Mankind has been camping in the great outdoors for thousands of years. In the modern world, we do it for fun, to help us feel free and relaxed, and to reconnect with nature. Of course, people need to eat everywhere they go. Cooking has become an integral part of the camping experience; many people find cooking outdoors a peaceful and liberating experience. Of course, certain difficulties can arise when preparing food and dining outdoors. These difficulties can be overcome by possessing the right equipment.
It is the intention of this guide to provide the reader with information about the many different kinds of equipment that can be purchased for a camping stove, to make the aspiring outdoor chef’s life easier. This guide will also cover the ways in which eBay, the hugely popular online bidding platform, is a great means of shopping for camping equipment for a stove online.
The Camping Stove
The camping stove is at the core of any collection of outdoors cooking equipment. It is absolutely essential if hot food is desired by the camper. The camping stove can take several forms, but it is always relatively small and lightweight, as well as portable. There are two main ways of heating a camping stove. These are:
- Gas Power
- Fuel Power
Gas powered camping stoves are more efficient, consistent and powerful than their fuel counterparts, and tend to be easier to use in adverse weather conditions. Gas canisters are, however, more expensive, trickier, heavier, bulkier and more dangerous than solid fuel. Liquid fuel is highly flammable, so must be handled with care.
Whilst it is true that a camping stove is of fundamental importance to an outdoors kitchen, it is useless on its own. A camper must have other equipment to use in conjunction with it.
Camping Stove Equipment and Accessories
This section will look one by one at some of the key accessories for camping stoves.
Pots & Pans
In order to do any actual cooking, pots and pans are going to be necessary to hold both the food and water. Camping pots and pans will be much smaller and lighter than regular kitchen pots and pans; they are unable to deal with the same quantities of food and high temperatures, but there is no need to in the great outdoors, and so the trade off in favour of portability is well worth it. Pots and pans can be made of many materials; stainless steel is a perennial favourite, though aluminium is also available (and is much lighter, if not as strong). Much like their home-ware counterparts, they can be of the regular or non-stick varieties, and come in many sizes and shapes.
Cups & Mugs
Camping cups are normally made of plastic. This means they are very cheap, light and easy to carry, as well as being easy to clean and relatively strong and flexible. They normally come in sets, which can be stored one inside the other. Mugs, on the other hand, are designed to carry boiling hot drinks (such as tea), and so cannot be made of plastic, which is a poor insulator, and is liable to melt. Camping mugs are rarely made of the traditional ceramic either, as ceramic is notoriously brittle and weak, and thus easily broken in an outdoors environment. Light metals such as tin are normally used for camping mugs.
Plates & Bowls
In much the same way as cups, camping crockery is usually made of cheap plastic. This is cost effective as well as practical; plastic is strong, flexible and extremely light, as well as very easy to clean. Some crockery sets will use metal instead of plastic. This is a little heavier and more expensive, but provides a stronger, more flexible and longer lasting (if harder to clean) plate or bowl.
Many camping knives, forks and spoons are available with which to eat. These are sometimes made of plastic, and sometimes of metal as is traditional for cutlery. Both are valid and viable options. Some special forms of cutlery have been developed, such as the “spork”, which features both the bowl of a spoon and the prongs of a fork. Forks and spoons with serrated knife-like edges can also be found. These multi-purpose implements save space and time for the light or busy camper.
There is no greater pleasure in life than a nice cup of tea in the fresh air. Equipping a camping stove with a kettle facilitates the boiling of water, allowing tea and coffee to be made, as well as greatly speeding up the cooking process in cases where boiling water is necessary in the preparation of a meal.
Gas canisters are required for gas powered stoves. Gas is an excellent fuel source; light, efficient and powerful. It must be treated with immense care and respect; it can be disastrous if ignited at the wrong moment or in the wrong way. Read the instructions of both the gas burner and cylinder very carefully before use, and follow them closely.
Regulators carefully control and maintain the levels of gas being channelled from the storage canister through the burner. It is important for the canister to be connected to the regulator properly, or else the regulatory effect does not kick in. The regulator prevents unwanted excessive or dangerous chemical reactions from taking place.
Other types of fuel are available. Methylated spirits are highly flammable liquids, poured into a kind of storage dish and then burned, and completely solid fuels are available as well. These are more volatile and difficult to use than gas, but are also cheaper, less bulky and space consuming.
Water Carriers/Purification Systems
It is extremely important when camping to have a constant supply of pure water. Water is needed for drinking, cooking, washing and cleaning. Water carrying devices allow for the transportation and storage of large amounts of water, so that the camp will not run out. Many water carriers will be made of thin plastic or some similar material, allowing it to be stored when not in use in a compressed form. Some will also feature taps which allow for the easy retrieval of water. Water purification devices facilitate the safe collection and use of water from nearby natural water sources.
Camping is a liberating and peaceful leisure activity, one that human beings have been developing for millennia. Cooking and eating food have become integral parts of the camping culture and experience. The heart of any collection of outdoors cooking gear is the stove, but the stove is useless without a wholly different set of equipment with which to use it. This guide sets out to list and examine some of these key items. The items (or group of items) looked at were:
- Pots & Pans
- Cups & Mugs
- Plates & Bowls
- Gas Canisters
- Water Carriers/Purification Systems
This guide concludes by stating that the popular online auctioning platform eBay is the perfect place in which to shop for camping equipment for a stove online, thanks to its diverse range of products and its user-friendly customer interface.