Camp kitchens size up to feed more family and friends

Welcome to camping with millennials. It's a highly social affair with plenty to eat and drink. See what your store needs to carry for 2016.

From urban millennials to the baby boomers, consumers are increasingly spending more social time outdoors.

And since meals are our natural gathering time, that means the outdoor kitchen is bustling.

Whether it be an impromptu city park picnic, cooking up dinner bivy’ed off of Half Dome with your climbing partner or a family feast in Acadia National Park, brands are designing gear solutions that bring the conveniences and luxuries enjoyed in home kitchens to the outdoors, said Kurt Gauss, director of design and marketing at GSI Outdoors.

The modern outdoorsman, once notorious for his introverted mystique and longing for alone time in the great outdoors, has transformed into quite the social butterfly and family man. In fact, the 2014 Outdoor Foundation “Outdoor Participation” report, found that 54 percent, the second-highest ranking, of Americans participated in outdoor activities to be with family/friends and 31 percent to be with people who enjoy the same things as they do.

“As more people get outside for whatever reason, they find cooking to be a positive aspect to that outdoor experience and add it to their list of activities,” said Ryan Neeley, marketing manager at Camp Chef.

To that end, camp kitchen brands are bringing items to the market adaptable to cooking more quality meals and for larger groups. More specifically, we continue to see growth in versatile cooking equipment — something that can do more than just boil water.

JetBoil’s Genesis Basecamp 2 Burner System (MSRP $350) was inspired by the company’s customers. Traditionally lightweight backpackers, they were looking for something more than the traditional backpacking stove that they could actually cook with, especially in larger group settings. The clamshell, fold-out two burner propane stove provides plenty of power — 10,000 BTUs each —capable of boiling 1 liter of water in three minutes inside the 5-liter fluxing pot. The 10-inch ceramic-coated fry pan provides healthy non-stick performance, allowing you to cook adventure-fueling meals like bacon, eggs and even pancakes.


Camp Chef creates the perfect camp kitchen atmosphere with its Redwood Fire Pit (MSRP $292). It’s smokeless, which helps eliminate fire hazards, making it safe for fire-ban restricted areas. The total burn output is 55,000 BTU. When marshmallows are just too boring, Camp Chef suggests creating a delicious treat, like a cinnamon sugar puff, in their Puff Cooking Iron (MSRP $30). If the group is looking for a little more substance you can also cook omelets, pancakes and even puff pizzas in the iron.


Craft camp
The great outdoors and craft beverages have developed quite the marriage in the past few years.

As the craft beverage revolution continues to strengthen, the outdoor industry is seeing more interest in enjoyment of the products during and after outings.

“We love enjoying a craft beer or small batch distilled spirits and it seems our customers do too,” said Kurt Gauss, director of design and marketing at GSI Outdoors. “There’s a boom in craft breweries and distilleries. These are the highest sales since the 1870s.”

GSI Outdoors celebrates the craft revolution with the Glacier Stainless Craft Vacuum Growler (MSRP $55). The stainless steel growler keeps beer, or any beverage for that matter, chilled and makes for easy transportation. GSI suggests pairing the growler with the Glacier Stainless Vacuum Imperial (MSRP $22). This pint glass offers stainless steel vacuum insulation with the look and feel of a classic British pint glass. The texturized interior provides superior nucleation for the perfect head and aroma, while the slim, lightweight design allows you to enjoy your adult beverage with ease and comfort.


The team from Stanley has also recognized the trend in craft beverage interest. “Craft beer, craft liquor, craft art, etc. In our food and beverage space the craft beer movement continues to grow exponentially,” said Stanley Director of Global Marketing JoAnne Anderson. “Consumers want to enjoy their favorite craft beer no matter where they are and are looking for solutions to best take and enjoy their favorite beers.”

Stanley’s Single Wall 64 ounce Growler (MSRP $30) and 32 ounce Grumbler (MSRP $25) are 18/8 stainless steel that won’t rust. The Steel inner lid means no plastic contact (or taste) for your beer. Stanley has also noted a rise in the “woodsman mixologist,” or those looking for craft cocktails in the outdoors, so it’s created the Adventure Happy Hour Set (MSRP $35). The five-piece set includes one shaker, plus strainer/lid, two double-wall steel rocks glasses, one citrus reamer and one jigger/cap. Each piece nests within another saving space when packing and storing.


We’ll cheers to that!

--Jessica Hamel



Coolers for camp go soft

Beer, meat and cheese. It’s all about enjoying the “simple” things in the outdoors. And we all know a cold brew tastes better at the river. If only it didn’t take an army of seven to lug the cooler full of goods to the outdoor dining space. Outdoor brands have heard the cry and more