Car Camping and Cooking
By Rachel Hallmark
Campsite cooking can seem intimidating especially if you do not have much experience camping. However, camping should be fun and cooking while camping shouldn’t be too stressful...it’s just like cooking normally, but outside! Here’s some tips to help make cooking while car camping a little bit less intimidating.
Know how you’re going to be cooking
Amenities can vary dramatically depending on where you are camping. For example, more established campsites may have a fire pit and a barbeque, whereas dispersed camping areas may not have any of these amenities or may not even allow campfires during certain seasons. Prior to your trip, it is a good idea to know if you’re going to be cooking over an open fire or if you will need to use a camp stove. The type of cooking that you will be doing can impact what you bring on your trip, so if you are able to, it is a good idea to plan this in advance of your trip.
Prep Ahead of Time
Even when car camping, you’re unlikely to bring your whole kitchen with you on your camping trip, so it’s important to plan for meals ahead of time. It can be helpful to write out what you plan to cook before you head out on your trip so you don’t forget things, like seasonings and oil, that you always have in your kitchen but may not be at the top of your mind for camping. Consider meal prepping beforehand to avoid extra work at your campsite. Included in your meal prep should be considering what tools and utensils you will need while you’re cooking.
Some camp kitchen essentials can include:
- Sturdy pots and pans: cast iron works great for a variety of cooking and holds up well in a campfire.
- Aluminum foil: this is great for keeping food warm and can also be used to wrap food to cook directly on an open fire.
- Fire friendly metal grate: placing a grate over your campfire can make for an excellent grill.
Oftentimes when cooking at a campsite you have less space and resources to utilize while cooking than you would at home. Making meals that can be prepared in one pot or pan is a great way to save space and reduce stress while cooking and packing, and it will also make your cleanup faster and easier. Check out these recipes for camp foods that only require one pot or pan.
Cook what you like!
One of the great things about car camping is that you are not as limited with space and weight as you would be on a backpacking trip, so the sky's the limit for what you can cook! Camp meals should be enjoyable and cooking doesn’t need to be a stressful part of your trip. Make meals as simple or as complicated as you want, remember to cook food that you will enjoy!