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When heading out camping, whether backpacking, hiking or by car, being prepared is essential. Food is a necessity, but can be messy to make and clean up. Especially when you don’t have all your regular kitchen tools handy. Or an easy way to keep fresh food cold. Which is why we’ve gathered the best canned foods for camping. Plus some camping recipes and meal ideas to make your trip planning easier.
There are plenty of nutritious options to keep your belly full and happy, and your family full of energy for the days adventures.
Ready to dive into our huge list of family favorites? Let’s go!
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BEST CANNED FOODS FOR CAMPING
While generally fresh foods pack more of a nutritional punch, canned foods have been a camping staple for a long time. Due to their long shelf life, ease of storage, and pest-proof packaging.
They are a great option for a hearty meal, or a side dish that still retains good nutritional value.
PLUS check out the BONUS camping recipes here at the end of our HUGE list of canned camping foods.
We often head to the grocery store and buy a combination of heartier fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables. To supplement our canned foods, for more balanced meals, and to satisfy our taste buds.
- If you are eating a vegetarian, gluten-free or low-carb diet, there are plenty of options on this list for you too.
My favorite is that they can often be a one pot meal, cooked over the camp stove with minimal prep and clean up. More time for outdoor adventures, or relaxing around the campfire.
Plus they make good options for emergency situations, or to keep in your survival stash at home, if you don’t use them up on your trip. Just keep an eye on the expiration date.
Canned versions of meat products make for an easy meal base, and are a great source of protein.
Fresh meat easily spoils. So unless you have a good cooler and access to lots of ice, or are travelling in an RV with a fridge, it’s a good idea to skip out on fresh.
Canned meat options include canned ham, poultry, pork, corned beef, beef and Spam. Mini hot dogs such as Vienna Sausages are available too. Childhood nostalgia in a can.
Corned beef and Spam are some of the best canned food for camping meals, as they are preseasoned, and easy to use.
Canned meat can be added to any recipe you have, such as:
- Chicken salad or other meat salads
- Taco Salads,
- Burritos or tortilla wraps
- Pasta Sauce
While canned ham is most commonly mixed with a bit of mayo and slathered on bread, you can add it to many recipes.
Including pasta, soup, omlettes, and fried rice. Or make ham, cheddar and green chili breakfast sandwiches on english muffins or as a quesadilla.
Spam isn’t the healthiest addition to the list, but it is tasty in a pinch.
You’re likely in the camp of either loving it or hating. However its simple list of ingredients make it the best of the processed meat options.
Fry it up for sandwiches or add it to fried rice, or korean stews.
Check out the recipes for Spam at the bottom of this post. Spam Loco Moco & Spam Musabi are Hawaiian favourites.
Canned chicken is a good source of protein for your camp meals. It can be used in yummy recipes such as pineapple chicken, tacos or tossed in chicken salads.
4. Vienna Sausages
Vienna sausages make a quick snack with crackers, cheese and some fresh veggies.
Is it the healthiest option? Probably not. But it’s not like you are eating these mini hots dogs every day.
We prefer bringing pepperoni sticks, or beef jerky to vienna sausages for the taste. Many brands can even be kept non-refrigerated.
5. Pork Chile Verde
Easy Mexican food in a can. Pork Chile Verde can be heated up and put on rice, or wrapped in tortillas as enchiladas. Or use on top of a fried egg and English muffin for a tasty breakfast.
6. Corned Beef
Canned corned beef makes great camp food as it’s high in protein and already well flavored.
Fry it up with eggs for breakfast, or use in potato pancakes, sandwiches and meatballs.
Canned turkey may not be the first option that comes to mind. Much like chicken, it can be used in similar recipes, such as sandwiches, salads, wraps, soups and pasta dishes.
8. Ground Beef
Canned ground beef is handy to add to soups (taco soup is yummy), pasta sauce, sloppy joes, chili, and the like.
Canned seafood such as tuna can be handy to have on hand, or as emergency supplies. These days you can even get small flavored tins, or as a small pack with crackers, making it a portable snack.
Canned seafood can be used in recipes such as:
- Toppings for salads
- Pasta Salads
- Salmon Burgers and Patties
Salmon is full of nutrients, protein and Omega-3s. Making it a versatile and healthy canned camping food.
Get the boneless, skinless kind, for easy, kid friendly meals.
Toss it in sandwiches, pasta dishes, or make salmon burgers or patties out of it. We also love making hand held salmon and cucumber sushi rolls to go.
Look for wild, sustainably caught tuna like Wild Planet or Raincoast.
A can of tuna is so synonymous with camping and travel, it’s hard to imagine a trip without it. I’ll often bring a couple of cans as back up, just in case.
Tuna adds flavor and protein to many camping meals. Plus it’s inexpensive and affordable, with no need to cook, or refrigerate before opening. Add it to salads, sandwiches, wraps, pasta or casseroles.
Sardines in olive oil may be an aquired taste for some, but they make the perfect camping food. Full of protein, omega 3s, vitamins and minerals, sardines are a healthy, convenient food.
Place on a piece of tasty bread, cracker, or rice cake with a bit of avocado & a dash of hot sauce for a tasty, quick lunch. Keep it simple for the kids, and just add it plain.
Mackerel is a tasty fish full of protein and good fats such as omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids. It is also known to have lower mercury levels and is less at risk of overfishing.
Canned mackerel can be used similar to tuna and salmon in recipes like pasta, made into patties, with curry noodles, or with eggs for a tasty breakfast.
It will often come on olive oil, tomato sauce, or different flavours.
Smoked oysters provide a rich source of vitamin B12, zinc, copper, selenium and omega-3s. Good for your brain, heart and health.
They’re not for everyone.
My partner loves them right out of the can. My daughter and I are not a fan.
They can be tasty on crackers, or a good sourdough bread with cheese and a splash of hot sauce or lemon. Or use in a seafood pasta with canned clams, and salmon.
Canned clams can make a quick and tasty pasta dish, if your family are seafood lovers. Add a jar of ready made sauce for a duper easy meal.
15. Tuna Meals
These tuna meals are big on flavor, Mediterranean, Thai, Provence Nicoise, and Mexican herbs, spices, and ingredients. Tasty!
Canned vegetables can have a different texture and color from fresh, due to the canning process. However they still retain many of their nutrients.
Their convenience makes them one of the best canned foods for camping. They are shelf stable, don’t require cooling and are easy to pack. Just don’t forget the can opener. Been, there, done that…. don’t recommend it.
Corn makes the best canned vegetables. They aren’t mushy, overdone or weird colors. Use in bean salads, soups, tacos and bean dishes.
Canned corn was a staple of my childhood. Just don’t give me the overly sweet creamed corn.
Corn on the cob is an easy alternative if you prefer fresh, as it’s easy to roast in the campfire or over a grill.
Canned pumpkin can make great make-ahead meals and snacks. Such as sweet / savoury muffins and loaves, or in soups and sauces like curries.
We love a good pumpkin curry soup. Pumpkin is full of fibre, and Vitamin A.
Carrots are another vegetable that is easy to bring fresh. As a family we usually peel and cut them up ahead of time for camping snacks.
However they do take quite a long time to cook. If you are planning on using them in hot dishes, like stir fries, or curries, canned carrots can be much quicker.
While fresh mushrooms are light and store quite well, sometimes you may want the convenience of canned.
Toss canned mushrooms on camp pizzas and tuna melts, in pasta or other sauces, stews, stir fries and egg dishes.
20. Diced Beets
Whip up a beet salad in no time with a bit of vinegar, oil, feta cheese and canned beets. While you can use the canned, we prefer the pickled one’s in a jar. We also like salty beet chips or these ranch flavoured carrot chips, for something a little different.
21. Green Beans
22. Mixed Vegetables
Canned fruit can be a delicious addition to your camping food list . They make for an easy snack, last for long periods, and are delicious at room temperature.
We prefer the one’s canned in fruit juice, rather than sugar syrup, and organic if we can get it.
- If cans are too heavy, the single serve fruit cups are a good alternative. Or dried fruit.
- For the toddlers fruit pouches are also a big hit. My 9 year old still likes the fruit pouches for camping. Or as a snack during the car ride to the campground.
Canned peaches in my opinion are the best-canned food hands down.
Delicious, sweet goodness, without having to peel or pit the fruit.
Add to pancakes, oatmeal or yogurt. Or just eat the canned peaches by themselves.
Canned pineapple is the queen of non-perishable foods.
Toss in with chicken, eat as a snack on its own or on top of granola or oatmeal for breakfast.
25. Fruit Salad / Cocktail Mix
Fruit salad is a good choice for a healthy snack, or for breakfast with a little yogurt, or homemade muffin.
Fruit Cocktail cups also make a portable snack during the day.
Pass on this classic dessert to the next generation of young campers.
Tropical mango tastes out in the wilderness is magical.
Add canned mango to fruit salads. Put on top of, or in pancakes, or eat all by itself as a tasty treat.
We love eating canned fruit when camping, once the fresh fruit is gone after a couple of days.
Canned pear slices are a delicious treat on a hot day.
If you have time before your camping trip, bake them into muffins or pear cake. Or add them to plain instant oatmeal, with a little cinnamon, for some added sweetness.
Canned Jackfruit is a popular, healthy vegetarian option as a meat substitute.
Native Forest Organic Jackfruit is a great choice. Use in tacos, curries, sandwiches and as a veggie “pulled pork.”
It has a sweet, fruity taste that takes on the flavors of what it’s mixed with.
BEST CANNED CAMPING MEALS
The great thing about canned camping meals is they can often be a one pot meal, and a fairly healthy option. Just keep an eye on the sodium and sugar levels.
29. Spaghetti Sauce
A can or two of tomato sauce, pasta sauce or a jar of pesto, can make a quick meal kids will love.
We prefer boiling up up our own pasta, or bringing along pre-cooked or instant rice.
But you can also buy things like alphaghetti, or spaghettios.
30. Pasta Sauce with Meat
Similar to spaghetti sauce, grab a can of pasta sauce with meat for a complete meal from your local grocery store.
If I have a little bit of extra space in the cooler I bring along fresh tortellini pasta, that are quick to cook up.
31. Annie’s All Star Pasta
Annie’s All Star Pasta are a kid favorite quick meal. Heat up in only a few minutes.
32. Mac N’ Cheese
Mac N’ Cheese, need I say more?
Canned Soup & Stews
Canned soups and stews are easy, versatile and a one pot meal. They make a great camping food for those cool mornings, or a cold night.
Head down to the grocery store, and you’ll find an overwhelming amount of choices. There’s everything from old school favorites like chicken noodle, to asian fusion, hearty stews, and everything in between.
We’ll highlight some of our favourite options, and go-tos for camping trips.
33. Amy’s Alphabet Soup (for the Kids)
Amy’s brand soups and chili are favorites in our household. As they focus on using organic and non-GMO ingredients, and more sustainable practices.
Amy’s Alphabet Soup is fun for the littlest to oldest kidlets.
34. Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is high in protein, and made with simple, ingredients. So you can feel good feeding this soup to your family.
Amy’s Lentil Soup is another favourite around here. There is something so comforting about a hearty lentil, potato and carrot soup.
Grab a can of stew for a hearty lunch or dinner. It makes the perfect back up meal, if you’ve run out of fresh ingredients, after a few days.
37. Corn Chowder
Gluten-free, and tasty we recommend this Corn Chowder, with a slightly smoky, kick. Add some grilled cheese sandwiches for a full lunch or dinner.
Canned Beans / Legumes
Ready made bean salad, and beans are handy to have as a quick lunch, or a side dish for hot dogs or hamburgers cooked over the campfire.
Beans and legumes make a great protein addition for those who are vegan and vegetarian.
They can be used in many recipes such as:
- Quick Stir Fries
- Curry dishes
- Bean salads
- Lentil or Bean Soups
- Bean or lentil burgers
38. Baked Beans
Baked beans is another long-standing camp favorite. Just heat up on your camp stove or over the fire, and it’s a quick meal to go with roasted hot dogs. Our youngest likes the traditional pork and beans and the maple flavour best.
A can of chickpeas is so versatile, to add a little vegetarian protein to your meals.
Saute with a little onion, garlic and some pre-packaged curry paste and coconut milk, and you have a tasty curry. Pour over some noodles or quick cooking rice.
They go great in soups, stews, and salads and in bean dips like hummous.
40. Refried Beans
Refried beans are a family favorite. Perfect for vegetarians, or a quick meal to go.
Pair with some cheese, a tortilla wrap, and some fresh produce like lettuce or tomato and you have a complete meal. Don’t forget the salsa.
Or use as a dip for tortilla chips and salsa for a quick late night snack under the stars.
41. Black Beans
Black beans are one of my favorites, as they are so versatile. From bean dips, soup, burritos, to chili. People all over the world eat these affordable legumes.
Add a little crumbled cheese to the top of some mashed black beans with garlic and a fried egg for a tasty wholesome meal. We love it for breakfast.
42. Fava Beans
Canned fava beans are high in fibre, and nutrients it makes the perfect camp food.
When I lived in Halifax, NS the Lebanese store down the road made this delicious lemony, garlicy fava bean salad. I crave it often.
I’ve tried to recreate it numerous times, and while not quite the same, Fava Beans do make for a tasty bean salad as you travel.
43. Canned Chili
Canned chili is an easy meal all in one. Just reheat, add a little grated cheese (or not) and it’s ready in a minute.
Stagg’s canned chili is my daughter’s favourite camping breakfast. We like the spicier kinds with meat. But Amy’s has some great veggie options in mild, medium and spicy we like too.
44. Charro Beans
Charro beans, or “cowboy” beans in Spanish, is a tasty traditional Mexican breakfast dish. Add some cheese, onions, and avoacado for a complete meal.
Looking for easy vegetarian camping meals?
Canned lentils can be used in lentil sloppy joe’s, easy lentil soup, or curry dishes for some extra protein.
Bringing canned will save time, as lentils do take a long time to cook.
While not in a can, we prefer these tasty one pot lentil meals:
46. Bean Salad
Classic Bean Salad, slightly vinegary, and with pleasant texture straight from the can.
Canned Condiments & Gourmet Add-Ons
These condiments and gourmet canned additions can elevate your camping meals beyond the basics.
47. Stuffed Grape Leaves
Stuffed Grape Leaves are my go-to quick meal for all family travels; camping, picnics, road trips and days at the beach.
This shelf-stable meal is delicious mix of rice & herbs, wrapped in grape leaves and soaked in a vinegar, oil minty sauce.
Perfect for vegetarians too.
48. Canned Diced Green Chilis
Diced green chilis can be a great addition to egg dishes, camp nachos, soups and bean dishes.
Olives can be a satisfying snack in themselves, or throw them on greek salad, or pasta.
We prefer stuffed olives or flavoured olives that come in jars, or snack olives for salads, and with cheese and meat plates.
50. Artichoke Hearts
Artichoke Hearts add pizzaz to baguettes / sandwiches, pasta dishes and grilled meat kabobs.
51. Pickled Jalapeños
Foil packet Camp Nachos are a fun snack you can make with your kids. Pickled jalapenos are an essential ingredient (for the adults) in our house, along with black olives.
Ghee (clarified butter), is a great replacement for oil and butter when camping, as it doesn’t require refrigeration. Rich in Vitamins A, E, and K, Omega-3s, it’s suitable for many ways of eating such as Paleo, Keto, and Gluten Free.
53. Coconut Cream
Thicker than coconut milk, coconut cream can be used instead of milk for curries, noodles, baked goods and drinks.
54. Baby Corn
Baby corn adds a truly satisfying texture to stir fries, cold salads, and soups.
Snacks and camping go together like PB&J. While not all of them are canned, they are family favorites.
Be ready for snack attacks, especially if camping with kids.
55. Roasted Cashews
Roasted cashews are a delicious salty, crunchy and slightly sweet snack. Keep eveyone’s energy up with this handful of protein.
56. Mixed Roasted Nuts
So many choices for roasted mixed nuts or trail mix. Makes a great hiking snack, or a snack for day trips as it’s so portable, full of protein.
57. Beef Jerky
Beef Jerky is our go-to portable snack, full of protein. While not a “canned” food, it’s one of the best camping snacks for kids and adults.
58. Peanut Butter & Nut Butters
Peanut butter and nut butters make for a quick and nutritious snack, that will give your kids and loved one’s good energy. There are so many tasty options beyond just peanut butter. Our family loves almond butter on toast, or crackers.
While granola bars / bars aren’t a canned food, they are an iconic camping and hiking snack and meal replacement.
I’m not a huge fan of granola bars, however I do enjoy the various flavors MacroBars offers (Cashew Caramel and Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip are my favorite protein bars). Plus my kids love them too.
60. Kipper Snacks (Smoked Herring)
People around the world love a good smoked herring snack. Great source of protein, omega-3 fats, vitamin B12 and calcium. Eat mashed with guacamole and tortilla chips. Or on top of a hearty cracker spread with hummous.
61. Annie’s Bunny Crackers & Cookies
Organic bunny shaped snacks in either cheddar or graham cracker options. Not just for kids. (Don’t tell anyone but like them too!)
62. Seaweed Snacks
Seaweed snacks are crunchy salty goodness full of vitamins and B12.
Fresh milk can be a pain to travel with. And unless you are backpacking and need to travel light, powdered milk is not the best option (in my opinion).
Canned milk of the evaporated, coconut or condensed variety, or milk in a tetra pack is the way to go.
63. Condensed Milk
In the summer, if you have access to ice, it makes an amazing iced coffee.
I usually bring a small mason jar with lid, or a small container to store it in once it’s open.
64. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is a a great option for people trying to avoid dairy. Native Forest is the one we like to use instead of milk.
65. Evaporated Milk
Use evaporated milk as you would regular milk. Try it in your morning coffee, in soups, desserts or in egg or pasta dishes.
66. Barista Oat Milk
For coffee connoisseurs who want their fancy coffees, even while camping.
Our favorite is Barista Oat Milk for cappuccinos, when we aren’t eating a lot of dairy. As it blends in nicely, and doesn’t leave a weird aftertaste.
It’s important to stay hydrated when outdoors, hiking, and enjoying your camping vacation. We’ve together our list of family favorites to take on our family camping trips.
67. Pineapple Juice
Pineapple juice is a refreshing drink full of vitamin C. It’s delicious on it’s own or mixed with sparkling water or gingerale.
68. Bubly Sparkling Water
Bubly sparkling water is our go to for their flavour without any added extra sugar.
69. Sparkling Water
Sometimes you need something to drink that’s not plain water.
Sparkling water is a fun and “fancy” way to make sure you get enough liquids each day.
70. Sparkling Water with Juice
Grapefruit juice sparkling water is our favourite camping drink. So refreshing and great for hot days.
Best Camping Food Recipes With Canned Food
Are canned foods good for camping?
Canned foods are the best for camping as they’re convenient, have a long shelf life and don’t require refrigeration. Not to mention they are super portable, easy to stack and come in a handy pest proof container. Canned foods are still nutritious, and easy to make and clean up, leaving you with more time for fun camping activities.
What is the best meat for camping?
The best canned meat for camping is salmon and tuna, as they’re so versatile. You can eat them as a snack right out of the can, or with crackers. Make mains like salmon or tuna burgers, pasta, and sandwiches. Or toss on salads, for extra flavour and protein. Plus they come in small, packable cans, perfect for camping.
There are so many amazing camping recipes you can make from canned food. Perfect for when you don’t have access to fresh food or have limited cooler space. Ready to start planning your camping trip? Let’s go!
What are your favorite camp recipes using canned food? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
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