Camping with Kids…Made Easy (Part 3)

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Camping With Kids Part 3

This is the 3rd entry in our Camping with Kids series. In this post, we’ll examine The Cooking Bin, which holds everything you need to make those gourmet meals (except the food). One important thing to note is that everything in the cooking box must be sanitary. We don’t put our roasting sticks in there, for example, because we don’t feel like they are clean enough. This is really the most important bin for camping, too, because if you’re going to forget something, it will almost certainly be something from the cooking bin. In some cases, I’ve included a link to Amazon where you can buy the item, or at least get a look at it.

Check out our other posts in this series:

Part 1: The Big Stuff,

Part 2: Tent Bin

Part 4: The Essentials

The Cooking Bin:


The cooking bin holds all the stuff you need to get cooking. It has to be pretty big (ours is 18 gallons).

2 Frying Pans (at least). Some people like one of those 20 pound cast-iron frying pans, but we keep it light and simple. You need 2 or 3, though, because breakfast goes easier with multiple pans. I’d just buy a cheap set like the one below, or use your old worn out pans.

I think these are the exact same pans that we have in our Cooking Bin!

2 Sauce Pans: Get two that snuggle together in the bin to save room. We don’t use these as much because we usually fry things for breakfast, but they are great for heating soup and vegetables. The one below is cheap and durable. We leave the lids home, unless one happens to fit in the bin, but this bin will be pretty packed.

The lids can come in handy for keeping bugs out, but if they don’t fit, you can usually live without them.

Silverware: We have a bag of camping silverware that stays in this bin all the time. Some people only use plasticware. But we throw the used silverware in a gallon ziplock bag and take it home to go in the dishwasher.

Plastic Bowl Set: We use the set below because they stack nicely. We leave the lids out, though. These are great for serving. Ours often end up holding fruit, such as watermelon.

We don’t pack the large bowl because it doesn’t fit as well, but the others are perfect.

Utensil Set: We bought a cheap set of utensils like the one pictured and dumped it into the camping bin. This is very important, because you often forget these items. It’s hard to remember a spatula to flip the eggs for some reason. And that can opener is handy!

Everything in here is great for camping…we also have a whisk for pancake mix!

Salt & Pepper: Get the cheap kind that open and close so if they get tipped they don’t spill. Just the little cardboard ones pictured below are great– and cheap.

You can add other spices if you want, too. We are simple so salt and pepper is great for our family.

Hot Pads: The small trivet type pads are important, but we bought an oven mitt after the above picture was taken because I like armhair. You can get a mitt that is flame retardant and covered in silicone for not too much, though they are a bit more expensive.

We have some of these….
…And some of these.

Long Tongs: These are one of the most important items for people cooking over the fire. Turning a tinfoil dinner without them is nearly impossible (ever try the 2 stick method?). We searched for ours forever, but I found this pair on Amazon for around $5.

Cooking Spray: Do Not keep the cooking spray in the box all year long. It is probably okay for the summer, but it will go rancid if it lives in there all winter and you try to use it next year. A piece of tape on the inside of the bin with the words “Don’t forget cooking spray,” reminds us to get it with us every time. And if you do forget cooking spray, hopefully you have butter in your cooler!

2 Knives: We put two of our old knives, one serrated for bread, and one sharp for fruit in this bin. I really wanted to protect the bin, contents, and fingers from cuts and pokes, so I took a paper towel roll, squished it flat, and wrapped it in duct tape. Of course, I taped over one end, too. Now the knives live in this “sheath” and they lay at the bottom of the bin.


Propane: I keep 2 small bottles of propane in this bin that go with the stove (see Post 1).

Plastic Plates and Bowls: We have a cheap set of reusable plastic plates and bowls. We use these, wash them, and use them again. The set below would be great and cover silverware, too.

Cutting Board: We added a cutting board this year because I was tired of having no where to prepare food. Just grab a cheap plastic one!

Tin Foil: I use tinfoil for tons of things when I am camping such as keeping food warm that I already cooked, wrapping up Mexican S’mores, or rewrapping my tinfoil dinner that ripped open! It’s super handy to have tin foil in your cooking bin.

Dish Soap & Sponge: We have a small bottle of dish soap in our cooking bin as well as a sponge. We use it to wash dishes if we are staying for more than one night. If we do an overnighter, we usually throw all the pans in a garbage bag and wash them in the dishwasher at home–much easier.

Most of the items in our Cooking Bin are old things from our house. Pans, silverware, plates & bowls, and knives were all things we were not using or upgraded to something better in our home. So then we put them into our camping box. This can save money on buying fancy camping supplies…use your own home as a resource.

This bin simplifies our camping trips more than any other. Just grab and go and you have everything you need for your camping trip!

This is the bin we used for our Cooking Bin. You can find them at Wal-Mart & Target, and I always watch for sales on bins in my ads!

To read Part 1 (The Big Stuff), Part 2 (Tent Bin), or Part 4 (The Essentials), click the link.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. ad65shorty

    Yes! I see the dish soap now. I must have missed it before. Thanx!

  2. ad65shorty

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but I thought I’d ask anyway: Do you ever take dish soap to clean items as you use them? Or do you just bring everything home dirty? What’s your advice for cleaning out the pans when staying for more than one day?

    1. Natalie

      In the picture there is dish soap and a sponge. When we stay over, we just put a little dish soap in each pan and add some water and scrub. Then we rinse them out with clean water. Usually campsites will have a water spout somewhere nearby. Sometimes we take a small plastic bin if we know we are staying for a few days to use for cleaning dishes.

      1. ad65shorty