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If you are a fan of short camping trips, your choice is simple. You will need a knife, spork, and a cup. But, if you plan to camp for a few days, especially with a crowd of people, you will need better camping cooking utensils.
Worry not, my friend.
We will help you choose the proper equipment. So you don’t end up carrying a rice cooker on the top of the Appalachian mountains.
How to choose the right camping cooking utensils
The time of cowboys is long gone. No longer can you camp just using the same pot for cooking beans, making coffee, and washing socks.
No, my friend, you need a proper set of camping cooking utensils. And here are the factors that will help you choose:
- Price – expensive utensils don’t necessarily mean better, but too cheap equipment is a disaster incoming. It’s always better to invest in a piece of top-quality equipment than cry because your utensils got damaged from a one-foot fall.
- Weight – dismiss this if you are going by your RV or SUV. But for backpackers, the weight of the utensils is an important factor. At the end of the day, you don’t need any additional weight.
- Durability – will your utensils break after you fall, or throw them to a friend that ate your last hiking snack? Choose the equipment that’s hard to break.
- Multifunctionality – so, no rice cooker or pancake pan. All your camping cooking utensils must be versatile, primarily to save space and weigh less.
- Fast cooking time – you will eat quicker and save a penny or two on gas if you choose a stronger camp stove or a pot with better heat distribution.
- Size – closely related to weight and space problems. You don’t need an oversized knife while camping. The same goes for the 5-gallon pots.
Camping cooking utensils – the material
Plastic is the perfect choice for mugs, plates, spice containers, and even eating utensils. You can’t cook in the plastic pot, of course, but never mind that.
Plastic is lightweight, durable, and cheap. Just make sure you use BPA-free plastic.
Steel camping cooking utensils are durable and don’t pass the taste of metal to food, as some alternatives do.
The downside is that steel utensils are heavy, so they are not a good choice for backpackers. Also, steel camping pots and pans will take more time to heat up.
They can also be quite pricey, but their durability justifies the price. A stainless steel knife set is a must.
Aluminum camping cooking utensils had a nasty reputation before. The old kind of aluminum was squishy, added a metallic taste to your food, and even accused of some diseases.
But, that time has passed, and aluminum utensils are once again a perfect choice. Hard anodized aluminum utensils are lighter than steel and slightly less durable. But their price is more than affordable.
When you want to camp with style, you choose titanium. These bad boy utensils are the top of the equipment for camping. You will cook fast, they will weigh less and will last more.
Also, if you decide to buy a whole set of titanium camping cooking utensils, you might end up paying a lot. Our advice is to buy at least one pot or pan made from titanium.
Cast iron pots and pans are the most durable ones. However, they weigh a lot, so they are optional only if you go camping by car. Iron pots will distribute the heat evenly, and food won’t stick.
However, they sometimes tend to be impractical for camping due to their large weight and special approach to cleaning and handling.
What are foldable camping cooking utensils?
These are some of the most practical utensils for camping. Usually, the foldable dishes are made from silicone resistant to high temperatures.
Silicone pots and pans used for cooking have aluminum bottoms, while bowls and mugs are made just from the silicone.
These foldable utensils are lightweight, practical, and price-friendly choice. And yes, you can cook in some of these silicon pots. The future is now.
How do you cook in a tent?
Sometimes the sudden summer storm will force you to hide in your tent. Hours will pass, and your stomach will start screaming from hunger in no time.
But, how to cook in a tent safely? Some camping stove companies even forbid using their products inside the tents.
But, if you obey all the safety rules, you can turn on the small camp stove in the middle of the usual tent.
A little common sense will come in handy. Don’t use a flame too big, don’t let your stove be near tent sides, and remember to turn off your stove when you are finished.
Other than that, you have almost no concerns. Even if the fire somehow catches your tent, it will most likely just burn a little hole, not burn the campsite to the ground.
What cooking utensils do I need for camping?
The choice of cooking utensils depends mostly on the type of camping trip and the number of people you are cooking for. So, we made a handy list for you, our dear campers.
Basic camping cooking utensils
These utensils are needed if you want to make a decent meal while camping. If you choose to feed on beef jerky the whole time, who are we to stop you. But, for a full-size meal, you will need:
- Set of camping knives – or at least one top-quality multifunctional knife.
- Pot and pan, one or more – and the accents are on the versatility.
- Spatula – irreplaceable kitchen helper. Our choice would be a silicone spatula..
- Cutting board – also silicone one. It’s lightweight and durable at the same time.
- Eating utensils (silverware) – sporks are a great choice for campers. Plastic silverware is the handiest one.
- Plates, bowls, cups, and containers – plastic, of course.
- Can opener – so you don’t damage your knife while opening a can of beans.
Of course, this list is not written in stone, but all these utensils will not take you too much space, even if you are backpacking.
Backcountry camping cooking utensils
When you are camping in the wilderness, your cooking utensils need to be durable, light and stripped of all unnecessaries. You are in rough terrain, my friend. Prepare:
- Gas-powered camp stove – the smaller, the better.
- Nesting pots and pans – to preserve as much space as you can.
- Basic cooking and eating utensils set – no need for fancy equipment. Especially when you are hiking, swimming, or running from a grizzly.
- Spice container – we are not savages. There is always space for your camping spice mix.
- Water filtering method – tabs or filters.
RV camper cooking utensils
Of course, when you are going with an RV, you can go nuts with additional equipment. Suddenly, iron cast pans are a better choice than steel ones.
Of course, you are not bringing your dishwasher here, but some commodities are allowed. Such as:
- Coffee making machine – nothing beats the cup of joe in nature.
- Folding toaster – for a perfect French toast.
- Small cooler – perfect for an ice-cold beer.
- Camping table – adaptable one. You got space in that RV, right?
- Kitchen unit – because why not?
What are perfect meals for camping?
The perfect camping meal must satisfy few conditions. They have to be:
Easy to make
Camping is fun activity whether you are camping solo, with family, friends, or spouse, never mind. The last thing you want to do is spend hours peeling potatoes or waiting for something to be boiled or baked.
If your meal needs a lot of prep, you should do the prep at home. Marinate, chop, and mix in advance, so you won’t have to do it at the campsite. Or simply choose a less complicated meal.
If your meal needs eggs, you are not bringing dozen of eggs in a backpack. You will use a plastic container.
Also, if you have some leftovers from your meal, they should be eatable the next day, too. Although canned food is simple to make, cans can be heavy for backpackers, so they are not a great choice.
Nobody yearns to wash a pyramid of dishes on a camping trip. However, you can’t drag dirty dishes with you the whole day.
So, choose meals that can be made in one pot or pan. This rule is appliable even if you are camping with an RV.
Food that tastes horrible can make your camping trip lousy. If you are camping solo, prepare your favorite food and spoil yourself.
If you are traveling with a larger group, prepare yourself before camping. Ask if anyone has any food allergies and what food they don’t eat.
A lot of people avoid certain food, be it for health, religion, or some other reason.
Although this suggestion seems a little cocky, we say why not?
If you are camping with your spouse, and you will be there just for a day or two, why bother? Bring hard cheese, a jar of olives, and a package of delicious cured meats.
Open that fine bottle of wine that you saved for the perfect occasion. Have a romantic dinner under the stars.
Camping cooking utensils FAQ
Is cast iron good for camping?
Cast iron can be a perfect choice for camping if you are camping with a car or an RV. For backpackers, it’s not recommendable.
A standard cast iron pan with a 12-inch diameter can weigh up to 10 pounds, and that’s a load you don’t want on your back.
But, if you have extra space and some storage in your trunk, you can’t go wrong with a cast iron pan, skillet, or dutch oven.
Cast iron utensils also require a more detailed approach than the usual pots and pans. You need to season them before use and wash them immediately after use, using little to no detergent.
Can you use normal pans on a camping stove?
Of course, you can. Your usual kitchen pan will suffer no damaging on a camping stove. However, you will learn that having a different set of utensils for camping will make your life easier.
Remember, you are camping in nature. Pans might fall, break or get damaged.
Are the fuel canisters for camp stoves interchangeable?
Generally, they are, if you stick with reputable brands. Camp stove manufacturers only guarantee fit with their fuel canisters.
However, a majority of manufacturers use the same standard build. Just make sure your canister is for the camp stove and not for any other usage.
Is aluminum camping cookware safe?
If you are using aluminum pots to cook acidic food, you are gonna have a bad time. Plain aluminum utensils will have a chemical reaction to acids from tomatoes, citrus fruit, and vinegar.
That kind of food will end up with an unpleasant, metal taste. However, the quantity of aluminum that will end up in your food is minimal and will pose absolutely no threat to your health.
But to be perfectly safe, use utensils made from anodized aluminum, which will not react with the food whatsoever.
Are plastic cooking utensils safe?
Well, plastic utensils made from renowned sellers are fine as long as they contain no BPA, also known as Bisphenol-A.
But, just to be extra sure, don’t use plastic containers for storing hot food. Generally speaking, silicone is a much better choice. However, plastic cups and mugs are completely safe.
Thomas Keller, a famous American chef, has a saying: “A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.”
We couldn’t agree more. Your campsite meals should be tasty, rich and easy to make.
But, more important, they should have the soul of having a good time and spending the time together with the people you hold dear.
But to make a tasty meal, you need good camping cooking utensils. In this article, we have shown you how to pick the best of the best.
The rest is up to you. Choose wise, choose top quality. Choose the utensils that will make your camping cooking marvelous.
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