Easy No-Prep No-Cook Camping Festival Food Ideas
So, you don’t feel like carting all your cooking gear to a festival? Yeah, me neither.
Some people are cool to bring the grill and all the gear and cook up their breakfast and deal with dishes when they’re done, but that isn’t for me. I’ve tried. I’ve brought the gear. I’ve went in with the best intentions.
…but it just isn’t going to happen. Lets accept it now. I am never going to cook at a festival.
And it isn’t just that I’m too lazy, it sometimes just isn’t possible. If I’m flying to a festival, it’s tough to pack a camp stove and fuel. If I’m travelling by bus or carpool, sometimes the space just isn’t there for extra gear. If I’m travelling over the border, I may not be able to bring foods prepared in advance. Sometimes I have to make a quick stop at the store and whatever I can buy and keep in my backpack is what I eat for the week.
Thankfully, this doesn’t mean you need to spend the week eating beef jerky and granola bars. Over the years I’ve built a list of foods to choose from when I go shopping before each festival to keep me reasonably well-fed and feeling somewhat healthy, even for the longest of festivals without food vendors. These are all foods that don’t need any kind of prep – just grab from the store, toss in a cooler or backpack, and go.
Yeah, some of my options require a cooler. It isn’t necessary – you can certainly get by without one – but it does expand your options considerably. You may want to buy a cheapie and split it between friends. You may want a soft-side that you can pack in your suitcase. You can pack all your stuff inside a cooler and fly with it as luggage. If you’re just too lazy to worry about ice runs – skip the perishables!
Below is a list of food ideas that you might want to consider if you’re just too lazy to cook! (* Denotes no cooler required)
- Flour tortillas with peanut butter and banana *
- Tortillas hold up much better than bread – especially in high heat
- Greek yogurt cups with granola, dried fruit, or banana
- Multigrain bagels with peanut butter or cream cheese *
- Flour tortillas with hummus, cold cuts, shredded cheese, and ready-to-eat rice
- Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice (eat it right out of the package!) with: *
- Vacuum-packed or canned tuna or salmon *
- Shredded cold cuts
- Shredded cheese
- Bagged shredded veggies, canned chickpeas, bean salad – get creative!
- Broth-based soup such as chicken noodle, beef barley, or chicken and rice *
- Make sure it’s not the condensed stuff or anything cream-based, and bring a can opener or get the kind with the pop top. Leave it out on the hood of your car on a hot day and it’ll be nice and warm by dinner
- Vacuum packed prepared meals such as Tasty Bites or Prego Ready Meals *
- These will also heat up nicely on the hood of the car
- Pre-made salads such as pasta salad, quinoa salad, or bean salad
- Bagged salad kits such as Dole Chopped salad
- Look for the kind with the thinly sliced hearty vegetables like the dole chopped salads. They will hold up better than iceberg or romaine lettuce.
- Breakfast shakes or meal replacements *
- Boost, Coffiest, Soylent, Carnation Instant breakfast, etc
Snacks should be transportable with as little waste as possible, for munchies on the run.
- 2 days worth MAX, these always go quickly
- Peaches, bananas, or other hand fruits, grapes *
- 3-4 days worth max, depending on how ripe they are when you buy them
- Oranges and apples *
- Should last a full week
- Pre-washed and cut bagged veggies such as carrots, celery, beans, snow peas, or cauliflower florets
- Buying non-packaged is absolutely an option, but consider what you’ll need to wash and prepare them (knife, cutting board, peeler, running water, etc)
- Should last a full week in a cooler, if they’re in good shape when you buy them
- Fruit cups, chia cups *
- Muchies such as chips or crackers *
- Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, trail mix *
- Granola bars of protein bars *
- Pork Rinds *
- An excellent way to get some quick protein!
- Smoked Salmon *
- Can be expensive, but might be worth it!
- Pepperettes, Jerky *
- Cheese strings, slices, or shredded cheese
- Pickles and Olives *
- I’m addicted to Oloves. Individual packs mean you don’t need a cooler and you can take them on the go.
- Greek Yogurt *
- Crackers + PB *
- Easy Cheese in a can
- Seriously – I thnk it’s gross but some people love it. It IS high in fat and protein…
- Treats such as hard candy, sour candy, chewy candy, individually wrapped chocolate bars, or cookies *
- I’ve done this whole “only healthy food” thing one too many times. Sometimes you just need a treat.
- Pudding cups *
- Toss in a spoonful of PB and a sliced banana for an awesome snack
- Baby food, apple sauce *
- I can’t do it, but it’s an easy way to store fruits and vegetables!
- Water – For any festivals you haven’t yet attended, I’d highly recommend bringing at least some water of your own. Even festivals that provide free water don’t always do a good job of it – it can be hard to find, they sometimes run out, or it might taste so bad that it’s undrinkable. Having a couple gallons around the campsite may be a godsend.
- Bring other drinks as well – water can get boring and having options may help you stay hydrated! Consider:
- Gatorade or electrolyte mio
- Cold brew coffee or cold shots
- Sparkling water (my favorite, I bring a mountain of it)
- Condiments such as salt and pepper, hot sauce. Bland food is boring!
- A can opener for any cans
- A knife or scissors
- A set of cutlery and a plastic cup, plate, and bowl
Instant Mashed Potatoes in a pouch. ….yeah, it’s a cheat, you need boiling water…. but you can often find a vendor or a neighbor willing to hook you up. Trust me, it’s some SERIOUS comfort food that’s worth the hassle.
Good luck, and happy snacking!
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