Don’t Camp Without These Cookware Essentials

While summer is a nice time to go camping, it can get pretty hot. And the bugs can be pretty annoying. And it can get pretty crowded. Suffice it to say it’s not always pretty. 

That’s why many people prefer camping in the fall. Depending on the part of the country you’re in, the temperatures are pleasantly cool, the bugs are fewer and there’s more room to roam. And the beautiful fall colors don’t hurt.

Non-perishable food – hopefully with a long shelf life – is one of the most important items you can take on a camping trip. 

But if you fail to include a variety of camping cookware, you may have a difficult time eating that food. Here are some items you’ll want to include on your fall camping excursions.   

Pots, pans & plates

First and foremost when it comes to cookware for your trip are the three P’s – pots, pans and plates. A store-bought mess kit will do just fine. They are usually designed for one, two or four people. 

You can find them in a big box store’s sporting goods department for a low price. They usually consist of a small frying pan and a plate on the outer shell. Plus a drinking cup or bowl and a boiling pot and lid.

Assuming they inter-stack and lock together into a compact unit, these mess kits are easy to carry, use and clean. And pack up again.

If you consider yourself more of an “upscale” camper, or just want more durability in your mess kit, you can go the stainless steel route. If you don’t want to pay for a mountaineering mess kit, you can assemble one yourself.

Silverware & aluminum foil

Enough silverware for each person in your party is also an essential. Again, the big box store sporting goods area should contain interlocking knife/fork/spoon sets.

To keep the weight of your supplies down, there might be a temptation to pack plastic or extremely lightweight utensils. Don’t. Pack ones that will stand up to some rough circumstances.

When we’re sitting around the dining room table, we rarely say, “Please pass the aluminum foil.” But when you’re camping, this is an item that will come in handy.

You can use aluminum foil to wrap vegetables, meat or fish when they are cooking over a campfire. As well as to carry cooked food when you go exploring.

Coffee & cooking pots

Not everyone will want to include a small coffee pot among their camping supplies. But I can’t imagine camping without one.

To really be efficient, you can keep small, clean clothing items inside it when you’re on the move.

A cooking pot with a lid is another necessity. You’ll be able to heat up larger quantities of food that way, including stew. 

And you can keep other items inside it when it’s in your bag. You might want to add a soft, lightweight, folding bucket for carrying water.

Canteen & water purifiers

Make sure you have at least one military grade canteen in your camping supplies. Some of the better ones also include a matching cup (which can double as a boiling pot). Plus an insulated carrier and a utility belt for transporting them.

The canteen should be able to hold at least one quart of water. Don’t skimp on this purchase. The better canteens will be able to keep beverages hot or cold for longer periods of time.

While you’re at it, make sure you include at least one personal water filter. And a small bottle of water purification tablets.

There’s nothing that spells disaster for a camping experience faster than drinking contaminated water.

Fire starters & dishwashing liquid

A fire starter does not qualify as cookware, but can you imagine trying to go camping without one? Or several? There are a number of different ways to start a fire for cooking food.

Bic lighters have served campers well for years. You’ll also want to carry waterproof matches. If you really want to rough it, you can rub two sticks together or use flint and steel. Or use batteries and steel wool or a magnifying lens over tinder.

In order to keep all your cookware clean, include a non-breakable, non-spill bottle of dishwashing liquid. Keeping cookware clean and germ-free is important.

Another usage for dishwashing liquid is coating the bottom and sides of your cooking pots and pans with a heavy film of dishwashing soap, prior to cooking over an open flame. It will make removing the black soot buildup a much easier task.

Serving utensils and stoves

Knives, forks and spoons are great for transporting food from your plate to your mouth. But when it comes to getting food from the pot or pan to your plate, items such as spatulas, ladles and meat forks are much more preferable.

Single or two-burner camp stoves can make your camping experience easier. And can replace a fire if it’s not convenient to safely build one.

Sometimes called “survival stoves” or “mini-folding pocket stoves,” they can really help warm you up in the cold when needed. And can boil water.

They can also serve to dry wet clothing. There are definitely downsides to these portable stoves, however. In addition to their size and weight, they require fuel, which can be bulky and hazardous. And which doesn’t last too long.

A much simpler and safer way to boil water and heat up food is a solar cooker. You won’t be surprised to learn I have just the one for you – the Sun Kettle from 4Patriots.

Once you’ve determined which cookware items you’ll need for your fall camping trip, pack them first. Your optional items can always fit in and around these “musts.”

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