Do you love to camp but dread the thought of cooking over a tiny campfire? Is your idea of the perfect vacation one where you can still enjoy all your favourite home comforts? If so, then packing a compact and efficient kitchen is one of the few key areas of what it takes to be a trendy camper.
Luckily, the items you need for an outdoor kitchen have come a long way from the old days of foil-wrapped burgers and beans heated up on a propane stove. Now, you can find functional and lightweight versions of all your favourite appliances, cookware and tableware, making it easier to enjoy gourmet meals even when you’re far from home.
What Do You Need for a Camping Kitchen?
Depending on how fancy you want to get, your packing list can be as simple or as comprehensive as you like. But at a minimum, you’ll need a few basic things to ensure you can cook and serve your meals without the hassle.
Stove and Power Source
You can’t prepare meals off the grid without a way to cook them. One popular option for campers is a portable 12v camp oven, which essentially comes with all the features of a regular one, but in a more compact and convenient size.
These are usually super easy to find and are affordable, which is good news for anyone who loves to camp on a budget. They consist of a small furnace powered by a 12-volt battery and can be used to bake, roast or even slow-cook your food. The heat can be adjusted using a simple knob, so you can easily simmer a pot of soup or bake a batch of meat with equal ease.
In general, there are two basic ways you can power a 12v camp oven – either by using cigarette lighter adaptors or Anderson Plugs. The former is just a regular socket that you can plug the oven into, while the latter is a permanent solution hardwired into your vehicle.
If you’re using an Anderson Plug, you’ll need to make sure it’s properly installed by a qualified electrician. But once it’s in place, you’ll be able to use your 12v camping oven without any worry about running out of power.
Finally, cleaning a 12-volt camping oven is quite simple – most of them come with removable elements that can be washed in the sink. Make sure you dry them thoroughly before putting them back in, and your oven will be as good as new, ready for its next meal.
Coolers and Insulated Storage
Storing your things neatly is one of the most vital aspects of being in the great outdoors. You don’t want your perishable goods to spoil, so having a good cooler can be a game-changer.
There are two main types of coolers – hard-sided and soft-sided. Hard-sided coolers are usually made from plastic or metal and have rigid walls that keep the contents inside well protected. They’re also quite heavy and difficult to transport.
Soft-sided models, on the other hand, are made from a variety of materials like fabric or nylon. They’re often lighter and more compact, making them easier to carry around. However, they don’t provide the same level of protection as hard-sided counterparts, so you’ll need to be careful with them.
When choosing a cooler, it’s important to consider how long you’ll need it to keep things cold. For instance, if you’re planning on going on a long trip, then you’ll need a model that can maintain low temperatures for several days. Shorter travels can be managed with a smaller and less expensive version.
Using your hands when preparing meals is not the most sanitary or safe option, especially when you’re outdoors. That’s why having a good set of cooking tools is so crucial- they’ll help you create scrumptious meals while keeping your hands clean.
One thing to look for in cooking utensils is a material that won’t rust or corrode. Stainless steel is usually a top contender, as it’s quite sturdy and long-lasting.
Another great option is silicone, which is heat resistant and won’t leave any unpleasant taste in your food. It’s also relatively lightweight, so it won’t add too much bulk to your packing.
Moving on to the eating part – you’ll need some plates and bowls to serve your food. Plastic cups and plates are the first things people think of, given their low weight and cost.
However, if you want something more upscale, you could get enamel tableware. It has a classic look that will make your meals feel more like a gourmet experience. Keep in mind that enamel is breakable, so you’ll need to take extra care with it.
No matter where you are, there’s nothing quite like starting your day with a cup of hot coffee. When you’re in a remote location, you can’t visit your local café. So, the next best thing is to bring your coffee maker.
Fortunately, portable coffee makers are designed specifically for this purpose. Most of them use either ground coffee or coffee pods, so you’ll need to make sure you have a supply of whichever one you prefer. Once you’ve got that sorted, all you need is some hot water and you’re good to go.
Washing and Cleaning Products
Last but not least, using clean utensils and tableware is essential for preventing the spread of bacteria. Washing up after every meal is the best way to keep things hygienic and safe.
And you know how hotels have small bottles of shampoo and body wash? Well, there are now camping-friendly versions of dish soap and laundry detergent that come in similar packaging. These are super handy for cleaning up without having to lug around a heavy bottle.