Anyone else feeling seasonally confused lately? There’s still fresh snow in the mountains, but the hint of springtime in the air has us itching for upcoming warm-weather camping escapades.
The slightly warmer weather and resurgence of your hay fever sneezing means it’s time to play storage closet Jenga and haul out your camping gear. But it can be easy to forget essential items when packing for your first car camping trip of the season. Season after season you end up having to get creative after somehow forgetting can openers, wine keys, or even forks. The solution: a camp cooking “go bag.”
WHAT IS A CAMP COOKING “GO BAG?”
Also known as a “bug out bag,” “chuck box,” etc., it’s a container of your choice put together at the beginning of the season to make sure that you never forget essential camping items again. Keep it on hand in your gear collection, ready for anything from spontaneous weekend escapes to full-fledged bucket-list missions you’ve been planning out since you scored those permits back in January. A “go bag” means you can grab it and go, which makes your life much easier when it comes time to make like a tire and hit the road.
You want to pack your go bag with the items you usually forget but always need, like a lighter, wine opener, or GSI Kung Foon. The key to a go bag is to wash any camp gear when you get home from a trip (in a real sink–so luxurious!) and and put it straight back into your go bag once clean and dry – no one likes a go bag full of mold.
Note that this list is focused on camp cooking only–refer to our more comprehensive packing list here. It’s also based on the essentials, so think about any personal preferences you have and remember to add them to the list!
HOW DO I GO ABOUT PREPARING ONE?
1. Obtain a “bag”, or a box, or bucket. We recommend a storage container that’s doesn’t dominate the car or make your dog feel cramped, but big enough to hold all your essential camp gear. (Unfortunately “storage container” isn’t as catchy as “go bag,” but you get the idea.)
2. Round up your current camp cooking gear and check it against the list below. Sometimes it’s extra satisfying to lay everything out on a table (or the floor if you have a massive gear closet) and gaze out at your hoard.
3. This is also a great time to take stock of any new gear you’ll need to purchase, or repairs to current gear that need to be made. Get these done, add them to your go bag, and you’ll be all set.
THE GO BAG CHECKLIST
- IsoButane. Double check that it works with your stove, and determine if you’ll need to buy more.
- Matches or a lighter. Pack waterproof matches to be extra prepared for any type of weather!
There are a plethora of cookware options available depending on what kind of camper you are. Read our “GSI Cookware 101” post here, and learn about how to find your cookset soulmate here to choose what’s best for you.
If you’re looking for a cookset to do it all, the GSI Glacier Stainless Camper gets it done. Plus, its rugged stuff sack holds the set and doubles as sink/wash basin for easy clean up. It includes a complete set of cookware and tableware for 4:
- 3 L Pot
- 2 L Pot
- Strainer Lid
- 9″ Fry Pan
- (4) 14 fl. oz. Mugs with Insulated Sleeves
- (4) 14 fl. oz. Bowls
- (4) 7.5″ Plates
- 4 Sip-It Tops
- Folding Pot Gripper
- Welded Sink Storage Bag
Lucky for you, all your silverware and kitchen needs come in one convenient kit: the GSI Destination Kitchen Set 24. It’s compact, organized, lightweight, and has cutlery and utensils for 4, including:
- Mini Cheese Grater
- Collapsible Whisk
- Pivot Spoon
- Pivot Spatula
- Utility Knife
- 12 pc. Cutlery Set
- 2 Condiment Containers
- Cutting Board
- Camp Towel
- Ballistic Nylon Case
- Can opener
- Wine key/bottle opener
- Measuring cups/spoons