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All boxed up - Your camp kitchen in a box

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.

The camp kitchen set up and ready to go
Your camping kitchen packs away easily and neatly at home ready for your next adventure

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Angela Armstrong
Angela Armstrong
Angela is a writer, author and marketer. She has spent many years touring and camping with her Antarctic-expeditioner, UN-contractor husband - but not so long she has forgotten what it's like starting out. Her latest book, Camping In Style, shares their knowledge, helping campers of all levels discover tools for the most comfortable camping holidays.


  1. Dear Angela

    I recently purchased your camping book and found it to be very.... very informative and practical. I have slowly been collecting camping gear over the years... and have never had the opportunity to do some real camping.... so I was pleasantly surprised to read your advice on buying good quality gear...one being the canvas tent.... of which I happened to buy second hand years ago in excellent condition!

    As I find myself going over the info in the book again... and again....I just thought I would let you know that the binding that keeps all the pages together is not holding up and is now causing the pages to drop out...... given that it is a very thick book I don't know how you can solve the this problem, however I am going to get my copy spiral bound and I will see how that stands up to my constant reading!

    Other than the binding issue I feel this book is money well spent!

    Steve Read

  2. Whilst this is a great article and If I was staying in the one spot, this is exactly what I would and do do but I live on the edge of the desert in WA and we like to go on weekend or 4 day trips and I have spent the last hour searching in Australia for what is called in the US a chuckbox - everything I need for a short trip in a box, utensils etc and sadly I have been unable to find one and will be purchasing one from the US. What a missed opportunity - are you aware of anything like this here?

    • Thank you for your feedback. We've often thought there is an opportunity here for something like this as sadly Australia doesn't have such a thing. Thanks for bringing our attention to the fact ther is such a thing in the US.

    • Look up Drifta, Aussie company that does options big and small of chuckbox/camp kitchen. Or look up 'grabmegear', another Aussie company that has one too...

    • Lin did you end up getting onto a suitable camp kitchen in a box in Australia. Drifta are great but I too really like the 'chuck box' style used in US.

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