Country Chef: 12 Backcountry Cooking Essentials

Any outdoorsman knows that after a tumultuous day-long uphill hike there really is nothing better than replenishing the body and soul with a hot meal. And while ready-made room temperature granola bars and trail mixes are great snacks and all, a hot meal next to the campfire is really the only way to settle in for the night before continuing on the next morning towards the summit. Here, out in the backcountry, whether you’re hitting an up-and-back day hike or backpacking for a few days, meals are still a necessary means to remain alive and motivated. So you best come prepared.

From fuel to packable stoves; pans and skillets to eating utensils, these are all imperative items that need to easily fit in your car or travel backpack depending on your intentions. That’s why we put our heads together to give you a list of key ingredients to turn you from a trail mix devotee to a backcountry five-star chef under the stars. Done right, there’s nothing like it. So with summer in full swing, take a hint from us and get out there, all while nourishing yourself like a pro.

Sea to Summit Delta Plate

Sea to Summit Delta Plate

Boasting somewhat of a semblance to your at-home dinner plate, the Delta Plate is a great option for those uninterested in eating out of their cooking pans. This offering is made with food-grade nylon 66 and BPA-free plastic and even boasts an easy-hold thumb grip to make the whole non-table process that much easier.

Purchase: $17

MSR Alpine Folding Utensils

MSR Alpine Folding Utensils

Serve up that delicious backcountry meal the right way with these folding utensils. Rather than relying on your cutlery to do the work – risking burns in the process – this easily transportable spoon, grater/strainer and spatula cover all the basics when it comes to traditional cooking. The spatula also comes equipped with a serrated edge for cutting and the strainer boasts a curved ridge to fit pot rims – helping you strain quickly and efficiently.

Purchase: $17

MSR Fuel Bottle

MSR Fuel Bottle

If you already have a portable stove or simply looking to refuel before heading out, MSR does a great job of hooking you up with a fuel bottle made from a single piece of aluminum complete with an air-tight seal to prevent leaking. They’re also available in 11, 22, or 33-ounce volume sizes.

Purchase: $18+

Mizu CA Flag Camp Cup

Mizu CA Flag Camp Cup

What’s great about the Mizu Camp Cup is its versatility. From early morning cups of coffee to evening cocktails by the campfire, this is your “one size fits all” cup of choice for the backcountry. It features a double-wall insulation to keep hot beverages hot and cold ones cold, is made from kitchen-grade BPA-free stainless steel and hosts an ergonomic handle for easy handling. Drink up comrades.

Purchase: $19

GSI Outdoors Ring Cutlery

GSI Outdoors Ring Cutlery

Unless you want to channel your inner caveman while out and about in the wilderness, odds are some utensils are in order with every meal. So instead of relying on cheap disposal plastic cutlery for each meal, pick up a set of GSI’s cutlery – made from ultralight alloy and coming equipped with a carabiner clip for easy transport. For it’s not until you go without that you’ll realize how crucial a spoon, fork and knife are in the outdoors.

Purchase: $20

Hydro Flask

Hydro Flask

Aside from your regular water bottle, it’s always a good idea to keep a separate container handy for rehydration when cooking. And since Hydro Flask is such a trusted brand in the field of personal hydration, it only makes sense their 18/8 stainless steel water bottles would work well when it comes to backcountry cooking.

Purchase: $28

Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Knife

Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Knife

What’s cooking without a reliable knife right? Well, thanks to GerberGear, prepping before a meal will no longer be an issue. Each Freescape is inspired by a Santoku chef’s knife and boasts a 3.8-inch blade made from 7Cr17MoV steel, an overall length of 9.1 inches and a weight of 6.5 ounces. Also, with a textured rubber grip and sheath with a belt loop, the Freescale will always be at the ready when you need it.

Purchase: $30

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System

Drinking unfiltered water is a quick and easy way to end the trip in a terrible manner. And while there are several ways to filter water in the wild, none are really as fast or efficient as the Sawyer Squeeze. Here, you can drink directly out of a water bottle full of unfiltered water or filter some into extra bottles for later use.

Purchase: $40

Stanley Adventure Percolator

Nothing like a little morning coffee after a nights rest underneath the stars. This version, from the trusted Stanley brand, is made with 18/8 stainless steel, comes with a removable silicone grip, and can brew up to six cups of joe at a time so everyone at the campsite can get their morning fix.

Purchase: $40

MSR WhisperLite International Multi-Fuel Stove

MSR WhisperLite International Multi-Fuel Stove

As a lightweight yet highly valuable heat source, the MSR WhisperLite stove is the best way to get your food up to temperature while controlling the heat simultaneously. The stove will work with multiple fuel sources and comes with folding pot supports making it easy to store the entire kit into your pack without worry. And with two or more of these little stoves, you’ll have a full-on range at the campsite in no time.

Purchase: $75

Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact Cookset

Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact Cookset

Functioning as the ideal backcountry cooking set on the go, this compact set comes complete with a 34-fl. oz and 26-fl. oz pot with two lids that double as a 12 fl. oz. saucepan and a 17 fl. oz frying pan. The handles also fold flat against the titanium pieces when not in use and the whole set weighs a total of 11.6 ounces and fits together in a nifty mesh bag for easy storage when not is use.

Purchase: $90

Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler

Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler

If you plan on bringing perishable items into the wilderness with you, it’s best to keep them chilled to avoid waste. Yeti is one of the best options out there complete with a Rotomold and No-Sweat construction, PermaFrost insulation to keep things cool for extended periods of time, and folding carry handles to make transporting the piece a breeze.

Purchase: $300

Best Camp Foods For Adventuring

You have the gear, now how about the food? Here’s a little insight into some great food for outdoor adventuring that will keep you fueled up but is low maintenance enough to keep the supplies at a minimum.

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