The camping kitchen is an integral part of any memorable camping trip. There is no one way of ensuring an effective camping cooking environment, however. Each kitchen will be slightly different depending on factors such as the type of camping, size of the group and special eating preferences.
Still, you’d probably like a basic checklist to help you decide the bits of equipment you may forget otherwise. Follow ours and you’ll be well on your way to mastering the camping cooking experience.
A good camping stove is the centrepiece of every camping kitchen. At least, it is for those of you who aren’t so comfortable with campfire cooking techniques. When searching for your ideal camping stove, there are two key factors that must be considered – the occasion and number of campers.
Knowing what type of camping outing or event you’re buying your stove for will help you to determine which is best.
- For family camping, you’ll require a larger stove. The stove will have at least two large hobs for preparing a lot of food for a big group
- Trekkers, on the other hand, need a stove that is portable. The stove will be lighter and more compact for easy storage and carrying.
- Longer expeditions need a stove that is durable. Expeditions are usually lengthy and take place in extreme climates. A stove – like a multifuel stove – can optimize for harsh weather.
Number of campers
Nobody wants to be waiting another 20 minutes while their family’s eating because their camping kitchen stove couldn’t accommodate enough food. Nor do they want to be carrying more burners than is necessary during a solo travel.
- Two burners are more than sufficient for groups of no more than 3 campers. A stove that packs safely amongst other equipment and has a high BTU performance is adequate.
- Large groups of three and above will have more mouths to feed. At this point, you need to also consider the duration of the trip. Buying one massive camping stove is impractical. Instead, buy two separate stoves – one with two burners and another with one or two too. This will also allow more than one person to cook at a time speeding up prep times.
Because there are so many varieties available for each, there are pros and cons for both gas and liquid fuel camping stoves.
- Butane is a very popular choice. It’s less toxic which makes it suitable for being used and stored indoors. It also connects simply to a apposite stove and produces a high heat output in a small canister. In fact, it can produce 12% more energy than propane.
- Where propane stands out is that it can produce a lot energy in colder environments. Propane boils at approximately -43 degrees, whilst gases like butane require much warmer temperatures. This allows propane to be used in any camping occasion without having to warm the canister first.
- Though is can be difficult to light at times, paraffin is generally one of the safer liquid fuels. Paraffin is a refined, distilled version of kerosene but it still produces a lot of soot.
- Kerosene works in the same way as paraffin. Mainly, it differs from paraffin because it produces a strong odour and more soot. Consequently, kerosene isn’t best suited for use indoors.
- Provided you have the space and load tolerance, methylated spirits are a useful alternative. The reason for the increased size and weight is that meths burn at a lower temperature than other fuels. So they require more spirit for a long, strong burn.
Now consider a complete camping cook set and utensils for your camping kitchen. These sets are specifically designed for camping cooking, so they are more convenient than standard sets. The best cook sets are light and compactible, yet still durable and safe.
- Just like the pots and pans you’d use at home, it’s common to find stainless steel cook sets. Though it’s quite heavy to lug around, steel is strong and scratch-resistant. Moreover, it doesn’t conduct heat broadly leading to dangerous hot spots.
- Aluminium is a lot lighter, and less durable, than stainless steel. But it thrives at conducting heat evenly across the material which is ideal for gently heating food.
- For a cook set that is both lightweight and durable, then titanium is a top pick for campers who hope to pack light. Though, titanium isn’t the best at conducting heat and is costlier than the other options.
Number of pieces
- Small groups of between one and three people can survive on a pot each. A pot will serve more than one function. If you are backpacking or trekking and are efficiency-conscious, a single pot can be used to cook and eat from. A decent size will be one that can hold up to 2 litres.
- A complete cook set is the way forward for large groups. This is when your camping cooking arrangement really starts to resemble a camping kitchen. The set contains pots and pans capable of nesting together for space-saving.
In camping kitchen, storage and preservation of food is as important cooking is. Without decent choices, where will you keep perishables or opened rations? Cool bags and cool boxes perform similar tasks but at differing levels of effectiveness.
A cool bag is an insulated container used to keep food and drink in at an optimum temperature. They are built for travelling and, unlike the cool box, they are constructed from softer materials. This makes the cool bag more practical than the cool box as it is easier to pack amongst other camping gear. When used with freeze gel packs, a cool bag can keep food items cool for slightly longer.
The standard cool box is moulded from hard plastic and work in conjunction with icepacks stowed inside. They are not capable of making food colder but, due to their hard shell, they can keep food cool for hours longer than the cool bag. Usually, day campers, festival-goers and picnickers have one in tow.
Electric Cool Box
Using a temperature controlling system, the electrically-powered cool box will keep food and drink at a temperature for longer. Many cool boxes of this type are also capable of switching between cooling and heating functions insulating either cold or hot food. Simply connect to a 12v connector – like the one from a car cigarette lighter – or a mains on campsite.
Your accessories. Purchase a fire starter to get things heated up and a tin opener for tinned foods.
- Travel Kettle
- Bottle Opener
- Ziploc Bags
- Measuring cups
- Aluminium foil
- Wash basin
- Soap for pots and pans
- Dish scrubber
- Wet Wipes
- Rubbish bags
Health and Safety
- First Aid Kit
- Anti-bacterial handwash
- Toilet Roll
- Scrub pad/brillo
- Work gloves
- Pot holder/mitts