How to Stock Your Chuck Box

Be the greatest camp chef with a fully stocked chuck box

Having your camp kitchen gear organized makes things easier in the field. The keys to eating good food in camp is preparation, and having the tools you need to make great food in the field. If you put in a little time ahead of your camping trip thinking about food, you'll be rewarded with less hard work when you're there.

Organize Your Cooking Gear Before a Camping Trip

food cooking over campfireMuch of what goes into preparing great camp meals is a one-time affair that invloves building a system that allows you to pack what you need with minimal effort. Just like at home, the heart of camp is the kitchen, and a good camp kitchen means a chuck box: an organized container that holds nearly everything needed to create great meals on the road.

There are as many variations of chuck boxes are there are trucks on the road. Choose the one that fits your style of cooking. If you're particular about organization, find one that has drawers and shelves.

The best have a front that folds down to serve as a handy work surface and a lid that can double as a storage tote or even a wash basin.

Some people don't care about organization and just want a big tote they can toss everything in. And that's fine. If you go this route, tape a checklist to the inside of the lid so you can keep track of what goes in here.

Cabela's Campfire Coffee Pot
Cabela's Campfire Coffee Pot

Even a milk crate can work well, especially for the minimalist. All you need to do is throw in a stove, skillet, a utensil or two, some fish fry mix and a small bottle of oil. Good to go.

When it comes time to stock your chuck box, think about it in terms of your kitchen, but also tailor it to your particular needs. Here's a short list of items to stock:

Skillet: Cast-iron is a great, and classic, choice, but an expensive nonstick skillet is a better, lightweight option.

Coffee Pot: Not just for coffee, but also for heating water for washing dishes. Tip: The popular Cabela's Campfire Coffee Pot is available in 14, 28 or 36-cup capacity.

Sauce Pan: For hot water, or heating up soup, stew or chili.

Silverware: Enough for everyone in camp, plus a few extras.

Utensils: A wooden spoon, silicon spatula and tongs are all you should need to cook anything. Don't forget a can opener!

Skewers: Cheap wooden skewers can be thrown away when you're done, but metal skewers are the better choice. They hold more and won't break or burn.

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Bass Pro Shops 6'' Fillet Knife

Knife/Cutting Board: One sharp fillet knife like the Bass Pro Shops 6 inch  will do about anything you need it to. And don't forget the cutting board. Small, flexible boards are inexpensive and they fold up to transfer veggies from the board to the pot.

Plates/Bowls: A lot of people like paper and that's fine, but that's just more trash to pack out. Consider classic enamelware instead.

Spices/Herbs: Salt and pepper are obvious, but also garlic salt, chili flakes, a bottle of Tabasco, your favorite steak seasoning.

Cooking Oils: One small bottle each of canola and olive oil.

Condiments: You know those little condiment packets you get from fast food joints? Save them. You can get them filled with everything from ketchup to onions to soy sauce. It's amazing how many you can store in a small zip-top bag.