Ten nifty ways to be gifty
By Anna Kaser
Different types of camping call for specialized cooking gear. We only have so much room in our backpacks, tents or cars, and we can only carry so much weight. Deciding on camp-cook gear also depends on one’s style. Are you traditional? Are you high-tech? Do you cook for large groups or is it just for you and a companion? There are countless gadgets and doodads on offer these days that make for an outstanding outdoor camping cooking experience. How do you narrow the choices?
Since camping and outdoor cooking are my passions, I’m only too happy to sift through the websites and catalogs of outdoor retailers to provide suggestions for the outdoor foodie in your life.
GSI Outdoor Destination Kitchen
This 24-piece set is just under 2 pounds and has everything you need for food prep in the wild: spatula, serving spoon, salt and pepper shaker, cutting board, utensils and more. When backpacking or even car camping, every bit of space is precious, and this expertly packed set represents the wave of the future. Plus, it’s a fun surprise to open it up and find more than you expected.
REI Salt Lake, 3285 E. 3300 South, SLC, 801-486-2100, REI.com, $49.95
Founded in 2001, Jetboil continues to show up on many a camp cook’s “must-have” list. Ultra light and easy to use, Jetboil helps prepare hot drinks as well as dehydrated meals. Just connect the small propane tank to your Jetboil and, within seconds, you have boiling hot water. Lots of camp-cooking systems can be clunky or difficult to use, but not the Jetboil. If you need to save space and weight on backpacking trips, this product is essential.
REI Salt Lake, 3285 E. 3300 South, SLC, 801-486-2100, REI.com, $99.95
Cast-Iron Dutch Oven
The Utah State Cooking Pot is, you guessed it, the Dutch oven. Something about our pioneer heritage has made the cast-iron pot a Utah staple. Many Utahns remember camping as children and experiencing the wonder of digging up the Dutch oven after it cooked over coals in the ground. Oh, those aromas wafting through the air after opening! Get back to the basics with your own piece of history.
Barebones Living, 1215 E. Wilmington Ave., Ste. 140, SLC, 801-649-3088
Optimus Terra Kettle
The water kettle has been a kitchen and camping staple since before the Vikings arrived. Hot water is essential in cooking and cleaning at camp. And like many other items on this list, this kettle is simple and without frills, yet sturdy and reliable. Made from anodized aluminum, this kettle can take anything you throw at it. You can even use it to pack cooking items inside the kettle on your journey.
Recreation Outlet, 3160 S. State, SLC, 801-484-4800, RecreationOutlet.com, $19.95
Monogrammed Steak Brand
OK, it’s not a necessity. And it won’t save you from starving on a mountain. It is, however, kind of fun. Monogrammed towels are all well and good, but this is even better. You don’t even have to use your initials—how about your favorite string of letters? Have some fun with it! You’ll feel powerful stamping your name on a juicy steak or, for our vegetarian friends, a grilled portobello mushroom or eggplant.
Williams-Sonoma, 312 Trolley Square, SLC, 801-359-0459, Williams-Sonoma.com, $49.95
Yeti Roadie 20 Cooler
As a camper, keeping your perishables cool is vital. Whether it’s beer or raw meat, every camper needs a cooler that will not only retain ice as long as possible but can withstand the elements. The average backyard cooler can be dented or suffer broken latches, but a Yeti can tolerate rough treatment. It’s built to be sturdy and durable, making it one of the most reliable choices for any camper.
REI Salt Lake, 3285 E. 3300 South, SLC, 801-486-2100, REI.com, $200
Good to-Go Food
Started by Jennifer Scism, a chef from 4-star-rated restaurants and lover of regional food, Good to-Go food is known as one of the best dehydrated and healthy food options. After seeking delicious food options for her backcountry trips, Scism started making her own, and soon her gourmet food company, based in Maine, took off. These handmade meals do not disappoint in either convenience or flavor.
Good to-Go Food, 844-484-8646, GoodTo-go.com , $12.95
MSR Quick 2 System
With two cooking pots, deep plates and insulated mugs, this camp cook set packs down to a surprisingly small size. Whether you’re backpacking or car camping, this cook-set gives you all the basics while simultaneously saving you room for other necessities. Made with quality materials and by a company that prides itself on customer service, you can count on this set to last.
Kirkham’s Outdoor Products, 3125 S. State, SLC, 801-486-4161, Kirkhams.com, $99.95
Salt Free Grill & Broil Gift Box
Just because you’re cooking in the rough doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor.
These appetizing blends are salt-free and include meat, poultry and fish seasonings for summertime grilling or winter broiling. As one of Penzeys most popular gifts, this boxed set will make the cooks in your life happy because their cooking will not only taste better but will be lower in salt. Penzeys spices began in Wauwatosa, Wis., in 1957 and soon became the go-to in the area for spices of any kind. The Salt Lake Valley now has its own Penzeys for every cook’s at-home and away-from-home needs.
Penzeys Spices, 280 E. 12300 South, Draper, 801-666-7557, Penzeys.com, $49.95
Primus Profile Stove
With the variety of cooking options it provides along with the ability to fold it into a compact unit, this stove receives consistently strong reviews. Not only does it have a strong flame—12,000 BTUs strong—but also a windshield to protect that flame. You’re also not limited to one type of cooking as you can use the griddle or the open flame. So, leave the campfire for warming your hands, and use this camp stove for cooking.
Recreation Outlet, 3160 S. State, SLC, 801-484-4800, RecreationOutlet.com, $89.99