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Camping cooking gear is an essential element of camping with your family. Tips for how to make and eat good food when you’re outdoors, including ideas for equipment, supplies, tools, and more.
Camping cooking gear is one of the first things I pack for every camping trip we take. We have to eat, and since we do our best to include most of our food in our usual grocery budget, we need to make sure our camping kitchen is ready to go.
We’ve really thought through the set up and take down of all our camping cooking equipment, because we really try to be as efficient as possible. We usually camp in the middle of nowhere where bears are an issue, so we have to be able to pack things up tight at night to keep everyone safe.
Our camping kitchen has come a long way since our early days of camping. While our setup isn’t really fancy, it definitely works for us. We constantly look for ways to affordably improve it, but I have to say… We eat pretty darn good when we’re on the road.
Want to see how we cook while camping? Watch our video!
Food Storage Tips for Outdoor Cooking:
When it comes to packing up our food, I like to stop and think before I ever pack. The way I pack is how our food will be stored while we’re traveling, so it needs to be both efficient and easy to get out/put away.
We usually pack 2 to 3 ice coolers:
- One large cooler for most of our food
- A drinks cooler with water (because I prefer cold water in my water bottle, especially during the summer) and maybe a few juice boxes
- And sometimes a “lunch” cooler for sandwich and lunch materials
We have 2 food boxes, and we picked up plastic bins for this. One food box holds all our non-perishable food items; the other we like to call the snack box because it holds all our snacks and foods we may want to get into through the day when we’re not necessarily sitting in a campsite but out exploring.
What to Pack in Your Camp Kitchen Box:
The camp kitchen box is the heart of your camping kitchen. It’s important to pack all the necessary camping cooking gear you’ll need for cooking meals while gone.
Most of our equipment is from our own kitchen, and we’ve designated it for camping (not all but most). So it lives in our camp box.
Tools, utensils, dishes, and camping cooking equipment we pack in our camp kitchen box and camp trailer include:
- Plates, bowls, and cups – If you really want to keep it simple, you may find cheap summer picnic ware at a local store like Walmart. It’s usually plastic, but it’s definitely cheap.
- Water bottles
- Silverware (or plastic eating utensils)
- Cooking utensils – spatula (can’t cook without it), flipper spatula, ladle, large serving spoon, whisk, wooden spoon/spatula set, chopping knife, paring knife, can opener, vegetable peeler, grater, etc.
- Cutting board
- Mixing bowl
- Set of nesting pots
- Tea kettle – Ok, so we don’t actually have a tea kettle; we just use a pan. But I’m thinking we definitely need this.
- Iron skillet or two
- Dutch Oven with Dutch Oven Tripod
- Roasting Sticks
- Camp stove toaster
- Pot holders
- Ziploc bags and trash bags
- Aluminum foil
- Scrubbing pads/wash cloths/quick drying towels
- Paper towels
- Campsuds for washing
Also, don’t forget to pack a first aid kit, a must have for any camping trip.
Bigger Camping Cooking Gear to Pack:
In our early days, we relied on a small table that folded out the back of our old Honda. It was super small, but it helped a lot by giving us extra space to prep food.
With overlanding and dispersed camping, you don’t usually have any of the perks of campground camping, like a picnic table or a grill. You’re lucky if you have a stump. And sometimes you have to improvise.
Outfitting your kitchen is a necessary improvisation for camping with a family. Just a few items we recommend…
Coleman Pack-Away Deluxe Kitchen – We bought this back when we first got our rooftop tent. While we don’t necessarily use the sink part, we use the table more as a place to hold our cookstove and set things like plates, condiments, and utensils when we’re making breakfast or dinner.
This table has come in handy more times than I can count. Cons: It’s pretty heavy (and a little bulky). But it works for what we need.
Coleman 2 Burner Stove – Sometimes we cook over a campfire, if we’re allowed to have one. But there have been many times when we’re not allowed to have a fire (when there’s a burn ban in the area we’re exploring). We use the heck out of our stove.
Portable Charcoal Grill – Sometimes we take our grill along, and other times we leave it at home. It’s definitely nice to have with us when we’re craving a nice juicy burger and don’t want to spend the money to eat out.
Take my advice. There are times you will roll into a campsite after dark, your whole family is hungry, and you’ve got to cook a meal. Invest in a lantern or two.
Who’s Ready to Go Camping? (Raises Hand)
After writing this post, I am ready to hit the road and go camping. Just writing about it gets me excited for our next trip.
If you have any questions about our setup or any of the cooking gear we’ve mentioned, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love sharing tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way, and we love to talk about taking your family camping! Happy camping!