If you’re going camping then you will know that you have to take a lot of gear. But if you’re just heading out for a weekend, are going hiking or simply want to cut back on what you take then you need to think outside the box.
For longer trips, you might take a whole host of different foods as well as something, like a mini fridge, to keep them cool. But it is possible to go camping and not have to take all this extra stuff. There’s lots of no cook foods you can pack that take up less space and don’t require a cool box, fridge or cool bag.
That said, even if you wanted to take a cool bag, you could save space in there by taking no cook foods that don’t need a fridge so you’ve got more space for your beer and soft drinks.
Do I Really Want To Take No Cook Foods On My Camping Trip?
The idea of not taking ‘regular’ food camping might be a little intimidating so you’ll need to think about why you are going to do this.
One of the things that a lot of campers are trying to do is to cut back on how much gear they take with them. It seems that, these days, you’re expected to take half the house with you when camping is meant to be a simpler way of living.
If you’ve got a load of unnecessary gear then this takes up space, time and ruins your enjoyment of nature as you’ll be spending more time worrying about where to put all of this stuff! So, what can you afford to let go of? Your camping kitchen.
Seriously, hear me out. Think about how much space a mini fridge or cooler takes up. I mean, you could still take one to keep your drinks chilled but it’s certainly not a must. And anyway, if you want one for drinks and one for food, you’ll at least be able to ditch one by taking no cook foods.
What’s more, if you’re using an electric appliance to keep your food cool then you’ll have to go to a powered pitch. But a lot of people want to camp in nature where there isn’t any power so your appliance would be rendered useless. Unless you take a generator but again, you’re just overloading yourself with stuff.
So I Guess I’ll Just Be Eating Boring Foods Then?
I can hear your thoughts right now; I’ll bet you’re thinking about eating bland, boring foods that aren’t pleasing to your appetite. But this won’t be the case, I promise! It’s actually kind of crazy just how many different types of food there are that you can take that don’t require refrigeration. You just have to use your imagination a little bit.
Many of us are so used to putting items in the fridge that don’t actually need to be in there. Do you pick up things in the supermarket like eggs or fruit and veg that are chilled or are they in the ambient section? Still so many of us put these things straight in the fridge when we get home when in reality, they’ll keep for days outside of it.
Our Favourite No Cook Foods For Camping
Knowing that there is a whole host of foods out there that you can take camping that don’t require a fridge or any cooking really opens up your options. We have considered various types of foods so that you can create a wide range of easy meals when you’re out in nature and won’t get bored with eating the same things
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and veggies are some of the simplest yet varied food items you can take camping. Just be mindful to pack them correctly so that they don’t get bruised or squashed when you’re travelling. It’s easily done!
You can take a whole host of fruits such as:
However, one fruit that is excellent for camping is the humble banana. Not only are these one of the more filling fruits which makes them great as part of your breakfast but they’re also highly nutritional. Bananas, as you probably know, are bursting with potassium which is great for your muscles. When you’re on an active camping trip they serve as the perfect on the go snack.
You might also want to take dried fruit which is brilliant for snacking and great for the kids when you’re travelling in the car. What’s more, you can use dried fruit on your meals; they make a great topping for cereals and you can even sprinkle them into a salad!
When it comes to vegetables, your choices are just as varied. While most of us would normally cook things like cabbage, carrots and other things, they can all be eaten raw. Eating them this way is also much more nutritious as cooking can remove some of the goodness.
You might also take a range of leaves to make a salad and things like tomatoes and cucumbers can also come in handy for this.
It seems the world has gone crazy for avocados in recent years and these are a great vegetable to take camping. You can mash them up and have them on a sandwich or slice them and enjoy them in a salad. What’s more, they’ll keep for ages out of the fridge.
When you think of meat, you normally think about things that have to be chilled. And rightly so; I’m not going to suggest taking a piece of steak and some chicken wings and storing them out of the fridge. That’s only going to make you sick.
But there are other options. Canned meat!
Yes, I know what you’re thinking; ‘I’m not living off SPAM for the entire trip’ but you don’t have to. Of course, if you want to take some SPAM then absolutely do. You can use it in several ways and if you can get rid of the memories of SPAM sandwiches at grandmas then you might even enjoy it.
But there’s plenty of other types of canned meats like salmon and tuna, for example. Again, these are great for things like salads and sarnies and you can also pair them with chopped raw veggies.
It’s also possible to buy canned chicken which will keep for years so is perfect for taking on a camping trip.
There are some ambient pre-cooked bacon products out there. You should keep in mind that it will need to be chilled after you open it but there’s normally not that much in a pack so two people would easily devour it all in one sitting. Great for breakfast time!
Bread, Cereal And Grains
At breakfast time, you’re going to want something that is quick and easy to make. Cereal is a brilliant choice as it doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge…ever. You can eat this on its own but most of us prefer a splash of milk. Fortunately, you can purchase long life milk that doesn’t need to be chilled which makes it ideal for camping.
Granola is another great option for breakfast and this tastes delicious when you mix it with dried fruit. Again, you can use your long life milk to make things less dry.
It’s essential to take some bread on your camping trip as you can toast this over your campfire, use it for sandwiches and even snack on it. White bread seems to keep a little longer, especially in the summer so this is normally the better choice. However, if you’re only going for the weekend, a loaf of wholemeal will be perfectly OK.
You might have thought that all dairy products have to be kept in the fridge so they’d be a no-go when going camping. But this isn’t the case.
As I have mentioned, you can buy long life milk that’ll keep for days once opened so this is perfect for a campaign adventure. What’s more, it’s really cheap! It’s also possible to buy powdered milk which you can add to water and this has an extremely long shelf life.
Who doesn’t love cheese? If you’re making sandwiches, meat or salads while camping, there’s nothing nicer than a sprinkling of grated cheddar. But this has to be kept in the fridge, right? Well, technically it does but you will find that most solid blocks of cheddar will keep for a good few days when they aren’t chilled so you can take it camping. In very hot weather, I’d recommend erring on the side of caution but it’s always good to check your food before use in any case.
All foods can feel a bit bland if they’re not dressed up a little but when you’re camping, you fortunately have a lot of options. You can buy mayo, relish, ketchup, mustard and many other condiments in packets which are small and super convenient for travelling.
You aren’t limited to foods when it comes to camping and one of the great things you can choose is a ready made packet meal.
You can buy things like dried pasta and noodles; you know the brands I’m talking about, which require you to add boiling water and wait. The water rehydrates the food and you’re good to go. While these wouldn’t exactly be considered a gourmet meal, they’re actually surprisingly tasty and there are loads of flavours and varieties to choose from.
You can also buy powdered mash potato which again, requires a dash of hot water and this goes brilliantly with things like canned tuna and veggies.
Things To Consider When Choosing No Cook Foods For Camping
As you can see, there is a vast choice when it comes to no cook camping foods. But before you head off to the supermarket, I would recommend spending some time thinking about exactly what you’re going to need.
The whole point of this is to free up space so the last thing you want to do is pack loads of food items and weigh yourself down.
Firstly, I would think about how long you’re going to be camping. This will tell you how much food you’re going to need. Moreover, it’ll give you a good idea of the types of food that are most suitable. For example, if you’re heading out for two week then taking a block of cheddar isn’t a wise idea.
It’s also really important to think about what the weather is doing. Some things will perish more quickly when it’s hot so you’ll need to consider this when making your food choices.
Additionally, you might be able to use the weather to your advantage for certain things. If you want to keep long life milk cool then keeping it outside the tent (sealed of course) over night when you’re camping in colder weather will achieve this so you’ve got a nice cool splash of milk on your cereals when you wake up.
It’s definitely worth planning exactly what you will have for which meals. This allows you to make a shopping list and only buy what you are going to need. As well as the food you’ll use for your main meals, you’ll probably want to pack a few snacks as well. This is easy as things like biscuits, crisps, crackers and other things all don’t need to be chilled.
If you don’t fancy cooking around the campfire or you can’t take a mini fridge or cool box on your camping trip then it’s still possible to make some delicious meals.
This involves putting together a hamper of no cook foods for camping such as fruit and vegetables, canned meats, packet foods and long life milk. Your options really are a lot broader than you might first think. However, careful planning is always a must if you want to make sure that you don’t take too much or too little.