Last updated on April 11th, 2023 at 07:12 pm
Food makes a vital part of any camping trip. It is often characterized by roasting hotdogs, barbecue, rehydrating soup, or just munching some snacks on the way. Unlike at home where you have all you need in your kitchen, a camping trip may require prior planning. And that is where a camp kitchen comes in.
What you bring with you to the camp kitchen may vary depending on culinary preferences and the type of outdoor trip, but the essentials remain the same. Heat source and fuel, cookware and dinnerware, food storage and basic ingredients, and the preparations surfaces should be at the top of your checklist.
This article is for outdoor enthusiasts and newbies alike, outlining the important components that you will need to stock your camp kitchen. It can be used as a checklist to be customized as preferred.
Important Components of a Camp Kitchen
Thankfully for many campers, it is possible to bring all the comfort of a home kitchen with you outdoors. A well-planned and stocked camp kitchen does the trick. Here are the important elements that you must check before you leave for your camping trip.
1. Heat source
This is undoubtedly a fundamental component if you want to enjoy delicious hot meals. Selecting the appropriate heat source for your cooking outdoors will depend on several factors. For one, ensure that it is lightweight and can pack into a compact size.
Moreover, it would be best and safe for everyone if you found one that is easy to extinguish in case of any fire hazard. It should be environment-friendly and have adequate heat capacity for the nature of cooking.
For many camping trips, wood is the go-to fuel. It is often easily accessible and locally available, depending on the campgrounds. If it cannot be obtained on-site, you can purchase it from any local source nearby. It is not advisable to bring firewood from home.
3. Food Storage
It is unlikely that campers will forget the food, but its storage tends to be the major issue. It is at such times that many appreciate the fridges and pantries and their ability to keep food fresh and well stored at home. However, you need not worry. With the camp kitchen, you only need to focus on protecting the food from wildlife and from spoilage.
With that said, coolers are instrumental in achieving the two objectives. Invest in a durable sizeable cooler to preserve your food and protect it from scavengers, critters, and insects.
Storage bags and plastic containers are also needed for uneaten food. You can use them to pack snacks and sandwiches for the road.
4. Basic ingredients
The food to be prepared in a camp depends on what is packed and the planned recipes. Nevertheless, there are basic ingredients that makeup virtually any meal.
Salt is the heart of every meal. A bland dish can easily remove the fun of any camping experience. Moreover, after a long day of hiking and trailing, salt replenishes the sodium your body has lost.
Water is equally important. Fresh water comes in handy when performing most kitchen duties besides boiling, basting, or braising.
Of all camp food items, tortillas are the most common. They have earned their name as a camp kitchen staple. This hand-held and calorie-dense food should not be underestimated. Another of their complementing attributes is that they boast of long shelf life.
5. Cookware and dinnerware
For all your grilling and barbecuing needs, bring along the relevant cookware. This underscores the importance of planning ahead. If you have what will be cooked in mind, it will be easy to pack what is needed, rather than carrying around cumbersome items that you may not need. It is also advisable to invest in items that can serve multiple purposes to save on space.
Cookware includes tongs, forks, large spoon, cutting board, roasting sticks, oven mitts, seasoning oil, stove fire pit, and cast-iron grill.
Dinnerware includes plates, bowls, and spoons for everyone in the trip.
6. Prep surfaces and sanitation
Sanitation should be given top priority when handling any food.
Tabletops are important for preparations and should be stable with an elevated surface. Folding tables are recommended since they are conveniently lightweight and versatile.
Carry along plenty of water. It is useful in many activities from cleaning to cooking.
Wash bins are important for cleaning up. You can come up with a makeshift sink from buckets for washing hands and rinsing other items and foodstuffs.
Rags come in handy for scrubbing, drying, covering, and bundling up things. Ensure you go for the reusable and washable rags in the market.
Sanitizers and soap should be environmental-friendly. They can be used to clean tabletops, dishes, utensils, and rags.
Trash bags are important to take care of all waste disposal. The campgrounds should always be left clean.
If you reach your campsite at night, you may have to do your cooking at that time. Lanterns provide adequate light for all your activities.
How to Set Up a Camp Kitchen
Once you get to the campsite, and all your camp kitchen essentials are checked, it is time to set it up. The setup is a breeze.
Organization is key
You can start by setting up a wash station with plenty of running water and include a hand towel and biodegradable soap. Select an area for the trash bags for all waste, compost, and garbage. With your recipe in mind, lay out the utensils, cookware, and ingredients you will need.
After eating to your fill, no one really likes to think about cleaning up. However, it is advisable to do so as you go. Washing the dishes should not be a nightmare. Here’s what you can do to make things easier. Have three separate ‘sinks’ or buckets. Soak the dishes and clean them in the first with warm water and soap, rinse them in the second with warm water, and give them a final rinse in the third with cool water. From here you can air-dry or towel-dry them.
From the dirty dishwater to the food scraps and leftovers, ensure you employ environmental-friendly methods of disposal. Make use of the trash bins.
Food tends to attract animals. Proper storage goes a long way in keeping critters at bay.
Spruce it up
You can get creative with your camp kitchen. You can have yourself a great kitchen, that is perfectly organized and fully stocked.
Cooking makes an essential part of any camping trip. But it can also be a pain in the neck if you do not plan ahead properly. If your camp kitchen is lacking in some essentials, it is likely that your stay outdoors might not be the best. Hopefully, the above list will help you set up a functional camp kitchen.