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Filed under: Family Camping, Menu Planning & Cooking

Cooking While Tent Camping

April 23, 2010 by · 4 Comments 


There is a reason I am addressing cooking last on my preparation list.  It scares me! I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to be a gourmet chef when we camp out, but I do have to provide something for us to eat or I will have a mutiny on my hands. Seriously, any pressure I feel about preparing well-balanced meals when camping is pressure I have put on myself.  My husband and son are self-proclaimed “meatitarians”, so they would be happy eating hamburgers and hot dogs every day!

 I have researched this topic extensively, and I read so much about cooking over a campfire, that I jumped the gun and bought a four-quart dutch oven with a camping lid from Lodge Logic. The more I thought about it, I realized that I need to start with a two-burner propane stove. I love cooking with gas, so this will be more familiar to me than cooking over an open fire.  With all of the new things I am learning, I need something that is familiar.

We will probably cook over the campfire a little.  What is camping without roasting wienies and marshmallows on a stick?

 I know we will be selecting campsites with grills.  Dennis does an excellent job of grilling, so I am looking forward to some great burgers and barbecued chicken.  David and I were looking through our copy of Woodall’s Campsite Cookbook that we got recently.  There are some great recipes there for everything from grilling to dessert, so I look forward to trying some of those.

One of the most helpful things I found in the Campsite Cookbook is a list of basic equipment I will need for cooking while camping and a list of what I will need in my “pantry”.  I know I will have to tweak the list for my particular needs and menu, but it is a great place to start.

There were two great tips that I learned while doing my cooking research. The first was to pack meats we plan to cook frozen in the cooler.  My favorite tip was to pack the cooler with the food for the last day at the bottom of the cooler and the first day at the top.  I was glad to find that nugget of information, because I could just see myself digging through the cooler every day to get to what I needed.

 If you have a recipe for your favorite easy meal that you enjoy while tent camping or a recipe for a great snack, please leave it in the comment section.  I sure would appreciate it!


4 Responses to “Cooking While Tent Camping”
  1. Crazy Old Coot says:

    The Woodalls Cookbook is great. We have one too. We also bought a Dutch oven after reading some of the recipes. The Dutch oven is sort of like a pre-electric crock pot.

    The campground grills have not worked out too well for us. They are generally dirty and have large, thick rods for the grill. Get yourself a small portable gas grill like the Baby-Q or just a charcoal one for grilling meats. I promise you will be a lot happier.

    Also try a reflector oven for the campfire. They can be a lot of fun for the creative cook.

    Personally I do not think anything smells or taste as good as fresh ground coffee made in an enamel coffee pot over a campfire. Add in a couple of scrambled eggs and bacon from a cast iron skillet placed on the coals and you have what IHOP never dreamed about!

    GO GIRL – You are right on track!

  2. Kathy Horner says:

    Cooking while tent camping was a real challenge when our children were little and one had food allergies. My husband is the cook when we camp. I am the runner. I do all the prep and he cooks. We couldn’t do our meals on a two burner stove because the allergy child needed her meals made a bit differently. My husband gutted an old trailer for it’s stove, a three burner. The set up is at the end of the picnic table. Each stove has it’s own stand and they were tied in together by using a large propane tank with a mast. Five burners got the job done. Our meals are simple but nutritious.
    Fast forward to 2010 and we will camp this year in a hybrid trailer made by Forrest River called a Gray Wolf. I have a full kitchen in this trailer and it’ll be interesting to say the least to see how good I do with the cooking. Have a great camping season.

  3. Genevieve says:

    I used to think that cooking at camp meant beanie weenies and sandwiches. But over the years our cooking comfort level has improved and we’ve eaten some of our best meals at the campsite! One of my favorites…. fajitas. Just cook the meat ahead of time and take it with you in a baggie. Everything else can be prepared simply at camp and the meat can be reheated really easily. Good, easy meal!

  4. Cheryl R says:

    I find the key to eating while camping is organization before leaving home. This way you only take what you need and don’t waste or throw a lot of food out that is never used or spoils. Before we go out on the road, I plan daily meals with contingencies for emergencies.I do a lot of cooking and freezing prior to the trip so cooking is kept at a minimum. This is done for the main meal only as I like a hot meal after hiking and sightseeing all day. I freeze it in portions for 2 since we’re usually alone and add potatoes,salad or the like to round it all out. After all this is my vacation too! Why leave home to be in the same routine? My husband loves to BBQ so this also gives me a break and some relaxation time.

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