What’s better than a four-course meal in a swanky restaurant? Anything cooked outdoors.
There’s something special about being miles away from any type of restaurant and listening to the tin-foil fajitas sizzle on the crackling campfire. Simply put: nothing compares to campsite cuisine.
While we don’t mind a little dirt in our eggs here and there, we don’t love chaotic camping. A properly assembled camp kitchen is the most important part of any backcountry meal.
That’s why we compiled a list of gear suggestions and pro tips to make sure your camping cuisine tastes not only tastes incredible but helps make the entire trip memorable.
WHERE THE HECK IS ALL THE GEAR?
While camping season draws near, the scramble to find the gear you stowed away starts to become more and more necessary. We have learned throughout the years that locating all of the scattered, disorganized gear can be far less stress-inducing when it is grouped in specific storage tubs. We like the storage tubs that have small wheels on the bottom to easily stow/roll in the back of the car-camping setup, or under the bed during the off-season.
In our cooking/camping tub we have:
- Our two-burner stove (we love the Ignite and Ignite Plus)
- Two fuel canisters (check to make sure they are full)–nothing drains the life out of a camping experience like hunger does
- Our favorite pots and pans, alongside the important utensils and collapsible, portable bowls
- Spices – don’t forget the salt, sriracha, cayenne, cajun, curry, etc.! We are big fans of the small details, and those primary spices take your backcountry meal from a standard food experience to a **chef’s kiss** cuisine
- Paper towel roll, or a couple of wash rags, trash bag(s), and travel-size dish soap make the cooking-clean up a smoother, more efficient experience
CLEAN THAT COOKWARE
Cleaning your cookware is very important to keep the morale high for the next camping trip. It is so easy to say “We’ll clean it later,” until ‘later’ is your next camping trip, and the mac and cheese has cemented itself to your favorite camping pot. Our advice is to do a quick clean while camping, followed by a deep clean once you are home. In the comforts of your own home, you can soak the cookware in extremely hot/soapy water, without having to furiously scrub off the remnants of your camping trip.
Work smarter, not harder, right?
Do you use your dull pocket knife as a multitool? Do you cut cheese with this said pocket knife? Do you stab the can of baked beans until you’re able to pry open the top? If so, read this next suggestion carefully and s l o w l y. Investing in cookware specific to camping saves you so much time, and doesn’t dull out that trusty pocket knife nearly as fast. We urge you to check out your nearest Goodwill, or Humane Society. Buy a set of inexpensive pots/pans, can openers, utensils, and cutting boards. Create a portable kitchen that doubles as your camping kitchen.
(You, and your pocket knife, will thank us later.)
Also, if you are car camping– a portable/collapsible table provides the essential amount of space to prep and enjoy the cooking process.
WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
There are two types of people in the world– people who love extravagant meals while cooking, and people who would rather transform into sponges that only absorb water and air. But we digress. Extravagant meals or not, creating a menu prior to sitting riverside in your collapsible camping chair makes such a difference. Portioning out those entree ingredients helps lighten the load, and makes the prep far less time-consuming. Our favorite, go-to recipe? A chicken curry that’s premade, and placed into portable containers. Pour your premade/frozen curry into your new (to you) Goodwill pot on one burner, and boil your rice on the other burner. While your delicious entree cooks, refresh that beverage in your camping mug.
Eating that steaming entree in your lap, and in the light of your headlamp, with the people you love most, is an irreplaceable memory. Make the most of your memories.
Good luck out there, you backcountry chefs.