When it comes to the most important part of going camping – making a plan for food – it’s important to know that this is a two part procedure. Make a plan about what you will need to prepare your meals and the cookware you’ll need for that purpose. I know cooking is a passion for most people, but the cleaning after is all but fun. It’s not easy nor fun at home and most definitely it is not fun and easy when you need to improvise without a sink, a good water flow or a clean surface to place everything to drain. Add to this pain the fact that not all materials of cookware are camping-friendly, and if you made the mistake of getting the wrong ones you may as well throw them away.
And since camping kitchen gear is going to be the main topic of this post, I decided to make a short comparison between two different types of cookware materials: stainless steel and copper. A lot of people seem to avoid copper because it’s the heavier option, thus hard to handle in such conditions. Stainless steel as a material on the other hand, is slightly more lightweight, which is why so many people choose it in the first place. However, the ease of handling isn’t the main feature of these materials.
About stainless steel cookware
Camping kitchen gear made of stainless steel contains a rather vast palette of pieces: pots and pans, all kinds of kitchen accessories, cutlery and even entire sets for cooking. This is kind of a ready-to-go cooking set, you just need to place it in your camping van and start with your trip. If you decide to go with stainless steel camping kitchen gear, here are a few key points to bear in mind.
- Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, and as such it’s very durable and of high quality. That consequently means that stainless steel cookware will be very strong, although that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to scratch it, so a dose of attention is always required, especially when using the cookware in such conditions.
- On the con side, stainless steel has a problem with conducting heat. Cheaper stainless steel doesn’t conduct heat evenly, which can cause the food to burn on one place and be uncooked on another. This will especially be evident if you are cooking on an improvised cooker, for example.
Some notes about cooper cookware
As a material, copper offers a number of advantages and many of them matter in cooking and in the process of choosing cookware.
- Copper pans can heat up very quickly and they don’t have the problem with uneven distribution of heat as stainless steel pieces do. That consequently gives a lot of control over the temperature when cooking.
- On the con side, copper is relatively high-maintenance. It reacts harshly to acid and it needs very frequent polishing to keep it shiny. Plus, copper cookware is heavier, thus a lot harder to handle. It’s also a very expensive option, which is why it’s not particularly recommended for camping purposes.
As a conclusion, I think it’s safe to say that if you have a choice, going with the stainless steel option is the smarter thing to do. You might need to pay a little bit more attention to the cooking process (regarding heat conductivity), but it’s definitely going to give you the freedom in cooking you will need when in a remote place far away from the comforts of your home.