We’re in the midst of a boom in gear, books, and brilliant ideas for what to eat while camping.
Exactly one year ago, I wrote a story for TASTE about a big shift I was noticing: Outdoor companies, historically known for rugged mountaineering gear or high-performance athletic apparel, started to become very interested in food. Chalk it up to a pandemic-prompted spike in camping—or chalk it up to the fact that everyone in today’s culture (even the most extreme outdoorsmen) care about food—but suddenly all these outdoor companies have started to look a lot like cookware companies.
In the past year, the fervor has intensified, and the possibilities for campfire grilled trout and whole roasted pineapples feel endless. Kitchenware brand OXO announced a collaboration with REI, full of sturdy, lightweight cooking and cleaning tools designed for preparing food in nature. Stanley, a company famous for its insulated bottles and drinkware, bulked up their selection of camping cookware and partnered with chefs like Yardy’s DeVonn Francis to show how their products can help facilitate luxurious picnics full of conservas and Basque cheesecakes. And just a few weeks ago, Japan’s legacy mountaineering brand Snow Peak rolled out a sleek new modular stove, offering the perfect flat iron griddle for pancakes and fried eggs.
And beyond the tools themselves, there are more recipes and cookbooks about camping than ever before. Last summer, Eater published a full prepping and meal plan for a camping trip, bringing together tips from Lucas Sin, Kirsten Kirby-Shoote, and Kena Peay. Just this year, I’ve counted six new cookbooks on the topic so far, including Dutch Oven Camp Cooking by Vernon Winterton, Outside by Gill Meller, and The Pendleton Field Guide to Campfire Cooking.
If you can nab a campsite (hurry—bookings shot up by about 500 percent in 2021), get out there and get cooking. Everything tastes better outside!
More Reading About Perfecting Your Campfire Cooking:
- Last year, I reported on a pandemic-induced surge in outdoor cooking gear.
- The Great Eater Campout brings together recipes like salmon crunchwraps and mapo beans with some brilliant tips for packing your cooler and prepping ingredients before you leave home.
- Alex Beggs has a few pieces of advice for building the perfect foil packet campfire meal.
- For the Strategist, Ali Slagle wrote about the tools it takes to be a recipe developer who lives in a camper van.
- The next time you go camping, throw those veggies right on the coals.
- At this point, Emma Frisch’s 2018 cookbook Feast by Firelight is a seasoned classic. You can also round out your camping cookbook library with a brand new copy of The Pendleton Field Guide to Campfire Cooking.
Cool Things to Buy for Your Next Campsite Meal:
- OXO’s Outdoor line is full of durable cooking tools that will pull their weight when you’re cooking outside (I especially like the Heavy-Duty Brush for cleaning up cast iron skillets).
- Snow Peak’s new Teppanyaki Burner means that even with a tiny, fist-sized fuel canister, you can cook your pancakes on an even iron surface, whether you’re in your back yard or on the top of a mountain.
- Having a great camping Dutch oven means that you can throw together easy-to-share stews, but there are also endless possibilities for crisps and cobblers, like the strawberry cobblers Rashad Frazier likes to make. Snow Peak makes a very sharp one with a ridge that could hold a few coals on the lid, but you also can’t go wrong with a three-legged number from Lodge.
- Patagonia has entered the craft beer game.
- You can skip the packets of instant coffee for your next trip and treat yourself to a perfect cup of pour-over with this Stanley coffee set.
- Last year, I also picked up a Hario Mini Mill for grinding coffee beans on the go after reading about it on Reddit.
- These wallet-sized cocktail kits are designed for airplanes, but there’s nothing stopping you from throwing a couple into your camping box.