How to Make Best Use of Your Camp Cooking Supplies
Whether you carry your own camping kitchen in your trailer or caravan, or setup an outdoor kitchen at your campsite, functional and well-positioned camp cooking supplies will save your sanity!
Check out your camping kitchen options and the best ways to safely make use of them.
Setting Up a Camping Kitchen
If you’re setting up your own spot, check you’re clear of debris, ants and termite nests and have some shelter from the wind. A flat spot is preferable. Set up a safe distance from tents, which are highly flammable.
Position your food preparation area nearby to your campfire or camping cooking stove so that you don’t have to traipse backwards and forwards non-stop. You may be able to utilise fixed picnic tables and benches nearby.
Gas Camp Cooking Supplies
Many campers choose to carry camping cooking stoves for their convenience, reliability and efficiency. Even when other camping kitchen options are available, it’s nice to know that you can fall back on your own resources. Carrying a camping cooking stove allows you to set up and cook close to your campsite and is more convenient for most meals. Let’s not forget that you also want to be able to boil water easily to make relaxing cups of tea and coffee!
Even if you like playing with camp fire cooking, most of your cooking is likely to be done on gas. A gas backup is also handy on fire-ban days (most of the Australian Summer) as it can be used when campfires aren’t an option anyway. Adequate gas supply is essential if you’re relying on your camping cooking stove.
Camper or Caravan Kitchen
If you have the luxury of a camper kitchen, you probably have a 2 or 4 burner gas stove, sink, fridge, bench space and maybe even a griller or freezer.
Some camper kitchens are slide-out units that allow you to truly cook in the outdoors. These are by their nature very well-ventilated!
Camping kitchens that are indoors (e.g. in the Jayco model camper trailers) provide wonderful shelter in less friendly weather, but you’ll often enjoy your camp cooking experience more when you can do your food preparation outside. A fold-up picnic table under your annexe becomes your outdoor bench-top whilst you step inside your camper trailer for the actual cooking.
Both the outdoor and indoor options have their pluses and minuses, but really they both involve minimal setup and are ready to go in no time.
Fixed BBQs at your campsite are the best of all! Although you may have to pay a small fee to use them, you don’t have to carry any gear or fuel. Fixed BBQs are usually positioned centrally and a great place to meet other campers. There are often fixed tables and benches provided nearby for food preparation and dining.
Clean a fixed BBQ thoroughly before you use it. Old food scraps, animal droppings and insect visitors accumulate on the surface. Heat up the BBQ, scrape it clean and wipe down with oil and old newspaper or paper towel. The heat will kill most bacteria.
If you’re using the fixed BBQs at your campsite, you’ll often find yourself to-ing and fro-ing from your campsite to retrieve the forgotten oil, tongs, tomato sauce or the last-minute extra plate for sausages. Think through the cooking process and use a tub or bucket to assemble what you’ll need. You’ll save yourself endless trips, believe me.
If you have access to power, you may carry frequently used kitchen items such as kettles, toasters, sandwich makers, blenders, woks and frying pans. Can you believe it, some camper trailers and caravans even have microwave ovens!
Electricity is available in caravan parks and at some national park camping sites. You may be carrying a generator or capable of running off batteries for a couple of days.
Thermal cooking is rapidly gaining popularity. Thermal cooking is very effective and similar to slow cooking. There’s a similar philosophy to using a crockpot, just set and forget.
Once your pot of food has been heating up during the initial cooking process, it’s placed in a thermal unit where it keeps cooking without any external power required.
Thermal cooking is well suited to day 1 of your camping trip. Heat the cooking pot at home, place it in the thermal cooker, get to camp, set up and explore. Dinner is ready without any extra time or effort at your campsite.
If you’re bushwalking and camping overnight, cooking sets that are light and compact are available. Sometimes these are a combination of cooking and eating utensils that cleverly slot together to save space. You can also get spoon, knife and fork sets that fit together neatly.
Pack your food in strong plastic containers or bags. Spread the load if you’re walking in a group. Keep your cooking and eating utensils together in a bag so you don’t have to hunt all around your backpack for a spoon when you need one!
A basic bushwalking kitchen may comprise some or all of the following 2-3 nested billies, a small frying pan, a small wire grill, heavy duty aluminium foil, tongs, matches or firestarters, water and leather (or thick) gloves for handling hot equipment. Don’t forget the cleaning gear! If you’re not planning (or permitted) to build a campfire, a small liquid fuel stove or camping cooking stove supplied with gas cartridges should be compact and light enough to carry.
Camp Fire Cooking
Camp fire cooking
Camp fire cooking is great fun and part of the whole camping experience – just perhaps not every night! There is a distinctive style to campfire cooking which requires a relaxed approach. A sensible attitude to safe
outdoor campfire cooking
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