If you are as excited as we are for the weather changing and the camping season to get into full swing then keep reading, we are on part 2 this week: cooking equipment. If you missed part 1, just click this link and we’ll take you right to it!
So this week we’ll talk you through some of the key items you’ll need to cook and brew out on the wilderness. Frankly, this aspect of camping is my favorite, what can beat waking up to the smell of food cooking on the stove mixed with the piney smell of the woods and a glorious view? Well, to enjoy that you’d better be ready with the right gear. The key items to look for will be:
- A gas grill
- Pot for boiling (x-pot)
- Cutlery & Plates
- Cool Box
- Water Container
- Washbowl (or Bag)
Let’s start with the key item, the grill. Depending on your type of trip you’ll need either a standard camping grill, 2/3 burner like the one we have (pictured), or a smaller backpacker burner. We have both because we often go off into the back country for a day or a week at a time while on road trips. When you buy the grill, consider how badly you really need a brand name.
We assumed spending more money means longevity, but our grill cost about $60 on an amazon deal, (click here for link) and has lasted three years, three very camping intensive years. It may not sparkle but it works perfectly. Read reviews and don’t feel the need to blow hundreds. Consider whether you really need 3 burners, if you’re a solo traveler or a couple then I promise you don’t. Most small burners use MSR but a grill will generally take propane, easy to find and cheap, buy 3 or 4 in advance. A can of gas usually lasts us about four days of cooking every meal on the grill.
Pans can get out of control, don’t let it, you need very few. One
decent frying pan, solid and big enough for those one pan meals. Carrying
smaller deep pans for soups, water, beans etc. is a great idea. Save space and buy a foldaway set like the ones we take into the backcountry (pictured). Great for smaller meals, quick snacks or as an extra bowl when needed!
Pots for boiling can be cumbersome, so we prefer to use X-Pots. They are made of heat proof materials which fold up to practically flat, pack very easily and take up minimal space. We have used them for about three months of continuous camping and they really are durable, one of the best buys we’ve ever made, (click here to check em out). A medium pot costs around $45 but it is worth every penny, we promise. Cook pasta, boil water for your tea or even do a spot of washing up these are one of our favorite items and a must buy!
Mugs come generally in either metal or plastic form with all types of thermal insulations. We like to use the plastic mugs as they are so lightweight, but honestly there’s little difference so go with your preference, I can tell you we’ve had hot tea in these in cold conditions and they stay warm for ages, so again, unless you’re hitting up the arctic, don’t feel you need to spend crazy.
Plates are also usually metallic or plastic. In this case we went metallic, our reasoning is they are easy to clean, super durable, heat proof and when we go backcountry camping we tend to eat straight from the x-pot so never take plates. If you’re making a trip in the car and setting up camp, buying a sturdy set is your best bet, with the bonus that they’ll last you practically forever.
Now you have something to eat off remember you need something to eat with. Take two sets of knife, fork and spoon per person as you’ll find other uses for the extra sets. A small sharp knife with a case, spatula or plastic spoon for stirring large pots and serving along with a little chopping board (you can use a plate for food prep but it’s always nice to have a flat surface) completes our utensil list.
Don’t forget the last three items! A cool box is gonna be a life saver, well a milk saver. It will let you keep you fresh items for a few days and you can always pick up ice for a couple of bucks at gas stations and usually camp ground shops on site. We always have one in the trunk when road tripping and camping. Just make certain its actually big enough to fit the amount you will need to take, its amazing how fast they fill once large bottles go in. Think two or three days worth of perishable foods plus a few water bottles or beers.
Get a water container (click here for a bargain), and again if you’re looking to save space like most campers, have one that collapses down. You don’t want to have to go jogging off for water every time you need to fill a pan or make coffee!
Last but not least the washing up! No one likes it, but man it’s even worse if you have nothing to do it in. We advise you grab a material basin, they fit into a nice small bag, but expand out into a large bowl you can fill with delightful warm water and wash either the pots or your face whenever you desire!
Next week Steph will be showing you some great camping meals you can easily create, and some awesome snacks and trail meals you can pre-make and pack away ready.
See you then!
Rich & Steph