Buying Guide for Camp Kitchen
By Steve Kopitz
When it comes to camping or hiking every bit of space in your pack is valuable and each ounce can add up to more weight that needs to be carried around. Simple items such as pots and pans, plates and bowls, even utensils can take up an unnecessary amount of space that you can’t afford to give up.
Here are the items available to help you decide what you can take and the benefits of choosing certain items over others.
Pots and Pans:
Grabbing the pot or pan from your cupboard before heading out isn’t the best idea. They are probably heavy, awkward to haul around and will vary on whether they work on an open campfire flame.
When camping or hiking, you should obviously consider the food you are bringing and how it is prepared. This may require you to bring different sizes. Buying them in a package or from the same company increases the chances that they can be stored and packed easier.
Most Pots and Pans are going to be stainless steel but a lighter option would be titanium. They are more expensive but can drop the weight down in your pack considerably.
One major benefit to camping pots and pans are the handles. They are removable so you can use one for all plus you don’t have the added bulk of a handle. It can make closing a pack harder and leave less room inside for additional equipment.
Most pots and pans on the market are designed for the kitchen. Camping pots and pans are designed to be used over an open flame.
Plates and Bowls:
The plates and bowls that you take when camping are very durable and packable. They are made with lightweight plastics or metals such as stainless steel. They won’t be glass or made with materials that are easily breakable or heavy.
Some plates and bowls will even be collapsible so you can fold them down and slide them with ease into your pack.
Camping Plates and Bowls will also tend to be more stackable and packable ensuring that less weight is used in your pack.
There are so many variations to utensils that it’s hard to pinpoint the best one for any specific occasion. Here are some of the features you can expect to find.
Hard Anodized Aluminum - lightweight and slimmer than household utensils, with the same basic properties. Heaviest of the options.
Plastic – Food grade Nylon, Lexan, or other Polycarbonates. These are very inexpensive, sturdy and light weight. Great for groups of campers.
Titanium – The lightest and strongest material used. More costly, but can be used with a fry pan without fear of melting.
Multi-Utensils – Just like the spork (combination fork and spoon), many of the camping utensils will offer a different options on the same utensil. For instance, utensils may come with a serrated knife on the top of the handle with a spoon at the base.
Ease of Carrying – Not only are camping utensils very light in weight but some offer the ease of clipping onto a carabiner so you may not necessarily need to use of pack space.
The most important part of packing a camp kitchen is planning for the type of camping that you are doing. If you are car-camping, you can bring a much more extensive kitchen set up then you could if you were backpacking. Don’t sell yourself short while car camping by bringing a kitchen designed for backpacking, and don’t over pack for a backpacking trip. Remember to look for items that are multi-functional, like a Bowl. A bowl can be used like a place, while a plate cannot be used like a bowl; therefore, if you are trying to save weight and space, a bowl is more efficient than a plate.