What Are The Best Camp Cooking Gear And Essentials?
Cooking while camping can be fun and simple thanks to the variety of portable camp cooking equipment that is available. With a little bit of forethought, you can enjoy tasty (and easy to make) food with a minimum of fuss when you’re out and about in nature.
It’s important to remember, when you’re considering which portable cooktop, fridge or food options are right for you, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Keep the following points in mind when weighing up what kinds of camp cooking essentials are right for you.
Take some time to think about how often you’ll be using your cooking implements, the number of people they’ll need to service, the weight of the equipment (if you’re planning on hiking), power supply, energy use, and space considerations when it comes to making room for them in your car, van or 4WD alongside the rest of your camping gear.
The size of the portable fridge that’s right for you depends a lot on its capacity & dimensions.
If you’re camping for a short period of time, or you’re heading off on a fishing trip and need something reliable to maintain the freshness of your catch, a larger cooler/icebox is often better value for money. If you’re going away for lengthier trips, a fridge/freezer is a better option as this will allow you to keep things chilled (and fresher) for longer periods of time.
Two key factors you should also consider are capacity & dimensions. The capacity will vary from an 11L fridge that is designed to fit where your console is, all the way to a 95L Dual Zone fridge. A dual Zone fridge will have two separate compartments and will give you the option to run a fridge & a freezer at the same time. Single Zone fridges/freezers only give you the option run one or the other.
Additionally, you should consider the fridge’s power source and energy consumption. While many camping sites supply 240V mains power, you should be prepared just in case and there are still many alternatives you can look at to ensure your food and drinks remain properly chilled. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the larger the fridge, the more it will weigh, so remember to look at mobility options available for bigger units, such as portable trolleys.
Always run your fridge/freezer in a cool, shady spot - fridges in direct heat work harder to keep the contents cold, which drains your energy source faster. Investing in a low voltage protector can also help you avoid flattening your battery from running a cooling unit. A fridge cover provides extra insulation from extreme outside temperatures and helps conserve power whilst improving overall efficiency.
Cast Iron & Open Fire Cooking
Ask anyone who loves cooking on an open fire and chances are, cast iron is a staple in their go-to camping kit. Cast iron is second to none when it comes to long-lasting performance and can include Dutch ovens, skillets, frypans and more.
Buy them standalone, or purchase as part of a complete set, cast iron is easy to clean, retains heat longer (perfect for slow cooking meat or stews) and can be used on a gas stove or open fire. You can also cook almost anything in them – from bacon and eggs, to grilled meats and slow cooked stews and even making campfire popcorn from scratch using a dutch oven and a touch of butter and salt.
If you’re looking for great value camping cookware that is long-lasting and easy to maintain, we couldn’t recommend cast iron more!
Camp Stoves & BBQs
For a lot of campers, nothing beats watching a spectacular sunrise with a coffee and a delicious breakfast of eggs and bacon or steaming hot porridge. For some, it’s that hearty meal after an invigorating hike or bushwalk, and ask any angler and they’ll tell you that few things in life compare to a meal of fresh cooked seafood you’ve caught yourself that very same day. The range of stoves and BBQs available make camp cooking so easy for you that you don’t have to compromise on the quality of food you can enjoy when camping.
Single-burner camping stoves do an outstanding job for one to two people and make an excellent choice for hikers. Double-burner stoves suit groups of four to six and are ideal for car camping. Three-burner options are the perfect choice for larger groups of people.
Families often find they get better value from stoves with bigger burners so they can cook for everyone at once. Larger cookers and BBQs will heat pots and pans more evenly, and they are also better equipped to handle the weight of cast-iron cookware like Dutch ovens, griddle plates and smokers.
As well as cookers, you can also choose from a number of utensils and other tableware, coffeemakers, kettles, vacuum sealers and cleaning products to help make your camp cooking that little bit easier and more fun in the process.
If you haven’t already, check out our Good Camping Habits article for tips on how to ensure your next camping trip is an eco-friendly one!
And now for the extra fun part… camp food!
When you’re camping, easy, convenient and tasty food is something you need to take into consideration. Planning your meals in advance will ensure you don’t end up with less food than you require. Bringing along pre-packaged food designed specifically for camping, or making your meals at home, is a handy space-saving initiative and a great way to make sure your food is ready to eat when you want it.
Dehydrated Foods (Pre-Packaged)
Dehydrated foods are the quickest and easiest way to ensure you get three square meals per day when you’re camping. All you need to do is add purified water to the packaging and you’re ready to enjoy a delicious and quick meal. There’s also a wide selection of pre-packaged snacks – like trail mix, protein balls and cookies – for when it’s time to stave off any between meal hunger pains with a snack.
Preparing Meals Pre-Camping
Not only can it be cost-effective but also preparing meals before you leave is a great way to cater to different food allergies or provide options for those keen on low calorie meals or looking to minimise waste by leaving the packaging at home.
There’s an excellent range of storage options that will keep your food fresh but, as many camp cooking enthusiasts will tell you, nothing beats the convenience of vacuum sealing your food at home. Vacuum sealing your food helps keep it fresher for longer as it deprives the food of oxygen, making it an excellent space-saving option where the flavours can also (sometimes) develop over time. It’s a good way to go gourmet while camping.
No electric or gas stove and oven at your campsite? No problem. Choosing the right fridge, camp stove or BBQ and foods means you don’t have to sacrifice convenience, freshness or taste when enjoying the great outdoors.
Far from being a hassle, camp cooking is straightforward, easy and – above all – fun!