Your car camping cooking setup

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Wanderlust073

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Oct 30, 2016
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@Nick what size bed on your truck?
 

Titans

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If you know what 5S is, it is basically like that.
5S, nope- I don't know, but I will look it up. This morning I was thinking we need a "Marie Kondo" approach for the car camping cooking set up. But it sounds like you have some good ideas, so yes, pls, some photos next time!
 

Outdoors24

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To my surprise, my wife has been dropping a lot of hints about getting into car camping this coming year. Do any of you guys use those powered refrigerated coolers? I am half heartedly hoping that car camping will be a gateway drug to get her out on a backpacking trip, but I don’t think freeze dried meals are going to grease the wheels of that wagon lol. Or do those expensive yeti coolers keep things cold for two or three days at a time?
I have a Yeti cooler and have enjoyed it. It has done well on road trips. I also know someone who has the RTIC brand of cooler and liked it as well.

@Nick I have something similar looking to a Partner Stove. I think it's a Brunton Stove. I got at a yard sale a few years ago. Your pictures reminded me that I need to actually try using it.
 
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Kullaberg63

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Mar 6, 2014
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I’m fully against any camping creeping close in comfort to home life.

Car camping is just a small step up from backpacking on my trips: cooler, better mattress, more TP.
 

Wyatt Carson

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Apr 15, 2015
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Cooksets...

We use many of the same backpacking items for car camping as we have learned that less is more there as well. I got rid of all my cast iron. This Black Forest cake backed in a titanium pot on a canister stove. Girlfriend wants them no other way now. They are that good.

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Double boiler, two nesting ti pots with both lids too,

86618


We can make gourmet soups and stews in the ti pots, no problem and real chocolate pudding with eggs, cream and backers chocolate too.

For pancakes, chicken or burgers a good skillet with a lid is perfect and we found a stainless skillet that works but we have our eyes on the Jetboil Summit Skillet for its ceramic, nonstick coating and thicker bottom and overal stock which is essential for any real skillet. This would be bast for any bread, egg or cheese creations and we love making pizza out there. An 8” skillet is perfect for two people. When the price comes down I’m getting it me.

We can keep block ice for more than five days in our kid Rubbermaid ice chest if we sit in on the back seat, put a closed cell mat around it from back to top and over the front with a towel wrapped up both sides and held by a single strap.

Now we will default to a big honking tent, Helinox cots and chairs with a great REI folding table for the amazing comforts but we try to keep everything to a low roar.
 

Yvonne

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I car camp most of the time and love to have my grill, bigger pots for cooking.
I do not like any of the backpacking meals because most do not taste really well and have way too much salt in it.
For car camping, I usually have everything from wine glasses to several pots and pans and I usually cook real dinner.
I use my tabletop grill plus my backpacking stove and then have an additional box where all the kitchen utensils, plates, glasses, and other stuff is
 

Stephanie B

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Great tips and ideas, everyone! Thanks for sharing.

Here are our thoughts:

* Totally agree with Nick and Dennis on block ice. We make our blocks in both rectangular and square pyrex dishes. Pop out the blocks and use them to line the bottom of your cooler. We also make our own cubed ice : some in regular-sized ice cube trays and some in mini-cube trays. We use the regular-sized cubes to fill in around our food and the mini-cubes to fill in any remaining pockets of air.

* We use Yeti-knock-off coolers. The brand we went with is Canyon Coolers. Superb customer service. 40% cheaper than Yeti. Always pre-chill your cooler by placing a sacrificial bag of ice in the cooler the day before you plan to load it up. We take out the sacrificial bag, use towels to soak up any water, and put that bag back in the freezer to use again before the next camping trip.

* We pre-make a fair amount of our dinners. For example, when I make a batch of chili I always make extra for camping. We then vacuum-seal single servings and freeze them after placing the sealed bags on a rimmed baking sheet (so that they freeze flat). We then pull that meal from the cooler when we get back to camp after hiking to get it thawing. Then place the bag in a pot of boiling water to re-heat. Stews, pasta sauce, Asian meals, preferably any dish that has a liquid/sauce component (for better heat transfer) is good. And I try to get as many veggies as possible in the meal so it's a one-dish, healthy affair. We then use the "boiling water" for cleanup or keep it for the next night's dinner. Cleanup is a breeze and the frozen food acts as "ice" until consumed.

* With the above system we can be out for a full week without needing a grocery store or additional ice. Having said all that.....I still think "what if we had just bit the bullet and ponied up for an electric fridge and solar power in the first place". Back when we bought the coolers there was a larger price difference (ice cooler versus electric fridge), solar panels were rather expensive, and I don't think the fridges were as efficient. Definitely worth consideration now.

* Completely agree with regehr on the prepared "salad in a bag", especially the cabbage-based ones as they seem to keep longer. We dump the contents into a gallon-size ziplock baggie, seal it, and rotate-and-shake to get the salad dressing dispersed. No tongs or bowl to clean up.

* Have tried these produce bags to keep veggies and fruits fresh for longer, but can't really say that they made much of a difference. Produce Bags

* For a stove we have the traditional green Coleman, two-burner stove that has taken a fair amount of abuse and has never failed us. We also have a Baby Coleman Grill that works quite well for just the two of us. Those campstoves that Nick recommended, though, look really nice.

* As far as pots and pans go we travel with only one square, flat non-stick pan; one big-ish pot (for boiling water for evening dinners and heating water for showers); and an old-fashioned percolator. Actually, we've taken to using the Starbuck's instant coffee "sticks" so the percolator has pretty much become a smaller vessel for boiling water.

* As far as organization goes, not too long ago I found some great, see-through bins at Michael's that I'm very happy with - Clear Bins with Lids. They come in a variety of sizes, the lids really lock into place, and I've yet to find any of that fine, orange Utah sand inside so they seem to be rather air-tight. For utensils and less bulky items we use these slimmer cases - Slim Cases. We never have to dig through a bin to find something and they keep us organized.

* We use two white, plastic tables that you can find at Walmart and Costco. Try to find the ones that have a lower-profile table top (less weight). We can easily get by with one, but like the extra counter space of two. One downside is that I just can't seem to scrub out some of the dirt so they look permanently dirty. If I had to do it over again I think I'd look into aluminum tables. Another thing...Blake affixed (using screws) "loops" of webbing to the underside of the white tables from which we hang kitchen towels.

* For Blake's poached eggs we use these - Egg Poacher. All you have to clean are these "capsules" and you can use the hot water from the pot for cleaning breakfast dishes. Speaking of eggs and breakfast.....To reduce greasy cleanup and, therefore, water consumption, we pre-cook bacon or bring along those pre-cooked breakfast sausages. Wrap them in foil and pop into the mini-grill (above) or place in a pan over the cookstove to reheat. We like this inexpensive toaster. Toaster If we want a quick breakfast we pack ziplock baggies with a single serving size of instant oatmeal (with brown sugar, walnuts, some dried milk, etc. mixed in). Just add hot water and you can even eat out of the baggie.

* Some friends gave us a great tip...Spray-rinse your soapy dishes with a spray-bottle filled with water and a tiny amount of Clorox. Uses less water than traditional rinsing. Another tip from them is to bring an empty laundry detergent bottle (the kind with a plunger-spout and lays on it side) filled with water and a very small amount of soap for quick hand-cleaning.

* I know this has nothing whatsoever to do with cooking, but we can't say enough positive things about our Helio shower. Helio Shower I read that one of you is trying to get your spouse into camping and this might break down one more barrier. If it's cold or windy we string up a tarp as a wind-break and shower away. Makes all the difference after a hot-n-sweaty hike. We use a simple water siphon like this one (Siphon) to easily get heated water from our big pot into the shower bag.

* I'll shut up now!
 

Meddins

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Aug 3, 2019
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I started with WW 2 footlockers for most of my supplies . I have now started using Plano plastic storage boxes . The footlockers were great but got heavy over time because you can load them up with things you will never use . Cook setup is just a 3 burner Coleman propane stove , a Coleman 4 person dining set . Don’t usually get real in depth with food , mostly canned items . 5 gallon water jug , I have a yeti cooler and it does good , but we camp around 7000’ in forest so it isn’t real hot. All the camp grounds I go to have a solid picnic table. After a few days if we have a hunkering for a certain food we will run into town about 30 mins and grab it . We usually wait for the drive home though . We spend our days fishing and hiking so we keep the food thing simple so when we get back to camp it’s quick and easy to get dinner going . We have bear boxes here as well so everything goes from the truck straight to the bear box. The bear box also doubles as a counter to place the stove and water jug on
86625
 
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