Make amazing meals wherever you travel with these handy tools.

By Julia Heffelfinger
August 08, 2019
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Whether you’re car camping, fishing or heading out into the backcountry, there is no reason to compromise on your meals. With the right gear, you can set up a functional kitchen just about anywhere. From a chic great outdoors-approved dinnerware set to a foldable heavy-duty grill, these tested-and-approved tools will have you campfire cooking like the love child of Martha Stewart and Bear Grylls. Whether you’re set to hike the Appalachian Trail or prefer a glamping setup close to your car, these camping essentials will ensure you’re being fed properly. Read on for 12 items to pack for your next outdoor adventure.

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1. Packable Camp Grill


If your campsite doesn’t come with a grill, don’t worry. This collapsible grill grate is welded with heavy duty steel and will fit right over your campfire. It’s easy to fold up and slide into the trunk of your car, plus the 24-by-16-inch grate has just enough surface area for a skillet or two and a pot of hot water.

Texsport Heavy Duty Camp Grill, $39 at .com

2. Cast Iron Skillet


No one in their right mind would schlep a cast-iron skillet up a mountain, but if you’re car camping, then a cast-iron pan is a must. The thick, heavy-duty walls conduct even heat and won’t be damaged by a roaring hot campfire. This particular 2-in-1 model can be used separately as a pot and a skillet or simultaneously like a lidded Dutch oven. Nestle the pot and lid into the coals and the thick insulated walls will operate much like an oven or a closed grill. Try it out with this Skillet Graham Cake with Peaches and Blueberries.

Cuisinel 2-in-1 Cast Iron Multicooker, $33 at .com

3. Lightweight Camping Pot


If you are hiking up a mountain, then pack this lightweight pot made with hard anodized aluminum. The metal conducts heat well, but won’t weigh down your pack. Bonus: small holes on the lid work as a strainer if you’re cooking pasta.

GSI Outdoors Halulite Cook Pot, $45 at .com

4. Long Metal Tongs


These 16-inch Oxo tongs will keep your hands and arms away from the heat. Also, the metal tips can withstand a hot campfire better than silicone.

Oxo Good Grips 16-inch Tongs, $15 at .com

5. Spatula


Just like the tongs, you want a long spatula that gives you a little bit of separation from the flames. This griddle spatula is ideal for cooking eggs and pancakes or flipping burgers or whole fish.

New Star Foodservice 16-inch Spatula, $9 at .com

6. Heavy Duty Foil


This might not be the most glamorous tool, but it is the one you will use the most. Toss a roll of heavy-duty foil in your car for your next campsite visit. Use the thick sheets to make all-in-one foil packet dinners (ahem, hobo packs), to wrap up russet potatoes and toss in the coals, or as an impromptu lid on your skillet.

Reynold’s Heavy Duty Foil, $12 at .com

Related: 12 S’mores Recipes That Put a Spin on the Campfire Classic

7. Grill Gloves


These 16-inch grill gloves are completely fire resistant and go higher up your arm to protect you from the heat. Use the gloves to move your pots and pans on the grill grate or to snatch hobo packs from the hot coals.

Inno Stage 16-inch Fire Resistant Gloves, $17 from .com

8. Durable Cooler