Monday, January 30, 2017

Setting up your camp kitchen, part 1.

To make your meals, you will want to set up a camp kitchen. Assuming you want to eat something more than reconstituted freeze dried backpacking meals and instant oatmeal, or hot dogs and marshmallows cooked on a stick over a fire, this will take a bit of equipment. We will lay out what we use, what is optional,a nd what is a real msut have. What can be substituted if possible.

  1. Camp Kitchen. We use the Coleman Pack-A-Way camp kitchen. It is smaller and lighter than several of its competitors, lacking a few of the luxuries the others offer in favor of a more manageable package. If you can rely on say the tailgate of a pickup, or wherever you are camping having a picnic table you can use, you can omit the camp kitchen and use something like the Coleman Stove Utensil rack.

  2. You will need a washbasin to keep things clean. The Coleman collapsible double wash basin is rugged for plenty of camping trips, and roomy enough to allow you to have a soapy water wash and a rinse basin. They are available in packs just alone or with a nice 4 place enamelware place setting set. (You will of course need dishware right?)

  3. Of course a camp stove is a must have piece of equipment for your trips. We personally prefer liquid fuel stoves. Specifically the dual fuel stoves. We love the ability to run our stove on the same fuel as our vehicles use. The Coleman 424 Dual Fuel 2 burner camp stove. It uses either Coleman White gas / Ozark Trail Camp Fuel, or unleaded gasoline. Aside from the common fuel, liquid fuels, specifically the White Gas, well a gallon of white gas, or unleaded gasoline has the total full on burn time of 4.5 to 5 of those green 1LB propane cylinders. Make no mistake, a 1LB propane cylinder when used up is still considered hazardous waste, And the cost difference over the long run, a liquid fuel stove pays for itself easily Combine that was the fact that liquid fuels will pressurize and work in conditions that a propane stove simply can  not like sub freezing conditions. Something to consider if you are using your stove for winter hunting trips.

  4. You will of course want cookware. There are a couple of schools of thought to this. Stainless Steel sets with copper bottoms are durable and work well. We have one, an Ozark Trail set that is just a rebadged TexSport, it works great, but has problems with heating evenly. If you want even heating, the only real way to accomplish that is with cast iron cookware. I highly recommend if you are going to buy new cast iron cookware, that you buy non seasoned cookwae. Doing so will teach you how to properly maintain cast iron. You will want a dutch oven, a skillet / fry pan, and a sauce pan. A lid lifter is a life saver as well. A very much optional item, but highly recommended is a griddle. And take our word for it, you want cast iron on that. The reasons are that you can cook LOTS of pancakes, eggs and bacon on a griddle super easy. We love ours.

  5. Food storage is critical for any sort of home cooking while camping. A quality cooler is a must. Now most of us can't really afford the Yeti type coolers, And the physical size of them compared to the actual storage capacity, they really aren't at least to us, all that appealing. We have found for long weekend camping, a 50 - 60 quart cooler is ideal. The trick is to get one of those "5 day" coolers that will keep block ice, well, ice for 5 days. There are 2 that are our favorites. The Colmean Extreme 50 quart wheeled cooler, and the Igloo MaxCold Roller Cooler 60QT. The main difference, aside from the 10QT diference in capacity, is the physical format, The coleman is more cube shaped, and the wheels are along the "wide side", it rolls much like a suitcase. The Igloo we favor though. It holds ice a little bit better, rolls easier, and the handle is easier to deal with where it is just a simple swing up handle. With either, we simply take empty 1L plastic water bottles, press a little bit of air / water out so that the sides are slightly sucked in and then freeze them solid. We usually use 10 of them. Simply toss them in when you load the cooler, and you are good to go. No soaking wet of the ice on your food containers! I won't provide links, but food storage containers, the plastic or glass ones with air tight lids Square ones use space much better than round ones. Keep everything air, and liquid tight!

  6. Cutting board, and knives. Another no links. Pick your favorites, just make sure that your knives are kept in a knife roll so that they transport and sstore safely.
There's more to come, but this is going to be a long read. Stick with us and enjoy the list!

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