Camping is a hugely popular activity across the globe. People love to camp for many different reasons, but one of the most common reasons people camp is because they enjoy cooking over an open fire.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to cook well while camping and this can make camping trips less enjoyable than they should be.
That’s why we’ve created this article- it will provide some helpful hints and tips that will help you improve your cooking skills when camping in the wilderness.
The key things to remember when you are camp cooking is to prepare beforehand and plan some meals that you can cook on your camp stove. Try to keep things simple and share the responsibility with other members of your camping group.
How to be a Great Camp Cook
1. Keep it simple
2. Use what you have on hand
3. Plan ahead and pack a few items to make your trip easier
4. Pack light – don’t bring more than you need, but be sure to pack the essentials
5. Practice safe food handling when camping in bear country
6. Bring along some extra supplies just in case of emergencies or unexpected weather conditions
7. Share the responsibility at mealtimes.
Choose a good Camping Stove
There are a variety of camping stoves available which run from various fuels and your choice is only limited by size and budget.
Propane camp stove: in most cases, this is a simple two burner set up which has been designed to be mounted on top of a camping table.
You can either buy the entire kit or purchase individual pieces that you may need over time
Liquid fuel camp stoves: these are meant for larger groups and cooking more than just boiling water or heating canned food
Alcohol camp stoves: these have become popular with backpackers because they don’t use any external fuels like gas or butane; however, some people find them difficult to work with as opposed to other types of camp cookware.
They come assembled so there’s not much prep needed before setting off.
Methylated spirit stoves : these are excellent for backpackers or campers who don’t want to carry too much fuel.
They are lightweight, compact and easy to use. These stoves work well when the weather is bad but care is needed as in bright sunlight the flame is invisible.
Paraffin or kerosene stoves have good standards of all round performance but they can be more difficult to use than the other types of stoves
Petrol or gasoline stoves are easy to light and give good performance but, due to type of fuel they can be very dangerous and can easily ignite if there are fuel or vapor leaks.
Getting water when camp cooking
One of the most important things when camping is to ensure you have a good supply of water.
In order for campers to get their own fresh drinking water, they need somewhere with potable running water.
The easiest way to do this would be to go near lakes, streams, rivers or any other natural sources where there are clean bodies of freshwater.
Having access to fresh water is an advantage but you need to make sure that it is safe to drink.
Boiling water will destroy dangerous bacteria and other microbes.
Boiling the water for at least one minute will make it safe to drink, but boiling longer than one minute is not a bad idea either.
It takes about 3 minutes of continuous rolling boiling time for the water to become sterile and safe enough to use.
If the water is dirty or has visible matter in it then you should filter as much of the debris from it before boiling – you can do this with purpose made filters, socks, shirts and other materials.
If there are no potable sources near your campsite then there are filters or purifying tablets which campers can carry in order to extract drinking water from any source they might find along their journey – like streams or lakes.
There are also portable filtration systems which come in handy when camping while travelling through countries where tap water cannot be trusted.
Washing campsite cooking equipment
You should wash all used and dirty camp cooking gear as soon as possible after use. This will make the job of cleaning easier as opposed to leaving food waste to solidify on pots and pans.
It also reduces the risk of attracting wild animals and other pests that might be attracted to the smells.
You can use wire wool or nylon scouring pads on tough items.
For tougher stains, you can add a little citric acid to water and scrub until the stain disappears.
Note: Make sure that all food waste is disposed of properly by placing it in approved waste containers or bags.
Cooking gear that you will need when camping
The first thing that you will need for camp cooking is a stove.
You can choose to use a portable gas stove or even an open fire, but most people prefer the convenience of using easy-to-carry camping stoves which are often lightweight and compact too.
You should also bring at least two large pots with lids when going out on your adventure into the wilds.
These pots will be used in order to cook food such as pasta and beans, rice dishes like pilafs or fried rice, boil eggs or vegetables for salads etcetera.
A frying pan is another object that you might want to take with you when camping so that you can fry up bacon and eggs in the morning before breakfast (or anytime).
Alloy plates are recommended unless you choose to eat from the pans
You will also need:
cutlery – knives, forks and spoons
A tin opener
Matches – take at least two boxes and keep them dry inside sealable plastic bags or containers
A water container
Fuel for your stove
Washing up items – bowl, scourers, cloths and some detergent
Bags for waste
Planning your camp cooking
Unless you really want to do all of the camp cooking it is a good idea to share the responsibilities of mealtimes and to to take turns cooking, washing up and tidying things away.
It’s a good idea to try to come up with a list of meals before you go away so that you have a basic idea of what you’re going to cook.
This also gives you the opportunity to get the supplies that you need so that you are not wasting valuable vacation time travelling to stores to ‘get your stuff’.
You should try to make the evening meal the main meal of the day and a highlight of the day’s activities.
Use it as a time to relax, unwind and to enjoy the surroundings where you have camped.
For your morning meal you can go heavy or light.
Cooking in the morning can be hard work but the effort can be rewarding, particularly if you have a busy or active day ahead of you.
Try to avoid cooking at lunchtime and instead make use of snacks to keep going – save the effort for the evening meal.
Camping is a great way to spend time with family and friends and to enjoy the outdoors.
With a little forethought and planning, cooking when camping can be fun and can actually be quite easy.
Share the responsibility and involve everyone for the best experience.