The hardest part about camping is getting started and getting the equipment. Camp kitchens, outdoor sinks, cookware... it sounds intimidating. It's actually quite easy and fun and most things you can take from your house or buy at Dollar Tree, Wal-Mart or Cabela's.
The primary camping cookware equipment that you need includes:
This page was last updated July 15, 2022.
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There's a lot of fun options here, but at a minimum, you need lidded cookware that is made for the heat of a campfire. Iron skillets and Dutch Ovens are indestructible and only get better with age. If you have limited space or are doing primitive camper, the lidded camp pots & pans above will do the job.
Optionally, you may also want a Dutch oven lid lifter. I used a stick for years and am not quite sure how I didn't burn my hand or foot. For the minimal cost, it's a good idea.
If you become part of the RV camping community, you will soon learn that there is a cult following for Blackstone products. Bill and I are part of that cult. Kidding, not kidding. Their stuff is amazing.
We actually have a Blackstone grill / griddle for our camper and we love it so much that we bought the 36" griddle for home. Once you start cooking on it, you'll never go back. On the weekends - even at home - my husband is outside making pancakes, fried eggs, sausage and bacon. I love to cook on it too but I'm always up for not cooking, ha! I think the 22" below is an ideal size for portability.
If you choose to do campfire cooking, you almost always will have access to a campfire grate in the fire ring at your site so you don't need your own. Call ahead and check though if that's your only method of cooking.
Coleman burner stoves have been cooking camping meals for decades. This 2-burner model packs up small and doesn't take much space.
I know that you know that you need these. Cooks S'mores, hot dogs and more!
Propane, Butane, matches, igniters, charcoal starter. Whatever you need, make sure that you bring it!
This is both for cooking and re-seasoning your Blackstone and cast-iron products.
Aluminum Foil and Parchment paper
You'll need this for foil packets, parchment paper to line your Dutch ovens, and more.
Camping Kitchen and Utensils
An Outdoor Kitchen is awesome, but it's also a luxury. You do not need an outdoor camp kitchen unless you want one. You can always use a portable table or the picnic table. It is nice because it holds your utensils, oils, spices, paper towels and has a sink all in one spot. This one is nice because it also protects your items from critters (small ones at least).
Here are some of the most basic items that you will need. I love this camping utensil set; it has most things that you need. Here are all of the things that I bring:
Regular large spoon
Wine and Beer Opener
Depending on what type of equipment you are using, make sure that you have a variety of plastic-coated and metal only.
We like to have two coolers when we go camping: one cooler is for the food and the other cooler is for the beverages. If it is hot outside, you will go through a lot of ice although the amount depends on a few factors:
Outside temperature and access to shade
Amount of cooler insulation
Amount of times the cooler is opened by someone (kids are a nightmare!)
Even when we are camping with our trailer, we use a heavy, 3-inch rotomolded cooler to keep our food cold. RTIC or Yeti are the best. We have this RTIC cooler because the price is better but the technology is nearly the same. If you don't know the history, one of Yeti's founders got divorced and his wife started RTIC. Sounds like everything was amicable...not.
Rotomolded are ridiculously heavy though so keep that in mind if you have a bad back or are traveling alone. For our drinks, we have a smaller Yeti that we use or we take my husband's 1970s-era Coleman. We don't really need the Yeti for the drinks but Bill loves new gear. He's an expensive guy to buy presents.
Coffee Pot and/or Tea Kettle
The Aeropress has been a camper favorite for years. But for those that don't want to wait for all the pour overs if you have a larger group, this Stanley percolator is great.
I'm pretty militant about water bottles because I feel like they all leak. I finally found some that I love but unfortunately, they are only sold by our Texas grocery store chain, H-E-B at their stores. But if you live in Texas, we love our Kodis!
Disposable or Plastic Cups
We love our Corkcicle mugs so much that they've made it back into the house. We used to keep it with our camping gear. For something more traditional (but less insulated), enamelware is festive.
You can never go wrong with Stanley products! I love the looks of these ones. We personally are just using old pint glasses that we had at the house, but I don't like that they aren't insulated and they also are glass and at risk of being broken.
Wine Glasses and Tumblers
In the heat, you will want an insulated cup. And with bugs, you will want a lid. You don't have to go Yeti, Corkcicle is great too, or any other insulated cup. With wine, you probably don't need long-term insulation though you may feel differently about your bourbon;)
My favorite outdoor tablecloths are made from oilcloth. If you search online, you can find really fun fabrics and you just cut the size that you need. Most camp picnic tables are 6' or 8'. I love the selection at the store linked above
You can use rocks, but you need something to keep the tablecloth from blowing away. Dollar stores generally have them as well
Paper Plates, Bowls, Cutlery, and Napkins
Cleaning and Storage
Variety of Ziploc sizes
Food Storage Containers
Dawn or Dr. Bonners
Phew, that's a lot. Like I said, bring from home and then start adding to your camp gear over time. For the utensils and other inexpensive things, start at the dollar stores. Like many hobbies, camping gear provides the gift receiver with a lot of fun gifts for years to come.
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