Our family loves to camp and living in the Northwest, great camping is minutes away. Sometimes we decide to head out to the woods just before dinner and have a great night of fun, not to mention how yummy our dinner tastes under the trees. How can we be that spontaneous? Easy. Have a camping box all set. Just grab and go.
Having a dedicated, ready to go kitchen box is key. Find a box big enough to carry all your needs but light enough to pick up. I found most of my kitchen supplies at Goodwill.
Kitchen box essentials:
Camp stove and propane. I’ve have had my $40 Coleman for 15 years and it still works great.
Fry Pan – I use cast iron
Strainer (I use a collapsible silicone one)
A separate box for silverware, knife, cutting board, spatula, can opener, scissors and tongs. I find I use the tongs and scissors all the time.
Hand sanitizer and wet wipes.
Plates, bowls and cups (always pack extra). And of course a wine opener and jelly glasses for the wine. I don’t enjoy drinking a good wine out of plastic, and the jelly jars are sturdy. And cute.
A bag with dish towels, a sponge and biodegradable dish soap, such as Ivory or Dr. Bronners
A roll of paper towels, extra bags for garbage and TP
A lighter and a bag of cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly for a quick fire starter.
Extras: A lantern and headlamps, a small hatchet and games such as cards or dominos.
A roll-away table is nice to have as well.
We have a large bag that fits our sleeping pads, sleeping bags, tent and chairs. I do recommend investing in quality sleeping bags and pads. Go budget on the kitchen stuff but a warm, comfortable night sleep is worth its weight in fluffy down. REI does have great seasonal sales and its worth saving up for. I am not a fan of the famous blow up mattress. First, you have to blow it up and second, they do not have a good insulation layer that keeps the cold seeping up from the ground. Plus if you get a hole……. BRRRRRRRRR!
We tried an air mattress once. I froze, and every time Jim moved, I bounced and woke up. Many people love the air mattress and if you do use them, bring an extra blanket to place over them for insulation. Thermarest or REI brand sleeping pads have great insulation and are comfortable. Don’t forget the pillow. We are car camping, not backpacking, so no need to suffer.
Now all you have to do is grab your pre-packed kitchen box and throw in the bag with the other camping necessities. Pack your cooler and a change of weather appropriate clothes and off you go. It takes us less than 15 minutes to be out the door and off on a nature adventure.
Granted, most of the work happens when you get home. I like to run all the dishes through the dishwasher, wash the dish towels, air out the tent etc….. After cleaning, just put it all back together and you are ready to camp again the next time.
Summer is coming, so now is the time to get set up!
Let us sleep with the sounds of a forest night
Let us take down the walls and have stars be our light
Take us to the river to play, I beg
Let us talk to frogs and walk on logs
Let us get dirty and wet
Take us to the woods to play, I beg
Let us be children in natures delight.
Go outside and play,
Dayl and Zephyr