The best tools for cooking in the great outdoors

Cooking and eating are among the most satisfying parts of both casual hiking and long-distance backpacking. A light but nutritious breakfast contributes the nutrients and calories needed for a productive day, and a late-night snack of s’mores makes a fun and tasty bookend to hours of fun outdoor activities.

Of course, most campsites don’t have a full kitchen, so you’ll need to bring your own cooking supplies. Camping calls for a significantly different set of equipment than cooking at home. Although you will need some specialized tools, you don’t have to spend a fortune to prepare delicious, perfectly cooked meals at the state park or on a backwoods trail.

Best camp cooking equipment

Coleman Xtreme Portable Cooler

Coleman Xtreme Portable Cooler

Available in 70 and 120 quarts, this reasonably priced cooler has enough room for an entire family’s worth of food for a few days. It does a good job at keeping ice frozen and is one of the best values available in terms of large coolers.

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Igloo BMX Cooler

Igloo BMX Cooler

If there are only two or three of you and you need to keep food safe for multiple days without new ice, this well-engineered cooler is a great solution. It’s lightweight, durable, and able to keep ice frozen up to five days as long as you don’t open it too much.

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Igloo Polar Cooler

Igloo Polar Cooler

This one’s extremely popular because it holds a whopping 150 quarts, yet costs less than $200. If you’re camping with a large group, it’s hard to beat this high-capacity model.

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Camp Chef Everest Stove

Camp Chef Everest Stove

While it sports a relatively standard two-burner configuration, the Everest stands out from the pack due to its durable construction, highly reliable burners and relative ease of cleaning. Each side can deliver 20,000 Btu, so there’s almost no dish it can’t handle.

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Coleman Triton Instant Start Stove

Coleman Triton Instant Start Stove

This no-nonsense camp stove boasts a reliable construction, built-in windscreens and three-year warranty. It’s the best budget-friendly choice, although its 22,000-Btu rating leaves a bit to be desired. 

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Camp Chef Explorer Two-Burner Stove

Camp Chef Explorer Two-Burner Stove

If you’re cooking for a large group of family, friends or other hungry campers, it’s hard to beat this rugged, high-capacity stove. A pair of 30,000-Btu burners on top of a sturdy frame will make short work of the biggest meals.

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HydroBlu Water Filter Jerry Can

HydroBlu Water Filter Jerry Can

Kill two birds with one stone using this novel, durable water storage. It can filter and hold up to one gallon, perfect for campsites that don’t have a potable water connection.

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Camp Chef Deluxe Oven

Camp Chef Deluxe Oven

If your campsite doesn’t allow open flame, this is the best way to make baked goods and other dishes you’d normally cook in a Dutch oven on the campfire. Not only can the inside reach 400 degrees, there are two small burners on top that make it an especially versatile piece of equipment.

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AeroPress Espresso Maker

AeroPress Espresso Maker

If you prefer powerful, bitter espresso to watery drip coffee, this novel device can help. It’s essentially a well-engineered French press that uses increased pressure to deliver a powerful caffeinated beverage to help get the day rolling.

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Qinline Reusable Food Storage Bags

Qinline Reusable Food Storage Bags

Plastic bags are far superior to hard-sided containers when it comes to keeping food in a cooler. This 10-pack includes three sizes of bags that are durable to withstand many hand washings.

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Wealers Camp Kitchen Cooking Utensil Set

Wealers Camp Kitchen Cooking Utensil Set

This kit comes with everything you need to prepare and serve food over the campfire or on a stove: a spatula, tongs, ladle, shears, seasoning bottles, knives, and more, all in a convenient zippered backpack.

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Stansport Enameled Tableware Set

Stansport Enameled Tableware Set

This 24-pack contains plates, bowls, cups and utensils for four people. Everything is durable, easy to clean, lightweight and able to fit in a relatively small space when you’re on the move.

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GSI Outdoors Percolator

GSI Outdoors Percolator

The easiest way to charge up in the morning is with a big pot of straightforward drip coffee. This percolator is simple to use and makes up to eight cups at once.

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Gold Armour Campfire Grate

Gold Armour Campfire Grate

Minimalists will appreciate this grate’s rugged construction using a thick metal frame and diamond grille. It’s great for heating just about anything, including vegetables, steaks and coffee makers.

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Victorinox Fibrox 6-Inch Chefs Knife

Victorinox Fibrox 6-Inch Chef’s Knife

It’s a budget-friendly but high-performing chef’s knife that’s the perfect size for cooking a full meal in the woods. It’s a touch smaller than what most pro cooks use, but the compact size makes it easy for the whole family to handle and clean.

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Oxo Good Grips Cutting Boards

Oxo Good Grips Cutting Boards

These rigid plastic cutting boards come in two sizes and are easy to clean. They have drip grooves running all the way around the edges in addition to non-slip silicone bumpers that keep them from sliding around.

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Tiawudi Collapsible Camp Sinks

Tiawudi Collapsible Camp Sinks

Don’t forget somewhere to wash the dishes! These silicone sinks collapse for easy storage and offer just enough room to clean pots, pans, plates and bowls when the meal’s over.

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Lodge Cast Iron Deep Dutch Oven

Lodge Cast Iron Deep Dutch Oven

If you love rustic cooking, this might be one of the most versatile cooking implements you’ll find. You can make an incredible amount of varied dishes, including pizzas, cake, soup and more, and it’s built to last a lifetime.

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Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

There’s no substitute for America’s most popular cast iron skillet. It’s thick, heavy, remarkably durable and has a durable seasoning layer with effective nonstick properties.

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Tye Works Advanced Hand Wash Station

Tye Works Advanced Hand Wash Station

It includes a foot pump, tubing, soap dispenser and bracket for attaching to a 5-gallon or larger bucket. Note that you will have to supply your own bucket.

Sold by Amazon

 

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