Cooking while you camp doesn’t have to be a headache. I love the time spent around a campfire and sharing delicious meals with friends.
After hundreds of camping trips and experimenting with new recipes, I’ve come up with a few of my favorite camp kitchen hacks to cook great meals, stay organized, and avoid messy clean-ups.
1. Cook (Almost) Everything in the Campfire
Don’t have a camp stove? No problem. You can cook everything you need to eat for the weekend right in your campfire with foil pack meals. You can cook everything from vegetables, instant rice, meat, and bacon right in the foil.
Foil pack meals are easy to prepare ahead of time and cook wonderfully over campfire embers. The best part of foil pack recipes is that there’s essentially no clean-up. You can prep the foil packs before you leave. Once you’re at the campsite, place the foil pack over embers. After enjoying your meal, you simply throw away the foil and avoid any clean-up.
Be sure to pack tongs in your camp bin to take the hot foil out of the campfire.
This fajita foil pack recipe is a great one to get started.
2. Invest in a Dutch Oven
For those meals that you can’t wrap in foil and cook directly, dutch ovens are another great method to cook over the campfire. Adapt your favorite oven recipes to cook in a dutch oven. Once again, you want to cook with your dutch oven over embers. You should then place a few coals on top of the dutch oven too in a checker formation.
I’m a big fan of this cast iron dutch oven for camping. It can be used either as a dutch oven or skillet, which means less cookware for me to pack. I use it all the time to make these dutch oven enchiladas while camping.
3. Freeze Water Jugs in Your Cooler
Instead of wasting space in your cooler with ice bags, freeze gallon jugs of water to place at the bottom of the cooler. You’ll save space, and then have drinking water for later! Saving space in the cooler is always a top priority for our camping trips, so this one is one of my favorite camping hacks.
4. Prep Your Ingredients at Home
Prepping ingredients before camping saves you tons of time and clean-up, so you can spend more time relaxing by the fire. Plus, when you prep meals, you won’t need as many cooking utensils and cookware.
Make sure you plan ahead on what you want to cook. Then do the following so you’re ready to cook at the campsite:
- Chop all vegetables and fruit before you leave and store in an airtight container
- Pre-mix any seasoning or marinades you’ll need for your recipe.
- Make the batter for pancakes ahead of time
It sounds simple, but I regret it every time I don’t spend the time to prepare ingredients at home.
5. Put Everything into Squeeze Bottles
Now that you’ve prepped all of these ingredients, what do you do with them? Squeeze bottles become your new best friend when camping!
Everything from pancake batter, scrambled eggs, and cooking oil can go into squeeze bottles. That’s right – even scrambled eggs. You can scramble your eggs beforehand and put in a squeeze bottle or plastic bottle.
If you’re camping in cold weather or anything gets too chilled, put the squeeze bottle in a warm bowl of water first. I especially love these for pancake batter! In the morning you can make pancakes in every shape with the easy pouring.
6. An Aeropress is Your Best Bet for Great Camp Coffee
Tired of instant coffee while camping? Just because you’re in the wilderness, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a fresh cup of coffee while camping.
7. Create a Travel Spice “Cabinet” with Tic Tac Containers
Start saving your Tic Tac containers. You don’t want to bring your entire spice cabinet with you every time you camp.
Tic Tac containers make the perfect traveling spice cabinet. They don’t take up much space, and they are easy to store together. Fill up old containers with your favorite spices.
8. Freeze Your Meat
This is another camping kitchen hack to avoid wasting space in your cooler with ice bags. Plus, if you’re going on a multi-day camping trip, it’s the meat that you need to worry about spoiling.
Freezing your meat solves both of these problems!
9. Create a Camp Cook Bin from the Dollar Tree
The Dollar Tree has so many cheap cooking utensils and dishware. Instead of using your everyday utensils, create a storage bin of cookware that you can always bring with you.
At the Dollar Tree, you’ll find spatulas, plastic bowls, utensils, tongs, oven mitts, and more to fill up a camp bin at a bargain price.
While you’re there, you can also find mop buckets, that are great for dishwashing stations at your campsite.
Now that you’ve got your kitchen camp bin, you’ll be ready to pack up and go camping anytime. And these camp kitchen hacks will help you make awesome camping meals while staying organized and keeping your campsite clean.