While I generally prefer fresh foods, canned foods are essential for camping as they have a long shelf life. In this article, I’ll go over some of the best canned foods for camping and I’ll also share with you some of my favourite ways to use them. Most of these should be available at your local grocery store.
When I am buying canned foods, I opt for those that are packed in water (or their own juices) and I also look for low-sodium varieties. I’ve also included some other essential non-perishable camping foods that I always have on hand.
Best Canned Foods For Camping (In Summary)
To see a comprehensive breakdown (with meal ideas) of my favourites, click on the corresponding links below. You can also check out the FAQs.
- Canned Vegetables
- Canned Fruit
- Canned Beans & Legumes
- Canned Fish
- Canned Meat
- Canned Soups and Stews
- Canned Tomatoes
- Other Essential Non-Perishables
When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission (at no extra cost to you.) As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Best Canned Foods For Camping (In-Depth)
We are a veggie-loving family around here so the more the merrier! While fresh vegetables are the best option, I know canned versions are more convenient.
When picking out the best canned vegetables I always opt for those packed in water (which most are) and low-sodium varieties.
1. Green Peas
Rodney is a pea lover (and so is my cat Lynx oddly enough!) They are a great option to put on your camping food list because they are high in protein and fibre and they keep us full for a long time.
Some of our favourite ways to eat peas include:
- Smashed peas on toast with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of garlic salt.
- Rice and peas (with soya sauce of course).
- Whole wheat pasta with peas and canned tomatoes.
Who doesn’t love potatoes? I know, canned potatoes seem odd but they are great for camping because they are already cooked.
You can use them as a side dish or make them the star of the show. Here are a few of the ways that I like to prepare canned potatoes:
- Cold potato salad- mix them with a bit of mayo, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Speedy mashed potatoes with a bit of butter and garlic salt.
- Lentil potato soup by combing canned lentils, potatoes and carrots with your favourite broth (I always pack bouillon with my spices).
I think mushrooms are one of those things that you either love or hate (it’s usually a texture thing). They are a staple in our house and here are a few ways I like to use them:
- Mushroom and avocado toast.
- Quick mushroom soup with broth, mushrooms, coconut milk and garlic salt.
- With whole-wheat fettuccine and a jar of our favourite pasta sauce.
Corn is great as a side all on its own, or it can be used in several different recipes. Rodney loves corn-on-the-cob but it always gets stuck in my teeth so I prefer the canned variety.
Here are some of the ways that I use it:
- Quick chilli with canned tomatoes, green chiles, corn, kidney beans, chilli seasoning, broth and a can of tomato soup.
- Rice with corn.
- Quick corn salad with black beans, diced red onions, lime juice and sea salt.
5. Green Beans
I eat these straight out of the can. No joke, I’ve loved them since I was a little girl running around the campsite in my diaper!
I don’t have any special ways that I use these, they’re just great to have as a side dish or simple snack.
6. Vegetable Blend
4 vegetables in one, I’ll take it! This blend is great to mix with rice or pasta and your favourite pasta sauce.
I also like to eat it as a “salad” sometimes too with fresh greens, some sliced almonds, croutons and Italian dressing.
7. Artichoke Hearts
I feel like most people have only had artichoke hearts in “spinach and artichoke dip” but there are so many more uses for them. Here are some of my favourite uses for them while camping:
- Artichoke, spinach and avocado toast.
- Mushroom and artichoke pasta.
- Marinated artichoke and potato salad (I just use the marinating juice as the dressing and salt to taste).
Beets are another thing I can eat right out of the can but I especially love them on a salad. They pair really well with carrots, arugula, spinach, cucumbers, onions, fennel, endive and CITRUS!
Canned spinach is a little odd to me but it is great to bring camping with you if you don’t have the refrigeration for fresh. Some of my favourite ways to eat it include:
- Heated with a bit of butter and garlic salt to taste.
- In a spinach and grilled cheese sandwich (gouda is best).
- Mushroom and spinach pasta.
Of course carrots are going to make the list of “best canned foods for camping”. I keep them on hand to either toss in a salad or add to soups and stews.
I always like to bring fresh fruit if I can, but having some cans of fruit with you is always a good idea as well. When purchasing, I always looked for those packed in their own juices without any added sugar.
Honestly, my favourite way to eat fruit is straight out of the can. Fruit digests very quickly so most of the time I just eat it as a stand-alone snack.
If you’d like to add a bit more to it, I suggest yogourt, granola, nuts and seeds. I’ve also included some of my favourite ways to eat fruit below.
Have you ever grilled pineapple? If not, you have to try it on your next camping trip because it is to die for!
Look for the ones canned in juice, not syrup. For a special treat, warm the peaches and then top them with some apple cinnamon granola.
I love canned pears so much! Straight out of the can and into my goblet they go.
Or, for an easy “pear crisp,” I like to take a can of pears and top it with brown sugar granola and chopped pecans.
14. Fruit Cocktail
Fruit salad in a can, it doesn’t get any easier than that!
Have you ever tried to peel and core a mango yourself? My goodness is it ever a pain! That’s why I’ll (generally) only eat mangoes in 3 ways: canned, dried or if somebody else prepares them for me!
16. Mandarin Oranges
For some reason, canned mandarin oranges always remind me of my childhood. For a sweet treat, I like to top graham crackers with a Nutella-like spread and mandarin oranges.
17. Sweet Cherries
Sweet cherries are probably one of my favourite fresh fruits but they are so darn expensive! That’s why I like to buy them canned and eat them just as is.
For an easy camping “cheesecake” I like to take graham crackers and top them with cream cheese and cherries. Be sure to share this hack with all your friends!
Grapefruit is so refreshing and it’s my favourite fruit to start the morning with. That’s it, straight out of the can, nothing special!
Yep, they’re a fruit and I am obsessed. Olives make a great addition to so many meals (IMO) and I especially love canned black olives on salads.
Not only are they full of flavour but they also contain healthy fats. On that note, I always buy olives that are packed in brine, not olive oil.
I know you think I’m insane, but eating a few canned prunes per day is a great way to keep everything flowing nicely. Just don’t eat too many or it could turn into a raging river down there (yikes!)
Canned Beans & Legumes
Of course, beans and legumes have to make the “best canned foods for camping” list. They are a great source of carbs, protein and energy and you can make so many wholesome meals with them.
I add them to salads, burritos, soups and more. There are so many versatile and good options to choose from depending on what you want to make with them.
I always have canned lentils both at home and when I’m out camping. They’re super versatile and can be used in salads, with rice or added to canned pasta sauce to make lentil bolognese (a delicious hearty meal).
While I prefer to make hummus with my chickpeas before leaving home, they are also a good choice to bring with you camping. Here are a few ways I like to use them:
- Tossed into a salad
- Smashed into a “chickpea salad sandwich” with mayo, mustard, celery, red onions and celery on your favourite bread
- Wrapped up in a tortilla with a bunch of veggies and a delicious dressing
23. Black Beans
A good way to use either black or pinto beans is to make some quick and easy burritos. Simply cook some brown Minute Rice and add it to a tortilla with the beans, canned corn, cheese, and salsa or hot sauce.
24. Pinto Beans
As stated above, we use these beans mostly for hearty and delicious burritos. For a simpler meal (and fewer carbs) you can forget about the tortilla and just have a rice bowl with all the fixings.
25. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans can be used to make a delicious and filling chilli with many of the best canned survival foods listed here. All you need is a heat source to warm everything up, and a buttered roll and you’re good to go.
26. Butter Beans
I like to smash these beans on toast as well. They have a very neutral flavour so they pair well with most things.
Here’s how to make one of our favourite butter bean toasts:
- Mash the beans with lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper to taste.
- Slice some cherry tomatoes in half (or thoroughly drain some herbed diced canned tomatoes).
- Smear the beans on the toast and top with tomatoes and fresh basil (optional.)
27. Bean Salad
This one is easy because you can eat it right out of the can, or throw it on a bed of greens for a more robust salad.
28. Refried Beans
We like to use refried beans on burritos or wraps but they can also be eaten as a side with some of your favourite meals.
29. Heinz Beans
I think that no camping trip is complete without eating some variation of Heinz beans. Whether you’re eating them with toast (my favourite) or snacking on beans and hot dogs, they are a staple!
Canned Soups and Stews
While I don’t recommend eating any of the canned foods often, sometimes you just need something quick and hearty. That’s where pre-made soups, stews and chilli’s come in handy!
Look for low sodium variations if possible and pair any of the below with a buttered dinner roll for a satisfying meal.
30. Campbell’s Chunky Soup
There are so many to choose from so you don’t have to get bored eating the same thing over and over. Sometimes (if I want a heartier meal) I will add extra canned vegetables to my canned soup.
31. Stagg Chilli
Again, there are lots of different options to choose from so you can switch it up on every camping trip. Nothing beats sitting around the campfire with a warm bowl of chilli (or soup) in your lap.
32. Amy’s Organic Soups
We love Amy’s Organics because they have a lot of plant-based options and they are made from organic ingredients. I won’t get into that debate but personally, when I’m eating canned foods, I like to find the healthiest ones that I can.
33. Annie’s Homegrown
Annie’s is also a good brand that uses organic and non-GMO ingredients. It’s nice to feed your family well even when you’re camping!
I could have put tomatoes in with the fruits but they deserve their own place on this list. A simple can of tomatoes can go a long way when it comes to preparing a meal while you’re camping.
Call me a weirdo but I love just using a can of diced tomatoes as a pasta sauce with my favourite whole wheat pasta. It’s easy, filling and satisfying.
34. Flavoured Tomatoes
Packing canned-flavoured tomatoes is a great option because it eliminates the need to bring a bunch of spices as well. There are different varieties (like basil, garlic and oregano) depending on what you plan on making with them.
35. Pasta Sauces
If you’ve found the right spaghetti sauce, all you need is some cooked pasta and garlic toast to make a delicious meal. I recommend buying smaller cans of pasta sauce (unless you have refrigeration) to reduce waste.
36. Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
Want that fire-roasted taste without having to roast tomatoes on the fire? These tomatoes are great for adding that “grilled” flavour to soups, stews and chillis.
37. Diced Tomatoes
I’m talking about the unseasoned kind here. These are great to have because you can add whatever spices you need depending on what you’re making.
Salsa is my favourite condiment because it adds so much flavour to everything you use it in. Here are some of the ways that I like to use salsa (aside from the obvious):
- Adding it to canned soups (because sometimes they need a kick).
- As a salad dressing for a taco salad along with canned lentils and corn.
- On burgers and wraps for a special zing.
I must admit that Rodney and I now eat a plant-based diet BUT, here’s what I used to bring for canned fish. Of course, they all make a great source of protein and can be used in sandwiches or eaten as is.
Salmon is great for sandwiches and wraps but can also be used in a variety of ways. My grandmother used to make macaroni and toss in a can of salmon and mushroom soup. I used to love it!
We used to eat sardines on toast but they can be eaten straight out of the can. Or you can mix them with a bit of mayo, salt and pepper and spread them on crackers.
41. Smoked Oysters
Straight out of the can with these bad boys, with a side of cheese and crackers! I’ve never done it but I hear they’re also good on pizza or mixed into pasta. Happy experimenting!
Tuna can be eaten the same way as salmon. Buy cans that have been packed in water for a healthier option (as most people will be adding mayo to it anyways).
If you will have a fridge (and a camp stove) while camping, then bringing fresh meat would be your best option. If not, these canned meats are your best options.
43. Corned Beef
Simply slice and fry this beef and serve it with eggs and potatoes or serve it on a sandwich with lots of mustard. Corned beef can be eaten hot or cold.
44. Canned Ham
Along with chicken and turkey, canned ham can be used to make sandwiches or added to pasta dishes.
45. Chicken or Turkey
You can use either to make a canned chicken salad or toss it with some pasta and veggies for a protein boost.
Other Essential Camping Food
46. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is great to bring camping as it has many different uses. Brands will vary quite a bit (in thickness and consistency) so you need to find one that suits your needs.
I like to use coconut milk to make creamy ramen or in my coffee in the morning. Rodney loves it in his morning bowl of granola and fruit.
47. Dry Pasta
Obviously, pasta is a must-have when camping. It cooks fast and (depending on the variety,) you can use it in so many different ways.
I like to make cold-pasta salads before even heading out, but you could make a fresh one once you get to your destination. Here’s a simple one to make:
- Cook the pasta according to the package.
- Toss in a can of mixed vegetables.
- Mix with your favourite salad dressing (I like Italian.)
48. Minute Rice
We both love rice and Minute Rice is an easy way to take it camping with us. Using boxed broth instead of water will make for a flavourful side dish to any meal.
49. Peanut Butter (Nut Butter)
Peanut butter, jelly time! Who doesn’t love peanut butter? It tastes great and makes a delicious breakfast or snack.
Some common snacks include peanut butter with apples or celery. For a delicious treat, we like to make peanut butter smores. Simply add some PB to the rest and you’ll be in heaven.
Sometimes you just want a hot bowl of noodles while you’re camping. Ramen is one of those non-perishable foods that are always in our camper.
I like to add canned vegetables (like peas, mushrooms or corn) to spruce it up once in a while.
51. Instant Oatmeal
As far as easy breakfast foods go, this is about as easy as it gets. All you need is some hot water and you’ve got yourself a delicious, quick meal.
52. Pretzels, Chips and Tortillas
Where are my fellow salt-a-holics at? I love salty foods and these (especially chips) are at the top of my comfort food list. The only downside is that they’re not a very healthy option.
53. Dried Fruit, Nuts & Seeds
I don’t eat a lot of these (because their calories can add up quickly) but they are a healthy option if you need some quick energy. There are so many different types that you will never get bored eating the same thing.
There was a time when I used to eat popcorn every night. It is the perfect healthy snack and it’s great for camping.
You can either pop it over the fire or bring a bag of pre-made popcorn with your favourite seasonings.
55. Energy Bars
I always look for energy bars with a high nutritional value. They’re a nice easy snack to have on hand and they don’t take up too much space.
Canned food is an easy and convenient way to make sure you have something tasty to eat when camping. As you can see, from hearty entrees to sweet treats, there’s a canned food option for every palate.
Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a full-fledged meal, our list of the best canned food for camping has got you covered. I’ll let you know how to keep the bees away from all your tasty food too!
So go ahead and stock up on some delicious canned eats before your next outdoor adventure! And don’t forget to bring the can opener!
Are Canned Foods Good For Camping?
Yes, canned foods are a great option for camping trips. They’re easy, convenient, shelf-stable and require no refrigeration. The meal possibilities you can make with canned foods are endless.
What Food to Take Camping Without Fridge?
You’ll want to focus on non-perishable items like canned vegetables, beans and meats. Dried fruits and nuts, jerky, energy bars and hard cheeses are also good. Make sure all food is stored properly.
What are 2 Disadvantages of Canned Foods?
The 2 disadvantages of canned foods are weight and sodium. If you are looking to pack light then cans will quickly weigh you down. Also, most canned foods are also high in sodium and should be limited.
What Canned Foods are Good for Survival?
For survival situations, canned foods are a great option due to their long shelf life. Some of the best include beans, lentils, salmon, sardines, tuna, vegetables, fruits, chillis and soups. Variety is key.
What is the Most Popular Food For Camping?
One of the most popular and easy meals for camping is a foil-wrapped dinner with potatoes, carrots and meat. Other popular camping meals include burgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad, tacos and burritos.