Think Inside the Box Part 1-Your Camp Kitchen

Usually I’m encouraging you to think outside the box, but just this once, I want you to think inside the box, specifically your chuck box—the box (or boxes) that serve as your camp kitchen.

Storage is always an issue in the camp kitchen. It needs to be compact; it can’t take up a lot of room in my vehicle or at the campsite. I have a 10×10 pop-up that serves as my kitchen shelter and everything needs to fit under that and still give me room to work. It needs to be organized so I can quickly find what I want without a lot of digging. I use a small plastic container to organize all my little items like vegetable peelers, paring knives, etc. I use a plastic bread storage container for my larger tools like whisks, mixing spoons, chef’s knife, etc. I do this also for safety. I don’t want to be digging through my equipment box and slice open my hand on a sharp knife!

In scouting, we use chuck boxes. These are free-standing wooden boxes with sides that open out to provide work space. The boxes have compartments to organize and hold equipment. Chuck boxes hearken back to 1866 and the days of cattle drives and chuck wagons. For the complete story, see my blog post: “History of the Chuck Wagon.”

With a quick internet search, you can find chuck boxes to purchase (some assembly required) or you can find plans that show you how to build your own or, if you’re handy or know someone who is, you could design and build your own. My chuck box is pictured below. It was purchased from


There are also a number of outdoor companies, including Coleman and Camp Chef that make camp kitchen organizers. However, if you’re on a tight budget, all you really need is a table or two for work space and some hard sided totes to hold your equipment. My back prefers tables with adjustable legs that I can extend up to counter height.

If you live in rain country like I do, you can use a pop up for a cook shelter or string a tarp overhead. I use a small, refillable propane tank and then I pack one propane canister in case my tank runs dry. All of my Dutch oven equipment is in its own tote. For a complete Dutch oven equipment list, see my blog post: “The Right Tool for the Right Job.”

Just as the kitchen is the hub of the home, the campfire and the camp kitchen are the hearth of your campsite. Here’s what’s in my chuck box and kitchen tote:



  • Cutting Board, Polyethylene
  • 2 Mixing Bowls, 10” Aluminum
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Apple Corer/Slicer
  • Pastry Cutter
  • Aluminum Foil, Heavy-Duty


Cook Kit

  • Camp Stove
  • Camp Stove Griddle
  • Lighter & Matches (in a water-tight container)
  • 8 Qt. Pot & Lid
  • Large Kettle
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • 4 Qt. Pot & Lid
  • 2 Qt. Pot
  • Non Stick Frying Pan
  • Colander
  • Pie Pan
  • Pizza Pan
  • Coffee Pot


Large Tool Kit (in a Plastic Container)large_tool_container

  • Chef’s Knife
  • Tongs
  • Ladle
  • Whisk
  • Spatula, High Temp. Plastic
  • Large Cooking Spoon
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Turning Fork
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Scissors


Small Tool Kit (in a Plastic Container)small_tool_container

  • Paring Knife
  • Can Opener
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Thermometer
  • Table Forks x4
  • Table Spoons x4
  • Table Knives x4


Eating Utensils

  • Plates x4
  • Bowls x4
  • Cups x4


Clean Up

  • Dish Washing Tubs x3
  • Bleach, Small Bottle
  • Dish Soap, Small Bottle
  • Sponge w/Scrubber
  • Clothesline Rope & Clothes Pins
  • Trash Bags w/Drawstring
  • Cheesecloth (for Straining Gray Water)


Linens (clean plastic grocery bag)

  • Oven Mitts x2
  • Mesh Dunk Bags (for Hanging and Air Drying Dishes)
  • Dish Washing Cloths
  • Dish Towels
  • Tablecloths for Picnic Table x2


Storage Supplies

  • Zip-loc Bags, 1 gallon
  • Zip-loc Bags, Sandwich
Categories: Cooking Outdoors, Fan Favorites | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Think Inside the Box Part 1-Your Camp Kitchen

  1. Just what I was needing was some camping organizing tips. Looking forward to camping this summer. Try out that new tent we bought 5 years ago. Time can sure get away at times or should I say priorities get shifted around.

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