Camping Food Essentials Checklist

Cooking at the campground is simple and delicious with a few camping food essentials.

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There's something about outdoor cooking that makes food taste better. No special preparations are required, but a few camping food essentials will make the task easier. Here is a camping checklist of cooking and dining essentials so your camping kitchen is stocked and ready to cook. 

Camping Food and Cooking Essentials

  • Water - You may want to bring bottled water for cooking and drinking. Bring large reusable water bottles that can be refilled, save money, and cut waste. Bring a separate water container for non-potable water that can be used for chores like washing dishes and cleanup.
  • Food - This is simple: just take what you like to eat and will need to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bring plenty of snacks for enjoying while hanging around the campground. 
  • Cooler - You'll need a camping ice chest or cooler for keeping fresh food and drinks cold. As you replenish ice, drain some of the water, but not all of it. The water in the cooler will be very cold and helps to refrigerate your food.
  • Camp stove - Sure, there might be a grill at the campground, but it's not practical for preparing all your meals on unless you are going to make an entire day of cooking. The two-burner, propane variety camp stove with a windscreen is preferred and makes it easy to boil water and prepare dishes quickly and efficiently. 
  • Mess kit - This includes your basic pots and pans and whatever utensils are adequate for your cooking style. Don't forget knives for cooking and a cutting board. A mixing bowl is nice and can be used for many things. Also, include for each camper a plate, bowl, cup, knife, fork, and spoon.
  • Can opener - You obviously won't need this if you don't bring canned food items, but it's good to have just in case.
  • Charcoal - It just wouldn't be camping without grilling. Most developed campsites have grills, so all you need is the charcoal. 

These are the basics, but you may want to bring some other cooking gear or outdoor furniture for your dining pleasure. If you plan to cook with a dutch oven over the fire, you'll need a different set of cooking essentials for the dutch oven.