Campsite Kitchen Checklist
By Adelia Ladson
Campsite cooking doesn’t have to be messy and difficult. If you're well-prepared, it can be a fun and tasty experience for you and your family or your camping companions. The key, when you're cooking over an open fire, is to have absolutely everything that you need before you get out there. Here's your complete campsite kitchen checklist.
1. Start With the Camp Fire Essentials
You won't be doing any cooking if you don't have a reliable source of fire and the materials to build a campfire with. This will be the center of your "camp kitchen" and most likely, your campsite. To build a fire you need a spark or flame, tinder, kindling and dry wood.
- The easiest source of a flame is waterproof matches or a lighter but, sometimes, they're not the most reliable, especially if it's breezy. So, I actually prefer a flameless, fuel-free arc lighter, which produces arcs of electricity that won't be affected by wind.
- Instead of scrounging around for tinder, which is any material that is easily ignited by a spark or flame, bring it with you. You can get ready-made tinder that's odorless, non-toxic and has a long burn time.
- You can also bring your own kindling along instead of looking for sticks and twigs. Just like tinder, you can find ready-made firestarter products that can be used as kindling to add to your tinder and get your campfire going good so that you have time to add your larger pieces of wood.
- ☐ Waterproof matches or lighter
- ☐ Tinder
- ☐ Kindling
2. Next Pack Your Camp Cooking Gear
It's important to have high-quality cooking gear that can stand-up to being used over an open fire and being used outside in the elements. Look at it like an investment that should last a lifetime of camping trips. You can get ultra-lightweight titanium camp cookware that's great for backpacking but when you're family camping, stainless steel is the way to go. It's durable, rust-resistant and will come in larger dimensions for family meals. Planning all of your meals ahead of time will let you plan exactly what cookware and cooking implements you need to bring. But before, you even think of pots and pans, you need equipment to actually make cooking over the campfire possible.
- You need a camp shovel or entrenchment tool so that you can dig a pit for your campfire.
- A sturdy and stable surface to hold your pots and pans over the campfire is usually a mesh grill of some type. I really like the Trailblazer Fire Pit Grill and Cooking Pot Hanger because it gives you double the cooking real estate. You can cook your bacon and eggs in a pan on the grill and hang your coffee pot over the fire at the same time.
- Also, in your cooking gear, you need to have some kind of folding camp table to prepare your food on before it gets to the campfire and a cutting board, too.
- ☐ Camping shovel
- ☐ Grill
- ☐ Pot hanger
- ☐ Pots and pans
- ☐ Coffee pot
- ☐ Cooking utensils
- ☐ Knife
- ☐ Cutting board
- ☐ Folding camp table
3. You Also Need Water Purification Tools
Whether you're sourcing water from a body of water in the area of your campsite or from a water spigot at your campsite, you need to make sure that it's purified for consumption and that you can get it to your campsite.
- You need a large container to get your water to your camp kitchen and you can find some nice-sized plastic ones out there that will fold-down for storage and are easy to pack in your gear. Then, use a purification powder to eliminate any bacteria or harmful microorganisms that are in the water that you sourced.
- Once you get your unfiltered water to your camp kitchen, you can use the Membrane Solutions Three-Liter Gravity Water Filter Bag to assure that it’s safe to use to cook with and to drink. I like it because all you do is pour the water into the large bag and the water is filtered as it comes out of the bottom, making it so easy.
- ☐ Large water container
- ☐ Purification powder or other method
4. Have Enough Dining Supplies for Everyone
Along with your cookware goes your dining ware and you want it to be just as tough and durable. Include a "dining set" for every member of your group. You can get utensils that come in sets that include a knife, fork and spoon. I like the Trailblazer Lexan dining utensil set because it's lightweight, comes on a carabiner and is corrosion-proof. As far as plates and cups, you can also find them in both stainless steel and titanium, just like the cookware.
- ☐ Mugs
- ☐ Cups
- ☐ Plates
- ☐ Dining utensils
- ☐ Napkins or paper towels
5. Don't Forget Cleaning Supplies
Surprisingly, clean-up is something folks forget about because they're so focused on the cooking. Cleaning supplies are a very important part of your camp kitchen because you don't want to attract pests or uninvited four-legged guests. If everything is cleaned and put away in a container after every meal, than you don't have to worry about it.
- ☐ Folding sink
- ☐ Dish detergent
- ☐ Scrubber
- ☐ Dish towel
6. Miscellaneous Campsite Kitchen Necessities
So here's the last few items that you need to set up your campsite kitchen. Among them is the storage container for your cooking gear that I referenced above. A large, heavy-duty plastic container with a lid works good just as long as everything will fit in it. Inside it, you can organize everything in plastic resealable bags. This would also be the place to put food and snacks that don't need to be kept cold.
- ☐ Salt and pepper
- ☐ Non-stick cooking spray
- ☐ Sugar or sugar substitute
- ☐ Trash bags
- ☐ Plastic resealable bags
- ☐ Storage bin for cookware
- ☐ Cooler
- ☐ Ice or ice packs