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How To Make a Camping Kitchen

There's nothing like leaving t...

There's nothing like leaving the comfort of your house and taking a nice, relaxing camping trip. 


Of course, if you're going to be in the great outdoors for more than a few days, you'll want some hot cooked meals. Bars and trail mix are nice, but their appeal diminishes at the thought of eating them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a whole week.



More than likely, you're gonna want to make yourself a camping kitchen.


From a list of supplies you'll bring to the best meals you can cook over an open fire, everything you need to know about camping kitchens is here in this all-inclusive guide. So, pack your RVs and gather up some kindling because here's how you can make the perfect camping kitchen:


What Is a Camping Kitchen?

The term "camping kitchen" is pretty loose in definition, but it generally refers to a setup where you can cook hot food during a camping trip.


Camping kitchens are notably lightweight and portable, hence their convenience when you're miles deep into the wilderness. Setups can vary widely, so you'll have to construct your own layout based on your needs.      

And yes, you can buy a premade camping kitchen, but they're often pricey and not customizable. Instead, you should think about making your own.


General Needs

Before creating your camping kitchen, you'll want to make a checklist of kitchen supplies you'll need regardless of what kitchen style you choose. Here's an example of basic needs for your camping trip:


  • Napkins      
    Paper plates      
    Plastic utensils      
    Plastic bags (for cleanup)


For a complete list of supplies you'll need during your camping trip, refer to the official national park camping supplies list.


Choose Your Kitchen Style 

To break things down, we've designed three basic models for camping kitchens: the barebones survivor, the intermediate camper, and the glamper.


None are superior to the others, but you'll want to choose which one you want to create depending on your preferences.

The Barebones Survivor

The barebones survivor is great if you're only spending a day or two at your campsite, as the supplies you have to pack are minimal, and cleanup is simple.

  • What You'll Need      
    Roasting sticks      
    Ice bags      

What You Can Cook

You're limited with what you can cook in the barebones survivor package, as you'll mainly live off of marshmallows, hotdogs, and snacks. Vegetables and chunks of meat are also valid options for roasting over an open fire, but you don't have many options overall.


  • Easy to clean up
  • It doesn't take up much space
  • Gives off that "authentic" camping experience


  • Limited to what you can make
  • If you forget any of the supplies, you don't have much leeway
  • Not suitable for camping trips that last more than a day (unless you're an expert survivalist)

The Intermediate Camper

Next up is the intermediate camper, which is excellent if you plan to spend a few days at your campsite. It's the "in-between" of the barebones survivor and the glamper and is probably your best bet to go off of when you design your camping kitchen.

What you'll need

  • Fire pit grate
  • Cast iron pan
  • Portable table
  • Knife
  • Metal tongs
  • Cooler
  • Ice bags
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge

What You Can Cook

Unlike the barebones survivor, there's quite a bit you can cook with this one. With a metal grate and a cast iron pan, you open your options to hamburgers, bacon, grilled chicken, hearty roasted veggies, eggs, and more.


Plus, if you're feeling adventurous, you can even get yourself a campfire pot for heating up some lovely soups, stews, and boils. Anything you can cook on a grill can get cooked with this setup.


  • Fairly compact
  • Versatile
  • Good variety of what you can cook
  • Perfect for novice and expert campers alike


  • None. It falls perfectly in between the barebones survivor and the glamper, which excel at different points.

The Glamper

Don't let the name deter you from this one; if this style of camping brings you the most enjoyment, you should go for it!



The glamper has everything you need and is the optimal setup for medium to extended stays in the wild. It takes a bit more time to pack and clean, but it's well worth the effort (especially if you love good food).

What You'll Need

  • Portable camping stove
  • Small propane tanks
  • Portable counter setup
  • Electric fridge
  • Cutting board
  • Bowls for mixing
  • One small or medium-sized pot
  • One small or medium-sized saucepan
  • Picnic table 
  • Knife
  • Stirring utensils
  • Plastic box to store supplies and food
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge

What You Can Cook

Are you craving a full steak dinner with potatoes and greens? Done. Pasta in your choice of sauce? Of course. Deep fried fish? If you bring enough oil, nothing is stopping you!



Anything you can cook on a stove at home, you can cook with this setup. It's the most liberal in what you can do with your cooking, and if you're a chef who wants to impress their friends, this one is perfect for that as well.


  • As long as you don't need an oven, you can probably cook it
  • Great for REALLY long trips
  • Picky eaters don't have to survive off of hotdogs and nuts
  • The people in the next campsite over will be jealous


  • Takes more time to pack and clean up
  • You'll probably need a bigger car to pack all this stuff
  • The people in the next campsite over might try to mooch off of you

Designing Your Own Camping Kitchen

While we've laid out a general outline for various camping kitchens based on different camping styles, you can still adjust them and make them your own. 


For example, you can add a few supplies to the barebones camper if you're only staying a night but want a meal cooked in a cast iron pot. Or, if you want to combine the glamper and the intermediate camper (basically adding a grate and a cast iron pan to the glamper), you can do that as well.



In general, these components comprise the quintessential camping kitchen setup:


  • A food storage unit
  • A cooking vessel
  • A place to prep


As long as you keep these bases covered, you can build on and experiment with different supplies.

Other Handy Camping Kitchen Supplies

While these supplies aren't necessary, they're fantastic additions to any camping kitchen and enhance your cooking experience even further.

Campfire Sandwich Maker

This handy device allows you to make grilled cheese and other cooked sandwiches over an open fire.

Portable Drip Coffee Maker

If you need your morning coffee, this one is more like a necessity. Remember to bring mugs or portable cups to serve it in. 

Small Camp Stove

Unlike a regular camping stove, a small camp stove has only one burner and can't cook quite as much food. While this is great for solo camping, it's not necessarily the best option for large groups.

A Disposable Tablecloth

This makes cleaning up drastically easier, especially if you've got a lot of messy eaters with you.


Tips for Managing Your Camping Kitchen

For a safe and environmentally friendly camping experience, make sure to follow these valuable tips:

Keep Food Packed Up

If you're not keeping an eye on your stuff, wild animals can quickly get into your supplies and wreak havoc on the food you pack. To avoid this, you'll want to tightly seal all food items in plastic containers or in your car when you're not using them.


Bringing along a large plastic box can help protect your food during the night and give you a way to easily pack up your kitchen gear.

Clean Up After Yourself

This should be known without being said, but always make sure to clean up after cooking. That means appropriately disposing of trash and washing your dishes. If you leave your pots and pans to sit out while they're dirty, harmful bacteria and bugs will get into them.

Make Sure Cold Food Stays Chilled

A few bags of ice won't last you more than a day or two, so if you don't have a portable fridge, you'll want to locate the nearest convenience store.



Luckily, most campsites have on-site shops you can buy ice, so always ensure that you research the nearest stores and establishments before you leave.

Don't Cook in The Dark

Cooking in the middle of a forest can be quite dangerous at night, even if you have a fire extinguisher at your site. It's best to leave the heavy cooking endeavors for the day and roast marshmallows and hot dogs at night.

Final Thoughts for Ultimate Camp Kitchen

Well, there you have it! That's everything you need to know about creating a fantastic camping kitchen, so hopefully, you're ready to get out there and cook up some delectable meals by the fire.


Looking for a place to buy some neat outdoor and camping gear? Well, look no further than Sunshine, your one-way stop for every bit of outdoor supplies you could ever want.

Spring Nee

Spring Nee is an outdoor furniture expert with 18 years of experience.


She has extensive experience in outdoor design, including choosing furniture materials, following trends, and adding useful elements.


As a thought leader in the outdoor furniture industry, Spring has been a regular contributor to various blogs, magazines, and design forums

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