There is nothing better than a good road trip to reconnect with yourself and others, away from your daily routine. Still, if you are planning at the last minute, you might be worried about keeping your snacks fresh without a cooler. Have no fear. We’ve created this list of go-to non-refrigerated road trip snacks to fuel your next journey.
Should You Pack Non-Refrigerated Road Trip Snacks?
While some people prefer to carry a cooler with snacks, the reality is that hauling and prepping a cooler is a lot of work. On the other hand, non-refrigerated road trip snacks are convenient and easy to pack.
I love taking road trips with my two kids, but I prefer to take the road as it comes rather than plan every stop along the way. Non-refrigerated road trip snacks don’t require any special storage or planning. You can keep them in your car or backpack, and the snacks will be ready when you need them.
One other benefit is that non-perishable road trip snacks often include items like fruits and nuts, which aren’t generally as expensive as processed and packaged foods. So your non-perishable snacks might save you a few dollars too.
Top 35 Non-Refrigerated Road Trip Snacks
Now that you are convinced that you need to pack some non-perishable snacks and that you don’t need a cooler, it’s time to decide what to pack. And let’s be honest, this part can be daunting. f
Fortunately for you, we organized our list of the top 75 non-refrigerated road trip snacks into
Snack Category #1: Nuts and Seeds
You’ve likely heard that nuts are high-calorie snacks you should avoid if you are watching your weight, but nuts and seeds have significant health benefits. And if you can replace less healthy snacks with nuts and seeds, the benefits may compound.
Studies show that nuts and seeds may lower the risk of developing high blood pressure and even lower the risk of cancer. Plus, nuts are delicious. Cashews and pistachios are my favorites, but sunflower seeds are good too.
Here are a few nuts and seeds to consider as a non-perishable snack for your road trip:
- Almonds: Crunchy and packed with healthy fats.
- Cashews: Creamy and satisfying, they’re like little kidney-shaped smiles.
- Pistachios: Enjoy cracking them open and snacking on the popular green nut.
- Peanuts: Classic and versatile, perfect for munching or making peanut butter.
- Sunflower seeds: Pop them in your mouth and enjoy the satisfying crunch.
Snack Category #2: Dried Fruits
Fortunately for us, dried fruit is another non-refrigerated road trip snack that offers health benefits in addition to being tasty. Dried fruits are rich in fiber and high in antioxidants.
Here we offer a list of some of our favorite dried fruits.
- Raisins: Nature’s wrinkled little surprises, great for a sweet fix.
- Dried apricots: Tangy, orange gems that taste like sunshine.
- Dried mangoes: Tropical and chewy, with a burst of flavor in every bite.
- Dried cranberries: Tart and slightly sweet, they add a zing to your snack mix.
- Dried apples: Crisp and lightly sweet; these are like nature’s chips.
Snack Category #3: Granola and Cereal Bars:
While nuts and dried fruit are likely the healthiest snack options, when you head out on a long road trip, you will likely want a little more variety. Granola bars are often a good source of fiber and protein, but some are also loaded with sugar.
Granola bars are great as a non-perishable road trip snack, but be careful if you are eating your granola bars as an alternative to Snickers and other candy bars. You might be surprised to learn that some snack bars are low in protein and fiber and loaded with sugar.
Still, it’s hard to deny that granola bars are convenient when you are hungry and ready to snack. And many are delicious. Here is a list of our favorite snack bars:
- Kind Bars: Delicious and wholesome, you can enjoy them with no regrets.
- Nature Valley Bars: The perfect balance of crunchy and chewy.
- Clif Bars: Packed with nutrients, these bars are ready to fuel your adventures.
- RXBARs: Simple ingredients and bold flavors, they’re the real deal.
- Larabars: Sweet and satisfying, a guilt-free treat made from real ingredients.
Snack Category #4: Jerky and Meat Snacks
We realize that jerky won’t appeal to everyone. I must admit that Buc-ee’s jerky wall makes me a little uncomfortable when I walk about. Even so, there are many reasons to consider packing some jerky on your next road trip.
Most jerky has a long shelf life and is easy to hold and eat. This makes it the near-perfect snack on a long car ride. And here is a road trip fun fact for you: the average American traveler is willing to road trip for about three hours in each direction. You are going to want a snack along the way, and jerky is convenient to carry.
Jerky is also packed with protein. Just keep in mind that it is also sodium-rich, so while jerky is convenient, and some love the taste, it should be eaten in moderation.
Here are a few jerky and meat snack options to consider for your next road trip:
- Beef jerky: Chewy strips of savory delight, a road trip classic.
- Turkey jerky: A leaner option with the same great flavor; gobble it up.
- Chicken jerky: Tender and tasty, like chicken wings without the mess.
- Pepperoni sticks: Spicy and satisfying, a portable pizza party.
- Slim Jims: Snap into these iconic meat sticks and unleash your inner child.
Snack Category #5: Crackers and Rice Cakes
We all know that chips are a classic road trip snack, and I’ve eaten more than my fair share of Pringles and Cheeto’s Puffs. Still, crackers and rice cakes offer a tasty alternative to most gas station chip bags and likely provide a little more nutritional value.
Crackers and rice cakes are satisfying to eat on their own, but they are also the perfect snack to combine with other snacks. Whether you are eating apples or peanut butter, you will likely find a cracker or rice cake worth pairing.
And while our list is focused on non-refrigerated road trip snacks, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that some of the crackers are perfect to pair with cheese dips and spreads. Either way, here is a list of crackers and rice cakes to consider on your next adventure:
- Wheat crackers: Versatile and crispy, the perfect vessel for spreads and dips.
- Rice crackers: Light and airy, they’re like little puffs of happiness.
- Multigrain crackers: A symphony of flavors in every bite, snack time harmony.
- Saltine crackers: Simple and satisfying, they’re the unsung heroes of snacking.
- Sesame rice cakes: Delicate and nutty, with a little added texture.
Snack Category #6: Popcorn and Pretzels
Popcorn and pretzels represent yet another alternative to chips and Cheetos. Plus, popcorn and pretzels now come in nearly endless varieties. From cheesy flavoring to honey mustard and from chocolate to caramel, these snacks often offer the perfect combination of sweet and salty.
For extra-long road trips where you need a little excitement to occupy your mind, mix in some M&Ms or your favorite chocolate candy. You might be surprised how well M&Ms pair with high-quality popcorn.
Here are our favorite popcorn and pretzel snack suggestions for your next road trip:
- Popcorn (pre-popped): Fluffy and addictive, like eating clouds of happiness.
- Pretzels (mini or sticks): Crunchy and salty, the perfect road trip companion.
- Pretzel crisps: Thin and crispy, they’re like pretzels on a diet.
- Cheese puffs: Cheesy, crunchy, and irresistible, it’s a party in your mouth.
- Chocolate-covered pretzels: Perhaps the perfect sweet and salty snack.
Snack Category #7: Trail Mix
Last but not least, you can always stick with trail mix. It’s tried and true, and it’s tasty. And some trail mixes offer a combination of several of our suggestions from above.
I mean, who doesn’t find the combination of salty peanuts, sweet raisins, and morsels of chocolate satisfying? I know I do, but one of the great things about trail mix is that there are nearly endless possibilities. You can make your own trail mix or buy a quality trail mix combination from the store.
This non-refrigerated road trip snack is quintessential Americana. Here is a list of some of our favorite road trip mixes to consider:
- Classic trail mix: Nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate, a blend of flavors and textures.
- Tropical trail mix: Dried pineapple, coconut, and macadamia nuts.
- Chocolate trail mix: A chocoholic’s dream, packed with chocolate-covered goodies.
- Spicy trail mix: Kick it up a notch with a mix of spicy nuts and wasabi peas.
- Yogurt-covered trail mix: Sweet, tangy, and always satisfying.
Choosing the Best Non-Refrigerated Road Trip Snacks
You may or may not like some of the snacks we’ve included on our list, and that’s ok. After all, I take a lot of road trips, and sometimes I appreciate some Cheetos too. You will also need to consider your dietary needs and the dietary needs of those traveling with you. We don’t recommend taking road trips alone 😎.
With that said, there are some practical tips to help you choose the best road trip snacks. You will notice that many of the snacks we recommended are high in protein. Choosing high-protein snacks with lots of fiber will help you stay full as you travel.
Eat your Cheetos every now and then, but try to avoid snacks that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats. This will benefit you in the long term, but it may also help you avoid a mental fog while traveling.
Lastly, pack a variety of snacks to avoid getting bored along the way.
How to Pack Non-Refrigerated Road Trip Snacks
The good thing about this list is that you don’t have to give much thought to how you pack your goodies. After all, that’s why you are interested in non-refrigerated road trip snacks. Still, there are a few tips to consider before you head out.
While your snacks don’t need to be refrigerated, they can still get stale. To prevent this, pack your snacks in an airtight container or bag. This will also help prevent unwanted snacks.
Lastly, pack a bag that can easily fit by you in the car, and where the snacks are easily accessible. Your snacks won’t do you much good if they are packed where you can’t reach them.
Non-Refrigerated Road Trip Snacks Save The Day
Non-refrigerated road trip snacks are a great way to stay fueled and satisfied while you’re on the road. By following these tips, you can choose the best non-refrigerated snacks for your next road trip.