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What type of camping cookware is best for you? Camp cooking and clean-up can be easy or a hassle, it all starts with great camping equipment.
Camping cookware, like any camping equipment, should be versatile and tough. A lot of campers have a set of cookware just for camping because they don’t want to risk damaging their good kitchen set and/or it’s easier to keep all your camping gear organized and ready-to-go in big plastic bin(s). Kitchen cookware usually won’t last long in the field anyway. Camp cooking outdoors can be a lot more demanding than what most kitchen utensils are made for.
Heavy duty camping cookware is not only a good idea, it’s almost a necessity. If you’re camp cooking and your only pan cracks or burns through making it unusable, you’re either going to have to find a way to use tin foil creatively or eat cold sandwiches the rest of your camping trip.
Remember to get camping cookware with tight-fitting lids to help heat food on your camping stove more quickly and to help save fuel, this is especially important to hikers that carry everything. I’d stay away from non-stick coatings as it only takes over-heating them once and the surface is junk. Also once the surface is scorched the chemical make-up is permanently changed and I’m not sure how healthy it would be for you. Non-stick surfaces can also scratch, it’s hard enough keeping them in good shape at home let alone camping or hiking.
Some pots/pans come in sets that mate together or “nest” for storage and even allow you to tuck a canister of fuel inside them. This comes in handy when you’re looking to save room while camping.
Look for camping cookware with rounded corners/edges to help reduce hot-spots and for ease of cleaning.
Remember that most camping cookware handles can get hot so bring something you can use to protect your hands. For quicker boiling and heating look for camping cookware with black colored bottoms because it will absorb heat better and save you some fuel.
Backpackers: One liter pots are a good size for two people who don’t eat much, if you and you’re buddy have a normal appetite you’ll want to use a 1.5 liter pot. A two liter should supply about three hikers with a bigger appetite each with a good-size meal. If you’re in a bigger group you’ll want to bump up the size.
There are several different types of camping cookware and they have different advantages and disadvantages…
Aluminum pans and cookware: Advantages: Lightweight, heat quickly, and cheap. Disadvantages: Possible link to Alzheimer’s, food has a tendency to stick, hot spot heating can easily burn food so you’ll want to stir it, hard to clean, can taste bad, pans can get bent/dinged easily, and aluminum has a tendency to react with foods. I’ve seen tomato sauce eat through…
If you’d like more information on camping cookware please click here for the whole article. You may also want to take a look at this related article on how to pick the best camping stove for your use.
In a previous article, I wrote primarily about box ovens. With this article, we will consider a couple of other ideas that can also make your camping meals fun and enjoyable.
The first is something called foil packs. Foil packs are quite simple. You spread out a large sheet of aluminum foil, add whatever ingredients you like, seal it up on the ends, and place it on a bed of hot charcoal.
Remember not to use too much charcoal. Each briquette adds about 25 degrees F. (The same rule applies to dutch ovens, box ovens, and even your barbeque grill at home.) Add too many and you will burn the food, possibly melt the aluminum foil, and maybe burn yourself in the process.
Sample ingredients might include potatoes, onions, carrots, hamburger, a couple spoonfuls of campbells soup (such as cream of mushroom), salt and pepper to taste, and a bit of water for moisture during cooking. If you want to add cheese, add it after the cooking process. Otherwise, it will probably burn to the inside of the foil pack.
Another fun way to cook outdoors is with dutch ovens. You can cook almost anything in a dutch oven and you can find lots of recipes on the internet.
It is often recommended that you line the inside of the oven with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Here is a sample recipe that we learned from some boy scouts at a recent webelos day camp.
Peach Dump Cake Recipe
2 boxes yellow cake mix;
2 cans peaches;
1 stick butter;
1 can 7up or Sprite;
Line dutch oven with foil. Dump cake mix into bottom. Dump peaches on top of cake mix. Slice the butter into hunks and add to the mixture. Add cinnamon to taste. Pour 7up or Sprite on top. Stir. Place lid on oven, and place about 20 hot coals on top. Cook approximately 45 minutes.
Personally, I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to put the peaches on the bottom so you don’t have to put as much effort into stirring the cake mix. Some experimentation may be warranted. Get creative! After all, that’s one of the things that makes it fun.
Another thing that makes these recipes fun is that the whole family can get involved. The kids can help make foil packs, and even a small child could do most of the dump cake up to the point of adding the coals.