The key to an organized camp kitchen is simple: reduce, re-use, recycle, re-purpose.
Making tasty food while living outdoors can seem like a challenge. All the ingredients and the multiple steps. This feels time consuming and complicated when not in the comfort of your own kitchen. I can see while traditional camp food is more along the packaged food route. But, if you are like me and don’t want to compromise while camping, simply employ some good menu planning and a few simple organization tricks and bon appetite!
I’m seeing quite a few good infographics lately on how to plan for camp meals. I like the handy charts that can be found at 50 Campfires. Sign up their e-mails and they will send you pdf lists.
Aside from meal planning, here are my suggestions for packing and organizing your camp kitchen:
Masking tape & marker
Every professional kitchen has these items handy at all times for good organization and communication. A camp kitchen can become efficient in no time with the same practices that chef’s the world over use. Only pack the amount of each ingredient that you need for each recipe and nothing more. (see below for re-packaging container ideas). Clearly label with contents & any additional instructions if need.
Mini Sealable Bags
Do you ever buy spices in the bulk foods section? Well, you should. Not only do you get a fresher product and save money, but you also get these handy little sealable, re-usable plastic bags. These bags are perfect for a camp trip menu. Simply add the quantity of whichever spice you need for the meals you are planning and not a bit more. No need to bring the entire bottle out into the woods. So head to the bulk section of your local market and buy some spices. You can easily wash the bags and air dry completely between each use.
Surely you know someone who is getting handy meal ingredients delivered by a food service like Blue Apron or Sun Basket. We tried this a while back when we were busy small business owners. We liked being introduced to new recipes and making them was a snap. But I hated all the wasteful packaging! Turns out that they have a life way beyond the food service. Use these mini bottles to bring just the right amount of oils, vinegars and other liquids. Of course, there are other ways to get mini bottles too. Save them for camping. Wash, air dry and re-use for each trip.
Wide Mouth Mason Jars
Any glass jar will do really, but I like the wide mouth type best since its easy to scoop things in and out. Use the jars to pack the right amount of ingredients and nothing more. Label them with clearly marked tape. Once you have used the ingredients, then they can become re-purposed for left over storage, a lightening bug terrarium or even a bloody mary glass for your campsite neighbor.
Oh my word I love hooks in a campsite! With a good hook, it’s easy to keep things within arms’ reach, off the ground; off the little counter space there is; out of the reach of babes; and somewhat organized. Ikea has these metal hooks in their kitchen department for cheap. Highly recommended in both sizes.
Wether you have plain old wooden clothes pins or fancy metal clips(which are seriously worth the price, will last forever and are so strong) these are a camp organizing must have. Of course they work to clip bags closed for freshness and for drying clothing. I also like to utilize clips in my tent to keep clothing organized. Hang a simple line of string from one side of the tent to the next and clothes stay out of the way but easy to see. This is especially useful in wet weather or with baby clothes.