Car Camping Kitchen Essentials

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IMG_9654I am a firm believer in eating well when car camping, and with a few essential items there is no reason not to eat like a king on your next camping trip.  Here are some of our favorite items that have transformed mealtime around the campfire!

  1. Coleman Cooler

    This cooler is the bomb!  My parents have had this type of cooler for as long as I can remember, which should give you an indication of how durable they are.  After Ryan and I borrowed it once, I knew we needed one for ourselves.  With this cooler you can say good-bye to soggy food due to rapidly melting ice.  The flat top also makes this cooler easy to pack in the car and it can double as a table or seat at your campsite.

  2. Coleman Campstove

    After I realized we could eat more than just hot dogs and brats if we had more than roasting sticks, we invested in a camp stove.  For backpacking and bikepacking we won’t be lugging this stove around, but it keeps car camping super easy.  This stove is more stable than other camping stoves which makes it great for boiling large pots of water or cooking with a large skillet.

  3. Lodge Camp Dutch Oven

    A quality cast iron dutch oven can really take camping meals to the next level.  From chili to peach cobbler we have enjoyed many meals that simmered over the coals in our dutch oven.  We have more than one dutch oven, but I especially love this one from Lodge because the legs make it easy to stand upright in a bed of coals, and  the flange lid nicely holds coals over the top.

  4. GSI Bugaboo Backpacker Outdoor Cookset

    This cookset is compact, packable and versatile.  Using the bugaboo keeps our mornings simple, since we only have to grab it and our stove to prepare a great breakfast.  We use the pot, insulated mugs and matching bowls to enjoy a warm breakfast of coffee and  oatmeal.

  5. Coleman Frying Pan

    A large skillet was one of the latest additions to our camp kitchen, which allowed us to add more variety to our meal plans for week-long camping trips.  I love using this skillet for stir fry, fish or sautéed vegetables.  The foldable arm makes it easy to pack with the rest of our gear.

While this last recommendation isn’t necessarily a piece of gear, it is something that has really simplified our kitchen camping system.  We store all of our kitchen gear in Hefty stackable storage bins.  This keeps our garage organized, packing simple – we just have to grab the bins and slide them into the back of our Element – and the bin doubles as our wash basin after dinner.  So I guess you can say we even pack the kitchen sink on our car camping adventures!  What is your favorite piece of gear for your camp kitchen?


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