Camp Kitchen Essentials & Necessities

By Devin Osbourn

Roasting hotdogs, rehydrating soup, and munching on trail mix gets old real quick– setting up a camp kitchen is one way to elevate your fireside meals.

At home, your recipes shine. How could you possibly create the same greatness in the middle of the woods without the kitchen you know and love?

Bring all of your kitchen comforts with you. A camp kitchen has every essential you need to cook nourishing meals for you and camp companions.

Photo by @thatguytyler11

Camp Kitchen Components

Indoors, outdoors, this side of the world or the other. Every kitchen has these simple elements. Combine them with the principles of 🏕 Leave No Trace, and you have yourself a camp kitchen

Heat Source

Heat is the heart of the campsite. When choosing a heat source for cooking, you’ll want be sure it has

  • 🏕 a low impact on your surroundings
    • doesn’t disturb the ground permanently
    • is easy to contain or extinguish
  • capacity to heat for every person in tow
  • is lightweight and packs easily

Ranger and Bonfire are our preferred portable hearths. A lightweight Fire Pit does the work of two, warming weary campers and heating up your Cast Iron Grill for sizzling meals. Backpackers and solo travelers will enjoy the same convenience with Campfire.

Your Fire Pit, Cast Iron Grill, and Hub complete the Fire Pit Cooking Bundle that will lift your provisions to gourmet stature.

Brian M. practices Leave No Trace in his camp kitchen by lighting up in an existing fire ring.

Foraging for your fuel on site is one of the great benefits of a wood-burning heat source. To maintain low impact on your campsite, follow these guidelines for firewood gathering.

  • 🏕 Use dead, fallen branches, twigs, and other biomass as fuel. Never cut fresh wood for your fire.
  • 🏕 Buy firewood from a local source if you need to bring it. Never bring firewood from home.
  • 🏕 Scatter unused wood around the area when you leave to keep it looking as natural as possible.

Food Storage & Ingredients

The pantry and the fridge at home have a lot to live up to. They need modern style, smart house connectivity, and customizable drawers. Your camp kitchen food storage needs to do only two things.

  • protect food from spoilage
  • 🏕 protect food from wildlife

A good cooler will fit the bill– keeping your cache cool and hidden from hungry scavengers. Foods that don’t need to be refrigerated can still benefit from cooler storage, where a tight seal and latch can protect against insects and larger critters.

Photo by Oleg K.

The food you pack depends entirely on your planned recipes and how much you can afford to pack. Aside from every combination and permutation you can imagine, every camp kitchen should have these basic ingredients.

The master ingredient. Whether you’re boiling, braising, or basting, have fresh water handy.

Your sous chef. Improves any dish, and replenishes sodium lost to your hard work on the trails.

A jack of all trades–or all recipes. Calorie dense and hand-held, tortillas are not to be underestimated as the ultimate camp kitchen staple. Among their impressive attributes is also a long shelf life.

Cookware & Dinnerware

Ease into gourmet camp cooking with the classics, reinvented. Most meat and veggies simply pop with flavor when grilled, so spring for the best of the basics with Cast Iron Grill. Fire Pit Cooking Bundle is a three-piece set and makes it easy to transition from grilling to enjoying a warm fire.

Packing cookware and dinnerware can get cumbersome, so it’s important for each piece to serve multiple purposes.

Cookware & Utensils

Dinnerware & Utensils

  • Plate or Bowl, per person
  • Fork, per person
  • Spoon, per person
  • Mess Kit, per person. Mess kits are all-in-one dinnerware, usually compact and include a lid for leftovers.

Prep Surfaces & Sanitation

Having a stable, elevated surface to chop vegetables or prepare batter is quite literally an upgrade from food prep on the forest floor. Folding tables are lightweight and endlessly useful around the campsite.

Master ingredient, master cleanser– water does it all. Bring along a reusable container to fill up at communal water stations, or pack a large container when you’re headed for primitive campsites and back country.

Wash Bins
A few buckets in your camp kitchen can function as a make-shift sink. One for suds, and one for rinsing is a simple system for after dinner clean up.

The unsung hero of the camp kitchen. Washable and reusable rags can scrub, dry, cover, and bundle.

The environmentally friendly Castile soap is a camp kitchen favorite. Castile Soap can be used to wash your tabletop, utensils, rags, dishes, and is an all-in-one body wash.

Waste Disposal
🏕 If you pack it in, pack it out. Regular kitchen trash bags are a must-pack for a clean camp kitchen.

Plan Ahead

A simple checklist will make planning for your fireside feast a cinch. Make your own, or use ours!