Summer is around the corner, and camping is in the air. However, there is one thing that can help make your camping experience even easier. It’s some easy no-cook camping meal ideas.
As the weather is getting warmer. The memory of this past unbelievable winter starts to fade. Finally, it’s time to start getting ready to hit the road in your camper van or whatever vehicle you use to get out into the wilderness.
The more meal ideas you can put together before you leave on your adventures, the better. But how about some meal plans that don’t include any cooking?
Here are some easy no-cook camping meal ideas for any nomadic traveling you have planned for this summer.
Easy, no-cook camping meal ideas
So, imagine you are starting to pack up for your camping trip. Then, you start thinking about all the meals you want to prepare.
Remembering all your pots, pans, cooler, cooking devices, and all the food that needs to be stored and packed to be made during your trip is a lot. That takes a lot of time to pack.
But what if you didn’t need all those things to have some wonderful, tasty, easy meals?
I like to cook and enjoy the creations that Paul and I make at home, but what about when we go out to the wilderness for an adventure?
We both like to relax and be present with our family and friends. But unfortunately, preparing and cooking all the time takes away from our adventures and social time.
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Start with the preparation of your meals
Are you deciding to go out camping in an RV, van, or tent? The first step in creating a meal schedule is to know what kinds of food you want to prepare.
Start by planning the number of days you will be on the road. That is how you will know how much and what foods to bring for good, healthy, complete meals.
There is more room for packing snacks and meals when you don’t have to bring all your pots and pans to do a lot of cooking.
As we all know, preparing ahead of time is a big time saver. In addition, packing all the essentials and unique ingredients to make no-cook meals makes your life easier.
Now, it’s easy to have a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee when you’re at your campsite, but realize there are many other ideas.
Cereal/granola – Take the cereal or granola out of the box. Transfer it to some sort of zip-lock bag. Reusable or not, it saves so much room.
Hard Boiled Eggs – Boil a dozen eggs before you go for a quick grab-n-go breakfast option. They are easier to travel with when they have been hard-boiled.
Lox and bagel – If you like fish, then some lox and cream cheese on a bagel is a great way to start your day.
Overnight oats – This breakfast standard is a great way to be able to just roll out of bed and grab a coffee and a jar of oats. It makes a nice satisfying breakfast in no time at all. But again, be creative when making them with fruit or jam, nuts or seeds.
Yogurt – This has been a breakfast staple for years. It’s easy to either buy or make. Add some fruit and granola and create a beautiful parfait. The combinations are endless. This is an excellent no-cook camping meal idea.
Fresh fruit – Having fresh fruit around is always a win. A big plate of fresh fruit is a fantastic way to start your day. Fruit will last longer if you don’t cut it up until you are about to eat it.
After you come back from a long morning hike or bike ride, it’s nice to be able to grab a tasty, satisfying lunch. But who wants to be the one to have to prepare and cook a good lunch. Not me! I want to be able to reflect on all the fun we have already had. That’s where easy no-cook lunch meal ideas come in handy.
A pre-made pasta salad – This is an excellent thing to have with you for lunch or anytime throughout your camping trip. Easy to make in many different ways to enhance the flavors. Adding any dairy, like mayonnaise, you have to be aware of the dangers of leaving it out. You don’t want it to spoil.
Grain or rice bowls – Having some containers of pre-cooked grains is a time-saving hack that really comes in handy when putting meals together. Load a bowl with some grains and add some greens and other veggies. Toss with some nuts and seeds, and you have a great lunch. Here are a couple of great quick dressings that you can make ahead of time from fitlivingeats.com
Charcuterie board – This is a fantastic thing to have for lunch, dinner, or a snack. They are easily made from items in the fridge or cooler. It can be made for just two people or a crowd around a campsite. Whether it is a vegetarian board or a charcuterie board with meat and hard cheeses, they are fantastic to have around for your entire camping trip.
Salad kits – Stores are full of these salad kits now. They are convenient, easy, and delicious. It’s nice to be able to just open a bag, and all the fixings are there to be tossed and enjoyed.
Salad jars – These are easy to make and store in the fridge for use during your camping trip. Add everything you would typically put in your salad into a jar with a tight sealing lid. Just leave the dressing out. That is to be added when ready to eat.
Sandwiches and wraps – These are the most common no-cook camping meal foods I know. A sandwich or a wrap can be made with pretty much anything you want to put in it. But, again, remember to be aware of things that could go bad. I keep the little packets you get at a fast-food restaurant. Mayo, mustard, soy sauce, or ketchup are easier to carry on a camping trip in these little packets than bringing full bottles. Peanut butter and jelly are always an easy no-cook lunch idea to fall back on.
Ceviche – This is a wonderful citrus-marinated fish dish to have and keep in the fridge. You get loads of protein and flavor all in a small jar that you made ahead of time. The added citrus helps preserve it for a long time.
Canned fish or meat – These items can live in your pantry for years, making them perfect for a fun camping adventure. Don’t forget about Spam. The long-forgotten meat in a can. You either love it or hate it.
BLTA – Cooking your bacon before you head out on the road is a great time saver. Bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado are fantastic afternoon meals for a busy camper. They are easy to put together and enjoy. Please remember to keep your mayo refrigerated.
Easy no-cook camping meal ideas for dinner
Dinners can be the most challenging part of easy no-cook meal ideas because we are all so used to preparing a hot meal for dinner. But that doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are some great ideas that will keep you well-fed without the stove or oven.
Bean succotash salad – This is a straightforward toss-together meal that is nice and filling after a long day of fun. Open cans of black beans and mix them all together with a can or two of corn, a chopped-up bell pepper, and some seasonings, and you have a complete meal.
Smoked fish wraps – Buying some smoked fish from the grocery gives you can the ability to make wraps or sandwiches. It will last for a really long time, and if it is packaged in an aseptic wrap, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
Rotisserie chicken – This is a great time saver. Having one of these in your fridge or cooler will help you make plenty of no-cook camping meals without cooking the chicken. Great for sandwiches, wraps, charcuterie boards, grain bowls, and many other things.
Instant noodle packs – When you have a campfire, you can boil water for an instant noodle pack. Add some veggies and/or meat, and have a nice hot meal for dinner. Use half of the seasoning packets. They are very high in sodium. Save the rest to use with something else you are making that needs some seasoning.
Backpacking meals – Again, if you have the ability to heat water on an open fire, you can add boiling water to any type of freeze-dried food.
You can warm food on your car’s dashboard if you have sun. I have done it many times, and if you plan ahead, then you could be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to do.
No-cook camping snack ideas
Snacks can be anything that you like to eat and can be done without preparation or cooking. They are fantastic easy no-cook meal ideas that are easy to pack and bring on your camping adventure.
Jerky – Meat, veggie, or fish can all be types of jerky. As we all know, jerky is a food item that doesn’t need refrigeration or cooking and will last a long time.
Dried fruit – This is our go-to for hiking or biking. Very easy to buy at any grocery store, or if you have the machine, you can dehydrate or freeze-dry all kinds of fruits. They’re a great source of vitamins to keep you going during your camping adventure.
Protein/granola bars – These are great to keep in your bag for an emergency meal or a treat after a fun activity. They are easy to make, as explained here by wellplated.com
Trail mix – All trail mixes are not created equally. Make a throw-together trail mix with almost anything you like to eat. Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and candy are all put together to make a great trail mix.
Fruit leather – I know you probably think these are children’s types of snacks. But you have to try some of the new ones on the market today. They have definitely grown up.
Guac/salsa/hummus – These dips or spreads are great to have on hand for chips and veggies and to put on your wraps or sandwiches. They are easy to make at home or buy at the grocery store.
Chips, crackers, and pretzels – These are easy to find in the grocery store and bring for that afternoon snack.
A couple of other thoughts
Definitely bring and drink plenty of liquids throughout your trip. Dehydration can happen very quickly.
If you are big milk drinkers and don’t have a lot of room in your fridge or cooler, bring some powdered milk or a powdered milk alternative. But, again, these are not the powdered kinds of milk of our childhood. Cow milk or nut milk come in powdered form now.
When you are on a camping trip, and storage is a factor, remember to bring your spices or other ingredients for your meals and leftovers in reusable or disposable containers. This basically saves a lot of time with clean-up and storage.
Nibbler Tip: Prepare as much as possible before leaving for your trip. Cut up veggies, cook bacon, chicken, or steak to be added to platers, sandwiches, or wraps.
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