Gearing up for your first camping trip but aren’t quite certain of all the camping cooking essentials that you’re going to need? No worries, I’ve got you covered. I’ve gone camping so many times and packed (and overpacked) so many things that I have worked it down to a science! I’ve narrowed it down to some of the best cooking essentials that we’ve actually found to be quite useful.
The majority of these items can be picked up second hand or even at thrift stores. Let’s dive right in and talk about the importance of having the proper camping cooking essentials for your next camping adventure.
What cooking equipment do I need for camping?
This is the million-dollar question. But I’m also here to assure you that you probably really don’t need as many things as you think that you do.
One thing that often trips people up when they’re planning their camping trip is that they overpack on literally everything. From the moment that you know you’re going to go camping, rest easy knowing that you’re going to pack as minimal as possible but still get the biggest bang for your travels.
Keep on hand simple and quick cooking equipment such as tongs, a spatula, and a pan. And for all your other cooking equipment needs, you’ll find a few more detailed suggestions below. This list is all about what you will need to cook in addition to your dishes and cutlery.
What should I bring for camping?
I’m all about comfort when it comes to camping. Anything that I can pack up that can make our lives easier, I’m hooked. And I mean this also in an environmentally conscious way as well.
I make certain to pack up cookware that I know we’re going to use and also the same with food. I can’t stand waste so I focus on making certain that I have everything planned out pretty accurately before we leave. When planning meals and an ingredient list, also consider what tools you will need to cook these while camping. If you know that you will need something specific for a meal that may not already be in your camping gear, be sure to pack it specifically for this trip. This way, you are taking care of both tasks at once, saving you valuable time in camp prep.
Also, I know that everyone’s cooking needs and wants will vary. Make certain that you take that into consideration when you’re deciding what items you really and truly need to have. You don’t want to waste money or space on items you will never use, even if I suggest it!
Camping Cooking essentials
Even though a lot of these camping cooking essentials can be found online and purchased brand new, please try to find and purchase them used, if possible! Doing so means that there is so much less waste filling the landfills and polluting our world. Check out your local thrift stores or second-hand stores first to see if they have an outdoor section that you can peruse. It’s important to remember that these are your basic items and don’t have to be as nice or showy as your at-home cooking collection. Who knows, you might even find some top quality camping products for cheap!
Now that I’ve prepped you about the importance of not being wasteful and reusing if possible, let’s dive into some top camping cooking essentials that you need to have on your radar.
Cast Iron Pans
Can we all just agree right now that cast iron pans are the best? Not only do they literally seem to last forever but they’re made to be able to withstand high heats as well (and they clean up like a dream!). These pans were designed for cooking directly over a fire and I am more than happy to oblige.
I also think that they’re super appropriate for camping because they look so rugged and tough and they just make for a really great meal. If you can get a cast iron pan that is already seasoned and primed, get ready to give your taste buds a true treat. This is where picking up a cast iron pan at a thrift store can be a huge perk. The person before you already did all the work to make those flavors really stand out!
Check out: Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 3-Piece Chef Set
There’s just something awesome about drinking out of metal mugs. Maybe it’s because they keep the beverage super cold or maybe it’s because you know that you’re using an item that will leave no trace or go in the trash. Regardless, grabbing some metal mugs for your camping trip is great to have on hand for waters, morning coffee, and any other drinks you choose to indulge in during your trip.
Check out: Coffee Mug – 14oz Insulated Set of 2
When we’re camping, we never fail to cook up some kind of meat. And with the meat, comes the need to cut it up. Consider adding a nice set of steak knives to have on hand in your camping container. It’s one less thing that you’ll have to worry about packing when it’s time to launch and hit the road.
Check out: Steak Knives Set of 8
Cooking over the campfire is awesome but it’s incredibly hot as well! Whether you’re cooking over the grate or with your new cast iron pan, you will need to have some sort of protection for your hands so that you don’t get burned or scorched. We love these gloves because they go up pretty far on the arms (no singed arm hair over here!) and are heat resistant as well.
They’re great for putting logs in the fire or using to add or take off a pan. I like to keep a pair of gloves close by the fire at all times in case I ever need it stat!
Check out: 932°F Leather Heat Resistant Welding Gloves Grill BBQ Glove
Camping Tripod for Outdoor Campfire Cooking
If you don’t have space on a grate or grill for your pans, why not invest in a camping tripod to hold up your goods? Hang everything from coffee pots to dutch ovens over your fire pit for quick hot drinks and slow-cooked meals. This simple contraption can easily go right over the top of your campfire and help to cook up some mean chili to chow down on during the camping trip.
Check out: Stansport Cast Iron Camping Tripod for Outdoor Campfire Cooking
Cast Iron Dutch Oven
I’m a sucker for a dutch oven. I use this thing for everything when camping and I’ve certain that you will as well. If you’re looking for a pot that can literally do it all, this is the one for you.
You can cook up breakfast, lunch, or dinner without issues and have it simmering all day long so it’s hot and ready to eat. Plus, with the sturdy lid that comes on top, you’re certain to keep out all the bugs and critters. This is my slow cooker for the outdoors!
Check out: Texsport Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Well, there you have it! These are my top picks for the best camping cooking essentials. Your meals will be a piece of cake with these tools on hand. Make sure that you take cooking items that are reusable and have zero waste so you can rest easy knowing that you’re going to leave your campsite even better than you found it. Enjoy your camp cooking!
Do you have any camping cooking essentials that you’d add to this list?
BONUS: How do you keep eggs fresh when camping?
I know that this technically might not be about camping cookware, but I think that it’s a totally valid question. We always take eggs with us when we go camping (bacon and eggs, right?!) and I stress about the best way to keep them safe. Best case scenario you have a fridge or cooler to keep them in but what if you just don’t have room for that giant egg carton?
One easy tip is to crack your eggs before you leave and put the yolks and whites in a bottle. Then, just store that bottle in your fridge or cooler because it takes up a lot less space and voila!
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