Create Your Own Ultimate DIY Camping Spice Kit

Spice up your camping with your favorite flavors!

filling cinnamon spice kit

We’ve always found that the right flavors can transform campfire meals from simple to spectacular. It’s not just about tossing ingredients into a pot; it’s about crafting a meal that brings comfort and joy, even in the great outdoors. That’s where our DIY camping spice kit comes into play for us.

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Packing a range of spices and herbs might seem fussy, but it has a profound impact. It allows us to customize each dish, adding a personal touch that makes our meals memorable. Selecting each spice we carry allows us to flavor a dish the way we prefer. And the convenience of having a versatile kit cannot be overstressed. Whether we’re using our grill or our campfire, our pie irons or foil packets, every pinch and dash from our kit elevates our meal.

Versatile Spices and Condiments

We’ve learned a thing or two about packing the right spices and condiments. They are the unsung heroes of our campfire cooking. First off, a good mix involves more than just salt and pepper. We dive into the depths of our pantry to select spices that promise versatility and a punch of flavor. The aim is to cover a broad spectrum of cuisines, from the smoky essence of paprika in some campfire chili to the warm, comforting notes of Chinese five spice in our breakfast puffs.

Benefits of a Travel Spice Kit

A travel spice kit marks the beginning of culinary adventures in the great outdoors. We’ve seen its impact firsthand. The transition from bland to grand with just a sprinkle is a game we’ve mastered over the flames of campfires.

The ability to customize flavors on the go gives us a sense of home, no matter where we might lay our heads. This isn’t just about enhancing taste; it’s about crafting memories. Each meal becomes a shared moment, elevated far beyond the sum of its parts.

Convenience comes in the form of this compact, transportable treasure trove of flavors. We no longer worry about the bulk and hassle of carrying full-sized bottles. Instead, our meticulously selected spices ensure that no matter where we are, a gourmet meal is just a dash away.

The Essentials of a Camping Spice Kit

Choosing the Right Containers

containers for spice kit

You’ve probably seen them all over pinterest and other places – those diy spice kits made from hinge top pill containers or tic tac boxes or even straws. Well, we’ve tried them and for us they just don’t work. The pill containers don’t stay closed, the tic tac boxes won’t allow us to control how much we are using, and those straw packets are a one use only tool unless you want to reseal at the campsite which may or may not be sanitary.

Food Safe Plastic

When we got serious about creating our camping spice kit we began with the containers, crucial for the kit’s backbone. Small, durable options work best, ensuring they fit snugly in any camping gear without spilling. We opted for plastic pill containers with tight-sealing lids, balancing between lightweight and practicality, for our dry spices. They’re light, nearly indestructible, and don’t take up much room. Plus, each container holds about a tablespoon of product which means there will be enough for a weekend camping trip. Because they are pill containers, they are made from food grade plastic. Being see-through allows us to identify the spices even if the labels are less than readable. Having multiple containers allows us to mix and match the lesser used spices.

For the liquid seasonings, we chose restaurant quality squeeze bottles with tips. They must withstand squishing and pressure without leaking. Glass seems appealing for preserving flavor, but it’s a risk not worth taking. Imagine broken glass in your camp kitchen kit! We considered all the options, tested several on trails and in campsites, and concluded that the plastic ones fit our needs perfectly. However, even the best of these are not as securely sealed as one would prefer, which means they get sealed in zip top plastic bags as well for safety during transport.

Key Dry Ingredients to Include

Next, we focus on the core of the kit–the spices!

jars and spices for filling

The Savory Spices

We pack salt for every journey. It’s the anchor of any dish. Too much is a disaster, but just right brings flavors to life. Pepper comes next, its sharp bite perfect for meats and veggies alike. These basics can turn bland into brilliant with just a pinch. They are foundational for enhancing flavor in numerous dishes.

Garlic powder and smoked paprika next enter the scene. They add complexity and warmth, vital for those chilly outdoor nights. These are spices that make people ask for your secret ingredient. Cumin and/or chili powder can’t be overlooked either. They’re the heart of hearty meals, adding depth to everything from morning eggs to evening stews. Don’t forget onion powder, dried oregano, and basil. They cater to a broad array of recipes, offering a taste of garden grown to boring vegetables.

Last, but definitely not least, are a couple of blends. First is ranch dressing powder. It is wonderful atop so many things – popcorn, potatoes, even vegetables. Second is a blend of spices such as basil, fennel, and oregano. It is made for frozen pizzas, but we use it on all our pizzas and most Italian inspired dishes. Last is a blend marketed as Garden Salad Seasoning which has dehydrated cheeses mixed with poppy, sesame, garlic and chives among others. It is wonderful on salads, pastas, and vegetables.

The Sweet Spices

We didn’t originally plan on also bringing a set of sweet spices but when we made our kit, it came with a total of fourteen different containers which meant we had options. We quickly realized that cinnamon is a must! And it isn’t just for desserts. We loved to sprinkle it over grilled fruits and have found that a dash in our morning coffee transforms the ordinary into something memorable. Then I wanted some five-spice powder to use with our breakfast puffs, and I thought why not use one of the extra containers.

Another time we were making festive drinks for sipping around the campfire, and I regretted not having some nutmeg, so I added it to our spice kit. And over time we’ve gradually included a variety of sweet spices that are packed and ready to grab if the menu dictates. Which is the beauty of this system…we can only take the containers that are part of our menu to save space.

The Liquids

Liquid ingredients transform outdoor cooking. Olive oil stands at the forefront of our list. It is indispensable for cooking, especially in cast iron. We recommend soy sauce (or coconut amino acids) for meats and marinades and hot sauce is another favorite. And I can’t forget about balsamic vinegar. Some may think this is overkill, but we love the tang that balsamic can add.

These aren’t just flavor boosters; they add a depth to camp meals that dry spices can’t match along. The selection is strategic, aiming for versatility in minimal space. Carrying these liquids requires a bit more care to avoid spills, but the payoff in flavor and meal satisfaction is well worth the extra step.

Flavors of the World

Interested in expanding your palette? Here are some of the typical spices used in our favorite cuisines from around the globe to expand your flavor options around the campfire!

Italian

  • Basil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Mexican

  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano

Cajun

  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Thyme

Southwest

  • Chili Powder
  • Chipotle Powder
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Smoked Paprika

Caribbean

  • Allspice
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Cloves
  • Ground Ginger
  • Nutmeg

Jerk

  • Allspice
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Nutmeg
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Greek

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ground Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Thai

  • Basil
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Curry Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Cloves
  • Ground Ginger
  • Ground Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Turmeric

Brazilian

  • Allspice
  • Bay Leaves
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Cumin
  • Mint
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Pepper
filled jars

Final Tips for Spice Kit Preparation

  • Organization – We designate sections in our kit for different types of spices and condiments, making it a breeze to find what we need without rummaging. The method saves time and frustration.
  • Storage – We’re fans of using clear, lightweight containers with secure lids. These champions withstand travel bumps and keep moisture out, preserving the quality of the spices. Plus, being able to see what’s inside without opening each container is a game-changer.
  • Labels – Labeling everything ensures we never mistake cayenne for cinnamon again. The tragic mix-up could ruin a good breakfast. A quick glance at labels saves us from spicy surprises. Our trusty label maker allows us to relabel as they get worn.
  • Stocking – Replenishing your spice supply might seem obvious but remember this after each trip. We check levels and freshness, restocking what’s low or past its prime. Ignoring this step could lead to bland meals or worse – reaching for a necessary spice and finding it empty or stale. Let’s avoid that disappointment.
  • Versatility – Last but not least, versatility is the spice of life, quite literally in our case. We pick spices and herbs that work across multiple dishes, maximizing the culinary possibilities while minimizing what we pack. Think garlic powder, chili flakes, and oregano – they’re superstars for us.

Some Suggestions for Using the Spices in Your Kit

You don’t need to strictly adhere to a recipe to elevate your culinary experience with intriguing flavors and aromas. Here are some ideas to use your kit and transform dull dishes into something truly spectacular!

  1. Smoked Paprika on your popcorn
  2. Ranch on your potatoes
  3. Cumin in your soup
  4. Cinnamon on grilled fruit
  5. Ground nutmeg in your coffee

Elevate Your Outdoor Dining Experience

We’ve laid the groundwork, chosen our flavors, and packed them tightly. Now, comes the moment we’ve been building toward – the first bite of a meal, transformed by our DIY camping spice kit. Each container in our kit holds more than just condiments; they are vessels of flavor that elevate simple campfire meals into culinary delights.

With our spice kit at hand, we found that even the simplest ingredients can morph into dishes that are nothing short of extraordinary. The sizzle of spices hitting the pan becomes the prelude to a symphony of tastes, under the vast, star-filled sky. The value of our creation becomes clear here, amidst crackling fires and the embrace of the wild.

Amidst nature’s grandeur, our DIY camping spice kit proves its worth not just as a container of spices, but as a tool for transformation. It allows us to savor dishes that are as unforgettable as the adventures that surround us. We’ve seen firsthand the magic that thoughtful preparation brings to the table, turning meals into moments that linger in memory long after the last bite.

What spices will you include in your kit? Tag us on instagram @campinganswer and let us know!

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