toad in the hole camping breakfast
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Camping gear is not limited to tents and headlamps—you have to eat, after all. These essential camping cookware pieces will ensure you do it well.

Ahh, the great outdoors. You hiked the trails, pitched a tent, and inhaled the freshest air you’ve ever breathed. Now there’s just one thing left to do: eat. When you’re planning a camping trip, it always helps to be prepared. Chances are there aren’t any restaurants around for miles, so you better stock up on ingredients and top-notch cookware. While your set-up may vary, we’ve outlined some basic necessities that every outdoor chef should have. These products will help sustain you beyond roasting hot dogs on a stick. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle, $44.95 from REI

Hydro Flask water bottle

Hydro Flask

Whether you’re spending a week in the wilderness or just going on a light day hike, you’re going to need a reliable water bottle. We’re big fans of this Hydro Flask, which features double-walled insulation. It’ll keep cold beverages chilled for up to 24 hours and keep hot beverages warm for up to six hours. Plus it comes in lots of pretty colors, so you can look stylish on an off the trails, and in various sizes. (There’s also a version with a straw lid.) Just make sure you clean your water bottle often.Buy Now

Coleman Propane Stove, $43.88 from Amazon

Coleman propane camp stove

Amazon

A propane stove can be a good option for those looking for something a little more sturdy than a campfire to cook over. Some options provide up to four burners, and really fancy ones even include a grill top. You’ll be able to cook up a storm or, at the very least, something a little more impressive than a can of beans.Buy Now

40-Quart Igloo MaxCold Cooler, $35.99 from Amazon

Igloo MaxCold cooler

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If you’re planning on cooking while camping, you’re going to need a large, sturdy cooler to store all your food supply. Ideally, you’ll want a well-insulated and leak-proof option; if it’s cheap(er), even better. In CNET’s picks for the best coolers for 2020, this one got high marks for being a top performer while also being on the way more affordable end of the spectrum. If you need a larger model, it also comes in 50-quart, 70-quart, and 100-quart sizes.Buy Now

Yeti Hopper Flip Portable Cooler, $300 from Williams Sonoma

Yeti Hopper Flip Portable Cooler

Williams Sonoma

It’s also best to invest in a separate cooler for beverages since you’ll be opening it more frequently than the main food cooler (and you want all your edibles to stay well chilled). This Yeti model holds up to 18 cans plus ice so you can drink to your heart’s content in the great outdoors; if you’re bored with canned wine and beer, try making camping cocktails. It’s also the perfect size for bringing food and drinks on day trips (and is available on Amazon too).Buy Now

Texsport Over Fire Camp Grill, $21.92-$65.18 from Amazon

Texsport Over Fire Camp Grill

Amazon

If you don’t want to invest in a portable propane grill, you don’t have to. A grill grate can be your new best friend when it comes to cooking directly over a campfire. This handy cooking accessory creates a flat surface so you can grill, fry, and heat foods more evenly over an open flame.Buy Now

Lodge 8-Quart Deep Camp Dutch Oven, $103.51 from Amazon

Lodge cast iron Dutch oven camping

Lodge

Not every campfire food can be cooked on a stick (or in a foil pack). That’s where this Dutch oven comes in. It’s perfect for one-pot meals and even has three iron legs so it can sit directly on hot coals. As an added bonus, its lid works as a griddle when flipped upside-down.Buy Now

Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet, $19.92 from Walmart

toad in the hole camping breakfast

Chowhound

Cast iron is the way to go when cooking over a campfire. It retains and conducts heat evenly and works well on practically any surface. Try using one to make a complete breakfast of bacon, eggs, and hash browns. Sustenance rarely tastes so good. Hot tip: A leather skillet handle cover will protect you from getting burned.Buy Now

Stanley Adventure Camp Cook Set, $14.97 from Amazon

Stanley Adventure Camp Cook Set

Amazon

It’s a good idea to have at least a small pot or pan for boiling water too, if only for your morning camp coffee. This stainless steel pot with a vented lid is good for cooking small batches of food too, and it comes with two nesting insulated cups to sweeten the deal.Buy Now

GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Camp Cook Station, $84.99 from Amazon

GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Outdoor Cook Station

Amazon

You’re going to need to put all that food somewhere, after all (and the picnic table will quickly be overtaken by backpacks, cups, and playing cards). This foldable table is lightweight and great for all sorts of outdoor entertaining; with multiple levels and surfaces, you can corral all your cooking gear in one place, and have a clean space to prep food too. (But if all you need is a basic table that packs up small, this no-frills Coleman folding camp table will do the job.)Buy Now

Lake Country Products Collapsible Measuring Cups and Spoons, $22.97 from Amazon

Lake Country Products Collapsible Measuring Cups and Spoons

Amazon

When packing for any trip, space is limited. This is especially true when you’re responsible for carrying everything you bring along on your back. In an effort to save space, try using collapsible drinkware, watering jugs, and even measuring cups and spoons. They’re compact, less cumbersome, and perfect for making sure you don’t have to eyeball pivotal ingredients.Buy Now

GSI Outdoors Gourmet Kitchen Set, $42.95 from REI

GSI Outdoors Gourmet Kitchen Set

REI

Speaking of saving space, this compact kit contains just about everything else you need in the way of camp cooking utensils, including a pot scraper, a folding spoon with measuring marks, a folding spatula with a serrated edge, a collapsible whisk, waterproof spice holder with four chambers, two condiment containers for bringing oil and vinegar (or whatever you want), an ultralight cutting board, a scrubbing pad, and a microfiber camp towel. Whew. Buy Now

Wakeman Collapsible Sink, $8.84 from Walmart

Wakeman Collapsible Sink

Walmart

Don’t forget about clean-up—properly disposing of food outdoors helps keep the bears away, and washing camp cookware is part of that process. A collapsible sink is ideal for doing dishes in camp; better yet, get two (one for soaking, one for rinsing). You can also find double-basin camp sinks.Buy Now

CasusGrill Instant Biodegradable Grill, $14.99 from Amazon

Casus Grill portable single use grill biodegradable

Amazon

This nifty portable grill is one-time use but lightweight and easy to transport and completely biodegradable. Perfect for mobile camping trips with lots of hiking and biking, you’ll be ready to cook in five minutes with roughly 60 minutes of cooking time.Buy Now

Now all that’s left is to figure out what to cook; for ideas, see our guide on camp cooking.

Safety First

COVID-19 Camping: What You Need to Know This Summer

Header image by Chowhound

Jessica is a former Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
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