Saturday, 3 August 2013

Organizing A Camping Kitchen

 Hello sweet readers!
I am so excited this week to share some fun posts on organizing for camping, or 'glamping'...which is a super cool name that makes a rustic experience sound all the more fun!
For us,  camping is part of the 'summer experience' and we look forward to it all year.

You could say that we were 'movin' on up' {cue George Jefferson signing here} from camping to 'glamping' when we purchased an inexpensive 'camp kitchen'.  I know that many of you seasoned campers could probably show me a thing or two,  but I just wanted to share some tips on how I organize a camping kitchen for our family in hopes of making things as easy as possible for us while we are out in the wilderness.
 We are campers who settle into a campsite with a tent, sleeping bags, coolers and good food. For many years, I organized our 'camp kitchen' around a picnic table...which honestly works just as well as anything. However, 3 years ago we took the plunge and invested in this little camp kitchen and we love it for many reasons. It is also important to note that we live in an area where campsites are in real danger of being visited by bears, so ALL food must be kept in a vehicle or camper at night and when not at the campsite. Leaving food out in the open for storage is not an option. {In fact, on our last camping trip just a few weeks ago, a bear was shot on our campsite while we were away. He had been roaming the campground for days and the park rangers had decided that this bear had turned into a real danger to campers.}
One of the reasons that I love this camping kitchen is that it comes with some really awesome, usable space that allows the picnic table to be used for other, say, some crazy pre-dinner games of Crazy 8s.  The middle of the camp kitchen are 2 sinks that can be connected to a water bag for water that will pump up to the sink! For a lot of camping seasons, we used a simple dish pan filled with water for washing dishes, so this is a step up for us!  The design for the sinks is genius,  because when not in use, they are covered with cutting boards and provides a generous space for food prep.
And when the sinks are needed, the cutting boards can easily be removed for dish-washing duties.
And here are how some other things are organized above the sink, which makes for a simple and functional kitchen.
We have the hand soap, dish soap and hand sanitizer ready for washing up all the dirties when needed. A few other camping items are hung here including a small portable radio for listening to tunes while cooking, easy-to-find scissors, and a solar light that charges during the day and gives a soft glow at night.
Here is a little food prep area, along with a container organized with cooking accouterments.
Pictured here are a number of the handy tools that I use to keep us organized.
Let me tell you how everything works together.
On the left side of the kitchen is a gas burner which is great for making tea in the morning, or cooking bacon and eggs in a cast iron frying pan. And the shelf under the burner provides perfect storage for the cast iron cooking pans, and other pots.{I usually leave the pots and pans turned upside down so they don't get tree bits or dirt in them.}
On the far right of the camp kitchen is a zippered storage compartment where lots of other non-food camping equipment is stored. {Before we had a camp kitchen, I stored all of these things in a rubber tote.} In here you will find:
  • plastic bowls, plates and cups
  • dish cloths and dish towels
  • saran wrap, aluminum foil, plastic bags, garbage bags
  • a box of baking soda in case of a grease fire
  • kitchen utensils, hamburger press and a grill basket
  • stainless steel travel cups
  • stainless steel bowl for salads, etc.
  • toaster for campfire, grill or gas burner
  • paper towel, extra napkins, matches, BBQ lighter.

As mentioned, I used to pack everything into large rubber totes, but I found them to be so cumbersome to get in and out of the car, so I organized everything into smaller boxes, totes and much easier!
For instance, this little plastic box nicely holds cooking oil and spices.
I am also smitten with this cute dish & cultery caddy which is easy to carry to the picnic table at mealtime and easy to put back into a vehicle.
And this condiment carousel is also a nifty thing to have. At mealtime, we just gather the condiments out of the cooler and place them in here for easy access by everyone.
And here is an organizing system that I love! Previously, I packed all of our food into big totes and we would get the totes out and search around for things.
The totes usually turned into a mess of squashed bread and other things, and after the first day it was frustrating. And also no one wants to make toast out of bread that is mushed like a dogs breakfast t to begin with.
Now I use a system where I pack things into small re-usable bags organized by meals or snacks.
And these bags are also easier to pack into the vehicle too because they fit into small spaces easily.
And the bags work perfectly for the kids to find things too....they love the bag system!
For example, here is the BREAKFAST BAG with cold cereal, hot cereal, bread, English muffins and peanut butter....everything required for breakfast...with the exception of the things stored in the cooler like eggs, bacon, butter, juice and milk.
Here is another bag we call the `CAMPFIRE SNACK BAG` where we store snacks and munchies for night time campfires....along with everything needed to make s`mores! This system works for us brilliantly! If you would like to learn more about how we organize food & snacks in our cooler, please read the post HERE.
When mealtime arrives, we pull out the dish & cutlery caddy and the condiment carousel and the table is set! Love that!
I love having small bags, boxes and simple caddies to help keep us organized! It also makes clean up fast too!
And in addition to our camp kitchen, we also do cooking on a grill-covered campfire, or a small gas BBQ that we always bring with us too!
And everything works together wonderfully for our own little `glamping kitchen`.
How about you?
Do you have any camping kitchen organizing ideas that you would like to share?
I would love for you to share them in the comments so we can all be super organized!

If you are looking for camping recipe ideas, please visit these meal ideas and more:

Happy Camping!

This post is linked to these parties:
Under The Table & Dreaming, Craft-O-Maniac, Alderberry Hill, Monday Funday, I Heart Organizing, Chef-In-Training, Sugarbee Crafts, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Homestories A to Z, Time To Sparkle, The 36th Avenue, Gingersnap Crafts, Tidy Mom, Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons, The Frugal Girls, The Inspiration Gallery, Whipperberry, Uncommon Designs, A Pretty Life, Made By You Monday,  The Inspiration Exchange, Gingersnap Crafts, The DIY Dreamer,  Shabby Creek Cottage, I Gotta Create,  I`m An Organizing Junkie,

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