How To Put Together A Camp Kitchen


reicampkitchenWhen I think of the great times that I have had camping, cooking  in the camp kitchen with my family seems to be one of the most memorable.  I have 2 young boys that really get excited about what we eat while camping.  I have even come up with names such as “honest to God cowboy chili” or “bear burgers”.  My wife seems to spend nearly all of her time prepping and planning for the next family meal. She has the most elaborate camping cooking equipment that one could imagine considering that we travel in a Subaru Outback Station wagon.  Everything that we use in our cooking equipment arsenal has duplicity.  For example, I use the pressure cooker to store flatware, bowls, and cups that we use while traveling.  Space is tight and weight is a considerable factor.  We do not have enough space to have spare items.

Why You Should Put Together A Camping Kitchen Before You Go Camping

If you are going to spend considerable time away from restaurants and fast food joints, then you are going to have rely on your self for making tasty meals.  Our family rarely eats out when camping because we enjoy our cooking so much and it’s not always practical to find a diner or eatery when we are camping in such remote places.  Since you will be preparing most of the meals yourself, you may as well have the best and most efficient equipment that is available.  You should be as comfortable cooking on the road as you are in your own home.  It will take some ingenuity and imagination on your part to become proficient at gourmet cooking while camping.

Essential Items To Put On Your Camping Kitchen List

Think of you what you typically use on a daily basis at home in your own kitchen.  This will be your starting point on what you will be using while camping.  If you use a particular item such as a wok or frying pan at home, then more than likely, you will need it or an alternative while camping.  Don’t expect electricity unless you plan on spending the extra money for an R.V. site-that is if an R.V. site is even available.

Camp Stove Essentials

Grill lighter.
Spare fuel containers.
Sturdy white gas or propane stove.
Caste iron griddle.
Caste iron skillet.
Caste iron dutch oven.
Large pressure cooker or stock pot.

4 gallon stainless steel water dispenser/storage unit.
Plastic wash basins.
Drying towels.
Plastic or stainless steel food storage containers.

Assortment of quality kitchen knifes.
Small cheese grater.
Pasta strainer or colander.
Stainless steel colander
Wood or stainless steel mixing spoon.
Wood Cutting board for fruits and vegetables.
Light weight plastic cutting board for meats.

Stainless steel cereal/soup bowls.
Drinking cups.
Enameled steel dinner plates.

The Camp Coffee Bar

Single drip filter cone coffee maker.
Coffee filters.
Moka coffee pot.
Stainless steel French press coffee maker.
Zassenhaus burr coffee grinder.
Stainless steel travel coffee tumblers.

Camp Kitchen Staples

Cooking oil.
Salt, pepper, and spices.
Real Maple syrup.

As you can see, this list can really grow.  It’s easier to start out with a larger list than you need as you can always pare it down later.  Buy high quality items that will last for years. After camping for years, I have found that stainless is the longest lasting and the lightest weight. I included several cast iron pots and skillets as they make incredible meals and are worth the extra weight.

How To Organize Your Camping Cooking Kit

It’s hard to believe that we used grocery bags to organize our first cross country camping trip. It was a total disaster as the bags were in shreds before we arrived at our destination.  Since then, we have been using both Sterilite and Rubber Maid see through clear plastic bins to store of our camp cooking gadgets in.  My wife has labeled the contents of each container with a black Sharpie pen.  We use 4 bins and stack them on top of each other.  We can have all 4 of them removed from our car in less than a minute.  They are light enough for each of our two boys to remove them from the vehicle and set them on a picnic table.

Having everything in easy to access plastic see through storage bins has saved us so much time.  For example, my wife will on occasion ask one of the boys to get something and she will tell them what container the item is located in.  This only works well provided that you put said item back where you retrieved it from.


Try to be a minimalist while car camping.  Keep things simple unless of course you are camping in a luxury liner R.V.  If you choose not bring something and find that you need it later in your trip, you can buy the item on the road.

Portable Camp Kitchens

If you look through Amazon, REI, Walmart, and other high end online stores, you will notice that they offer portable camp kitchens.  You can also get a camp kitchen with  a sink.  I am not in favor of getting a camp kitchen with a sink as it’s another thing to keep clean and sanitary.  I would rather use easy to clean plastic basins for washing dishes, vegetables, and fruits.  The REI camp kitchen is one of the best made and designed in the industry.

Check out the REI Camp Kitchen Video.




  1. I really liked your article and I enjoyed reading about someone else who likes camping and camp cooking as much as I do. However I don’t agree with you on the camp kitchen from REI I myself own and prefer the camp kitchen from Cabela’s.

    • Julie, thanks for the insight on the camp kitchen from Cabela’s! People need to know the good and bad. What do you like about the camp kitchen at Cabela’s. Cabela’s is an awesome store!


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