What Food To Bring Camping

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Living off the land and only eating what you can catch when camping might seem like a fantastic idea. However, those who have been camping before will know that it is not as easy as the movies would make it seem. Therefore, you must come prepared with food to cook if you don’t catch the biggest fish in the ocean. This begs the question then, what food should you bring when camping?

When camping, meals should be easy to prepare, and they must last without refrigeration. Therefore, cereals, bread, cold cuts, tinned food, and other preserved foods are your best bet when packing for a camping trip. However, many fresh foods also don’t need a fridge.

Of course, if you have a portable freezer, you can practically take whatever you want. But, if you don’t have one, your options are slightly limited. Therefore, we created a list of foods to take camping that don’t require a fridge. By adding ice bricks to a cooler box, you can keep these foods cold for far longer than you would expect. As a result, camp food doesn’t have to be dull or unhealthy.

What Fresh Food To Bring Camping?

Let’s start with the most difficult part first. Packing fresh food for a camping trip can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have access to a fridge. However, many fresh foods don’t require refrigeration, and you can easily keep them in a cooler box to prevent them from spoiling.

Convenience is key when camping. Therefore, you must pack foods that are easy to prepare. For example, when packing fruits or vegetables, opt for ones already portioned. Alternatively, you can prepare them at home and pack them in a zip-lock bag. Here are some fresh foods you can take when going camping.

What Vegetables To Bring Camping?

Vegetables are an essential food group and must be included in every meal, even when camping. However, be wise in your selection of vegetables. Choose vegetables that can be cooked whole or that have already been prepared. Here are some great vegetables to bring camping:

  • Corn on the cob
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Gem squash
  • Cabbage
  • Beetroot
  • Carrots

These vegetables are all great for camping as they require very little preparation and don’t need to be kept in a fridge. You can easily boil these vegetables or roast them over the fire. Place them in a foil packet and steam them over the fire. By adding a few of these basic vegetables, you can transform camp cooking from unhealthy to healthy and nutritious without spending time and effort.

What Fruit To Bring Camping?

Eating enough fruit is just as important as eating enough vegetables. Fruit contains many essential vitamins and minerals. They are also packed with water to hydrate you. However, many fruits require a fridge to stay fresh. So, what fruit can you bring camping? Here are some ideas:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits
  • Grapes
  • Litchis
  • Watermelon
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple

The fruit that requires some preparation, such as the watermelon, papaya, and pineapple, can be cut at home and packed in a reusable bowl. Other fruits, such as apples and bananas, are great for camping as they are a grab-and-go snack. You can also make a fruit salad or use the fruit to make overnight oats when camping.

What Dry Food To Bring Camping?

As you can imagine, dry food is great to bring camping, as it is lightweight and doesn’t require a fridge to stay fresh. Dry foods make up the bulk of your camping food list, so be sure to pack enough of these foods for the entire trip. Here are some dry foods you should pack:

  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Oats
  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Soup

As you can see, most of the dry foods are starches. Starches are essential when camping, as they help to fill you up. Pasta, bread, and rice make an excellent basis for many delicious meals. Oats and cereals are great breakfast options as they are quick to prepare. Dehydrated soup might not be something you usually eat, but it is a great snack when camping.

What Protein To Bring Camping?

Unfortunately, your protein options are slightly limited if you don’t have a fridge. However, plenty of good protein-rich foods you can bring camping don’t require a refrigerator. These foods are quick to prepare and can make a delicious meal when paired with other food groups. Here are some proteins to bring camping:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Spam
  • Canned Tuna
  • Jerky
  • Cured meats, such as chorizo sausage

Although many of these foods aren’t something you would eat at home, they are excellent protein sources when camping. Most of these can be used to make a salad, pasta, or rice dish. They can also be used as a filling for jacket potatoes. In truth, the only limitation you have with these proteins is your creativity. Most of these proteins don’t have to be cooked; they are quick and easy to prepare.

What Dairy To Bring Camping?

Dairy is another challenging food group to bring camping, as many dairy items require refrigeration. However, some dairy foods don’t need to be refrigerated, and these can make a great addition to your camping menu. Here are some dairy foods to bring camping:

  • Long-life milk
  • String cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Yogurt (keep it in a cool place)
  • Feta cheese
  • Butter

These dairy products can be added to many dishes, making them creamy and delicious. For example, the cheeses can be added to pasta, rice, or over potatoes. Cheese can also be used for sandwiches or eaten as a snack. The yogurt can be used as a snack or eaten with cereal and fruit as a breakfast meal.

Other Food To Bring Camping

Apart from the food groups we already discussed, there are some other foods you  must bring camping:

  • Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate
  • Powdered milk
  • Sugar, salt, and other spices
  • Jam
  • Sauces, such as pasta sauces, ketchup, and chili sauce
  • Canned foods, such as canned tomatoes.
  • Snacks, including chips, crackers, and sweets. Don’t forget the marshmallows for roasting.

These foods and condiments will help add flavor to your food and help you create a greater variety of dishes. With all these foods in your camping pantry, you don’t have to eat the same meal twice, and you can create an endless list of delicious and easy meals.


As you can see, it is entirely possible to pack fresh foods, dairy, and protein when you go camping without a portable fridge. You can use these foods to make many different meals. Most importantly, these foods are easy to prepare or can be prepared in advance. Camp food shouldn’t be bland, and with the right ingredients, you can have heaps of fun experimenting with new meals.