10 best camping cooking gear
Actually, Gregg, cooking doesn’t get tougher than… preparing a three-course meal on a two burner camping stove in the pouring rain while the kids are pulling down the tent and the dog has eaten the pasta salad.
However, whether it’s a weekend break or your main family holiday, preparing meals while living under canvas is still a rewarding pleasure. Get the most out of your camp kitchen by choosing culinary kit that’s versatile and portable, you’ll undoubtedly have limited space but choose wisely and you can still have some little luxuries (it takes a lot for me to give up my morning espresso). And don’t forget, everything tastes better eaten in the open air. We tested a range of gear to bring you the most effective and transportable pieces for cooking a MasterChef-worthy meal. So fire up the butane, blow the clouds away, and get creative – because anything is better than sausage and beans.*
1. Primus Onja Duo Stove: £110, Cotswold Outdoor
A Primus stove went with Amundsen to the South Pole and with Hillary and Tenzing up Mount Everest. With a heritage this rich, you can be confident the Onja will survive many trips from camp to boat to beach. Despite its compact size, it’s also large enough to be a great family stove. The casing is both elegant and functional – folding out to provide a solid base, whilst sheltering the two burners from the wind at the same time. It comes complete with sturdy carrying strap and an oak lid that also functions as a chopping board or serving plate.
2. Andrew James Electric BBQ: £69.99, Amazon
Many continental campsites don’t allow open fires, so traditional charcoal barbecues are forbidden. Happily, these are just the kind of sites that offer tent pitches with electric hook-ups, so an electric version is ideal. This compact one is extremely portable, even more so if you leave the stand at home. Just connect the power cord to the supply, adjust the variable temperature control, and the plate heats up instantly, making outdoor grilling simple. Cleaning is easy – the cooking plate lifts right out for easy wiping, and fat collects in a reservoir underneath.
3. Cool Camping Cookbook: £12.05, Amazon
Cool Camping began as an antidote to more traditional campsite guides, and has expanded to a series of over ten titles and a fantastically useful website. With curries, cassoulets and chocolate s’mores, its cookbook is stuffed with great recipes for barbecue, campfire and stove. Supplemented with handy practical tips such as how to gut a fish, ways to forage safely, and tricks like baking cakes in old tin cans, it provides an indispensable kitchen companion. If you’re feeling extravagant, try the baked lobster. Feeling inventive? Mrs Gupta’s Potato Curry is a one-pot wonder.
4. Joseph Joseph Nest Storage: From £25, Joseph Joseph
Keeping food fresh, dry, and away from bugs while living outdoors can be a challenge, so plastic containers are essential. But storage containers don’t have to be dull. And the storage of storage containers doesn’t have to be complicated. This artfully efficient Russian doll arrangement from the always innovative Joseph and Joseph combines space-saving design with attractive colour-coding to match lids with same sized bases. The lids clip together for storage, the boxes are airtight and in the six-piece set, ranging from 230ml to 4.5 litres. Also available in four or five-piece options.
5. Minipresso Coffee maker: £48, Bear and Bear
If, like me, you need four double espressos before working out if it’s even morning yet, then an effective coffee maker is essential for your trip. This pocket-sized personal barista, designed to be the smallest, lightest and most versatile handheld espresso machine, is awesome. The semi-automatic piston operates at exactly the same pressure as traditional espresso machines. Once loaded, just a few pumps of the lever will deliver one of the finest shots of coffee you’ve ever tasted.
6. Coleman 50 Qt Xtreme Wheeled Cooler: £99.99, Go Outdoors
Like a chilled-out Tardis, this cooler packs in deceptively large amount of produce – the 47-litre capacity is equivalent to 84 cans – and it will keep your food and drink cold for an impressive five days. Two chunky wheels and a telescopic handle make it easy to transport to camp, and it even doubles up as a seat.
7. Drayton Kitchen Table: £119, Outwell
If you are camping for more than a few days, a sturdy surface for food preparation or to place your stove, and a larder to stash supplies, saucepans and gas, will make mealtimes so much easier. Storage consists of a large vented cupboard, and three shelves, all with solid bases. Complete with integrated washbasin and useful racks to hang utensils and hold cleaning items, the whole unit folds down into a carry bag. Everything you’ll need, and the kitchen sink.
8. Joseph Joseph Wash and Drain Bowl: £30, Joseph Joseph
The days of scooping out other campers’ peas from the communal kitchen sink are gone with this innovative bowl. With large handles and integrated plug, its versatility as an effective colander or food strainer will also be appreciated by the camp cook.
9. Campingaz 600 SG Double Burner Stove: £93.97, Go Outdoors
Fed up with waiting ten minutes to boil a pan of water, checking every few minutes to see if the flame has gone out? This stove will surprise you. With powerful burners and wind-blocking pan supports, food heats up as quickly as your stove at home. It uses less gas than traditional camping stoves and will boil a litre of water in 10 minutes, and folds down for easy transportation.
10. Primus Campfire Prep Set: £55, Ellis Brigham
This neat set of utensils has everything you need to prepare a quick alfresco lunch, or even produce a three-course campsite dinner. The spatula, spoon and fork are made of oak, the 12cm knife and grater of stainless steel. It all rolls up into a strong cotton blend storage bag.
The innovative design of the Primus Onja not only looks great, but enables the compact stove to open up for big pots and family cooking. It is as effective as most traditional double stoves and connects to virtually any kind of gas canister, very handy when you don’t know the availability of different types at your destination. And the fact you can sling it over your shoulder makes it super-easy to transport. Plastic containers can be used to stock supplies, or as an ice box, first-aid kit, a soap dish, and used upturned for food preparation. The Joseph Joseph Nest of six boxes take up hardly any room while travelling, but offers volumes of useful storage when deployed.