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Want to start cooking more while car camping or in the backcountry? Here are our picks for the best camping kitchen gear.
Are you spending more time outdoors this year?
Are you eating outside more often?
If so, it’s time to invest in (or upgrade) your camping kitchen and make cooking outside more enjoyable.
The following is a list of Champagne Tastes’ top camping kitchen gear, recommended by either Sarah or a member of her food-loving team of writers.
Check out our camping recipes, and then visit our trail guides.
Our Favorite Campfire Kitchen Gear
Campfire cooking is one of my absolute favorite ways to prepare a meal.
If you’re camping at a campground, there’s a good chance that you’ll have access to a campfire ring. That said, you should always check to see if there are fire restrictions in place while you’re camping.
Recently, we installed a campfire ring in our backyard so that I could cook outdoors even more often.
We love making campfire pizza, campfire chili, campfire nachos, campfire lasagna, and this campfire red lentil stew.
Here’s a list of my favorite campfire kitchen gear.
A camp Dutch oven is a fabulous cooking tool.
It works a lot like a regular Dutch oven, but has little feet built onto the bottom to hold the pot above the embers.
A camp Dutch oven has a flat lid (instead of a rounded one) which allows you to place embers on top of the oven and create heat from both the top and bottom. Like the oven in your home kitchen.
Read up on some of my favorite Dutch oven camping recipes.
When you order a camp Dutch oven, make sure to get a lid lifter too. We use this Lodge lid lifter.
It’ll make handling the hot lid much easier!
I also recommend buying a pan that can handle the campfire heat.
For years, I’ve been recommending cast iron, but recently I’ve made the switch to carbon steel. Either will work, but carbon steel is much lighter and easier to lift.
I use this Lodge 12″ carbon steel skillet.
Looking for a pan that doubles as a Dutch oven? Nicole (from our team of travel writers) loves this Lodge Cast Iron Cooker Combo.
You can use this pan with the lid on (like an oven) or use it as two separate pans. Nicole says it’s one of her all-time favorite camping purchases.
My final campfire recommendation is a portable campfire grate or this heavier-duty adjustable campfire grill.
If your campground already has a campfire ring, you probably don’t need a portable campfire grate.
That said, if you’re campfire cooking at home in your backyard, a campfire grate can turn your campfire ring into the perfect cooking station.
Our friend Nicole loves taking along this adjustable campfire grill wherever she plans to camp because it gives her more control over heat level.
One other item you might want to have on hand is a pair of leather heat-resistant gloves. These gloves will allow you to handle your hot cast-iron cookware without searching for a pot holder.
Favorite Car Camping Kitchen Gear
As much as we love campfire cooking, sometimes you want a faster camping meal. And sometimes campfires aren’t allowed!
The following is a list of our favorite car camping kitchen gear.
One of the great things about car camping is that you don’t need a lot of specialized camping gear, and some of your regular kitchen cooking equipment can travel with you to a campground.
But there are a few items you might want to invest in.
First, I recommend a camp stove.
We use this Coleman 2-burner propane stove. It’s reliable and easy to use.
Before we bought one for ourselves, we borrowed my in-laws’ older Coleman Classic Propane Stove, and it worked just as perfectly as the new one. These things are fabulous.
If you’re on a tight budget (or tight on space in the car!), this Coleman single burner camp stove is another great option. It only has one burner (so multi-tasking will be harder), but it works well! Keep in mind that there are no wind guards on this stove, so if it’s a windy day, you’ll need to try to block the wind from the stove.
A camp stove will also come in handy if you’re camping in the rain and a fire isn’t possible!
Keep in mind that you will need to purchase fuel for the stove before cooking!
For campground cooking, you’ll (very likely!) need a kitchen knife. I prefer to keep my kitchen knives at home in the kitchen, and store a dedicated campground kitchen knife with my camping supplies.
This Dfacto high-carbon stainless steel santoku knife is my current favorite. It’s sharp, sturdy and comes with a protective sheath.
Looking for a budget knife? I used this Farberware chef’s knife (which also comes with a sheath!) for camping for years. Expect this knife to require some sharpening.
When we’re car camping, I like to take along some stainless steel bottles.
We love our Klean Kanteen bottles. They keep my tea hot and my water cold.
If you intend to camp with meat, seafood or other perishables, a high-quality cooler (we use this Igloo BMX cooler) is a great investment.
That said, it’s also totally possible to car camp without a cooler; you’ll just need to adjust your meals accordingly. Here are some tips for camping without a cooler.
My number one piece of advice for campground cooks is to clean up immediately.
Do not wait until later. Make clean-up your number one priority.
We’ve found that collapsible camping sinks are nice to have around!
Favorite Backpacking Kitchen Gear
Are you going backpacking?
You’ll want to travel light! We like to backpack with as little weight as possible. Here’s what we take along.
Looking for more backpacking tips? Check out our list of the best (and worst) freeze-dried meals.
Our friend Jesse swears by this Jetboil camping stove. He uses it on all his backpacking trips, including this backpacking trip in Denali National Park.
We love our less expensive MSR PocketRocket Deluxe backpacking stove, and it works perfectly with our Toaks titanium pot.
Clean water is probably the most important part of your backpacking trip.
We’ve been very happy with this Sawyer Squeeze water filter. I recommend this water filter over a personal water filter (such as LifeStraw) if you intend to use the filtered water for cooking.
And you should use filtered water when you cook in the backcountry.
Taco Bell had it right. Why use two utensils when one will do?
I highly recommend using a titanium spork while backpacking!
Actually, we love ours so much that we use them when we car camp too!
Will you be backpacking in bear country?
Store your food (and anything else that’s scented) in a bear canister, and then store the bear canister a safe distance from camp at night.
This last recommendation is really more a tip for after you return home, but we’ve found these BonDry hydration pack bladder dryers to be fantastic.
No more hanging the water bladders at odd angles in a futile attempt to get them dry!
Gear for Foodies
This next set of kitchen gear is just for fun.
Cooking isn’t only about utility: it’s also about enjoying the journey!
Our friends Elizabeth and Garrett love taking along a picnic backpack!
It’s a great way to make your meal feel fancier.
My husband and I love to backpack and hike with a hand-pump espresso machine.
It means we can enjoy a cup of espresso at a gorgeous lookout or simply make sure that I start my day with my favorite treat.
We typically bring along Illy espresso grounds to use with our hand-pump espresso machine.
Back at our camp site at the end of a full day, we might indulge in this campfire hot chocolate with peanut butter whiskey. It just needs a campfire-safe saucepan or kettle over a grate.
Personally, I don’t like drinking wine out of a plastic wine glass. Call me a snob, I do not care.
We love bringing along stainless steel wine glasses when we camp.
Our friend Nicole loves this stovetop safe glass teapot, and even uses it as a tea kettle over a campfire. See this glass tea kettle in action on her Instagram page.
Looking for gifts for the campers in your life? Check out this guide to our favorite camping gifts!
Favorite Camping Cookbooks
Finally, if you’re looking for more recipe inspiration, check out The Backyard Fire Cookbook and The New Camp Cookbook for more ideas!
I own both books and they’re fabulous.
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