Non Perishable Camping Food

A lot of folks in South Africa love to go camping. But coming up with a menu is one of the more stressful parts of camping. Because they don’t spoil and usually last longer, non-perishable foods are a must-have when packing for a camping vacation.

Choosing the correct camping food can greatly improve your time in nature. Camping with meals that won’t spoil is the best option because they’re easy to cook, don’t need refrigeration, and are always on hand. These foods are ideal for outdoor activities because they are convenient and provide necessary nutrients and energy.

Focus on non-perishable items that are nutrient-dense while organising a camping menu. When it comes to camping nutrition, it’s best to plan ahead with non-perishable foods so you can store them easily, prepare them quickly, and still provide the nutrition and energy needed.

Nutrient-rich items for energy and health

Our bodies need specific nutrients every day, and this should be taken into consideration when planning your camping trip menu. Selecting the best non-perishable foods for camping ensures you maintain high energy levels and good health while enjoying the outdoors. Let’s look at the various food groups that are essential for a balanced diet when refrigeration is not an option. The following food groups should be included in your menu:


There are several possibilities for non-perishable protein. Meats in cans, like bully beef, meatballs, and tuna, are great options because they can be consumed on their own or combined with other foods.

Nuts and seeds are low-weight sources of protein and good fats. Peanut butter and other nut butters are easy to carry. Biltong, canned tuna, and chicken are good sources of protein that are very simple to cook and offer a high nutritional value.

Grains and carbohydrates

Grains provide the energy required for physically demanding outdoor activities. During busy camping trips, it’s crucial to sustain energy levels with carbohydrates. While bread offers a flexible foundation for meals or snacks, mainstays like rice, pasta, and oatmeal are simple to boil. Other options include pre-packaged rice mixes, instant oatmeal, and one-minute noodles that just need to be boiled.

Fruits and vegetables

Nutrient-rich and lightweight, dried fruits and vegetables are a great option. Dried or tinned fruit, like pineapple, apples, and raisins, are rich in vitamins and easy to store. For a well-balanced diet, don’t overlook fruit cups, dehydrated veggies like carrots and peppers, or tinned vegetables. You can consume them immediately or, if preferred, rehydrate them without any preparation.


When it comes to dairy products, think of soy milk cartons that don’t require refrigeration until they are opened. Options like powdered milk and evaporated milk provide a dairy source that doesn’t need refrigeration.

Fats and oils

Nutrient-dense fats and oils are essential for energy production and vitamin absorption. Cheese adds both fat and protein, and olive oil and butter can improve the flavour of food.

Snacks and treats

Snacks that are a tasty treat and provide instant energy include popcorn, crackers, and granola bars. For the sweet tooth, remember to pack chocolate, honey, marshmallows, and crackers.

Ideas for meal planning

Focusing on foods that require minimal preparation simplifies your outdoor experience, paving the way for enjoyable and hassle-free dining. Below are some meal options that cater to hearty mornings, satisfying mid-day breaks, and comforting evenings by the campfire.

• Oatmeal is a classic start to the day, and instant oatmeal packets or pre-mixed oatmeal with dried fruits offer enough energy to kick-start your day.
• Combining dry cereal with powdered milk that only needs hot water eliminates the need for refrigeration.
• For a variety of options, pack in some ready-made pancake mix that needs only water.
• Pre-packaged muffins or granola are convenient for those early mornings when you are not so hungry.

• Sandwiches for lunch are always a winner. Opt for whole-grain bread with spreads like peanut butter, cheese, or tinned meats such as tuna or viennas.
• Granola bars can also be beneficial for lunch, as they make for a quick and nutritious snack to keep energy levels up between activities.
• Individual servings of canned or packaged soup that require only hot water are also suitable for lunch.

• Pasta and rice are easy to cook, as you just add water. Bring out the flavours with sauce packets, spices, or tinned meats.
• Mac and cheese is a winner when camping and can also be bought in ready-made packets that just need water.
• Biltong and tinned meats serve as protein additions to any meal, especially when complementing rice or pasta dishes.

Sweet treats
• Tinned fruit needs no refrigeration and is perfect for a dessert.
• Chocolate and marshmallows to melt over the fire are ideal.

• Include a mixture of sweet, salty, and savoury snacks such as nuts, fruit chips, and crackers for those in-between munchies.

One’s camping trip should not come at the expense of variety and taste. Don’t forget to pack a variety of spices and condiments, such as garlic powder, dried herbs, honey, and syrup, to enhance flavours.

Packing and storing

It’s essential to know how to safely store and preserve food without refrigeration before going on a camping vacation. Thoughtful item selection assures diversity and taste, and proper packing can preserve convenience and freshness. Store food in airtight containers to prevent moisture and pests.

Effective packaging maintains freshness and convenience. For products like granola bars or biltong, use vacuum-sealed containers. To conserve room and prevent misunderstandings, place seasonings in tiny, clearly labelled containers. In case of emergencies, always bring a little more than you think you’ll need.

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