If your campsite allows campfires, then the fire is the heart of your camping cookware. All you need is a grill, propped up with some bricks or hung on a chain from a tripod. A campfire is also a ravenous bin, burning up food waste and cardboard packaging.
Trangia, grill and campfire, small gas stove and camping kettle
If you are camping at a festival, don’t bother with cooking your own food. There is nowhere to wash up and you will miss all the fun while you are frying bacon.
I always prepare two “just pitched” meals and some breakfast rolls: after pitching the tent, sorting out the bedrooms and lighting the fire, I don’t want to do a big shop or cook, I want to crack open a beer, warm something on a campfire and watch the children leap about.
We have ditched the barbecue but kept the grill, propping it up with bricks or stones, and using it to cook over the campfire.
The methylated spirit stove (Trangia) packs down small and comes with saucepans, a frying pan and a tiny kettle. But it can only cook one thing at a time. A two ring propane stove lets you extend your culinary options, but will take up more space.
Crockery and cutlery
Because you can’t always use your fingers. And pack a wooden spoon or two for stirring, a nylon sieve, and a fish slice. And tongs, for turning hot meat.
A whistling kettle with a handle that folds flat.
Corkscrew and can opener
Not just the old rusty ones in the kitchen drawer but ones that actually work.
Wooden or metal ones for kebabs.
If I’m cooking a joint of meat or a bird over a campfire, I like it perfectly done, and because you are not using a domestic oven, with its reliable temperature, a thermometer spares the campfire cook all that uncertain prodding and poking.
Using the grill, the tin foil, with lock-and-lock containers and mixing bowl
Look for a very sharp paring knife with a protective cover. A bread knife, wrapped in a tea towel to protect the serrated blade, is also required; if someone could invent a camping bread knife with a cover, I’d be very grateful.
Plates, bowls, melamine mugs and a chopping board
We experimented with folding plastic mugs and plates, which I was adept at assembling but which completely defeated Math. I replaced them with melamine equivalents that should last us until the end of time.
Potato peeler and vegetable brush
For scrubbing and peeling spuds. I have an abrasive glove that I use to clean my spuds.
A sharp knife is always useful. A sharp knife that folds back into its handle is essential. Hence the design classic that is the French Opinel knife. Used for cutting vegetables, whittling kindling, removing things from bike chains, opening packets etc
Serving and mixing bowl
You can eat salad while camping, it is allowed.
Any sealable plastic containers are useful for storing leftovers.
To cook a large joint of meat on the campfire, you will have to wrap it in tinfoil once it has been browned.
Cath’s camping gear checklist:
Camping Gear – Tent and the basics
Camping Gear – Camping cookware
Camping Gear – Food and drink
Camping Gear – Hygiene
Camping Gear – Sleeping bags and camping lanterns