We went camping a few weeks ago for the first time this summer and while we were mostly prepared I thought I'd put together a checklist of sorts to use as a guide for our future trips and thought you might benefit as well.
We have 2 bins, 1 has all the eating/cooking items and the second has all of the overnight camping type items. We refer to these as the picnic bin and the camping bin. We also have all of our first aid items in a large tackle box at home that we store in the front closet, it's always together so we can just grab the first aid box and go.
Picnic Bin Checklist:
4 varying sizes cast iron skillets
1 paring knife, 1 large serated knife
1 cutting board
cutlery for 8
cork screw/bottle opener
8 plates, bowls & cups picnic set
tableclothes and tablecloth clips
heavy duty aluminum foil
Ziplock Bags (small and X-large)
lawn rockets game
Camping Bin Checklist:
small propane tanks
propane lantern mantles
campfire roasting skewers
air mattress repair kit
First Aid Tackle Box:
purse size Kleenex packs
thermometer (digital and head strip)
small sharp scissors with point cover
emergency thermal blanket
first aid book
Sunburn aloe gel
When we go on a picnic we just grab the picnic tote and first aid box, our collapsible lawn chairs, camp stove and coolers.
When we go camping we just to grab the above totes and first aid box, our collapsible lawn chairs, camp stove, coolers, tent, sleeping bags, air mattress and clothes/personal items.
In addition to the normal food cooler(s), we have a 5 gallon round cooler to keep drinking water handy at the picnic/camping site, to do a quick handwash, or to mix up a beverage pitcher. So much easier than going back and forth between the campsite and water supply for each meal and throughout the day.
We freeze bottles of drinking water, and use reusable freezer blocks in the cooler to keep everything cold with having melted water all over the place in the bottom of the cooler. I also have a few Chillzanne pieces from The Pampered Chef that I use in the cooler and for serving.
Food is always a matter of personal preference, I stay away from anything involving mayonnaise, and try to pick items that are made on site. Certain recipes just lend themselves so well to picnics and camping. Granted they are delicious at any time, but for some reason we always do them over the campfire or camp stove.
Favorite Camping Recipes
B-size red potatoes (small, maybe a bit bigger than a golf ball)
Cut red potatoes in quarters with the paring knife
Place in large Ziplock bag
Sprinkle generously with Nature's Seasoning
Seal and shake
Pull off sheet of aluminum foil about 18 inches long
Pour about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of potatoes into center of foil
Pull foil up around potatoes lengthwise to meet and roll down tight to the potatoes, then roll up each end to seal (You need to be able to flip the packet without having them fall apart)Repeat making foil packets until all potatoes are in packets
Place foil packets upside down above fire on grate, turn after 10 minutes
Check every 5 minutes until done (open a packet and stab the biggest potato piece, should go through easily)
Thick Steaks (ribeye is best... mmmmmm...)
Salt or Nature's Seasoning
Sprinkle meat with salt or Nature's Seasoning
Throw meat over fire til done, turning once halfway
It seems dumb probably, but camping is the only time I make biscuits and gravy and I cheat! But it's so good when it's still cold outside and you are eating Biscuits & Gravy cooked over a fire.
Camping Biscuits & Gravy
Refrigerator Biscuits (I use Pillsbury)
White gravy mix (We are going for things like sausage country gravy, peppered country gravy, or country gravy by McCormick's, for example. If you find a white "southern" gravy mix use that!)
1-2 sausages cooked, chopped up
After you make your sausages in the morning in a LARGE cast iron skillet (assuming you didn't burn the sausages), pour off the fat (if there is any)
Place the biscuits in the skillet around the outside and what fits in the middle
Cook them over the fire for 4 minutes (or until brown but not burned on the bottoms)
Flip the biscuits over
Take the pan off the fire, the pan will still be hot and will slowly finish up the biscuits
While you are waiting for the biscuits to finish, prepare the gravy according to the package (If you are guessing on the amount of water, it is better to have too much to start and let it cook off, than to have too little and end up with thick clumps that you have to try to fix!)
After the mix is added to the liquid and stirred thoroughly, basically during the stir until thickened stage, add the chopped COOKED sausage
Stir until thick like pudding
The biscuits are probably done by now (4 minutes or so), check the bottoms. If they are lightly brown, we're good!
Split the biscuits and spoon some gravy goodness on them.