The Best Must-Have Camp Cooking Gear: Utensils and Kitchen Aids

Most experienced campers know that mealtime is a lot easier when it is pre-planned and organized. This tip includes having the right cooking utensils and kitchen aids.

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Naturally, the best tools will vary with each camper’s cooking style. However, here are some items that most campers will agree are must-have camp cooking gear and kitchen tools that will make cooking while camping the best experience.

Must-Have Camp Cooking Gear: Utensils and Kitchen Aids

This isn’t about price. It’s about those items that are bigger than a bread box, such as ice chests and storage containers, essential to an enjoyable camping experience.

Big Kitchen Items for Camping

Novice campers will likely learn quickly because being well-organized means not ending up at the campgrounds without a necessary cooking utensil. Using some type of storage system allows campers to keep camping gear organized when not in use, but it also comes in handy when packing the car.

Plus, by keeping like items together with one section for things such as paper towels, napkins, heavy-duty foil and trash bags, another part for cookware and utensils, and so on, it means that a quick inventory of sections tells campers what kitchen items need to be replaced.

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Other large kitchen items that campers will likely find essential to their trip include coolers (check out the Coleman Party Stacker Cooler), a camp stove, and fuel (the Texsport Dual 2 Burner Propane Stove with Matchless Push Button Piezo Ignition Starter is lightweight and starts with a push of a button), charcoal and fire grate for cooking over the fire pit. Let’s not forget an assortment of pots and pans.

New campers may want to borrow cooking gear from friends before investing in many new cooking items. However, for those ready to take the plunge, don’t be without a cast-iron Dutch oven. This tripod wonder comes in several sizes and makes all the difference when cooking over an open fire.

And for campers who are really into the whole camp kitchen scene, for $100 to $200 Cabela’s Standard Camp Kitchen just might get their juices flowing.

Small Kitchen Items for Camping

Now that the large items are out of the way, cooking while camping is all about the small stuff; those things that most campers overlook.

From a strict preparation point of view, there is a variety of kitchenware that could come in handy, depending on the cook’s skill and technique. However, here are a dozen of the most critical pieces campers should have in their cooking arsenal:

  •   Measuring cups/spoons*
  •   Coffee pot/thermos
  •   Water container
  •   Cutting board*
  •   Colander*
  •   Tongs*
  •   Knives*
  •   Spatula*
  •   Cooking fork & spoon*
  •   Skewers*
  •   Peeler*
  •   Cooking mitts/potholders*

*Our budget-friendly tip? Hit your local dollar store for these items. Also, campers will want a set of dishes and eating utensils to enjoy their culinary accomplishments. Plus, don’t forget a good can opener (a personal favorite is the Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Lid Lifter).

And there it is. Camping is all about being prepared. Whether that means the larger storage items or the smaller prep items, creating a camp kitchen that includes having the right camping cooking utensils and kitchen items is essential to creating a positive camping experience.

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Common Camping Challenges And How to Remedy Them

Common Camping Challenges And How to Remedy Them? The most common mistake made by leisure campers is to be found unprepared in a tough situation. However, no matter the skill level or experience, anything can happen in the wilderness that requires quick thinking and a plan to solve camping problems.

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Firewood needs to be seasoned and completely dry before it will burn long enough to keep a fire going. Without knowledge of this rule, wood bought from a vendor who didn’t care about it can ruin the entire camping experience because of a lack of fire.

Common Camping Challenges

Preparing to Camp Without Firewood

Fortunately, there are options. Most commercial campgrounds have several sites, and if any are unoccupied, it is perfectly acceptable to look for leftover wood in fire pits. Especially amid summer, there should be dry sticks and logs to gather from walking around a bit.

There is also usually an attendant on-site who sells wood and other necessities. If there is no fire after exhausting all options, you should plan the rest of the trip.

This will mean changing meal plans. Since most people choose to cook around a fire, not having one will call for some creativity. Canned foods, fruits, sandwiches, and trail mix will become gourmet meals.

To avoid this problem for next time, it’s best to pack plenty of extra food that can be eaten cold. Cooking meat products before heading up and just reheating over a fire is another option, so if there is no fire, it is still edible.

Testing out the firewood purchased, or having gone through the vendor previously will reduce the risk of running into the same problem.

Of course, there are portable camping stoves on the market, as an alternative to cooking with firewood.

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Staying Warm Overnight

When heading out into the wilderness, most campers understand to bring lots of layers and warm clothes. The same care and planning should be put into choosing a sleeping bag if it is to be appropriately used for providing enough warmth. However, if this doesn’t happen, there are a lot of ways to get through until morning.

One obvious fix is to layer up on lots of clothing, hats, and socks. Since heat escapes through the head and feet, it’s essential to take care of those first. Another way to take care of the problem is to try to zip sleeping bags together to share body heat with a partner.

While this might be awkward depending on who else is in the tent, it’s better than freezing alone all night. The last alternative is to fill up water bottles with warm water, or urine if the water isn’t available, and stick them in the sleeping bag to provide warm insulation.

Choosing the Right Sleeping Bag

Avoid having this problem again by taking a sleeping bag that is rated 15 degrees cooler than the climate. This is an easy way to ensure warmth and to sleep through the night.

Usually, outdoor equipment stores have an enormous selection of good sleeping bags and knowledgeable staff to help choose one. Talk to lots of people about different brands and research before buying one. Also, invest in a good sleeping pad.

These go between sleeping bags and the ground to act as insulation against the cold earth. While they can be costly, they are worth the risk of being too cold to get a good night’s sleep.

The most important thing to any camping experience is to remember to have fun. Whether a situation comes about due to unpreparedness or random chance, camping is about stepping into nature with a healthy respect for it, making memories, and learning from what happens.

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The Best Family Camping Tips and Tricks

The Best Family Camping Tips and Tricks? Camping with young children can be fun! Remember to plan, invite another family, leave toys at home, and plan age-appropriate activities.

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Camping can be an enjoyable experience for families with young children. Most kids are surprisingly adaptable, and happily accept a tent or trailer as their temporary home.

The Best Family Camping Tips and Tricks

More sensitive children may need a little more preparation and flexibility from their parents. Here are a few things to consider that can help make a family camping trip a successful one.

Plan a Family Camping Trip in Advance

Childless couples might be able to drop everything and go camping at a moment’s notice, but families will usually need more time to prepare, especially those with young children.

Planning a family camping trip carefully and well in advance means that it will be more likely that everyone’s needs and abilities will be taken into account and planned for. Take into consideration things such as sleep/wake times, long car journeys to reach the campsite, and having hikes, beaches, and other amenities nearby.

Choose a family-friendly campsite. If available, walk-in campsites are often quieter and more family-friendly than a campground full of RVs and people drinking.

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Consider Camping With Another Family

Sharing the work of planning, packing, and preparing meals to take some of the burdens off the adults, and the kids can entertain each other by having friends along to play with. If babies or young toddlers need to spend time napping in the tent each day, having more adults available means each person can take a “nap watch” shift once every couple of days while the others go on an outing.

This helps avoid the situation where one parent regularly misses out on activities, or the whole family waiting for the little one to nap.

Leave the Toys at Home

Young children are often happier to play in and around nature at a campsite than with plastic toys they already play with at home. Most toys brought from home often end up forgotten at the bottom of the trunk or shoved in the tent’s corner.

The one exception to this rule is to remember any special loveys or bedtime stories. If the kids must bring toys, choose ones that easily “translate” to a campsite, such as trucks, dolls, buckets, and shovels. Anything with lots of pieces is better left at home.

Keep Activities Age-Appropriate

The activities and outings that will be possible when going on a family camping trip will depend a lot on the children’s age. If there will be a child who tires when walking a lot but is too heavy to carry, choose short hikes that are easy and rewarding.

Couples with a baby or toddler who is young enough to carry may still be able to take on more challenging hikes, but be sure to remember to plan on taking breaks more frequently.

Going camping as a family with young children is possible and can be very enjoyable! By planning the trip in advance, camping with another family, leaving most of the usual toys at home, and keeping expectations about activities and hikes appropriate to the children’s age, the family camping trip can be a great success!

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The Best S’mores Bars Recipe You Have Ever Tried

Sometimes, when you plan a camping trip, you know there won’t be much time to cook over that roaring fire. My last trip was a great example – we were at Peninsula State Park in Door County, but we were doing research for my next book and ate out almost every meal.

This S’mores Bars Recipe was my saving grace as a camping trip should involve S’mores! You can make these in advance and take camping or to any friendly get-together.

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All s’mores bars recipe ingredients can be “generic” from Aldis if you want to make it beyond budget-friendly. I haven’t seen it make a large difference in the final results, and it can take $3-5 off the total cost of the ingredients.

Sometimes, that $3-5 can make a difference in the budget, and when you do it often enough, you can rake up enough savings to have cash for additional equipment you want or a fun time out.

Another good reason to make The Best S’mores Bars Recipe You Have Ever Tried? Occasionally you are camping when it is ungodly hot out. Your poor Hershey bars would be a puddle of chocolate goo before you even added the toasty marshmallow! No messy hands with these delightful gems.

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How did s’mores even become a thing? S’mores appeared in a cookbook in the early 1920s, where it was called a “Graham Cracker Sandwich”. The text indicates that the treat was already popular with both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. In 1927, a recipe for “Some More” was published in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.

Marshmallows date back to ancient Egypt (where they were made from the actual marshmallow plant). Chocolate is of Mesoamerican origin. Leave it to the Americans to pop both of those onto graham crackers and involve the communion of friends around a campfire.

The Best S’mores Bars Recipe You Have Ever Tried

S'mores Bars Recipe ingredients picture

You will need:

  • 7 cups Golden Grahams
  • 4 ¼ cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 bag chocolate chips (11 ½ oz)
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon butter (For greasing the pan)

Directions:

Grease your 9 x 13 baking dish with a Tablespoon of butter.

In a large mixing bowl, measure 7 cups of Golden Grahams into it, and add 1 cup of mini marshmallows to it.

Take ¼ cup of chocolate chips and ¼ cup of mini marshmallows and place in a small bowl on the side.

S'mores Bars Recipe ingredients melting in a pan

Dump the remaining chocolate chips and mini marshmallows into a medium-size non-stick pot along with the corn syrup, vanilla, and butter. Put the pot on a burner at medium-low heat. Constantly stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until all of the marshmallows have melted and it turns into one cohesive mixture. This should take about 4-5 minutes.

Then quickly pour the mixture over the large bowl that has Golden Grahams and marshmallows in it. Mix them together until thoroughly combined.

Get your fingers wet with cold water and then use your fingers to press the mixture into the greased pan.

S'mores Bars Recipe ready to cut and serve

Top with the reserved chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. Put the pan in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set. After 30 minutes cut into bars and serve.

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