Stowing your kitchen safely.

Discussion in 'Pots, Pans, Grills, Other Cookware / Cleaning & Fo' started by dbhost, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Over the past decades I have lost a bit of cookware and dishware in transit due to fragile materials, OR had the car, truck, or camper damaged by say a heavy cast pan not being totally secure.

    The issue is, and I am very aware, I tend to camp where the roads barely exist, if at all. I don't do rock crawling expeditions, but I do tend to camp on beaches with plenty of washouts, and deep down forest service "roads" that are just slightly better than Jeep trails, so things get jostled.

    There are some things I have done to try to minimize, or eliminate damage as much as possible... This applies to appliances as well as dishware, cookware.

    Pots, and pans, each gets a custom, made to fit cover made from Reflectix, E6000 craft glue, and glue on Velcro strips. This works fantastically, except for the Dutch Oven. The legs tend to poke holes through the reflectix. I literally have an old blanket that was in my attic when I bought my house that has been washed many times on sanitary cycle that I wrap up the DO in...

    Gas / propane lanterns. All Coleman, and I have, and use the Coleman cases for them. The gas lanterns have the padded fabric, the propane has the blow molded plastic. Honestly the gas lanterns seem less likely to break a globe in transit...

    Dishware. I have one of those 24 piece enameled steel 4 place setting sets. To keep the plates and bowls from getting chipped, I put a piece of cardboard between each piece. The cups get dish towel or hot pad wrapped as does the cutlery. It all gets stuffed in one of those drawstring backpacks from Goodwill.

    Coleman Camp Coffee Maker. I still have the original glass carafe, it stays at home, I replaced with a replacement Coleman Stainless Steel Carafe for a Quick Pot propane coffee maker. So far no issues. I have the whole thing stowed in a Coleman coffee maker case, which is no longer in production, and even when I got it was very hard to find... I had to special order it directly from Coleman. If I lacked it, I would make something that would work out of Reflectix. Had I actual sewing skills, I would make something out of pack cloth and reflectix... I like the case because I can stow zipper storage bags with enough coffee for a couple of weeks, plus sweetener, and filters in the various pockets on it and keep it all handy.

    Anyway, if this seems like an endorsement for Reflectix, I guess in a way it sort of is... I tend to like the protection cases provide, but so many items that need to be protected, don't have any sort of case available. Reflectix is relatively inexpensive, super easy to work with, and offers great protection!
     
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    We drive lots of miles, on everything from interstates to unpaved roads, so everything gets lots of bumps along the way.
    We don't take our cast iron, so that's not a problem. We have a stacking set of Magma cookware, which makes protecting that easier; it's stainless, not non-stick, but we protect it nonetheless. We just put a silicone potholder between each piece. We did damage our previous non-stick fry pan, which had a smaller one stacked inside it. We thought we had it protected with a cloth, but not so. The new one is in a mesh produce bag, with a dishtowel between it and the smaller one, also in a mesh bag. I'm figuring the fabrics will stick together better this way - we'll find out after a few unpaved roads this year. Our Nordicware 2-burner griddle is in a bag I made from a dishtowel.
    When we had the popups, all our eating dishes and cups were plastic, and rode in the tow vehicle. Now we have a some Fiestaware mugs and bowls, which ride in the pantry. Those are in a small basket, with strips of silicone (from a defunct travel mug) between them. Our mixing/serving bowls are collapsible silicone so are pretty unbreakable, though 2 have a hard plastic upper rim.
     
  3. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    For my Dutch oven, I use a grocery store reusable insulated bag that zips. Keeps my Dutch oven in protective case and so far no hole punctures. The straps are showing wear as the bag is not designed to handle the weight, but used it for years. Then again my DO is a 10 qt. Love the idea of reflectix to protect pans. I only keep one in the camper though and bring the DO sometimes. My meals are always single pot/pan type meals. Unless I'm staying longer and will bake something in the DO.
     
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  4. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    You mention something in a way I probably should explain.

    I don't haul all the cast iron every trip. Only for group trips where lots of food for lots of people need to be made. For just the wife and I, I typically don't even bring the DO, but will be switching to the 12" cast pan.

    I am actually considering getting a proper heavy duty carry / protective bag for my DO. Looks like Camp Chef makes one that will work.

    Menu planning, planned activity, and time in camp are all factors that need to go into those decisions, HOWEVER, it also seems logical to keep the PU packed and more or less ready to go. Except for say food and water that is.
     
  5. Chloe

    Chloe Active Member

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    Just a tip for storing heavy items that I saw somewhere before (likely on this forum!). We use a padded/insulated PIZZA travel bag to store our BAL leveler. I bet this could work for cast-iron and other heavy items... and those insulated/padded bags come in different sizes, too.

    We take stainless steel or ceramic coated pots & pans with us. I store them in a plastic bin with some kind of padding between so they don't move around or bump into each other.
     
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  6. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    So I have come up with a method that I think will help me get everything in there, and to / from camp safely. Let's go through it by the numbers / packing list as it were.

    1. Coleman stove. Funnel, filter, and long nose BBQ lighter, along with the tank/ generator stowed in the stove, and wrapped with 1 round of 1/4" thick packing foam and in an old stuff sack. This is a motif here, keep watching.
    2. 12" deep dutch oven in a Camp Chef carry bag. Inside the DO are my measuring cups, spoons, silverware, and can / bottle opener. The bottom of the CC DO bag has a 1/4" plywood disc, and little plywood blocks with holes to protect the legs of the DO, and protect the bag.
    3. Coleman folding oven, stowed in its OE box, stuffed in a stuff sack along with...Baking stone. Wrapped with the folded Welding blanket insulator I use for keeping temps even, and required flame level lower for using my stove top oven. This is stuffed in a folded envelope made from reflectix and shoe goo. Hey it works...
    4. Coleman drip coffee maker and stainless carafe. In the Coleman coffee maker case. These weren't on the market very long, I had to order mine directly from Coleman, but sure don't regret it. I have a permanent filter in this brewer so no need to carry filters. I also carry a zipper bag of artificial sweeteners as we don't use sugar...
    5. 10.5" cast iron skillet. Dish rag, dish towel, scotch brite pad, and plastic scraper stowed in a plastic sack, in the dish of the skillet, and all of this placed upon a secondary dish towel, and the silicone handle sleeves set inside the 12" skillet. All of this in another Reflectix sleeve.
    6. Double sided cast iron griddle. If you guessed reflectix sleeve, you would have guessed right.
    7. Stansport 24pc place settings minus the silverware, in another recycled stuff sack. Thank goodness for Goodwill!
    8. Kitchen smalls, Ikea Grunka 4 pc stainless utensil set, + OXO 16" stainless steel tongs, and stainless steel whisk, another reflectix envelope. The pasta tongs tend to tear this up over time, but cheap and easy enough to repair / replace.
    9. Tablecloth, tablecloth clips in a gallon zipper bag.
    10. Coleman extendible camping forks. Loose in the tote.
    11. Cutting board. Loose in the tote.
    12. Kitchen knife set. In professional knife roll with edge guards. Not super cheap, not super expensive, but well worth it, and will be carried over from tent, to PU, to whatever is down the road...
    13. Stainless steel mixing bowl and collendar. Nested within each other, and stowed in a stuff sack, the kitchen smalls go in this stuff sack as well.
    14. 30oz insulated double wall tumblers. In the vehicle with us in transit. These get used ALL the time, hot, cold beverages doesn't matter...
    15. 64oz Insulated double wall stainless steel bottle. Loose in the tote.
    Now how this all goes together depends, are we using the truck, or taking the Malibu. With the Malibu, it will be all a matter of just making it all fit in the car. The truck is easier because we then carefully organize the items into the "kitchen" tote, and slide it in the bed of the truck. In the Malibu, we put kitchen gear on the left side of the trunk.

    I have tested, it all fits, and with a few extra towels, and hot pads carefully placed, nothing slops around, so no potential for damage.

    Then we go with a dry goods box, and a cooler for the cold food. We use a 60QT for all but the largest trips. And even then, with big groups we tend to organize it so that there are multiple people dragging multiple coolers. If you have ever tried to move a fully loaded 120qt cooler you will know why we don't want to do that!
     
  7. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    I like extra rags to wipe down the cookware after use, also i find the little plastic squirt bottles useful for water. Squirt on the pan while its hot and wipe it down with the rag.
     
  8. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I know what you mean. Like the little bottles they have for Catsup and Mustard? I don't like the idea of throwing cold water in hot cast iron, but warm water, not a real problem... I just use some from one of the cups, since I don't really drink from them. I typically use the enamel steel cups for holding fresh fruit with lunch... A habit I got into at home. Just use one fill with water, let warm up a little bit on the stove, and pour into the skillet to clean...

    I can't say enough good about taking extra rags...
     
  9. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Yes like the mustard bottles. I leave it outside when i cook, easy to clen up the pan or griddle and continue cooking.
     
  10. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Also good to steam stuff if you have a blasting cover, i atually did corn on the cob under the dome on the griddle last trip, i was lazy!
     
  11. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    We do Mexican street style corn on the grill. Basically get a good bed of coals going, get the hairs in the husk soaked, I typically pull back one side and wet it down really well, close the husk, and roast away turn as needed, and once done, add your favorite toppings...

    Man I am getting hungry.
     
  12. Chloe

    Chloe Active Member

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    @dbhost That is quite an impressive packing setup you have for your camping kitchen! You must cook some epic meals. I would love to see how you set that all up around your camper.

    @Sjm9911 I didn't think putting water on cast iron was a good idea? Or is that for other types of pans? I think rags and paper towels will be our friend...along with oil to wipe down the cast iron. We just got a Blackstone Tailgater with the grill box and griddle. Can't wait to try it out!
     
  13. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Water helps you clean off the bits left behind, i atually started doing it for the blackstone. It loosens up the stuck bits so you can wipe them or swipe them. It evaporates with the heat and stays above the seasoning so you dont have to atually wash anything. You will see......:cool:
     
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  14. HappyTraveler

    HappyTraveler Active Member

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    Yep, I only ever "wash" my cast iron with water and only water. NEVER dish soap.
    Then I heat it up good and hot to evaporate. Once good and dry, swipe with a bit of oil and let cool.
    Learned to do it this way from my mother, who was a great cook and a proper Southerner.
     
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  15. Chloe

    Chloe Active Member

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    Thanks, I’ll keep that tip in mind!!
     
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  16. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    @Chloe My lovely bride and I are still in the tent camping phase. I am working on a project where I am bartering labor for a pop up.

    So the camp kitchen set up you see described is for tent camping. I have to compress everything into as small a space as possible.

    Our short term plan is to Finish restoring my old truck and finish the trade for the trailer. The medium term project plan is for us T build a DIY truck camper that will fit our needs better. Long term is a TT. Specifically we are drooling over a used Keystone cougar X lite 26RBI.
     
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  17. Chloe

    Chloe Active Member

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    @dbhost Sorry, I did not read your signature to see what you were camping with! But, whether you sleep in a tent or a trailer, makes no difference... you're getting out there and I still love seeing camp kitchen setups! Good luck getting your trade or DIY. I drove behind a pretty sweet looking truck camper last week... really made me long for an easier setup, though our Aliner is pretty quick. That Keystone looks very nice, too!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
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  18. Zephyr

    Zephyr Active Member

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    For protecting the dutch oven legs, DH glued together some plywood to get a thickness slightly greater than the leg length, then cut it into a circle with the band saw using the DO lid as a template. He drilled holes to match the legs. When traveling, the legs ride in the holes. When cooking, you can use the plywood as a trivet if you rotate the DO so the legs don't go down the holes.
     
  19. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. Yes right now I am working some issues a lot her had to do with finances in family health issues. My old truck is getting a new engine courtesy of the same guy I'm working the barter with. Basically there's a design flaw with the engine in my truck and hes got a friend that it's very good at fixing them permanently. Once the truck is back on the road I can slide a Queen bed frame one of those steel roller frames into the bed of the truck using pieces of plywood to act basically as a Box Spring and a cheap Walmart RV short Queen memory foam mattress under the cap of the truck. So not exactly a dedicated camper yet but it will be a little easier to set up than just A-tent. The kitchen will still be set up outside as will the bathroom.

    The truck cap came dirt cheap from craigslist from a local wrecking yard. I paid something like a $100 for it and put another $100 in to color match paint and new locks.
     
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  20. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    That's the plan!

    I should mention I have it stuffed into a Camp Chef Dutch Oven carry bag... very nice sturdy bag...
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019

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