Sometimes you just want camping to be about unplugging and exploring nature… and not about transporting your kitchen to the campsite! You’ll need the right camping food – no cooking required.
Campfire cooking for kids can be a lot of fun, but sometimes, you just want to keep it simple.
But, it’s tough to think of simple, no hassle, no cooking camping food ideas — especially if you want healthy real food ingredients.
In this article, we have compiled a list of camping food ideas that don’t require refrigeration, eliminate the need to cook, and can be made ahead to keep your food easy AND your body nourished.
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No refrigeration camping foods
Nonperishable food for camping is not just about ease, but also survival. Knowing that you have a selection of items with you that don’t require refrigeration is reassuring.
Here are a few favorites that can be mixed and matched to create balanced meals and snacks whether you are out hiking, or sitting by your campfire.
Grass-fed beef jerky, turkey and chicken jerky, and salmon jerky are all convenient, tasty, and a great source of protein and micronutrients. Don’t leave home without them! I’m partial to this brand, available on Amazon.
Summer sausage is used to describe sausage that does not need to be refrigerated until it is opened. When our family goes camping we like to take along a couple of links of summer sausage for snacks and lunches.
Tuna and sardine packs
Cans and pouches of wild-caught tuna, salmon, or sardines can be incredibly valuable whether you are out in the backcountry, or just want to keep food options simple while car camping. Containing healthy fats and quality protein, these easy fish selections are a must.
Organic roasted chicken actually comes in a can! No need to keep it cold, and it’s already cooked. While it won’t replace a deliciously home roasted chicken, it can be part of a healthy camping meal kept simple.
Aged hard cheese and Moon Cheese
Did you know that not all cheese needs to be refrigerated? Aged hard cheeses, like Parmesan, are good to take camping and pair with summer sausage, or a piece of fruit.
Freeze-dried cheese? Yes, it’s a thing, and it’s pretty tasty! Moon Cheese is packed with protein, low in carbs for all you keto campers, and 100% natural. It’s a great snack out on the trail, or an accompaniment to a real food camping meal.
Fruits and veggies
There are plenty of fresh fruits and veggies that don’t need refrigeration, especially over a few days of camping.
- Apples and pears
- Bananas and plantains
- Berries (just be sure to pack them in a non-squishable container)
- Carrots (for a few days)
- Pumpkin — canned
Or, try freeze-dried Just Veggies, available here!!
It’s hard to find quality ingredient canned or boxed soups, but we LOVE Kettle & Fire’s and stand by their product (which you can find here). These boxed soups are perfect for quickly heating up over a campfire, or to Jet Boil in a stainless steel pot like this one from Amazon.
Nut and seed butter
Nut and seed butter packets are popping up everywhere and for good reason. These convenient pouches are great to throw in your pack, gym bag, or car for refueling with healthy fats and proteins. Hello easy camping food! Here are a few of our favorites:
- Nuttzo (available here)
- RX (available here)
- YumButter (available here)
- Justin’s (available here)
- Trail Butter (available here)
Olives are a good source of healthy fats and salts — an important combination while out in nature. A simple snack on their own, or they can be added alongside other foods for a full meal.
No-cook camping breakfast
When you rise with the sun, sometimes it’s nice to have breakfast ready to go and skip the morning cook session. Here are five no-cook options to get your day started.
Yes, please! Make some jars of Banana Almond Overnight Oats the night before your camping adventure begins, pack them in a simple cooler, and you’ll have breakfast ready to enjoy around your morning fire, or out on the trail.
Smoked salmon with cream cheese and “crackers”
Who says you can’t have a gourmet breakfast at your favorite campsite? Nut or seed crackers topped with cream cheese, or smashed avocado, and smoked salmon will satisfy your tummy, and a primal diet.
Grain-free granola and milk
Throw a bag of your favorite grain-free granola, like Wildway from Amazon, or make your own keto-friendly version, in your cooler or pack with a small jug of milk, or dairy-free option, and you have a nutrient-dense cereal alternative to enjoy.
If you like hard-boiled eggs, they are a must for easy camping food! Make ahead and pair with half an avocado and some fresh fruit for a nourishing no-cook breakfast.
Banana almond pancakes (or banana and almond butter)
Leftover Banana Almond Pancakes are a great way to start the day whether you are at home or camping. Make a batch and freeze them for an easy meal to throw in your camping cooler.
No-cook camping lunch
Mid-day refueling can easily happen without the need to cook. Whether you are looking for an option to throw in your day pack, or you want a quick meal at base camp, here are a few healthy eats.
I love the ease of a charcuterie spread around our kitchen counter AND a campsite picnic table. An assortment of no-fuss foods that come together for a balanced meal.
- Pick a cured meat and a cheese
- Add sliced veggies and fruits
- Lay out a nut or seed based cracker
- And fill in with olives, pickles, or dips
All-natural deli meats do need to be kept cold, but they also pack easily. Rolling up a slice around matchstick veggies, leafy greens, and cheese if you choose is a quick lunch. Dip in hummus or mustard for a little added flavor.
Apple salami bites
Sliced apples topped with salami and avocado — Apple Salami Bites are super simple, colorful, and delicious.
Cobb jar salad
Jar salads are great for car camping because they create zero trash and very few dishes while out in the natural world. Assemble these Curious Cobb Jar Salad at home, toss in your cooler, and shake ‘n eat!
Make ahead camping meals
Speaking of meals you can assemble and make at home before your adventure begins … here’s a quick list of a few others.
Egg Muffins can be packed with colorful veggies and protein-rich meats for a balanced meal on-the-go. They are tasty cold — right from your camp cooler — or warmed over the fire.
Greek chicken jar salad
Greek Chicken is one of my favorite jar salads — so much flavor — and so easy to prepare at home. With dressing at the bottom and spinach at the top, everything stays fresh for an easy car-camping lunch.
Avocado tuna boats
Preparing this mayo-free version of tuna salad ahead and bringing along whole avocados and a chef’s knife makes for a delicious and nutritious no-cook picnic lunch.
Sausage foil wraps
Precooking the ingredients in these Sausage Foil Wraps means that all they need is a little reheating on a bed of coals when it’s time to enjoy them at your campsite. Simply cook in a skillet, allow to cool, wrap single servings in a double layer of foil and place in your cooler for transport.
Make-ahead camping snacks
A between meals pick-me-up is nice to have. One that’s ready to go when your tank runs low is even better. Here are a handful of make-ahead camping snacks.
Mixed nuts, dried fruit, and even a chocolatey surprise every now and then! Homemade trail mix is a great camping addition. Try these variations:
Little morsels of blended nuts, dried fruits, coconut, and honey. Snack bites are satisfying and nutrient-dense — perfect for a quick refuel. Try our:
When you are looking for a healthy crunch, kale chips are a great solution. So easy to make, packed with nutrition, and a simple snack wherever you are.
Little mason jars of Fruity Cocoa Yogurt Parfait will feel like decadence on your next camping trip. Quick to prepare, easy to pack, and a great snack option.
Nuts and camping go hand-in-hand, but raw nuts get boring. Add flavor and extra crunch by making a batch of Roasted Nuts before you head out the door.
Healthy freeze-dried meals
Freeze-dried meals are our family’s go-to for backpacking, but they work well for any kind of hassle-free camping food. The only challenge is finding real food, nutrient-dense brands. Here are a few that we’ve found to be winners.
Next Mile Meals
Real food simple ingredients make up these low-carb and keto-friendly delicious packs. You can find them here.
Wild Zora Paleo Meals To Go
Gluten-free, grain-free, clean protein, and nutrient-dense meals to fuel your outdoor adventures. Buy them here.
If legumes are a part of your regimen, then these soups and chilis are for you! Convenient and lightweight mixes to satisfy vegetarians, or be enjoyed alongside your favorite protein. You can get them here.
Exploration is waiting – stay nourished with healthy camping food (no cooking needed)
It’s time to get out and play! Connecting with the natural world is one of Primal Peak’s seven pillars of peak performance. With these suggestions for healthy camping food with no cooking, you can keep your meals simple, your body well fueled, and fully take in the natural wonders around you.