As our launching date approaches (6 days!!), it has become more and more important to look at what gear we have and what we still need to order on Amazon (with 2-day shipping) at the last minute.

We are very close.

We will be updating the Gear section of our site as we look at our gear one last (but not really last, I’m sure) time.

One aspect I really want to nail down is the kitchen, because hello! Food. We want to feel a sense of home even while we’re on the road, so the closer to home-cooking we can get, the less we will feel like we’re a thousand miles away (even though we are).

Slowly and frugally, we have acquired some key camp kitchen items. Then, L.L.Bean was gracious to provide us with a few more for our National Parks trip. We are still looking to add several pieces to our gear list, including cooking utensils such as these and a small cast-iron skillet.

But here’s what we do have.

Camp Kitchen

Our Camp Kitchen

1. ALPS Mountaineering Camp Table

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This lightweight table was a Christmas present from my parents, and although we’ve only used it twice since then, we have a feeling it will come in handy this year, especially when we get to stay at a campsite for more than one night.

The table is great for not having to prep food on the ground, but it needs to be on very solid, flat ground in order for it to be stable.

2. L.L.Bean Low Rider Chairs

We were gifted two of these low chairs from L.L.Bean for our trip, and they are such comfy camp chairs. We won’t be lugging these around on our backpacking trips, but they pack up pretty small into a nice carrying bag. And they’ll add a lot of comfort to our car-camping lifestyle.

3. GSI Dualist Cooking Set

This is one of the only items we’ve paid full price for, and it’s been worth it so far. The set includes a pot with straining lid, two bowls, two insulated “cups” (same size as bowls) with sipping lids, and two space-saving sporks.

The set is easy to clean, condenses teensy tiny, and is very lightweight. Perfect for space-saving situations… like a year in a car 🙂

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4. Propane camp stove (similar) & DIY windscreen

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Cole has had this small camping stove for years, and it still holds up well. It’s quick and easy to set up, doesn’t take up space at all, and hopefully will be durable enough to get through a year’s worth of hearty post-trail dinners. To accompany it, we crafted a homemade cardboard-and-foil windscreen that increases cooking speed.

5. Spice “rack” + olive oil

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Rather than bring a bunch of smaller spice containers, we opted to create a couple of DIY mixes that we know we’d use often. We made a taco blend, an Italian blend, and a seasoned salt that is deeeeeelicious. We also have been slowly sneaking sauces from Taco Bell to add to our food to make it more flavorful. Add those to an airtight water bottle full of olive oil, and we’ve got ourselves a pretty stocked spice rack.

6. Knife (similar) & cutting board

Another gift from my parents, this knife is one of the most useful things we are bringing. It is crazy-sharp and handy for all sorts of things, including chopping potatoes & summer sausage for a post-hiking meal. The technical name is the Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife because in addition to being super sharp it comes with a magnesium stick for sparking up a fire. The cutting board we are bringing is thin and bendable for fitting into a tight space.

7. Stainless steel air-tight canisters 

These handy wedding-registry canisters will come into play once my several batches of beef and turkey jerky and dried fruits and veggies are finished. I love that they are fairly lightweight, air-tight, and that the tops are see-through. They seem like a great food-storage solution for our trip.

8. L.L.Bean packable sink + cleaning supplies

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L.L.Bean also provided us with a 25-liter camp collapsible sink. It seems like one of those things that you don’t know you need until you have one, and I’m sure it will see a lot of use at our campsites. Included in our cleaning supplies is a sponge (I bought them from Dollar Tree, 6/$1 and cut them in half to last longer. About a year’s worth of sponges for a dollar? Score!), an absorbant microfiber cloth (2/$1 at the Tree), and a mini bottle of dish soap. Hopefully having these items will make doing the dishes more bearable.

And as far as equipment goes, that’s about it. Like I said, we’re planning on adding a few foldable cooking utensils (spatula and ladle, probably) and a small cast-iron skillet, but we don’t want to start out with too much. This year is all about minimalism. If we need more gear, we can easily get it. But first, we’d like to see if we can live off what we already have.

(Best part? Look how small it all condenses to:)

 

With this gear, here are a few foods we plan on preparing:

  • Tea
  • Egg, potato, sausage & veggie scrambles
  • Stews
  • Hearty chili
  • Rice & beans
  • Tacos
  • Oatmeal
  • Pancakes
  • Berry cobbler

… and many more one-pot meals, beverages, and desserts. Be sure to check back for our camping recipes. Can’t wait to get started!

What do you think? Are there any camp cooking items we’re missing? What are your staples? 

Written by Elizabeth

  • Cindy Ritchie

    Hey Cole and Elizabeth,

    Don’t forget the the tin foil for those delicious packet meals. Easy breezy and clean up takes less than a minute. Pinterest has tons of packet meal recipes.

    Enjoy,
    Cindy

    • Elizabeth

      Yes! I have seen those! That will have to be added for sure!

    • Cole

      Thanks Cindy! That’s a good point with the cleanup. We could always use less of that. We were actually just talking about trying that out in our next park, Mesa Verde. We’ll be at an established campsite there so we can make a fire in the grip and everything. And I’ll get Elizabeth to look into those Pinterest recipes 😉

  • Where’s the food? Suggestion: Hot dogs and pork ‘n beans. Great staple. Tho’t you’d already left. God Bless.

    • Elizabeth

      Haha, the food is definitely the best part. We leave on Tuesday the 18th. Thanks for following along 🙂

    • Cole

      Agreed! So far we’ve had two dinners where we chopped up hotdogs and added them to macaroni or a rice side. Makes a great easy meal! And we have a can of pork ‘n beans in the “pantry” for the near future 😉

  • U Tim

    Great gear! Cant wait to hear about the adventures in cooking. Safe Travels!

  • Tammy Donelson

    Kitchen looksgreat. I always have a pot scrubber when we camp . Otherwise the dish cloths get to messy.