7 Ways to Upgrade Your Car-Camping Cook Kit

Your camp-chef skills are strong, but you’ve been cooking on the same single-burner backpacking stove for the last decade. It’s time to upgrade your camp cooking kit. Here are our favorite picks, from the chef knife it takes to prep your veggies to the plates that will hold your al fresco masterpiece.

Camp Chef Mountaineer 2 ($ 250)

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We’ve written about our love for the Camp Chef Rainier, but the Mountaineer 2 takes Camp Chef’s two-burner platform up a notch by giving it a durable, rust-resistant aluminum body with a superior windscreen and the ability to add legs to make it a stand-alone stove. It even has a five-foot hose and bulk-tank regulator so you can bring a full propane tank to the campsite.

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Field Skillet ($ 100)

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(Courtesy The Field Company)

Fried eggs, pork chops, bacon, hot dogs, potatoes, more bacon—the cast-iron skillet is the most versatile tool in your kitchen and it should absolutely be a part of your camping cook kit. We go into great detail about how to care for your cast iron here. As for which skillet to bring with you, we like the Field Skillet because it’s half the weight of most skillets, not too terribly expensive, and equipped with a wonderful nonstick surface that’s easy to use and clean.

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Snow Peak Cutting Board and Chef Knife ($ 56)

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Still chopping veggies with your pocket knife? Make the switch to this Japanese-inspired chef knife, which boasts a full-size high-carbon vanadium-steel blade and nests inside a birch cutting board. It’s a prep station fit for a commercial kitchen.

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Stanley Classic Vacuum French Press ($ 48)

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The beauty of this French press is that it makes a lot of coffee (48 ounces) and keeps that coffee warm for the whole morning thanks to the double-wall insulation. Plus, it’s stainless steel, so the pot doesn’t adopt odors and won’t rust.

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MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set ($ 50)

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There are some wonderful titanium backpacking pots out there, and you absolutely should not use them for car camping. Instead, go with these ultra-durable (and heavier) stainless-steel pots, which are built to take years of abuse and won’t rust when you leave them in your garage for six months at a time. You get a two-liter pot and a 1.5-liter pot that nests inside, and the lids can be used as plates. If you need more pots than that, go with the Alpine 4 Pot Set.

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Mountain Summit Gear Roll Top Kitchen ($ 90)

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This aluminum roll-top kitchen sets up fast and gives you a lower shelf for storage and side-by-side countertops so you can spread out all your cooking gear. It’s like your campsite got one of those HGTV renovations.

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GSI Pioneer Table Set ($ 70)

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There are fancier plates made with Space Age tech, but this enameled steel set gives a family of four everything necessary for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while providing your campsite with retro summer-camp styling. Bonus: you can throw them in the dishwasher when you get back home. 

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