I’ve only gone camping as a vegan a few times… actually, I’m not gon front. I’ve only gone glamping a few times and camping for real for real one night.
Even my glamping trips are filled with humbling experiences such as smelling like the great outdoors for days straight, struggling to find vegan food and a few other natural occurrences that we didn’t come here to talk about (think nature potties that you weren’t prepared for).
As I gear up for a quick camping trip in Mexico, I figured I’d jot down some of the food that has worked well for me in the past. So in other words, I started this post for selfish reasons, but figured it might be helpful to share with my fellow vegabonds!
Also important to note is that I am American, so my recommendations will very much so lean towards meals that I’ve typically had in the USA. I’m always down to learn & try new food, so email me if you think there’s something that I should add to the list!
I personally just go for a warm drink accompanied by fruit and nuts in the mornings, no matter where I am. Some or all of these breakfast items below may seem pretty obvious, but just come along and ride with us anyways!
1. Fresh fruit
Pretty self-explanatory, but it’s important to note that fruit for breakfast can be a suitable meal. If you had told me that 3 years ago, I would have rolled my eyes, but now my breakfasts mainly consist of fruit.
If you want something more filling, go with fattier fruits like avocado or jackfruit (two of my favorites!). You can also throw some nuts and/or seeds in there for the extra protein and filling.
2. Cereal, granola, or oatmeal with plant-based milk
There are a few options for having plant-based milk without refrigeration on your camping trip.
Option one will appeal to those that just want something convenient: Buy the unrefrigerated plant-based milk that you find in grocery stores (they sell small cartons or personal-sized ones).
Choose your size accordingly depending on the number of folks that are consuming that meal. I’d recommend getting a size that you can finish in one sitting, so you don’t have to leave it sitting out to go bad between meals.
Option two will appeal to the homemade/DIYers: Make your own plant-based milk in a handheld travel blender. If you’ve already made your own plant-based milk before, keep scrolling. But for our vegabonds that haven’t, lean in.
There are certain options that you can, but don’t need to strain (think nut-based options like almond, cashew, walnut, etc.). I’d recommend choosing one of those options over something like oat milk, which I would typically strain to keep it from getting slimy.
Keeping the pulp in your nut-based milk will also add extra protein, which you will likely need during your outdoor adventures. If you’re set on having smoother milk though, go ahead and strain it through a nut milk bag.
3. Toasted bagel or bread
You can buy some bagels or bread to bring on your camping trip and just toast those bad boys up on your skillet. If you’re looking to jazz it up a bit, add jams, jellies, fresh fruit, nut butters, avocado, or whatever you want!
Another one that’s pretty self-explanatory. Make sure you choose a vegan pancake mix that you can just whip up with water and toss on your skillet with some oil. You can top them with fruit for natural sweetness or drizzle on some agave or maple sizzurp.
5. Hashbrowns or home fries
You can bring some potatoes and a grater to fry up your own hashbrowns in oil. If you don’t have the space or patience to pack and use a cheese grater, just dice up the potatoes and make home fries.
Start by frying up some diced onion, garlic, and bell peppers (I usually use red and green) with seasoning. Add in the finely diced potatoes and cover to allow the potatoes to soften, then cook uncovered to allow them to crisp.
If you’re a vegan camping with no refrigeration, you’re probably bout that life. Therefore, I’ll assume you’re also on the go come lunchtime. I’ve listed out some on-the-go lunch options that you can whip up quickly in the morning and bring along with you for your daytime adventures.
You can do some easy classics like peanut butter (or any nut butter) and jelly or fry up and season some mushrooms to toss on a sandwich with spring mix, tomatoes, onions, etc. I can’t do soggy sandwiches, so if you’re like me, lean into the glamping experience by keeping everything in separate containers to compile the sandwich when it’s time to eat.
The oil from the fried mushrooms and/or veggies will keep your bread from being completely dry when you make your sandwich, or you can squeeze on your favorite condiments/sauce packs. I love me some mustard, so I might even squeeze a few packets of mustard on my sandwich depending on what I’m working wit!
7. Onigiri / Musubi
Another on-the-go option could be onigiri/musubi. Unfortunately, Omnipork Luncheon (our lovely vegan Spam substitute) needs to be frozen or refrigerated, unlike actual Spam.
There are many other options like an avocado and vegan furikake onigiri or an umeboshi onigiri. I honestly have not made one of these on my own while camping, but I have had them as grab-and-go options on days that I was on the run all day. Best believe I’m bout to try making my own on this next camping trip!
8. Power salad or bowl
If you’re looking to pack in lots of protein, make some quinoa and heat up some canned garbanzo beans to toss in a salad or bowl for you to take on the road. Other ingredients can include some sort of green (I usually go with massaged kale), fresh diced fruit and veggies like onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado (I’d recommend waiting until you’re ready to eat it to slice it up), mushrooms, and canned toppings like sundried tomatoes, olives.
You don’t have to follow my recommendations though. Do your thang! Go buck wild!
9. Burrito or wrap
No need to make this complicated. Just throw in some cooked canned beans and quinoa or instant rice that you can make in a pot in the morning. If you want to include more ingredients, try tossing in some seasoned sauteed bell peppers and onions.
If you were thinking you’d want something more like a wrap, just throw the power salad ingredients into a tortilla and package that bad boy on up!
It’s really up to you what kind of noodles you want to make, but you can make some penne pasta sauteed in olive oil with garlic, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Spaghetti lovers can heat up some canned spaghetti sauce and toss in some cooked spaghetti noodles. You could also make some udon noodles and sautee up some mushrooms, spring onions, garlic, sauce of your choice, and bok choy.
I think you get the point here. Make whatever kind of noodle dish you want, just don’t sleep on cooking up a hearty noodle dish in the morning to enjoy midday while you’re out exploring the wild.
As long as you have access to a fire, a pot, and a pan, you can pretty much make any meal you want with vegetables (fresh or canned), seasonings, and sauces (that don’t need refrigeration). If you don’t have that, better break out the peanut butter, jelly, and some bread!
I’ve listed out some of my favorites below.
11. Soup (canned or blended)
The easy option is to heat up a can of store-bought vegan soup. The more complicated (but maybe more fulfilling) option would be to boil down some veggies and then blend them up in your portable blender with your seasonings of choice. Toss in some quinoa or rice to make it even more filling.
You’re probably tired of me telling you how to make simple things, so I’ll stop!
Sautee up some spotlight bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, seasoning, and whatever else you want to throw in there! Serve with some flour tortillas (or corn if that’s your jam) with avocado and a side of rice and beans to finish off the meal!
13. Dehydrated camping meals
I won’t say that they’re the best thing that I’ve ever tried, but I have relied on some dehydrated travel meals before. They were a great way to get something in my belly with very little effort. I just added boiling water and let the pack do its thang.
14. Homemade veggie burgers
I’ve also never done this for myself, but it’s definitely doable. There are plenty of vegan burger recipes out there with ingredients like black beans, mushrooms, beets, oats, etc. with some seasonings. Find one that speaks to you and whip up some of your own burgers patties at your campsite!
15. Lion’s mane mushroom steak
Sometimes, we just want to throw something in the skillet and let it cook down. If you’re looking for something that just requires a pan, a spatula, and some seasoning, this could be the meal for you.
For even better results, bring a second heavy pan to press the water out of the oyster mushroom. I just wanted to plant the seed, but there are plenty of recipes out there for you to choose from.
Snacks & Desserts
If you’re looking for a lil summin’ summin’ in between meals, there are plenty of great options. I’ve listed some below and also linked to my post of Vegan Travel Snacks
Popcorn is a simple snack to make at home, and can be just as simple at your campsite! All you’ll need is your source of heat (fire or portable stove top), a pot with a lid, some oil, and popcorn kernals. Kick it up a notch with some sea salt, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, etc. to season the popcorn to your liking.
17. Apple sauce
Apple sauce can be a quick grab-and-go option to hit the spot if you’re craving something sweet. Apple sauce pouches make it even easier to snack on the go. They’re convenient to just toss in your bag and are still good even when they aren’t cold.
I like these because they are personal-sized portions, but you could also go for the more economical option of getting a bigger jar and just eating it with a bowl and spoon. “Whatever floats your boat or finds your lost remote” (bonus points for knowing the song that I just referenced).
18. Rice cakes (with nut butter)
One of the OG convenient snacks is the rice cake. I’ve been munchin on those thangs since before I had even gone vegan. If you want some extra protein in your snack, add on your nut butter of choice, and even add fruit or drizzle on a lil agave or maple syrup if you want it to be a little sweeter.
There are flavored options, but I tend to go for the plain jane and add my own razzle dazzle.
19. Hummus and carrots
I wouldn’t recommend buying store-bought hummus and leaving it out during your trip. What I would recommend though is making your own by tossing some canned garbanzo beans, tahini, oil, garlic, lemon, and seasonings into your portable blender.
Make it by the meal to have the freshest hummus and keep it from going bad in between meals.
20. Vegan Jerky
Vegan jerky can make for a good snack to toss in your backpack when you go out to explore. Its lightweight, doesnt take up much space, and can be eaten as it is.
21. BONUS: Vegan travel snacks
Last, but certainly not least, check out my vegan travel snacks post for snacks and desserts that you could pack for your camping trip!
In short, there are lots of options for vegans that are camping without a refrigerator. You vastly increase your options just by having the ability to cook, but you can get by even without pots and pans. If you’re a true glamper like me though, figure out a cooking situation so you can enjoy all of the meals and snacks that I listed above.
Happy camping or glamping!