Kitchen Setup, for Steve

Steve asked to hear more about the kitchen setup at camp.


The cook tent is a large plastic-tarp canopy over a metal frame about 12′ x 24′, and the floor is dirt and gravel. Notice the brown metal cabinet and the blue metal chest.


Because this is bear country, all food, toiletries, and smelly items are stored in a variety of secure lockers. My apron, the hotpads, unwashed coffee cups, etc. are all stashed in here. The doors are kept closed unless someone is in the tent.


Coolers and trash are stored in these metal chests. The carabiners “lock” the lid in place. Given the trouble I had getting them off and on, the bears don’t stand a chance. Trash goes out almost daily to Seward.


Dishes are cleaned with sea water in three steps: washed in hot water with biodegradable soap, rinsed in hot water, sanitized in cool water with a capful of bleach. The bleach serves two purposes: It kills germs that can make crew members ill, and it masks odors that might attract bears. Keeping bears and humans safe is a top priority.

The bucket with the blue lid is the gray water bucket (all solids are garbage). Wash and rinse water is gray water and is disposed of below the tide line so as not to attract bears. The bleach water is used to wipe down tables, chairs, food containers, etc. and is then sprinkled on the gravel floor and around the tent to make the area unattractive to bears. I saw bears almost daily, and several walked through or around camp, yet not one expressed interest in or curiosity about the cook tent.

Note also the black canisters below the table on the right. They’re hard to make out, I know. Those are bear-resistant food containers for times when food needs to be taken out and about. They have no handles for picking up, they are too big for a bear to get its teeth around, and they require special human talents to open. The most a bear can do is bat one around with its paws. It’s how backpackers transport food in bear country.


The two white buckets are for sea water. The large pot heats the sea water, the kettle contains drinking water. Drinking water is brought out on boats from Seward. The large 3-burner propane stove has a griddle and grill that sit on top for more cooking options.


This is the freezer, stored outside the cook tent. It’s covered with a reflective tarp.


And another tarp, for no good reason I can think of, other than it was the first tarp and was never removed.


Big surprise, right?


There are two of these that must be unhooked to lift the lid.




Eureka! You work up an appetite just getting to the food around here. What? Vegetables? Are you kidding me?

That’s glacier ice, picked up off the beach, hence the gravel. I decided I didn’t like gravel in the coolers, so I began dunking the ice in sea water prior to putting it in the coolers.


Backup ice, stored in tubs in the shade. Sea ice is not always available on the beaches, so we stock up when it is.


This is the hand-washing station outside the cook tent. The bucket on the left holds rain water collected off tarps. The tube in the left bucket goes over to a metal pipe attached to the right bucket. It’s hard to see the metal pipe in the pic, but it goes up above the bucket and curves down like a faucet in a kitchen sink. Note the bulb on the tube mid-way between the buckets. Your foot pumps the bulb to make water flow into the bucket on the right.

And that’s the kitchen setup. Any questions?

Categories: Alaska

2 replies »

  1. Good timing, Jen. I’ve been at camp all week and just returned home yesterday. While I had an Internet up-link at camp, I didn’t get a lot of time on the computer.

    Thanks for the explination of your camp kitchen. I’m going to post a link from my blog. That’ll give my readers a few ideas if they have to set up a camp kitchen under primitive condictions.

  2. You’re welcome, Steve. Isn’t it amazing where the internet can lead you?

    Now, can I interest you in some cross stitch?! (Kidding, of course.)