Imagine the sound of a sizzling steak on the grill of your campfire. As it’s cooked, the fire also gives it a smokey flavor. After dinner you and your friends are sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmellows, sharing funny stories or just staring into the flames. This is one of the images that gets stuck in people’s mind, enticing them to go camping.
One of the best things about camping is to cook and eat your food outdoors. As with all camping, you can do this with a very basic setup, or with a few more “tools” to make it more comfortable. These are the things you need:
Cooler: you need a large enough cooler to store most of your food with ice. My favorite coolers have a little valve on the bottom, this lets out the water. Your ice will melt on the bottom and you don’t want your food sitting in water. Take enough water with you, including drinking, cooking and washing, cleaning.
Camp stove: can you believe I camped without a stove for a year? I used the fire I made. This was a huge ordeal, as the first thing I had to do after setting up the tent was to look for firewood. Of course it didn’t occur to me that I could buy some and bring it with me lol. I wanted everything from nature. I used to just take disposable foil containers; they were light weight, inexpensive and work out great.
Once I bought a 1 burner stove, everything changed. I could make coffee, cook my breakfast and all my meals. These stoves are inexpensive, ($16 at Walmart, but I’ve seen the double at other sporting good stores) lightweight, even have a carrying case but they usually use fuel that doesn’t last long. The price can add up. I now just use this as a back up. I bought a 2 burner stove, (pictures to the right) and was able to use the green propane bottles which makes it less expensive. You can even buy attachments and hook it up to your 50 lb propane tank, which drives the cost down even more. The price between the 1 burner stove ($16-20) and a 2 burner stove ($25-40) is minimal. Of course do your research, because I’ve seen them for $60.
Cookware: take some simple things to cook in, I typically take a small and a large frying pan and a medium size pot. Spatulas, a cheap cutting board, utensils.
Plates and cups: I alternate between paper plates and plastic. Paper plates you can burn on your campfire so you don’t have any trash and you’re not washing dishes. Make sure the plates don’t have any plastic coating. Plastic plates are reusable and don’t need to be bought over and over again. You do need to wash them. I prefer plastic cups, because paper cups are usually too small, don’t hold liquid for long and you can quickly rinse them after use. They don’t have grease and remnants of food like plates.
Food: you need to think about how much food you need and also consider how long they will be ok in a cooler. You don’t want to take so much food that half of it comes back with you, but you also don’t want to go hungry while you’re camping. You might be hungrier than normal due to being out in the fresh air, especially if you go on some hikes.
If you’re going camping for the weekend I would take frozen meat. In the cooler you are least likely running the risk for it to thaw out and go bad, of course this will change in the summer months. Always exercise good judgements when it come handling food, especially meat.
I like to think in terms of meals. For example I go Friday night through Sunday mid-day. This means 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches: Steak, ground beef. Mashed potatoes in a package. Fresh veggies such as Brussel sprouts, corn on the cob, green beans. Eggs, bread, Tortillas, extras such as avocados, cilantro, condiments sch as ketchup, sour cream, etc.
This will allow me to have steak + mashed potatoes and veggies on the side one night, tacos for lunch the next day. With cut up left over steaks. Next night I can have tacos with ground beef.
Morning: eggs, ham and toast. (camo table cloth: optional). I usually end up taking more food than I need, but I learned early on, it’s not good to run out of food when your camping.
Tip: try to have a separate set of cookware for camping. Put a couple of old frying pans aside, with a few spatulas, knives and utensils, and even a cutting board. Store your pates and cups with them. This will make it easy when you pack up camping, you’re not looking for each item and you’re not running the risk of forgetting something important.
Check out a new post How to Become Camp Chef – more focused on food, how to choose what to take, step put of your comfort zone of ‘simple and basic campfood’, storage and some practical tips
Leave a comment: what is your favorite camping food?