Whether you’re camping or RVing, efficiently packing food can be tricky. And you need a way to store those delicious camping meals.
After a year on the road, I’ve learned some hacks and adopted some camping food containers for making my van life food storage setup easier.
These tupperware items are inexpensive, reusable, and very compact. And you can feel good knowing they’re eco-friendly as well (made of organic materials and/or reusable, thus cutting down on waste).
7 Best Camping Food Containers for Van Life
1. Mesh Produce Bags
Mesh produce bags can be used to help you spare valuable table or cooler space by taking up wall space instead. Hang these from a hook on your van’s walls, on the back of a car seat, or really anywhere that works for your tiny home setup.
They’re perfect for fruits and veggies that don’t need refrigeration, such as oranges, bananas, potatoes, apples, grapefruit, avocados–you name it. I find they help preserve delicate produce prone to bruising as well, since the produce items aren’t rolling around or bumping up against hard surfaces.
You could hang whatever food items you’d like with these bags. It doesn’t hurt that they’re also multi-functional as grocery shopping bags as well. Oh, and they’re also pretty cute-looking in a van!
2. Plastic Egg Carton
Guess what I’ve done before? Accidentally crushed eggs in my cooler, spreading raw egg throughout my cooler water. Yum! I don’t recommend–but I do recommend a plastic egg carton to prevent it from happening to you.
This plastic egg carton is really cheap, lightweight, reusable and easy to clean. It seals shut so if an egg were to break somehow, it won’t leak outside of the container. There are two sizes; a six-egg holder and a twelve-egg holder. The choice is yours!
I’ve heard people say they’re concerned the eggs would break if they were to bump too hard against the plastic carton. But the carton is designed to leave very little “wiggle” room for each egg, so even if eggs were to move around inside, there wouldn’t be enough space for them to bump hard enough against the plastic cover.
3. Silicone Ziploc Bags
Saving the earth and your wallet at the same time–no need to waste money on disposable ziploc bags. Seriously, when I first started van life I spent a lot of money on Ziploc bags since I’m using a cooler instead of a fridge. The bags would often leak and smell bad once thrown away in my trash bag within the van.
Silicone is really easy to clean and these bags seal much better than the disposable ones. While they’re great for storing dried goods like crackers or nuts, they’re great for using in the cooler too. They take up less space than hard-plastic tupperware, which means less constant shuffling around of cooler items.
These bags come in a variety of sizes and, as the brand mentions, are “extra thick, PVC-free, chloride-free, lead-free, food-grade PEVA material”. And if you do have a fridge, they are also freezer-safe!
4. Sprinkle Assortment Container for Spices
This is a van life hack I learned from following the Solo Female Vanlife Facebook group! While you can buy a spice rack or use magnetic spice containers, I like this hack because it saves so much space.
Simply buy a sprinkle assortment container, use or dump out the sprinkles, then replace with your favorite spices. Fit up to six different spices in one container. The one pictured above costs just $5.19.
I recommend pairing spices that “compliment” each other within the same container, then use multiple containers for all spices. For example, I use nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and salt for making french toast–so I’d keep all of those in the same assortment container.
5. Berry Box with Colander
Meet…the box berry keeper! It comes with a colander so berries can still “breath” inside the container while reducing their contact with moisture; slowing the chances of mold or squishing. The lock tight container prevents ice melt water from getting in; keeping the berries cold but not contaminated.
Berries can be tough to store for more than a couple of days because they bruise or get squished easily. But I had to find a way because I’m obsessed with a good yogurt parfait loaded with berries and nuts.
6. Collapsible Food Containers
These collapsible tupperware containers are great for nearly everything. They’re BPA free and, similar to the reusable ziploc bags, made of food-grade silicone.
Collapse each container when not in use to save that precious van storage space! They stack perfectly on top of each other. The lids are airtight so they’re safe for cooler use. And–if you have a van with a microwave–the lids also have a snap-open air vent for microwaving.
7. Bamboo Paper Towels
I know these aren’t technically a food storage item–but they can make food prep a lot easier to clean up! These bamboo paper towels are durable and reusable for up to 120 washes. Great for the environment, they are organic and biodegradable.
These towels can be used for “in the kitchen” activities or helping clean up after checking the oil in your van. They’re durable but soft on skin and replace up to sixty conventional paper towel rolls.
In the beginning of my van life journey I mostly cut out meats, dairy or fresh produce from my groceries because finding quality camping food storage containers was proving impossible. The food would either get waterlogged in my cooler from ice melt or go bad very quickly if the van got too hot during the daytime.
I needed RV food storage containers that fit my campervan lifestyle because I became really tired of canned foods and not looking forward to fresh meals. I started talking to other van dwellers about their food storage methods and seeing helpful tips pop up in van life online social groups.
Food storage in van life will always be an art regardless of the storage items you have–but that’s half the fun! Playing tetris with your cooler items can help you appreciate every bit of food in that cooler just a little bit more. I hope these items help it be a fun game of tetris, though!