Best Camping Kitchen
Camping… What’s better than sitting around an open fire – stars above you, solid ground below – toasting marshmallows? Well, how about a well-seasoned, freshly prepared meal, and always knowing where your whisk is. Camping kitchens have come a long way since the days of single gas burners and mess tins. Now you can get a setup to rival your home one if that’s what you want, or just a more convenient way to feed your hungry campers after a day in the great outdoors.
The benefit of a camping kitchen is not only being able to cook decent meals on the road but having something that keeps you organized and that you can use again and again. Most of the time meals will need to be put together and served more quickly than at home, so you don’t need to be starting from scratch with your equipment scattered around in a different setup every time.
Our choices include an array of high and low-tech options to suit home comfort craving and stripped back travelers. Remember, there is no “one size fits all”, so we’ve tried to include something for everyone. So, light a fire under your inspiration and see what’s cooking!
- Ozark Trail
- Adjustable lantern hook
- Utensils bar
- GCI Slim-Fold
- Lots of storage
- Folds quickly
- Camco Deluxe
- Zippered storage
10 Best Camping Kitchen Models
Ozark Trail Deluxe
Length by width by height is 56 x 21 x 72 inches. The seemingly tall height does include the lantern holder.
Points here are scored for the varying height steel cook station and prep station, which means that the latter can double as a table. The stove inserts might not fit all types of cookers and grills, so check yours first. You can add a flat surface to place it on if there are fit issues. There also isn’t a windscreen or guard so the stove area is unprotected.
The Trail Deluxe packs into a very slim case. Its legs are thinner and work more like a camping chair mechanism, which aids its compactness. It weighs 18 lbs.
Fixed, no wheels. The only adjustable element is the lantern hook.
Storage and Accessories
The utensil hooks are great, and these can’t come off the bar, so you won’t lose them. There is also a vertical pole which can be used for holding a roll of paper towels. We’ve mentioned the lantern hook, which is at an adjustable height. This is a really great feature, as a lot of camping meals are prepared in low light. The mesh shelf or net underneath the prep table is practical as it can be used to drain and dry as well as store..
A great starter kitchen, or one for those who want all the key functionality without the bulk. If you’re happy with less storage and don’t need a sink, this is a great option. We also like how the prep table is at the right height to double as a regular table to eat off.
Adjustable lantern hook
Varying height surfaces for multiple functions
Not much storage
No windscreen for grill
Length, by width by height is 52 x 21 x 32 inches. It’s a standard size and a good height for cooking and prep.
The top layer comprises a 24 x 16 inch aluminium countertop for a stove (although it will be unprotected from the wind), with side tables at the same height, a lower rack, and two more side shelves. When you list them off, it suddenly sounds like a lot of surfaces - see, didn’t we say it was deceptive? The frame is made of powder-coated steel and the shelves are plastic. We’d recommend a rubber mat on these to stop sliding when serving from them.
The Slim-Fold, true to its name, packs to a small 35 x 21 x 4 (length by width by depth) inches and can be carried like a camping chair. It weighs around 19 lbs. A truly one-piece design, setup and Pack Away is quick like a table or chair at around 10 seconds!
Fixed with no adjustable elements.
Storage and Accessories
These really are the bonus elements of the Slim-Fold. Use some or all of the four side tables as storage, and there’s the lower rack which can take a cooler. A fantastic feature is the hook capabilities on the sides of the shelves and tables. Each one has notches for holding utensils and cups, or a paper towel holder.
Not to be underestimated, the GCI Slim-Fold is the kitchen for campers who’ve tried many others and never found their fit. Great for lovers of storage and a quick setup and getaway.
Lots of storage and hook functionality
Dedicated aluminium top for stove
Folds and unfolds quickly
No adjustable elements
No windscreen for grill
The kitchen unit is 65 x 34 inches, which is sizeable. It certainly feels long, with its three distinct surfaces. The stove top area is 32 x 18 inches, the side table is 15 x 17 inches, and the wash basin 12 x 14 inches.
As touched upon, there is a stainless steel stove or grill area, and crucially, this comes with a windshield. There is also a small plastic and aluminium prep station and a sink sack - a great additional feature missing on many camp kitchens. The prep and cook stations are also at slightly different heights for ease of use.
The Deluxe folds to a respectably-sized 34 x 19 x 6 (length x width x height) inches and comes with its own storage bag. Folding up is common of pretty much all camp kitchens, but worth highlighting here if you take a minute to consider how large this one is when standing. It’s on the heavy side at 27 lbs, but takes under a minute to set up, which is another surprise considering its bulk.
Not only is the lantern hook angle adjustable, but the feet can also be adjusted for the inevitable uneven surfaces which come with cooking outdoors. This is a great feature.
Storage and Accessories
As well as the aforementioned lantern hook, there is also a set of two shelves inside their own zippered cabinet. These are removable so you can use this space for something bigger if you’d like. In addition, the space under the sink and prep area is free from leg mechanisms and supports so can also be used for storage for a cooler, for instance.
Overall it’s everything including the kitchen sink! If you want functionality and your home comforts, go for the Camco Deluxe.
No utensil rack
Fully open, the Pack-Away measures 57 x 21 x 66 inches (length x width x height, including lantern hook). While it’s narrower than some, don’t underestimate what it can fit in a relatively small space. The main prep area is 32 x 21 inches, while the side table is 28 x 21 inches.
Featuring the common setup of stove top and aluminium prep table, the Pack-Away unusually places the stove area on the lowered side table. In fact, there isn’t anything more than a steel two-bar platform here for your stove, which surely cuts down the weight but with adequate strength. It will fit most Coleman stoves and coolers, but check yours if it’s not Coleman as they’re fairly regularly sized.
Not just a name, the Pack-Away folds down to a very small and slim suitcase style. It’s around 30 by 10 inches, which is one of our smallest. It also weighs only 14 lbs, which is among the lightest of our picks.
There are no adjustable elements aside from the lantern holder.
Storage and Accessories
As you might expect, there’s a lantern holder, utensil rack with hooks, and a second, mesh shelf underneath the main prep area. There is some space underneath, although much of this is taken up with the leg folding mechanisms. However, this concession to its extreme light weight and compatibility is forgivable.
This updated version of the Coleman Pack-Away seems to have eliminated a lot of users’ bugbears and many even replaced the old version with this one, which says a lot about the brand loyalty Coleman commands. It also has a one-year limited warranty. There is a deluxe version, but we chose to include this one as an example of what Coleman can do with less than half the weight.
Steel stove top
Height not adjustable
No sink area
Fully opened, it’s 74 x 42 x 33 (length x width x height) inches, with the height extending to 80 inches inclusive of the two lantern hooks. It’s definitely one of the largest, nearing the size of some compact home kitchens.
The Grub Hub prides itself on using all available space and coming up with handy places for everything, so it’s mainly about ease of use. While there will certainly be space for your stove or grill on the central table, beware of heat as all surfaces are plastic. Otherwise, there’s a large surface around the back, a side table with a sink sack, and another side table for prep and hanging accessories. It really is a hub, its unique shape meaning you’ve got space for multiple cooks around the stations.
This is where the Grub Hub comes into its own. Unbelievably, the whole thing folds up and becomes a standard wheeled suitcase, with extendable handle; to look at it you wouldn’t know the secrets it holds! It’s a fairly hefty 32 lbs on its own, but can take 90 lbs in extra weight. What’s more, the rolling suitcase mode of transportation takes the weight instead of you having to carry it..
The Grub Hub’s wheels aren’t just for transportation when not in use. The main unit comes with extendable legs for stability; simply lift or retract these and wheel along! All other elements are easily adjustable, so you can use as many parts of it as you need.
Storage and Accessories
This is surely the Grub Hub’s other area of expertise. We struggled to think of something that couldn’t be stored here. Between the two lantern hooks, there is a material rack for small items and utensils, sitting nicely at eye-level. There is a mesh bag hanging in front of the sink for drying. There is a rubbish sack hanging away from food prep areas, and a cylindrical bag for towels. Wait, the Grub Hub isn’t done! You’ll find a towel rail, and a row of hanging hooks. Below the main unit is a row of four shelves (one with mesh front). In addition, you can still access the inner shelves when it’s packed up - meaning it can work as storage and be a set of shelves when not open and in use.
The kitchen for campers who don’t want to sacrifice any of their home comforts. Yes, it’s expensive, but if this is the answer to your camp kitchen prayers then it’s surely worth it. Think about whether the rolling rather than carrying, and the ability to store everything you could possibly need are important factors for you.
Seemingly endless storage capacity
Stores when not in use
Wheeled case design
Extra surface space
Open, the Ozark Deluxe measures 47 x 17 x 32 (length by width by height) inches, so it is fairly small and narrow.
The frame is steel and the stove top MDF, and includes a removable windshield. It’s heat-resistant, which is good for safety around the camp. The side area features a suspended drying or storage rack and a wash basin. However, it has to be said that these sit at quite a low height.
Packs into an impressive 21 x 16 inch carry bag, with if anything, slightly too long carrying strap. The weight is around 14 lbs, which is good for the amount of elements included. The setup is extremely easy as there are relatively few elements to contend with.
There are no adjustable or movable elements once the Ozark Deluxe has been set up.
Storage and Accessories
Good storage capability with a large zippered cabinet with a roll-up door. The rack and basin are suspended between the frame of the side area and so can be easily removed for emptying, washing, or packing up.
We think it’s worth its place on the list for the setup alone. Small and simple, this offering from Ozark exceeds expectations. It’s got a great price point and will definitely suit middleweight campers looking for ease and simplicity.
Easily removable washbasin
Low side area
Heights not adjustable
The Coldcreek is 40 x 26 inches, and stands at 33 inches tall, which they claim is the ideal height, ergonomically. The prep area is a great size for what can essentially be a prep area alone if you choose, regardless of its other uses.
The main thing which separates the Coldcreek from others is its functionality. Its injection molded, polyethylene top is a prep table for fishing, with two basins and a built-in ruler for measuring your catch. However, this focus on prep space will appeal to those who don’t use a camp cooker or store it separately. This plastic material is also super-durable and easy to keep clean, preserving it for years of use.
As a relatively simple table design, the Coldcreek folds flat for carrying. It’s fairly heavy at just under 30 lbs, but don’t forget all that space and quality material.
The table is fixed and not adjustable once standing.
Storage and Accessories
There are a few surprise features here. You’ll find a hold with snap-clips for a garbage bag and a rotating hose holder. This is especially useful as it means there isn’t a fixed faucet in the way if you don’t want to use it. But probably one of the best things about this table is that the two (differing height) sinks can be covered with what otherwise double as cutting boards. This means that you can use the whole space for prep, or cover it with a cloth and use as a table.
The Coldcreek’s appeal is in its versatility, and is a product especially for those who focus on prep or want to get multiple uses out of their kitchen. Its promise on the materials bears out, with users getting years of use out of it. A favorite with its fans.
No stove top area
Open and standing, the Outsunny is 69 x 18 x 44 (length x width x height) inches, which is fairly large, especially height-wise.
The aluminium stove top and windshield sit highest, with a moisture-resistant MDF table at each side. The tabletops have a weight capacity of 11 lbs, while the inner shelf units can take 22 lbs. This adds up to an impressive amount of weight across two tables and three cabinets.
Considering its size, the Outsunny packs to a relatively small 30 x 20 x 5.5 (length x width x thickness) inch carry bag with a handle. And again, given how extensive it is, it only weighs 17 lbs.
The Outsunny is fixed and is not adjustable once set up.
Storage and Accessories
There are three canvas cabinets or units, two of which have two shelves each and extend from the tabletops to the floor. They are mesh-fronted and zippered for ease of organisation and access. We found the clips for the canvas to be a little weak, but their weight capacity is impressive, and it’s unlikely you’ll end up putting that much strain on them.
An impressive, sturdy kitchen with loads of storage. It’s mid-range in terms of price, but its space and size for its weight can’t be understated.
Loads of surfaces and storage
No lantern hook
GigaTent Pack N Go
It measures 69 x 18 x 32 (length by width by height) inches, or 44 inches high including the windshield. It does feel small, but this is traded off with its compactness when packed.
It’s got the standard range of functions: two side tables and a stove or grill top with windshield.
The GigaTent packs to a small 17 x 8 x 2 (length, width, depth) inches, and weighs around 21 lbs, which are impressive specifications for a kitchen with all the basic functions. Its carry case is also rain resistant.
It is not adjustable once set up. It’s in no way heavy duty, but it’s sturdy enough for the casual camper.
Storage and Accessories
The features are pretty good for a small model like this. It’s got utensil hooks, a metal shelf under the stove top which could take a cooler, and a two-shelf, zippered, rolled door cabinet.
While the GigaTent isn’t going to rock anyone’s world, it’s a good mid-range, low price point kitchen which has almost all of the required basic functions. Get this if you like the functionality, but don’t want the price or weight of, some of the more high specification products in our list.
Lightweight for functionality
No lantern hook
Alpine Mountain Gear
Altogether, the Alpine is around 49 inches long across the top table and side unit, each being around 26 and 23 inches long respectively. They’re almost 14 inches wide, which is a nice size by any camp kitchen’s measure. The lower shelf is around 5 inches shorter than the top one. The main platform is 31 inches high, with the side table sitting at around 28 inches from the ground. It was comfortable to cook at for someone over 6 feet tall.
Not much! The Aluminium stove top is rolled for grip, as is its neighbor below. The side prep table sits slightly lower as is traditional with camp kitchens.
This is where the Alpine excels. Being of such a simple design, it takes seconds to setup and pack away. Although a little stiff at first, we found this a reassuring marker of its stability, and is easily fixed with some WD-40 or silicone spray. It folds into a neat 7 x 29 inch carry bag with a handle. Furthermore, it weighs just 10 lbs.
The side table is optional, and can easily be folded in to hang at the side without changing the configuration of the main table and shelf.
Storage and Accessories
Aside from the lower aluminium shelf, there isn’t aren’t any additional features or further storage.
So while the Alpine won’t be enough for everybody, essentially just being a couple of tables with a shelf, this will be all some campers want. Many will also prefer a discreet, minimal look - it is camping, after all!
Expensive for what it is but worth it
No further storage, accessories or functionality
Criteria Used For Evaluation
A factor that will have a major impact on what kitchen you go for is what you have already, which will depend on how you cook outdoors. Most camping kitchens come with space for things like cookers, utensils, and coolers. It’s really important to think about the amount and size of these items if you have them – there’s nothing worse than buying your perfect kitchen and then finding that your trusty grill doesn’t work with it. There are some solutions such as platforms or boards for this particular problem, but this isn’t ideal in terms of comfort or safety. Thankfully, grills and stoves tend to come in standard sizes, and even kitchens from companies that sell their own equipment are likely to fit other grills. Just pay close attention to our size guides and check the equipment you already have.
As well as specific pieces of equipment like grills and coolers, something that could make a big difference is if you have a table or prep surface already. It can even be one that doubles as the table you eat off – if you don’t mind clearing and multi-tasking! This might mean that you don’t need a kitchen with a lot of integrated prep space and can save on that aspect. Just make sure the height of the table is comfortable to work at.
Perhaps the fun part. Camping Kitchens come with an array of amazing features, many you wouldn’t have thought possible. There’s no official laundry list of what you need, it’s really down to you. We’ve tried to list everything on offer with our picks to help you make the best decision. If it’s something you didn’t know you needed, it might just make your mind up; if it’s something you know you don’t need, you can move on. For instance, some campers don’t ever need a sink or basin because they know it’s easier to use the communal sink and there’s nowhere to empty the dirty water. This is why it’s useful to carefully look and think through everything on offer. Do you need space for a spice rack, or do you just cook simple dishes when in the wild? Don’t get seduced by features you don’t need – unless it inspires you to go out and do more! Bear in mind that more features are likely to add weight and bulk, although there are a few ingenious picks here which combine high-specification with a low weight.
If you’re buying a kitchen for a specific trip or have never had one before, think very carefully about how many people you’re catering for or how many are going to use it. If it’s going to be shared, consider something with more prep or serving space, and something where the storage space is easy to access.
One feature to highlight which we think is near-universally useful is a lantern hook. Unless you never cook in low light, this allows you to see better for comfort and safety, as well as keeps the light off your prep area. This saves space and reduces the risk of knocking the lantern over. That’s not to say it’s essential, you might never need a lantern or have another way of lighting your camp, but of all the features we think it’s the one which is least dependent on preference. After all, the unpredictability of the great outdoors is why we love camping!
Ease of use
A major factor and maybe the most important. It’s pointless, as well as a waste of money and time, getting a kitchen which looks perfect and fits all your spatulas if you can’t use it without kneeling on a chair or bending doubled over. And this doesn’t just go for physical comfort. Don’t get something that’s got too much or not enough for you if it doesn’t suit your style. Some people will be tempted to scale up or down when it’s not going to work with their trips.
We recommend that you get to know your own height and the height of your home kitchen if that’s a comfortable height for you to work at. This will help you to work out what you need when checking our picks’ dimensions. Camping kitchens aren’t going to be the same height, but as long as it isn’t too wide a margin of difference. If you know the measurements of yourself, your ideal surface and your potential camping kitchen, you’ll know where you’ll start to be too uncomfortable. If you’re not an active cook, many campers do fine working from a chair.
Some kitchens are adjustable, but this is primarily about making them stable on uneven surfaces, not raising or lowering them to suit the user’s height. On that note, if your kitchen has these features it’s definitely a bonus. If not, you can use props to stabilize it but this isn’t ideal from a safety point of view. A flat board would be better but this will obviously add to your load and packing. A nice addition to many kitchens is an adjustable lantern hook, which can be good for campers of different heights as well as get a closer light on your cooking in darker conditions.
As with any equipment for traveling or trips, how easy it is to transport is always going to be a factor. We’re amazed at how much these kitchens can fit in when they’re fully opened out, let alone how compact they can be when packed up! The usual considerations apply; weight, package size and how easy it is to fold up. Again, how big of an impact this makes on your decision will depend on how far you need to carry the kitchen and how you get it there. It’s very unlikely that hardcore trekkers with their world on their backs are going to have a camping kitchen; but what size of vehicle you have and how close you are to your spot will make a difference. It’s also worth remembering here, and for all our criteria, that these kitchens aren’t just about camping. Depending on local regulations, they can work for beach days, tailgating, or even just outdoor parties. All of this will inform your decision for how much space you have in your car or van for your kitchen when packed up, and how you want to carry it. Some fold into a carry bag and some just look like a camping table or chair.
One more thing to consider in this area is that the structure itself isn’t the only element of your kitchen. Unless you choose a model which allows you to use the storage when it’s packed up, like some which fold into a larger case, your kitchen will be in addition to all the things you need to take with you to stock it.
Q: Do I need additional waterproofing protection?
It’s not always necessary, but it’s worth thinking about how you will be using your kitchen. Even the most fair-weather campers will end up picking up a bit of moisture, and not all the materials in your kitchen will be waterproof or water-resistant. Some are moisture-resistant, but this is mostly to handle cleaning, prep and spillages. Check the manufacturer’s instructions, and if you can get a waterproof sealant or silicone, do spray your kitchen to prolong its life out in the wild.
Q: Is non-adjustable a dealbreaker?
Not necessarily. Our advice here is to find out how tall you are – if you don’t already know. Many kitchens and reviews will assess a kitchen’s suitability based on the height of the person using it. The other thing to do is find out how tall a counter would have to be for you to be comfortable. Obviously, a camping kitchen isn’t going to be the height of the counters in your kitchen at home, but you can use it as a guide. Take a few inches off as far as you can to still be able to use it, and work somewhere within that range when you’re looking at height.
Another element of adjustability is between the legs themselves when setting up on uneven ground. This is a massive bonus because surfaces outdoors are more likely to be uneven than not, and a flat, stable surface to prep, cook and serve on is ideal. If you can’t find a kitchen with adjustable legs, and these are rare, think about bringing some sturdy supports you can use just in case you can’t work with the levels.
Q: Do I need a full kitchen?
What do you like to eat when camping? It’s easy to get carried away and after all, it’s supposed to be a bit rugged! However, this really will depend on how you cook and eat when camping. At the very least, our picks are a table and shelf platform, and there aren’t many campers who wouldn’t appreciate that, even if they prefer to have minimal equipment. If you camp regularly or for any length of time, you’ll soon find that a compact, portable kitchen with a few amenities has become an essential part of your trips.
Q: Can I construct my own?
Well, can you? Could you design and build something secure, at the right height, that’s durable? If so, good for you! Of course, it’s possible to have a simple box or crate, or even repurpose a camping table, but for something you can pack up and pull out anytime, anywhere it’s worth investing. If you think about the “essential” items for cooking, this is easily 30 or 40 things – not including food! A camping kitchen comes up with a solution for conveniently and safely storing all of these. What about shelter?
Q: Where should I set it up?
Because of safety and space it’s obviously not practical to set up a camp kitchen inside your tent, or get a separate, enclosed structure. However, there will be times, unless you’re really lucky when you’re cooking in bad weather. If you can’t set up safely under an umbrella or a tree, it might be worth thinking about some kind of tarpaulin structure. However, bear in mind this will need to be fairly tall, safe and sturdy to be effective. Of course, if you’re not using heat or an open flame, you’re a lot less limited in where you can place your kitchen.
So, now you’ve looked through our list, you’ll have a better idea of the range that’s out there, and hopefully of what speaks to your needs. The main thing to take away is to think about how you can use these kitchens. We really like the idea that they might be useful to you for more than just camping. For many, these trips won’t be very frequent, but it doesn’t mean you should deprive yourself of a proper kitchen set up just because you won’t use it very often. Why suffer dehydrated meals out of a bag just because you only take two or three trips a year?! Consider backyard parties, beach barbecues, tailgating, and fairs. It might just be worth having something organized and reusable for the few times you do need to cook outside. For their convenience alone, you’ll find reasons to use your camping kitchen whenever you can.