How to Maintain a Camping Kitchen

How to Maintain a Camping Kitchen
After a brisk hike into what is supposed to be pristine wilderness, nothing spoils the experience like the debris left behind by the last group to reach your chosen site. Much of what people think they need when camping is not only unnecessary, it is harmful to the environment, local wildlife and your own life. When you maintain your camping kitchen, ensure that every item is small, light, earth-friendly and safe for the environment.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Sanitizers such as bleach, alcohol, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide
  • Zipper-style plastic bags
  • Paper bags
  • Rolled sheet-metal pie pan
  • Lifter/handle
  • Backpack or small plastic storage container
  • Reusable bottles and containers
Step 1
Wash your camp kitchen container. Whether you use a backpack or carry a chuck box, your container should be washed and sanitized after every use. According to Leave No Trace: The Center for Outdoor Ethics, "It is imperative to maintain a clean camp kitchen. Messy kitchens and food odors can attract bears and other critters (Resource 1)." Check all seams, zippers, snaps, straps or hinges for signs of wear or potential failure. Replace anything that cannot be repaired.
Step 2
Assess your camping kitchen gear. If there is an item that you have not used on your last three hikes, leave it out of your kit. According to Rhythm Wave, a conscious/ecstatic dance group that camps and dances at Burning Man every year in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, it is vital to "Practice the 5 R's: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Restore, and Respect (Reference 2)." By rethinking your needs and reducing your equipment to the bare minimum, you show respect for the environment. A camping kitchen can be as simple as a rolled sheet-metal pie pan with a lifter/handle a sharpening stone and a good butcher or skinning knife. Add a few MRE pouches, some water purification tablets and a box of strike-anywhere matches in a plastic zipper bag.
Step 3
Replenish your supply of paper and plastic bags. Soak reusable containers and bottles in a three-parts water, one-part bleach solution to sanitize. Any bag used to carry out human or animal waste should not be reused.
Step 4
Refill your alcohol wash, bleach and soap containers. Restock antiseptic wipes. Wash all towels, dishrags and washcloths. Dry them outside on your clothesline.
Step 5
After you are certain all items are dry, repack your camping kitchen container. Make a checklist of every item and place the list in a pocket or on top of everything in your container. Store your camping kitchen with your other camping equipment in a clean, dry place.

Tips & Warnings

Do not mix bleach with any other chemical.

Article Written By Jane Smith

Jane Smith has provided educational support, served people with multiple challenges, managed up to nine employees and 86 independent contractors at a time, rescued animals, designed and repaired household items and completed a three-year metalworking apprenticeship. Smith's book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in 2008. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.

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