Cooking equipment for Camping
Welcome to my top 10 list of best cooking equipment for camping. Hi, my name is JJ, and I am a professional chef who has worked in numerous award-winning restaurants for several years.
I use my passion for cooking combined with outdoor hiking and camping to relax on my days off.
Getting outdoors really helps me work on myself and helps me keep my mind healthy. It’s a great way for me to de-stress and work on keeping my mental health in the green.
In this article, I will share with you my top 10 best cooking equipment for camping so that you can learn to enjoy cooking outdoors.
Perhaps you may find a love for cooking when camping and you can pass on your knowledge to others like I hope to do.
Cooking When Camping
Cooking When Camping should be a joy. It should be quick and easy and in the end, you should be able to produce a meal that is flavorsome and fills you up.
It’s important that when you are cooking when camping you have the right equipment for camping. Having the right equipment when camping allows you to cook better meals.
With the right equipment for camping, cooking becomes less of a fuss and hopefully, you get less burnt meals.
Here I will run through my top 10 items everyone should have for cooking when camping.
Camping Cooking Essentials
My top 10 list of cooking equipment for camping and what I believe should be considered my camping cooking essentials are as follows:
1. Camping Stove
A Camping Stove is one of the most important pieces of cooking equipment for camping you can buy. It’s really important to do research into which is the best camping stove to suit your needs.
Considerations to make when buying a camping stove for camping are,
- How many people you will be cooking for
- What type of food you will be cooking ie boil in the bag or cooking from scratch.
- What fuel do you want to use, gas, liquid, gel, etc
- The size and weight of the cooking stove and portability
If you are trekking long distances then having a lightweight camping stove is key. Having a camping stove that comes included with pots or pans is a great option. A great camping stove I would highly recommend is the Trangia 25 or 27 that comes with everything you need to boil water or cook a full meal.
Read my review on the Trangia Cookset for more information.
What fuel you choose for your camping stove is important.
You have a lot to choose from and each one comes with its advantages and disadvantages.
Fuel sources for camping stove range from butane/propane canisters to alcohol or spirit burners.
My go-to choice always has to be gas canisters. Having a gas canister consisting of butane and propane allows me to control the cooking temperature. Being able to control the flame rate on my gas burner is key to cooking food the right way and there is less chance of burning food too.
A big pro to using gas canisters is that they tend to cook food a lot faster than a spirit burner and they are a lot cleaner too. Spirit burners tend to leave soot on pots and pans. If you are interested to learn more, read my article on Trangia Fuel and the different types.
3. Ignition Source
Having a light or matches is always the best option for starting up your cooking stove and getting straight to cooking.
You should always carry multiple ignition sources with you when possible as a backup. Nothing worse than being out in the wild and your lighter is out of fuel or your matches got wet.
When out camping or hiking I will normally carry with me a light, some survival matches that are my back up to my back up, and a ferro rod.
Having a Ferro rod I can easily get a spark that will light a spirit burner or a gas burner.
My number 1 ignition source will always be a disposable light. There’s no need to be messing about trying to make a spark to light a flame with you having something premade and fit for the job.
Sure, throwing out a load of sparks with a Ferro rod and knife might make you feel like an outdoorsman but my motto is to keep it stupid simple or keep it simple stupid.
4. Pots and Pans
No point in having a stove if you don’t have something to cook in and having a dedicated pot or pots and pans is what you need.
My choice is always a large pot or a couple of pots that will nest neatly into each other.
A pot is my prime choice as it allows you to boil water to be able to drink and wash with, first of all, this is very important.
Drinking bad water will end your camping trip with a very bad experience. Having your but explode during the night is not nice. Boil your water.
Having two nesting pots is what I normally have. I will use one to boil water and allow it to sit and cool while I cook in my second pot.
I don’t normally bring dinner wear with me like plates or bowls as I normally eat from the pot or my pan.
Having a frying pan is a pick-me-up item. Being able to fry brings your outdoor cooking skills to the next level.
Having a pan for cooking when camping gives you the option to quickly fry some bacon and eggs for a morning meal or pan fry meat to add that all-needed flavour.
Again, choose cooking equipment for camping that will suit your needs. For my needs, I always go with an all-in-one cooking system that has a burner and nesting pots and pan.
5. Silicone Spatula
Trust me, having a small silicone spatula is a lifesaver. I use them all the time in professional kitchens and next to my knife they are probably the most used utensil.
Choosing a silicone spatula helps prevent scraping up your pots and pans and is great for removing everything from your pots or pans.
This helps with reducing food waste and also helps for the end of cooking clean-up.
Having a silicone spatula over say a wooden spoon is cleaner too. Wooden spoons tend to soak up liquid being made from wood. Don’t clean your wooden spoon and bacteria can grow in no time.
Silicone spatulas are also heat resistant so you can use them for stirring food on the boil or flipping a fried egg. They are a fantastic must-have tool
6. Chefs Tweezers
Ok, hang with me a moment while I explain this one.
A chef’s tweezers are used for food, not eyebrows, although you could manage a pluck with practice.
In a professional kitchen, chef’s tweezers are great for grabbing food and transferring it or flipping it quickly and easily.
It’s extremely light so it’s great for bringing on a camping trip and gives you a tool that acts like an extension to your fingers.
You could use your fingers to flip hot food but unless you’ve been working in a kitchen for as long as I have and have no fingers prints from handling hot food I wouldn’t.
Having chef tweezers along with a spatula gives you a whole range of options and for me, it’s all I need.
7. Eating Utensils
Just get yourself a knife, fork, and spoon from home. Stick them in your cooking kit and you are good to go.
Having a spork might seem like a fantastic little device that will make your life a whole lot easier. Buts it’s just something you are going to have to go out and buy or order from Amazon. Just take some cutlery from home. You already have it and they are made for the job intended, eating food. Remember, keep it simple.
Depending on what I’m cooking I will often just grab a fork and spoon from home and stick them in my kit along with some reusable chopsticks.
I tend to cook a lot of pasta or noodle dishes when I’m out so most time I will use chopsticks.
I can also use chopsticks for whisking eggs or stirring pots so they are like my multi-tool for cooking.
8. Washing up kit
After cooking your evening or morning meal it’s very important to make sure you clean up everything before you put it away.
One of the key things to cooking in any kitchen is to clean as you go. Clean your hands and equipment and you will reduce the chances of getting yourself sick.
Cooking outdoors is the same thing. Cooking when camping it’s very important to keep things as clean as possible.
Personal Cleaning Kit
In my washing kit, I have a personal hygiene kit and my cooking wash-up kit.
After I have a hike and I set up camp I normally get a pot of water on the boil to wash up and clean off some of the dirt from the hike to my camping location.
Just washing your face and hands makes you feel fresh and it’s a great way to get comfortable for your night out.
My personal hygiene consists of a micro-fiber towel, some liquid soap, and hand sanitizer for cleaning on the go. I always bring a deodorant stick with me in my kit too so I smell fresh as a daisy.
Cooking Cleaning Kit
My cleaning kit for cleaning my cooking equipment also consists of a micro-fiber cloth, a small scouring pad, and some eco-friendly cleaner.
When washing up outdoors it’s best to stick with soap for eco-friendly cleaning. Using your off-the-shelf soaps may harm your local environment if emptied and this is something we don’t want to do.
It’s best to always opt for a, leave no trace policy when camping outdoors. Using eco-friendly products helps to achieve this goal while getting the job of cleaning accomplished.
Micro-fiber cloths are fantastic for cleaning and drying and it’s why I will always have one in both my cleaning kits. You can always hang them up to dry and they are always good to good again.
Micro-fiber cloths are also great because they remove more bacteria from surfaces so they are a great little cleaning tool to have.
9. Re-sealable bags
Forget bringing re-useable containers with you, they are bulking, prone to breaking and just a pain to bring when camping or hiking.
Get yourself some heavy-duty re-sealable bags that you can clean and reuse over and over.
Re-sealable bags allow you to carry individual items from dry goods like oatmeal or flour to liquids and meats.
Keep your nibbles and snacks in a re-sealable bag and inside your pocket and you can have an easy trail snack when out hiking.
While setting down to camp at night and you need to pee but it’s raining cats and dogs outside, a re-sealable bag is your friend. We won’t do a Bear Gryll’s on this one just put it to one side and remember the next morning where it is.
10. Water Filter
Carrying water is very important to stay hydrated. Water is more important than food and should always be a priority when camping or hiking.
Having a good source of clean water to hand helps keep your body functioning properly and reduces the chances of becoming sick.
When beginning my hike I will always have a 1ltr bottle of water with me to start my journey. I also carry with me a heavy-duty water pouch for collecting water from streams as I walk. Along with my water pouch, I have a miniature water filter which I can use to filter the stream water into a clean container, my water bottle.
This ensures that while I am out in the wild camping or hiking I always have a way to source water and filter is without the need to boil.
When you have your camp set up you can always gather water from a stream and boil it to sanitise but having a filter system is perfect and saves fuel.
Bonus Items. Condiments & Seasonings
No chef would be caught out cooking without having salt and pepper to hand while cooking when camping.
Just a little pinch of salt can elevate a good meal to a great meal. Always bring just enough that you won’t run out and will do you for all your cooking needs. A small container of salt will do for a couple of trips easy.
Along with salt and pepper, I always bring some hot sauce with me. Sriracha or Tabasco sauce can add a nice kick to food when camping that will make your mouth water.
It’s down to personal preference but having some form of extra seasonings makes a difference.
Stock/bouillon cubes. Add them to your camping cooking kit and put them in liquid or sprinkle them into your food. Believe it or not, bouillon cubes make a fantastic tasting drink in the middle of the night and are a great way of getting salt levels back up after a long hike.
Lastly have some form of cooking oil with you. Clarified butter is great as to is olive oil or palm oil. Just have some form of oil for extra calories with your evening meal and maybe fry up some bacon and eggs the next morning, yum.
These are my 10 camping cooking essentials to ensure you meet all your cooking needs. This cooking equipment for camping list is what I would consider my basic list of camping essentials and will do me for almost all occasions.
It depends on how long you are going to be out, how many you are cooking for and what type of food you plan on cooking.
I hope this list gives you some tips for creating your personalized camping equipment and that you get out and enjoy cooking more and more.
If you have made it this far I appreciate you sticking with it and I hope my article was of some use.
I hope you enjoy cooking more while out in the open.
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