Setting up a camping kitchen isn’t difficult. What is hard though is difficult is keeping your camp kitchen organized. It’s almost inevitable that you will end up with supplies scattered all over the place and never enough room for food prep. If you go camping frequently, it’s worth upgrading your camping kitchen setup.
I’m a bit of an organizational freak and also a complete foodie. Here is what I’ve learned about getting the camping kitchen setup right, plus lots of photos of real camping kitchens.
How to Set Up a Camping Kitchen
Ideally, your camp kitchen needs to have three separate stations. In addition to these stations, you will also need storage bins for food and separate storage bins for plates, utensils, napkins, etc.
Ideally, you also have a separate area for eating so you don’t have to clean off the stations before meals.
The Three Stations:
- Food prep station: Such as a table with enough room for veggies and a cutting board
- Cooking station: Needs enough room for your stove, cooking utensils, spices, and anything else you need while cooking
- Serving station: This is where you will put the food once it’s done. It also needs enough room for plates, eating utensils, napkins, cups, water, etc. The serving station can also be your eating station.
*The simpler your meals are, the less space you need for food prep. I usually bring dehydrated meals and have literally ZERO prep to do! Here’s how I make my meals. Also check out these super-easy camping meals.
**If the campground doesn’t have one, you’ll also need a dish washing station. Here’s how to wash dishes camping and the best collapsible camping sinks.
Bring a Table
The best way to achieve this kitchen setup when camping is to bring a long table or a table with three sections. Then you can use the campground picnic table for eating.
Pictures of Camping Kitchen Setup
Here are some pictures of real camping kitchen setups. Since most people don’t want to lug a massive table with them, you’ll notice that most of them are in a bit of disarray. So don’t feel bad if your camping kitchen ends up a disorganized. It takes a bit of practice before you can figure out what works for you.
Portable Camping Kitchen Setups
These camping kitchens use folding tables or portable camp kitchens for setup. See my favorite portable camp kitchens here.
Camping Kitchens Using the Picnic Table
A lot of people use the campground picnic table for cooking. This is great because there will be enough room for everything you need, but it also means that the picnic table will constantly be covered. You might not have enough room for sitting down. A lot of campers end up eating standing up because of this. Consider bringing a separate eating table and chairs if you want to use the picnic table as your camp kitchen.
Truck or Hatchback Camp Kitchen Setup
Don’t want to bring a table with you camping? Here are some cool ways that people used their truck bed or hatchback as part of their camp kitchen setup.
Setting Up a Camp Kitchen without a Table
It’s possible to put your camp kitchen on the ground – but it’s not ideal. First off, it’s dangerous to have a stove on the ground with lots of people walking around. It can be a fire hazard if someone knocks the stove over. Not to mention that you will have to crouch over the stove.
Cooking on the ground also means you can end up crouched over in the mud. See the picture below.
But it is possible to set up a decent camp kitchen without a table. Check out the two setups below.