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: November 2020

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.

Wash and drain your camping pots

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.

The best camping table

Stable, lightweight, cheap, not fiddly…what more could you want. 

The (individually) adjustable-leg Uquip aluminium table is great for uneven ground and folds easily into a bag. Around £55 for the medium. You’ll also find it branded Nestling if the Uquip is out of stock. There’s also a large version for around £90.

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.

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 £20 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 Chop2Pot is made of bamboo and comes in small and large. Ours are still perfect after four years’ at home and camping.

Safety knives with sheath

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 Elevate knives come with a protective sheath. The blades are silicon-coated stainless steel.

Space-saving wonder 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 around £50, which is cheaper than a lot of camping sets.

The best gas camping stove

Table-top or on the ground – this one is the canister version.

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 (canister) and low pressure (refillable bottle) versions 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. Standard and large versions and an adaptor if you MUST use capsules. Not cheap, though!

Stackable, multifunction bowls

We love our stainless steel bowls for all our home baking and mixing. They’re even more useful when camping. These bowls (four 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.

The best small stove

calor-bivouac-camping-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 12 years and still just as perfect. 

The high-pressure Cadac above is our choice when we need bigger.

Cool camping fridge

A Dometic compressor fridge. The fantastic new CFX3 35 (32 litres) is expensive but brilliant for two or a small family. It stays cold whatever the temperature outside. 

If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, go for the great CDF range, which worked perfectly for us for years in the UK and Europe.

See our fridge guide here for how to choose.

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 recommendations too.

Folding potato masher

So, this is a decent Joseph and Joseph potato masher if space is tight, but…

If you’ve never used an old-fashioned wooden masher, you’ve got a treat in store. Not only are they simple and beautiful, they do the job of mashing potatoes (and chickpeas and more) with no washing up issues.

 

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.

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.

For all your kitchen kit
Andes kitchen storer

The Andes kitchen storer. Room for crockery, pots and pans, plus lots of pockets. An essential to keep things neat and to hand.

Easy camping meals

After a long day’s walking or when you just can’t be bothered, Firepot’s dried meals are quick and delicious (and now in paper rather than plastic pouches). All natural ingredients too. Just add boiling water.

See more tasty cheats in our article on fast (but good) food.

A very clever tray

A freeform tray that turns into a mat. Very neat. Lots of different colours and sizes.

Great for campervanners especially, because it gives a solid surface for plates and cups on a bench seat.

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.

Beeswax wrap instead of clingfilm

You’ll probably have already come across individual cotton and beeswax (or vegan wax) wraps? Well, we’ve just found this fantastic plastic-free wrap on a roll.

Cut the size you need for wrapping sandwiches, using to seal bowls or for wrapping around loaves to keep them fresher. We struggled to find individual wraps big enough for large loaves, so this is a super alternative. 

There’s a metre x 33cm on a roll and it costs around £15. You can rinse it in cold water and use it over and over.

Vegan version uses plant-based wax. Around £14.

See more green camping ideas in our special feature.

Lock & Lock storage

There’s a leakproof box for every need – from sandwiches to leftovers to premade camping dinners. 

At home, we prefer glass boxes with locking lids, but these are probably more sensible and lighter for travelling.

Reusable coffee cups

We’re NEVER using a throwaway cup again, so here’s our favourite to take along to the coffee shop.

The Joco Cup is the right size for a decent Americano, is nice to hold and a pleasure to drink from. We use the cardboard packaging to hold our camping cutlery!

See other reusable and insulated travel mugs too.

Go plastic-free

Avoid plastic when you can! It’s easy when bamboo crockery is as lovely as these bowls, plates and more. Lightweight, very stylish. 

We’ve got more to look at too, including beautiful enamelware and even wooden plates!

Read our round-up of the best alternatives to plastic plates and bowls for camping.

The best kitchen stand

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.

See more in our camping cupboard and kitchen stand feature

Water carriers

Current favourite is the Sea to Summit PackTap in the 10-litre version.

Easy to fill, holds enough for a weekend trip, taste-free water and you can hang it up too. The push tap is simple to operate one-handed.

Have a look at more of our favourite water carriers.

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.

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6 Comments

  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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