The Essential Guide To Camping Cookware
Although roasting marshmallows over a bonfire is one of the ultimate camping experiences, you’re not just relegated to cooking over an open flame and eating smoke-flavored food! Campers or backpackers to the great outdoors often prefer simple, no-fuss meals that can get them through the day. However, there are also those who enjoy cooking up a storm at a campsite. For both sets of people, there will be different types of camping cookware that they can bring along on their trip.
Today, we’re looking at the different kinds of camping cookware available, and helping you choose the ones most essential for your next camping trip. In fact, with the proper gear, you can comfortably prepare food as if you were in your own kitchen!
Before we start, remember to check out our store for the best camping and hiking gear and accessories for your next trip! Also, check out our tips for beginners on how to start ultralight backpacking.
Cooksets are collections of pots, pans and lids designed to nest together. Some cooksets include extras such as cups, mugs or plates that nest within the pots. Since these cooksets come in a prepacked set, there is not much room for you to build versatility into the cookware collection. On the other hand, individual pieces allow you the freedom to build your set exactly the way you want it. However, this method may not be ideal if you're looking to save weight for backpacking.
The way to decide between the two is simple; know who you will be cooking for. Complete cooksets are great for larger groups of campers or families, while solo campers or small groups may only require a select few pieces. Determine who you will be cooking for and what you need before you decide which to buy.
Secondly, you should consider the kind of materials your cookware is made from. Below, we have listed down the pros and cons of some of the more popular material options for cookwares, to help you decide which is more suitable for you.
Pros: Lightweight, affordable and a good conductor of heat. Good for simmering foods without scorching.
Cons: Breaks down slowly when exposed to acidic foods. Dents and scratches easily.
Pros: Tougher, more scratch-resistant than aluminum.
Cons: Heavier than aluminum, doesn't conduct heat as uniformly (can cause hot spots that scorch food).
Nonstick coatings (available on some metal cookware)
Pros: Make cleaning up a breeze.
Cons: Less durable than regular metal surfaces. Most can be scratched by metal utensils.
Pros: Super lightweight—it's your lightest option without compromised strength. Highly corrosion-resistant, heats up quickly and operates effectively without maximum heat.
Cons: More expensive than other options. Conducts heat less evenly than stainless steel. Take care not to overheat it.
Pros: It's tough and ideal for baking or cooking.
Cons: Very heavy; not for backpacking. Requires proper care.
Pros: Lightweight, cheap, non-abrasive. Perfect for utensils and air-tight food containers.
Cons: Not as durable or heat-resistant as metal. Some plastics can pick up and retain food flavors/odors.
Now that you know what kind of camping cookware you’ll need, we’ll take a look at some ways you can improve your overall camping kitchen set up. While these tips may differ from person to person, we believe that it will give you a right pointer to creating the perfect camping kitchen.
1. Get organized
Organization is one of the most important first steps in getting your camping kitchen in order. Although it seems like a lot of work upfront, you’ll be saving yourself from a lot of stress later on. Come up with a system that helps you keep all your cooking gear in place so that you won’t forget anything. One of the best ways that is tried and tested to optimize your organization system is using transparent boxes. Not only can you see inside and keep track of what tools are where, but they also stack comfortably in the back of cars.
2. Get clean
Besides cooking, keeping your camping cookware clean can be troublesome when you don’t have access to running water. In this case, we recommend these few items to help you set up a portable dishwashing station for that extra bit of cleanliness.
i. Collapsable buckets
Use three collapsable buckets or bins as your sinks.
You need an abrasive surface to help scrub off food particles on your dishes.
iii. Biodegradable soap
Dish detergent is harsh on the environment, so do the environment a favor by using biodegradable soap.
iv. Hand sanitizers
A great alternative to kill viruses, and is more gentle on your skin.
v. Drying cloth
Get a super absorbent cloth to dry your dishes. Wet dishes can easily accumulate dirt .
When cleaning and clearing out the water, remember to strain out any solid food particles before tossing out the water as you want to protect the environment.
3. Camp Stoves
Camp stoves are necessary if you want to have easy cooking experience in the outdoors. There are many different kinds of camp stoves available, and what you choose depends on the kind of mobility you need. The best choice you have is probably to get a foldable camping stove, as these are durable, reliable and most importantly, lightweight.
4. Other cookware considerationsi. Pots
When you bring a pot on your trip, you should make sure that the largest pot in your cookset should hold approximately 1 pint per backpacker or camper in your party. Also, the number of pots you bring depends on the type of cooking you plan to do and how many campers are joining in. If you plan to cook dehydrated foods for 2 backpackers, then 1 pot is sufficient. More elaborate meals and larger groups require additional pots and pans.
Lids reduce cooking time, save fuel and reduce splatter. Some cooksets like the 3 pcs camping cookware set feature a lid for every pot. Others can even double as frypans. Certain lids can also serve as plates, which can lighten your load.
To save on space and weight, many backpackers have embraced the spork. This handy spoon/fork combo offers great versatility for just a fraction of an ounce. Some sporks even include a small knife on the edge for added convenience. Don't forget to bring spatulas, measuring spoons and whisks, as needed.
5. Extra Tips
Here are some additional tips to help you choose the kind of camping cookware to bring on your next camping trip.
i. Plan your meals
It’s easier to plan your meals and store the correct amount of ingredients rather than pack too much or too little.
ii. Bring aluminum foil
Aluminum foil is a must-have. You can wrap food within it to cook over an open fire, cover your plates to avoid dirt and bugs, or simply to keep your food warm.
iii. Test your camp stove
You don’t want to arrive at your campsite with no way to cook your food!
iv. Prep your ingredients
It’s far easier to prep in your kitchen rather than the campsite. Chop all your vegetables and meat into manageable chunks for easier cooking.
As you can see, investing in a few pieces of camping cooking equipment can make your cooking experience a pleasurable one. Without organization, simple storage solutions, an efficient way to clean your dishes, and the proper cookware and equipment, you’ll be spending more time trying to get your camping kitchen together and less time enjoying the great outdoors!
If you’re planning on camping often, putting together your camping kitchen kit will save you a lot of time in the future. Believe us when we say that there is nothing more satisfying than cooking up something in the great outdoors.
What did you think about our article? Do you often cook in the outdoors? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below!
Start your camping trip with some of our best campsites in Western Australia or New South Wales. Check out our list of essential camping gear for 2020 to help you better plan out your next camping trip or check out our store for more camping gear!