What About That Camp Kitchen?
I think by far the camp kitchen is one of my most favorite places to spend time when camping. No matter how simple the equipment or the method is for preparing a meal, I can always come up with great food. In the past I’ve used the ever popular dual burner Coleman stove for many years, Dutch ovens with coals and I’ve buried meat in the ground to cook. I’ve cooked bacon on a rock and the very popular open fire on the tripod method – one of my favorites. But this summer it was all about my little dual fuel backpacking stove and the results were always positive.
I’ve had this stove for over ten years, it always starts and is great on fuel. A very dependable stove. I’ve used both white gas and un-leaded fuel in it with an un-noticeable difference in use. Can you tell I like this stove yet? It’s a matter of adapting to what’s on hand, planning ahead, improvising and having fun, isn’t that what cooking out doors is all about, having fun? Check out this creativity .
A few years ago I purchased a supply of Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry freeze-dried and dehydrated food. Add water, stir, wait and eat. Some of the food takes some added preparation, add water, wait, place in pan, heat up, stir until done, then eat. Simple, right? Well some of the food is better than the next that’s for sure, yet all is edible and filling, but can get kind of boring to eat and to prepare.
It’s a small price to pay for simplicity and a cost-effective meal system. But I’ve said this before “I like to cook”. With the combined meals I’ve tasted to date, I favor the Mountain House brand over the other brand. There’s certainly plenty of time to try the many other flavors offered before I can make a final assessment. But seriously, in general backpacking food is a good way to go.
The Menu – It’s a changin
Of course there were times when I would like to skip the freeze-dried huevos rancheros or de-hydrated Jamaican Jerk Rice w/ Chicken for some good home made camp meals, for at least a day or two anyway. For example, on my way out of Yellowstone Park I developed a sudden craving for a Big Mac, then had it satisfied when I spotted the golden arches in the town of Yellowstone, that was an easy fix, but not exactly what I ‘m talking about. It’s about real cooking, food that takes time to prepare.
So once in awhile I spoil myself. There’s always fish to eat and that’s great, but too much of a good thing can get old and I do love fish. Especially the rainbows I’ve been catching. What I’m talking about is a bacon wrapped fillet mignon or Rib Eye, mashed or fried potatoes and a veggie. Maybe some fresh hash browns, over easy eggs and toast with honey to keep it simple, and it is. Yes, these menus raise the cost of the trip a bit, but there’s no sense punishing your taste buds if you don’t absolutely need to. Cooking great food goes hand in hand with the outdoors.
Planning your menu before you set out can make all the difference. Getting what you need instead of those unnecessary items you’ll be packing home with you, un-used and taking up space, both in your gear storage and your cooler doesn’t make sense. So it’s best to plan ahead for both your meals, the equipment and the necessary supplies.
What I Cook With
My camp kitchen set-up consists of, first and foremost, a light weight yet sturdy set of cookware, preferably non stick. Consisting of two pans, two pots, a one cup measuring cup and a re-movable handle that all fit together in one nice package, this set takes care of a wide range of usable possibilities. In addition is a military cup and a sierra cup that can be used on the stove as well. On standby is a Dutch oven and a portable barbecue. With the past fire danger In the forests this year I chose to stick to the stove, no complaints here. Did I mention, I really like using this Exponent dual fuel stove? The Exponent has been replaced by the Sportster II Dual Fuel™ 1-Burner Stove, well capable of performing just as well I’m sure .
Included In My Camp Kitchen
- Single burner stove
- Coffee pot
- Basic cooking and cutting utensils
- Lightweight plastic and SS backpacking utensils
- Seasoning kit
- Care and washing items for cleanup
- Aluminum foil, freezer and trash bags
- Basic cooler Items as needed
- Miscellaneous Items as necessary, keep it simple
Most of my kitchen incorporates both lightweight backpacking gear which has both good and bad points as well as normal household items carefully picked out. It’s what makes you comfortable in the end of course. My complete kitchen fits in a 23″ x 36″ x 7″ storage container that slides under my sleeping platform.
Less is more for me right now.