Camping is a great family activity, but cooking over a fire can quickly become a hassle if you’re unprepared. Don’t worry if an open flame sounds intimidating. There’s plenty of excellent camp cooking gear to make your trip more manageable (and the deserts delicious).  

Campfire cooking supplies

When camp cooking, you’ll need a list of supplies. The bare minimum is some type of plate or bowl (you could even use a frisbee), utensils, a cup, something to boil water in, and a heat source for cooking. You can also bring a grill grate, frying pan, or anything else your heart desires.

You have two options when you cook while camping. You can bring a portable camping stove or build a fire and cook over the open flames. When camping, I bring Self Reliance Outfitters’ outdoor cooking equipment so I can always get a fire started.

Water availability

All cooking requires a little bit of water, whether it be for clean-up or the food. Potable water becomes essential when you’re eating camp rations that require boiling water. You can purchase jugs of purified water from the store before your trip or invest in reusable containers with spigots. 

If you find yourself without access to safe water in an emergency, try these steps for purifying the water while camping.

Animal-proof food storage

Whether you have coolers or bear bags/canisters, you’ll need a good way to keep your food fresh and safe from various outdoor critters. If you’re spending the weekend at a local park, you’ll probably worry more about squirrels than bears. 

However, the further into the woods you go, the more likely you’ll run into the large, four-legged creatures. American black bears are the most common bear in North America, and they’re experts at breaking into cars and climbing trees. Sometimes, locking the hotdogs in the trunk isn’t good enough.

Consider investing in a good cooler that seals closed and a bear bag to hang in a tree. This way, you can keep your cold items cold and your non-perishable items away from prying paws.

Dishwashing stations

Since you’ll probably be using a mess kit to minimize the garbage, you’ll have to carry out you need a way to wash your bowls, plates, and utensils outdoors. A dishwashing station is a simple setup of two small buckets or plastic basins. 

You will use one for soapy water, and the other will be a rinse station. It’s best to boil water over the fire for the soapy water, but it isn’t required. Try to purchase a biodegradable soap or an environmentally friendly option so you can dump the soapy water out afterward.

In summary

Cooking on a campout shouldn’t be challenging, but there is a list of items you should bring. My top four picks are the plates/bowls, utensils, a cup, and something to boil water in. Then, you’ll need to consider how you’ll keep water available, how to keep your food safe from animals and the weather, and how you’ll clean up after yourself. After that, have fun!