Whether you are camping or overlanding, the kitchen box, or trail kitchen, is a very important concept to have thought through before your adventure. Napoleon once said “An army marches on its stomach”, and the same is true about an overland trip. If your kitchen is in shambles, your army will have a short march home. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone on an adventure or hunting trip only to say “Boy, I really wish I had this…or I wish I had that…” After a few of these mistakes, I decided to really think through my Overlanding Kitchen Box before I left the house.

Camping Kitchen Essential Cooking Checklist

When you first start thinking about your Overlanding Kitchen Box, you really need to start with the basics. The first thing you need to decide is how you are going to carry your trail kitchen. There are a lot of purpose made boxes out there for camp kitchens or overlanding kitchen boxes. Some are better than others and you can spend as much as you want to get the nicest one.

I personally recommend some type of portable tub or plastic container. If comes with wheels and a handle, even better. The worst mistake you can make is to store different trail kitchen items in different places. You have to be organized on an overlanding trip because space is limited. Also, it just makes meal prep a real pain if you are digging into different bins after dark because you planned poorly. This can make your adventure less fun very quickly.

Overland Kitchen Essentials

After you have figured out how you are going to transport and store all of your kitchen items, make a list of every kitchen item you need to cook, serve & eat food, and clean up. Here is a quick Overlanding Kitchen Box list to help you get started on your trail kitchen. I broke it down into Basics (meaning if this is all you had, you could get by), Nice To Have (If you have room you should bring this too), Really Nice To Have (If you are pulling a trailer, see if you can fit this stuff in), and Now You Are Just Glamping (might as well stay at hotel, you will never survive the zombie apocalypse).


  • Camping stove & fuel
  • Matches, lighter & firestarter
  • Cook pot and lid
  • Pot holders or pot lifter
  • Cooking utensils (large spoon, tongs)
  • Bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Multi-tool
  • Sharp knife
  • Saw
  • Ax
  • Portable coffee maker
  • Camp grill (Good back up to a camp stove)
  • Plates & bowls
  • Drinking cups
  • Eating utensils
  • Cooler (animal proof is preferred – ROVR coolers are awesome)
  • Camp table (card table)
  • Camp sink or wash bin
  • Large refillable water jug
  • Water filter
  • Water bottles
  • Pot scrubber or a sponge
  • Trash bags
  • Quick drying towels
  • Ziplock bags
  • Resealable containers for leftovers
  • Salt & pepper shakers

Nice to Have

  • Frying pan
  • Spatula
  • Cutting board
  • Lantern or lighting
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Marshmallows/hot-dog-roasting forks

Really Nice to Have

  • Charcoal
  • Corkscrew
  • Aluminum foil
  • Mixing bowls
  • Egg holder
  • Double Pie Iron (Could fall into Glamping category but I won’t let it)
  • Oven mitts

Now You Are Glamping

  • Napkins
  • Tablecloth (and clips to make sure it doesn’t blow away…dork)
  • Griddle
  • Gray Poupon
  • Dutch oven and lid lifter
  • Measuring cup
  • Rolling ice cream maker (Doh!)
  • Dish drying rack
  • Portable espresso maker
  • Camp Chef Cooking Oven (Makes you want to smack your own mom)
  • Propane fire pit (Savage!)