As summer rolls in, we’re especially excited about camping around the Pittsburgh area! There are plenty of great spots within a few hours’ drive from here. At 3 Rivers Outdoor Company, we’re always happy to help you plan your next camping adventure, and we have both new and used gear at our Regent Square storefront to meet your budget.

An essential part of camping is food! It’s always good to bring pre-packaged snacks, bars or dehydrated meals. These grab-and-go foods are perfect for camping because they’re easy and quick. With the right preparation and gear, campfire cooking can be an easy and fun part of your outdoor adventure! Here are a few things to keep in mind:

GEAR — When it comes to campfire cooking, we recommend metal or ceramic pots, pans and utensils. Little tools like these can make a big difference, so don’t forget to put them on your packing list. Other items for a great start: a good knife, a cutting surface, a light source (like Luci inflatable solar-powered lanterns), and a reliable water filtration system.

PREP — If you plan to cook meat, a cooler is essential. Make sure to keep your food cool with ice prior to cooking, and pack your leftovers soon after you’ve cooked them. The summer sun can breed bacteria quickly, so avoid leaving anything out for too long. The more of the meal you can prepare beforehand, the smoother your cooking will go. For packaging, we love no-waste, reusable silicone bags.

COOKING —There are a lot of ways to go, depending on your personal taste. The Dutch oven is a great method for stews, meats, and even desserts! If grilling is your thing, try an Adjust-a-Grill, which turns any campfire into a cooking surface. And don’t forget about the tried-and-true skewer! However you choose, it always pays to have a thermometer handy if you cook meat.

CLEANING — Make sure your fire is extinguished after you’re finished cooking, and that all your dishes (especially those used in food prep) are cleaned well. To avoid any unwanted critter company, seal any remaining food and cookware in airtight containers. Keep all this in a vehicle or a bear bag far from your sleeping area. And we can’t stress it enough: leave no trace, leave no waste. Even the best no-waste efforts can still result in a little garbage, so double-check to be sure you’ve gathered any trash before you leave.

For more meal ideas and a tips-and-tricks tutorial, join 3ROC at the East End Food Co-op on Tuesday, August 13th. We’ll offer advice and recipes, and we’ll also be dishing up a sample meal, so bring a container!