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Camping novice - what cooking equipment do I need?

(16 Posts)
Lapinlapin Sat 06-Aug-16 14:29:04

Am hoping for some advice from more experienced campers!
We're taking the dc camping for a weekend soon, for the first time. I'm hoping they'll enjoy it and it could became a regular thing. However we might all hate it, so don't want to spend a fortune.

What camping stoves etc do you use? Also, what about pots and pans and stuff? I last cooked on a trangia when I camped with school years ago, so am a bit out of date!

TheoriginalLEM Sun 07-Aug-16 19:51:24

we bought two single burner gas rings. about £15 each. You slot in a small bottle of butane gas that cost about £2. good for boiling beans etc. frying bacon etc.

This year we are going to buy a fold up bbq. We also.have a grill grid that was good for cooking burgers and steaks on the fire (if allowed) many camp sites hire fire pits.

TheoriginalLEM Sun 07-Aug-16 19:52:47

We bought cheapy mc cheap cheap saucepans and fry pan from tesvo value range. They were good because they were really light and cheap so didn't matter if they got scratched up.

Blu Sun 07-Aug-16 21:37:26

As TheOriginalLEM says, one ring stoves like this are cheap and simple, and the gas canisters are cheap and widely available.

NB If you get one of these you must observe the safety instructions - there is a limit to the size of pan you can put on them and you must not put two next to each other. (big pans spread the flames over the gas compartment, if you put two together the vents from one is impeded and the gas canister is too neat the other stove).

Otherwise you are looking at this kind of stove, and need to buy regulator and gas bottle in addition to the stove price. But the gas is very economical.

Though there are a range of other gas options, with different features.

For a weekend I can easily manage with one of the little single burner stoves and a good portable BBQ. I love my portable Weber

Take any of your kitchen pans...having checked the size if you use a single burner 'suitcase' stove, as they are often called (because they come on a little attache case).

Do you know anyone who would lend you a stove for an initial weekend?

Blu Sun 07-Aug-16 21:39:18

Might you go to the kind of site where you can have a fire, and cook over your fire?

Grills or tripods are generally used for cooking over a fire - and I take a gas stove too for morning coffee.

CatherineDeB Sun 07-Aug-16 21:41:32

We have a few options hmm, collected over many years.

Wouldn't be without a trangia.

Simple meths burner, easily gets as hot as gas, more difficult to regulate I suppose but easily done once you are used to it. Comes with pans and a kettle. All you need is a bottle of meths and a proper bottle to store it in (red one and then we take a SIGG bottle full).

LifeIsGoodish Sun 07-Aug-16 21:56:50

A credit card.

Seriously, though:

Take more bowls, plates, spoons and forks than you have people. We tried cutting down one year and it was a complete pain, as you need tools to cook with.

What do you plan on cooking? If it's a trial, then don't bother buying camping gear (apart from a little stove), just take pans from home.

Plastic dishes and cups are betterIMO than aluminium, enamel or disposable. But, again, if this is just a trial, don't spend on something you are unlikely to use again if you don't like it. We use our plastic dishes for eating in the garden, parties, etc, as well as camping.

A washing-up bowl is a must, to carry your dirties to the washing area.

We find this style of stove convenient. One canister of gas should do for a weekend.

Dh can rustle up a decent meal for 5 on a single-ring gas burner and a Trangia. I don't know how he does it!

I would buy a 5l bottle of water from the supermarket. If this becomes your thing, then invest in a folding water carrier.

Don't worry about balanced meals with fresh veg etc for just one weekend. Take stuff that won't need a cool box. Unless, that is, you already have a coolbox, in which case take extra ice-packs in a labelled carrier bag. Most campsites will have a freezer for you to refreeze packs.

We have a Tupperware with cutlery, sharp knife, small wooden spoon, peeler, small chopping board, bag-clips, tin-opener, bottle-opener and skewers. I've not found a fish-slice that will fit in it, but then we don't tend to need one.

Blu Sun 07-Aug-16 22:40:20

LifeIsGoodish: I made a wooden spoon fit in my cutlery Tupperware by sawing some of the handle off. Could you do this to a wooden spatula for a fish slice? Or if you like a sharper edge than a wooden slice, find an all plastic slice and cut some handle off? Or is it the width? In which case use a palette knife shaped one.

Except that you seem not to need one at all grin

Lapinlapin Wed 10-Aug-16 09:31:57

Thanks for all the replies.

I can now see why Life says a credit card! You could spend a fortune on camping stuff. I keep finding things that look brilliant, but trying to be strict with myself and only buy what's absolutely essential. At least until we see whether it's something that might become a regular thing.

So far I've bought a campingaz single burner stove. We'll also take a disposable BBQ (although I do like the look of the fold up ones -maybe next time).

Good tip to take our own kitchen pans. For some reason I thought I'd have to buy special 'camping' ones. I'm clearly a marketer's dream blush

Making notes on what else to take. Have added washing up bowl and Tupperware cutlery box to the list.

One thing I still think I'll need to buy is plates and bowls. Are melamine ones good? There's so many different ones out there.

LifeIsGoodish Wed 10-Aug-16 18:14:19

I'd get dishes that:

1) Have a lip on the plates - hot stew in your lap is Not Fun, neither is chasing runaway round food.
2) Stack compactly.
3) Are dishwasher-safe, so you can chuck the in the dishwasher when you get home.

You'll likely use these dishes at other times, too.

Camping pans are useful because you can get a set that nest neatly for transporting. But not worth buying unless you're going to use regularly.

Balletgirlmum Wed 10-Aug-16 18:20:07

We have one of the single gas rings plus we take a low voltage toaster (we always have electric hook up)

BiddyPop Thu 11-Aug-16 15:31:13

Ikea's plates for DCs are handy - plastic, have a lip, cheap but big enough for a dinner (if you're starving, you can get seconds after clearing firsts!).

Aldi had a small set of small pot, slightly larger pot, frying pan and kettle as camping pots recently - a LOT cheaper than similar trangia ones. I think it was about €10.

Lots of my outdoors and camping gear is Ikea - cheap and works fine.

The disposable BBQs are only so-so in terms of usefulness - the grill is very close to the coals so food scorches, and they burn out fast. I have a small portable BBQ in a bag from Aldi and I saw Halfords selling off portable ones earlier this week which looked reasonable. (Actually, Halfords are selling off all their camping gear now for end of summer - might be worth a look locally or online if you have a chance).

And don' forget, if you have sticks/kebabs over a fire, you can cook lots. There is a huge amount you can cook in foil parcels over a fire (and you can also use foil instead of cling film to cover things for later or to make pot lids). Boiling water added in to couscous needs no further cooking - just absorbtion time. Look at scouts type websites for backwoods cooking ideas - like cooking an egg in an orange skin (apparently, there are even muffin recipes you can do that way!).

Any large plastic box with no holes in it - a storage box, large mixing bowl, an actual washup basin etc - is useful for carrying things. But you really don't need to buy one initially, just see what you have at home. And you can use things like (clean) plastic 2litre or 6pint milk bottles as water carriers for a first trip - especially for sending smallies off to fill them up (not too heavy to carry).

BiddyPop Thu 11-Aug-16 15:33:02

Oh, if you have a flask at home, take that and put any spare hot water into it once you've made your tea/coffee etc. It may reduce time needed to boil water later or be useful for washing up small amounts at the tent (or filling a hot water bottle at night wink) etc.

LaughingHyena Thu 11-Aug-16 15:46:27

Sounds like you've had plenty of suggestions for cooking equipment.

I like the melamine plates/bowls. In the market for new plates this year but I haven't found ones with enough of a lip yet. We use bowls more than plates though, less spills and keeps things a bit warmer.

A small kettle is an essential for me, boils quicker than an open pan.

Our local poundshop has a surprisingly good selection of camping kit, from plates to tent peg pullers. I;ve bought several things thinking they would get us by, but we've used them for several years now.

I find having a big plastic tub with a lock on lid is useful for storing food. Keeps things dry and pest proof. I've only had one camping + mouse problem in many years, but I really don't want a repeat.

Ziplock bags - great for putting a few tea bags or whatever you need for the trip rather than taking the whole box.

puffylovett Sun 14-Aug-16 10:59:31

We just use a cadac Safari chef, but have arrived at this after 2 years of camping. It doubles up as our home bbq.
We cook things like quesadillas, fajitas, chilli, spaggy, curry and manage a full fry up by cooking the beans first and putting them aside. Tool wise I just need a wooden spoon and a medium saucepan!
I won't lie, I would like a full size cadac but can't afford it this year smile

BluePitchFork Sun 14-Aug-16 11:02:57

for one weekend
1 pot
and one cooker

it is The Law (tm) to have ravioli from a tin at least once. slighly diluted with rain water and with burnt bits on the bottom.

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