While in many parts of the country cooking near the area you’re sleeping in is not a problem, we spend most of our time in bear country. That means that it’s not wise to camp under where you’re sleeping, and you never keep food near the vehicles or tents, even if you’re still awake. Bears will find food, waste, and kitchen supplies and will thrash them. Not something you want so close to your family.
For us, a portable kitchen solution is the best way to go, and we’ve been using the REI Pack-N-Prep successfully for a few years. It doesn’t store the stove and has limited space for dry goods, so we usually end up carrying additional totes for those items. While we’ll keep the PnP as part of our kit for dry goods & an additional table top, it’s time to expand our main kitchen box to include stove & utensil storage.
There are literally of ‘camp kitchen’ sets available (a Google search showed over 600k results), but for our purposes we have a basic, but detailed set of criteria:
• It must store the stove, basic pans, and utensils
• It must have legs so I don’t need an additional table
• It must be well built but not be unreasonably expensive
• A backboard is preferable
• I’ll add some type of covering so I can cook in inclement or sunny weather if needed.
Most of the Coleman and REI options for grand kitchen sets that are lightweight are self supporting, but the build quality may not handle years of abuse. These options also don’t have a space for stove storage, so they’re out.
The Kanz option would work, but I can’t see spending $800 on a chuck box, even if it does use aircraft aluminum. The Grubby Box isn’t big enough to hold our stove, and the My Camp Kitchen box is just a little too small as well.
I’m not the DIY type when it comes to building custom wood and/or aluminum boxes, so the idea of a custom chuck box that meets my needs exactly is out. I am, however, a tinkerer. I love to modify things and think outside the box (as it were) and use things beyond what they were meant for.
The result? I’ll be building a custom (semi-DIY) system that meets my needs. I may use a portable tool box system, a Pelican case, or some other item I haven’t found yet. Rest assured that it will meet the needs of my family, and hopefully give you ideas to create your own system.