What To Take Camping Series- Part 2: What To Take Camping For Cooking

This is part 2 of the What To Take Camping series. 
Click Here for What To Take Camping Part 1

In the last post on what to take camping we covered Shelter and Bedding. In part 2 we will be covering Cooking.

When determining what to take camping, most folks have trouble determining what to take in the way of cooking utensils and clothing. With shelter, it’s pretty easy, you know you are going to be needing shelter, so you grab your tent. Sure, you might have to make a decision on how many people you will be camping with and the size of your tent, but you know you’re going to be needing a tent, so you bring it.

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With cooking utensils it is not that easy. How many pots and pans will you need? Tongs? how many sets of forks and knives is required and what will just be excessive weight that will have to be carried to and fro?

Then you have clothing. This is hard enough in our everyday lives when we are getting dressed for work and heading out the door to our climate controlled offices. Throw in the unpredictability of Mother Nature and your camping trip could end quickly if you don’t go prepared!

The goal of this series is to give yu everything you need, nothing you don’t and the things that fall somewhere in between. Let’s dig in and see what to take camping in the way of Cooking and Clothing.

1. What To Take Camping: Cooking Supplies

Water Jug

If you are planning on just going from your car to the campsite and not doing any serious backpacking into the back country, be sure to bring along all the water that you think you will need. Water will be essential while at the campsite, not only for the obvious reason of drinking but also for

  • Brushing your teeth
  • Cleaning dirty dishes
  • Washing your hands
  • (and most importantly) Making Coffee

One super way to bring along a hand washing/dish washing station is to set up your water jug in a fashion similar to this:

what to take camping

You will also need water for drinking obviously, so be sure to bring along enough drinking water for every one in your camping party. While some improved campsites may have running water close by, sometimes this water may not be potable. Make sure and bring along water, even if you don’t think you will need it.

Download Your Free Camping Checklist Here!


If you plan on bring along food that will need to stay refrigerated, be sure to bring along a cooler that can keep you food cold for as long as you plan on being at the campsite.

One of the mistakes a lot of campers make is bringing along a cooler that is just not made to go multiple days without being replenished with ice. A common error is to bust up a bag of ice too much before dumping it in the cooler. Small cubes of ice just won’t last for days in any cooler. A good way to keep your food cold is to freeze gallon jugs of water (which you can drink as they melt.)  A couple of other good tips are to freeze any meats you can that you won’t need immediately beforehand and also keep the cooler in the shade and open it as little as possible.

What to take camping

One of the best coolers on the market today is the Yeti Tundra Cooler. While these coolers are more expensive upfront, they more than pay for themselves in the long run. They can easily keep ice for up to 5 days, are Bear proof and even double as a super sturdy seat (or even a ladder if you need it). Check out just how tough these Yeti Coolers are:

Yeti Tundra Coolers are hands down some of the best coolers on the market today. They keep your food cold, your family safe and are just plain cool (no pun intended)


There are a few things to consider when determining how you will actually cook your food while at the campsite. Will a fire pit be available? Does the campground have a grill? What type of fuel will I need for my fire? These are all questions that need to be thought about and researched before you head off to you campground. Most of the improved campsites you will be camping at will have some sort of fire containment in place, but it is always better to go prepared.

If you need more info on how to build a campfire check out this article.

If you plan on building a campfire and cooking over it, make sure that you have some way to keep your food off or above the fire. One of the easiest ways to prepare a good campfire meal is to simply take your ingredients wrap them up in some heavy duty aluminum foil and throw them on the coals:

If you are looking for a little more consistent flame for cooking or even in some instances, if there is a fire ban in place, a camping stove might be more what you should bring along.

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There are a few things to keep in mind to help you pick out a good camping stove to bring along on your camping trip:

  1. How close will you be able to park to your campsite?
  2. How much room will you have in your vehicle?
  3. How many people will you be cooking for?

Keep these three things in mind, it’ll be a lot easier to make a good decision on what camping stove to bring along.

What to take camping

If weight and storage are not an issue and you have more than just a couple mouths to feed, you might want to take a look at a stove like the Camp Chef Pro 60 Two Burner Camp Stove. This stove runs on a single propane tank and is for some serious cooking, but it is still lightweight enough to carry along on a camping trip. The good thing about this stove is that it folds up for easy storage on the ride to the campsite and back.

What to take camping

You might not have the need for a large camp stove like the one above if you don’t have a lot of storage room and it’s just you and your family. If this is the case, check out a stove like the Primus Profile Duo Campground Stove. With a grill on one side and a single burner on the other, this bad boy can make up some Bacon and eggs with ease. Again, this one runs on propane for a hot and consistent heat source. Set this up on a picnic table (or even a tailgate for that matter) and you will be cooking up breakfast or dinner in no time.

Cooking Utensils

When it comes to what to bring camping in the form of cooking utensils, it gets a little tricky. For sure you will need these items:

  • Knife (or 2)
  • Spoon (preferably wooden)
  • Tongs
  • Spatula

As far as pots and pans go, you can bring them from home if you have a pot and a pan that you don’t mind getting a little scratched up and black. If not, I would suggest looking at investing in a camping pot and fry pan set or if you want to get a little more extravagant and have a few more mouths to feed, the MSR Flex 4 Cooking System is pretty legit and includes basically everything you would need to cook and consume a meal (minus the silverware)


Finally for the non-fancy items. You will need a way to store trash, left over food, clean up messes and clean the pots and pans.

Feel free to bring more necessary items if you wish, but more often than not the items listed below can take care of most of the encounters you will face while at the campsite:

  • Paper Towels
  • Dish Soap
  • Trash Bags
  • Dish Towel

Thanks for sticking with it til the end! Hopefully this post and camping checklist will help you out next time you are packing up your cooking gear ready to head out.

If you enjoyed Part 1 and Part 2, check back soon for part 3 of the what to take camping series!

3 thoughts on “What To Take Camping Series- Part 2: What To Take Camping For Cooking

  1. What do you think about the Primus grill? Would it be easy to clean if you cooked bacn right on the griddle side or would it be better to cook it in a pan over the burner?

    • Hey Holly,

      Since the grill part is supposed to be non-stick, you should be all right to go ahead and cook bacon right on it. It also has a drip pan below it to catch all the drippings….so easy clean up.


  2. Great Post! Good tip on the frozen water bottles in the cooler doubling as ice and drinking water. I’ll try that next time I go.