10 Best Essential Camping & RV Travel Foods

November 11, 2020

10 Best Essential Camping & RV Travel Foods

Knowing the best foods to take with you on your next trip will help you pack lighter, stay nourished and avoid spoiled food. 

We compiled a list of the 10 best essential camping and RV foods to bring with you. No refrigeration required.


Canned food

Canned food can get bulky and heavy but it serves its purpose in your RV. Canned food is designed for a lengthy shelf life with absolutely no refrigeration necessary until after opening. Most canned food doesn't even require cooking. For veggies, go for the canned corn and canned string beans. For nonvegetarian protein, try vienna sausages, tuna fish and shredded chicken. For vegetarian protein, opt for the legume family. Including garbanzo beans, black beans and refried beans.


Hydration Packs

Hydration packs are made for mobility. Being lightweight and jammed packed with nutrients and minerals, hydration packs will keep you hydrated and energized on your trip. Mix with water and use as a liquid snack in between bigger meals or as a hydration substitute. They are excellent for outdoor activities and nature excursions on foot.


Granola Bars

Granola bars contain fiber and a wealth of other nutrients. Make your own before the trip or buy a box from the store. Steer away from those containing chocolate, they can melt! Granola bars have a long shelf life, rarely melt, and they are lightweight enough to carry around with you.


Salted Meat

Let's face it, canned meat isn't for everyone. For those looking to up their meat-based nutritional intake, you can preserve meat by storing it in sealed bags filled with a combination of curing salt and pink salt. This is how many people preserved raw meat before refrigeration. Ideally, a temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit is preferred. But for our purposes, simply store the meat in the coldest possible place with very little moisture. The amount of preservation time varies depending on the types of meat and the temperature in your RV. The hotter it is in your vehicle, the less time you will be able to store it. You want to avoid moisture and heat because it causes bacteria to form. Do not exceed more than a few days before cooking it over an open flame. This approach is best for shorter camping trips or when traveling to cold temp destinations. Do not store poultry of any kind in this way.


Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas are an excellent alternative to enriched bread. Enriched bread is not the healthiest choice of bread but it has an excellent shelf life. However, the name "enriched" can be very deceiving. It sounds like it contains more nutrients but it actually contains a reduction of them. Corn tortillas, on the other hand, have an equally long shelf life and many corn tortillas are made of only 2 - 3 ingredients. Use for sandwiches or breakfast wraps. Be sure to keep them in a sealed bag or container. If you leave corn tortillas in exposed air, they actually harden and will turn into tortilla chips!



One of the most underrated travel foods! Aside from being able to be eaten cold, hot, warm and at room temperature - soup combines two important ingredients our body needs for energy. Food and water! Plus, you can sip directly from your canteen, no utensils required. There isn't another hearty food out there with the versatility and stamina soup can provide for you on your trip.



Yup! Eggs! More specifically, chicken eggs. There is a common misconception that eggs need to be placed in a refrigerator for preservation. In fact, eggs at room temperature can last for approximately 1 month before spoiling. We recommend storing them away from excessive sun and heat exposure. In hotter conditions, they can last about 1 to 2 weeks, sometimes longer, before spoiling. Eggs are an excellent source of protein. You can eat eggs for any meal of the day and they are quick and easy to cook up.


Condiments and Spices

All of these foods sound a tad bland on their own. That's where the power of condiments and spices come in! Dried herbs and spices such as ground pepper, salt, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, basil, coriander and a medley of others can last in nearly any temperature. Avoid too many dairy based condiments. It is also a myth that mayo will go bad when not stored in a refrigerator after opening. However, in warmer temperatures the oil used in some brands of mayo can separate causing it to taste unappetizing. Go for the packets if you simply got to have your mayo and ketchup. Other condiments such as hot sauces can replace ketchup and mayo.



For some strange reason, oil is one of the most forgotten about essentials when preparing necessary foods for your camping trip. Oil serves as a valuable commodity for a variety of dishes. From frying up your corn tortillas to ensuring your eggs don't stick to the pan, oil is a must-have condiment. Another secret of oil, after you put a dollop of oil on your pan for cooking, you can use it from its bottle to moisturize your skin and hair too! Try grape-seed oil or olive oil. You can use coconut oil but please note, it solidifies in cooler temperatures. If any oil solidifies, simply place it in direct sunlight for about 10 minutes.


Campfire Favorites

Of course we would never forget about the campfire food favorites! Take it back to the classics. Marshmallows for toasting, hot dogs for grilling and popcorn for popping. Mix them in with the other must-have essential foods and you won't miss your local fast food joint for months.


RV travel and off the beaten trail camping takes us to remote locations without grocery stores and restaurants nearby. That's why it's essential we prepare our meals and snacks properly by stocking up on these must-have foods and condiments for our next great adventure!