Monday, September 08, 2008

Essentials for camp cooking

We are preparing for the second time in two weeks (thanks Hanna!) to go camping in the mountains this weekend. If you have been reading this blog regularly you know that usually by this time we have been camping several times, but this summer was full of summer school and freelancing, and home projects and so we are getting a late start.

Food is one of the most important things for a successful camping trip, and preparation is essential to good meals in the wild. I thought it might be a good idea for those of you who also enjoy camping, or would like to try to share some of what I have learned about cooking and camping, what equipment you need and some of our favorite dishes and ways to convert dishes to a campstove or campfire.

Let's start with equipment you need if you are planning to cook more than trail mix and freeze-dried meals or hot dogs on a stick (Which can be good too!)

1) Campstove- We use a propane stove by Coleman with two burners and electronic ignition that is now about 13 years old. It works well, is easy to carry and provides enough space to make a meal for a crowd. Some people, including some of our friends use liquid fuel stoves which do provide higher BTUs if you are a heavy duty camp chef, but I have never been fond of the idea of carrying liquid fuels and funnels with me in the car.

2) Cast iron griddle- Essential for making breakfasts of bacon and pancakes that are must for cool weather camping.

3) Camp percolator- No instant coffee for us- we love the real thing and it tastes twice as good in the wild. Ours is the old granite wear and about as old as our stove!

4) Silicon or other heat-proof oven mitts- These are essential when camping since often handles get hotter than they might on your home stove. Burned ands are no fun, especially in the wild.

5) Long-handled lighter- This is great for lighting your stove or the campfire.

6) Heavy pots and pans (without non-stick coating)- Some of our friends carry their Le Creuset, but I don't have any, so I have to settle for a large cast-iron skillet which is a great all-purpose pan for camp cooking, and a set of Eddie Bauer camp pans that nest together.

7) Cutting board- I love these new flat flexible ones that I bought for my kitchen and I carry one along.

Next Installment: Extras that make camp cooking (and eating) better


veron said...

Looks like a lot of fun especially with that griddle to make eggs and bacon...Yum!

Passionate Eater said...

Great list of cooking gear! I can't wait to hear your camp stories from this trip. One thing that my camper friend always brought along were extra ziploc bags--she just mixed her ingredients directly in the bag, and used them instead of bowls.

Kristen said...

Hey there!
I just wanted to let you know that Adopt a Blogger matches are up on my blog.
Thanks for participating :)

katiez said...

I'd go camping with you....
That's great gear - and I'd love to spend some time in the mountains again... Have fun!

Deborah Dowd said...

Veron- There is nothing like the smell of perking coffee and frying bacon in the wilderness!

Passionate eater- I am not sure how people camped without Ziploc!

Kristen - Thanks I am really excited!

Katiez- We are heading up again in October. Email me if you want to meet there!

Anonymous said...

looks like fun

Deborah Dowd said...

Anonymous- There is really nothing like camping for building memories and really relaxing!

Wasabi Bratwurst said...

Great list Debbie! We love camping and have been talking about sharing our packing check list on our blog too. We go camping several times a year on our own or with a group of friends, and usually spend the week day nights preparing for our food for a great successful camping meal. You should try our favorite breakfast – toasted bagels with ham, blue cheese and caramelized onions(

Our camping goods are pretty similar, we used to bring the Le Creuset but we decided that it was not worth trashing so got us a cost effective cast iron Dutch oven dedicated for camping – whopping $9.95 at the hardware store  As a matter of fact, 95% of our gear is now dedicated for camping; we keep all of it in couple big plastic tubs and store it in the garage. It's much easier to get in-and-out of town. It has made camping that much more fun as it takes significantly less time to pack. This year, we welcomed Coleman’s Fold N Go, a little red fold-up propane stove. It saves us lot of space compared to the big old stove we used to lug around.

But my most prized camping gear is the stainless steel French press that I found at REI. I thought it was lot of money but I must admit, with all the woo’s and the wow’s I get from the coffee brewed, I think I have more than got my monies worth. Plus I hate that instant stuff....

Whats your favorite camping meal?