Chris Weiss's Blog

Gift Guide 2011: Culinary Conveniences For Campsite Cooks

Camping is typically thought of as synonomous with "roughing it," giving up the conveniences of home life for a scenic, rustic stay. Sleeping in a tent, skimping on hygiene for days on end and leaving yourself open to mosquito bites and sunburn are a few ways that living without a roof and walls is more trying than life at home.

One way that I'd say camping is actually more luxurious is in the dinner department. I'd cook every single one of my meals over a campfire if I could. The natural wood smoke makes even the dullest dinner come alive with flavor.

While the actual eating is every bit as delicious as a meal cooked at home, the cooking aspect is definitely "roughing it" when compared with your oven, microwave and drawers full of utensils. Here are some camp-cooking gift ideas that will make the fire pit every bit as convenient as the kitchen.

MSR Quick 2 Cooking System

created at: 12/16/2011

You shouldn't have to cook every single meal in the same iron skillet. Nesting cookware gives you a full range of cooking options in an easy to transport package. The MSR Quick 2 packs 2 pots, 2 deep-dish plates, a strainer lid and 2 insulated mugs into a cohesive, $100 package.

Stanley Carbonated Beverage Bottle

created at: 12/16/2011

When you're in the heat of the cook, you can't always step back to grab a beer. And if it's the middle of July, you can't afford to let your beer sit for too long, or it'll warm and flatten. The Stanley Carbonated Beverage Bottle is the only bottle around built for carbonated drinks. It keeps them insulated against that pounding heat and holds more than 2.5 beers, so you won't have to migrate to the cooler any time soon. MSRP: $28

Snow Peak Pack and Carry Fireplace

created at: 12/16/2011

Not every campsite is blessed with a fire pit (or the ability to build one). The Snow Peak Pack and Carry Fireplace ensures that you always have a fire pit for cooking and warming. Unlike other portable fire pits, this one breaks down and folds flat for easy transport. It comes in three different sizes and starts at $95. For a few other portable fire pit/wood grill options, check out my previous list.

Vital Stove

created at: 12/16/2011

What's manlier than cooking on raging, open fire? Cooking on raging, open fire made from scraps of nature that you just collected with your own dirty hands. Unlike the careful tinder-kindling-fuel method for fire-starting the VitalStove is much less temperamental. You can use the firestarter + any number of fuel types, including wood chips, animal dung, leaves, twigs, etc. to get the fan-assisted flames blazing. Then you cook feast on 20,000 BTUs of heat. If you prefer a grill, you can add the $100 Vital Grill on top of the $79 Vital Stove.

MSR Alpine Deluxe Kitchen Set

created at: 12/16/2011

The Alpine kit includes a salt and pepper shaker, knife, cutting board, two squeeze bottles for oil and other condiments, a cleaning brush, a corkscrew, a folding spoon and a few other handy gizmos. It all packs up into a thin carrying case. All the little accessories you're likely to forget packed into one easy-to-remember case. Price: $55

Primus Stena Stove

created at: 12/16/2011

Sleek, simple and easy-to-use, the Stena Stove is a sub-4-lb. single-burner that can be used inside a cabin or under the sky. The stove can heat up large or small pots and offers a versatile, easy-stow cooking solution. Price: $70

Camp Chef Wireless Thermometer

created at: 12/16/2011

The saying may be about a tea kettle, but it applies to pretty much anything cooking on a hot surface. Instead of being chained to your cooking area, you can let your meats roast with confidence. The wireless thermometer measures the temperature of your meat and lets you check temperatures up to 100 feet away. Kick back in your camp chair and enjoy the views while "slaving over the stove." Price: $25

Coleman Portable Propane Coffeemaker

created at: 12/16/2011

Don't make your resident chef cook breakfast without a cup of coffee in her. While some will certainly argue that a French-pressed or percolated cup of coffee tastes better in camp, it's hard to argue with the throw-it-in and let-it-drip mentality of the drip coffeemaker. The durable stainless steel carafe ensures there's no morning-ruining accidents with your life-liquid. Price: $90

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