Choosing the essential cooking gear to bring on a Road Trip isn’t that easy. There are nowadays such a wide variety of ‘must have’ that making the right decision is becoming really hard. Wait, that is also true for non cooking gears, sin’t it?! Indeed, but here we’ll focus on cooking!
In reality, you don’t need that much stuff to enjoy a good meal while camping and we’re not talking here about survivalist mode, although, if that’s your style, I envy you & your skills 😉
Note: This post include affiliated links. If you decide to purchase one of the recommended items, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
In one of my previous post, I gave you a general list of gears to bring on a road trip and some useful criteria on how to chose the best items (the printable version of the list is still on and you can still download it for free… What are you waiting for?!) Today I want to dig deeper into the matter with some examples and things we have tested on our last trip.
Oh… remember that I’m pretty much against plastic. I don’t live a plastic free life (yet!), but whenever possible I avoid it. Now, when it comes to camping gear, plastic is pretty hard to avoid.
Essential Cooking Gear
So what are the essential Cooking Gear you must have? A stove and a pan! Yep, that’s pretty much it… OK, I included 2 other items in the list that make life sweeter… Read on…
1- A stove
You will need a stove to be able to cook delicious hot meals! Open fires are prohibited in many areas, so having a little foldable stove is a good back up plan in any case.
There are several types of stoves. The smallest ones are foldable and usually stand on the gas canister. One of the big issue in choosing a stove is knowing which type of canister you will be able to find on your trip. There are nowadays 2 common gas canister, the Camping Gaz canister (non threaded) and the threaded canisters. Generally, stoves built for one type will not work with the other.
In a too easy summary:
- Camping Gaz = French = easy to find in Europe
- Threaded canister (Coleman, MSR…) = rest of the World!!
There are lost and lots of discussions on forums and blogs on which is best, and where to find… quite frankly, since good stoves are not that expensive (yes some models are) you could consider getting on of each and be ready for all situation. Just a thought!
For threaded canister, the MSR MicroRocket stove is a winner. It is super light, compact and efficient.
For non threaded canister (i.e. Camping Gaz), the El Prado Twister Plus is great. Sturdy and stable, light and compact, easy to connect and detach from the canister even if not empty. The piezo ignition is a nice touch.
This is the one we used during our last road trip and I really can’t say anything wrong about it.
Both of these stoves are winners. You won’t regret choosing one or the other.
Further notes: these are perfect if cooking for one or 2 persons. If you need to cook for 4, buy something a bit bigger because your pans will be bigger and might not stand very well on these stoves.
If you don’t intend to cook too much, and just need to heat water for coffee for example, you may want something even lighter than those stoves, like this little Alcohol Burner. Not as energy efficient but will do the trick.
And if your goal is to grill marshmallows, you could consider this wood burning stove. It’s a safer way to do a fire using twigs, leaves, pinecones and wood. A bit hard to cook on it but it’s fun!
2 – A Cooking Pan
You really really don’t need as many cooking pans as you may think! On our last road trip, we had just one and I used it for everything.
However, the handle isn’t great and I had to hold it all the time while cooking, to make sure the pan wouldn’t fall of the stove.
So I’m not sure I totally recommend it, although I can only admit it worked great.
In my opinion stainless-steel is the way to go! So here is another minimalist set that you could consider. Very versatile as it can be used on wood or gas stoves. 2 types of handle on the big pot (no coating on the handle so good to go on wood stoves). Lids included which is a good idea. With the one above, I brought an old lid I had, which could also be used as a colander.
Want to make life sweeter?
I know making tea or coffee isn’t technically cooking. But there are just 2 things that are majorly important when I travel! I can’t have a good day without them… I know, I’m spoiled! 😉
3- A kettle
This little, tiny GSI kettle is soooo cute! Oh I love it!! I want to use it at home but Mr A doesn’t want to. I don’t understand why?!
This was by far the best item we brought along. I could have even probably survived without the next one, as long as I had this kettle.
It’s really tiny and light but it’s totally enough for tea for 2!
4- Coffee maker
It comes in different size but you may not want to buy a tiny one if you need a lot of coffee in the morning!
If you do, no problem, once you made your first coffee, just pour some cold water on the outside of the coffee maker to cool it off and you are ready to make more coffee!
The other stuff
So with a stove and a light pan, you’re pretty much ready to cook!
You do need a few other things to prepare and enjoy a good meal like plates and cutlery… But do you need to buy anything special? Probably not. Look at what you have at home and make the most of what you already own.
As I mentioned above, I had an old lid which fit perfectly on my pan, and could be used as a colander. Win win!
I brought basic cutlery I already had and which I’m not afraid of losing. Believe me, buying one of those plastic set with a fork on one side and a knife on the other is a bad idea!
Bowls? An old Ikea bowl was all we needed!
I did buy some enamel mugs because I broke too many ceramic ones in the past. And yes, drinking wine in them is acceptable 😉
Do you need a portable sink? For one pan, 2 plates, 2 forks and 2 knives? probably not!! Although I admit it’s not such a useless item to have.
For storing goods, I also re-used containers I already had. For example, a little green matcha tea box I had saved, was perfect to preserved the salt and petter mix I had prepared.
My point? You don’t need to buy everything stores sell. Bring only useful items and be creative!
Do you need some recipe ideas for your next Road Trip?
Well stay tuned because I might soon share with you some great ideas 😉