Who said you can’t enjoy a warm meal when you camp? You can, but it involves some planning. Whether you’re cooking over a campfire, or using a portable stove, there are a few things to bear in mind so that all your camp meals are a success, including tent and equipment, how to pack it, and how to handle your food.
Pack like the wise
Lists might sound old-fashioned, but they come in handy when you’re camping. Make a list of all the meals you want to cook and the ingredients you’ll need for each one.
When it comes down to getting your ingredients ready for camp cooking, pack non-perishables, like beans and grains, in airtight containers to protect them from pests and the elements. Perishable products like meat and dairy should be packed in coolers with ice or ice packs to keep them fresh.
Choose a stove that’s right for you
Pick from the multiple camping stoves out there, whether it’s propane, butane or wood-burning ones. But whichever is your favourite, we recommend you make sure it’s a fuel-efficient one.
Propane and butane are convenient and easy to use, but they prove to be quite expensive to operate for occasional camp trips. While wood-burning stoves are more environmentally friendly, they’re a bit messier and require more effort to clean after each use.
Practice makes perfect
You can practice food handling during shorter camping trips and build up your experience for the longer ones. Keep all raw meat and veggies separate from cooked food to prevent cross-contamination inside the bags and tent. Wash your hands frequently, particularly after touching raw food. Do it again and again, you’ll get the hang of it in no time!
Stay safe while you cook and avoid preparing your meals inside a tent, regardless of how spacious your tentmight be (did you know some of our tents fit a party of 10 people?).
Get friendly with cast iron
Cast iron cookware will become your companion in every camping adventure. It’s durable, easy to clean, and perfect for cooking over a campfire. Cast iron also adds a rich smoky flavour to your dishes. Season well to prevent it from rusting, place it over the fire, and cook your cosy meals under the stars.
Light a multi-purpose campfire
The objective of campfires goes beyond keeping you warm. If you don’t carry a portable stove on all your camping trips, you can light a fire (if allowed).
Choose between grilling food directly over the fire or one of the many other options: grills, Dutch ovens, or cast iron. Your tent might not have a kitchen, but campsites sometimes offer cooking spaces, check that out as you’re preparing your next trip.
Whatever you choose, remain at a safe distance from the fire and use long-handle utensils to avoid burns.
Put some flavour in your camp meals
Cooking while camping doesn’t have to be bland. Pack a selection of your favourite spices with you. A few herbs and oils will go a long way, as they will enhance your overall outdoor experience.
We know cooking supplies are limited to what your tent (and you) can carry, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting creative. Dare to try new recipes and ingredients on each trip. A good idea is to incorporate dried fruits, nuts and grains into your cooking, to create varied and nutritious dishes.
What will you be cooking while you camp from now on?
With some planning and preparation, you can turn cooking when camping into a completely new experience. Whatever you’re cooking next, just make sure you have enough food for the duration of your trip. So, pack your tent, grab your gear, and start your camp cooking adventures.