Can I get a what what? The fact that you’re reading this article means you’re interested in learning how to set up a camping kitchen for a festival. You’ve purchased your ticket. Your stoke level is through-the-roof. But for now, you need to make sure all of your bases are covered.
As far as your camping kitchen goes, you should ask yourself a few questions. Have you camped before (even if it was just car camping)? Do you currently have any camping supplies you already own, or can borrow? What is your diet like, and what do you prefer to eat? Do you plan to cook everything yourself, or eat inside of the venue? Do you have any food allergies?
All of these questions are super important to keep in mind. Physically go through all of your camping equipment (if you have any) and document it. If you’re borrowing things from friends, check in on what you can use. From there, you’ll have a solid list of what you need, in order to have a successful festival experience.
As for the food questions, take this portion seriously. Don’t pretend you’re going to eat at your campsite every night, only to eat in the venue. That’s a huge waste of money, so be honest with yourself. A quick side note: If you have food allergies, don’t plan on eating in the venue–you’ll be super disappointed and very hungry.
Once you’ve decided how often you’ll cook, it’s time to determine what kind of food you want to bring. If you eat meat, bringing ground beef, pre-made meatballs, and even chicken breasts, are all easy, awesome options. What you’re looking for is meals that are easy to prepare, and don’t require a ton to be delicious.
On the other hand, if you’re vegan (or vegetarian), you’ll need to think about the type of veggies you like, and how they can easily be turned into meals. Bringing pasta and pre-cooked rice is an awesome way to have a good base for your food.
It’s important to remember you’re going to be camping for a number of days. So freezing your meat or vegetables beforehand is a magnificent way to keep them safe for consumption, throughout the entirety of the festival.
Eating food is obviously the ultimate goal when you’re setting up a camping kitchen. However, there are a lot of supplies you need, in order to run it successfully.
This list is broken into three sections: Cooking supplies, eating supplies, and cleaning supplies. Each will contain information specifically regarding how to set up your camping kitchen, and how to properly store said supplies.
So without further ado, let’s dive into camping kitchen essentials.
Camping Kitchen Cooking Supplies
As far as your campsite goes, having a proper kitchen is key. That means having all of the supplies you need, in order to successfully cook a meal. This section covers any and all cooking equipment. First we will dive into the supplies themselves, and then we’ll look at how best to store them.
If you’re going to set up a camping kitchen, the number one thing you need is a grill. Kind of a no duh moment, but most festival don’t permit you to start fires. So if you want to cook, you need a stove. While you could bring your regular gas grill, it would be very cumbersome.
When you’re looking for a grill or stove for your camping kitchen, there are a few qualities you want. First, it should have protection from inclement weather. If it’s super windy and you can’t light your stove, you’re SOL. Second, it should be large enough to hold a pot and pan. Otherwise, you’ll be cooking things one-at-a-time, which results in cold food.
This Coleman Triton 2-Burner Propane Stove is a phenomenal choice. It has PerfectFlow and PerfectHeat technology, which ensures it stays lit during bad weather, and continues to evenly heat. Turn it on, and you’ll be cooking in no-time.
Price: $65.99 (18 percent off MSRP)
2. Grill Table
Where will you physically cook on the grill? You’ll be sad if you think your campsite comes loaded with a picnic table. More often than not, you’re literally parking in a huge field with no amenities at your site. So, you’ll definitely want a grilling table.
A grilling table allows you to not only keep your stove off the ground, but it provides extra surfaces for you to prepare your meal. Perhaps you need to chop some potatoes, or cut an onion. With a grilling table, you’ll have space to do so. And, they often have convenient hooks to hang all of your grilling utensils.
The Camco Deluxe Folding Grill Table is a great choice. Set it up in under a minute. In addition to utensil hooks, it also has a paper towel holder. And, it comes with a carrying case for traveling ease.
Price: $71.67 (49 percent off MSRP)
3. Grill Utensils
In the capsule above, I mentioned grilling utensils. You could easily grab a set from your house. But if you forget them in the dishwasher, you’re going to be unhappy. Rather than using your fingers (ouch!) or a regular fork and knife, opt for a set of camping utensils.
This particular item in your camping kitchen is super important. It allows you to cook all of your food with ease, and you’ll always know exactly where to find your tools. Look for a set that has at least three tools: Spatula, tongs, and a fork. If you find a kit with more, great, but be sure it comes with those items.
The Simplistex 4 Piece BBQ Tool set fits the bill…and it comes with an addition tool: A grill brush. Store it away in the provided carrying case. And if you’d like more utensils, choose the 17-piece set.
4. Pot & Pan
It seems kind of obvious, but you need something to cook your food in. Again, you can definitely grab a pot and pan from your kitchen…but your housemates may not be so thrilled. Having a camping-specific set of pots and pans makes everything that much easier.
There are a couple of routes you can take. First, is with a cast iron pan. Cast iron has been a camping (and regular cooking) favorite forever. Thats because once you’re done using it, there’s no need to wash it. Instead, you boil water in it, and scrape off the gunk. And second, is a set of pots and pans made specifically for camping.
This Honest Portable Camping Cookware set fits the latter description, and is a great choice. It’s made with FDA-approved aluminum, and has ten-pieces, including a non-stick one-liter pot, and a non-stick pan. Comes in red or green.
Price: $15.99 – $19.99
5. Food Cooler
Above, I mentioned the necessity of freezing your food beforehand. In order to accomplish this, you’ll need a cooler. Not just any cooler, though. Instead, a heavy-duty camping cooler should be in your sites.
What exactly makes a cooler heavy-duty? Well most coolers are meant for a day-trip–an overnight-trip at the most. Therefore, they don’t need to be super insulated, as you’ll be done in around 24-hours. If you intend to use a cooler for longer than that, though, your ice will melt and your food will spoil. So, finding a cooler with technology that allows you to go more than a day is necessary.
The Coleman Xtreme Cooler checks those boxes. It has a 70-quart capacity, with Xtreme® 5 Technology, which keeps your ice up to five-days in 90-degree temperatures. And, you can sit on top of it, thanks to the Have-A-Seat™ Lid, supporting up to 250-pounds.
Price: $57.07 (31 percent off MSRP)
6. Camping Kitchen Cooking Supplies: Ice
You need that ice, ice baby. Ice is an umbrella term for anything that keeps your food cold. It comes in the form of store-bought ice, homemade ice, and even dry ice. All of these are phenomenal options for your camping kitchen. Another option exists, too: Reusable ice packs.
Your mom might’ve used something similar in your lunch box as a kid. But reusable ice packs have come a long way since then. They now can last multiple days with ease. And, they come in a variety of sizes, too.
These Cooler Freeze Packs do the job well. They’re extra-large, and come in a three-pack. They are the equivalent of a 20-pound bag of ice…without the melted water. And, they come with a 100% money-back guarantee.
Price: $24.95 (17 percent off MSRP)
I’ve already touched on the fact that frozen food is the way to go, especially if you’re bringing meat. You don’t want to risk eating tainted meat. Some veggies freeze really well, like peas, green beans, broccoli, and corn, and I suggest getting them frozen. But there are others like squash, zucchini, and tomatoes that don’t fare so well frozen, and that’s ok too.
What kind of food you bring is up to you. If you eat meat, again, chicken and ground beef are two easy, versatile choices. Veggies, such as, zucchini, lettuce, cucmber, and mushrooms provide tons of options. And if you like things like rice, make a bunch beforehand and store it in a container. Some easy festival meals to consider (whether you eat meat, or not), include spaghetti, stir fry, and stroganoff.
This Cascadian Farm Organic Mixed Vegetables is a great choice. It’s USDA certified, and non-GMO. Consider adding it to any of the aforementioned meals.
I know I already said that the grill was the most important part of your camping kitchen. Well, there should’ve been a little caveat. A grill without propane is just a grill. And propane without a grill is just propane. Put them together, though, and you’ve got one mean cooking machine.
Propane for camping grills can be found just about everywhere. You don’t have to purchase brand name, but absolutely ensure you’re buying from a reputable source. Always make sure you have at least two back-ups of tanks–otherwise you’ll be left spending a ton of money at the festival shop.
9. Storage Bin
Since we’ve covered everything you’ll need for the cooking portion of your camping kitchen, it’s now time to focus on how to organize it. Instead of leaving everything out, which could end in a huge mess, choose to get an outdoor storage bin.
Rather than opting for a regular storage bin, an outdoor bin is heavier duty. That means you can fit more inside, without worrying about the bottom literally dropping out. Ideally, a storage bin should hold all of your cooking equipment like pots, pans, and utensils, in addition to all of your cleaning supplies. When you’re done, slide everything back in, and your campsite will be clean.
This Plano Storage Bin definitely does the trick. It has a 56-quart capacity, and is lockable, with a reinforced, removable lid.
10. Pop Up Tent
Your camping kitchen shouldn’t be left out in the sun to bake all day. And rather than tossing everything into your car or tent, opt for a pop up tent.
A pop up tent allows you to cook outdoors, while still being protected from the weather. The tent should have mesh sides, or opaque sides that roll up, so the smoke can escape. Set up your grill table against one of the non-entrance walls. Your grill will go on top of it when you’re ready to cook. Slide the storage bin next to it, for easy access. Put your coolers against the opposite wall, to keep them away from the heat. Place your camp table and chair next to the coolers. Ensure you have space to walk between everything without tripping. And if you can, place your pop up tent, right next to the entrance of your sleeping tent.
The Pop Up Canopy Screen Party tent is a phenomenal choice. It’s made of 100% mesh with zippers, and attaches with velcro. The frame is a durable, rust-resistant stainless steel. Just add tent weights, in case of windy weather.
Camping Kitchen Eating Supplies
So you’ve finally finished making a delicious meal. This section focuses on everything you need to consume your food in peace, including plates, camping chairs, and other delicious munchies.
There are certain times that you just don’t feel like cooking. Perhaps you just got back to your campsite after a long day of sets and you just don’t feel like firing up the grill. Or maybe you just want to munch on something before bed.
Whatever the case, having some delicious snacks on-hand will make your life easier. There are times when you’re in your own home when you don’t want to cook, so don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll want to cook every time you want to chow down at a festival. Having a variety of snacks will give you choices. Great options include hard fruit like apples, dried fruit, pretzels, chips, and popcorn. Keep your snacks stored in your car, or a separate small bin.
I’d like to thank the team over at Hippeas for sending me a media box to review. I have a ton of food allergies and their line has multiple items I can consume–something few companies can boast. And let me tell you…they’re delicious. They’re vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and kosher, and come in five delicious flavors: Vegan white cheddar, Sriracha sunshine, bohemian barbecue, far out fajita, and pepper power. Pop open a small bag for yourself, or bring a few bags to hang out at a neighbor’s tent.
12. Reusable Plates
When it comes to setting up a camping kitchen and subsequently consuming the food you’ve just cooked, you have one of two choices: Reusable, or throw-away supplies.
While throw-away supplies, like paper plates and plastic cutlery, are an easier choice for clean up, they’re definitely not environmentally-friendly. Plus, if the wind catches them, you’re done for. Finding a set of plastic camping plates is your best bet.
These ClipCroc dishes literally “clip together” for ease of travel and storage. They’re anti-rattle, so you won’t hear them knocking around as you make your way to the festival. Clean them up, and they’re good to go for your next meal.
13. Camping Kitchen Eating Supplies: Cutlery
In much the same vein as the capsule above, when you’re choosing the type of cutlery you’d like to bring, you once again have two options: Reusable or toss in the trash.
And just like above, tossing your used utensils just isn’t good for the environment. Plus, plastic cutlery breaks more than it works properly. Instead, opt for a set of reusable camping kitchen utensils. They’ll last a lot longer, and cost less in the long-run (so you don’t continue buying plasticware and pitching it).
This Bekith Stainless Steel Cutlery set contains six pieces: two forks, two spoons, and two knives. So you can either share your set with a buddy, or have utensils for two meals. And, they come in a case for easy storage.
14. Camping Kitchen Eating Supplies: Drink Cooler
Above we covered the importance of a cooler for your food. Freezing anything that may spoil over the course of the festival is a must. However, you’ll want to keep that cooler closed as often as you can. In other words, the more you open your cooler to root around for drinks or snacks, the faster anything frozen will thaw.
Purchasing a second cooler for your drinks is an awesome choice. Of course, you don’t need a cooler–you could just drink warm beverages. But let’s be honest…that sounds awful when you’re looking for something refreshingly cold. You’ll be infinitely happier with the decision to bring a beverage cooler.
This Coleman Xtreme Series Wheeled Cooler is a fantastic drink cooler choice. It’s wheeled, making it easier to get from your car to the tent. With a 50-quart capacity, it can hold up-to 84 cans. And it’ll provide five-days of ice retention, in up-to-90-degree weather.
So figuring out what you’re going to eat is pretty easy, once you determine how often you’ll be eating inside the venue. While you may have more than enough food, don’t forget the beverages.
Of course, beverages span a wide spectrum. Alcohol–beer in particular–is a popular choice. However, I can guarantee you’ll want something that’ll actually hydrate you, too. Water is always a fantastic option, but you may not be down with plastic water bottles. Consider juice boxes a la childhood.
These Apple & Eve pouches are rich in vitamin C, and have no added sugar, flavors, colors, or preservatives. You’ll receive 16 apple juice, eight fruit punch, and eight very berry. Snag one as you leave or come back to your campsite. You’ll be stoked you have them on-hand.
16. Water Bottle
Water is of the utmost importance at a music festival. Yes, you need to eat. But you need to hydrate even more. Both alcohol and the sun will deplete your system of water. Mitigate that issue by bringing a reusable water bottle.
As mentioned above, you could bring plastic bottles. But we’re all about having a blast and keeping Mother Earth clean, too. If you have a hydration backpack, like a Vibedration or Camel Bak, you’ll be set inside of the festival. But as far as your campsite, you may want something less cumbersome.
Without a doubt, Hydro Flask is easily one of the best names in the water bottle game. Their bottles are made from non-toxic, BPA-free plastic, and 18/8 food-grade stainless steel. And, green isn’t the only color–choose from almost anything under the rainbow. Fill it up, and you’ll be hydrated ASAP.
Price: $18.75 – $70
17. Camping Table
At this point, we’ve covered a good bit of what you need to cook and physically eat your food. Your food’s ready, it’s loaded onto the plate, your fork and knife are clean. What now?
Well, you don’t want to sit on the ground, do you? I mean you could, but if it’s muddy, or otherwise dirty, you may be unhappy with that decision. And even if you enjoy sitting on the ground, consuming a meal out of your lap is less-than-ideal. So, seriously consider bring a camping table.
This Sportneer table is sturdy, and has structured holders. It’s made from high-quality material, and is super easy to set up and take down. And it weighs only 1.9-pounds–practically nothing. You’ll be thrilled to feel “at home” eating at a camping table.
If you’d like some other camp table ideas, head over here.
18. Camping Chair
So technically you don’t need a camping chair. You’re capable of leaning over a camp table, scarfing down your food. Life is much easier, however, when you’re sitting down and eating your freshly prepared meal, like you would at home.
Camping chairs come in a wide-variety of shapes, sizes, and weight capacities. Determine whether you’d like your chair to have drink holders or not. Is easy storage your thing, or would you prefer to just keep that bad boy out all-day? And lastly, do you care if it matches your camping table or not?
The Sportneer Camping table we saw above has a couple of chair options, too. Snag one or two camp chairs. They’re super lightweight–under two-pounds–and easy to put away when you’re done. Plop down with your freshly cooked meal to be eating in camping style.
There are plenty of other camp chairs on the market. Check out this list.
Camping Kitchen Cleaning Supplies
Once everything is cooked and consumed, you need to ensure your campsite is spic and span. This section will show you exactly how to clean everything up. As mentioned above, all kitchen cleaning supplies should be stored in your outdoor camping bin.
19. Paper Towels
Paper towels are always something you should have in your camping kitchen. Inevitably there will be messes, greasy hands, or just a simple need for a rag.
They also double as napkins, and make your clean up that much easier. While you could bring a dish rag, the chances of it falling on the ground and getting dirty are pretty high. While paper towel isn’t the best environmentally, it’s best for your health when camping.
Bounty is always a great choice in paper-ware. This bad boy comes with eight massive rolls, which is the equivalent of 20 regular rolls. Bring a few for yourself, and you’ll have backups for surrounding campsites that forget them.
20. Dish Soap
It really should come as no surprise that you need dish soap. Even if you choose to rely solely on paper products, you’ll need to clean your cooking supplies.
And while it may seem easy to just snag the dish soap from your kitchen sink, you’ll, A) irritate your roommates if you have them, and B) may end up forgetting to bring it entirely. Instead, opt to grab a bottle of it specifically for your camping kitchen.
Dawn is tough on grease, and a great choice for cleaning your camping kitchen supplies. You only need a little bit to get the job done, so it should last a while. Just add water.
21. Water Bucket
If you’re not staying in a VIP area, you probably won’t have access to running water. That means you need to clean your camping kitchen supplies like Laura Ingalls Wilder: With a bucket.
Choosing a bucket for your camping kitchen may seem like a no-brainer, but here are a few things to consider. How strong are you? How much space do you have? And how much water do you think you’ll need? In other words, do you want a lightweight camping bucket, or something super heavy duty like a 10-gallon contractor’s bucket?
I don’t really care how strong you are, the easier it is to transport your water bucket–like the Camco Collapsible Bucket–the better. With a three-gallon capacity, it’s the perfect amount for washing dishes. And when you’re done, it folds down to less-than-two-inches, and can be stored in a zippered bag.
22. Camping Kitchen Cleaning Supplies: Trash Bags
It should seem pretty obvious that you’ll need trash bags, but this is an often-forgotten camping kitchen essential. Most people assume there are trash bins on-site…and there are. But, they’re likely a good walk away, and potentially overflowing.
Therefore, bringing your own trash bags will make your clean up life much easier. Simply toss in whatever you’d like to throw out, and bring it to the designated trash cans when it’s full. BAM. Your last-day clean-up will be all that much easier. Just tie a trash bag to the pop up tent pole, and you have a campsite trash can.
Hefty, of course, is a great name in trash bags. These babies can hold up-to-30-gallons, and feature a dependable drawstring closure. Tie a bag to one of the pop up tent’s legs, and you’re golden.
Sponges should automatically go hand-in-hand with dishwashing liquid. But, if we’re being honest, it’s pretty easy to forget this portion of your camping supplies.
You could use a paper towel to scrub your dishes, and pots and pans, but it may not be strong enough to truly rid your equipment of gunk. A solid scrubbie will mitigate all unclean dish woes.
Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Sponges are a phenomenal choice. They’re heavy duty, but won’t ruin or scratch any of your cookware. Get a little water, some soap, and your dishes will be clean in no time.