Essential Campfire Cooking Gear
Campfire Cookware – Starter Pieces and More
There are two kinds of camp cooks; ones that do it because it’s their turn, and ones that do it because they enjoy it as much as any other part of outdoor camping.
But regardless of which one you are, your collection of camping cookware has to start with the basics.
- A frying pan
- A large pot and a small pot – with lids
- A spatula and a large serving spoon
- A large kitchen knife
- **It isn’t a piece of cookware but you will need a campfire cooking grill somewhere along the line if you will be camping more than once
That’s it, with those basic items you can prepare most of the camp foods used in the majority of camping meal menus.
Of course you can get by with less, like only a pot to boil water in for instant oatmeal three times a day, or you could have a lot more, like; cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens, and reversible griddles. But the basics above are usually how it all starts.
Dip your toes and test the water first. You could even start with old stuff from home or yard sales – until you get a better idea of the type of cooking you will be doing, and the type of cookware you need for the camp foods you like to cook.
Realistically there are a few more things that should be included with the basics:
- A cutting board – not a small one, but at least a medium one about 12″ x 18″ or so.
- A smaller paring knife, and maybe a fillet knife
- A pair of tongs
- A ladle
- Another serving spoon, (or two), and a cooking fork. (looks like a large version of a regular table fork)
- A campfire coffee pot
** It’s an accessory, but you will absolutely need a thick pot holder, or better yet, – a pair of campfire cooking gloves.
Now, the question is … what kind of cookware should you buy to begin building your collection of cookware?
Skillets: It should be at least a 10″ skillet, and a 12″ one will serve you better over the years. It should have a lid. Gus recommends cast iron skillets – a good one never wears out, (you can pass yours on to your kids), and they are generally much better for even heat transfer from an erratic heat source like a campfire. But … cast iron cookware will require a little more TLC, (tender loving care), than an aluminum or steel skillet.
If you prefer a Teflon non-stick skillet, there are some good ones out there, and they are much easier to clean-up and maintain, but they won’t last as long as cast iron because the Teflon will eventually get scratched and wear off.
Just make sure it is a heavy thick skillet, (which means expensive), because you will never get good results from a thin skillet over a campfire: thin metal = poor heat control and uneven heat transfer from the dancing flames or smoldering coals.
Pots and Pans: These should also have lids. The large pot, (at least 4-qt. capacity, 6-qt. isn’t too big), should have a handle on each side for safe handling, not a single long handle like a smaller pan will have. Quality and material is important too, but not as important as it is for your skillet choice, just don’t buy paper-thin Dollar store pots and pans.
NO Plastic Handles!
A good starter set would include the large pot mentioned above, plus a 2-qt pan and a 1-qt pan. The ideal set-up would be a nesting set. (they all fit inside each other – like at right)
Spatula and Serving Spoon: Two main requirements, – long handles and Teflon coating. Metal spatulas and spoons will damage your cookware.
They would be ok for stirring your pots and pans, but don’t get them, if you have them you will end up using them in your Teflon or cast iron cookware sooner or later.
Camp Kitchen Knife: This should have a 6″ or 8″ smooth-edge blade, and a good non-slip handle that would be easy to use with gloves on. If you want a serrated-edge knife, then have two kitchen knives in your camping gear. There are a lot of tasks that a serrated-edge just won’t work as well for as a smooth-edge knife.
Where to Buy The Camping Gear You Need:
The logical thought is your local camping and outdoor supply store. And that may be a good choice if you can catch a hot sale. But quality camping cookware and equipment can be pricey, – so go prepared, check online prices first so you have something to compare to.
Amazon.com is a good place to check. They are the most trusted marketplace online, their prices are usually better than anywhere else. Almost every item qualifies for Free shipping, (for purchases over $25), and their free 3 – 5 day standard shipping is almost always faster than that. Plus, their return policy is better and easier than Walmart’s.
Also, if they are available to you; yardsales, fleamarkets, and thrift stores can be good sources for camping cooking gear.
Here are some examples of the camping equipment discussed above.
Even if you are not interested in buying now, they will give you an idea of the choices you have and the prices you can expect.
Notes and discussions:
Here are a few more pieces of camping gear you might be interested in:
Camping Gear – Campfire Camping Gloves
Camping Gear – How to Pick a Campfire Coffee Pot
Camping Gear – How to Pick a Campfire Cooking Grill
Campfire Cooking Checklist
Camp Tools and Accessories Checklist
Complete Tent Camping Checklist – Doc – Pdf
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