As much as we enjoy camping, the fact that we deal with limited resources means cooking is a struggle. But that’s the beauty of camping because it forces us out of our comfort zones. Partly, you have to accept that not all your meals will be as tasty and warm as fresh homemade meals.
If you aren’t experienced in this field, you don’t have to lose hope in camping. At least not yet. You can change how you experience your camp trips with creative camping cooking hacks and make the experience even more exciting. For instance, if you don’t have a pan, you can prepare an omelet using a Ziploc bag and boiling water. Another example is baking muffins or cinnamon rolls in orange peels! Sounds strange, right?
These examples are accomplishable, and you can do much more with the right skills, which is why we wrote this article. We’ll cover every practical hack, including those on unusual cooking equipment and hacks on how to store/wash dishes. These skills will help you have a much better camping experience.
Camping cooking essentials
Before going on any camping trips, ensure you have the right tools. While you won’t always have everything to the perfection of your home kitchen, several camping kitchen essentials can help you have a much easier time. Below are some of these tools and why you should carry them.
- Knives and cutting boards: Unquestionably, you’ll need a knife and a cutting board to prepare food. Look for a wooden cutting board that is lightweight and easy to clean and a knife that is sharp and durable. A standard utility chef knife is an excellent option.
- Camp stove: A camp stove allows you to cook meals quickly and easily without relying on a campfire. Look for a stove that is compact, lightweight, and easy to set up. Some popular options include propane campground stoves, canister backpacking stoves, and liquid fuel backpacking stoves. You can bring solar and BioLite stoves as alternative heat sources.
- Cookware and utensils: You’ll need a place to cook and eat your food. Here’s where cookware and utensils come in. Cookware is the pots and pans used for cooking, whereas utensils are the spoons, forks, tongs, and spatula. While you can buy these items separately, we recommend buying sets because it’s more cost-effective.
- Cooler: A cooler helps keep food and drinks cold. Look for a big enough cooler to hold all of your food and drinks. Also, ensure it has good insulation to keep everything cold for as long as possible.
- Cleaning supplies: Cleaning supplies help keep your campsite hygienic. Consider bringing biodegradable soap because it’s safe in natural water bodies, a sponge and scrubber, and trash bags. You can also carry hand sanitizer and some dish towels.
These kitchen essentials will help you prepare and enjoy delicious meals while camping. You can also use these tools to complement the hacks we’ll discuss later in this article to ensure an exciting outdoor experience.
Cooking hacks for your next camping trip
It’s not every day you’ll have your kitchen essentials at camp. In such cases, you must be innovative and craft creative ways to do your activities. Such include cooking hacks. Although working with the items already at your disposal is an excellent idea, you can also check out forums and subreddits to find ingenious ideas and tips.
The best place to start is Reddit’s “CampingandHiking” subreddit, which has over 2.6 million members. You’ll find many posts here on everything from cooking equipment to recipes and camp cooking tips.
Another great resource is the “CampCooking,” a subreddit dedicated explicitly to cooking while camping. These forums have active communities of camping enthusiasts who are always happy and generous to share their tricks for cooking in the great outdoors.
Here are some creative camping cooking hacks you can try:
Preparing eggs and bacon in a paper bag
The mention of bacon and eggs is sure to excite everyone at a breakfast table. However, there’s no denying the messy aftermath and the cleaning struggles after a cookout. At a camp kitchen, all you need is an easy way out, and cleaning after bacon grease isn’t that for sure. How about cooking the eggs and bacon in a paper bag?
You may wonder how this process is possible, but it’s an easy method requiring only a paper lunch bag and the two breakfast staples. Of course, you’ll need a heat source, preferably burning coal and not a flame. Then, you want to ensure the bacon is thicker than standard bacon sizes. Not too thick because you’ll be using the pork slices to grease the paper bag interior.
Follow these steps:
- Grease the inside of the bag: Start by arranging the bacon inside the paper bag. When you do so, gently wipe the inside to leave the fatty grease in the bag. Arrange the bacon strips such that they cover almost half the paper bag.
- Crack the eggs in the bag: You can beat them before pouring them into the bag. If not, just crack the eggs on top of the bacon.
- Poke a stick into the bag: Once the eggs and bacon are inside, fold the bag several times and then poke a three-foot stick through. Use a green pine tree so it doesn’t ban when cooking.
- Cook the eggs and bacon: Hold the stick on one end and balance the paper bag over the burning coal. Heat all sides of the bag until done. It’ll take about 10 minutes for the food to cook, longer if you want the bacon to be crispy. But be careful not to burn the bag.
S’mores banana boats
Traditional making s’mores involves roasting marshmallows over a campfire or grill until golden brown and gooey. Once the marshmallows are ready, place them between your two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate, creating a sandwich-like treat. The marshmallow’s heat is enough to melt the chocolate, creating a delicious and gooey center.
You can add a twist to the original recipe using banana boats. It’s also a healthier alternative. The banana adds a natural sweetness and creaminess to the s’mores and provides some nutritional benefits. These fruits are an excellent fiber, potassium, and vitamin C source. They can help foster your energy levels and support your immune system.
Follow these steps:
- Slice each banana in half lengthwise, leaving the peel on.
- Using a spoon, scoop out a small section of the inside of the banana to create a trough, leaving some banana intact on both sides.
- Fill the trough with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows.
- Wrap the banana boat tightly in foil, ensuring it is completely sealed.
- Place the foil-wrapped banana boat onto the grill or campfire and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the marshmallows and chocolate and are melted and gooey.
- Carefully remove the banana boat from the heat using tongs or a spatula.
- Let the meal cool for a few minutes before opening the foil.
- Use a spoon to scoop the delicious s’more mixture, and enjoy.
Be careful when opening the aluminum foil, as the contents may be hot. You can also customize your banana boats by adding other ingredients such as peanut butter, Nutella, or sliced fruit. Have fun experimenting with different flavors, and enjoy your tasty treat.
Use orange peels to bake muffins
We consider baking muffins in orange peels a camping hack because it is a simple way to make a delicious treat. When camping, you may not have traditional baking supplies, such as muffin tins or baking sheets. Using orange peels as a vessel, you can bake muffins over a campfire or on a camping stove without special equipment.
You’ll need oranges, muffin butter (Pre-made or homemade), and cooking spray for this process. Ensure you wash and sanitize the orange peels to kill bacteria and remove residual dirt.
Here’s how to go about it:
- Cut the top off each orange and scoop out the fruit using a spoon or knife, careful not to puncture the peel. Save the fruit for later or enjoy it as a snack.
- Prepare your muffin batter by following your recipe or package instructions.
- Spray the inside of each orange peel with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- Fill each orange peel about two-thirds full with muffin batter.
- Wrap the filled orange peel tightly with aluminum foil, ensuring it is completely covered.
- Heat a skillet or a pot over the campfire or camping stove. Cover the wrapped orange peels on the skillet or pot with a lid.
- Cook the muffins in the covered skillet or pot for about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the orange peel muffins from the skillet or pot and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
Baking muffins in orange peels adds a unique flavor and aroma to the muffins. The heat causes the peel to release its natural oils, which infuses the muffins with a subtle citrus flavor. So, even when you may not necessarily be lacking anything specific, baking muffins in orange peels can be a creative way to enjoy a tasty treat while camping.
Bake Pizza in a Dutch Oven
Baking pizza in a Dutch oven is an excellent way to enjoy a homemade pizza without needing a traditional oven. A Dutch oven is a thick-walled, usually cast-iron skillet with a tight-fitting lid. The design of the Dutch ovens helps distribute heat evenly, and their heavy construction allows them to retain heat for long periods, making them ideal for slow cooking.
When preparing pizza at camp with a Dutch oven, you’ll need pizza dough (store-bought or homemade), shredded mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, and toppings of your choice (such as mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc.)
- Start by preparing your pizza dough. A good idea is to use store-bought dough, but you can make your own beforehand.
- Once the pizza dough is ready, roll it into a circle that can fit inside your Dutch oven. Line your Dutch oven with aluminum foil to prevent the pizza from sticking and to make cleanup easier.
- Brush the bottom of the Dutch oven with olive oil. Doing so helps prevent the dough from sticking.
- Place the pizza dough inside the Dutch oven and spread your pizza sauce evenly over the dough, leaving some space around the edges.
- From there, sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the sauce, add your desired toppings, and put the lid on the Dutch oven.
- Place the Dutch oven on the cooking grate over the campfire or portable grill and cook the pizza for about 15-20 minutes. Occasionally check the pizza to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- After 15-20 minutes, check the pizza for doneness. The crust should appear golden brown, and the cheese should be melted and bubbly.
- Use a spatula to carry the pizza from the Dutch oven to a cutting board. Slice the pizza and serve hot.
Hacks for using about unusual cooking equipment
When camping, you may find yourself without your usual cooking equipment, but some hacks and workarounds can help you utilize the available equipment to the maximum.
Here are a few ideas:
- Use a cast iron skillet: Cast iron cookware is great for camping because it’s durable and versatile. You can cook various meals in a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, including stews, chili, and even pizza (as mentioned earlier). You can use them on a portable stove or directly on the coals of a campfire.
- Make a hobo stove: If you don’t have a portable stove, use a large can (such as a coffee can) and cut out a section on the side for a door. Use wood or charcoal to fuel the stove.
- Use a foil pie plate as a cooking vessel: If you’re in a pinch, you can use a foil pie plate as a makeshift cooking vessel. You can use it to cook eggs, bacon, or even small portions of pasta or rice.
- Make a tin can grill: You can make a simple grill by cutting a large can in half lengthwise and bending the edges to create a lip. Use this to cook small items like hot dogs or burgers over an open flame.
- Use a thermos for cooking: If you have a large thermos, you can cook oatmeal or other hot cereals overnight. Simply boil the water, then add your ingredients, and let it sit in the thermos overnight. In the morning, you’ll have a hot and hearty breakfast.
Hacks about how to wash/store dishes
Proper dishwashing and storage are important when camping to prevent bacteria from spreading and keep your campsite clean. Here are some hacks for washing and storing dishes at camp:
- Use biodegradable soap: When washing dishes at camp, it’s important to use it to avoid harming the environment. Look for soap designed for camping, or choose one labeled “biodegradable” or “environmentally friendly.”
- Dry dishes with a cloth: Instead of using paper towels or leaving your dishes to air dry, bring a cloth or small towel to dry your dishes.
- Store dishes in a mesh bag: A mesh bag is a great way to store dishes because it allows them to air out and dry. Hang the mesh bag and let the dishes air dry before storing them in a clean container.
- Use a dishwashing station: Set up a designated station to make the process more efficient. You can use a table or a flat rock as a workspace and set up containers for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing.
While camping is exciting, cooking can be a struggle due to limited resources. This article presented creative camping cooking hacks, such as cooking eggs and bacon in a paper bag, making your camping experience even more exciting. These hacks can help you create delicious meals while camping and allow you to explore new cooking methods. With the right skills, tools, and innovative ideas, you can have a great camping experience.
Our HDMD Knives has a collection of high-quality, high-carbon handmade kitchen knives that can complement your camp cooking activities. You can also check out our camping segment for more information.