Traveling long term means that I don’t just want to rely on lightweight, easy staples like pasta, couscous, or lentils for every meal. When we eat well, we perform better on the road, resulting in more hours in the saddle without bonking or being constantly hungry due to consumption of empty calories.
Kuhn Rikon Paring Knife
I love, love my Kuhn Rikon paring knife. I have two at home – one serrated and one paring knife. I love this knife so much that when the one I brought along on tour disappeared one sad morning, I asked my mom to ship me another one.
I keep this knife in my handlebar bag so I can access it easily for lunch. The stainless steel blade stays sharp seemingly forever – I never sharpened the knife I lost and after nearly a year, it still sliced like it did on its first use. Plus, they come in a variety of fun colors!
Klean Kanteen Insulated Food Canisters
I can’t sing the praises of our Insulated Klean Kanteen Food Canisters enough. They have an infinite number of uses. I cook in them, make jam in them, soak lentils in them, make cocktails in them, use them as a beer/wine/coffee/beverage vessel, put leftovers in them and then use them as our bowls for lunch the next day. These guys are indispensable.
Knowing cooking well would be a priority for me on the road, I had to come up with a lightweight and small system for storing my many spices. I elected to go with these inexpensive, tiny, BPA-free jars to store my spices. The set comes with a pack of 12 into which I put my most essential spices, which live in my MSR kitchen set for easy access. To label them, I simply wrote the contents on masking tape and taped it on the side of the jar.
Flip and Tumble Reusable Produce Bags
Nearly every supermarket seems to want to put different varieties of fruit in a separate bag, no matter the quantity purchased. I felt so guilty about contributing so much waste, even though we reused the plastic bags as poop bags for Sora or trash bags for us.
When we toured with our friends Chelsea and Dakota in Europe, Chelsea brought reusable produce bags with her every time we visited the market. I felt insanely jealous and immediately put in a request to my mom to bring these along when my family came to visit for Christmas.
Squish Measuring Cups and Spoons
Ok, these measuring cups and spoons are probably my one luxury item (one? Ha!) in my camp kitchen, but let me explain. When I find an oven, I WILL bake. It’s rare, so when I have the chance I take it. I can never find measuring cups or spoons in kitchens in Europe or South America.
The ladle in the MSR kitchen (see below) set is rather handy, as it doubles as a measuring spoon, however the largest measurement it can scoop is just ⅓ cup. While baking cakes or anything, really, it was such a pain to measure so many scoops and retain my count, that I just decided to get my own devices.
These squish down, fit inside my bowls and the kitchen set and I can bake when I find an oven, certain that I am measuring correct amounts.
MSR Dragonfly Stove
This device has been used hundreds of times for over a year now. It’s my stove away from home and it performs exactly as I need. The adjustable fuel output lets us adjust the heat down to warm a meal while we prepare something else, boil water, or simmer soup.
When Dave did annual maintenance on it recently, nearly everything was still in working order. We opted for the Dragonfly because it can use a variety of gas – white gas, kerosene, diesel, and unleaded – so we never have a problem finding fuel wherever we are.
MSR Trail Lite Duo System
Cleverly designed so that two bowls and cups fit snugly inside the pot, this lightweight system packs quite a bit into a small space. In hindsight, I think I would have preferred a wider pot, as this one tends to burn easily since it’s so tall. Further, we realized that we never used the cups that came with the set and sent them home with my parents at Christmas.
It sounds like we don’t like our set, and that’s not true at all, the pot is super easy to clean and can fit a ton of veggies when I make soups. If we were do it again, I think we might go with the Alpinist Duo System, which comes with a wider, shallower pot and wider bowls that would work better as plates.
MSR Alpine Deluxe Kitchen Set
I’ve had doubts about carrying this bulky kitchen set along when space is so limited, but whenever I think of paring it down, I can’t think of what I would give up. Yes, the zippered case takes up a bit of room, but it also organizes all of the kitchen tools inside, plus more. This kit comes with a spatula, strainer, ladle, cutlery, knife, salt and pepper shaker, drying towel, bottle opener, cutting board, a scrub brush, and two bottles for oil or dish soap. It’s everything I could ever need in one kit. In addition, I can fit all 12 of my spice containers, my paring knife, and the measuring spoons inside.
Creatively designed, the strainer doubles as a grater and the ladle as a measuring cup.
MSR Heat Exchanger
We purchased the heat exchanger at the last minute, not thinking it was really all that necessary, but we’re glad we did. When we have to fill our pot with ice cold water for soup or pasta, it really helps retain the heat to boil more quickly.
MSR Quick Skillet
I love this skillet. It’s non-stick and super easy to clean. It hardly weighs a thing and it fits quite a bit of veggies. I wrap it in a cloth bag to prevent scratching. My only gripe is that I wish it came with a lid.
Just get a small, sturdy wooden spoon. That’s it. You can find them anywhere in the world. You can purchase an artisan one on the street or regular one you can find in the supermarket. I use it for nearly every single meal.
No need to go fancy here, just find a simple, flat one at the grocery store. I tuck it behind my pot and pan in my pannier and wrap it in a thick plastic bag to prevent scratching.
I use the grater to make cauliflower rice, grate carrots to make the salad shown above, or grate beets to top my salads. Of course, cheese eaters can grate any kind of cheese they like. It’s a handy tool that doesn’t take up a lot of space or weight.
Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Kitchen Sink
But I don’t use this as a sink…
During the hot summer in Europe, I found that I never wanted to take out the camp stove. It was just too hot to cook. So I’d make giant salads. Only none of my vessels was able to contain my monstrous concoctions.
So I began the search for the perfect salad bowl. It had to be lightweight, pack down into a small space, and be large enough to fit allllll the veggies. The Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink fits the bill perfectly. Though a bit tricky to fold back into its bag, this guy packs down to a tiny size and holds more than enough when I go salad crazy.
Since this important tool lives in Dave’s handlebar bag, I forgot to include it in this photo. It’s our multi-tool. We have a brand called Bear Jaws, but I’ve borrowed Leathermen from other campers and prefer them to ours. This tool includes a can opener, serrated knife, pliers, scissors, a screwdriver, file, and much more.
Don’t bicycle tour without one.
What I Wish I Had Brought…
Dave would tell me that there’s nothing more I could possibly want. But, there is one more important item that I find essential for a camp kitchen, and that is a knife sharpener. They’re tough to find on the road. I’ve tried using the bottom of ceramic mugs, but my knife doesn’t stay sharp for long. A friend we met while touring procured a Victorinox Pocket Knife Sharpener when I lamented over my desire to sharpen my dull knife and I immediately ordered one delivered to my parents’ house to be included in the next package delivery.
So there you have it – the innards of my camp kitchen!
What items do you carry in your camp kitchen that you find indispensable for any long journey?