issue, you might also want to check out our guide to Vegan Camping Food .

Man camping on a backpacking trip

2. What are the best foods to take vegan backpacking? Think NUTRITION!

Your next step is to start thinking about nutrients and getting them from a variety of different foods.

The best backpacking grub will tick many of the boxes below. If they don’t on their own, you should aim to get them across your meals throughout the day.

You’ll notice some food are recommended more than once – they’re particularly good for the trail!

2.1 Calories

This is the time for seriously high-calorie foods. It’s best to stick with healthy options but it would still be better to get bad calories than no calories at all.

These are some healthier high-calorie vegan foods that work a treat backpacking:

  • The carbs in the section below
  • Any nuts or seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Meal replacement shakes
  • Oil (you can add extra to meals)
Take a look at our list of the best vegan energy foods for other high-calorie ideas to keep your feeling energized in the outdoors.

2.2 Carbohydrates

The best source of backpacking fuel will come from carbohydrates. Not just any old carbs though, specifically complex carbohydrates as these release energy slowly and will keep you powering on for hours.

Opt for quick-cooking carbs which are well suite to vegan backpacking dishes:

  • Oats (can be used sweet or savoury)
  • Wholemeal bread/wraps
  • Wholewheat pasta
  • Multigrain cereals
  • Wholewheat couscous
  • Rice noodles
  • Banana chips
  • Instant mash

2.3 Protein

Protein helps your body to recover, which you’re going to need after a day backpacking. It helps build new tissue, antibodies, enzymes, hormones and other compounds.

Despite what the memes say, it’s not difficult to get protein for vegans. The average active man needs 60 grams and active women 50 grams per day, and these plant-based protein sources will help you get your daily dose:

  • Bulgur Wheat
  • Hemp hearts
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Protein powder
  • Protein bars

We’ve got a whole post on the best protein sources for vegans if you want extra info.

Oh, and a lot of people overlook the potential of plant-based protein powders . Gram-for-gram they can be one of the most nutrient-packed food options and perfect for the trail. Stir it into your porridge or just have a shake at the end of the day, it’s a great way to recover!

Vegan backpacking food energy balls

Fat gets a bit of a bad press but many are really important for your body. You want to be focusing on unsaturated fats as these give you energy and lower cholesterol . Things such as:

  • Plant milk powders

Carrying a bottle of avocado oil on the trail might not be recommended but if you can make some homemade backpacking recipes before you leave, you can add some of the ingredients.

2.5 Vitamins and minerals

Some foods are more nutritious than others. You want to be carrying as little as possible so plan some recipes with foods that are particularly nutrient-dense , lightweight and won’t matter if they get a good bashing in your bag, such as:

There are also a number of pastes and powders that are packed full of goodness and ideal for camping meals as they’re so convenient to carry.

If you’re making homemade vegan backpacking recipes you can add these in, or sprinkle some on your camp stove cook-up in the wild.

  • Nutritional yeast
  • Superfood blends
  • Many prepared dehydrated vegan meals may also contain added nutrients

Not sure where to buy these awesome health-boosters? You can easily find them at health food shops and they’re not too expensive

Don’t forget your daily dose of vitamin B12. It doesn’t naturally occur in many plant-based wholefoods so opt for these vegan foods with B12 .

2.6 Salts and electrolytes

When you’re working your butt off trudging up a mountain, you’ll be losing more salts and electrolytes than you realise. You gotta replace them and these can help:

  • Salted nuts
  • Isotonic powders and rehydration tablets (we like Tailwind !)
  • Himalayan salt to add to dishes

Vegan camping breakfast of tofu scramble

3. How many calories and nutrients do you need backpacking?

Depending on your physical build and the intensity of your backpacking trip, you should aim for 3,000 to 4,500 calories a day. Listen to your body and keep yourself fuelled.

An active person is also recommended to consume:

  • 300 grams of carbs a day
  • 50 grams of protein a day
  • 60 grams of fat a day

But for an active backpacker , this will likely be more.

Aim to spread the calories across these food types and then you can add additional nutrients with fruits, vegetables and supplements.

Trying to work out the nutritional content of your daily backpacking food on the trail would be a nightmare. This is when meal planning comes in!

4. Backpacking meal planning

If you’re working hard, ideally you want to be taking on calories every few hours. We find the best method for long backpacking days is roughly like this:

  • 7.30 am – a hearty warm breakfast at the beginning of the day
  • Midday and 4 pm – two smaller cold food breaks spread throughout the day (better than a single, longer break when you can get stiff or feel the need to eat too much)
  • 6 pm – a hearty warm camping dinner to replenish nutrients and electrolytes
  • Throughout the day – high-energy backpacking snacks for on-the-move

Across these meals, you can plan foods so you know you’re getting the right stuff.

The next steps will guide you through actually bringing all the food with you!

Explore more…

The best 2-person tents compared, check out more vegan adventure recipes, find all our vegan adventure content.

Girl hiking The Cumbria Way

5. Different food options & how to take it

To fit enough food in a backpack, you’ve got to be crafty, and the best method will depend on your trip. First think:

  • How long are you backpacking for?
  • Will you be able to resupply along the trail?
  • Would you prefer to prep more before hiking or spend longer prepping food on the trail?

You’ll likely find a combination of the methods below will work best, then you can pick the right food options for your trip.

A. Bringing whole goods to use on the trail

Bringing things like oats to make porridge or rice and ingredients to make dinner.

For most, it’s inevitable you’ll bring whole goods. They’re cheaper, healthier and easily resupplied along the trail. But, they can be heavier and are more time-consuming to prepare.

B. Bringing ready-to-eat or pre-packaged foods

Anything from packets of biscuits to specific dehydrated backpacking meal sachets or sauce packets.

It’s good for making food quickly and it can be lighter. On the downside, it’s typically more expensive, less healthy and dehydrated meals or specific backpacking foods can be harder to resupply. 

C. Preparing meals or foods before the trail 

Preparing snacks or energy foods before the trail, like trail mix and energy balls, or dehydrating foods/ingredients to bring.

This is awesome for meal planning and can be cheaper, healthier and lighter if dehydrated. Resupplying along the trail is unlikely and it takes prep time before backpacking.

Need some vegan outdoor gear for your trip? We’ve got you covered!

Picking the best vegan hiking boots, finding vegan-friendly sleeping bags, vegan insulated jacket buyer’s guide, 6. good vegan backpacking foods available in shops (and potentially along the trail).

These are ace things to stock up on before your trip and you’ll likely find them in trail-side shops too. 

Opt for things with a long shelf-life, that can get thrown around and come in light packaging. Don’t go for canned or glass goods, see if you can find them in sachets instead. 

  • Dried fruit or fruit leathers
  • Baby food (it’s high in calories, cheap and nutritious)
  • Noodles/ramen/supernoodles
  • Pasta/rice/cous cous
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Sweet treats for energy
  • Sauce sachets
  • Bean or pulse sachets
  • Sachets of ready meals
  • TVP – texture vegetable protein
  • Dried soya chunks
  • Herbs, seasoning and condiments (more info below)

PRO TIP: It’s a good idea to take lightweight ziplock bags so you can decant shop-bought food from heavy packaging. You can also do this to ration supplies each for each day.

Oh, and if you’re not sure about the camping aspects of your backpacking trip, our First-Timers’ Camping Guide and this Camping Checklist will be handy resources!

Girl with a headtorch eating a camping meal in tent

7. Foodie things you’ll need on a vegan backpacking trip

We won’t go into a full backpacking packing list, but there are some crucial things you’ll need to eat your vegan grub!

  • A plate or bowl
  • A mug for brews!
  • Cutlery, chopping knife and potentially something to serve/stir food
  • Cooking pots and pans
  • A stove, gas and lighter
  • Ziplock bags to decant resupplied food
  • Tupperware can be useful for storing leftover food
  • Herbs (more below)
  • A dehydrator to use at home, removing moisture from foods, making it small, light and easily stored (we like our VonShef dehydrator! )

Need some of these backpacking items? Find them here

8. Pimping your backpacking food

Just because you’re in the middle of nowhere and living in a tent doesn’t mean your food has to be anything short of delicious. These are things you can take to liven up your dishes:

  • Dried seaweed
  • Tomato puree
  • Stock cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Onion and garlic powder
  • Chilli flakes
  • A selection of your favourite dried herbs and spices

Foodie tip: why not create spice mixes before you go? It’s an easy way to make Mexican, Indian, Italian etc. inspired dishes super quickly. Just mix the needed herbs and keep it in a zip lock bag. You’ll find some of our favourite spice mixes in our Vegan Camping Food Tips .

It’s really not hard to make epic meals when you’re on the trail – check out the next section for recipe inspiration!

Girl making vegan backpacking meals

Recipe and Meal Inspiration

We’ve listed some of our favourite plant-based backpacking dishes for when you’re out on the trail and also some tasty ideas you can make before. Enjoy!

9. Vegan backpacking breakfast ideas

Tuck into some slow-release carbohydrates to give you energy through the day, plus plenty of protein to repair your muscles and increase the oxygen in your blood.

You want something quick and easy to digest. This is also a good point to hydrate, so make the most of teas, coffees and nearby water sources.

  • Dried Fruit – raisins, goji berries, figs, dates, apricots, cranberries etc. all great for added fibre and nutrients.
  • Nut butter – for added protein and fats.
  • Seeds – ideal to get an extra dose of protein, fats and energy
  • Fresh Fruit – tougher choices like apples, oranges, pears etc.
  • Jam – cheap and good for quick energy blasts
  • Savoury – you can also have it savoury and for other meals

Porridge (oatmeal ) – The ultimate box-ticking and customisable backpacking food. Use oats and water as your base with a few teaspoons of sugar, cooked and thickened to your desired consistency, then mix in toppings of your choice:

Banana, jam and peanut butter wrap – A great quick backpacking breakfast. Smear peanut butter, jam, vegan chocolate spread, chestnut spread or any other spread of choice on your wrap, add the banana, sprinkle with seeds and you have your ultimate breakfast wrap.

Simple vegan breakfast pancakes – Nowadays, you can get complete vegan pancake mix, you just need to add water, mix and fry in a pan. These mixes are packed full of protein and carbohydrates, plus you can top them with lots of extra goodies too.

Tofu Scramble – You can buy cartons of tofu which are easily stored in a backpack and are one of the few complete vegan protein sources. It’s not the lightest, so it’s good soon after a resupply.

We love it with nutritional yeast, garlic and onion powder, paprika, chili, salt and pepper, then thrown into a wrap for a banging breakfast burrito!

HEALTH KICK : the morning can be a good time to get extra nutrients from powders or supplements. Superfood powders can easily be added to porridge, pancakes or in drinks.

Backpacking vegan drinking coffee

10. Snacks and homemade food to make before you leave

It’s always a good idea to have a steady supply of easy-to-eat snacks, both sweet and savoury, for when your energy levels are lagging.

These are a few go-to recipes we prepare at home before hitting the trail, crammed with energy, protein and darn tasty!

Energy balls   – our homemade recipe is easy to whip up and contains a good balance of slow-release energy, sugars and proteins, perfect to gobble down on the move.

Flapjacks   – having tried and tested a few ingredient combinations, we’ve perfected this recipe and it’s now a staple for hiking and backpacking trips. Combining banana, oats, almonds and raisins makes them insanely good and the ideal fuel for the outdoors.

Banana bread – a vegan staple and with good reason. Top with nut butter or jam for the ultimate adventure snack.

Raw cacao bars – crammed with slow-release energy and easy to fling into your bag ready for munching on the go.

Vegan backpacking recipes - hiking flapjacks

Cookies – at the top of our vegan day hike food list has recently been homemade ginger cookies. They’re ideal for when you need a quick insertion of energy, can take a backpack battering and taste bloody fantastic.

Curry roasted chickpeas  – simply toss chickpeas in oil, curry powder, cumin seeds and garlic powder then roast until crispy then presto you have the perfect savoury snack mixing it up from all the sweet stuff. These are also great sprinkled on your evening meal for an extra dose of protein.

Lentil patties – a delicious way to add some protein to your hike and an easy one to make in advance. Either cook the lentils or buy tinned, then saute onion and garlic in oil before adding the lentils, parsley, lemon, salt and pepper to taste (you can also add stock as this will amp up the flavour and salt level). Blend the mixture to form a paste, leaving some chunky bits, before transferring to a baking paper-lined baking tray and baking at 180°C for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.

Trail mix – simple and easy way to get a good dose of energy and vitamins in every handful.

Check out our list of the ultimate vegan hiking snacks for some more inspiration of grub for the trail.

Man eating vegan day hike food

11. Vegan backpacking lunches

Unless you’re going at a casual pace, backpacking lunches are best cold, quick-eaten and easily digested. You’re going to be muddy and sweaty, wanting nom as quickly as possible, without getting more mucky and frustrated.

We find it best to avoid food that’s too salty and focus on rehydrating too.

Tortillas & wraps  – these are great as it doesn’t matter if they get bashed about in your bag. Add sweet or savour fillings to satisfy your lunchtime hunger:

  • Banana and peanut butter, for optimum muscle recovery and fuel
  • Tahini with optional hot sauce (you can also add a sprinkling of seeds for added nutrients and protein)
  • If we’re feeling lazy, we’ll throw in some biscuits or sweet treats with peanut butter (pretty rich but gives you calories, carbs, protein, fats and sugars)

You can always use bread, rolls or bagels as the vehicle for your filling but these don’t travel quite as well as wraps.

Bigger quantities of backpacking snacks – vegan or not, sometimes it’s easiest just to tuck into more of your hiking snacks or things like:

  • Crackers and jam
  • Dehydrated hummus
  • Vegan granola or breakfast bars
  • Dried fruits and trail
  • Vegan jerky
  • Nut butters
  • Energy/protein bars

OUR SECRET FAVOURITE – We love preparing a big load of breakfast porridge (oatmeal) and keeping leftovers in Tupperware. Come lunch it’s like overnight oats, is easy to eat and jam-packed with nutrients!

Couple eating homemade vegan backpacking food

12. Vegan backpacking dinners

Out of all the meals of the day, dinner can be the hardest to tick the backpacking boxes. But, this is the meal where you want to replenish, replace salts and recover from a wild day – so it’s important.

There are a number of shop-brought dehydrated meal options available which are ideal for your hiking expedition and are lightweight, fuss-free and nutritional.

If you want to make your own vegan backpacking meals then this guide on how to dehydrate your food is great for beginners too.

Buying dehydrated meals or dehydrating food yourselves might not be an option, so these can help.

Easy steps for building a backpacking meal:

  • Think of the carbohydrate you can use e.g. rice, noodles, cous cous, bread etc.
  • Think of your protein e.g. TVP, soya chunks, sachets or beans or pulses
  • Craft your sauce – can be from sauce sachets, your herbs and seasonings, or you can easily make a tomato base by combining tomato puree and water or chopped tomatoes .

These are some other backpacking dinner ideas we love

Instant noodles a.k.a Ramen  – they’re a backpacker staple and with good reason: super lightweight, convenient and tasty. The only downside is they’re often full of salt and chemicals which is fine for short trips but doesn’t make them a great option long-term.

Miso soup  – a healthier alternative to the above, made by mixing a dollop of miso paste with seaweed, noodles plus veggies if you can pack or dehydrate them. The miso and seaweed are crammed with nutrients making this a super nutritious vegan camping recipe.

Seitan  – You can make a seitan loaf at home as it travels well, then mix it into sauces as a protein and nutrient source. These are good flavour combos to make at home:

  • Miso, seaweed and mushroom
  • Nutritional yeast, turmeric, garlic, onion
  • Ground flax seeds or chia seeds
  • Veggies of your choice
  • Nuts and nut oils

TIME TO RECOVER : It’s not always possible to get a perfectly balanced meal but your body will appreciate it. Times like these can be good for an evening vegan protein shake or meal replacement shake.

Where can you buy vegan backpacking food?

You’ll be able to buy lots of wholefood supplies from your average supermarkets and shops. These are good to stock up on before you leave. You can also make your own backpacking recipes and dehydrate them before you leave, or make things like energy balls. Nowadays, you can buy dehydrated or freeze-fried vegan backpacking foods from outdoor stores, like REI in America and Cotswolds in the UK.

Are there any no-cook vegan foods for backpacking?

Looks of backpacking lunches are easily done without cooking. You can have trail mixes, energy bars and snacks, make sandwiches or wraps with things like jam and peanut butter.

How can you plan backpacking meals?

It’s best to work out exactly how many days you will be backpacking for, then plan out your meals, nutrients and calories into these days. Always plan to take on more calories than you would normally, as you’ll be exerting yourself. With a rough meal plan, you can see how much supplies you can comfortably bring and work out when/if you’ll need to resupply.

How can you store backpacking food?

It’s best to go with lots of reusable zip-lock bags. They can be used to ration out daily foods and also hold food leftovers. It’s also good to take at least one lightweight Tupperware box as a sturdier food container. Avoid glass or heavy container options.

Vegan Backpacking Food Pin

The Complete Guide to Vegan Backpacking Food

The natural world is best appreciated by getting out there and exploring, we believe this is how people feel most compelled to protect it. This guide is aimed to help you do just that, with practical, healthy, affordable and delicious vegan-friendly backpacking foods to fuel your trip!


Packing healthy food while going for a backpacking trip is really important. I really like all the healthy vegan food that you have suggested in this article. I will definitely pack a vegan healthy meal based on your article the nest time that I go backpacking. Thank you.

Hi Supriya, healthy food is so important to us too! I think when your exerting yourself in the outdoors is key to fuel your body with goodness. So glad you like the list 🙂 What’s your favourite vegan backpacking meal?

Thanks for share informative article <3

Hey, thanks for a lot of vegan foody tips. I live very low/ezro waste since 4 years now and planning a multiple day hike this year. So I am wondering if you have any thoughts on low waste backpacking and food? Not gonna buy sachets and small packaging stuff because they are just not getting recycled in curbside recycling, so I guess I will need to prepare and maybe also carry a little more. Or resupply in glass/cans and then refill into reusable ligthweight container and bags.

Hey Jule. Interestingly, we’re actually about to publish some content which properly looks at that. Without a doubt, the best way is to dehydrate your own meals, which you can ration into different days. If you bulk-buy whole goods for the foods then you can dramatically cut down on waste. Also, if you know you’ll be stopping near towns, you can pick up fresh supplies which will have less packaging. It’s not going to be the most practical to carry, but if you’re camping near towns it’s pretty straight forward 🙂

Awesome vegan recipes you provided here. I really love the lentils patties but I can’t really make them stay together (maybe too much moisture in it!). Do you have a trick to make them look like burgers and stay in one piece. I was thinking of adding some chickpea flour but they become a little dry.

Any advice is welcome.

Your vegan mate, Lara.

Hey Lara, glad you like the post 🙂

With the patties, I recommend a few things: – Blend the mixture enough to form a paste, as in no too chunky as this will help them hold. – Cook the lentils a little longer, even overcook them a little as this will give them a little more mushy to hold together better. – You could make 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp of ground flax seeds/chia seeds & 5 tbsp of warm water, stir, then leave to sit for 10 mins before adding to the mixture) – Add a little oil to the mixture also as this can help it stick.

Hope this helps on your quest to make the perfect lentil patties!

All the best, Sarah

Thank you Sarah. Nice tips, I will try them soon.

Cheers, Lara

Hopefully they’ll help 🙂 let me know the results. I would think if they’re not sticking then they’re too dry rather than wet. Flax eggs are always a good binder and add a does of further nutrition to the recipe which is always a plus!

Great tips! You have certainly given me enough information too ease my mind about what I am going to eat on an upcoming first time backpacking trip. Can you tell me more about packing in seitan? I make my own in a variety of shapes and flavors. I’ve always assumed it required refrigeration. How do you store it in your pack and any preference on crumbles, patties, links etc? Do you dehydrate it?

Hey Shelly, glad it’s given you some inspiration. So, if it’s not going to be too warm I’ll just pack it in and eat within two days. For longer trips though, I’ll dehydrate it either on its own or in dishes. Hope you enjoy your upcoming trip. Where will you be going backpacking?

Great info thanks

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Gone Camping Again

How to safely take meat camping

by Elise Burley | Mar 15, 2022 | Food

This post may contain affiliate links.

Taking meat camping can be a challenge if you’re going in warm weather.

But what would a camping trip be without being able to enjoy a burger, steak, or sausage on a bun?

The trouble with taking meat camping is that there’s a higher risk of spoilage (and therefore food poisoning) if the meat isn’t stored properly or prepared and consumed quickly enough.

Ross and I have thankfully never gotten sick from accidentally eating bad meat while camping, but that’s because we’re incredibly careful and do everything we can to minimize the risks.

Here's what we'll cover:

Plan to eat all raw meat within 1 to 2 days max

Meal planning.

If you plan on going on a longer camping trip , make sure to plan your meals so that all of the raw meat is eaten within the first two days at the very latest.

This is where meal planning comes in.

Make sure to plan out exactly what you’re going to eat for every meal on each day of the trip. When it comes to certain types of meats, you can’t decide to eat it just whenever you like.

They have to be prioritized for earlier on in the trip.

I once watched a YouTube video of a bunch of campers where a guy decided to eat five-day-old hotdogs.

Guess what happened?

He got sick.

Don’t be that guy.

When it comes to taking meat camping, timing is key.

Freeze your meat first

Frozen meat.

You can ensure that your meat stays cold for a longer period of time if you freeze it before you go camping.

You can do this for both raw and cooked varieties of meats. This is especially helpful for items like raw steaks, hamburger patties, chicken breasts, and sausage links.

The meat will slowly thaw over the day once it’s taken out of the freezer.

Bring a portable cooler with ice or cool packs

A cooler filled with food.

A good quality cooler is essential for keeping meat (and all other food items) cold while camping.

I highly recommend investing in a high-quality cooler like the Yeti Tundra 45 .

It’s expensive , but it will keep your food cold for days on end.

If you don’t want to invest in a Yeti, or if you’re going camping with a shorter trip duration, then make sure to bring plenty of ice or cool packs with you.

One of the main benefits of bringing ice over cool packs is that you can optionally use them for drink—as long as you take the necessary precautions to avoid contaminating them (such as by keeping ice in resealable plastic bags).

Know how to pack meat for camping

Vacuum sealed pieces of beef.

You definitely need to be careful when packing and storing meat for camping to avoid spills and cross contamination.

Here’s what I recommend when it comes to understanding how to pack meat for camping in the safest way possible:

Use resealable plastic bags. This is an easy and practical way to store and transport your meat.

Pack each type of meat in a separate bag. For instance, pack hamburger patties in one bag, lunch meat in another bag, and on.

Use plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or parchment paper to separate meat portions. For example, if you don’t want your hamburgers or salmon fillets to stick together, you can use this technique before placing them in a plastic bag.

Squeeze out all the air before sealing it. This will help keep the meat fresh and prevent it from spoiling as quickly.

Double-bag your meat for camping in case one of the bags rip or the seal comes undone, your other food items will be protected.

Consider vacuum sealing meat for camping with a vacuum packing machine for even greater protection.

Use leak-proof containers for added protection from the bag being crushed or ripped.

Place your meat at the bottom of the cooler to minimize the amount of warm air it’s exposed to every time you open it.

Pack your meat between layers of ice or ice packs so that they stay as cold as possible.

Rely on cured meats later on in your camping trip

A person cutting cured meat.

Once you get past the two-day mark of your trip and have eaten all of the raw or cooked meat you planned for those first couple of days, you can still enjoy a variety of camping meat options by relying on cured items like summer sausage, ham, pepperoni, and salami.

Cured meats are are meats that have been treated with salt and other preservatives to help extend their shelf life.

These are some of the best meat for camping because they last for a longer period of time are more forgiving in terms of refrigeration.

Just make sure to store them out of the sun and in an airtight container to avoid spoilage.

You can use cured meats in wraps, sandwiches, stews, pizzas , breakfast omelettes and more.

Get farm fresh eggs instead of grocery store eggs

Farm fresh eggs.

Did you know that eggs don’t necessarily need to be refrigerated?

As long as they haven’t already been refrigerated, as most farm fresh eggs haven’t, they can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 4 weeks.

Grocery store eggs are also typically washed before they’re sold, which removes the natural protective coatings that help prevent bacteria from getting inside.

Farm fresh eggs have this natural coating intact, making them much more shelf-stable.

With that said, if you’re going camping in hot weather , you may want to think twice about bringing farm fresh eggs.

Farm fresh eggs should be stored at temperatures no warmer than 68 to 72°F (20 to 22°C) in order to prevent spoilage.

So, if you’re camping in a cooler environment, go ahead and bring those fresh eggs with you.

And if the weather is looking hot, it might be better to stick to the store-bought variety.

Choose pre-cooked bacon over raw bacon

Cooking bacon in a skillet over a campfire.

Bacon is one of those magical meats that somehow tastes even better when cooked over a campfire.

But raw bacon can be tricky to store and cook properly while camping.

A much easier option is to buy pre-cooked bacon, or what’s sometimes called ready-made bacon.

It typically comes in a foil package and only needs to be reheated before eating.

This makes it a great option for camping, since all you need to do is throw it in the skillet or on the grill for a few minutes to heat it up.

Pre-cooked bacon is also less likely to spoil than raw bacon and has a longer shelf life since it’s also a type of cured meat.

Consider bringing canned meat

Canned fish.

If you’re really serious about cooking meat while camping, then I highly recommend bringing along a few cans of your favourite canned meats.

Canned meats like tuna, salmon, chicken, and ham are perfect for no-cook meals as well as for adding some extra protein to your campfire meals, bringing some much-needed variety to your tastebuds.

The biggest downside of bringing canned meats is that they’re pretty heavy since the cans are made of steel metal, and the meat is often packed in water.

In addition to that, you have to pack the cans out after you’ve used them, meaning you’ll have to carry more waste with you.

But if weight isn’t an issue, I’d say go ahead and try bringing canned meat on your next camping trip.

A can of tuna or chicken added to a box of Kraft Dinner mac n’ cheese is absolute heaven, in my opinion. Just remember to bring a can opener!

Try chicken or tuna packets/pouches

A packet of meat.

One way to get around the weight and inconvenience of bringing canned meat is to go for meat packets or pouches instead.

These are often made of lightweight plastic or foil and can be easily squished down to save both space and weight in your backpack.

Tuna and chicken are the most common types of meat found in packets and pouches, and to be honest I’ve never seen any other type of meat sold in this type of packaging.

They usually come in single-serving sizes, which is great if you’re packing light.

And best of all, they don’t require refrigeration, so you can just throw them in your backpack and forget about them until meal time.

The main downside of packets and pouches is that they can be a little pricey for the amount of meat that you get.

But in my opinion, the extra cost is worth it for the convenience factor.

My absolute favourite are the wild skipjack tuna packets in Thai chili from Raincoast Global .

I love to mix them with a mayo packet and eat them in a mini tortilla wrap as a quick and easy lunch option that’s also incredibly tasty and filling.

Buy (or make your own) jerky

Beef jerky

Jerky is a great option for camping since it’s lightweight, doesn’t require refrigeration, and has a long shelf life.

It’s also high in protein and very filling, making it a perfect food to take camping.

There are tons of different flavours and types of jerky available these days, including your typical beef jerky, but you can also get chicken, turkey, salmon, and even bison jerky.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try making your own jerky at home using your oven, food dehydrator, or air fryer.

Unfortunately, jerky is another type of camp food that can be slightly more on the expensive side—especially if you’re buying the higher quality brands .

But it’s incredibly convenient. In addition to being a great trail snack, you can add it to campfire meals like stir fry, rice, or pasta dishes to boost the protein content.

Dehydrate your own meat

Beef jerky in a food dehydrator.

If you’re serious about camping, you typically go on longer trips, and packing light is a big priority for you, then you may want to invest in a good food dehydrator to dehydrate meat that you can add to your camp meals when it comes time to cook them.

Dehydrated meat has an incredibly long shelf life—up to a year or more when stored properly. It’s also very light since all the water has been removed.

The best types of meats to dehydrate, in my opinion, are ground types—like beef, chicken, and turkey . These all rehydrate the best and are the most versatile to use in a variety of camp meals.

In addition to being more cost-effective, dehydrating your own meat is also healthier since it contains far less salt and preservative than cured meat and other foods you choose for their long shelf life.

However, it does take more planning, care, and time to dehydrate your own meat, so it’s not for everyone.

How to spot the signs of spoiled or contaminated meat

Even when you try to do everything right, sometimes meat can go bad—especially if it’s not stored properly.

Here are a few signs to look for that indicate your meat has gone bad:

  • The meat is warm to the touch
  • The meat is discoloured or has changed colour from its original hue
  • There is mould growing on the surface of the meat
  • The meat has an unpleasant smell
  • The texture of the meat is slimy or tacky

If you sense any of these signs, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw the meat away.

It’s not worth taking the risk of eating contaminated meat and getting sick , especially when you’re out in the wilderness.

To learn more about food safety and storage, I highly recommend checking out some of the following resources.

Government of Canada resources:

  • Safe food storage
  • Meat, poultry, fish and seafood safety
  • Causes of food poisoning

U.S. Government resources:

  • Are you storing food safely?
  • Refrigerator and freezer storage chart
  • Cold food storage chart

It’s better to be safe than sorry when taking meat camping

I’ve certainly tossed out meat on my trips simply because I didn’t feel confident enough about eating it.

In the end, I didn’t want to risk getting food poisoning, so it was better to play it safe and go without.

I’d recommend that you do the same, even if the meat was expensive and it feels like such a waste to throw it out.

Your health is definitely worth more than any amount of money you may have spent on the meat.

Elise Burley

Elise is an experienced backcountry canoe tripper and winter camper from Ontario, Canada. She loves cooking up a storm over the campfire, taking in all the backcountry views, and enjoying a piña colada or two while relaxing at camp. She’s also certified in Whitewater Rescue (WWR) I & II and Wilderness First Aid (WFA).

You might also like:

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We’re Elise and Ross , avid backcountry campers and outdoor adventurers! We started Gone Camping Again as a way to share our knowledge and experience about wilderness living and travel. Our hope is that we inspire you to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer!

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Easy vegan camping meal ideas.

Vegan Camping Meals

Table of Contents

Quick and Easy Vegan Camping Meals

What to eat when you spend a night in the great outdoors.

Guest article by Alisha McDarris

COVID-19 Travel advisory

This article about vegan camping meals was written before the coronavirus pandemic. While camping in the outdoors, away from people, might seem like a safe activity, some authorities are advising not to engage in activities like hiking or camping at this time.

One reason for this is that you could unknowingly spread the virus to rural areas with limited health-care facilities. And if you were to injure yourself and require rescue, you would put a further strain on already limited resources.

Travel restrictions vary from place to place and will continue to change over the coming weeks and months. Please check the latest news from your local government and health authorities before setting out on any camping adventure.

Spring is upon us! For many of us, that means camping! And while I admit that I spent a fair amount of time sleeping under the stars all winter long (it was a mild one down here in Texas), it’s always nice to finally be able to leave the puffer jacket at home. 

See, as an outdoor writer and co-founder of sustainable (and vegan) travel and adventure blog , I simply can’t spend enough time outdoors. 

But here’s the thing about time outdoors: it also means time away from the kitchen. And I love to eat. My friends and family know that. 

So the question I most often hear from them is, what do I eat when I go camping?

It’s a perfectly valid question. After all, you won’t find an oven at a campsite. There’s only occasionally electricity available, and you certainly won’t be bringing a microwave. That is, unless your idea of camping is kicking it in a 30-foot RV . 

So if all the ways we usually prepare food are out, what do we eat in the great outdoors? Good news: there’s plenty of simple vegan camping food, depending on what tools you have available to you. In fact, I even wrote a backcountry cookbook of vegan camping recipes that you can download for free.

So dig in to this delicious vegan food for camping, and don’t go hungry the next time you want to spend a night or two telling ghost stories around the campfire.

Making damper (campfire bread) in Grand Teton National Park.

Photo by Josh McDarris: Making damper (campfire bread) in Grand Teton National Park

Vegan Camping Meals: Cooking Methods

First things first: Before you start planning an overnight trip and a whole convoluted menu, do some research to find out what cooking methods will be available to you at your campsite. 

Will there be a fire ring? A charcoal grill? Will you have to bring your own table-top camp stove? Once you know what’ll be on hand, you’ll be able to better plan your meals.

When you know how you’ll cook, keep in mind that not all cooking methods are created equal. The open flame from a campfire is nice and hot, but doesn’t cook very evenly and can be a little slow, especially if you’re trying to boil water. 

Similarly, charcoal can take a while to start. Once it does, though, it’s a lot easier to work with in terms of even heat distribution. But a charcoal grill is best used for items that need to be grilled, not sautéed or boiled.

If you have access to one, my favorite method is a simple camp stove. They usually require some sort of fuel canister and come in one- or two-burner varieties, but a camp stove is more or less identical to cooking with a gas stove in your kitchen. 

That means you can grill, boil, simmer, sauté, or sous vide to your heart’s content. As long as you bring the proper cooking supplies, of course.

This Coleman Gas Camping Stove is an Editor's Choice on Amazon.

raw food camping trip

Lastly, a backpacking stove will also do nicely. This is definitely your best option if you are on an overnight trek where you are carrying all your stuff, as opposed to a car camping trip.

Backpacking stoves are small, light, and powered by fuel canisters. So, you know you’ll always have a nice controllable flame. The downside is, they are often so light and small that cooking with anything other than a 6” pot, pan, or kettle doesn’t work so well. That said, we use one for both backpacking and camping quite frequently.

This SOTO WindMaster w/Micro Regulator and 4Flex also gets great reviews.

raw food camping trip

Don’t have any of these methods at your disposal? Well, you can certainly enjoy meals that don’t require cooking while you’re camping. Pack a few sandwiches, granola bars, some nut butter and salad mix, and don’t let your lack of a stove dissuade you from getting outside!

Boiling water on a backpacking stove

Photo by Alisha McDarris: Boiling water on a backpacking stove

Vegan Camping Meals: Cooking Supplies

My best advice? Before you leave home, go over each meal in your head, considering how you’ll accomplish each step of the process. 

Take pancakes for example. You’ll need not only the dry pancake mix but also wet ingredients like maple syrup and almond milk or other non-dairy milk. And you’ll need a pan to cook them in, possibly some sort of non-stick spray or oil, and a flipper to turn them over. 

Likewise, if you’re going to make stir-fried veggies with noodles, first make sure you have all the ingredients, of course. But then also remember you’ll need oil for cooking, a pot and lid for steaming and sautéing, seasoning, a spoon or spatula, and a strainer to drain off the liquid. Forgetting one piece of hardware could put a serious damper on your dinner plans.

But if you did leave something behind, don’t let it ruin your weekend. Get creative! We once forgot a pan to make pancakes and improvised with a tiny non-stick backpacking pot we had in our trunk. It took forever, but we still had pancakes! 

On another occasion, a friend we were camping with brought black bean chili but no pot. So we emptied some foil trays, dumped in the chili, and carefully heated the contents over the campfire. 

Vegan Camping Breakfast Ideas

They say the first meal of the day is the most important , right? Well, get yourself in gear with a hearty meal if you’ll be spending some time hiking or paddling around the lake.

Vegan oatmeal with blueberries

A bowl of oatmeal is a perfect start to the day!

This is my go-to camping breakfast. It’s easy, endlessly customizable, and filling. Try a savory version with vegan bacon bits, a handful of nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper. Or go the traditional sweet route with fresh or freeze-dried fruit, chia seeds, pepitas, and agave syrup.

Even if you don’t have any cooking equipment, you can prepare overnight oats the night before. Just mix ½ cup of oats with ½ cup of plant-based milk and add in any extra you want, like berries or chia seeds. 

I also like to add a mashed up banana for extra texture and sweetness. The oats will soak up the milk overnight, and you’ll have breakfast waiting for you in the morning!

These are easy if you start with a vegan pancake mix from the grocery store. Then simply add non-dairy milk (choose powdered coconut milk if you won’t be able to keep a carton cold), a splash of vanilla extract and a tablespoon or two of raw sugar.

You can toast them over the stove or a fire, then smear them with your favorite toppings! I like vegan cream cheese and jam, but peanut butter and fruit is always a winner!

Vegan Camping Lunch Ideas 

Make lunch easy so you can make the most of the afternoon, whether that’s hiking, kayaking, swimming or lounging in a hammock. Here are some quick and easy vegan camp food ideas for your mid-day meal.

Sandwiches and Wraps

vegan sandwich with vegetables

Sandwiches are a simple yet satisfying option for lunch.

Veggies and either hummus or vegan cream cheese make a great combo. Or if you prefer the taste of vegan cold-cuts from brands like Tofurky, pair that with some vegan cheese, lettuce and tomato and you’ve got yourself a sandwich. 

If you don’t mind a little more prep, make a fishless tuna sandwich with vegan tuna from a brand like Good Catch, your favorite vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Don’t forget a side of tortilla chips!

Good Catch fishless tuna is available in either water or oil and herbs :

raw food camping trip

Hearty Salads

Start with your favorite grain – whether that’s rice noodles, quinoa, pasta or farro – a mix of veggies like sweet potatoes or broccoli, maybe even seeds or nuts, and a tasty sauce. I love cold Asian-style noodles with leftover sautéed veggies. 

Asian-style rice noodles with veggies

Asian-style rice noodles with veggies

Or a quinoa salad with fresh spinach, grape tomatoes, basil and ready-to-eat vegan chickun with a creamy tahini dressing. Prep ahead of time and keep it in the cooler until lunchtime.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

It doesn’t get much simpler than this! Make it more grown up with sliced apples, strawberries, or bananas. Smear it all between a few slices of bread, a tortilla, or a bagel.

Vegan Camping Dinner Ideas

For dinner, feel free to take a little more time and relax around the fire while you cook. Some of my favorite vegan camping meals are ones that are at least fairly hands-off.

Not feeling up to cooking from scratch? Whip up a batch of Frito pie with canned vegan chili heated over the stove, a few bags of Fritos, and toppings like vegan shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, and shredded lettuce.

Veggie Burgers and Hot Dogs

Veggie burgers

Veggie burgers are perfect for eating around the campfire.

Slap ‘em on the grill, flip ‘em once, and dinner’s ready. Just don’t forget the condiments and buns! Or for something that takes a little more effort but is still a one-pot meal, try these red lentil sloppy joes . You can use canned lentils to cut down on cooking time.

Grilled Fruit and Veggie Kebabs

Do you know what goes well with veggie burgers and dogs? Grilled pineapple and veggie kebabs. Put them on skewers and grill until those nice black char marks appear! Marinate some tofu cubes ahead of time and slide those on, too, for extra protein.

Almost every soup recipe transitions well to the outdoors. But you can make it easier by prepping the ingredients ahead of time. That way, you can drop everything into a pot, let it simmer, and enjoy. 

My favorite soups to make when I go camping are a nice hearty chili (try adding chunks of sweet potato and a little cocoa powder) and creamy broccoli-potato soup with vegan cheese and dried potato flakes.

Vegan Dehydrated Camping Food Packs

And lastly, if you want to make it super easy on yourself, the Backpacker’s Pantry brand has some convenient vegan camping ready meals. Granted, these packs might be a bit more expensive than putting a meal together yourself.

But this freeze-dried and dehydrated food is both nutritious and lightweight, so it’s a great choice for backpackers without a car.

Or if you’re on a car camping trip but will be out in the wilderness for several days, this is a good non perishable vegan camping food option.

Here are a few of the vegan camping food packs by Backpacker’s Pantry that are both 100% plant based and gluten free. They actually have a total of 15 vegan products!

Three Sisters Stew

Louisiana Red Beans & Rice

Kathmandu Curry

Read More: How to Plan a Vegan Campervan Holiday

Vegan Camping Food Ideas: Snacks

picnic table with vegan camping snacks

Photo by Alisha McDarris: A table full of delicious vegan snacks while camping at Krause Springs in Texas

When I go hiking or camping, I love me some snacks to fill out the spaces between mealtimes. Especially if I’m planning on being active. I recommend you bring something to assuage any craving: crunchy, chewy, salty or sweet. 

Deprive yourself of life’s pleasures when you’re camping, and you’ll start to develop some resentment issues with the pastime. And we don’t want that.

Vegan jerky

Protein bars

S’mores supplies with Dandies vegan marshmallows

Items like chickpea puffs, popcorn or seaweed snacks

Sweets like cookies or Sour Patch Kids

Fruits and vegetables

Chips, salsa and guacamole

Click here for more vegan travel snack ideas !

The Bottom Line

The message here is that you can certainly eat well while cooking up some easy camping recipes that are 100% vegan. So don’t let the question of what’s going to fill your belly deter you from getting outside to play and enjoy nature!

About the Author

Alisha McDarris

Alisha McDarris has written about travel, the outdoors, and veganism for , Backpacker, NerdWallet, and more. Together with her husband, she co-founded , a sustainable travel and adventure blog and  YouTube channel . They live in a tiny house in Austin with too many books and hiking boots.

Alisha McDarris author of vegan camping meals article

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Who is the Nomadic Vegan?

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Hi, I'm Wendy. I'm an intrepid traveler, vegan foodie and animal lover. I travel all over the world (117 countries and counting!) uncovering vegan treasures to show you how you can be vegan anywhere. Read more on my About page .

10 Healthy, Portable Foods to Bring on Your Next Camping Trip

Put down the sodium-packed ramen and consider these nutritious, energizing choices instead.

Elizabeth Millard

You don’t need to sacrifice nutrition (or convenience) when you embark on your next outdoor adventure.

When you’re camping — especially if your excursion involves physical activity — you’ll want to make sure you have food that’s nutritious, energizing, and lightweight.

If you’re hiking with elevation, for example, that can of chickpeas may start feeling like it’s measured in pounds, not ounces. That means choosing lightweight options — but that’s not the only factor when you’re considering healthy food for camping. You’ll need enough fuel to stay properly nourished while spending time in the outdoors.

As one  hiking calculator indicates , a 150-pound hiker carrying a 40-pound pack on a 10-mile hike with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet will burn just over 1,200 calories on the way, and that’s with a fairly flat trail. “When you’re hiking and being active all day, your body is going to need more nourishment than you might be used to,” says  Kara Hoerr, RDN , of Madison, Wisconsin. “Energy-dense foods can give you concentrated calories without taking up much space.”

Relying on freeze-dried meals or other packed food can be problematic, because they’re often loaded with sodium. In the short-term, that can cause  water retention , especially in the hands and feet, and tends to elevate blood pressure, according to a  study published in  Nutrients .

Fortunately, there are numerous choices for healthy camping food that can help keep your body nourished and your energy up, so you can enjoy everything the natural world has to offer.

Dried Oatmeal Packets Offer Healthy Carbs


“ Oatmeal provides complex carbohydrates for adequate and lasting energy before a day of hiking or exploring,” says Hoerr. “Also, they’re lightweight, compactible, and easy to prepare at a campsite.”

High-quality carbs are a still solid energy choice for activity, according to research from 2022 , and although protein and fat are still important, carbs are an essential macronutrient to keep energy up during high-intensity exercise because they’re broken down rapidly.

RELATED: How Do You Tell the Difference Between Good and Bad Carbs?

Peanut Butter Pouches Give You Nutrients on the Go


Nut butters are energy dense, says Hoerr, which means they can boost your calories without making you feel overfull. They’re rich in heart-healthy fat, protein, fiber , vitamins and minerals, so they’re nutrient dense as well, according to Hoerr.

On a recent trip backpacking through Yosemite, Hoerr discovered that adding a packet — individual pouches are convenient and less messy than trying to eat from a jar, she says — to her morning oatmeal kept her sustained through elevation-gain hikes until lunchtime.

Tuna or Chicken Packets Provide a Quick Protein Boost


The “individual packets” theme continues. These are ideal healthy foods to bring camping because they’re easy to fit into those smaller spaces in a pack, and can be tucked into jacket pockets so you have them handy for snacks when you need them most.

“Listen to your body for signs it’s needing more food right now,” suggests Hoerr. “You might be getting light-headed, or the activity is feeling harder than it should. Those are signs you’re lacking in energy. Packets of tuna or chicken are shelf-stable and have so many great flavors now that you can eat them on their own.”

An example with a variety of flavors is  StarKist Tuna Pouches . The company also offers them with salmon and chicken. Their lemon pepper packet, for instance, has 17 g of protein. Natalie Allen, RD , a clinical assistant professor for biomedical sciences at Missouri State University in Springfield, says the formula for how much daily protein you need is 0.8 g per kilogram of weight, she says. To get your kg, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. Generally, Allen says, women need 60 to 70 g of protein daily and men need 70 to 80 g, but higher levels of activity may boost that amount.

Protein Powder Can Balance Your Meals With a Plant-Based Option


If you’re not a fan of meat, or are on a plant-based diet (such as a vegan or vegetarian one), protein powder provides a way to get your fix of this nutrient. Consuming protein in powder form can also be ideal for hiking because it’s lightweight and you can mix it with the water you already have. And you don’t have to bring the whole container, of course: Just put a few scoops into a sealable plastic bag for easy travel.

“Ideally, spread out your protein throughout the day,” Allen suggests. “For example, if your protein needs are 60 grams (g) a day, aim to get 20 at each main meal, rather than trying to load up all at once. This will help you maintain satiety.”

When you're camping and being active, you may not have set mealtimes, so a protein shake can make it easier to pace your protein intake.

If you’re looking to go plant-based instead of using whey as your protein powder source, Allen suggests pea protein, which is widely available. For example, good options are Naked Pea or even making your own  powder in advance.

RELATED: What Is Protein? A Complete Scientific Guide

Dried Fruit Is a Portable, Quick Source of Energy


The concentrated sweetness of dried fruit like raisins, dried apples, and prunes makes it a welcome go-to snack on the trail. Dried fruit also offers a quick carb fix to fuel activity, says the Brooklyn, New York–based Jackie Newgent, RDN . The fruit maintains its vitamins and minerals in the dehydration process, she adds, so you’ll be getting a nutrient-dense snack.

“The nutrients are more concentrated ounce per ounce, which means they’re packed with beneficial bioactive compounds,” Newgent says. “Be sure to check ingredients, though, since some sugars and preservatives may be added, and it’s best to get options where you're just getting the fruit.” For example, she suggests avoiding sugars like corn syrup or sucrose and preservatives like carrageenan and potassium bromate.

A ¼-cup portion of packed raisins provides 32.5 g of carbs, along with 340 milligrams (mg) of potassium (6 percent of your daily value or DV), 2.8 g of fiber (10 percent of the DV), and 1 mg of iron (6 percent of the DV), according to the  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Shelled Pumpkin or Sunflower Seeds Offer Healthy Fat


Seeds of any kind are a lightweight snack, and these two options are particularly lightweight, making them a good healthy food choice for camping, says Hoerr. Bonus: Nuts and seeds add healthy fat that keeps you full for longer.

What’s more, seeds such as sunflower seeds can help reduce inflammation. A review noted that sunflower seeds contain phenolic acids, flavonoids, and tocopherols, which have all been associated with beneficial effects on inflammation. Although inflammation is a necessary natural process to some degree, too much of it has been linked to numerous diseases, according to another review of research — including arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and autoimmune diseases. In the long term, exercise reduces inflammation, but does create a spike in the short term, according to other research . So it stands to reason that snacking on healthful options such as seeds may help mitigate that effect, the aforementioned study suggests.

Granola or Energy Bars Offer Convenient, Portable Energy


One option Hoerr always takes camping is prepackaged granola or energy bars, because they’re so easy to find and can get smushed at the bottom of a pack and still be ready to eat. But if you’re at the grocery store and looking for some snack-size granola bars or protein bar options, prepare to spend some time. With so many options, it can feel like this should be your first campsite, so you can read every label.

Hoerr suggests looking at ingredients lists to get as little added sugar as possible — under 6 g of added sugar is best — and ideally choose ones sweetened naturally with dried fruit. This will give you the carb-loading boost you need for activity, without extra sweeteners or preservatives. Because they have options to check off these boxes, Hoerr tends to load up on Lärabars . For example, an Apple Pie Lärabar has no added sugar and 25 g of carbs. Hoerr likes that the ingredients are just nuts and fruit, and there are others that are similar. For example, check out RXBars .

RELATED: The 9 Best Protein Bars for Every Diet

Electrolyte Tablets Can Help You Stay Hydrated


If you’re hiking, consider your hydration levels . Even at a leisurely pace, it’s an endurance event, says Hoerr, especially when you’re carrying gear. She suggests drinking more water than you think you need, particularly in cooler climates, since you may not notice thirst as much in those situations.

Along with water, consider replacing electrolytes you might lose through sweat. Hoerr likes Nuun tablets because they’re easy to store and can be dropped into a water bottle when needed, but there are others on the market as well, like Ultima  and  Tailwind .

Fiber-Filled, Precooked Quinoa Quick-Prep Grains Make Meal Prep a Cinch


When you’re relying on a cookstove, grains that take time to cook can feel like a chore, which is why Hoerr relied on quick-cooking options like quinoa and instant brown rice on her Yosemite trip.

For example, when you’re tired after a hike, you can whip up a healthy dinner in less than 15 minutes if you opt for quick grains and a packet of chicken or tuna.

Why bring whole grains in the first place? Options like quinoa are packed with fiber, which is helpful for keeping digestion on track — an issue many people have while traveling, whether it’s to a campsite or a spa. According to the USDA , 1 cup of quinoa has 5 g of fiber, which covers 18 percent of your DV.

RELATED: Eating Whole Grains May Help Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk, Study Finds

Dark Chocolate Offers a Campsite Treat


Whether you put some pieces into a mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, or simply delight in a few squares as an after-hike treat, dark chocolate simply tastes better when you’ve been hiking all day. Worried about it getting melted? Unless you’re in very hot and humid conditions, you’ll likely be safe. Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa in proportion to milk fat compared with milk chocolate, so it has a higher melting point .

Plus, research from 2022 found that cocoa contains more phenolic antioxidants than most foods — another powerful way to keep inflammation in check.

Everyday Health follows strict sourcing guidelines to ensure the accuracy of its content, outlined in our editorial policy . We use only trustworthy sources, including peer-reviewed studies, board-certified medical experts, patients with lived experience, and information from top institutions.

  • Hiking Calculator. Omni Calculator . July 14, 2023.
  • Grillo A, Salvi L, Coruzzi P, et al. Sodium Intake and Hypertension. Nutrients . September 2019.
  • Podlogar T, Wallis GA. New Horizons in Carbohydrate Research and Application for Endurance Athletes. Sports Medicine . December 2022.
  • Raisins, Seeded. U.S. Department of Agriculture . April 1, 2019.
  • Seeds, Sunflower Seed, Kernel, Raw. U.S. Department of Agriculture . April 20, 2023.
  • Guo S, Ge Y, Na Jom K. A Review of Phytochemistry, Metabolite Changes, and Medicinal Uses of the Common Sunflower Seed and Sprouts (Helianthus Annuus L.). Chemistry Central Journal . September 29, 2017.
  • Germolec DR, Shipkowski KA, Frawley RP, Evans E. Markers of Inflammation. Methods in Molecular Biology . 2018.
  • Khazaei M. Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation After Exercise: Controversies. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences . September–October 2012.
  • Quinoa, Cooked. U.S. Department of Agriculture . April 1, 2019.
  • The Science of Melting Chocolate. Royal Society of Chemistry . March 1, 2021.
  • Samanta S, Sarkar T, Chakraborty R, et al. Dark Chocolate: An Overview of Its Biological Activity, Processing, and Fortification Approaches. Current Research in Food Science . October 15, 2022.

The Outdoor Insider

What Food Should I Bring for 3 Days Camping? A Beginner’s Handbook

What food should I bring for 3 days camping?

Even seasoned campers can be perplexed by this question.

In this beginner's guide, we'll tackle the necessities to keep you fueled and satisfied on your outdoor journey.

Table of Contents

Importance of Planning Meals for Camping

Planning your meals for a camping trip is not just about deciding between s'mores or hot dogs. It's a strategic move that can make your camping experience more enjoyable and stress-free. Not having the right types or amounts of food can quickly turn a fun trip into a survival challenge.

By planning ahead, you ensure that you have the right mix of nutrition to fuel your camping activities, and you minimize waste. Plus, with a little creativity, you can elevate your campfire cuisine from ordinary to extraordinary!

Understanding Nutritional Needs While Camping

When you're in the great outdoors, your body works harder than usual. Whether you're hiking, fishing, or just setting up the camp, these activities demand more energy. Hence, understanding the nutritional needs while camping is crucial.

Energy Requirements

Camping activities often require endurance and strength, meaning your body needs more calories. Focus on foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates to provide sustained energy release. A breakfast burrito packed with eggs, beans, and cheese or dinner featuring quinoa salad with vegetables can be excellent choices. Snacks like trail mix or energy bars can also keep you going during the day.

Food for a camping trip

Hydration Needs

Hydration is just as crucial as nutrition during camping. Water loss can sneak up on you, especially in hot weather or high altitudes. Remember to drink water consistently, not just when you're thirsty. And don't forget that you can also hydrate through your meals! Foods with high water content , like fruits and vegetables, can contribute to your hydration goals . Soup packets are also easy to pack and can be a warm, hydrating meal option.

Key Factors to Consider When Planning Camping Meals

The allure of campfire-cooked meals and the joy of sharing food with companions in a beautiful outdoor setting is an integral part of the camping experience. But before you can enjoy those moments, there's some planning to be done. Here are the key factors you should consider when planning your camping meals.

Duration of Camping

The length of your camping trip significantly affects the type and amount of food you should pack. For a three-day camping trip, you will need at least nine meals plus snacks. Plan each meal ahead of time and pack accordingly. This way, you won't risk running out of food or carrying too much that goes to waste.

Cooking Facilities Available

Are you camping with a fully-equipped RV kitchen, or are you backpacking with only a compact camping stove? The cooking facilities at your disposal determine what meals you can prepare. With limited facilities, it's often best to stick with meals that are easy to cook or can be eaten raw. Dehydrated meals or no-cook foods like canned tuna and tortillas can be a great choice.

Dietary Preferences and Restrictions

Consider the dietary needs and preferences of everyone in your group. If someone is vegetarian, gluten-intolerant, or allergic to peanuts, you'll need to account for that in your meal plan. There are plenty of camping-friendly meals available for almost every dietary restriction, so do a bit of research to ensure everyone has something delicious to eat.

Weight and Portability of Food Items

When you're carrying all your supplies on your back, every ounce counts. Opt for lightweight and compact food items that won't weigh you down. For instance, choose pasta or rice over heavy cans, and opt for trail mix instead of fresh fruit for snacks.

Preservation and Storage

Remember that you won't have a refrigerator to store your food. Pack foods that are shelf-stable and won't spoil quickly in outdoor temperatures. If you do bring perishable food items like meat or dairy, plan to eat them early in your trip. Also, consider how you will secure your food from wildlife at night.

Taking the time to consider these factors can make a huge difference in your camping experience. Remember, a successful camping trip is not only about the trail you hike or the fish you catch; it's also about the delicious meals you enjoy in the heart of nature.

Day-by-Day Food Breakdown

Planning out a camping menu may seem daunting, especially if it's your first time. But don't worry! We've got you covered with a suggested day-by-day meal plan for your three-day camping adventure.

Day 1: Arrival Day

The first day of camping usually involves setting up your campsite and getting settled. Keep meals simple to save energy for these activities.

Breakfast on the camp table

Start your day right with a hearty breakfast at home before heading to your campsite. If you're leaving early in the morning, overnight oats or a breakfast sandwich can be a great grab-and-go option.

By lunchtime, you should be at your campsite but might not have everything set up yet. A no-cook lunch would be perfect for this. Think along the lines of PB&J sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, or canned tuna with crackers. Don't forget a piece of fruit for added nutrition.

After setting up your camp, reward yourself with a simple yet delicious dinner. If you brought perishables, use them first. Grilled chicken , veggies, and a foil-wrapped baked potato is a satisfying meal that's easy to cook over a campfire.

Pack trail mix, granola bars, or dried fruit for a quick energy boost throughout the day.

Day 2: Full Camping Day

This is the day to enjoy your most elaborate meals as you'll have more time and resources at your disposal.

Kick-off your full camping day with a warm and fulfilling breakfast. Scrambled eggs with some chopped veggies, prepared over your camping stove, along with some pre-cooked bacon can be a delightful start to the day.

For lunch, consider easy-to-assemble wraps with your favorite fillings. You can use canned chicken, mayo, and a bag of salad for a quick and satisfying meal.

Dinner is the time to treat yourself. Try foil packet meals like shrimp boil packets or chicken fajita packets. These are simple to prep at home, easy to cook over the campfire, and offer a flavorful end to your day.

Don't forget your snacks for the day. Fresh fruits like apples and oranges can be a refreshing choice.

Day 3: Departure Day

On the last day of camping, focus on using up your supplies and keeping meals easy to clean up.

Instant oatmeal with a handful of nuts and dried fruits can be a quick, nourishing start to your last day. If you have any remaining eggs, you could make a simple omelet.

Lunch should be light and easy to pack up. Consider hummus and veggie wraps, or if you have any leftovers from previous meals, now is the time to finish them off.

However, when packing food for a 3 days camping trip , opt for non-perishable and easy-to-cook options like dehydrated meals, canned goods, granola bars, and dried fruits, ensuring you have a mix of nutrition, convenience, and portability.

Remember, these are just suggestions and you should adapt according to your dietary needs and preferences.

Read more: The Best Time to Go Camping

Meal Planning and Preparation Tips

Camping should be a fun experience, not a stressful one. The right preparation before your trip and smart techniques while you're there can make the difference. Let's explore some key points in this aspect.

Pre-Camping Preparation

Before you even pack your first item, have a meal plan. Knowing what you'll eat each day can help you avoid overpacking and forgetting key ingredients. Prep as much as you can at home, like marinating meats, pre-cutting veggies, or even pre-cooking certain meals. This way, you'll spend less time preparing meals and more time enjoying the outdoors.

Efficient Packing Techniques

When it comes to packing food for camping, efficiency is key. Store your prepped meals in reusable containers, label them, and pack according to the order you'll eat them. Remember to balance the weight in your backpack or cooler for easy carrying.

Making Use of Local Resources

Be open to purchasing fresh produce from local farmers' markets if your camping site is near one. Not only does this support local businesses, but you'll also enjoy fresh ingredients that are often superior in taste and nutrition.

Best Practices for Food Safety While Camping

While camping can be quite the adventure, food safety is one aspect where we shouldn't take any risks. Here's what you need to know:

Storing Food Correctly

Keep your food stored in airtight containers or zip-lock bags. Perishables should be kept in a cooler with enough ice or ice packs to keep them at safe temperatures. Also, store your food out of reach from wildlife to avoid unexpected visitors.

Proper Food Handling

Always wash your hands before preparing or eating food. If water and soap are not available, use hand sanitizers. Avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods.

Cleanliness and Sanitation

Maintaining cleanliness in your camp kitchen is essential. Clean up all food and crumbs immediately after meals to prevent attracting wildlife. Wash all your dishes and utensils promptly and dispose of trash responsibly.

Remember, a safe and enjoyable camping trip comes down to thoughtful planning, smart packing, and practicing food safety.

For better food safety know more: How to Pack Eggs for Camping

FAQs about What Food Bring for 3 Days Camping

What is the best food to bring for camping, how do you store food for a 3 day camping trip, what food to bring camping for 4 days, what food to take on a 2 day camping trip, final thoughts.

Well, that's a wrap! We've ventured through the importance of proper food planning for camping, considered our nutritional needs, and contemplated key factors like duration, cooking facilities, and dietary restrictions.

With a day-by-day meal breakdown, tips for planning and preparation, plus best practices for food safety, you should now be ready to pack up and head for the hills. Remember, good meal planning ensures you can relish every moment of your camping experience without having to worry about what's on the menu.

Learn more: Exactly what is Bushcraft Camping

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Ovi Tanchangya

Hey there, fellow explorers! This is Ovi Tanchangya , passionate blogger and avid outdoorsman. I want to share my thoughts about my past outdoor experiences, and of course, I will continue to do so. The past is very practical and can't be forgotten. I don't know which is unique about camping, but I can't forget the campfire smoke and the smell of the camp foods. When I am in mechanical society, I try to recall my memories by watching various camp videos and listening to the sound of the forest raining. And this is me.

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Camping and Backpacking With Raw

raw food camping trip

Safety Guides

9 tips for ensuring food safety while camping.

  • August 2, 2023

raw food camping trip

Table of Contents

This article will teach valuable tips for ensuring food safety while camping. Whether you’re an experienced camper or a first-timer, taking proper precautions to protect your food from harmful bacteria is important. Following these tips, you can enjoy delicious and safe meals while immersing yourself in nature.

Firstly, it’s essential to pack your food in a way that prevents contamination. Make sure to separate raw meats from other foods to avoid cross-contamination. Use sealed containers or ziplock bags to keep your food fresh and protected from insects. Additionally, it’s a good idea to bring a cooler with plenty of ice to keep perishable items at a safe temperature. Remember to replenish the ice regularly to ensure that your food stays cool .

Lastly, proper cooking practices are crucial for food safety while camping. Always cook your food thoroughly to kill any harmful bacteria. A food thermometer ensures the meat is cooked to the recommended internal temperature. Avoid leaving cooked food out too long, as bacteria can multiply rapidly in warm temperatures. Store leftovers in sealed containers and refrigerate them promptly. By following these tips, you can have peace of mind knowing that your food is safe to eat during your camping adventure.

Tips for Ensuring Food Safety While Camping

Planning and Preparation

Choosing a campsite with good sanitation facilities.

When planning a camping trip , one of the first things you should consider is the campsite you will be staying at. It is crucial to choose a campsite that has good sanitation facilities . Look for campsites that have clean and well-maintained bathrooms with running water, soap, and toilet paper. Access to proper sanitation facilities will significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses and enhance your camping experience.

Creating a Detailed Menu and Shopping List

Before heading out for your camping adventure , creating a detailed menu and shopping list is essential. This will help you stay organized and ensure you have all the necessary ingredients and supplies. When planning your meals, consider the duration of your camping trip, the number of people in your group, and any dietary restrictions or allergies. Include a variety of foods from different food groups to ensure a balanced and nutritious diet while camping. Once you have finalized your menu, make a shopping list and ensure that you have all the ingredients before leaving for your trip.

Packing and Storing Food Properly

Properly packing and storing your food is vital to maintain its freshness and prevent contamination. When packing food for camping, use sturdy, leak-proof containers to prevent spills and cross-contamination. It is also wise to pack perishable foods, such as meat and dairy products, in insulated coolers with ice or ice packs to keep them at a safe temperature. Non-perishable items like canned goods and snacks can be stored in a separate container. Ensure that all containers are sealed tightly to prevent any unwanted entry of insects or animals.

Hygiene Practices

Washing hands frequently with soap and water.

Maintaining good hygiene practices while camping is critical to prevent the spread of bacteria. One of the simplest and most effective ways is by washing your hands frequently with soap and water. Before preparing or handling food, wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Use running water and biodegradable soap to remove dirt, bacteria, or odors from your hands. If running water is unavailable, consider using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as an alternative.

Using Hand Sanitizer When Water is Not Available

In some camping scenarios, access to clean running water may be limited. In such cases, it is essential to carry a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Hand sanitizers are an excellent alternative to soap and water, as they effectively kill most bacteria and viruses on the skin. Apply adequate hand sanitizer to your hands and rub them together until they are dry. Remember to pay attention to all areas of your hands, including the fingertips, nails, and wrists.

Keeping Cooking Utensils and Surfaces Clean

To prevent cross-contamination and the spread of harmful bacteria, it is crucial to keep your cooking utensils and surfaces clean at all times. Before and after each use, wash your cooking utensils and equipment with warm, soapy water. If possible, use biodegradable dish soap to minimize any negative environmental impact. Use a clean scrub brush or sponge to remove any food particles or residue. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry the utensils entirely before storing them. Additionally, regularly sanitize your cooking surfaces, such as cutting boards and countertops, to maintain a safe and hygienic cooking environment.

Safe Water Consumption

Bringing sufficient water or purification methods.

When camping, it is crucial to stay hydrated by consuming adequate water. Depending on the duration of your camping trip and the availability of water sources, you can either bring sufficient water from home or utilize water purification methods. If you choose to bring water from home, pack enough for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. If water sources are available at your campsite, consider using water purification methods, such as boiling, a water filter, or water purification tablets , to ensure the water is free from harmful bacteria.

Avoiding Untreated Water Sources

While many campsites may have natural water sources nearby, avoiding consuming water from untreated sources is crucial. Natural water sources like rivers, lakes, and streams may contain harmful bacteria, parasites, or other contaminants. Even if the water appears clean and clear, drinking may still be unsafe. It is always better to rely on treated or purified water sources to prevent any risks of waterborne illnesses while camping.

Properly Storing Drinking Water

Properly storing your drinking water is essential to maintain its quality and prevent contamination. If you bring water from home, seal it in clean, food-grade water containers and store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria or algae in the water. If you are utilizing water sources at your campsite, ensure that you have clean and sturdy containers to collect and store the water. Make sure the containers are tightly sealed to avoid any spillage or contamination.

Cooking Safety

Cooking food thoroughly to safe temperatures.

When cooking food while camping , it is crucial to ensure that it is cooked thoroughly to safe temperatures. This will help kill any harmful bacteria that may be present in the food. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food. Different types of food have specific safe internal temperatures. For example, poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), while steak and roasts should be cooked to at least 145°F (63°C). Make sure to monitor the cooking process closely and avoid undercooking or overcooking your food.

Avoiding Cross-Contamination of Raw and Cooked Food

Cross-contamination can occur when harmful bacteria from raw food comes into contact with cooked or ready-to-eat food. To prevent cross-contamination while camping, keeping raw and cooked food separate at all stages is essential. Use separate cutting boards , utensils , and plates for raw and cooked food. Ensure that they are cleaned and sanitized correctly before and after each use. Avoid touching other food items when handling raw meat, poultry, or seafood unless you have washed your hands thoroughly. Keeping raw and cooked food separate will reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Using Clean Containers for Food Storage

Proper food storage is crucial to prevent the growth of bacteria and ensure the freshness of your food. When packing and storing food for camping, make sure to use clean and sanitized containers. Wash the containers with warm, soapy water before using them. Ensure that they are thoroughly dried before storing any food items. Avoid reusing containers that may have held raw meat, poultry, or seafood, as they can harbor harmful bacteria. Using clean containers lets you maintain the quality and integrity of your food while enjoying your camping trip.

Proper Food Storage

Using Insulated Coolers or Refrigeration

Storing perishable food is essential to prevent spoilage and harmful bacterial growth. When camping, it is recommended to use insulated coolers or refrigeration to keep your perishable food items at a safe temperature. Pack your cooler with enough ice or ice packs to maintain a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below. Ensure the cooler is sealed correctly to prevent heat or cold air from escaping. Place the cooler in a shaded area to minimize exposure to direct sunlight. This will help keep your food fresh and safe to consume throughout your camping trip.

Separating Raw and Ready-to-Eat Foods

To prevent cross-contamination and reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses, it is crucial to separate raw and ready-to-eat foods while camping. Raw meat, poultry, and seafood have a higher risk of carrying harmful bacteria. Keeping them separate from ready-to-eat foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and cooked food items is essential. Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood in sealed containers or plastic bags to prevent any leakage. Place them in a separate compartment or cooler to avoid any contact with other food items. By separating raw and ready-to-eat foods, you can ensure the safety and quality of your meals while camping.

Discarding Perishable Foods After a Certain Period

Perishable foods have a limited shelf life and can spoil quickly if not stored properly. When camping, it is crucial to keep track of the expiration dates and discard any perishable food items that have exceeded their safe storage period. Even if the food does not show any visible signs of spoilage, it is better to err on the side of caution and dispose of it. Consuming expired or spoiled food can lead to foodborne illnesses, which can quickly ruin your camping experience. Be mindful of the storage instructions provided for each food item and follow them meticulously to maintain food safety.

Handling Leftovers

Promptly cooling and refrigerating leftover food.

Leftovers can be a convenient option for meals while camping. However, it is crucial to handle leftovers properly to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Once you have finished your meal, allow the leftover food to cool down to room temperature. Divide the leftovers into small, shallow containers to facilitate faster cooling. Place the containers in a cooler with ice or refrigerate them as soon as possible. Promptly cooling and refrigerating leftover food will help maintain its freshness and prevent bacterial growth.

Reheating Leftovers to Appropriate Temperatures

When reheating leftovers while camping, it is vital to ensure that they are heated to appropriate temperatures to kill any bacteria that may have grown. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food. Reheat leftovers to an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure that they are safe to eat. Stir the food occasionally during reheating to distribute heat evenly and minimize the risk of cold spots. Consuming properly reheated leftovers will help prevent foodborne illnesses and maintain your overall well-being during your camping trip.

Consuming Leftovers within a Safe Timeframe

While leftovers can be a convenient meal option while camping, consuming them within a safe timeframe is essential. Once leftover food has been cooked and stored correctly, it can usually be consumed within 2 to 3 days. It is recommended to consume certain food items, such as cooked meat, poultry, or seafood, within 1 to 2 days. Beyond these timeframes, the risk of bacterial growth and spoilage increases significantly. It is always better to be cautious and discard any leftovers that have exceeded their safe storage period. This will ensure your safety and prevent any potential foodborne illnesses.

Protecting Food from Wildlife

Securing food in bear-resistant containers or lockers.

When camping in areas where wildlife, such as bears , are present, it is crucial to secure your food correctly to prevent any unwanted encounters. Use bear-resistant containers or lockers to store your food and keep it out of reach of animals. These containers are designed to withstand the strength and persistence of bears and other wildlife. Follow the instructions provided for each container to ensure proper usage. By securing your food, you protect yourself and the wildlife, as human food can harm their health and disrupt their natural behavior.

Avoiding Leaving Food Unattended

One of the most common mistakes campers make is leaving their food unattended, which can attract wildlife and increase the risk of dangerous encounters. Avoid leaving any food items, cooking utensils , or food waste unattended, even for a short period. Always keep an eye on your food and ensure that it is stored properly when not in use. By being responsible and vigilant, you can minimize the chances of wildlife being attracted to your campsite and maintain a safe environment for yourself and the animals.

Properly Disposing of Food Waste

Proper disposal of food waste is essential to prevent the attraction of wildlife and maintain the cleanliness of your campsite. Avoid leaving any food scraps or leftovers outside your campsite. Instead, dispose of them in designated trash receptacles or pack them out with you if no trash facilities are available. Use trash bags that are sturdy and securely tied to prevent any leakage or odor. Be mindful of the environment and respect the natural surroundings by leaving no trace behind. Properly disposing of food waste will help protect wildlife and preserve the beauty of nature for future campers to enjoy .

Dealing with Emergencies

Knowing basic first aid for food-related illnesses.

Being prepared for emergencies is crucial for any camping trip, especially when it comes to food-related illnesses. Familiarize yourself with basic first aid procedures for common foodborne illnesses, such as food poisoning or allergic reactions. Foodborne illnesses’ symptoms can vary, typically include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Learn how to provide initial care and when to seek medical help if necessary. Knowing about first aid for food-related illnesses will help you respond effectively in an emergency and ensure the well-being of yourself and your camping companions.

Having a Well-Stocked First Aid Kit

A well-stocked first aid kit is an essential item for any camping trip. It should contain basic supplies to handle minor injuries, such as cuts, burns, allergic reactions, or insect bites. When it comes to food-related emergencies, include items like antihistamines for allergic reactions and anti-diarrheal medications for digestive issues. Additionally, it is advisable to carry a thermometer to monitor your body temperature. Check your first aid kit before each camping trip to ensure that all supplies are present and not expired. A well-equipped first aid kit will give you peace of mind and enable you to respond promptly to any emergencies.

Being Aware of Emergency Evacuation Procedures

While camping, unexpected emergencies or natural disasters can occur. Awareness of the emergency evacuation procedures specific to your campsite is essential. Familiarize yourself with the designated routes, emergency contact numbers, and nearby medical facilities. In case of an emergency, remain calm and follow the instructions provided by campsite authorities or emergency personnel. Ensure that your camping equipment and essential supplies, including food and water, are easily accessible and ready to be quickly packed. Being prepared and informed about emergency evacuation procedures will help you and your camping companions stay safe and make informed decisions during challenging situations.

Awareness of Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

Informing fellow campers about allergies and restrictions.

When camping with a group, it is crucial to communicate any food allergies or dietary restrictions to your fellow campers. This will ensure that everyone is aware and can make appropriate food choices. If you have food allergies or dietary restrictions, you must inform others about them. Likewise, if you are aware of any allergies or dietary restrictions within the group, consider them when planning and preparing meals. Creating an open and inclusive environment will enable everyone to enjoy their camping trip without any concerns regarding food safety.

Reading Food Labels and Ingredients Carefully

When purchasing food items for camping, it is essential to carefully read the food labels and ingredient lists. This will help you identify any potential allergens or ingredients that may not be suitable for individuals with specific dietary restrictions. Familiarize yourself with common allergens, such as nuts, dairy, gluten, or soy, and be diligent in checking the labels for their presence. If in doubt, consult with the individuals about their specific dietary needs. Being attentive to food labels and ingredients ensures that everyone’s dietary restrictions are respected and catered to during the camping trip.

Preparing Alternative Meals or Snacks

To accommodate individuals with food allergies or dietary restrictions, it is wise to prepare alternative meals or snacks that suit their needs. Consider the specific dietary requirements and preferences of each individual and plan accordingly. Include a variety of options so everyone can enjoy delicious and safe meals while camping. If necessary, consult with a nutritionist or seek inspiration from online resources to create flavorful and nutritious alternatives. By preparing alternative meals or snacks, you demonstrate consideration and inclusivity, ensuring everyone can enjoy their camping experience fully.

FAQ About Food Safety While Camping

How do i store perishable food while camping.

Perishable food should be stored in a well-insulated cooler with ice packs or ice to maintain a safe temperature. Keep raw meats and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross-contamination. Use a separate cooler for beverages to reduce the frequency of opening the food cooler, which helps maintain a consistent temperature.

What temperature should I keep my cooler at to ensure food stays safe?

To ensure food safety, aim to keep your cooler’s temperature at or below 40°F (4°C). Use a refrigerator thermometer to monitor the temperature regularly. Avoid over-packing the cooler, as it can impede proper air circulation and temperature maintenance.

How can I prevent cross-contamination of food while camping?

Preventing cross-contamination is crucial to food safety. Keep raw meats, poultry, and seafood separately wrapped and stored in leak-proof containers. Use dedicated cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked food. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling food.

Can I drink water directly from a natural water source, or do I need to purify it first?

It is generally not safe to drink water directly from natural water sources while camping, as it may contain harmful microorganisms. Always purify the water before consumption to avoid waterborne illnesses. You can use methods like boiling, using water purification tablets, or filtering the water with a portable water filter.

What are the best practices for washing dishes and utensils while camping to prevent contamination?

When washing dishes and utensils while camping, follow these best practices:

  • Use biodegradable soap to minimize environmental impact.
  • Wash dishes and utensils away from natural water sources to prevent contamination.
  • Heat water to a rolling boil, if possible, and use it for washing dishes or use a collapsible basin for dishwashing.
  • Scrub dishes thoroughly to remove any food particles.
  • Rinse with clean water, and if available, use a sanitizing solution (1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water) to sanitize utensils and dishes.
  • Allow dishes and utensils to air dry or use a clean towel.

Ensuring food safety while camping is essential for a successful and enjoyable outdoor adventure. Following these tips and practicing proper hygiene, safe food storage, and cooking practices can prevent foodborne illnesses and enhance your overall camping experience. Remember to plan and prepare adequately, pack and store food properly, maintain good hygiene practices, and be mindful of wildlife and emergency situations. By prioritizing food safety, you can focus on creating wonderful memories and savoring delicious meals while immersing yourself in the beauty of nature during your camping trip. Stay safe and have a fantastic time exploring the great outdoors!

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raw food camping trip

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I’m an avid explorer and nothing makes me happier than embarking on outdoor adventures. I’m constantly looking for new challenges and experiences in nature, whether it be hiking, camping, kayaking, or rock climbing. I want to encourage readers of my site to get outside and appreciate the beauty of our surroundings.


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raw food camping trip

Car Camping Food List: Essential Items to Pack for Your Next Trip

C ar camping is an excellent way to experience the great outdoors while still enjoying the comforts of home. With the right gear and a well-planned food list, you can enjoy delicious and satisfying meals even when you’re miles away from civilization. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or new to the world of car camping, having a comprehensive food list is essential to ensure that you have everything you need to prepare meals during your trip.

When planning your car camping food list , it’s important to consider the type of meals you want to prepare, the equipment you have available, and the storage space you have in your vehicle. Non-perishable food items such as canned goods, granola bars, and instant oatmeal are always handy to have on hand, as they don’t require refrigeration and can be easily stored in a camp kitchen bin.

However, if you have the means to keep food cold , you can also bring perishable items such as fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, and meat. Just be sure to pack them in a cooler with plenty of ice to keep them fresh throughout your trip.

Essential Car Camping Food List

When planning a car camping trip, it is essential to have a well-stocked food supply. Here are some of the essential food items to include in your car camping food list.

Protein is an essential nutrient that helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. Here are some great protein sources to include in your car camping food list:

  • Canned tuna or chicken
  • Jerky or meat sticks
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned beans
  • Pre-cooked sausage or bacon

Vegetables are an important part of any healthy diet. Here are some great vegetable options to include in your car camping food list:

  • Carrots, celery, and other raw veggies for snacking
  • Canned or fresh corn
  • Canned or fresh green beans
  • Canned or fresh tomatoes
  • Canned or fresh peppers

Fruits are a great source of vitamins and minerals, and they make a great snack or dessert option. Here are some great fruit options to include in your car camping food list:

  • Apples, oranges, and other whole fruits
  • Dried fruit
  • Fruit snacks

Grains are a great source of carbohydrates, which are important for energy. Here are some great grain options to include in your car camping food list:

  • Bread or rolls
  • Cereal or oatmeal
  • Pasta or rice

Dairy products are a great source of calcium and other essential nutrients. Here are some great dairy options to include in your car camping food list:

  • Milk (if you have a cooler)
  • Cottage cheese

Staying hydrated is important when camping, especially if you are hiking or doing other physical activities. Here are some great beverage options to include in your car camping food list:

  • Sports drinks
  • Juice boxes or pouches
  • Coffee or tea

Snacks are an important part of any camping trip, and they can help keep you fueled throughout the day. Here are some great snack options to include in your car camping food list:

  • Granola bars
  • Chips or crackers
  • Cookies or other sweet treats

By including these essential food items in your car camping food list, you can ensure that you have a well-rounded and satisfying meal plan for your next camping trip .

Meal Planning for Car Camping

When planning meals for a car camping trip, it’s important to consider the type of food that will be easy to prepare, store, and transport. A well-planned menu will not only keep you well-fed but also save time and effort. Here are some meal ideas to help you plan your next car camping adventure.

Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when you’re camping. Here are some easy and delicious breakfast ideas that will get you energized for a day of adventure:

  • Instant oatmeal packets
  • Pancake mix (just add water)
  • Breakfast burritos (pre-made or DIY)
  • Bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter
  • Yogurt cups with granola

Lunch Ideas

Lunch can be a quick and easy meal that doesn’t require a lot of preparation. Here are some ideas for a satisfying lunch on the go:

  • Sandwiches (pre-made or DIY)
  • Wraps (pre-made or DIY)
  • Crackers with cheese and meat
  • Tuna or chicken salad kits
  • Ramen noodle cups

Dinner Ideas

Dinner is the perfect time to gather around the campfire and enjoy a hot meal. Here are some ideas for a hearty and delicious dinner:

  • Foil packet meals (chicken, veggies, and potatoes)
  • One-pot pasta dishes (spaghetti, mac and cheese)
  • Grilled burgers or hot dogs
  • Pre-made frozen dinners (lasagna, enchiladas)
  • Pre-made camping meals (Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry)

Dessert Ideas

No camping trip is complete without a sweet treat. Here are some ideas for a delicious dessert:

  • S’mores (graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows)
  • Fruit cups with whipped cream
  • Instant pudding cups
  • Pre-made brownies or cookies
  • Trail mix with chocolate chips and dried fruit

In conclusion, planning your meals ahead of time will make your car camping trip more enjoyable and stress-free. With these meal ideas, you’ll have a variety of options to choose from and won’t have to worry about going hungry on your next adventure.

Food Storage and Preservation

When it comes to car camping, proper food storage and preservation is crucial to ensure that your meals remain safe to eat throughout your trip. In this section, we will cover some tips and tricks for managing your cooler, as well as general food safety tips to keep in mind.

Cooler Management

Your cooler is one of the most important pieces of equipment when it comes to keeping your food fresh during a camping trip. Here are some tips for managing your cooler:

  • Use block ice instead of ice cubes: Block ice lasts longer and helps keep your cooler colder.
  • Pre-chill your cooler: Before you pack your cooler, put some ice in it and let it sit for a while to cool down.
  • Keep your cooler out of direct sunlight: Keep your cooler in the shade or cover it with a blanket or tarp to keep it cool.
  • Keep your cooler closed: Every time you open your cooler, you let cold air out and warm air in. Try to keep your cooler closed as much as possible.

Food Safety Tips

Food safety is always important, but it’s especially crucial when you’re camping. Here are some general food safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Wash your hands: Always wash your hands before handling food.
  • Keep raw meat separate: Keep raw meat separate from other foods to avoid cross-contamination
  • Cook food thoroughly: Make sure to cook your food thoroughly to kill any harmful bacteria.
  • Use a food thermometer: Use a food thermometer to ensure that your food has reached a safe temperature.
  • Store food properly: Store your food in airtight containers or resealable bags to keep it fresh.

By following these tips for cooler management and general food safety, you can ensure that your car camping meals are safe and delicious.

Cooking Equipment Essentials

When it comes to car camping, having the right cooking equipment can make all the difference in the quality of your meals. Here are the essential cooking equipment items that you should consider bringing on your next car camping trip.

Cooking Stove

A reliable cooking stove is an absolute must-have for car camping. There are many different types of stoves available, from propane to butane to alcohol, and each has its own pros and cons. Propane stoves are the most common and are known for their ease of use and reliability.

Butane stoves are more compact and lightweight, making them a great option for backpacking trips. Alcohol stoves are also lightweight and easy to use, but they can be slow to heat up and are not as powerful as propane or butane stoves.

When choosing a stove, consider the size of your group, the type of food you will be cooking, and the length of your trip. Make sure to also bring enough fuel to last for the duration of your trip.

Cooking utensils are another essential item for car camping. Here are some items to consider bringing:

  • Bottle opener
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls

Make sure to choose utensils that are durable and easy to clean. Consider investing in a set of utensils specifically designed for camping, as they are often more compact and lightweight than regular kitchen utensils.

Having the right cookware can make cooking a breeze while car camping. Here are some essential items to consider bringing:

  • Pot(s) with lid(s)
  • Grill grate
  • Roasting sticks

Make sure to choose cookware that is durable and easy to clean. Consider investing in a set of cookware specifically designed for camping, as they are often more compact and lightweight than regular kitchen cookware.

By bringing the right cooking equipment, you can enjoy delicious and satisfying meals while car camping.

Cleanup and Waste Management

When it comes to car camping, it’s important to practice proper cleanup and waste management to minimize your impact on the environment. Here are some tips to help you keep your campsite clean and tidy.

Eco-Friendly Practices

  • Use biodegradable soap for dishes and personal hygiene.
  • Bring reusable utensils, dishes, and cups instead of disposable ones.
  • Avoid using disposable wipes and paper towels. Instead, bring a reusable cloth or towel.
  • Use a portable camp shower or take a dip in a nearby lake or river instead of using a lot of water to clean yourself.
  • Pack out all your trash and recyclables. Leave no trace behind.

Leftover Management

  • Plan your meals carefully to avoid having too many leftovers.
  • Store food in airtight containers or resealable bags to prevent spoilage.
  • If you have leftover food, try to incorporate it into your next meal to minimize waste.
  • Compost food scraps if possible. If you don’t have a compost bin, look for a local composting facility or dispose of food waste in a trash bin.

By following these eco-friendly practices and leftover management tips, you can help keep your campsite clean and minimize your impact on the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some non-perishable food options for car camping.

When it comes to non-perishable food options for car camping, there are plenty of choices. Canned goods like beans, tuna, and soup are great sources of protein, and dried fruits and nuts make for healthy snacks. Other options include granola bars, crackers, and jerky. Just make sure to check the expiration dates before packing.

What are some easy meal ideas for a 3-day car camping trip?

For a 3-day car camping trip, meal planning can be simple and delicious. Some easy meal ideas include breakfast burritos, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. You can also bring pre-made salads, wraps, and quesadillas. Don’t forget to pack snacks like trail mix, fruit, and energy bars.

What are some tips for storing food while car camping?

Storing food while car camping can be a challenge , but there are a few tips to keep in mind. Use coolers with ice to keep perishable foods fresh, and store them in separate containers to avoid cross-contamination. Keep non-perishable items in a separate bin, and make sure to seal all containers tightly to prevent insects and animals from getting in.

What are some healthy snack options for a 5-day car camping trip?

For a 5-day car camping trip, it’s important to have healthy snack options on hand. Some great options include fresh fruit, veggies and hummus, nut butter and crackers, and protein bars. You can also make your own trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

What are some essential items to pack on a 2-day car camping trip?

For a 2-day car camping trip, there are a few essential items to pack. Don’t forget to bring a cooler with ice, a camp stove or grill, cooking utensils, and dishes. You’ll also want to pack a first aid kit , insect repellent, and sunscreen.

What are some budget-friendly food options for a 7-day car camping trip?

When it comes to budget-friendly food options for a 7-day car camping trip, there are plenty of choices. Some ideas include pasta dishes, rice and beans, and grilled veggies. You can also make your own sandwiches, wraps, and salads. Don’t forget to pack snacks like popcorn, fruit, and granola bars.

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Car camping is an excellent way to experience the great outdoors while still enjoying the comforts of home. With the right gear and a well-planned food list, you can enjoy delicious and satisfying meals even when you’re miles away from civilization. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or new to the world of car camping, having a comprehensive food list is […]


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My wife and I have camped quite a bit this summer, including a recent weeklong trip where we took some extra precautions to be as self-sufficient on the move as possible.

How to Pack Food for a Long Road Trip

With a little extra planning, it's easy to be self-sufficient and safe when it comes to packing food for a long road trip. Here's how we do it.

My wife and I have camped quite a bit this summer, including a recent weeklong trip where we took some extra precautions to be as self-sufficient on the move as possible.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the Outside app available now on iOS devices for members! >","name":"in-content-cta","type":"link"}}'>Download the app .

Like the rest of the country, I’ve swapped out more far-flung summer vacations for close-to-home road trips. My wife and I have camped quite a bit this summer, including a recent weeklong trip where we took some extra precautions to be as self-sufficient on the move as possible. Aside from stopping for gas, we didn’t have contact with anyone. The key to making that happen was packing all our food. Here’s how we did it—and how you can, too. 

Get the Right Gear

raw food camping trip

First and foremost, nothing prepares you to be self-sufficient food-wise on the road like a portable fridge. I think the phrase “game changer” is overused in gear reviews, but that’s exactly what a fridge is for road trips and camping. Not having to fill a cooler with ice means you won’t end up with soggy food or with a box full of nasty swamp water when the juice from those burger patties leaks out. 

It also means you won’t need to restock on ice, no matter how long you stay out. I’ve used a Dometic Waeco CFX 50W  (from $960) for a few years and highly recommend it. Since you don’t need ice, there’s more space than a similar-size cooler. If you pack well and frugally, the 50 liters can fit two to three meals a day for two people for up to a week (it did for us, at least). Dometic also makes units with a freezer , which means you can effectively stay on the road without going to the grocery store for even longer.

You’ll need something to power the fridge, and while you can plug it into your vehicle’s 12-volt outlet,   a battery will be necessary to run it when you’re not driving. I use Dometic’s PLB40 battery  (from $850), which is great because it powers the fridge for up to 40 hours on a single charge. The best part is that you can recharge it from your car’s 12-volt plug as you drive, and it’ll power the fridge at the same time—so you’d be hard-pressed to run out of juice during a road trip where you’re driving every day. 

We also bring a small, soft-sided cooler, like the 30-liter  Yeti Hopper  (from $300), for all of the snacks and cans of LaCroix we want within reach while driving. Then you don’t have to open the fridge as much, which in our case would mean stopping to access it from our teardrop trailer. 

If you’re looking for a more affordable option than a portable fridge, go with a 45-to-50-liter cooler from a brand like Orca  or Yeti. Yeti’s Tundra  line of coolers (from $250) has worked better for me and kept things cooler longer than any other cooler I’ve used over the years. If you pack it correctly with a ton of ice, it will keep your food cold for a day or two at a time. That said, for a longer trip, it’s just not as good of a solution as a portable fridge for being totally self-sufficient. 

Pack Efficiently

With a portable fridge, you don’t need to worry about about whether your food is sealed watertight or there’s room for ice. If you go with a cooler, watch this video , and make sure to utilize the little basket that often comes with coolers for items like eggs and cheeses that you don’t want jostled or crushed. 

My wife and I like to prepare and pack all of our food by meal. For example, we’ll cut up veggies and put them in a Ziploc with a package of chicken and the accompanying sauce, and then we’ll label the meal with the day we plan to cook it. This helps with food-safety issues, because we can keep track of the meal’s expiration date.

Another trick is to pack your ingredients in a container (either using Tupperware or  reusable Ziplocs ) that you can then eat out of or store leftovers in. Doing so helps reduce the amount of packages and containers you’ll need to bring. 

Bring the Right Kind of Food 

Grill lattice with vegetables before roasting

It doesn’t matter how well you pack if you don’t bring food that is conducive to a road trip. You’ll want to shop for things that are relatively easy to cook, will last for the duration of your trip, and aren’t going to require many extra ingredients. One of our go-to meals is stir-fry with a precooked steamed rice pouch. Here’s what we put in it: dried, frozen, fresh, or canned vegetables (depending on how long we’ll be on the road), a stir-fry sauce, and a protein, like chicken or eggs. To keep things easy, we often opt for canned chicken or those foil pouches you can find at some grocery stores. 

Pastas always store well, and   premade burger patties, tacos, and fajitas are great options because they’re easy to cook. We often slow-cook chicken breasts in salsa in advance of our trip so we have taco meat ready to reheat once we’re on the road. Preparing certain ingredients ahead of time makes it easier—and often safer—than trying to cook a lot of raw meats without a full kitchen. My wife also likes to prepare side dishes like roasted potatoes, which are easy to heat up.

I’ve found that people’s biggest complaint about road-trip and camping food is a lack of fresh fruit and vegetables, so it’s important to think about incorporating more of each into your meals. A fridge makes that easier to do, as do bagged salads—the easier you can make it on yourself, the more veggies you’ll eat. Having a regular supply of fruits and vegetables also helps avoid that gross feeling you get after three days of eating garbage, which is always a tempting excuse to go to the store and pick up some “real food.” 

The most important part of being self-sufficient on the road is bringing enough snacks. We all love running into the gas station for a candy bar and drink, but having those items on hand in a separate, small cooler means you won’t feel the need to. We like chips and salsa, hummus, cheese, salami, mini bell peppers, apples, and something sweet. We also bring a bag of clementines with us, since they’re easy to peel and eat anywhere.

Embrace Delivery Options

Remember that you’re trying to be self-sufficient on a road trip, not just to protect yourself but to make sure you don’t infect anyone else or bring the virus into a small town that doesn’t have the medical facilities to handle an outbreak.

To minimize your contact, consider the stops you’re going to make ahead of time, and research what stores offer curbside grocery pickup so you don’t have to go inside.   Many grocery chains, including Sam’s Club, Target, and Walmart, have this option, and some local stores have started offering this service as well. 

Takeout from a restaurant is an option if you run out of your own food. Just remember that delivery services like Fetch, Instacart, and Uber Eats aren’t going to be able to provide you with as many choices in small mountain towns.

Outdoorsy Bonus Points: Catch or Forage Your Own Food

If your road trip will take you near any lakes or rivers, you can try catching fish for dinner. My wife and I love to fish, so we always have spices ready to fix a meal if we land something, as well as cooking essentials like olive oil, salt, pepper, and foil to wrap and cook the fish over coals.

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    Noginsk. Warm comfort with smoldering birch fires. Отличная атмосфера, нам помогли с организацией сложного мероприятия и со звуком, видео было все в порядке. 4. Sloboda Cafe. 21 reviews Closed Now. European, Russian $$ - $$$. 6.1 mi. Pavlovsky Posad.