Camping is one of the most fun things you can do, but there are common camping preparation mistakes that can ruin the experience — before it even starts.
Cooking while camping can be a fun, creative challenge. However, for some who are used to all the amenities of an indoor kitchen, camping cooking can feel overwhelming and like it's a chore rather than an activity to enjoy.
But if you learn some important outdoor cooking tips, you can ensure the meals you make when you camp not only taste delicious but are also fun to assemble and serve. Here are our favorite outdoor cooking tips to keep in your back pocket on your next camping trip.
1. Stock Up on Aluminum Foil
Most likely, you're going to be cooking over a campfire on your camping trip. (Alternatively, you may be cooking on a grill or camp stove.) In any event, you'll likely be cooking with a very hot surface or flame, and there will be times when you need to rest something hot on a surface or when you'll need a pot or pan that you just don't have. Instead, use aluminum foil.
Aluminum foil holds up nicely over a fire and is sturdy enough that it can be molded into a pouch or dish that holds food while it's cooking. One favorite outdoor camping tip is to cook in pouches. Throw every ingredient you want to be cooked in a thick foil pocket, stick it on the grill, and let it cook. Remove it with tongs, and when you're done, you'll have a finished meal with a built-in dish, ready to be eaten.
2. Bring a Cooler
Out in the wilderness, you're not going to have a refrigerator, so bring the ingredients that need to be kept cold in a cooler. Keep the cooler cold with ice packs, not ice that can melt. Try to use your refrigerated ingredients in the first day or two since a cooler and ice packs won't stay cold for the entirety of a long trip, and you want to use your groceries before they go bad.
Having a very insulated cooler is one of our most important outdoor cooking tips because it allows you to use more ingredients in your meals and ensure they stay fresh, delicious, and safe for everyone to eat. Investing in a more-expensive cooler that is proven to keep foods cold for many days might be worthwhile if you want to keep beverages and ingredients cold throughout your adventure.
3. Study Your Cooking Tips in Advance and Plan Your Meals
This is a meta tip, but don't wait until you're about to take off for your camping trip to study cooking tips. Learn how to cook outdoors in advance, then plan your meals diligently a few days before you go. Shop for all the food and cooking items you need in advance so you're totally stocked and prepared when out in the wilderness.
Packing up your car to leave for a camping trip can feel chaotic and stressful to begin with. If you leave shopping for your trip and stocking up until the very last minute, you'll likely feel overwhelmed when you get to the campsite, and you may forget things you desperately need to cook comfortably.
4. Pre-Chop Ingredients
One great outdoor cooking tip that feels more like a camping hack is to chop all your vegetables before you leave and bring them in containers or bags. Then, once you get there, you don't have to worry about using a cutting board, finding a sturdy surface, handling a sharp knife, or where to discard unused produce. Pre-chopped ingredients save you tons of time and mess and can make the entire process of outdoor cooking faster, cleaner, and more fun.
Shop for Your Camping Trip Gear at Pike Trail
When you've internalized these outdoor cooking tips and feel prepared to cook on your camping trip, ensure you've got all the necessary supplies. If you're missing any camping supplies for your trip, head to Pike Trail to stock up.
Pike Trail is a store for outdoor gear that sells only high-quality, tested, and trusted gear to ensure your trip is more enjoyable. From pocket blankets to hiking gaiters to sleeping bag liners and beyond, Pike Trail surely has something that will make your trip easier and more comfortable. Browse our store, order what you need, pack your car, then get going! Mother Nature awaits you.
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