The Best Camp Kitchen Accessories of 2023
Our team of testers vetted 37 cooking gadgets. These five are worthy of your precious trunk space.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
The camp kitchen is a place of one-upmanship. Every camper worth their salt has a classic two-burner and a cooler. Want to really turn heads at a campground? Try a mobile plancha (a Spanish-style griddle), or a solar-powered refrigerator. This year’s winners made simple kitchen tasks that much easier, or showed us how to cook outdoors in brand new ways.
The Winners at a Glance
CamelBak ChillBak Pack 30
Magma Crossover Single Burner Firebox
Yeti Roadie 48 Wheeled Cooler
Kleen Kanteen Rise Tumbler
Messermeister Overland Knife
How We Test
Number of Testers: 4
Number of Products Tested: 37
Number of Dishes Cleaned: 65
Marshmallows Burned: 16
Meet Our Lead Testers
Evan Green is an Albuquerque, New Mexico-based freelance writer, photographer, and filmmaker and an avid mountain biker, snowboarder, and climber. He loves adventuring around the Mountain West while documenting the people and places that make these outdoor spaces special. His go-to camp meal is green-chile cheeseburgers grilled over the fire. Find him on instagram @thegreenevan
Sara Robbins is a Crested Butte, Colorado-based filmmaker and photographer. Whether traveling for a gig or pursuing passion on skis or bikes, she spends dozens of nights under the stars each year trying new recipes. Find her on instagram @sbeamrobbins
Stephen Starks is an adventurer, aspiring subsistence farmer, and content creator located in Greeley, Colorado. He found a new love for the outdoors during the pandemic, inspiring a goal to finish all of Colorado’s 14ers. Find him on instagram @starksstrong
The Reviews: The Best Car Camping Kitchen Accessories of 2023
CamelBak ChillBak Pack 30 ($325)
Pros: Easy to transport, well-insulated, includes group hydration spigot
Cons: Dry storage blocks cooler access
Over three months of testing, the ChillBak proved to be the ultimate mobile watering hole, with tons of storage, 48 hours of ice retention time in mid-summer New Mexico heat, and a comfortable carry. Inside a drybag-style roll-top, the pack holds 20 liters of insulated storage, four liters of dry storage via a divider shelf, and a six-liter water reservoir for staying hydrated and cooking. The high-capacity reservoir, a standout feature, was a hit with a group of four on an 8-mile hike in Taos, New Mexico, as it held enough water to top off water bottles, rinse empty cans, and fill doggy bowls with a simple one-handed spigot operation via a hose. The backpack straps are well-padded for treks to remote picnic spots, although fully loaded with water, ice, drinks, and food, you won’t be going too far off the beaten path. With a Bluesign-approved 400-denier nylon ripstop outer, you don’t have to worry about babying it once you’ve found your secret spot, either.
Bottom Line: A truly mobile bar for parties, picnics, and family outings
Magma Crossover Single Burner Firebox ($399)
Pros: Modular design, durable industrial materials, high BTU-output
Cons: Expensive, heavy, only one burner
For serious wilderness chefs hoping to streamline their kitchen setup, the stainless Magma Firebox offers impressive versatility, with three cooking attachments and seemingly endless mounting options. The basic Single Burner Firebox works as a supercharged stove with 15,000 BTUs (50 percent more than a Coleman Classic burner) and a helpful (albeit imprecise) altitude adjustment lever. Burly stainless steel add-ons include a pizza oven, grill, and plancha but they each incur a hefty fee—between $200-$300. The flipside is that you can turn your campsite into an anything-goes 24-hour diner. “The best thing about it is how endless your culinary options are,” remarked tester Stephen Starks, who used it to cook chicken wings for a small group in the San Juan National Forest in Colorado. The oversized handle and simple hinged lid makes it easy to transport, although at 28 pounds for the single burner (a $699 double requires two people to transport), it’s one of the heaviest car camping stoves we’ve ever tested. You can take the load off by mounting the steel behemoth to a hitch or tripod (mounts also sold separately) if you’re headed to a more remote campsite.
Bottom Line: A hardcore burner with multiple configurations and mounting points, this premium stove was built for gourmands with money to spend.
Yeti Roadie 60 Wheeled Cooler ($500)
Pros: Burly wheels, smooth-operating handle
Cons: Heavy, rubber feet not the most durable
We love tough hard coolers—until it’s time to move them. Yeti solved that problem by keeping the rugged construction of its popular Tundra cooler, and adding a much-improved handle and wheels to help make hauling 56 liters of food and drink easy. “The wheels are a major plus” exclaimed Crested Butte, Colorado based-tester Sara Robbins. Gravel paths and small obstacles were easy to roll over using the Roadie’s “Neverflat” polyurethane wheels, but we hit the cooler’s limits when camping on deep sand along the Chama River in New Mexico. Handles are often the weak point on rolling coolers, but that’s not the case here: the telescoping metal handle provided smooth and reliable extension with rough handling. The Roadie offered the same powerful seal as it does with its other coolers, ice water stayed in the cooler when it was rolled over bumpy terrain, although we found that some liquid did seep out when it was knocked over onto its side. Ice retention is also up there with the best of them.
Bottom Line: A rugged, rolling cooler for far-flung parties in the outdoors.
Klean Kanteen 16-oz Rise Tumbler ($30)
Pros: Made of recycled materials, durable
Cons: Not fully leak-proof
Sleek, vacuum-insulated cups are a dime a dozen these days. Insulated cups made from recycled materials? Not so easy to find. Klean Kanteen’s 16-ounce tumbler uses 90-percent post-consumer recycled stainless steel while the vessel’s outer powder coating promises a less toxic chemical breakdown when it eventually wears off. We had no issues with durability, though, with the stainless-steel base holding up to accidental drops from category manager Evan Green during a trip to Moab. A cup holder-friendly design and easy flip lid make this a great daily driver from the office to the outdoors. We wish the cap was fully leakproof (it does fend off splashes) but the simple, gasketed design, and wide, reusable straw opening make accidents a rare occurrence.
Bottom Line: A durable, insulating tumbler with environmental cred.
Messermeister Overland Chef’s Knife ($250)
Pros: Durable, sharp blade; grippy handle
Cons: Pricey sheath sold separately
Sick of slicing jalapeños with a pocket knife, but not willing to risk your fragile Japanese blade from home? The eight-inch Overland Chef’s Knife strikes a careful balance between the two with a tough, Nitro-B steel that holds its 16-degree edge well, from chopping veggies to whittling the perfect marshmallow stick. A lanyard loop and grippy micarta canvas handle adds to the knife’s backcountry pedigree, especially when handling with greasy or wet fingers in a camp kitchen. Our only gripe? At this price we wish the $60 tanned leather sheath was included.
Bottom Line: A sharp blade with a grippy handle that doesn’t need babying.
When it’s time to upgrade your gear, don’t let the old stuff go to waste–donate it for a good cause and divert it from the landfill. our partner, Gear Fix, will repair and resell your stuff for free! Just box up your retired items, print a free shipping label, and send them off. We’ll donate 100 percent of the proceeds to The Outdoorist Oath.