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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!
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!
I use the Camp Chef Everest Stove when I go camping. It’s an awesome stove and it boils water really fast!
No Cooler Camping Meals
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Ramen is another go-to meal for me, especially on colder fall camping trips.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.