15 Easy No-Cooking Car Camping Meals for On-The-Go

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Car Camping should be a fun experience! Don’t let the stress of what to eat hold you back. Many people pack a full-on car camping kitchen, especially if they are car camping in the same spot for long periods of time. The camp cooking experience can be a lot of fun. I love trying out recipes and using new contraptions to make yummy meals for everyone at camp when I am in a group. But at other times, when I am car camping solo and quickly moving from one place to the next, I dread setting up a camp kitchen with propane stove, kitchen gear, and all of the setup and clean up involved for just one meal. These are the times I create easy, no-cook meals.

With these no-cook, easy car camping meals, you will only need a knife to cut, a spork to eat, and a bowl to prepare your food in. Everything is very simple and can be done in one bowl (essentially a one-pot meal but there is no cooking involved). Make sure to have a good cooler to store simple ingredients in unless you are able to go to a local grocery store daily. Since there is no heat involved with these non-cooking meals, most of these meals use fresh ingredients that need refrigeration to extend their shelf life. 

Here are some of the best camping meals you can put together for your next camping trip when you do not want to cook!

I do not use a recipe when making these heatless camping meals. I mix ingredients based on what I have, what I like, and what I want to use up before it goes bad. Most recipes make too much for a single serving anyway. I added a few measurements to some recipes for those who need something to follow, but using your own judgment is best when creating these meals.

Easy Snacks and Breakfast Ideas

Here are some easy camping meals for smaller appetites and lighter breakfast options. They require little prep time and are healthy alternatives to non-refrigerated camping meals that are usually processed and full of preservatives.  

Cereal and Fresh Fruit

  • Regular Cheerios
  • Milk
  • Strawberries
  • Banana
  • Raisins

Choose any cereal you like, but my favorite combination (and actually, the only breakfast cereal I eat with milk) is Cheerios with refreshing and tangy fruit. The strawberries give it a tang, but the raisins add natural sweetness. I use fresh milk when I can, but there are self-stable box milk and powdered milk options, too.

Lox Bagel

  • Bagel (or bread slice)
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Goat Cheese or Cream Cheese
  • Sliced Red Onion
  • Capers

One of my go-to filling meals with protein. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, I’ll eat a lox bagel for any meal. I prefer to spread goat cheese over cream cheese, but both taste great!

Greek Yogurt Parfait

  • Layer with sliced fresh fruit (strawberries and blueberries are my favorite)
  • Broken granola bars for crunch
  • Raisins or honey for a touch of sweetness

Super easy and not so much a parfait as it is a bowl with yogurt and toppings when I am car camping. Choose your favorite fruits; I use whatever I have, but I prefer berries or sliced peaches. Sometimes, I’ll drain a cup of prepackaged fruit (peaches or pineapple tidbits) and dump it on top of yogurt. It is super easy and tasty.

Breakfast Toasts

Layer a piece of toast with either cream cheese, goat cheese, Nutella, or peanut butter, and top with fruit, nuts, and honey. The combinations are endless. A few ideas are below.

  • Avocado + goat cheese + tomatoes or pickled onion
  • Cucumber + goat cheese or cream cheese + smoked salmon (with or without the bread)
  • Cream Cheese + Kiwi + honey + lime juice

No Bake Nachos

  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole 
  • Fresh tomato and black bean salsa
  • Mango salsa with slices of jalapeno
  • Canned Queso or shredded cheese
  • Chopped onion, peppers, jalapeno

Another super easy combination! You can do a no-bake nacho plate with these ingredients by just layering chips, cheese, salsa and other toppings. Just use your favorites! Add chopped onion, tomato, and chives to the top, or leave them off. Turning these ingredients into a chip and dip situation is another easy snack idea.

Antipasto Plate

  • Cured Meats or no fridge breakfast sausage
  • Olives
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Crackers or Bread
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate-covered anything (I love walnuts, almonds, raisins, and pretzels the most)

This is one of my favorite “girl dinners.” It’s my idea of cooking after a long day or long hike. I essentially arrange a plate with all of my favorite snacks and gobble that thing up!

Tuna Salad and Crackers

  • Canned tuna (or other protein)
  • Mayo or another creamy mix in (I often use avocado)
  • Sweet Pickle Relish
  • Chopped celery for crunch
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Crackers or bread slices
  • Salt + Pepper

I often mix smashed avocado with tuna for a creamy texture and a healthy alternative to mayonnaise. You can also mix tuna with hummus, Greek yogurt, Dijon Mustard, or ranch dressing for another twist on the classic tuna salad. I love adding sweet pickle relish and chopped celery for crunch if I have it. Hard-boiled eggs are another great addition to classic tuna salad, but I only use them if I have them.

Additional Easy Ideas

  • Trail Mix
  • Fresh Fruit Skewers
  • Cottage Cheese + Sliced Peaches
  • Shrimp Cocktail + Horseradish Sauce
  • Cheese and Crackers + add honey or jelly on the top to sweeten it up
  • Celery (or apple or banana slices) + peanut butter + raisins 

Easy Meals For Larger Appetites 

Light salads and hearty sandwiches make up this list. For extra hearty meals, I put together a list of easy camping dinner ideas that involve cooking, so you will need a camp stove or open fire along with a skillet and a few kitchen utensils for those camp-cooking ideas. All of the below meals require some refrigerated ingredients but no heat and are also one pot camping meals.

I added some measurements with these no-cooking meals to give you an idea of the portion size for each ingredient, but again, I often cook for one and guestimate the amounts based on how hungry I am and what I have on hand. So do not be afraid to guesstimate too!

Avocado & Shrimp Salad

  • 1/2 head of butter lettuce
  • 1 chopped avocado
  • 1/2 chopped red bell pepper
  • 10 thawed shrimp
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw (no dressing)
  • Vinaigrette dressing to taste

This is currently my favorite salad I’ve been making. It involves shrimp for protein, so I only make it when I am able to buy a small amount of precooked shrimp. You can mix all ingredients except for the lettuce, place the mixture in a lettuce leaf, and eat it as a lettuce taco. You can, of course, use whatever kind of lettuce you have, but I love the smooth and slights sweet flavor of butter lettuce mixed with the creamy avocados and crisp texture of red bell peppers. 

Greek Salad

  • Red Onion
  • Red or Green Bell Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Feta Cheese
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Dried Oregano  

Salad Dressing Recipe:

This salad is another staple during my car camping road trips. I often buy pre-mixed olives and cheese from a grocery store deli and add them to sliced cucumbers, red peppers, and cherry tomatoes if I have them for a quick Greek salad. Premade salad dressings are the easiest, but if I can’t find something I like, I make a simple Greek-style dressing right on the salad.

Summer Salad

  • 6 oz small tomatoes cut in half
  • 4-6 oz small mozzarella balls
  • 1 cut up avocado 
  • 3 oz roasted red pepper from a jar
  • 1/2 cup white beans from a jar 
  • Parsley + herb paste from a tube
  • Pre-cooked hard-boiled egg or another protein
  • Dressing: olive oil + apple cider vinegar +salt + pepper

This is a take on a salad I found online. I’ve never thought to use herb paste but I like them in this salad and also spread on bread with a slice of cheese. It is another light and refreshing salad with some substance, especially if you can throw in some protein.

Waldorf Salad

  • 2 diced crips apples
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 cup halved seedless grapes
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Dressing: 1/3 cup Mayonnaise + 1 tsp. honey + 1 tbl. lemon juice + salt + pepper

Here is another classic salad that is very easy to make. I do not love mayonnaise, so I usually leave it out and just eat the combined ingredients with honey and lemon juice. There are seriously endless combinations when mixing a salad. Eat them by themselves as a true salad or in a wrap or with crackers or tortilla chips.

Mexican Salad

  • 6-8oz sweet corn
  • 6-8 oz can black beans
  • 4-6 oz cute cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • 1-2 diced avocado
  • 4-6 oz diced roasted red peppers
  • Palm full of chopped cilantro
  • Smashed tortilla chips for a crunch
  • Dressing: juice of 2-3 limes, 1/4 cup honey, salt, + Pepper.

This is another easy one-bowl salad that can be served in a variety of ways. Use a tortilla shell to make it into a wrap or stuff filling into a pita pocket. Buy a rotisserie chicken or pre-cooked shrimp to top of this salad for added protein. You can even just mix it as a dip and use whole tortilla chips for scooping it up.

Sandwiches and Croissan’wich

Mix up these ingredients and throw them into a croissant, between two pieces of bread, or as an open-face sandwich. The possibilities are endless; here are a few I make frequently. You can even buy pre-made salads from most delis, so you do not have to mix anything.

  • Banana + peanut butter drizzled with honey
  • Deli meat & cheese + sliced vegetables + mayo or mustard 
  • Sliced cheese + cured meat + sun-dried tomatoes
  • Chicken salad mixed with walnuts or sliced grapes. 
  • Smoked salmon + deli egg salad (best on a croissant)
  • Tomato + avocado + bacon 
  • Cucumber + cream cheese + dill + red bell pepper + a protein (shrimp or smoked salmon are my favorites.)

BLT Stacks

For a no-bread option, slice a large tomato, smother slices with mayo, and layer bacon or deli meat, cheese, and avocado between them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper-delicious!

Deli Bowls

  • Dill Pickles
  • Deli Meat
  • Cheese
  • Veggies (I love lettuce, peppers and black olives)
  • Mayo + mustard
  • Italian seasoning

Much like my antipasto plate, these deli bowls are made up of my favorite cold sub foods and placed in a bowl. I usually top with oregano + olive oil + vinegar. You can even slice a pickle in half and core out the center to make a pickle boat, layering your favorite toppings and eat it like a sandwich.

Tips For Car Camping Meals

  • Meal planning is key to spending less and not overbuying. Plan meals with similar ingredients to buy less and use what you buy.
  • Pre-chill your cooler to help keep items cool longer without using so much ice. Freeze gallon jugs of water and place them in the cooler at least overnight to internally chill the cooler. Replace with ice before your trip.
  • Use frozen water bottles or ice packs as an ice replacement. It’s great to have cold water on hand, and it’s an easier way to chill food without the hassle of melting ice.
  • Freeze proteins or loaves of bread to bring with you and let them thaw in your pre-chilled cooler so they will last longer.
  • If you are camping in Bear Country, make sure to store food and trash properly!

***

I hope you will try some of these delicious one pot meals on your next camping trip. They are great for car campers, and my go-to when wanting light and refreshing (no-cooking) meal options when enjoying the great outdoors!   

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