One of the hardest things for many families who want to try camping is figuring out what to eat and what they need to bring to cook good meals in the great outdoors. What exactly do you need to take with you so you can have a good cup of coffee and meals that do not include prepackaged junk. How will you keep things cold and how will you wash your dishes? Camping is lot so fun when you iron out these details and all it takes it some planning and perhaps some special gear so you can set up the perfect camp kitchen. Once you get into it, you may just find that your inner pioneer loves the challenge!
The first thing you will likely need is a cooler. If you already have one… great! Use that one. If not, check into a steel belted cooler from Coleman. They are super durable. You may even be able to find a used or vintage one at a yard sale or estate auction. Try packing it several different ways to find the most efficient way to pack it all up.
Marinate meats ahead of time and freeze them into blocks so that they can serve as ice packs until they thaw out. Flat Nalgene bottles can also be used as ice packs. Pre-cut and pre-wash fruit and veggies so that you are only packing in usable and ready to eat foods. Package foods in stackable, glass storage containers.
For coffee, invest in a good stainless steel Percolator. They are light and they make great coffee on a camp stove. I do not normally drink coffee but a good warm cup of coffee on a chilly camp day sounds like heaven to me.
And of course you will need a camp stove unless you like to do all your cooking over top of the camp fire. We like to do 50/50. For campfire dinners your best bet is a cast iron skillet and a dutch oven. You can even bake fresh sourdough bread in these babies! Before you go Google some of your favorite recipes and put the word campfire in front of it. You will be surprised how easy it is to cook over a campfire. Many campers get a kick out of making “gourmet” camp food. For nourishing options check out this blogger ebook: Kitchen Stewardship in the Big Woods: A Family Camping Handbook with Real Food Options.
So what do you eat off of? Camping just ins’t camping unless you eat and drink from those stainless steel plates and cups that have the speckled enamel finish. They come in dark blue traditionally but I love this green set from GSI Outdoors. Each piece is built from heavy-gauge steel with a speckled enamel finish. Twice kiln-hardened to 1,000 degrees F to prevent scratches and chips.
These stainless steel bowls can be used to pack in nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, pretzels, and other snacks. Then they can be used to as mixing bowls or food bowls when emptied. Part of camping is making things do double duty.
Washing dishes IMO requires a galvanized wash tub. It serves as a washing tub and a place to store your gear when not in use. Make sure to use a planet friendly soap like Dr. Bronners.
And don’t forget cutlery, measuring cups and spoons, spices, cook utensils, a cutting board, matches, and scrub brush. Once you have the gear and some recipes in your arsenal it will be cinch to pack it up and take the family camping at a moment’s notice.
What is your favorite tip or product for an efficient camp kitchen?
Tuesday, August 16th, 2011