Tired of the traditional hotdogs and s'mores over a campfire? With the right tools and food selections, you can cook just about anything your heart desires -- from macaroni and cheese to a great T-bone steak. Just follow this quick, easy and inexpensive checklist:
To expand the types of food you're able to cook, bring along a few extra things:
Small charcoal grills can be purchased for as little as $10. (If you're up for spending a bit more, check out Weber's Smokey Joe silver grill, shown below. Its original styling is fun and retro,
but it gets the job done as well as any other charcoal BBQ out there.)
With the grate that comes with the grill, make your steak -- or hamburgers, chicken, fish, baked potatoes and much more. In the morning, the same grate will make it easy for you to heat up a muffin or toast a bagel for breakfast.
Having a pot or pan in your inventory allows you to boil water for coffee, tea or hot chocolate, make soup, cook noodles and so forth. Don't used one of your prized pots or one from a set, as the BBQ flames may discolor its original shine and may also leave an ashy residue. Place the pot directly on top of the grill. Be sure to bring a spoon and potholders or an oven mitt to avoid burning yourself.
Though it is great for storing leftovers, aluminum foil can also help you cook smaller items, such as french fries, chicken nuggets or steamed veggies. You can even cover your grill top with it to reduce the amount of mess made when cooking meats and other meals directly on top of the grate.
Remember that all of your cravings can be satisfied with the right cooking tools and equipment. You just have to remember to bring it with you!
Here are some ways to stay safe and dry on your camping trip.
Either before you leave home or as soon as you arrive at your destination, purchase an inflatable air mat at the nearest superstore, convenience store or trading post for each person in your group.
The 20 to 30 minutes it takes to blow them up (much less if you use a powered pump) will be well-spent as you will gain hours of peaceful sleep without noticing the bumpy roots, pinecones, stones
and twigs beneath you.
As a bonus -- and because these air mats double as rafts (their true purpose) -- if some unexpected water seeps into your tent during the night, you remain dry!
Use as many blankets and sleeping bags as you like, and when the vacation is over, you will realize that a couple-dollars' investment was well worth it. Give another camper your mat before returning home, or roll it up and keep it with your camping gear for next time.
There's roughing it, and then there's roughing it in style. A few comforts from home can give your campsite a little extra ahhhhh.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Don't forget to think up a few of your own creative additions to completely personalize and make the most of your camping getaway!
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