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As much as I love camping, little is more frustrating than trying to make food in the middle of nowhere only to find you don’t have the right equipment. It’s like cooking in someone else’s kitchen: it’s really hard and the food doesn’t taste as good. Unless you are prepared and comfortable with your equipment, that is.

We’ve taken about six years to build up our camping kit, so this isn’t a shopping list of must haves – rather, it’s a ‘nice to have’ list to give you an idea of how camping with a babe in arms can be made simpler.

This also varies depending on where you’re camping and for how long. A weekend music festival will have different needs to a month long touring holiday. This is our full kit, geared towards a longer, low budget (i.e. less restaurants) holiday.

  • Gas stove and gas cylinderCamping Kitchen
    • You don’t have to have these. You could build a fire each time you wanted to cook, but that is such hard work and it is quite time consuming. Also, not all camp sites allow open fires. We have a two ring stove with a grill, but a single burner will do the job just fine too.
  • Pots and pans
    • These are next on our shopping list – at the moment we bring a frying pan and a pot from home. We like pasta, so we also bring a colander. There are much more space efficient options like the mess tin sets.
    • Your camping kettle. I love the old fashioned ones that whistle when the water is boiling.
  • Matches
    • As a non-smoker, matches never enter my thoughts, until I have a pot of water and no way of heating it! I’ve had to beg around many a camp site for matches! Now we keep two boxes in our picnic basket so that we’ll never be without again.
  • Utensils
    • Depending on your food choices, this might vary, but to us the essentials are knives, forks, spoons, a heat resistant mixing/serving/salad/stirring spoon, spatula, bread knife and a sharp vegetable knife.
  • Crockery
    • A plate, bowl and cup for each person. We also have pyrex wine glasses which slot in to each other when the base is clipped off.
    • A mixing bowl is also quite useful. You can use the pot or one of the bowls, but that can b++e troublesome.
  • Miscellaneous
    • A roll of tinfoil lives in our picnic basket. It comes in so useful with outdoor cooking, either as a wind shield, or as an additional pot. For years we wrapped veggies and fish in tinfoil with a splash of olive oil and herbs and put it on the fire for our dinner.
    • A pair of scissors – otherwise you may find yourself hacking at packaging with your car keys.
    • A bottle opener, and a tin opener.
    • A wash cloth and small bottle of washing up liquid
    • Serviettes or wet wipes
  • Cool box
    • Useful, but not for long periods and not on especially hot days. Once the ice has melted, the cool box becomes as warm as everything else, unfortunately – although adding newspaper to your cool box will extend the life of the cold.
  • Food
    • Salt, pepper, sugar and a jar of mixed herbs all in leak-proof, ant-proof, sealed containers.

Is there anything else that is an essential in your kitchen camping kit, or do you think I’ve missed anything out? Please let me know in the comments below!

Categories: Travel Tips

8 Comments

The Camping Kitchen

  1. Oh I love camping!!

    I agree, a gas stove is nice to have, particularly if it decides to pour down rain during your trip. That said, I vastly prefer to cook food on a wood fire (it just tastes so good!) and for that, I like a grill to place over a cooking fire. I’ve seen so many styles of this but so far my favorite was suitable both for cooking directly on or for putting a kettle or skillet on. IN fact, when browsing google, I found this picture (http://www.cabelas.com/link-12/product/0075623519613a.shtml?cm_mmc=Performics-_-CSE-_-GoogleBaseUSA-_-0075623519613a&cmCat=perf&rid=0180101070502&cm_ven=Affiliate&cm_ite=cabela&xpid=k232270&cm_cat=Google%20Product%20Listing%20Ads&cm_pla=Primary) and I have that exact same grill AND kettle!

    Depending on what sort of camping you’re doing, iron skillets/dutch ovens are worth their weight in gold. I have a dutch-oven (lovingly referred to as “the cauldron”) that is designed for sitting right on top of coals.
    http://www.outdoorcooking.com/ultimate-9.5-qt-dutch-oven-seasoned-cast-iron.html

    I absolutely adore this thing. I’ve made some of my best stews in there, not to mention delicious smoked turkeys and chickens. Nommy! I’ve seen some that are designed so that the lid does double duty as a skillet, too, though I actually have the one above and a separate skillet. I use the skillet for nearly every meal at home anyway.

    Obviously, the weight of these things makes them prohibitive for back-packing (unless you’re bringing a horse!) but otherwise, I consider them camping essentials. They are extremely easy to clean, heat evenly and are practically indestructible.

    I noticed you had a wooden spoon and that is exactly what I use. I love them, they won’t muss your “scratchables”, take up very little room, and can be used for everything from whipping scrambled eggs to mixing flapjack batter. Yum! The two other cooking tools I consider essential are a really good, sharp knife and a meat fork. My camping meat fork is used for messing with the coals as much as cooking, lol.

    The only other thing I can think of is that I don’t bring scissors. Instead I’ve got an army-issue “swiss army knife” that has everything you could possibly need on it from saws for cutting small branches for kindling to scissors to can-openers on it. It was a gift from a friend and we love it. It even has a compass on it! And a magnifying glass (for which I’ve only used it to look closely at interesting bugs with the kids, lol).

    Anyway, lovely post…now I want to go camping! It’s been too long!

    1. @Rebekah C, Thanks for such a great comment Rebekah! Funny, what you call a dutch oven, we call a ‘potjie’ in South Africa and yes, I grew up with that on the fire! My dad uses it to make the most amazing wood fire bread. Just awesome. Should get the recipe from him, I think!

      I too love my wooden spoon and use one at home too.

      You seem to cook a lot more meat when camping than we do… I guess we don’t really spend much time at the campsite (although we are on this trip) but I think a meat fork is essential on a wood fire, for sure.

      We have a swiss army knife somewhere that I actually bought for Martin in Zurich – I shall look for it and see how it works for us. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Well, this summer is perfect for camping, so give it a go!

  2. a head torch!

    a gas stove is a must, everything else is rubbish for cooking, although those throwaway BBQs are quite handy if you want to cook up some salmon or heat up pre-cooked chicken

    1. @bombi, Fab suggestion Lorraine! Our first night camping in France I was cooking by camera light – not ideal! Lol. While holding a baby. Less ideal!!

      I don’t really like those throwaway BBQ’s – I dont think the heat is ever just right for cooking – but fine for reheating, yes!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. @Luschka, hiya, our best camping experience so far was in the yurt – we had a wood burner to cook on. you can’t beat that!

        we are off on the 24th, will we get to see you this week or are your family here? x

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