I’m fairly certain my love of camping kitchen gear grew out of my childhood obsession with buying things for my dollhouse. I wasn’t a fan of playing with the dollhouse itself. The dolls were creepy. But stocking that tiny kitchen was pure joy. All those tiny things! The wee cast iron skillet. The mini mini fridge. Those itty bitty strips of bacon. When I started camping a decade back, I found the same thrill in buying camping gear. I mean, seriously, the chance to stock another kitchen? And some of the gear is on the tiny side? The best. Ready to pack your own bag (or car) and hit the trail (or campground)? Go buy these camping kitchen gear delights.
GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip
This easy-to-clean and easier-to-use silicone filter takes the same #4 filters you stock up on at Costco. The only pain: packing out coffee grounds. (Make life easy for longer trips: use Starbucks Via coffee packets. They’re... fine.) Back home, pair the Java Drip with an electric kettle and you might want to tank your coffee maker altogether. And pack it for your next hotel vacation: It’s a helluva lot cleaner than that in-room coffee maker.
GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip, $12.95
Light My Fire Titanium Spork
I used to hate the word spork. I hated camping sporks even more. They were nice in theory but they didn’t last long. Damn plastic things snapped on me. Try eating soup with half a spork. Not fun. But then Light My Fire made a titanium spork and the clouds parted and the angels sang. Spork is a beautiful word.
Light My Fire Titanium Spork, $14.95
Lodge Cast Iron
Whether you haul Grandma’s hand-me-down (you lucky bird you) or go with a new-to-you pre-seasoned pan, make sure you bring a cast iron skillet on that next car camping trip. Cook over a fire grate or right in the coals. You’re going hiking later so eat all the bacon you want. And then have some more. Cooking for a pack of wild beasts, er, friends? A Camp Dutch oven will make it easy. Lodge Cast Iron, prices vary
MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove
There are fancier backpacking stoves. I own a few of them. I like them. But most of them have a bunch of pieces and I like my backpacking gear to lean simple. So I always return to the PocketRocket. (Yes, I know there are jokes to be made about the name. We can discuss those over cocktails.) The stove screws right onto the gas container, keeps a consistent flame, and folds down to nothing.
MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove, $44.95
GSI Outdoors Halulite Tea Kettle
I’ve packed one of these along for at least five years now. If I’m hoofing it a decent distance and plan to depend more on dehydrated meals (but good ones, really) than any serious cooking, it’s all I need. But it’s also a perfect companion for the GSI java thingy up above. But next up on my to-buy list: a collapsible teakettle. Yes, collapsible. You’re as excited as I am, right? WELL YOU SHOULD BE. I’ve heard excellent things about the Sea to Summit X-Pot Kettle ($44.95). Collapsible and in a cute green. Be still my heart.
GSI Outdoors Halulite Tea Kettle, $24.95
Coleman Classic Stove
This was my one and only stove during four months of driving around the US in 2012. (Living out of a Kia Soul, thank you very much.) I love this damn thing. It’s got classic good looks, the fuel is easy to find, and the flame is fairly easy to control. I’ve even put the stove to use during barbecues when I needed firepower for side dishes and didn’t want to run back and forth between the yard and the kitchen. Bump this baby up a notch by pairing it with a small griddle plate. You may never go home again.
Coleman Classic Stove, $69.99
No lie: waking up in a tent on a cold morning can kind of suck. But if you have hot water at the ready and can make coffee right then? Life is all bunnies and puppies and rainbows, my friend. That’s why, even though they’re not the lightest things to haul, I like to bring a Hydroflask with me. Fill it with boiling water before heading off to bed and the next morning? All is well.
Hydroflask Hydration, $29.95