camping and cooking

ESSENTIAL CAMPSITE COOKING EQUIPMENT

As an avid cooker, there is something mystical about campsite cooking. The smell of certain flavours of instant noodles never fails to bring a wave of nostalgia washing over me as it sends me back to being hunched over a little gas stove next to my tent.

Making the decision between stocking a fully equipped kitchen and packing light to avoid unnecessary weight is always a tough one before any trip. The more equipment you have at your fingertips, the more complex the recipes and the more creative and adventurous you can be with your cooking. A well-equipped kitchen prevents monotony from creeping into your camping diet. There are several things that simply can’t be forgotten, this is my list of essential campsite cooking equipment.

• A portable camping stove or cooker
Some people prefer making a camp site fire and cooking on that instead. In my experience, it always pays to have a gas stove for a rainy day. If you are in one of Australia’s national parks, you probably can’t light a campfire anyway.
• Canisters of fuel
• A stove-top kettle
Probably my most important item on the list. Having my morning coffee when camping maintains a little bit of my home routine on holiday. I find it one of the most relaxing parts of the day and I couldn’t camp without my stove-top kettle.
• Saucepan
If you have the space, take a medium and a large one.
• Aluminium foil
Incredibly versatile, it can be used instead of several kitchen utensils. Poking holes in it and moulding it into a bowl shape can provide a useful steamer. I have even shaped it into a mock baking tray and used it in an oven.
• Can opener
• Corkscrew
Eskies
I usually take two, one for food and one for drinks.
• Spatula
• Cheese grater
• Cutlery
• Sieve or strainer
• One sharp knife for food preparation
• Cutting board
• Mess trays or metal plates for eating
Mess trays also make excellent places for storing utensils when travelling.
• Ziploc bags or tupperware
Tupperware can also make an excellent substitute for bowls and small storage facilities. I usually opt for the ziploc bags to save on esky space. After all, the less space taken up with food, the more space for beers. They are also great for storing leftovers or filling full of snack food to take out with you on your daytime hikes.
• Seasonings
Salt, pepper, soy sauce and chilli sauce are my essentials. Bring sachets where possible. Plenty of fast food establishments have sachets of salt and pepper you can stock up on.

Where possible I preseason my food and leave it in the esky in a ziploc bag or wrapped in aluminium foil. This saves you from dragging your spice rack into the bush with you. Dishes such as marinated chicken or seasoned salmon are great to prepare at home in advance as long as you have a way of keeping them chilled. You can always make up the seasoning or marinade packs and fill them with the fresh fish you catch when camping.

You can chuck them into a couple of ziploc bags and when the time comes, just transfer them into a tight wrap of aluminium foil and throw them into the coals of the campfire. Once cooked they are ready to eat.

 


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Oli Ward
oli@dinga.com.au

Oli has camped and hiked his way around Australia and most of Europe. He also loves writing about his experiences and sharing his knowledge.