When you're setting off to sleep under the stars (or canvas, or an RV), you'd be totally forgiven for thinking that campfire cooking should predominantly be hot dogs, chili, and s'mores! But serious campers know that campfire cooking can be so much more than the basics!
With a few simple tricks and tools at your disposal, you can be whipping up feasts for your fellow campers, even when there's no formal "kitchen" in sight. Easily create anything from campfire pizzas to homemade biscuits, stews, frittatas, French toast, and almost anything else you can think of.
Obviously, when you're camping, you don't want to be carting around your kitchen's entire content. So, we've compiled a list of must-have essential campfire kitchen equipment that you'll need to enjoy a gourmet diet no matter how "rough" your sleeping conditions…
One of the most important, yet commonly overlooked, aspects of campfire cooking is where you'll cook. Yes, building a quality fire is essential for campfire cooking, but packing a few extra items can transform your camp kitchen from a pile of logs into the perfect cooking spot.
To start with, we recommend packing a steel cooking grate to elevate food and cookpots above the flames. This will provide an excellent surface for boiling water for coffee or preparing your barbecue. A tripod stand is another beneficial addition to your campfire kitchen setup, as this offers a really sturdy structure for supporting large pots. Most of them are lightweight for traveling, easy to set up, and very affordable.
If you really want to impress at your next cookout, you could invest in a rotisserie grill and spit… You'll have your camp neighbors queuing around the whole campsite if you set one of these up!
Naturally, you're only going to get so far with campfire cooking if you don't have any cookpots.
Car campers will benefit from packing a cast-iron skillet, pie iron, and grill basket. But if you're backpacking and low on space, then we seriously advise you to invest in a cast-iron camping Dutch oven (like the one from Uno Casa).
A camping Dutch oven is probably the most useful piece of campfire kitchen equipment you could possibly bring with you. Able to cook directly on fire or coals, this cookpot stands on raised legs and even incorporates a cast-iron handle to allow you to hang the cookpot. It's perfect for almost any cooking method and will make your campfire meals a breeze.
If you have space for two cookpots, we'd probably add a pie iron. These little items make the best campfire grilled cheeses you'll ever taste and are really easy to stick in a backpack for off-grid camping. The long handles mean that even little ones can safely get involved in a bit of campfire cooking, too!
The amount of times our family has headed out for an exciting camping trip only to realize we forgot to bring a wooden spoon or set of forks is, frankly, embarrassing!
If you don't want to be eating your camp dinners with your hands or trying to stir campfire stew with a tablespoon, make a list of the utensils you need and tick them off as you pack! Seriously, you'll thank us for this one.
To get your campfire utensils list started, at the bare minimum, you'll need:
- Long-handled spoon
- Steel tongs
- Metal spatula
- Steel skewers
- Sharp knives
- Knives, forks, and spoons for every camper
If you're going utterly off-grid on your camping adventure, there might not be picnic benches or any other convenient location to prepare your food. For this reason, it's definitely worthwhile packing a collapsible camping table and chair.
While they might be bulky, after a few nights of chopping veggies on the floor, you'll be wishing you had a table to put up!
In addition to a table, you should also be sure to bring a couple of chopping boards (at least one for meats and another for veggies), sharp knives, and somewhere to dispose of food waste and trash.
Food and Water
The final consideration when preparing your campfire kitchen is food and water.
You'll need a cooler for meats and dairy products. We really like to freeze our meat and place it in the cooler. As it defrosts, it will keep the other items nice and chilled without needing to use ice!
You should also be sure to bring a large container of water. This container should have handles to make it easier to refill at the nearest taps. If you're going off-grid, you'll also need to bring some method for treating water as it might be some distance before you can easily refill your water carrier from a clean water source!
With these items, you'll be all set for a gourmet camping experience. All the other campers will be jealous!