Camping hacks: Master the art of camp cooking

Cooking fish while camping

Jenna Meade

Posted March 02, 2020

Master the art of camp cooking with these handy campfire cookery hacks.

Nothing marks the end of a successful day of camping like settling into a moreish camp-cooked meal back at the site. 

Camping is one big adventure, and your cooking shouldn’t be an exception. From nailing your meal plan and picking your heat source to prepping your produce and minimising your footprint, here’s how to ensure everyone has a happy tummy around the evening campfire.

Master the art of camp cooking

Determine your heat source

Camp cooking can range from a humble campfire to a fully kitted-out camp kitchen. If you’re yet to invest, somewhere in between is a good place to start. Begin with a gas cooker – and opt for two burners so you can fry your eggs and brew your French Press.

A non-stick frypan and a saucepan will see you through many a meal. (Plus: Eight must-have camping accessories)

Meal plan with purpose

You’re better than soggy sandwiches. Before you start packing for your trip, have a think about what you’re going to cook and what you need to take for each recipe. 

Choose ingredients that can be used across various meals, factor in refrigeration requirements and opt for recipes that won’t eat into your adventure time. 

There’s no need for complicated methods – one-pot recipes are an easy and satisfying option. Go for hearty curries, vegie-packed stirfries, pastas and stews.

Cook in the daylight

Get simmering while the sun’s shining. It can be hard to see what you’re doing in the dark, and particularly tricky if you’ve got the kids in tow.

Make a meal in the morning and keep it in your cooler until you’re ready to reheat later, or simply prep your produce before you head out for the day so it’s ready to throw together once the sun starts setting.

If prepping plans don’t go to plan, reach for your head torch.

Cooking vegetables at a camp

Keep an organised kitchen

An extended outdoor stay will benefit from clever organisation. 

Use storage containers – strong enough to keep out critters – to divide up your kitchen into individual components: utensils, cookware, non-perishables, and staples including oils, spices, tea and coffee.

Remember that getting back to basics is part of the fun. Space is precious so only take the gear you really need. While a colander is great for draining your pasta at home, you can probably get away with using your saucepan lid while camping. 

Minimise your footprint

You want to leave your getaway with a myriad of memories – and without leaving a trace. Cut down on plastic bags and clingwrap by taking along reusable containers for your leftovers.

When you’re setting up camp, set up and label separate bags for general rubbish, recycling and green waste for your compost. Be sure to find a spot for these out of reach of local wildlife, and take all your rubbish with you to dispose of at home.