14 Super Easy Camping Meal Ideas (No Cooler Required)

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It’s no secret that I love to cook at camp and in this post, I’m going to share some easy no cooler camping meals that are both delicious and easy!

Super easy camping meals ideas that don’t require a cooler

Having a cooler while camping allows me to bring a larger variety of foods and ingredients to cook with, but it also takes up space in the car and it can be a full-time job stocking the ice and keeping it in the shade.

So if you don’t have a cooler, or you just don’t want to deal with packing one, this blog post is for you.

All of the camping food ideas below are as simple as it gets and of course, they don’t require a cooler.


Camp Kitchen Gear Spotlight

In addition to not needing a cooler, these meals also don’t require any fancy camping kitchen gear.

For these meals, all you’ll need is a propane stove, and either a pot or pan to cook with. So simple!

Gear Spotlight:

Camp Stove:

I use the Camp Chef Everest Stove when I go camping. It’s an awesome stove and it boils water really fast!

camp chef cast iron pan

Cast Iron Pan:

Anytime I need to cook in a skillet, I use cast iron. I have an antique cast iron pan, but Lodge and Camp Chef both make great options. Cast iron holds heat really well, they’re super durable and hardly requires any maintenance.

No Cooler Camping Meals

pancakes in a cast iron pan

1) Pancakes

Pancakes are a staple in my camping pantry bin for a quick camp breakfast.

I love Kodiak Cakes pancake mix.

All you have to do at camp is add water to the mix and start cooking.

I carry a little cooking oil in a small to-go tube to cook the pancakes in.

Oatmeal for breakfast while camping

2) Oatmeal

There are endless ways that you can change up oatmeal! I like to pack quick-cooking or instant oats for camping trips because they are so quick and easy.

You can pack some fresh fruit, nuts, peanut butter, honey, or even powdered milk to add some flavor and variety to the oats.

cereal in a bowl for breakfast at camp

3) Cereal with Powdered Milk

Cereal with powdered milk is something I do a lot on backpacking trips, but it works just as well for car camping too!

Pack your favorite cereal and some powdered milk. At camp, mix cold drinking water into the powdered milk, and then simply add the cereal.

In order for this one to actually taste good. It’s important to use cold water. No one wants warm milk!

Peanut butter banana honey sandwich for camping lunch idea

4) Peanut Butter Sandwich

Peanut butter is life! For this quick lunch, pack your favorite bread, peanut butter, honey, and a ripe banana.

You can even add a little cinnamon too!

So simple, and so delicious.

Avocado toast for an easy camping lunch

5) Avocado Toast

Pack a good loaf of bread and a ripe avocado. I toast the bread in a cast-iron pan over medium heat until it gets golden.

Then I smash a ripe avocado on the toast and sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Sliced tomato would be a great addition!

Flavored tuna packets with crackers or pita for an easy camping lunch

6) Tuna Packets with Crackers or Pitas

Canned tuna is not good on its own. That’s where these tuna packets with flavors come in!

They taste so good right out of the pouch and can be used in a lot of different ways.

One of my favorites is to use crackers to scoop up the tuna.

I also like it in a pita with some avocado. So good!

7) Peanut Butter Trail Mix Tortilla

This one is another quick lunch idea for on-the-go days.

Pack flour tortillas, nut butter, honey, and some granola or trail mix.

The granola or trail mix adds such a good crunch to this wrap!

8) Indian Food Packets with Rice

This is one of my favorite camping dinners!

I pack pre-made Indian food packets in a variety of dishes, along with pre-cooked rice packets.

All you have to do at camp is heat things up and serve.

A hot bowl of ramen for camp dinner

9) Ramen

Ramen is another go-to meal for me, especially on colder fall camping trips.

Mac and cheese in a blue pot on a camp stove

10) Boxed Mac and Cheese

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? Box mac and cheese is great to have on hand for a quick dinner.

I just cook the pasta as normal, but reserve a little of the pasta water and mix in the cheese packet.

While the directions might say to add milk or butter as well, I just leave that out if I don’t have a cooler and it tastes fine.

Boxed or canned soup for camping

11) Canned or Dried Soups

This is one of the most underrated no cooler camping meals! There is so much variety with canned, boxed, or dried soups and chilies.

They’re so great on colder nights at camp.

Adding water to a dehydrated meal for camping

12) Freeze-dried or Dehydrated Meals

These are the meals that you’ll typically find at gear shops.

There are many different brands, meals, and price points for these types of meals.

These are some of my favorites:

I like to save them more for backpacking because they can get a little expensive, especially if you’re camping with a larger family or group.

But if you want a super easy dinner with no cleanup, then these might be for you!

Pasta with marinara sauce

13) Pasta

Pack a jar of your favorite marinara sauce and a box of pasta.

A big bowl of pasta is so satisfying after a long day of playing outside!

Instant potatoes and flavored tuna or salmon packets for an easy camping meal

14) Instant Potatoes with Canned Chicken or Tuna

Instant potatoes take a minute to cook and they come in all different flavors. They also only cost about $1.

But potatoes on their own don’t make a complete meal, so I like to pack some canned chicken or flavored tuna packets (see #6 above) to mix in with the potatoes for some protein.

You can bring spices and herbs along as well.

get my free

Camp Cooking Starter Kit

Printable camping recipes, a gear checklist, and a camping meal planner so you can go camping with confidence and good food!

    There you have it – easy camping meal ideas that don’t require a cooler!

    I hope you have some new ideas to try on your next camping trip and really enjoy spending time outdoors eating a good meal with friends and family.

    If you have any questions, simply comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

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