Three Things You Need to be a Camp Cook
If you’re going to eat like a king in camp, you need a few essentials to get the job done right.
For some camping fans, especially those designated as camp chefs, cooking a great meal outside is the highlight of many trips. For others, eating that meal is just as satisfying. To enjoy cooking and eating camp meals, a few pieces of equipment are absolute necessities. First, keep food cold and fresh, so you need a quality cooler. Also, without a way to cook it, a sandwich is about your only meal choice, and sometimes a lousy one at that. Lastly, you need to have something to eat your food out of and with, and some tableware can keep you from eating with your fingers off an old paper plate. Fortunately, all three are widely available in a range of qualities and prices.
Keeping food adequately cold until you are ready to cook it is very important. No matter how good of a camp chef you might be, cooking food that hasn’t been kept cold and fresh won’t result in a decent meal. Newer, high-tech rotomolded coolers were designed solely for keeping items inside cold longer, and they’re great at that job. Constructed with what is called rotationally molded plastic, the manufacturing process helps increase the insulation power since it leaves no air between thick layers of interior and exterior plastic. Because of the construction, they are also quite sturdy and can handle rough treatment better than some other types. While these coolers are the very best at keeping ice frozen and food cold for the longest periods of time, many are also quite expensive.
A good camp stove is probably the second most important necessity. Unless you enjoy lots of peanut butter sandwiches, Vienna sausages or sardines, you’re going to need to have some flames to cook over, and while cooking over an open fire can do the trick, it’s much harder to regulate and cook a good meal over compared to a camp stove designed for that exact purpose. Stoves come in different sizes for different types of camping. Those who pack in their gear on their backs often prefer tiny stoves that mount on top of a gas bottle, then fold back up into a very small package. Car campers can haul large, extravagant stoves that produce a whole lot of heat and can cook several pans of food at a time. Choose the best type for you based on your camping style.
If you’ve never eaten hot, runny food off a paper plate with your bare hands, you might not appreciate camp tableware as much as those who have been there and done that. In fact, hauling paper plates and plastic silverware to camp can be a pain, and then you’re left with trash after each meal. A good set of camp tableware solves all those problems and more. Put a set in your camping box and you’ll never end up in camp without eating utensils again. Wash dishes well after each use, and it all will be ready to go again for the next meal. Camp tableware can be as simple as a lightweight bowl and spoon/fork combination all the way up to extravagant, complete sets that include plates, bowls, silverware and even cups. If you love camping but don’t like leaving all the luxuries of home behind, a good set of tableware might be just the thing to make your trips a little more enjoyable.