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Camp Cooking While Overlanding

Welcome to maybe, the final article in this series of Building an Overlanding Vehicle. Whilst this article is not strictly about building an Overland vehicle, it is about something very important………..Food!

Now, I love Overlanding and sailing, and after having spent nearly 20 years living in France, I also love cooking and the conviviality of cooking for friends and sharing a meal together. It’s one of those really special occasions, particularly when you’re out somewhere truly remote. You can enjoy a lovely meal in stunning surroundings, discussing the day that you have enjoyed together and what the forthcoming day will bring.

So what do we use at 4x4Explorer………?

We have a number of options, which we use depending on time that we have and where we are.

Gas Cookers

The most basic are two gas cookers from the Warehouse. These are really cheap, circa $25, and do most things. Gas is also very cheap and we always have a large stock on board, bringing back the Overlanding concept of self-sufficiency. We also have a cast iron hot plate that we can use as a “Plancha” or BBQ, great for grilling meat, vegetables and seafood. Having the Bushman fridge is really important as we can cook more than we need for a single meal and keep left overs for another day.

Photo 1 of Camp Cooking While Overlanding
A simple gas cooker from the Warehouse.

We also carry a wok, frying pan, a large sauce pan and a smaller pan for boiling water. We don’t carry a kettle, because space is limited and every item has to be multi-functional.

There are, however several drawbacks with these gas cookers. They don’t tend to last very long with the amount of use that we give them, but given the cheap price, this is really not an issue.

Being a gas cooker, they are susceptible to wind and we have a folding wind shield that we can use to shield the burner in high winds.

These two gas cookers are what we use most and ,depending on the circumstances, our cooking varies. We always carry plenty of dry and tinned food. If we arrive late at camp, we might just heat up a tin of soup with a bread roll. We’ve also found that the wok is great. Chop up some meat and vegetables, heat the wok, throw it all in and you’ve got a great meal in no time……. We always keep some oyster sauce and sesame oil to give a little bit of extra flavour.

The biggest disadvantage with these gas cookers, is their performance in cold temperatures. There have been many occasions in the winter, where the temperature was well below 0°C and these cookers just won’t work. The gas cylinders become too cold and lose pressure. A trick is to keep the gas cylinder warm, either in your clothing or in the vehicle with the heater on. I have a number of friends who use LPG and apparently this is far more effective in very cold temperatures.

BBQ

Now if we’re staying somewhere where a fire is permitted, that’s where the BBQ comes into its own. Who doesn’t love a BBQ? It’s a primeval thing……Man gets meat, builds fire and cooks for woman…… My friend Aaron Rich put me onto a brand of BBQ sold by Fox Outfitters. It’s a fantastic piece of kit that folds up small, takes seconds to set up and is just brilliant! It’s a true BBQ and once you’ve finished cooking, you can throw on some wood and you have a small campfire.

I really don’t think that there is anything better than having a BBQ, in a remote spot, alone with that special one, or a few mates, and a few cold ones.

Photo 2 of Camp Cooking While Overlanding
Folding Flatpack BBQ by Fox Outfitters

Camp Oven

The third option that we have for cooking is a “camp oven”. This is basically a cast iron pot with a lid, which cooks slowly in the ashes of a campfire. A lot of my friends are hunters and quite often come away with a stash of venison. If we have time, we will light a fire, wait for there to be some embers and slow cook a stew. Again, it’s very simple! Chop some meat and vegetables, add some wine, herbs and cook for a few hours. Delicious!!!

I lived in Burgundy for ten years, so one of my favourites is a Beef Bourguignon. Lamb shanks are also great, slow cooked. You can literally use you camp oven for anything. Just put it all in the pot and wait for it to cook. Most camp ovens have a ridge on the lid so that you can add embers to the lid to get an all-round heat.

Photo 3 of Camp Cooking While Overlanding
A cast iron camp oven for simple cooking.

So there you have it……. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and particularly when you’re out “bush”. Because we spend so much time out Overlanding, we like our comforts.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and found it informative. We look forward to meeting you out there on the trails and sharing a stir fry or BBQ with you!

Please read our other articles in this series on Building an Overlanding Vehicle, where we have shared our personal experience and knowledge.

If you have any ideas or a subject that you would like us to write about, simply send us an email at [email protected]

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