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The Best Foods to Take Camping Without Needing a Fridge

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No-refrigeration camping meals can make your trip a whole lot easier – and there are some really tasty options! 

Whether you’re going on a weekend camping trip or a longer expedition, we have compiled a list of the best no-refrigeration meals that are easy to pack and will keep you satisfied and energised throughout your trip. 

Here are some of our favourites…

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks & Drinks
  • Savoury muffins
  • Banana bread
  • Bagels
  • Pop tarts
  • Jerky
  • Pre-cooked bacon
  • Fresh eggs
  • Fresh fruit
  • Cereal bars
  • Canned fish
  • Canned meat
  • Canned beans
  • Nuts & dried fruit
  • Grains
  • Sandwiches
  • Instant coffee
  • Tea bags
  • Hot chocolate
  • Squash
  • Iced tea
  • Trail mix
  • Sports drinks
  • Fruit cups
  • Marshmallows
Muffins
The Best Foods to Take Camping Without Needing a Fridge

Best No-Fridge Breakfast Ideas for Camping

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and taking pre-baked goods with you is the perfect way to fuel your day. 

You can opt to bake your own breakfasts before you leave or lean into lazy camping food and get some pre-packaged items. Some of our favourite pre-baked breakfast items to take camping include:

1. Savoury Muffins, Banana Bread, Bagels & Pop-Tarts 

These can be eaten straight out of the packet or simply heated up over your camping stove

If you’re taking unrefrigerated food that needs cooking, we’d recommend something like the Optimus Elektra FE Gas Cookset With Pans or the Trangia 25-5 Complete Cooking System. Both of these sets come with a selection of pans to help you heat your food.

If you already have a camping stove, the Petromax Camping Oven is a great addition to your kit to help you whip up delicious, unrefrigerated meals.

2. Jerky & Pre-Cooked Bacon

If you really can’t go without meat for breakfast, it’s possible to still get your fix without having to take a cooler with you. Jerky is a great alternative to bacon and sausages and can double up as a delicious and convenient snack for hikes.

You can also get some precooked bacon from supermarkets that are fine to be left unrefrigerated. These crunchy rashers can be heated up and eaten like fresh bacon. 

Alternatively, they work really well crumbled into scrambled eggs for a nutritious and delicious start to the day.

3. Fresh Eggs & Fruit

Of course, there are plenty of options for non-perishable breakfast foods that you probably already have for breakfast.

Fresh eggs are always a great breakfast option, they can also double up as a great snack during the day. If you’re camping near a farm, you might even be able to get a supply of fresh eggs each morning from the farmer.

Fresh fruit is another great option for breakfast. If you’ve got a day of hiking or mountain biking ahead of you, the fruit won’t be enough on its own. However, it’s an ideal accompaniment for eggs, bagels, or as a topping for porridge.

4. Classic Cereal Bars

If you want to keep things as simple as possible, cereal bars make the ideal no-refrigeration breakfast option. 

Gone are the days of having to choose between bland cereal bars and ones packed with sugar. There are so many brands on the market that offer healthy, nutritious cereal bars to kick-start your day.

This is another option that can double up as a hiking snack if you bring enough with you.

Cereal bars
The Best Foods to Take Camping Without Needing a Fridge

Nutritious No-Fridge Camping Lunch Foods

When you’ve got a day packed with hiking and physical activity, you need lunches that will sustain you and give you enough energy to keep going. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of options that are naturally non-perishable that can refuel you and keep you going until dinner.

5. Canned Protein

In the age of convenience, there are plenty of canned protein options that will keep you feeling full and energised for the rest of your excursion.

Tinned tuna or other fish is a great option for a quick and easy lunch. You can eat it straight from the can or pack some crackers to have with it.

Canned beans, chickpeas or lentils are also great options for protein-packed lunches. Simply drain and rinse them before adding them to a salad or serving them alongside your tinned fish.

Canned meals like chilli or stews are also a great option to fill you up and keep you warm.

6. Nuts & Dried Fruit

To boost the healthy fats, fibre, and calories in your lunches, nuts and dried fruit are great options. Not only do these items not need refrigeration, but they also make great snacks around the campfire when you’re resting after a long hike.

If you don’t want to have lots of packaging to dispose of, you can combine nuts and dried fruit into a homemade trail mix in a reusable tub. You can always take smaller pouches or snack boxes to decant the mix for a hiking snack.

The DD Organiser Bags are great for keeping your camp and tent neat, but they can also double up as snack bags for your day hikes.

7. Good Old Grains

Of course, you can’t go wrong with classic grains as a camp lunch idea that doesn’t need refrigeration or cooler packs to stay edible.

Cooking a pot of rice, quinoa, or barley for your lunch is a surefire way to boost your energy levels for the rest of the day. Eating grains at lunchtime instead of for dinner helps avoid that heavy, bloated feeling that can disrupt your sleep if you eat too close to bedtime.

Investing in a cast iron pot makes cooking a batch of grains much easier. We love the GSI Guidecast Dutch Oven Set for our campsite kitchen. It’s available in various sizes to suit your needs.

8. Hearty Sandwiches

Sometimes, the best lunches are the classics. There are plenty of sandwich fillings that don’t require cooling or refrigeration. 

Using canned meat is a great way to get some extra protein in for lunch. You can also use spreads like nut butter, honey, or jam that aren’t perishable when they’re unrefrigerated.

Fresh veggies like cucumber, tomato, and peppers are also great options for making delicious and nutritious sandwiches for lunch.

Top Tip: Stock up on individual sachets of sauces like mayonnaise and ketchup before your trip so you don’t have to have dry, bland food!
Blt
The Best Foods to Take Camping Without Needing a Fridge

Dehydrated No-Fridge Meals for Camping Dinners

Our favourite option for non-perishable food items when camping is dehydrated expedition meals that are packed with all the macro and micro-nutrients you need to sustain your trip. 

These handy meals don’t require any cooking skill beyond boiling the pouches in water, so you don’t have to bring lots of cookware with you either!

9. FirePot Dehydrated Meals

FirePot makes an extensive range of expedition meals that cover all three meals, so you only need to pack extra snacks.

You can start the day with their Baked Apple Porridge, then tuck into Barbecue Pulled Pork or Chilli Non-Carne with Rice for lunch. Round out your day with Mac ‘n’ Greens or Tuscan Stew.

They offer a range of vegan and vegetarian meals to suit various dietary restrictions.

10. Summit to Eat Expedition Meals

If you like to have some variety for breakfast, or you like to finish your day with something sweet, Summit to Eat has the expedition meals for you!

Start the day with a choice of Chocolate Mousse with Granola & Cherry, Morning Oats with Raspberry, or Scrambled Egg with Cheese.

To round out your evening with a sweet treat, the Custard Apple Crunch and Rice Pudding with Strawberry are both delicious choices. They also offer a range of savoury meal choices, including pasta and curry options.

11. Wayfayrer Expedition Meals

For a range of classic homecooked meal options, you can’t go wrong with Wayfayrer dehydrated expedition meals. Choose from options like comforting Mac & Cheese, an All-Day Breakfast, a Veggie Breakfast, and even Korean-Style Beef to keep you and your campmates satisfied and fueled for your adventures.

Indulge your sweet tooth with their Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownie, the perfect treat after a challenging hike.

Camp stove cooking
The Best Foods to Take Camping Without Needing a Fridge

Handy No-Fridge Drinks & Snacks

Of course, you also need drinks for your camping trip. While water is the most important drink to have, it’s nice to have other options, especially hot drink options, but these often require refrigeration. 

Here are our favourite beverages for camping that don’t require a fridge.

12. Instant Coffee, Tea Bags & Hot Chocolate Sachets 

These are great options for unrefrigerated drinks. If you like milky coffee, latte and cappuccino sachets are perfect for camping. Otherwise, you can get individual jiggers of UHT milk that are ideal for creating hot drinks to enjoy around the campfire.

13. Squash & Iced Tea Bottles 

These are also ideal for giving you a break from plain water during your trip. This is especially useful if you have children camping with you.

14. Sports Drinks

If you’re planning on doing a lot of physical activities during your camping trip, sports drinks are a great option for staying hydrated and replenishing electrolytes lost through sweating.

Sports drink
The Best Foods to Take Camping Without Needing a Fridge

15. Marshmallows

Are any camping trips complete without roasted marshmallows? S’mores are a great way to finish any camp meal and perfect for snacking on the go.

Stock Up on Non-Perishable Camping Foods With Wood to Water

These no-fridge camping food ideas are designed to make your camping trips easier and lighter without the need for coolers or worrying about how long things stay frozen. With a little bit of extra thought, you can easily cook camping meals that require very little prep and no refrigeration.

At Wood to Water, we have a variety of non-perishable, dehydrated camping foods that are perfect for any outdoor adventure. 

Check out our range of expedition meals with perfectly balanced nutrition to keep you fuelled and energised during your trip.

FAQs

How Do You Keep Food Fresh Without a Fridge Camping?

To keep food fresh while camping without a fridge, coolers filled with ice packs are the easiest option. Alternatively, choose shelf-stable, dry, or dehydrated foods. Opt for fresh produce that doesn’t require refrigeration, and consume perishable items early in your trip. Keep food out of direct sunlight

What Food Lasts Longest Without Refrigeration?

Foods that last the longest without refrigeration include dried fruits, nuts, jerky, canned goods, whole grain cereals, and hard cheeses. These items, stored properly, remain safe and consumable for a significant duration due to their low moisture content and preservative properties.

What Food Keeps Well for Camping?

For camping, food that keeps well includes dehydrated meals, canned foods, whole grain cereals, dried fruits, nuts, and hard cheeses. These options are durable, non-perishable, and don’t require refrigeration, making them ideal for sustaining energy levels and nutrition while enjoying the great outdoors.

What Food to Bring Camping for 3 Days?

For a 3-day camping trip, pack a variety of dehydrated meals, canned protein, fresh fruits, whole grain cereals, nuts, and energy bars. Include dried fruits and hard cheeses for snacking. Opt for food items that are lightweight, nutritious, and do not require refrigeration to ensure convenience and sustainability.

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