Outside Kitchen Set Up

I made these cinnamon rolls in my Coleman Camp Oven at the campground.  I even prepped them on my little prep area.  You can do quite a bit with a little space!

While there is no place like home, there is also no place like cooking outdoors for me.  Creating an outdoor kitchen can create some challenges, but I have also learned that simple is best. With a few well-placed tools, I am able to create excellent meals at the campground for our family that we all enjoy.  Today, I'm sharing what we use on each trip to make memorable meals. 

So, what do you need to make your outdoor kitchen functional?  I find that there are four main areas/categories to consider.  This will help you to break down what you will need.  Otherwise, this can feel like a much bigger and overwhelming task.
  1. Cooking Gear
  2. Storage
  3. Prep Area(s)
  4. Coolers
My Coleman Camp Oven has become a new favorite that I use on almost every trip.  It is easy to use and an economical solution for campers that do not have a true oven!

Cooking Gear

I have a two burner stove that I use for much of my cooking.  This stove attaches to the side of my pop up and runs on propane.  If you feel limited with just two burners, don't!  You can do more than you think with just this set up.  Two burners are an excellent foundation for making basics like pancakes, eggs, bacon, soups, sandwhiches, stir fry dishes and many basic meals.  And with a little creativity and thinking outside of the box, you can really stretch what you can do.  With my two burner stove, I use:
Dutch Oven cooking seems to be a camping staple.  While I love it, timing is everything.  I prefer to do this kind of cooking at night.

If I am not using my two burner stove, I also use the camp grill quite a bit or I use my:
I base my meals and cooking around factors such as the weather or time of day.  I prefer to use my Dutch Oven for meals in the evening when I have more time to allow for heating coals and cooling the after cooking.  Meals that I can marinate on the way to the campground and grill when I arrive are quick and easy.  Timing is everything!

Additional pieces that I use with my cooking gear include:
These are all pieces of gear that I use often and keep in my camper.  Choose your cooking gear wisely.  Base your decisions on how you cook.  And if you find there are things you don't use, get rid of it.  There is no point weighing yourself down with a lot of extras in a small space.

My outdoor storage cabinet has shelving that stores all of my utensils, dishes, pot holders, spices and other items.  I'm a little disheveled here, but this space is really important to me!


I have storage both inside and outside of my camper.  First, keep your food inside our camper.  Raccoons are for real and will tear into anything to get food.  I have a little storage area over my sink that hangs and holds my food.  This is safe and keeps everything out of harm's way. 

My storage over my sink just hangs on hooks and holds all of my food that isn't stored in my fridge or cooler.

Outside I have a storage compartment that folds to store, but it expands and gives me plenty of space to hold:
  • dishes
  • utensils
  • pot holders
  • glasses
I have plenty of room for all of the things that I need in this storage compartment.  It works just right.  The outside storage gives me a place to keep everything near where I am cooking so that I am not going back and forth inside while I am preparing meals.  

The top of my outdoor storage cabinet serves as my prep area.  I can use this to make sandwiches for lunch or biscuits for breakfast.  I prep meals easily on this space that is just right for my height.  Everything folds flat to store.

Prep Area

The top of my storage container acts as my prep area for many meals.  It is just the right height for me to do lots of meal prep that isn't too involved.  Space is small.  If I need more space, I move to the picnic table.  If you need a lot of space for both storage and prep, you might consider getting a larger outdoor kitchen set up. 

Our new cooler is just the right size for our family.  I keep it outside with all of our items that won't fit into our refrigerator inside.  We still had ice that we put in at the beginning of our weekend on Thursday night when we returned home Sunday night.
One piece of gear that you might consider adding to your kitchen set up is a portable ice maker.  You can use this to add ice to your cooler as well as making clean ice for drinks.


Having a really good roto-molded cooler is just right for an outdoor kitchen set up.  This is particularly helpful if you don't have a true outdoor kitchen with a fridge.  We have a new 58-quart Orca cooler.  These thick-walled coolers are designed to keep things cold for several days.  Plus you can padlock your cooler to keep bears out.  So, I feel certain if you can keep a bear out, you can easily keep raccoons at bay with these things.  We keep a cooler outdoors underneath my stove at all times. 

I love our outdoor kitchen set up.  It works perfectly for us.  
The point of an outdoor kitchen is having things right there where you need them.  I grab the basics to start a meal from my pantry that hangs over my sink and takes them to my outdoor cooking area.  Outside I am able to cook most any meal that I would like to prepare.  Cooking in an outdoor kitchen at the campground can be a certain skill set, but anyone can do it.  

I have a Camp Kitchen Checklist that you can use to help get you started.  I also keep a Camp Kitchen Page where I update with menus and other camp kitchen gear that I regularly use.   Until next time...

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  1. Where did you get your table organizer?

    1. It is the Ozark Trail Collapsible Cabinet from Walmart.


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