Few meals are more rewarding than those that you cook while camping (if you’re willing to venture outside of the astronaut diet of packaged food, that is). There is something about planning, creating, and watching your meal cook over a campfire that brings levels of fulfillment and happiness that no other meal can bring.
However, it’s no secret that you’re going to need some serious patience and creativity to make this style of cooking successful.
And that’s why we are here — to share with you how you can take the stress and difficulty out of camp cooking, and make it an easy, worthwhile, and rewarding experience.
So step away from the box of instant potatoes, and dig into our camp cooking hacks.
Cooking without the necessary tools would be a challenge for even the most skilled of chefs. And that doesn’t just mean when you’re in your home kitchen.
Tools are arguably even more important when you’re camp cooking, as chances are good you’re too far away to just run to the store and grab something you forgot.
(Even if you are near a store — who wants to kill the camping vibe and run into town? Certainly not us!)
Here are some of the staple supplies you’re going to need:
While there are certainly other items you’ll want to bring with you, these are the bare bones, basic camp cooking supplies you need to get started.
Throwing together a meal last-minute at home may be one thing, but it’s an entirely different beast once you’re out in the wild.
Not only are you more limited with options and supplies while camping, you’re also more limited with time and patience.
Cooking over a campfire already takes long enough — don’t push your luck by trying to put together a meal on-the-fly.
Instead, plan ahead of time.
Planning your camping meals is not only easy, it’s also fun!
You may find yourself pulling an all-nighter or two, clicking through all the great camping recipes on the KOA blog. We guarantee you’ll feel inspired to step outside of your comfort zone to try something new, and, in the process, maybe even create your family’s new favorite meal.
The added bonus to meal prepping is that you’ll have full control over keeping your meals healthy.
It is easy to get out of hand when camping — you feel like you’re on vacation and digging deep into that bag of chips, or snacking on that giant Hershey’s bar comes with less guilt than it would at home.
However, camp cooking is a great opportunity for you to stay on track with your health, and is a great way to show you how simple it is to eat well.
That way, you won’t feel any guilt having a second s’more.
Now that you’ve got your meals planned out, how are you going to cook them?
If you’re new to camp cooking, you have probably envisioned yourself sitting over a campfire for hours, patiently waiting for your steak to cook, only to have it fall right into the fire when you take it off.
However, camp cooking doesn’t have to look like that.
It can be easy, enjoyable, and full of flavor when you know what your options are.
Check out our favorite ways to camp cook, and the simple tools you need to make it happen:
Skewers: If pots and pans aren’t your thing, don’t worry — skewers are a great option. Small, easy to pack, and reusable, skewers make for some darn good meals.
Using the skewers from last night’s steak and veggies for today’s bacon and sausage will have you feeling pretty thrifty. Not to mention thankful that you don’t have to wash any pans on vacation.
Dutch Oven: Possibly the most versatile piece of camping “equipment” you will ever own, this dutch oven opens up a whole new world of cooking possibilities.
From soups, to chicken; from lasagna to cake, the dutch oven is a great tool to have in your camping arsenal.
And you don’t need a bunch of equipment to make this dutch oven do its job, either. The construction of the dutch oven allows you to put coals on top of it as well as under it. This way, you’re able to ensure your meal is cooking all the way through, without spending a bunch of extra time.
Skillet: While we recommend a cast iron, really any type of skillet will work. This skillet can be used to cook almost anything you can imagine — just think about what you use your skillet to cook at home. Most of the same can be cooked on a skillet over the fire.
The reason we love cast iron skillets specifically so much is that you can stick them right on top of the fire, or on top of a pile of coals and cook from there.
The heat this baby is able to withstand, and hold in, makes it a great way to cook steaks, eggs, bread, and much more.
Camp stove: This is certainly not necessary — as you can see from the above, your campfire works great to cook while camping.
However, for those of you who want a bit more control, and more options when it comes to your camping meals, you may want to look at investing in a camp stove.
The wind protection and heat control make this a great way to make your meals quicker, and with less hassle, while camping.
Aluminum Foil: Prepare to be amazed at the power of aluminum foil. There’s a reason your parents always saved used aluminum foil — this stuff seems as if it was made for camp cooking.
When cooking using aluminum foil, all you’ve got to do is:
It truly is as simple as that.
Feeling like camp cooking is something you can master? We think so too.
But, before you embark on your cooking adventures, we’ve got a few little tips for you to keep in mind:
You’ve got all the info you need to start your work towards mastering camp cooking, so find your first recipe to try, and get cooking!
Leslie, a.k.a. Copy Girl, is a copywriter who gets butterflies from telling stories through words.
Her voice comes from a place filled with passion, dreams, and lots of sugar. “Cake over steak” is her go-to motto.
With over 10 years of experience in crafting words, and years of embarking on travels that have taken this Montana girl to some incredible places, Leslie love the adventures of both body and mind her writing takes her on.
Everywhere she goes, she takes this advice with her:
“Hold on to your divine blush, your innate rosy magic, or end up brown.” – Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
To see what Leslie’s up to in the writing world, visit her website here.