Must-Have Camping Kitchen Essentials

August 14, 2023

Victoria Tillinghast

Victoria Tillinghast

Though there were many factors that led to my parents’ divorce, my father’s great love for family camping trips and my mother’s great distaste for them stands out in my memory. My father enjoyed nothing else more than waking up early in a cold, damp tent to head to his camping kitchen to make coffee in a percolator and fry eggs on a well-worn Coleman portable stove. Meanwhile my mother, who would spend most of her time trying to keep the campsite and us kids as clean as possible, became frustrated by the endless amount of work camping produced. 

Despite this experience, I still enjoy camping myself. Though, through age and experience, I can now see both my parents’ perspectives. Thriving in the woods on a long camping trip is like a mental health reset — a chance to detach from the modern world and finally get some fresh air. But struggling in the woods because you don’t have the right equipment is an awful experience, one in which scavengers can invade your camp site, and every ant on God’s green Earth can find out exactly how much peanut butter you’ve brought.  

Here are my top three camping kitchen essentials, based on my lifetime of experience. They may not save your marriage, but they’re sure to save your meals: 

1. The Camping Coffee Pot 

camping kitchen

My father’s percolator would make what’s commonly referred to as “cowboy coffee”, which is black coffee with coffee grounds floating throughout. It’s an acquired taste, and for those like me who are wholly dependent on a daily caffeine intake, it’ll do the trick one way or another. Now, this could’ve been because my father wasn’t using it properly — others claim that camping percolators can create rich hearty camp coffee to remember — but if you find yourself more at ease with a trendier coffee making apparatus, then the Bestargot French press is for you. 

The Bestargot French press is compact, lightweight, and crafted from pure TA1 titanium. French press coffee will cost you at minimum $7-a-cup back home, so enjoying your own in the peace and quiet of the wilderness is virtually priceless. With the Bestargot French press, you can place the coffee pot directly over the heat source or add boiling water for the coffee making process. The French press filter helps alleviate the likelihood of cowboy coffee, and the Bestargot’s 25.3 oz capacity ensures you’ll have enough to share. 

Buyers of the Bestargot are overall very pleased, with one patron sharing that they tend to cook everything in their Bestargot French press while backpacking, including pasta, beans, rice, and oatmeal. So, even if you aren’t a caffeine hound, this simple tool could be the game changer for your next outdoor trip. 

2. Cast Iron Dutch Ovens for Camping 

camping kitchen

You only need to learn once that hot dogs don’t stay on sticks as easily as they do on TV to know that a solid and reliable cooking vessel is the holy grail of camping trips. And while a cast iron Dutch oven may be a little much for a lone hiker or backpacker, for family trips it’s a must have. Cast iron Dutch ovens are one of the most versatile kitchen tools at home and in the woods, allowing you to make hearty, large quantity meals that are cooked to perfection. 

If you don’t have a lot of prior experience cooking with Dutch ovens, then the Lodge 5-quart Dutch Oven is your best bet. It comes pre-seasoned (which means a thin layer of oil has been cooked into the surface for flavor and non-stick versatility), its lid is virtually a second vessel, and its flat bottom is perfect for setting right on the coals if need be. The best thing about cast iron is that if taken care of properly, it’ll last almost forever. If my parents had one of these, I’d still be using it today.  

3. The Camping Kitchen Sink 

camping kitchen

I know this seems obvious, but some (like my parents) don’t know it. It wasn’t until I happened to go on a Girl Scout camping trip that I learned most people bring a camping sink to make their lives a whole lot easier. Now, camping sinks can be multiple things depending on who you talk to — from simple wash basins (literally, a bucket or similar vessel with water), to contraptions that have faucets and water pressure. When I say, “Ensure that you have a camping sink.” I’m talking about nothing more complicated than the former.  

The FlexWare Sink is a great fit for solo-travelers and families. With an 8.5-liter (2.25 gallon) capacity, it has plenty of room for washing dishes, kids, gear, and more. With a collapsible body and sturdy handle structure, the FlexWare sink is easy to bring with you to use for a myriad of purposes.  

I know I said that this round-up won’t save your marriage, but I’m convinced that if my mother had access to something like this for even just one of our camping trips, I’d have a few more happy childhood memories. So, there you have it, three items that can be used for essentially every kitchen activity while camping. It really is that simple to make sure you and your loved ones have a great time outdoors. 

Check out the top three camp showers on iSportsmanUSA.


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