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what's in your camping kitchen?

Nothing beats the smell of a bacon sandwich emitting from the camping kitchen.

Camping menu planning whilst away though can be difficult, especially if you are new to this type of holiday lifestyle. Other factors for instance if you are a cook that uses every pot and pan for every meal, you may find yourself a little bit restricted as you have probably only got 2 burners!

Other people's solution to the camping kitchen consists of finding a local public house, or take away and ordering there for the week.

I suppose it can be done that way, but if your away camping for a budget holiday, then this is the most expensive way to eat!

So how do you get round the camping kitchen, eating something that you want, that you recognise all on two burners? Well I have a few tricks of the trade, and have even managed to serve a dinner equivalent to a roast before. 

Cooking pot on an open lit fireOpen fire cooking

To start with though, let's be practical...

food storage

So what food storage capacity do you have?

There is no point going to the local supermarket or stores and buying your usual weekly shop if you don't have room to store it and keep it fresh.

You can eat out for each meal, if you have deep pockets.  But you may like breakfast in your tent, or you just don't want to face the weather again.  The secret to the camping kitchen, is utilising key ingredients in a number of differing ways. Good source of fresh (or dried) herbs and spices can alter one dish completely from another that uses the same basic ingredients.

For me, I actually am fortunate enough to have a fridge that can be take away with us. But this will only work if we have an electric hook-up or gas. 

Now, it's not the biggest fridge.  But it will store a few choice items, bacon, spreadable butter, fresh orange juice, mushrooms, eggs, etc; if you can, I would highly recommend one, especially if you are going on family holidays as opposed to touring holidays.  Also as part of my camping kit I have a free standing kitchen unit.

This provides me with a suitable work top space, although all cutting and preparation I tend to do on the camping table - its nice big and sturdy - just what you need.

Under the top of the camping kitchen unit, is a hanging cupboard. That is made of canvas (so all folds flat) which makes it more difficult for animal infiltrators to get in, as it will swing.

There is also a wire shelf at the bottom, which is ideal for storing tins and my saucepans.  These featured products offer some stunning space and good capacity for food storage, whatever your circumstances...

camping kitchen equipment

So what camping kitchen equipment do you need to take?

We've looked at your storage details, so you will also need to look at how you are going to cook your food.

I have a two burner, bottle gas cooker, which I adore. Its perfect, but as with anything time evolves and so do the products that are available. I have found the following products, which I thought we could look at in a bit of detail...

When I first started out, I had one of these stoves.  I was shocked that they run on an...

aerosol can


I found it superb little cooker, and it still comes with us whatever our location, as its fabulous for running the kettle !

Don't think that because your camping your stuck with just fried food. You can create a good home cooked meal.  

In fact my best achievement was a stew with steamed potatoes and broccoli, all on a stove like this one! How? Well there is a lot to be said for utilising a steamer when camping.

The stew was where you'd traditionally put the water, and the potatoes and broccoli were in the steam trays on the top. It was a lovely meal, cooked a treat and quite the envy of surrounding campers.

This one is very similar to what I use when we go camping.  Ours is free standing and does come with it's own legs.

As for a grill, we have a gadget that you can attach to the hob and toast your bread - it's really quite awesome; just needs a watchful eye, unless you like burnt toast!

Breakfast can always be a challenge, as you can't very well steam that in the same way as you can your vegetables for dinners.

However there are some nice variants , eggy bread being one favourite of ours, as well as the traditional bacon sandwich.

Having said that bacon sandwiches can be somewhat contagious, it only takes one camping kitchen to start cooking them, and you'll soon find a chain reaction of camping kitchens as you head through the campsite... mmm I'm hungry now!

This one I have seen used by many friends and family members.

Whilst they have never had any complaints at all, I'm always weary of the fuel being in front of the heat like that; being not very tall, I don't necessarily have the same reach as others, and therefore I have always shied away from this as a product.

However, it does come highly recommended by friends and family. When camping with friends and family though, its always best to share the cooking load, besides anything else this makes your 2 burner camping kitchen into a four burner... Loads more space, in fact you may not have enough pans!

equipment list

So now you have a way to heat things, you'll be needing something to cook on! These are just a few of the things that get taken with us:

  • camping kettle
  • camping saucepans (nesting camping pans)
  • camping mugs
  • camping plates
  • camping bowls
  • camping knives
  • camping forks
  • camping spoons and teaspoons

But don't forget those other things that you may well just go to use, only to find they are missing!

  • utensils, such as fish slice and wooden spoon
  • a sharp kitchen knife
  • cutting board(s)
  • potato peeler
  • can opener
  • bottle opener

If you have a decent camp shop on site, you'll probably find that they will supply some or any of the above, for those poor people that forgot to pick something up.

Hey it happens to us all, however never be without your bottle opener, a toast of something cold, once you've arrived and you've set up, is just what the doctor ordered!

get cooking

Getting your camping kitchen operational and functional will make your holiday most enjoyable.

If you need assistance with your camping menu planning, then you can take a look at some of the recipes that I've managed to pull out of the bag! Some of them even arrive on the dinner table at home, having been inspired whilst camping.


Just a word on the safety front, remember that your tent is made out of canvas, or nylon or some substance that is actually quite light, and likely to be flammable.

With this in mind, I usually cook outside, moving the stove out under the awning, but as I've said ours is free standing. For your own safety, make sure you read the manual that comes with the cooker for it's safety guidelines.

did you remember the kitchen sink?

Once you've cooked your most desirable meal, it comes to washing up.

Now here I have to be honest, I don't roll out the dishwasher (if only!) but it's all to be done by hand.

Unless terrible foul weather is on site, I usually put everything in the washing up bowl and take it to the on-site facilities. I've found otherwise using the water and heating the kettle can make this the most arduous of tasks, and it needs little encouragement on that front!

So last, but by no means least, don't forget...

  • your washing up bowl
  • washing up liquid
  • washing up cloths
  • tea towels

...these whilst camping are essential!

› Camping Kitchen

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