Car Camping Kitchen: The Food List

vegan peanut butter banana sandwich

I’ve starved in the woods. But not in a Cast Away sense.

It was more of a “No. I’m fine. This one Clif bar I brought is just fine..” kind of way.

Eventually, I learned to live off carbs the whole time. I didn’t last long on bread, pasta and Clif bars though. SO after enough stomach growls to wake up the tent next to me, I finally honed my car camping “kitchen”

First I list my typical meal ideas when car camping, alternating each bullet depending on the trip. Second, I breakdown the bulk of what I keep in my cooler.

Disclaimer: Everything listed adheres to a vegan diet because that’s how I choose to eat.

Vegan or not, I hope my car camping setup inspires you. Stop starving in the woods as part of the “experience”.

Enjoy 😊

Meal Idea List


  • oatmeal packets + almond milk + peanut butter + banana

  •  dairy-free yogurt (keeps best in colder weather) + nuts + fruit

  • dates + peanut butter (or any nut butter)

  • French press coffee


  • pbh (peanut butter + honey)

  • pbbh (peanut butter + banana + honey)

  • avocado sandwich (how to make here)

  • frozen burrito, pre-warmed at home and wrapped in foil (plant-based versions won’t spoil as fast unthawed because no dairy/eggs/meat)


  • salad bags (salad mix + dried fruit + whatever you want, tossed in a gallon-sized plastic bag)

  • tofu scramble tacos

  • vegetable stir fry

  • pre-packaged “microwavable” foods (plant-based versions won’t spoil as fast unthawed because no dairy/eggs/meat)


  • dried fruit (dates, figs, mango, whatever’s on sale in the bulk section)

  • bars (Lara bars, Clif bars, GoMacro)

  • fruits that won’t explode in my pack (oranges, apples)

  • nuts or trail mix (whatever is on sale in the bulk section)



  • very ripe fruits, especially berries and peaches (they go bad faster, their juices get everywhere and your cooler will reek)

  • leftovers (I promise you, anything cooked will not be good the next day)


Cooler Breakdown

I tetris my cooler to fit as much as I can into it, even if it doesn’t need to stay cool.

Instead of having a designated bag for all the non-perishable foods, I just squeeze them in with the “refrigerated” foods.

For me, it’s easier to keep everything together.


  • soy sauce

  • almond milk in carton or mason jar

  • cooking oil

Whole Vegetables

  • pre-chopped onion

  • pre-chopped bell peppers

  • sweet potatoes

  • zucchini

  • brussel sprouts

  • broccoli

  • whatever you’re feeling


  • apples

  • oranges

  • bananas

  • avocado (if treating myself and/or they’re on sale)

Everything Else

  • tofu (out of the packaging, pre-pressed and pre-chopped/crumbled at home…and maybe even marinated if I’m feeling extra)

  • bread

  • corn tortillas

  • peanut butter

  • dairy-free yogurts

  • spices

  • coffee grounds

  • “frozen” burritos and other pre-packaged foods

  • easy go-to’s (pasta, rice, soup)

  • all the snacks

  • all the chocolate and other treats

vegan car camping food

My car camping food list is constantly changing, but this is generally what it looks like. It’s all the things: slightly luxurious, minimalistic AND healthy (dark chocolate is healthy ok).

Break out the cutting board, y’all. Your body and your taste buds will thank you.

Got some more ideas for me? I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments :-)