Essential camp cooking gear for your next camping adventure
Think you need to compromise on food choice and preparation when camping? Think again! There's (almost) nothing you can cook up at home that you can't replicate to some degree when out in the wilds.
Our handy checklist of camp cooking essentials makes it easy for you to get the gear that's right for you, and your food preferences, to make cooking on your next camping trip a gourmet adventure too.
Important things to keep in mind
When choosing your essential camp cooking equipment, keep the following in mind:
- How often you'll be using your camp cooking equipment;
- The number of people you'll likely be cooking for;
- The weight of the equipment (very important for hikers);
- Access to power;
- The kinds of energy or fire sources that are permitted at your favourite camping spots;
- How much space you have available in your pack (another important point for hikers), and;
- How much room your camp cooking equipment will take up in your car or 4X4.
For keeping things cold and fresh
Do you only go away for a few days at a time? Heading off on a fishing trip and just need something to maintain the freshness of your catch for the day? A good quality ice box will be your best bet.
If you do lengthier trips, or you're into off-the-grid or remote camping, powered fridges and freezers are better options because you'll be able to keep things chilled (and fresher) for longer.
When stepping up to a powered fridge/freezer, look at its energy consumption. While many camping sites supply mains power, you should be prepared to run it off a portable battery just in case, and always run your fridge/freezer in a cool, shady spot to save energy.
For food preparation and cooking
Good food needs the right preparation. Camp kitchens help keep meal preparation and cooking areas organised, so it's so much easier for your camp cooking guru to whip up the kind of tucker that has everyone coming back for more.
Because of their versatility and lifespan (when looked after properly), cast iron grills, hot plates and camp ovens are almost impossible to toss. Enjoy a feed of bacon and eggs, grilled meats and fish, or barbecue veggies, slow-cooked stews or campfire popcorn over a roaring campfire for just yourself or a veritable army of hungry campers.
The range of stoves and BBQs to choose from means there are so many kinds of foods you can enjoy when camping.
Single-burner camping stoves are perfect for one to two people or hikers who need to pack lightly. Double-burner stoves suit groups of four to six people, while the more burners the better when it comes to the right stove for families to cook for everyone at once.
Larger cookers and BBQs heat pots and pans more evenly, and are also better geared to handle the weight of cast-iron cookware like dutch ovens, griddle plates and smokers.
A wise person once said: work smarter, not harder. There's almost no end to the selection of purpose-designed spatulas, tongs and forks for camping. You'll also find campfire cooking life's a breeze with coffee makers and kettles, vacuum sealers for keeping leftovers from spoiling, and cleaning products to keep your gear in top nick.
For when it's chow time
The best part: chowing down on your lovingly prepared campfire dinner!
Like utensils and cookware, camping tableware is purpose-designed for the rough and tumble of camp cooking and thriving in the outdoors. And, no matter that you're out in the wild, you're still civilised, and like to eat with even a minor level of sophistication, right?
Multi-piece cutlery and tableware sets are great for families, while individual knives, forks and sporks are great for backpacking and trekking. Vacuum-sealed coffee and tea mugs and tumblers keep insects and other nasties from getting into your drinks (and possibly even stinging your mouth!). Easy to clean polycarbonate tableware, stainless steel water bottles and BPA-free cutlery, plates and storage containers help take the burden off the environment and promote sustainability.
No camp kitchen at your favourite holiday spot? No problem.
Choosing the right fridge, stove, cookware, utensils and tableware makes camp cooking easy and fun. It also means you don't have to sacrifice good tucker when away on holidays and enjoying the great outdoors.
Now that you have the essentials, if you're in need of some great camping recipes or inspiration make sure you check out our Easy Camping Food Ideas article!