Camping should be a pleasure - not a chore - and one way to make it so is to have your gear ready to go so you can hit the road at a moments notice. Your camp kitchen is one element that can leave you scrambling at the last minute - unless it’s well packed, well stored and well thought out before you leave.
The building blocks of a camp kitchen begin with simple plastic boxes with securable lids.
The reason Camping in Style recommends that all kitchen gear is placed in boxes, is not only because it is the best way to store your gear at home, but also because it is the best way to store your gear on the road, as well as when at camp. Keeping your gear in boxes will keep it dry, dust-free, and out of bounds from any campsite critters or overnight fossicking wildlife.
The typical kitchen boxes include:
Cookware box - including all your pots, frypan and foldaway toaster
Utensils box - for all your cooking utensils and crockery
Food box - for all dry foods that don’t need refrigeration like tea/coffee, pasta, biscuits
Odd box - for loose and spare kitchen items like dishwashing gloves, tea towels, dishwashing detergent, soap, pegs, paper towel, bin liners as well as other loose spare items for camp; and
Ice box - in other words your esky or battery-powered refrigerator for perishable food.
Add to this these other camp-kitchen-essentials, and your campsite kitchen will be up and running in no time:
- Portable gas stove
- Water container with tap fitting
- Dishwashing basin and separate hand washing basin (preferably foldaway pop-up versions)
- Folding table - to be used for your kitchen preparing bench
- Dining table and chair set - for a comfortable dining experience when you are ready to sit down and enjoy a meal.
Here are some ideas for getting together your fully boxed-up kitchen
Only bring enough utensils and crockery for the people in your party. If only two, then only bring two knives and forks, plates, bowls and cups.
Bring a good sharp knife for chopping and keep it protected in a tight-fitting sheath. This will be your key kitchen tool in the absence of any fancy home kitchen gadgets.
A grater might be your other key gadget. We’ve managed to find a collapsible box grater otherwise a single microplane in your favourite size is all you’ll need.
Consider all sorts of space-saving cookware to help minimise the size of the cookware box.
One large pot for pasta and two other smaller nested pots is a perfect number for cooking for around six people - especially when you only have a two burner stove.
Forget the kettle as this is one bulky item you can do without - especially since boiling in a pot achieves exactly the same result.
Purchase pots with removable handles, or short handles, to make it possible to fit everything into one small box. You’ll be surprised how handles make it that much harder to squeeze everything in. Our Tefal pots even have removal magnetic knobs for the lids, helping to maximise space yet again.
Purchase a good non-stick frypan and look after it by protecting it in transit with a cushioned buffer - of something like non-slip rubber. A quality non-stick surface will make cleaning up after a greasy meal so much easier.
A colander for draining pasta or rice is another handy addition for your cookware box, and consider the silicone-collapsible-kind, so once again this will fit neatly into the same box.
You might be wondering what about the dutch oven, billy or even the jaffle iron, such well known camp cooking staples. By all means bring them along - but only if you’ve got the room. If you’re wanting smart, convenient, fuss-free packing, essential for short trips, leave these at home as they’re not only hard to contain (and are likely to be left clanging around loosely in the car), they’re also hard to maintain - the dutch oven requiring initial and periodic ‘seasoning’ with oil.
The kitchen is the heart of any home so once you have the right space-saving-kitchen-camping-set like this - all boxed up - you’ll be ready to call any new campsite home.