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30 Tips For Making Campfire Cooking So Much Easier

Let's face it, camping is all about the food.

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1. Do as much prep as you can at home, and plan your meals ahead of time.

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The more prep work you do at home, the less chaotic your camping trip will be. Cut, chop, marinate, and label your food ahead of time. You can also write out your game plan in a meal planner.

Get them from Amazon: planner for $9.95 and label maker for $18.62.

2. Speaking of food prep, meet your new best friend Ziploc bags.

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Store chopped veggies, and marinate meat with regular Ziplocs. Use freezer Ziplocs to reheat frozen food, from soups to rice and more – just freeze, and reheat the bag in boiling water at the campsite. You can also freeze water in Ziplocs to use for your cooler.

Get them from Amazon: 347-count Ziploc variety pack for $19.40 or 60-count freezer bags for $7.88.

3. Minimize dirty dishes and meet your other best friend, tin foil.

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You can use tin foil over your grate grill for less greasy grilling, or make endless, easy tinfoil packet meals.

Get the instructions for the Tex Mex chicken packet from Kitchen Magpie here.

Get more foil-wrapped camping recipes from Buzzfeed here.

Get 500 sq. ft. of tin foil from Amazon for $25.20.

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4. Give your cooler some ~chill time~ before you pack it with all the food.

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Let your cooler chill with ice in it for 30 minutes before you pack it up, and your food will stay cool longer. Remember to pack the items you plan to eat first at the top, to minimize digging around the cooler for what you need.

6. If you don't want to pack a cooler, pack freeze-dried meals instead.

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Freeze-dried meals are ideal for backpackers, or anyone who wants to save space on a camping trip. Just add hot water right in the pouch.

Promising review: "I am seriously amazed. This is as good or better than if it had been cooked on the stove. The wife and I shared it, and even as a picky eater she loved it. This was the first Mountain House product we tasted, and we will stock up on it. I couldn't recommend this high enough. When you think about a food lasting 25 years that tastes this good, well – it is remarkable." –Rick Blanton

Get it from Amazon for $9.37.

7. Bring the spice you need in your life with this straw hack.

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Don't want to bring the whole spice cabinet? Use a lighter to seal the end of a drinking straw, and fill with your desired spice. Seal the other end of the straw, label it, and snip it open when you're ready to get cooking.

Get a 250-pack of drinking straws from Amazon for $8.91.

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8. Get things going instantly with a fire starter.

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Promising review: "Simple as they are, these work extremely well. They light readily (even with a Ferrocerium rod) and I've never needed more than one to start a campfire, even with wood that isn't completely dry. They burn for quite a while and the bucket carrier is a great bonus. When I was shopping for firestarters, I almost bought the small chemical 'cake' kind, but I'm glad I decided on these. They work well and I'm not concerned about myself or my kids inhaling God-knows-what. Finally, these are made by adults with disabilities and I think that's a great thing." –EssayistPA

Get a 30-pack from Amazon for $17.99.

9. Or make an easy DIY fire starter at home.

View this video on YouTube

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If you have dryer lint, wax, and an egg carton, you can make this happen. Learn how from Nifty here.

10. Make sure you build the right fire for your cooking adventure.

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Fire pits and rings work well for campfire cooking, or if you need a nice bed of coals to work with – the platform method is best. Get the fire building basics and tips you need from Gizmodo here.

Remember to always pour water over hot coals once you're finished with your fire. No one wants a forest fire, and this will protect the feet of pups/kids who might be wandering around the campsite.

11. If you're building a fire pit, avoid waterlogged rocks, slate, and shale, so there are no explosions.

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Wet rocks can explode due to trapped moisture, so be sure the rocks you use are nice and dry. Avoid flaky rocks such as slate, or rocks with a lot of cracks; as these are more likely to have moisture trapped in the crevices.

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12. When you only have wet wood to work with, dry things out with candle wax.

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Whoever said you can't start a fire in the rain was wrong. Build your fire up off the wet ground, and put bits of candle wax beneath the firewood. The wax will act as fuel, and keep things hot enough to dry out the wet wood until it catches. This could take a while depending on how wet the wood is – be sure to have plenty of wax on hand, and dry tinder to keep things going. And get your firewood from up off the ground if you can, it will be drier.

Get candle wax from Amazon for $8.35+.

13. Cook over an open fire with ease using a tripod grill.

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A tripod grill is a versatile way to cook using either a cooking grate or cast-iron Dutch oven. You don't have to wait for your fire to burn down to the coals to cook, and the tripod paired with a cooking grate is a sure way to smoke meat.

Promising review: "Worked great! It's much shorter than others offered but I didn't have the room to carry or store the long poles and I wanted the sturdiness of solid legs. This was tall enough to hang over a campfire ring. I added four smaller chains with S-hooks and hung a grill rack and made hot dogs. It's nice to have the option of the dutchie or a flat surface for cooking. I wanted my own cook surface as the public fire rings are just so gross with old cooked grease from previous tenants." –SCB

Get the tripod grill from Amazon for $11.03.

14. Or, DIY with a high-suspension bar over the fire.

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Learn how to build a pot hanging bar on YouTube here, and if you are ~really~ into Dutch ovens, check out over 500 Dutch oven camping recipes from Urban Survival Site here.

Remember to use greenwood to build your bar, as it is more heat-resistant.

15. Get the right cast-iron cookware, because cast-iron and campfires go together so well, they are relationship goals.

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Cast-iron cookware is durable, versatile, lasts forever, and will keep your food warmer for longer. Plus, you can use it to cook right on the campfire like a champion.

Get a six-piece cookware set from Amazon for $51.52 (includes a 10-inch fry pan, 3 qt. chicken fryer w/ lid, 10-inch Dutch oven, Dutch oven lid lifter, and cast-iron hot handle holder).

Or get a pre-seasoned Dutch oven and skillet from Amazon for $31.80.

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18. Or, skip all of the cookware (okay, you might still need a fork) and cook on hot rocks.

Roschetzkyistockphoto / Getty Images, Fin85 / Getty Images

Pop open a can of cinnamon rolls for a quick, easy desert on the rocks – or go all out and sear up some steaks.

Get instructions for the steak from Native Survival here.

19. Skewer up some sausage, onion, and pepper kabobs for a convenient campfire meal.

countrysidecravings.com

Skewers are light to pack, and can be used to roast hot dogs, marshmallows, kabobs, veggies, and more. Metal skewers will channel heat faster into meat that needs to be throughly cooked.

Promising review: "These are exactly what I needed. They are nice and long and I love not having to soak them like you do with wooden ones. Because they are flat, the food doesn't spin around. They clean up easily. Not much more you could want from a skewer. The price was right too, especially since they are reusable, unlike the wooden ones." –M. Lyon

Get a 12-pack of skewers from Amazon for $10.78.

Get the instructions for the sausage kabobs from Country Side Cravings here.

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20. Save tons of space with a compact 12-piece campfire cooking set.

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Includes stainless-steel foldable knife/fork/spoon, mini stove with piezo ignition, mini stove pocket, medium anodized aluminum nonstick pot, small anodized aluminum nonstick pot, canister stand tripod, dishcloth, wine opener, carabiner, and mesh bag.

Promising review: "Bought this set for my first backpacking trip and I was pleasantly surprised. The stove worked much better than I had imagined. The starter didn't fail once, and it was so easy to use. The pot was the perfect size for most meals. I left the pan at home, but I will definitely be taking it on other camping trips to try it out. The plastic on the handles was pretty heat-resistant so I never needed a pot grabber, which was convenient. I loved how compact everything was and how it all fit together for space-saving purposes." –Amazon Customer.

Get it from Amazon for $26.99+.

21. Or, skip the set and opt for the compact cooking stove on its own for camp coffee in minutes.

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A compact gas stove is ideal for when it's too wet to build a fire, or you need to boil water and don't want to build a whole fire to do so.

Promising review: "Very useful and packable. Won't let you down. It can cook food and boil water pretty fast if you want. We are glad that it is very affordable." –Cherry

Get it from Amazon for $19.99.

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26. ~Sandwich~ a grilled cheese over the open fire in a broiler basket for the perfect campfire snack.

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Double wrap your grilled cheese in tin foil (don't forget to add butter or margarine on the outside for that golden brown) and get grilling.

Promising review: "This is a great product, I would recommend. We bought it for cooking toast while camping and its plenty big enough, we can cook toast for the whole family in one hit (that's 4-6 slices at once)." –Erin

Get it from Amazon for $14.48.

27. Invest in a quality camping thermos to keep your coffee, tea, and soup hot for hours on end.

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Pre-heat your thermos by pouring boiling water in it, closing it up, and letting it sit for a few minutes – then empty the thermos and add your drink/soup in right after. This will keep things hot ~even longer~.

Promising review: "This Stanley thermos really works, I use it to take coffee on hunting/fishing trips. It doesn't leak like a lot of thermoses, and even after a long day in the cold duck marsh, it pours out HOT coffee. In the picture, the thermos had been out in very cold ( teens F ) temps in the ATV carry sack for over 14 hours – coffee was still coming out hot enough to thaw me out!" –Trav S

Get it from Amazon for $19.82+ (Available in multiple sizes).

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29. Disinfect and clean your cookware with salt.

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Backpackers use this hack because salt is cheaper than soap, and lighter to carry – and chances are you'll bring salt anyway for cooking. Throw a few spoonfuls of salt on your dirty dishes. It will act as a disinfectant, and the coarse salt will help scrub food off of crusty pots and pans.

Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.