Trek Southwest - Hiking and Camping the Desert Southwest

DIY Camp Kitchen and Supplies Checklist

in Campfire Recipes and Cooking

A lot of people ask us, “Where do I buy a camp kitchen?” The best answer is, don’t buy one. They’re a waste of money for the most part. There’s no need to buy one of those bulky contraptions put together by one of the camping supply companies.

Those bulky contraptions put together by one of the camping supply companies are generally flimsy, overpriced, and not all that functional.

Typically, they have a little tiny spot for a camp stove and a tiny little prep area that’s barely functional. Having a hook to hang utensils and bags or drawers to put things in really doesn’t help all that much either, but I suppose it looks cool.

We’ve found that a plain old 6′ folding table (the kind that folds in half for easier storage) and a plastic tub with our cooking supplies in it works better than anything else for a DIY camp kitchen.

A camping trip with great food makes for the best experience, and we sometimes have to cook for a group, so having all that prep area on the table makes it easy. Doubling as a picnic table doesn’t hurt.

By keeping all of our supplies in the plastic tub, we have everything in one place where we won’t forget anything. We just grab it and go when we’re ready to head out the door.

As for breaking out the saw and welding rig and building a fancy DIY camp kitchen, why bother? Our setup works perfectly for us, and packs up fairly small. Instead of spending a weekend building some bulky camp kitchen system that’s not going to make your life any easier, pack up and actually go camping.

The most important thing for a camp kitchen is for it to be portable and for you to be able to put it up and take it down easily. You don’t need it to look fancy.

DIY Camp Kitchen Supplies Checklist

Below is a full list of the supplies we keep in our camp kitchen kit. Just click on each tab to open it up.

Table and Tub
Making Heat
Pots, Pans, Etc.
Clean Up
Optional Extras

Keep It Together

All of our camping kitchen items are extras of what we have in our home kitchen (generally cheaper versions), so we don’t have any reason to take them out unless we’re camping.

One thing that we’ve found is that if we take something out of our camping kit to use at home, it never fails that we’ll forget to put it back in.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

As with anything, change up your DIY camp kitchen however you like.

One of our favorite things to do when going on a long car camping trip is campfire cooking and we generally have plenty of space in our vehicle to bring along our large DIY camp kitchen set up.

You may not have the love for cooking outdoors that we do, or you may be camping out of a smaller vehicle, so you can easily pare it down if you like by buying a smaller tub, or even a smaller table. This is just what works best for us, especially when we’re cooking for a larger group.

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