Cooking whilst camping can be one of the most satisfying parts of the day. The following guide will help you choose the correct cooking device prior to going. There are many, many ways to cook whilst camping, i have tried to list as many as I can below.
Before I discuss the merits of each method of cooking, one of the main things to be considered will be the weight and shape of the stove that you are taking. If you are taking a car then a stove will be the best idea where as if you are going hiking the smallest and lightest will be.
Earth-oven or Cooking Pit
- A hole is dug and a fire built. Once the fire has died down slightly, food wrapped in aluminium foil and placed in the embers.
- Positives: Makes fantastic food if you know how to use it. A lot of fun and is one of oldest known forms of and outdoor oven, no weight.
- Negatives: Takes a long time to set up, can easily over-cook/under-cook food.
Grill or Skewers
- One of the most simple and original ways to cook food in the outdoors. Meat or vegetables are cooked over an open fire via a variety of means. Many types of Grills can be bought or evens sticks with their bark stripped could be used.
- Positives: Makes fantastic tasting food, cheapest option, potentially no weight in your pack.
- Negatives: Dependant on the weather/cover, grills can be very heavy.
- Standing in an open fire on stilts, the dutch oven is a versatile instrument to have in any camp, as long as you have patience. It can be used to cook a variety of food types using layers of ovens.
- Positives: Versatile, allowing you to expand your cooking repertoire
- Negatives: Too heavy to take hiking, may take longer than other types of stove.
- Usually small and light comprising or a single burner, generally can be used for any purpose and generally run on liquid or solid fuel.
- Positives: Easy to pack, light to carry and cheap to run.
- Negatives: May take longer to cook food than other stoves due to size of flame etc. Not recommended for longer adventures.
- Usually larger than the backpacking stove, the camping stove will be designed for ease and safety of use. Comprised of at least one burner it will generally be heavier and the design will follow that of a household hob. This may also come with a grill attachment.
- Positives: Best for easy of use and arguably cooking ability.
- Negatives: Too large and heavy to hike with.
- Can be bought from any shop and taken along if you have enough space.
- Positives: Very easy to use and will prevent the need to forage for sticks, logs etc.
- Negatives: Large and cumbersome to carry for long distances, may go out in high winds and then be hard to re-light.
Types of Fuel
Pressurised Gas – Butane, Propane, Isobutane etc.
- Positives: Available worldwide, cheap and burn well in most temperatures.
- Negatives: Does not burn cleanly, dangerous to use inside tents and can’t be re-fueled whilst alight.
Liquid: Alcohol, Gasoline, Kerosene, Methylated Spirits etc.
- Positives: Clean and easy to use and regulate. Generally safer than liquid fuels
- Negatives: Does not work well in colder temperatures, difficult to gauge volume of remaining gas and difficult to dispose of.
Solid: Wood, White Fuel, Charcoal etc.
- Positives: Easy to store and less volatile than the other types of fuel.
- Negatives: Doesn’t release as much energy pound per pound as other fuels, generally more difficult to regulate.