Camping Hacks – Campfire Cooking

Campfire Utensil Rack

One of the highlights of camping is cooking all our meals on the firepit, rain or shine.   Over time, we’ve figured out what we need to bring to make cooking three meals a day on a firepit as feasible as possible while still traveling light and on a budget.

Here are some of the solutions we’ve incorporated, along with links to the products that worked best for us.

Firepit Cooking Ring Grates

The fire pit ring is different at almost every campground we visit.  Some firepits don’t have grates, and at those campgrounds that do have grates they are usually too small to prepare a full meal all at once.

We’ve resolved that by bringing our own grates that stack on one another.  One large rectangular grate that spans the firepit, and a smaller portable grate with folding legs that sits on top of the larger grate.

Cooking Mitts

We use cast iron skillets and dutch ovens for cooking and quickly learned to upgrade our regular kitchen pot holders to heat resistant silicone cooking mitts.  It’s not that the regular pot holders didn’t work; they were just too short to protect our entire forearm when reaching over the grill.  And when gusts of wind would sweep in and fan the flames, the regular cloth mitts would get a bit charred.

The 14 inch length of these gloves were just long enough to sit slightly under our elbows, which provided plenty of protection from the rising heat of the pit.  Even though they have a silicone coating over a lined interior, you still can’t hold the hot pan handles for more than a few seconds but they are superior to the old cloth ones.  The loops make them easy to hang on our next hack below.

What To Do With All Those Campfire Cooking Utensils

We have 4 favorite go-to stainless firepit utensils that are each long enough to comfortable cook on the pit (while wearing gloves).  These include a BBQ fork, a ladle, tongs and a spatula/turner.  The problem we ran into is where do we set down these tools when they’re not being used?

We can’t set them on the ground or on the firepit, and we definitely can’t hold them the whole time.

Our temporary solution the last few times we went camping was to use a small garden shepherd’s hook that we already had at home.  It was convenient because we could just stake it into the ground a few feet away from the firepit.

We brought little hanging hooks and taped them using electrical tape along the top of the shepherd’s hook to hang our utensils.  It worked okay, but there wasn’t enough space for all our utensils and cooking mitts.

We figured we weren’t the only ones running into this problem and that there were probably better solutions than the one we came up with.  A few online searches revealed that there were campfire cooking stands and accessory equipment stakes that addressed this, but they were a little pricey just to hold a few utensils and seemed like overkill…like this one:

They were pretty large for our traveling light criteria, and had plenty of moving parts that would probably get lost after the first outing.

No one had a simple utensil stake for camping?  Turns out the answer is no.

In looking for other possible solutions, a simple, inexpensive one popped up.  A small garden flag pole holder.  It’s 36 inch tall and has 14 inches of length on it’s arm.  Perfect for adding hooks and holding all our utensils.  It’s lightweight and stakes into the ground nicely.  The little hook on the end is perfect for slipping on the loop of the cooking mitts.  Best of all, it’s lightweight and easy to store.

Categories: Campers