Rookie Campers: 6 Common Camping Cooking Mistakes to Avoid

A man is preparing food on a common camping stove.

What’s a camping trip without campfire cooking?

Cooking is a significant part of camping. When navigating the great outdoors, you don’t have access to kitchen amenities. So, you have to channel your nomadic spirit and make do with limited resources. For many campers, campsite cooking involves the use of portable stoves and camping iron cookware. For others, it’s akin to using propane gas grills in their backyards for a barbeque, which is among the nation’s favorite pastimes.

Despite how you participate in campsite cooking, prioritizing your safety is crucial. Unfortunately, there are some challenges every new and inexperienced camper faces. Let’s look at some campsite cooking mistakes so you can learn how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not Doing Research

The worst mistake a rookie camper can make is starting with campsite cooking blindly. Conducting research and learning proper precautions is critical for any activity as dangerous as campfire cooking. Avoiding this mistake is easy; just read online camping reviews and blogs!

Many resource sites, like Back Country Gear, provide insight into the world of campsite cooking. You can look for informative how-to guides and checklists about campsite cooking to gain the necessary knowledge. Without proper research, you can become more susceptible to campsite cooking-related injuries and health concerns. So, take your time to look for online camping reviews, forums, community groups on social media, and expert blogs for guidance about campsite cooking techniques and equipment.

a steel pot with a wooden plank on an outdoor stove

Mistake #2: Lack of Meal Planning

A little meal planning goes a long way! One of the most common campsite cooking mistakes is failing to plan your meals ahead of time. While spontaneity is part of the camping experience, having a rough meal plan can prevent last-minute stress and ensure you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment.

Consider factors like your trip’s duration, available kitchen amenities, and dietary restrictions when planning your meals. You can also prepare some ingredients ahead of time for convenient and speedy campsite cooking. For instance, cutting vegetables at home will save a significant amount of time and effort at the campsite.

Mistake #3: Carrying Too Many Supplies

Food supplies and cooking equipment carry weight. Packing too much of them can be a problem when you set off for your campsite. If you’re on foot, carrying a heavy and overpacked backpack can cause unnecessary strain on your back and shoulders. Physical injuries are the last thing any camper wants during a trip, so avoid carrying more cooking supplies than needed. To do this, calculate portion sizes accurately, based on the number of people and the duration of your trip.

You can also maximize space and minimize backpack weight by investing in lightweight cooking equipment. The GCI Outdoor Master Cook Station is a good example since it’s foldable and portable, allowing campers to pack and carry it efficiently.

Mistake #4: Skimping on Quality Equipment

Skimping on or neglecting quality equipment is among the worst campsite cooking mistakes. High-quality camping iron cookware can be costly, but its benefits are worth the price. Regardless, some rookie campers opt for cheaper options that result in inefficient cooking later on.

Try to set money aside for quality cooking tools or equipment since they are a long-term investment. Larger campsite cooking equipment like propane gas grills are designed to last for many years, making a hefty initial payment worth the value. So, read online camping and backpacking reviews to discover top-rated camping cookware you can use. Explore options for cast iron pans, cooking pots, utensils, portable stoves, etc. while prioritizing quality over price.

three grey pots on an outdoor campfire grill

Mistake #5: Using the Wrong Cookware

Not all cookware is suitable for all campsite cooking setups. The type of camping cookware you need depends on your camping trip duration, food preferences, available amenities, and quality requirements. If you’re a car camper with an RV, you’ll have more space for a cooking setup than a wandering backpacker would. As such, you can use larger cookware made of heavier materials like cast iron or stainless steel.

Make sure you carry the right number of pots and pans on your trip based on how many people will use them and how long you plan to stay in the woods. Look for easy-to-clean options if your campsite has limited water access.

Mistake #6: Ignoring Safety Precautions

Outdoor cooking often causes burns and injuries in campers, especially children. One of the most negligent campsite cooking mistakes you could make is ignoring safety precautions. Campfires can sometimes create excessive heat and high flames, posing a threat to campers’ safety. You can avoid such scenarios by following safety guidelines suggested by authorities and experienced campers.

Set up your cooking station away from tents and flammable objects. Make sure there’s sufficient ventilation in your cooking area, but not windy enough to knock things over. Carry a fire extinguisher or a ceiling fan to divert stray flames away from high-impact areas. If you’ll be cooking during the night, consider using rechargeable headlamps for better visibility.

Have a safe trip!

a camper using a portable outdoor grill to cook food

Discover the Best Camping Gear Online

Wondering where you can find the best camping gear online? Your search ends with Back Country Gear!

Our experienced campers have compiled a wide collection of detailed product reviews and rankings on our website. You can head to our blog and read reliable hiking, camping, and Camping Iron Cookware reviews. Discover durable gear through our rankings of the best mountaineering backpacks, the Best Ice Climbing Boots, the Best Amazon Tents For Campers 2023, etc. We’ve also evaluated the top brands in the industry so you don’t have to!

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