Cooking at the campsite is a delightful activity that should give you the freedom of not having to walk several miles to the nearest pub or restaurant allowing you to spend as much time as possible enjoying the great outdoors. Winning.
One of my first amateur camping trips was a cooking disaster. With a single gas stove, one pan and pretty much nothing else, I was convinced I had all I needed. Cutlery? No thanks. Plates? Who needs them? Sense? I’m ok over here.
Since then, in all honesty, I’ve not come along way in my ability to cook on the campsite but I there are a few essentials which make my life that little bit easier.
Three Essentials For Cooking At A Campsite
BBQ vs Stove – Which Is Best For Camping?
After attempting to cook a meal on the aforementioned single-cylinder hob for far too long I decided it was time to invest in something more substantial. I went down the charcoal BBQ route opting for the Smokey Joe Premium BBQ from Weber, you can read my full review here. So easy to take camping and easy to clean, it comes with a lid and adjustable vents to keep the temperature under control and is a great size for two. Here are some other items you will need to get your cooking device set up properly:
- Lighter or matches
- Charcoal or coal – you can get sustainable charcoal such as E-Co Charcoal or BioRegional in the UK. Try Whole Foods, Waitrose or Sainsburys.
- Lighter Fluid or newspaper to get things going.
- BBQ tongs. So important, flipping with your fingers can be hot.
- Gas stove – primarily to make tea
- Camping kettle – see above
You are never going to struggle more in your life than when trying to light a fire in unpredictable winds. I say winds, there could be just a slight breeze but if it’s going in the wrong direction you will be without food. Trust me. I have no doubt the creative types amongst you can fashion a windbreak out of anything, however, after trying to be a human windshield myself, I can confirm purchasing a beach windbreak saved a whole load of matches. Interestingly they haven’t changed much since I was a kid, I remember having this exact one when I was little. I wonder if designer windbreaks will be the next big thing…
In the past, I’ve had to buy paper party plates and even used paper towels as plates when I’ve forgotten to pack anything useful. Being awfully unsustainable options, as your local campsite shop inevitably only seem to sell packs of 50 which are then blown away or are trampled on and paper towels just make rubbish plates, it was once again time to invest. My camping dinnerware dreams are full of enamel. Enamel mugs, enamel plates, enamel tumblers. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so as pricing for these beauties seems pretty chaotic ranging from anywhere between £2.45 – £10. Devastating news I know.
Lucky for us, I found the website Love Tiki that sells enamel products for reasonable, by my standard, prices including mugs and plates. They have a couple of colour options but I’m pretty sure you could purchase a white one, get a marker pen and DIY your own ‘I’d Rather Be Camping’ mug if you felt inspired. Don’t forget these other essentials which always come in handy:
- Bottle opener – I always keep one in my wash bag just in case.
- Tin Opener
- Cups – I use my awesome steel cup from Glastonbury Festival
Coolbox & Ice Packs
Have you ever eaten sausages that have been in a car boot for two days? Well, I have. A cool box will save both your gag reflex and your food. You can create ice packs yourself by filling water bottles a week or two before and putting them in the freezer. They tend to last longer than shop bought ice packs and you’ve got cold water if you need it.
A Complete List Of Everything You Need For Cooking Whilst Camping
My ‘prepare for camping list’ starts about two weeks before I head out, I’m no last-minute packer, which is supposed to stop me from forgetting anything. The trouble is, you always do forget something. Hopefully, this final list will cover those last-minute essentials and you will then have all you need to get yourself on your campsite cooking way:
- BBQ/Gas Cooker
- Lighter Fluid
- BBQ tools
- Dinerware – cups, plates, bowls, cutlery
- Cool Box
- Ice Blocks
- Water container
- Bin bags
- Washing up equipment + fairy liquid
- Metal scrubber for cleaning bbq
- Tea towel
- Kitchen foil
- An oven glove – because everything gets hot
- Chopping board
- Sharp Knife
- Tin Opener
- Bottle Opener
- Container for all your essentials
I’d love to know what camping cooking essentials you can’t live without? Let me know if I’ve left anything off the list!
(Image Sources: Alexey Ruban on Unsplash, Amazon, Weber BBQ)