10 Kitchen Essentials for Your Next Camping Trip

Camping is not complete without eating; and camping meal do not have to be boring.  Unless you are venturing out on a serious thru-hiking trip, bringing quality cooking tools is essential.  Thru-hikers have very limited space and weight in their packs for cooking purposes, but weekend and pleasure campers can pack a bit more, and it will be well worth it.  It will mean the difference between “home cooked” meals and beef jerky and candy bars for dinner.  

Here are 10 items you will want to consider taking on your camping trip. 

Whether you are gone for a weekend or two weeks, these items will make or break your eating experience.  In this writer’s opinion, quality is important.  While you do not want to break the bank preparing to camp, you want to keep in mind that made-to-last items will benefit you greatly in the outdoors.

  1. Liquid Fuel Stoves

While bonfires are fun and delicious ways to cook or roast your meal, stoves certainly come in handy for preparing certain foods, or as a second means for cooking when the fire grate is full.

In addition, during the early morning or in the rainy season it may be difficult to start a fire or keep it roaring. 

  1. Foldable Cast Iron Grill Grate

A strong and sturdy cast iron grill grate is necessary for cooking over the fire.  Some camping areas have pits with this feature, but many do not.  If you are building your own pit, this is obviously a crucial supply. 

  1. Strike Igniter

In addition to matches and portable handheld igniters, consider adding a strike igniter to your list of supplies. You never know when your matches will get wet or that handheld igniter will run out of fuel. Many companies carry the same type of strike igniters for around the same price. 

  1. Cast Iron

Many seasoned campers will tell you that their cast iron skillet is their favorite cooking product for camping.  Cast iron skillets can be used right over the fire, on the fuel stove, or the gas cooker.  They are extremely sturdy, tough, and made to last.  Cast iron offers an equal distribution of heat when cooking which means more thorough cooking. Because cast iron pans are never to be washed with soap, cleaning the pans in your camp is quick and easy.  A little water and paper towels will do the trick. 

A cast iron dutch oven – now that is an added bonus to your collection!  Leaving soup or stew cooking over the fire all afternoon on a fall day will make for a very rewarding dinner.  

  1. Camping Dishes

Unlike dishes in your home made of ceramic or porcelain, camping dishes must be rugged and sturdy.  Enamel is a good choice for your dishware.  Stainless steel is another quality choice, but will be much more expensive.  Other options are plastic and aluminum.  Make sure you have enough settings for the number of people you commonly camp with. 

  1. Cutlery

Knives, spoons, and forks are all important to have in your camping collection.  Options include titanium, stainless steel, and plastic.  Do not forget to pack other items such as a serving spoon to stir and serve food.  I have many times forgotten this important tool and it very much affects your meal. Ensure you pack different kinds of knives to facilitate what you will be preparing.  A metal spatula is also handy for cooking by the fire.

  1. Coffee Maker

If you’re like this camper, coffee in the early morning is a must.  There are many methods, products, and prices to choose from.  Check out this recent list of the best products out there right now. 

  1. Aluminum Foil

An easy supply to buy and pack – this essential “tool” will be a lifesaver for many of your campfire cooking needs.  Great to utilize for leftover food in your cooler as well. 

  1. Folding Cutting Board

Another lifesaver will be a folding cutting board.  Anytime you want to cook with fresh fruits or vegetables, this tool will be vital.  It will also prove handy for filleting those beautiful trout you caught or cutting your steak into bite-sized pieces for kabobs over the fire. 

  1. Water Carrier

Clean water is a human need, that is especially true when outdoors for a long period of time. In this situation, it is smart to carry your own drinking water as well as a water filter in case the stored water runs out.  There are many brands to choose from; five gallons will be the typical size.  Each person in your camp should have their own bottle they can refill at the carrier. Always research the availability of clean water in the selected camping site before you set out on your trip. 

All of these items are must-haves for cooking outdoors. Keeping a list and double-checking before you leave is important.  It is always frustrating to begin an exciting outdoor meal and realize you forgot to pack an important tool you need.  Proper packing of your tools is also important for ease of preparation and making sure your products are well taken care of.  You want your kitchen tools to provide you years of delicious outdoor cooking!