Outdoor Cooking – 5 Ways of Cooking When Out and About

February 14, 2020

When cooking out and about, either camping, backpacking, or a day out, you have a handful of choices available to ensure you can eat or drink something hot.

1. Disposable BBQs

The simplest choice, but check your campsite allows them.
Make sure you set your BBQ off the ground, ideally on something like bricks.  Never bring a still warm BBQ into your tent.


  • You don’t have to carry fuel and BBQ


  • Limited to a single meal
  • Once coals go out, that’s it.

Although they have their place as something simple and disposable, their use is quite limited.

2. Portable BBQs

[pullquote style=’right’]some can be used as fire pits[/wpsm_quote]There are some excellent portable BBQs available.  Have a look at our portable BBQ review.

Again, check that your campsite allows BBQs.  They are also a great option for a BBQ on the beach.


  • Can add more coals if they start to go out.
  • Can be re-used.
  • Some can be used as fire pits.


  • Need to carry BBQ and fuel
  • If camping, living off BBQ cooked food soon gets boring.

3. Portable Gas Stoves

You can get portable gas canister stoves very cheaply.  Gas canisters are widely available so running out of fuel should not be a problem.

You shall need to get pots and pans.  A whistling kettle is essential.

If you’re backpacking and need something that is light and doesn’t take up much space there are some great designs available, from the multi-purpose multi-fuel stoves to the all-in-one systems.


  • Clean, unlike charcoal
  • Some models are cheap


  • Unless you get a big model, you are limited in how much you can cook at once

4. The Camp Fire

Fantastic – if your campsite or location allows it of course.

Cooking on campfires can be difficult.  There are a few bushcraft techniques, but a simple approach is to get a griddle and tripod (you may be able to use a griddle off a BBQ).

It is possible to cook with just a cast iron pan.  You can also cook by heating stones around the fire.  (See the videos below for some examples).


  • Great fun
  • Keeps you warm and bugs at bay


  • What you can cook is limited without additional gear
  • You need to get fuel (though many campsites that allow fires also sell logs)

5. The Dutch Oven

This is a large cast-iron pot that you can cook over the fire or with BBQ briquettes.  You can boil, strew, fry (including deep fry), bake, and roast.

Check out our post on Dutch Ovens: 5 steps to better camp cooking


  • Great fun
  • A wide range of cooking options available
  • Can be used with the campfire


  • Heavy


So there are a handful of options.  It really depends on what you want to do.

For camping, recommend going to a site that allows fires.  If you have room to bring it then take a Dutch Oven, a portable BBQ (one that can be used as a fire pit), and a small gas stove.

If you are backpacking, then take a small portable stove.

More Inspiration?

Here are a few different outdoor cooking ideas.  Also check out our Camping Recipes.



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Gav Grayston
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Gav Grayston Contributor

Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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