About Me

Hello and welcome to my blog, Love and Trails! My name is Morgan and I am the author, educator, map creator, chef and inventor around here! Love and Trails was born out of my passion for the outdoors. It is an avenue for me to share my knowledge and skills with others. Through it I hope to inspire others to embark on adventures of their own.


The Ultimate Compact Car Camping Kitchen

This past week I have been on a mission to get my Honda Pilot all set for summer trips. Number 4 on my list of key requirements for the ultimate camping vehicle is the car kitchen!

Goals: Build a compact car kitchen that can be easily stored in the car and have the capability to build a gourmet meal for 4 people.

Love and Trails - Ultimate Car Camping Essentials-9

Aside from my Coleman 2 Burner stove these are the three kitchen essentials. 1 ) A trustworthy pot set. 2) A small selection of dishes, cups and containers 3) The Ultimate Utility Kit.

The Ultimate Utility Kit 
Love and Trails - Ultimate Car Camping Essentials

The Utility kit lies at the heart of my car camping kit and originated from a 2012 trip to New Zealand with my mother, Pat. We had anticipated car camping for our 9 week adventure and had been warned about the high price of outdoor gear over there. As such we went to work building the ultimate kitchen kit that we could take over with us. Four years later this little kit has been beyond perfected and is capable of handling many things!

To house all of the contents I use a little storage pouch from REI, This pouch features flaps that you can velcrow in in order to organize your items. I am sure you can find many possible solutions for this.

The Bottom Layer

In the very bottom of the Utility Kit I keep basic eating utensils, my GSI Drip Coffee Maker, and a selection of spices. Don’t forget to tuck in a dish cloth in this part. Then the very first “storage flap” contains a collection of garbage bags, and ziplock bags of a variety of sizes.

Love and Trails - Ultimate Car Camping Essentials- GSI Coffee Maker

GSI Trip Coffee Maker. At home we are big fans of the Aeropress, and have taken it with us on the road however have chosen to revert to the drip machine for ease of clean up.

Love and Trails - Ultimate Car Camping Essentials- GSI Spice Rocket

GSI Spice Rockets! For the car I have a large salt and pepper, cumin (we use a lot in Guacamole!) and two spice rockets. One of the rocket contains more commonly used things so we can grab it should we head into the backcountry.

The Middle Layer

The Middle Layer contains the bread and butter of the cooking kit, the cooking utensils themselves. I have to admit I was a little skeptical of specialized cooking utensils at first, but these GSI Camp Essentials are over 4 years old and still in prime condition! My favourite has to be the GSI grater. It is a perfect size, I can grate copious amounts of cheese in no time flat but can also do Garlic, Ginger and other fine ingredients. Judging be wear the two runner ups would be the small GSI knife and the flipper.

Love and Trails - Ultimate Car Camping Essentials GSI Cooking Utensils

The bread and butter of my car camping cook set.


The Top Layer

The top layer contains items that I generally need quick access to; lighters, water bucket, soap, etc. While none of these are particularly glamorous, they all work together for a flawless front country culinary adventure!

Love and Trails - Ultimate Car Camping Essentials-6

The top layer contains items requiring frequent access.

Love and Trails - Ultimate Car Camping Essentials

Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink, Sea to Summit Bucket, Clothes Line, Lighters, Crunch It Recycling Tool, Extra Pot Handle.

Love and Trails - Ultimate Car Camping Essentials-8

Water Bladder Cleaning Tabs, Dish Soap, Pot Scrummer, Water Tabs


And just like that, aside from food you are set to go!

Love and Trails - Ultimate Car Camping Essentials

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Jeffrey Whitaker
Jeffrey Whitaker

Morgan can all these things be found at REI? What about your plates? Are you looking to get a collapsible table? Or do you already have one? I like those zipper storage bags. I want some of those.

Jeffrey Whitaker
Jeffrey Whitaker

Hey there Morgan I just left REI and had sticker shock. You can easily get overwhelmed by all the stuff that they have in there. I was wondering if you had any of the cooking items or any other products that you bought from REI that maybe you can post on your website. Such as item number or something so I can go into REI and go straight to it. Instead of looking around for it?? Thanks.