Clever kitchen and cooking gadgets for camping

Cooking kit made specially for campers can be a bit utilitarian – and it’s not always great quality.

So, we’re always looking out for kitchen equipment that’s well-designed, multi-use and easy to pack. Here’s some of the best. 

Latest update: December 2019

Instant Pot for electric cooking

If you have a campervan or caravan or room in the car plus electric hook-up, the Instant Pot is a great way to cook your meals quickly and economically. From stews in 15 minutes to perfect rice and even cakes and yoghurt.

Basically, it’s a clever electric pressure cooker that also slow cooks and steams. The 3-litre (3 quart) Mini is our choice for camping and is also big enough for a decent meal for two or three at home. Well, enough soup for five!

If you have a larger campervan, motorhome or kitchen (!), the usual 6-litre Instant Pot is probably worth the extra £20 or so. They’re quite big, but not heavy. 

Keep an eye out for our special feature on camp cooking with an Instant Pot…coming soon. Meanwhile, here’s tonight’s Iranian stew with dried lime and dill. Yum.

A splatterguard that does more

Get yourself a splatterguard to save your campervan or caravan from greasy…splatter. Ones with handles like this in the picture can also be used as baking sheets in the oven.

Wash and drain

A great idea for camping, and so simple. It’s a portable washing up bowl with two carrying handles and a plug/strainer. You could use it for preparing veg and salads too, or even as a handy washing sink for wild camping. There are three colours to choose from. We’ve got a feature on washing up gear too.

Hand-powered food processor

Make speedy work of chopping without electricity or batteries. There are a few hand-operated food processors out there, but this Zyliss one is the most popular and the sturdiest. Will make hummus and dips, but they won’t be supersmooth. Absolutely fab! Only £15 too.

Clever chopping boards

Joseph Joseph chopping boardThese Joseph+Joseph folding chopping boards take up little space in a camping pack, but are great for slicing food and then easily pouring it into a pan. The plastic ones comes in a range of colours and four sizes, while the bamboo one comes in small and large.

Safety knives with sharpener

Sharp knives are safe knives, as all the best chefs know. However, a sharp knife in the bottom of a camping bag is an accident waiting to hurt. These Joseph+Joseph knives come with a protective sheath and have a built-in sharpening wheel at one end. The blades are silicon-coated stainless steel.

Space-saving pans

These Tefal Ingenio pans and frying pans are indeed ingenious. The handles detach and reattach at the click of a button, there are lids with folding handles for when you're cooking and plastic lids for using the pans as bowls and storage. Non-stick aluminium and stainless steel options, sets or single items. The stainless version is probably too expensive just for camping, but there's a five-piece set for under £50, which is cheaper than a lot of camping sets.

Stackable, multifunction bowls

We love our stainless steel bowls for all our home baking and mixing. They’re even more useful when camping. These Von Shef bowls (five of them) are great because they have lids, plus interchangeable centre bits for grating, slicing etc. Mix in them, measure in them, serve in them. Perfect and indestructible.

Cadac Safari Chef

The best gas camping stove

The Cadac Safari Chef has long been our favourite gas camping stove. Neat and portable, it comes with lots of cooking options (pizza stone, griddle etc). There are high and low pressure versions to run on canisters or on bottles of gas. If you see one with holes in the legs, snap it up. This older model doesn't have piezo ignition but is more sturdy.


The best small stove

For quick and simple one-pot meals or to boil a kettle, we love our neat Campingaz Bivouac. The legs clip our and it fits into a small bag. Been using it for years and years and still just as perfect. The Cadac above is our choice when we need bigger.

Waeco CFX35 compressor fridge

A fridge for all temperatures

If you're serious about camp cooking and are going to be camping somewhere warm, nothing beats the Dometic compressor fridges. Whatever the temperature outside, they stay at a stable coldness inside. The CFX or CDF range are the best (and expensive). See our fridge guides too.

Proper coffee hand-pumped

If you're a fan of really good coffee, you'll love this Wacaco Nanopresso. We were sent one to try and thought we'd never use it...but, it's now our main coffee-maker at home and when camping. Perfect espresso (add water/milk for Americano etc) in a few pumps of the pressurised plunger. Small and large versions and an adaptor if you MUST use capsules. Not cheap, though!

Folding knife sharpener

The Joseph+Joseph Rota is neat and discreet because it folds on itself. It has coarse and fine sharpening wheels and a non-slip base.

Mess-free barbecues

So, we've found the best barbecues, and this grill mat is the perfect addition. Makes it easier to cook small ingredients, stops the burn and is reusable.

Light and fast kettle

Heat exchanger kettles boil faster. This is the Fox kettle in the picture, but the Fire Maple is identical and cheaper. It comes in a 0.8 or 1.5l size. Very light to carry because it's made of aluminium. See our other camping kettle options too.

Over-sink folding colander

So far, this is the best folding, collapsible colander we've found. The arms extend so you can leave it hovering over a sink to drain and it's big enough for salads or veg. And not at all expensive. Comes in a choice of green or red.

Tray to mat

A freeform tray that turns into a mat. Very nice. Lots of different colours and sizes. Great for campervanners especially because it gives a solid surface for plates and cups on a bench seat.

Reusable silicone bags

Handy bags for keeping ingredients or leftovers in. Choose a range of sizes to give yourself lots of options. They can go in the freezer at home before you pack and help to keep your coolbox or fridge nice and cold.

Folding potato masher

Woohoo! Thanks to the reader who showed us the way to no more frustrations in trying to pack a masher! This Joseph and Joseph potato masher is easy to store and string enough to mash well. Cheap too. at around £12.

The end of throwaway cups

We're NEVER using a throwaway cup again, so here's our favourite to take along to the coffee shop. The Joco Cup feels nice to drink from, has a decent-sized silicone band to keep the heat in and a good lid. More options, including a folding mug, here.

Water storage/carrier

The Source Liquitainer holds six litres of water and doesn't make it taste funny. Very reliable filling top and a super tap. Packs down to nothing as well. We've tested a lot of water carrying options, so if this doesn't suit, have a look at the other water containers.

Lock & Lock storage

There's a leakproof box for every need – from sandwiches to leftovers to premade camping dinners. Atr home, we prefer glass boxes with locking lids, but these are probably more sensible and lighter for travelling.

And the very best camping kitchen unit

We tested lots of camping storage cupboards and kitchen stands in our special feature on camping cupboards and camp kitchens, but the Campart Valencia really stood out. Aluminium top and even a sink! There’s a smaller model too.

Reusable sandwich wraps

And while we're on the subject of cutting waste. Swap your plastic bags and clingfilm for a reusable sandwich wrap like the BocnRoll.

Better still. Go for a roll of reusable beeswax wrap. Or vegan-based wax wrap.

Bamboo tableware

Avoid plastic when you can! It's easy when bamboo crockery is as lovely as the Zuperzozial range. Lightweight, very stylish. There are plenty of others to choose from too, and we've got a whole article on plastic-free camping tableware.

Andes kitchen storer

Camping kitchen storage

Keep all the rest of these lovely camp kitchen items easy to get at in this Andes camping kitchen storer bag. Enough room for a set of pans, your crockery and more, with outside pockets for cutlery, cloths, bottle openers etc. One section removes and is (notionally) insulated.

Firepot camping meals

And if you don't want to pack all that? Just take some of our favourite emergency food. Just add hot water and wait 10 minutes. Real food with real taste too. The best price we've found is on Ebay, by the way. Around £7 for a hearty one-person or decent two-person meal. More tasty cheats in our special feature on easy camping meals.

Share your favourite bit of camping kitchen equipment and let us know why it works so well for you…either leave a comment below or over on Facebook.

Camping gear must-haves – our 60 best finds

When we find a new piece of camping or outdoor equipment that we love and that really works, it’s here. Everything you see – from barbecues to mosquito repellent – has been tried and tested by a member of the Campfire team and is now one of their actual camping essentials …
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  1. Eleanor Dinsmore

    Von Shef multicookerUp there with my Dometic Fridge and Andes kitchen storer bag (both of which you recommended) is the Von Shef electric pan. I love that it has a glass lid to stop splashes and when not in use I can store lots of items inside it. It is also super for transporting dishes to the wash area and back. Great for stews, full English or (my favourite) pancakes with maple syrup 😊 An all rounder for home and van.
    Love your magazine guys! Xx ED: Awwww! That’s really lovely. So glad we can help.

  2. Gary Curtis

    One of my favourite pieces of kit is my 2.8L Thermos Shuttle Chef a modern version of the hay basket type of cooking.

    Thermos thermal cookerI can bring a casserole up to boil on my Cadac Safari Chef 2 for ten or fifteen minutes making sure all is is up to temperature and then place the pot into the vacuum flask-like outer container and just leave it for three or five hours.

    You can leave it unattended with absolutely no risk of fire and come back from a long walk to a hearty hot meal. It saves fuel and is just easy to use. It took a little time to come although ordered from Amazon UK it was shipped from Japan where they are quite a normal thing over there. A brilliant piece of kit my campervan never leaves home without it.

  3. Dave Gibson

    Wouldn’t be camping without our Yeti Tundra 33Litre cooler / coolbox. No power needed just pack it with a couple of bags of ice and the contents will stay below 5c for 3 days even in the middle of summer. Doubles up as a handy extra seat too! No more curdled milk, sweaty cheese or runny spread.
    ED: Yep. They’re great, but a bit hard to come by and expensive. The Igloo is a good option instead, as is the Dometic/Waeco Cool-Ice. And anyone thinking of a decent coolbox or fridge might find our fridge guide and recommendations useful.

  4. Jane Feilden

    My favourite piece of camping kit is my Aeropress. It makes amazing coffee, is easy to clean and packs really small. It feels really special, first thing in the morning whilst it’s really quiet, I brew the coffee whilst my husband heats the milk and we sit down together and savour the taste.
    Editor: They are fantastic, but we’re absolutely loving the Wacaco Nanopress. Better coffee than ANY café!

  5. John Salsbury

    I think I’ve tried most of these gadgets over the years EXCEPT…the reusable sandwich wraps…great idea…anything to get away from cling film and those nasty plastic containers I got from Poundland…I’ve seen so many camping sites littered with bits of plastic that campers have discarded because they really are rubbish

  6. Kevin Fossali

    Great magazine. Always waiting for the next update as there is so much information about lots of different things. Our favourite kit has been the camping stove as pictured above – it has almost replaces our Cobb and we now named to cook everything with it (well almost).
    Editor: Thanks, Kevin. Very kind. I’m assuming you’re talking about the Cadac? A very versatile piece of kit indeed.

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