Camping Kitchen Box

The best way to organize and carry your camping cooking gear.

Advantages of a Corrugated Plastic Chuck Box

Kurt Huber

The Camping Kitchen Box is a unique product as it is the only chuck box that is made of corrugated plastic. Corrugated plastic offers three advantages over traditional plywood chuck box construction. These advantages are light weight, noise reduction and durability.

Light Weight

Advantage number one is weight. A wood chuck box made of 1/2 inch plywood that is a similar size to our chuck box would weigh 35 pounds empty, by comparison, the Camping Kitchen Box is svelte at 12 pounds. Sure 35 pounds sounds manageable, but as you start adding gear that is when you will notice the extra 20 plus pounds. A typical camp stove can weigh from 10 to 15 pounds and a complement of pots, utensils and dinnerware can quickly add up to another 15 pounds. So assuming 30 pounds of gear, which would you rather carry, a 42 pound box or a 65 pound one?

Noise Reduction

Another area where corrugated plastic really shines compared to wood for chuck box construction is noise reduction. The nature of corrugated plastic, with two layers of plastic separated by cells of air, acts to deaden the noise of your stove, pots and pans and metal utensils rattling around on the inside of the chuck box. This is  the opposite of a wooden box, which being denser, transmits sound much better. You will really appreciate the quietness when long car ride down a bumpy road that would create a camp kitchen gear cacophony in a wood chuck box is kept under control by the camping kitchen box.

Durability

Both our chuck box or a wooden chuck box should last a long time if treated with the proper respect that you would treat any piece of camping equipment. Both have their pros and cons. For example, if not properly finished, a wooden chuck box will not hold up long when exposed to water. The Camping Kitchen Box, being made of plastic is impervious to water damage.
Right now we don't have a video of the camping kitchen box being thrown off the roof of a building, or being hit with a hammer, but when we do it will look sort of like this which is a video of the oru kayak (also built from corrugated plastic)  being hit with a hammer and being tossed off a roof. Enjoy!.

Reconditioning a Cast Iron Pan

Kurt Huber

Last weekend I picked up a little project at a garage sale... a cast iron pan that needed some love.

 Here is a closeup.. That is not painted over rust, it is some very solid grease

Here is a closeup.. That is not painted over rust, it is some very solid grease

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I have never reconditioning cast iron before, but the pan was cheap and idle hands are the Devil's plaything, so...

Step one in reconditioning cast iron is removing the old accumulated crud. Cast iron is suppose to have a  coating of baked on oil that provides protection and the non stick like cooking surface, but this but this pan has acquired too much of a good thing.  After some research on the internet there seems to be several ways to get rid of the old coating... One method is to burn it off using your oven's self cleaning cycle. There seems to be some debate if this is good for the pan, and also there is some chance that it could ruin the oven, so this was not really an option. :) 

Option 2 is using spray on oven cleaner (such as Easy Off). Since I already had a can on hand that is what I went with. I coated the pan with the oven cleaner and wrapped it in a plastic bag and let it sit it the garage. They (the internet) says for really grimy cast iron you might have to wait a week, but since this is my first pan I was not that patient. I checked on it every day, wiping off the oven cleaner and the loosened gunk and then reapplying some more oven cleaner and sticking it back in the bag. After four or five days  this is what it looked like...

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I started to realize that oven cleaner alone may never clean this pan, so I broke out the power drill with a wire brush attachment and went at it.. Below is what the pan looked like after the power tool therapy...

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If I had to do it again I would start with the wire brush and then do the oven cleaner.  Even after the wire brush, I thought it needed one more day in the plastic bag with the oven cleaner.

After this final day in the bag with the oven cleaner the pan was soaked for 30 minutes in a bath of hot water and vinegar (to neutralize the  lye in the oven cleaner). I then gave it a  final scrubbing with some steel wool to remove any surfaces rust and a final wash with soap and water. This is what the pan looked liked...

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After drying it off, I coated it with some cooking oil and stuck it in the over at 350 degrees for an hour. Here is the result the semi final result.

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You are really suppose to do this cooking oil and heat cycle 3 times, but I decided to try cooking some fried eggs after the first time ...and they stuck to the bottom of the pan :(. Obviously I still have to keep going but I  will be doing it on the BBQ outside, because the inside of my house ended up with a bit of a smog when I did it in the oven.

New Drawers for the Camping Kitchen Box

Kurt Huber

I am always tinkering with the design and construction of the Camping Kitchen Box Chuck Box, and yesterday I did a pretty major revision on the drawers. Below is the end results front and back.

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Beautiful aren't they? OK beautiful for drawers made out of blue corrugated plastic... But how are they different from the old drawers? Below is a comparison shot... New on the left and old on the right. You may notice the main reason I did this, to eliminate the exposed 'End Grain' edges. With the new drawer all the edges are nice and smooth as a plastic baby doll's bottom.

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How come I didn't do this before? Previously I was using 6 mm plastic corrugated (the same as I use for the rest of the box), now I am using 4 mm for the drawers. It is possible to cut, bend and shape the 4 mm in ways that just cannot be done well with the 6 mm plastic. Yes the drawer is not as overbuild as is was before, but it is still more then strong enough to do it's job.

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And a final shot of the drawers in place in the box. I Might  play with the pull strap length a little, but overall I am very pleased with myself.

Camping Cooking Cleanup

Kurt Huber
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How it clean up your camp pots, pans and dishes

Scrape off as much excess food and grease as possible into the trash. The more food you remove now, the longer the wash water will last.

Wash - In a wash tub of warm soapy water, clean off all the remaining food residue and grease. Do not move to the next step until it is clean. When done washing, shake off as much soapy water as possible.

Rinse - In a second tub of hot water rinse off the remaining soap.

Sanatize - Use a third wash tub to sanitize your dishes. Let them soak in a solution of chlorine bleach (1 tbs per gallon) or other sanitizing agent (such as steramine) in any temperature water for 1 minute .

Dry - if possible air dry your dishes. If you are in a hurry use paper towels.  Don't use a dirty dish towel that will just spread bacteria all over your sanitized dishes.

Clean up the clean up - First take the wash water and strain out all the food bits and DISPOSE of them in the trash. Dispose of the water by broadcasting it over a wide area 200 feet from your camp and any river or lake. Take the rinse water, pour it in the wash tub, rinse it around and then broadcast it. Pour the contents of the sanitIzation tub into the rinse tub and let it sit for a minute. Then pour the sanitation solution from the rinse Tub to The wash tub and let iT sit again for a minute. broadcast the sanitization water and let the tubs air dry.

Here is a Printable PDF if you want a copy

Coffee Percolation

Kurt Huber
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Brewing Coffee Like Grandpa

  • Start by adding water to the pot for the desired amount of coffee.
  • Place the pump in the pot and place the coffee basket on the pump tube. Make sure that the water level is below the bottom of the basket.
    Add one tablespoon coarse ground coffee per six ounce cup to the basket.
  • Put the basket lid / spreader plate on the basket and then put on the pot lid.
    Start heating the water. Watch the clear knob on the lid for water rising through the tube.
  • When the water starts to bubble, you may need to reduce the heat...You do not want a rolling boil,just enough heat so that water continues to flow up through the tube.
  • After it bubbles up, the water then falls on the spreader plate and through  it onto the grounds. As it percolates through the grounds, it releases the coffee goodness.
  • Let it bubble and percolate for  five to eight  minutes, then remove it from the heat.
  • Your coffee is ready. Pour a cup and  enjoy.

A Helpful Hint... A coffee filter can prevent grounds in your coffee, especially if you don’t have coarse ground coffee available

Here is a PDF of the graphic

 

Camping Chili Recipe

Kurt Huber
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Here is a pdf version for easy printing

 

Below is the same information with a couple of embellishments.

 

Throw the following in a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.

Meat

one pound of cooked ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey, pork, venison or other or maybe in  combination. if it is greasy meat, drain it. If you are a vegetarian you can skip the meat part and add an extra can of beans.

A Cooked Onion

Chop (1) onion and cook it up in some oil. If the meat you chose is fatty, you can cook the onion and the meat together. Use a large onion if like onions and a medium one if you are not a big fan. Optionally you can also chop and cook a poblano pepper, a green pepper or a bell pepper (but not a doctor pepper). This would also be a good place to mince and cook up 2 to 4 cloves of garlic if you like garlic.

Beans

Add  (2) 15 oz cans from the following List.

Kidney Beans

Pinto Beans

Black Beans

Chili Beans

Pork and Beans

Ranch Style Beans

Lima Beans

Garbanzo Beans (chick-peas)

Cannellini Beans

Great Norther Beans

Almost any Bean Really.

Corn (ok not a bean, but still fibrous)

Some people drain and rinse the beans, while others don’t. It’s chili so you really can’t go too wrong

Tomatoes

To the pot add 1 or 2 Cans of Stewed Tomatoes, or diced tomatoes or tomato Soup or tomato paste or ketchup if you are really in a tomato bind.

Spices

2 tsp to 2 tbs of chili powder

1 to 2 tsps of cumin

Additional Optional spices

2 tsp Sugar

Salt and Pepper to Taste

1/2 tsp Oregano

1 tsp Paprika

Garlic Powder

Spicy But Not Spices...

Chopped Jalapeno

1 Small Can Green Chili

 

if it look too thick to boil, add a little water... or a can of Beer.

 

Accessories

Serve Chili  Over

Rice

Spaghetti

Corn Chips

Top  Chilli With

Shredded Cheese

Sour Cream

Serve Chili With

Saltines

Corn Bread

Camp Dish Cleanup The 5 Step / 3 Tub Method

Kurt Huber

 There are many ways to clean camp dishes, some more effective than others. Some people are fine with making them look clean, but I try and be a bit fastidious in my camp dish cleanup. Maybe I have an out of proportion fear of dysentery, but the following method is health department approved.

 Washing the dishes themselves is a 5 step process. Pre-Wash, Wash, Rinse, Sterilize and Dry.

 The Following equipment and Supplies are required

  • (3) Wash Tubs

  • Water

  • Hot water

  • Soap

  • Sanitation chemicals

  • Scrub brush and/or a sponge

Step 1 Pre-Wash

The first step is to scrape off as much excess food and grease as possible. The reason for this is to make the  wash water in the next step  last as long as possible. Sticking dirty dishes directly into the clean wash water just creates dirty wash water.

Step 2 Wash

In a wash tub or bucket of soapy warm water clean off all the remaining food residue and grease. Do not move onto the next step until it is clean. shake as much soapy water as possible and move on to the next step.

Step 3 Rinse

In a second tub of hot water is for rinsing off the remaining soap.

Step 4 Sanitize

The third wash tub is to sanitize your dishes. A solution of chlorine bleach (1 tbs per gallon) or other sanitizing agents (such as steramine) in any temperature water. Soak  for 1 minute. You can use Boiling hot water to sanitize but that is trickier and a little more dangerous.

Step 5 Dry

If possible air dry your dishes. If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to air dry use paper towels. Do NOT use your dirty dish towel, that will just spread a nice coating of bacteria all over your freshly cleaned dishes. A mesh bag that you can hang up that holds your clean dishes and pots is very helpful.

Step 6 Clean Up the Clean Up

After you are done washing the dishes you must clean up from the clean up. First take the wash water and strain out all the food bits and dispose of them in the trash. Dispose of the water by broadcasting is over a wide area, 200 feet from your camp and any river or lake. Take the rinse water, pour it in the wash tub, rinse it around and then broadcast it as above. Pour the contents of the sanitization tub  into the rinse  tub and then let it sit for a minute. Then pour the sanitation solution from the rinse tub to the wash tub and let it sit again for one minute.  Once again broadcast the sanitization water. Let the tubs air dry.

Other Helpful Hints

* Clean your dishes form cleanest to dirties.. save that greasy bacon fry pan till last, because once you are done with that, your dishwater will have to be replaced.

* Use a Biodegradable soap such as Camp Suds. A little goes a long way.

Cooler Corn Infographic

Kurt Huber
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A little Infographic on cooler corn. Cooler corn is an easy way to cook corn for a large group of people.

a Printable (PDF)  version of the Infographic is available here

To make Cooler Corn..

  • Shuck corn on the cob (one or two per hungry person
  • Place Corn In Cooler
  • Add Hot Water to Cover Corn
  • Close cooler and wait 30 Minute
  • Open Cooler and enjoy perfectly cooked corn

What is a Chuck Box

Kurt Huber

What is a chuck box? A chuck box is a dedicated box that carries your camping kitchen gear in an organized fashion. Having your gear organized has several advantages. First if you have a dedicated Camping Kitchen Box (Chuck Box or Grub Box, or Patrol Box (as the Boy Scouts call it) ) loaded up with your camp kitchen gear, your packing for your next adventure is already half done. A proper chuck box is not just a box though. It should have dedicated shelves and drawers that keep your camp kitchen gear organized and easy to access.

What makes the Camping Kitchen Box different then a typical chuck box? The first standout feature is its weight. Traditional chuck boxes are made from plywood. depending on the construction method used, and the thickness of the plywood, these boxes can way anywhere from 30 to 60 or more lbs. empty. The unladen Camping Kitchen Box weights 12 pounds (less then 1 stone). That extra weight makes a big difference.

Another outstanding feature of the Camping Kitchen Box is it's layout. It was designed to accommodate certain critical pieces of equipment. The first piece of equipment is your stove. The CKB stove compartment will easily swallow most standard 2 burner propane or white gas stoves, with room to spare for a griddle. The second piece of equipment that some chuck boxes ignore, because it is just not glamorous is the the wash tub. The CKB will easy fit a standard 12 quart dishpan (or three) , so you can properly keep clean up after your meals.

Finally the Camping Kitchen Box features 2 Large drawers so you can really organize your cooking utensils and other small items that would normally get lost at the bottom of a large tub or cardboard box.

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Camping Kitchen Check List

Kurt Huber

Here is everything you may want to consider when you provision your camping kitchen. You may not need everything, but you don't want to forget anything!

Equipment

Pots and Pans

  • Pots
  • Pans
  • Pot holders / Oven Mitts
  • Coffee Pot
  • Colander
  • Dutch Oven
  • Pie Iron
  • Griddle

Cooking Utensils

  • Turner (Spatula)
  • Serving Spoon
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Grilling Fork
  • Ladle
  • Whisk
  • Tongs
  • Skewers
  • Can Opener
  • Bottle Opener
  • Cork Screw
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Cutting Boards
  • Chef Knife
  • Paring Knife
  • Grater
  • Vegetable Peeler

Serving

  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Drinking Cups
  • Coffee Cups
  • Flatware (Knives, Forks, Spoons)
  • Water Jug
  • Pitcher

Cleanup

  • Dish Pans
  • Dish Drainer / Dish Towel / Mesh Bag
  • Pot Scrubber

Other Equipment

  • Stove
  • Table Cloth
  • Coolers
  • Flashlight / Headlight / Latern
  • Notebook and Pen / Pencil

Consumables

Staple Foods

  • Seasoning
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Onion Powder
    • Garlic powder
    • Cinnamon
    • etc
  • Cooking oil /Cooking Spray
  • Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate
  • Sugar
  • Creamer
  • Baking Powder
  • Backing Soda
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Mayo

Supplies

  • Aluminium Foil
  • Paper Towels
  • Trash Bags
  • Ziplock bags, assorted sizes.
  • Matches / Lighter
  • Dish Soap
  • Scrubbing Pad
  • Sponge
  • Cooking Fuel (White Gas, Propane, Wood, Charcoal, Lighter Fluid)
  • Bleach or other sanitizer