When you see all of the lightweight camp kitchenware at your local outdoor store, you may be tempted to buy a fork, knife, spoon, maybe a spork, cups, mugs, bowls, foldable plates and more. Allen O'Bannon, outdoor expert and author of "Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backpackin," says that he rarely uses more than a spoon, bowl, water bottle and a small utility knife. Large camping knives, as well as multipurpose units like a Leatherman, can often be too chock full of unnecessary gadgets to be of use. You can use your water bottle for hot tea or cocoa instead of bringing an extra mug, and a Tupperware bowl works to hold any meal. A spoon will get just about anything to your mouth except salad, which you aren't likely to be eating while camping, anyway.
Besides your choice of stove, a pot, nonstick fry pan and spatula are probably the only pieces of cookware you will need in most situations. If your pot doesn't have a handle, make sure you have a pair of pot grips. A pair of 4 1/2-inch channel-lock pliers works well as a pair of pot grips and doubles as a tool for fixing things. A lid that fits both the pot and fry pan is ideal. Whether you buy one from the store or use an aluminum pie plate is up to you; you decide how much you wish to spend on your camping pantry.
Keep in mind the three basic food components--carbohydrates, proteins and fats--that provide energy when you are planning what food to bring on an active camping trip. Carbohydrates are the easiest foods to convert into energy, and you also need these more than protein or fat when refueling from your outdoor activities. Whole grains, rice, pasta, bread, granola and potatoes are some examples, as are sugars from dried fruits, hot cocoa and sports gels. You need protein regardless of how active you are throughout the day; foods such as cheese, nuts, dried meat, beans, powdered milk, eggs and tofu are good sources. Ingredients that are high in fats are also important when you are active outdoors, especially if it is cold. Fats can be found in butter, peanut butter, nuts, salami, beef jerky, seeds, cheese, sardines and oils. As a rough guideline, you should plan your meals so that each person eating from the camp pantry will have about 2 lbs. of food per day. The shorter your trip is, the more fresh ingredients you can pack.