Chapter 4: All About Camping Kitchen Equipment and Cookware
Cooking outdoors is different from cooking indoors because you have to make do with minimum resources and the most basic of equipment. That’s why it’s important that you get to test any camping cookware prior to purchasing or taking it with you on your trip.
Also when shopping for camping kitchen equipment, be sure to take into account the factors below:
Type of Food
What kind of food do you expect to cook while camping? Canned goods are the easiest because you only have to heat them. You don’t have to worry about whether they’re fresh or spoiled and you don’t have to season them. But what if you’re thinking of preparing stew or cooking fresh meat?
Avoid purchasing kitchen equipment that only serves a single purpose. Specialized materials and features might work in your kitchen back home but not when you’re cooking outdoors and every pound you’re carrying on your back could make a huge difference in how much distance you could cover when hiking.
A pot set, for instance, could have lids double as plates; in addition, detachable potholders could double as spoons and so forth.
Ease of Use
Here, we’re talking about camping stoves, burners, and the like. You want something that’s easy and quick to use, something you won’t have trouble starting even in the windiest or wettest weather.
You should also look for camping kitchen equipment and cookware that is just as quick to store away, hopefully in a more compact design, so as not to take too much space in your backpack (if it doesn’t come with its own carrying case, that is).
Never forget this – especially with camping kitchen and dining equipment and utensils because they’re definitely not the cheapest items on your outdoor gear checklist.
A Checklist for Camping Kitchen and Dining Essentials
Avoid using any disposable materials as much as possible. This will only add to waste problems and could increase the harm done to our environment. If you want to look forward to having more outdoor vacations in the future then do your best to conserve nature and invest in durable materials that could serve you for a lifetime.
Liquid or Drink Holders (e.g. cups, bowls)
Look for water bottles that offer insulation to keep hot or cool drinks at the desired temperature. If possible, look for those that come with covers that could double as cups or bowls as well.
Camping Stoves or Burners and Dutch Ovens
These are at the heart of your camping kitchen so choose wisely. Without them, the rest of your kitchen and dining set is useless.
A Dutch oven is basically a metal pot that you can cook on an open fire. It can be made of various metals but materials like lodge enamel are preferable because they’re the type in which you can cook marinated meat without having the flavors absorbed by your pot. They can also be safely used for sautéing, simmering, steaming, and braising, making it into an all-in-one essential. In addition, when shopping for Dutch ovens, consider the amount of liquid or food they can handle. This is usually measured by the quart.
Shopping for a camping stove or burner, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated because there are various features to consider.
Size and Weight
Obviously, you want something compact and lightweight but at the same time big enough to handle your pans and pots. Remember that size and weight is relative as well to the number of burners the camping stove comes with.
Automatic Ignition and Other Controls
The best camping stoves offer push-button or automatic ignition. Simply put, you just have to push a button to get your stove heated up. But it should also allow you to use separate fire starters or matches in the event that the ignition button malfunctions.
If your camping stove has more than one burner, individual or separate controls must be offered. There should also be controls that will let you adjust or choose the flame you need for your cooking.
Camping stoves use a variety of fuels. It could be white gas, isobutene, propane, or unleaded gas. White gas has been proven to provide the greatest heat, which is essential if you are camping during the winter. Propane-powered stoves, on the other hand, are said to be more user friendly because the fuel usually comes in bottles, which you only have to attach to your camping stove when you’ve run out of fuel.
Many new camping stove models double as camping lights or lanterns as well. Additional light is never a bad thing when you’re outdoors so if you can afford to purchase one then go ahead and do so.
Some come with windscreens as a built-in feature while others are sold separately. They’re essential when you’re cooking in windy or rainy weather.
This is a general or collective term used for all cooking and dining equipment and tools, including, but not limited to, the various types of pots and pans you believe you’ll need (e.g. soup pots, fry and pie pans, skillet, sauce pan) and forks, knives, spoons, and of course, plates and bowls.
Obviously, it’s mostly up to you to determine what the ideal camping kitchen set is for your unique circumstances. If you are decided on a gourmet menu even while you’re outdoors then you may need more than one kitchen and dining set. Regardless of your menu preferences, the features below will prove pertinent.
This simply means that you can pack them nested inside each other for more compact storage. It takes up less space that way.
Material – Look for mess kits that use completely hygienic materials as well as being able to offer proper insulation at the same time.
It may not be strictly necessary but having it around makes life so much simpler and easier so don’t forget this! In fact, it’s preferable if you bring a spare.
Food and Other Supplies
Think oil for cooking, charcoal or gas for your stove, and of course, salt and pepper and all other food, spices, or condiments you feel that you can’t live without.
Aluminum Foil, Wax Paper, and Garbage Bags
The major thing all three have in common is that they reduce or eliminate waste. With the first two, you can safely keep leftovers and keep them – if not fresh – then relatively edible for the next meal. Garbage bags, on the other hand, help you keep from littering, which is one of the biggest sins you could commit when vacationing outdoors.
Optional and Miscellaneous Cooking and Dining Items
If there’s room to spare in your backpack or RV then consider taking any or a combination of the items listed below. They’re not that important but they can make your life a lot more pleasant.
This will give you a quicker and more hygienic means of chopping freshly hunted game or catch.
If you plan to live for at least a week in the wilderness, it’s only a matter of days before you get weary of feasting on the same dishes from breakfast to dinner. A camping cookbook, however, will help guarantee a delight for your palate every day even though you’re virtually using the same resources with which to prepare your food.
Recommended Items for Kitchen and Dining Essentials
Again, these are simply suggestions to help you make the most effective purchases for your outdoor trip.
Product: MSR Simmerlite Stove S10
: With this camping stove, you’ll no longer have to worry about having enough fuel canisters packed away. It also boasts of one of the most noise free operations among camping stoves.
Product: Jetboil Helios Cooking System – S09
Its all-in-one design utilizes bestselling and award-winning technology to provide campers with the easiest and most comfortable cooking experience outdoors as well as efficient fuel consumption to ensure that you’ll enjoy properly cooked meals until the very end of your camping trip.
Product: MSR Flex 4 Pot Set – S10
Be ready to feed a virtual army with the Flex 4 pot set from leading brand MSR. Included in the set is a 5.3L pot of hard-anodized steel, a 3.2L non-stick pot, and a spare strainer lid. They come in a nested design for space-saving storage and can even accommodate up to four plates and mugs for storage.