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Do you get as excited about cooking over an open fire as I do? If so, you’re in the right place! We’re going to take a look at the best camping cookware for open fire cooking available in 2023 so you can whip up campfire meals your friends will be envious of.
I’ve done the legwork, researched, and compiled the top campfire cooking essentials based on real camping experiences, expert advice, and customer reviews.
What would open fire cooking be without a quality cast iron skillet, Dutch oven, or set of stainless steel pots and pans.
You’ll enjoy effortless, campfire cooking, without compromising on taste or quality. So, stick around, because you’re about to become an expert in open fire cookware!
**Since we are responsible adventurers, I do want to add the disclaimer that you should check to ensure fires are allowed wherever you will be setting up camp. Please, do not be that person that thinks the rules do not apply to them.**
Top Must-Haves for Open Fire Cooking
- Best Cast-Iron for Open Fire Cooking: Lodge Yellowstone Edition 10.25-inch Cast Iron Skillet and the Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven
- Best Open Fire Camping Pots and Pans: Stanley Even-Heat Camp Pro Cook set
- Best Campfire Grill Grate: Viator Outdoors Grill Grate
Cast-Iron Skillets: Perfect for Campfire Cooking
You can’t talk about campfire cookware without starting with the trusty cast-iron skillet. Not only do they offer unrivaled heat retention, but they’re also versatile enough to handle just about any camping recipe you can throw at them.
Settling for anything less would feel like a disservice to your culinary adventures.
Heat Retention and Distribution: A cast-iron skillet is unbeatable when it comes to heat consistency. They retain heat superbly and distribute it evenly, essential for cooking over an unpredictable open fire.
Whether it’s searing a steak or simmering a stew, your food will cook evenly without hot spots that might burn your meal.
Unparalleled Versatility: A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is a multitasker’s dream. From breakfast pancakes to dinner casseroles, there’s little it can’t handle.
Plus, it transitions seamlessly from stovetop to oven, to fire, making it a practical choice for all your campfire cooking needs.
Longevity and Durability: Cast-iron skillets are nearly indestructible. They can withstand high temperatures without damage, and with proper care, can last a lifetime.
This durability makes it an excellent investment for serious campfire chefs.
Enhanced Flavor: And let’s not forget the flavor. A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet imparts a unique depth of flavor to your dishes that’s hard to replicate. It’s the kind of cooking experience that can transform a humble meal into an unforgettable feast.
Best Cast Iron Camping Skillets
Here’s our lineup of top cast iron skillet camping cookware for 2023 that will take your campfire cooking to the next level.
- Lodge 10.25′ Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet: A tried-and-true favorite among campers, the Lodge cast iron skillet comes pre-seasoned and ready for your campfire. Its impressive heat retention and even distribution make it perfect for anything from searing steaks to simmering stews.
- Victoria 10′ Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet: With a larger cooking surface, the Victoria skillet is fantastic for family camping trips. It’s pre-seasoned, has a long, curved handle for better leverage, and features a spout for easy pouring.
- Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set: This robust skillet set from Utopia Kitchen offers excellent heat retention and a pre-seasoned surface, suitable for a variety of dishes. It includes 6, 8, and 10 inch cast-iron skillets all with dual pour spouts that add a touch of convenience.
Campfire Dutch Ovens: A Classic and Versatile Choice
The allure of a Dutch oven for open fire cooking is truly unmatched. This versatile piece has proven its worth over time, becoming an indispensable campsite companion.
So, what sets the Dutch oven apart for campfire cooking? Its thick walls and snug lid ensure optimal heat distribution, accommodating a wide range of cooking styles.
Dutch ovens are an all-in-one tool for cooking over an open fire. From simmering a hearty stew, baking fresh bread, to roasting a succulent chicken, there are not many camping recipes a Dutch oven can’t handle!
Choosing the right Dutch oven for your open fire cooking adventures might seem overwhelming. That’s why I’ve simplified the process for you.
Choose one of these two top-rated Dutch ovens, and don’t forget to share your culinary creations when you return from your camping trip!
Best Dutch Ovens for Camping
|Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven||8 Quart||Includes a lid that doubles as a griddle. Doesn’t come with a lid lifter, but here’s one from Lodge|
|Overmont Camp Dutch Oven||6 Quart||Comes with a lid lifter and stands for easier cooking|
Stainless Steel Cookware: Durable and Resistant to Rust
When it comes to cooking on an open fire, stainless steel cookware reigns supreme. These pieces are known for their durability and robustness, and they’re perfect for the campfire culinary enthusiast.
Why choose stainless steel?
- High heat tolerance: Stainless steel can withstand high temperatures, making it ideal for those sizzling campfire meals.
- Durability: This cookware is built to last. It’s tough, resilient, and can handle the rough and tumble of camping life.
- Rust resistance: Unlike other materials, stainless steel doesn’t rust easily. This ensures your cookware maintains its quality and longevity, even with frequent outdoor use.
Remember, though, that every rose has its thorn. Stainless steel cookware may not be the best conductor of heat, which could lead to uneven cooking.
Yet, this minor setback can be mitigated by choosing high-quality, multi-ply stainless steel pieces.
Best Stainless Steel Camping Cookware Picks
Now, let’s dive into our top picks of stainless steel camping cookware for 2023.
|Product||Features||Why we love it|
|Stanley Even-Heat Camp Pro Cookset||Durable, rust-resistant, high heat tolerance||A sturdy, reliable set that’s perfect for all your campfire cooking needs|
|The Pathfinder School Stainless Steel Frying Pan||High-quality, excellent heat distribution||It ensures even cooking, built to withstand the test of time, and comes with a lid|
Titanium Cookware: The Perfect Choice for Ultra-Light Camp Cooking
Titanium cookware is the go-to pick for minimalist campers and backpackers alike when it comes to cooking over an open fire. Although titanium has poor heat dispersion, it’s great for making soup or boiling water for your dehydrated camping meals.
Just don’t put your titanium camping cookware directly on any coals as it will warp.
Also, you won’t want to get too attached to how your titanium pots or cups look out of the box. Your campfire will inevitably add soot to the finish that even though it doesn’t clean off easily, will transfer over to your pack.
So have a dedicated bag to put them in and all will be fine!
Best Titanium Camping Kettle
The MSR Titan Kettle is a versatile titanium pot serving as a mug, bowl, and pot, ideal for travel, boiling water, melting snow, and food consumption.
Key features include:
- Maximum heating efficiency design with rounded bottom edges
- Drip-less spout for controlled pouring
- Secure, tight-fitting lid
- Foldable handles for space optimization
- Made of titanium; stronger than aluminum, 45% lighter than steel
- Outstanding corrosion resistance and chemically non-reactive
- Liquid capacity: 0.85 liters (28.7 fl. oz.)
- Weight: 4.2 ounces
- Size: 850ml, optimal for one person
- Facilitates boiling, stewing, and stirring
Some drawbacks of the MSR Titan Kettle are potential denting and bending due to the titanium build, lack of measurement markings, and an 8oz fuel canister not fitting inside with the lid on. Nonetheless, it is highly recommend or backpacking and camping due to its multi-use, efficient design, and lightweight material.
Best Titanium Pot and Pan Set
- The TOAKS Titanium 1600ml Pot with Pan is a lightweight, high-quality cookware set ideal for outdoor use.
- The set includes a pot and a pan that can also function as a lid.
- Made from pure titanium, the cookware is resistant to corrosion, withstands high temperatures and has a neutral effect on taste.
- The pot has ounce and liter marks for precise measurements.
- The handles fold away for compact storage and the set comes with a mesh storage sack.
- Despite its quick heat transfer, controlling heat for cooking or simmering can be challenging.
- Potential issues include the pan’s loose fit on the pot, hot pot handles on high heat, poor lid nesting onto the pan, and flimsy handles.
- The TOAKS Titanium 1600ml Pot with Pan is praised for its lightweight design and high-quality construction, making it suitable for backpackers.
Best Titanium Solo Cookware Set
The Snow Peak Titanium Mini Solo Cookset is an upgraded model with several new features:
- Streamlined handles and a larger pot
- A nearly doubled volume cup
- A stay-cool silicone tab on the lid for easy removal
- Rounded bottom edges for better heating efficiency and easy cleaning
It is designed for easy packing with fold-flat handles and a nesting cup. The pot has a 30 fl. oz. capacity and the cup holds up to 18.3 fl. oz. The entire set, made of lightweight titanium, weighs only 6.38 ounces.
The Snow Peaks Mini Solo’s compact size and lightweight design, make it perfect for minimalist campfire cooking. You will appreciate the silicone lid’s versatility and heat retention along with its quality and durability.
Overall, the Snow Peak Titanium Mini Solo Cookset is a great choice for solo camping and backpacking trips.
Aluminum Cookware: Lightweight and Convenient for Campfire Cooking
If you don’t feel like lugging around cast iron cookware or you count every pound that goes into your car every camping trip then aluminum cookware is your cooking tool of choice.
Not only is it lightweight, making it easy to carry on your camping adventures, but aluminum also conducts heat evenly, ensuring your food cooks perfectly every time.
Lightweight, durable, and cost-effective, aluminum cookware is a favorite among camping enthusiasts. Its heat conducting abilities are superior, ensuring your meals are cooked evenly, leaving no room for cold spots.
Plus, it’s easy to clean – a definite advantage when you’re deep in the wilderness!
- Lightweight: When you’re backpacking or hiking into your camping spot, every ounce counts. Aluminum cookware is much lighter than its stainless steel or cast iron counterparts, making it a popular choice for those who need to keep their packs as light as possible.
- Durable: Camping can be rough on your gear, especially when it involves open fire cooking. Aluminum pots and pans are sturdy and can take a beating without compromising their functionality or form.
- Cost-effective: While there are more expensive options out there, aluminum cookware provides a great balance between cost and performance. It’s an affordable choice that doesn’t skimp on quality or effectiveness.
- Easy to clean: Let’s face it, when you’re out in the wilderness, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time on dishes. Aluminum cookware is typically non-stick and easy to clean, making post-meal clean-up a breeze.
Aluminum cookware really shines when it comes to open fire cooking. From the delicious meals you can whip up to the easy clean-up afterward, it’s a great addition to your camping gear.
Best Aluminum Camping Cookware for Open Fire
GSI Outdoors is a well-known and respected brand in the camping world, so it’s no surprise their cast aluminum Dutch oven is a dream come true for campfire chefs everywhere. With its tight-fitting lid and superior heat retention, the GSI Outdoors 12-inch Aluminum Dutch Oven cooks meals evenly and quickly. Plus, it’s lightweight and easy to clean, making it a real game-changer. They do make a 10-inch version, but it doesn’t have legs like the 12-inch does. Although if you buy both, they do nest together for easy transport.
If you are camping on a budget then look no further than the Coleman Aluminum Nesting Mess Kit. For less than 10 lines on a Powerball Lotto ticket you get a 7-inch frying pan, 16 oz. pot and lid, 6.5-inch deep plate, and an 8 oz. aluminum cup that all nicely nest together. This might not be the best option for family camping, but if you are flying solo, want to save space, and spend your money on the finer things in life – I’m looking at you ‘all things Pendleton USA’ – this Coleman Mess Kit will do.
Campfire Cooking Accessories: 10 Essentials
Unleashing your culinary skills over a campfire is an art form, and like any artist, you need the right tools. Fortunately, I’ve curated a list of essential campfire cooking accessories that will enhance your campfire cooking experience. Let’s delve into these 10 items every camping kitchen must include.
1. Cooking Grates
Cooking Grates: Let’s start with the basics. A cooking grate is essentially a grill that you place over your campfire. These grates are generally made of sturdy, heat-resistant materials like stainless steel or cast iron.
The benefits? They give you the freedom to cook just about anything you can on your home grill. Imagine enjoying a beautifully charred burger or perfectly roasted veggies, all cooked on an open fire. It’s the stuff of camping dreams!
- My Top Choice: Finding a grill grate with a collapsible grilling surface was a priority for me, so this Viator Outdoors campfire gate that weighs just under 4 pounds perfectly fit the bill. The adjustable height lets you control the intensity of the heat on your food.
Tripods: Next up, let’s chat about tripods. A tripod is a three-legged stand that you place over your fire. You then hang a pot or kettle from it, allowing you to cook or boil food at a controlled distance from the flames.
It’s perfect for creating hearty campfire stews or brewing up a pot of fresh coffee in the great outdoors.
- The Best Choice: Finding a tripod with adjustable legs is like finding that ideal camping spot with no one else around. Luckily I was able to find this Lodge Adjustable Camp Tripod with chain. This way, you can easily modify the distance between your cookware and the fire, giving you more control over your cooking.
Whether you’re a campfire cooking newbie or a seasoned outdoor chef, the right cooking grate and tripod can seriously level up your open-fire culinary game.
3. Grilling Basket
Want to grill veggies or fish easily? A grilling basket is your answer. Its design allows for easy flipping, ensuring your food is cooked evenly without the risk of losing it to the fire.
4. Campfire Coffee Pot
For those who can’t start their day without a caffeine fix, brewing the perfect campsite coffee is a must! This is where a campfire coffee pot becomes indispensable. It’s designed to withstand the heat of a campfire, ensuring a hot cup of joe to kickstart your morning. Do yourself a favor and get this one by GSI Outdoors.
5. Extendable Marshmallow Roasting Sticks
What’s camping without s’mores? Extendable marshmallow roasting sticks are a fun accessory that’s not just for kids. They’re adjustable, lightweight, and perfect for roasting marshmallows or hot dogs over the fire.
We’ve come a long way. When I was a kid and had to walk uphill both ways to go camping, my only option was to whittle a stick to a point if I wanted to roast marshmallows over an open fire!
6. Camping Utensil Set
A good camping utensil set is a must. Look for one that’s durable, lightweight, and comes with all the essentials – a knife, fork, spoon, and perhaps even a corkscrew for those perfect campfire wine moments.
7. Crock Pot
A thermal cooker is a great energy-saving device that uses trapped heat to cook food over a prolonged period. It’s perfect for making meals while you’re out exploring, then coming back to a hot, ready-to-eat meal. Stanley makes a great
8. Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil is the most lightweight cookware of all! All manner of foods can be baked in tinfoil in the embers of your campfire, from baked potatoes and buttered corn (throw in some garlic for extra flavor), to baked bananas and smores.
9. Heat Resistant Gloves
Heat-resistant gloves – you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that if you’re cooking over a fire, things will get hot. If you’re traveling lightweight, then a tea towel can pull double duty as an oven mitt, but if you’re not short on space in the car then it’s worth throwing in a pair of heat-resistant gloves.
10. Condiments Box
It’s worth having a dedicated condiments box which you can add to depending on what you’re cooking on a particular trip. Your basics might include olive oil, dried herbs, salt, pepper, stock cubes, and spices. Try using a pill organizer to easily transport your seasonings.
What to Look for When Choosing Camping Cookware for Open Fire
Choosing the right cookware for open fire camping isn’t as simple as picking the first set you see. It’s all about balancing durability, weight, and functionality. Here are some key factors to consider:
Material: Material matters in open fire cooking. Cast iron is a popular choice for its heat retention and durability, but it’s heavy. Anodized aluminum and stainless steel are lighter options but may not distribute heat as evenly.
Weight and Portability: When you’re trudging through the wilderness, every ounce counts. Look for cookware that’s lightweight yet robust. Compact and nestable sets can save valuable space in your backpack.
Heat Resistance: We’re cooking on an open fire here, folks. Your cookware needs to withstand high temperatures without warping or damaging.
Non-Stick Surface: Who wants to scrub off burnt beans in the wild? A non-stick surface can save you time and effort on clean-up.
Handles: Imagine trying to lift a hot pot with a short handle. Long, heat-resistant handles are safer and more comfortable to use.
Accessories: Consider the extras. Some sets include handy tools like pot lifters, plates, mugs, or even a coffee pot.
Remember, the best camping cookware for open fire is the one that suits your personal needs and cooking style.
How to Clean and Maintain Your Camping Cookware for Open Fire
Keeping your camping cookware clean and well-maintained is as important as choosing the right set.
Here’s how you can do it:
Cleaning Your Cookware
After a lovely outdoor meal, cleaning might not be the most exciting task, but it’s crucial. Here are some steps you can follow:
- First, remove leftover food from the cookware using a non-abrasive scrubber. Avoid using metal scrubbers as they can damage the cookware surface.
- Mix warm water with a mild, biodegradable soap. Dunk a soft sponge in this solution and gently clean each piece of your cookware.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water, ensuring no soap residue is left.
- Finally, dry all the pieces completely before storing them to prevent mold and mildew.
Maintaining Your Cookware
Proper maintenance can significantly increase your camping cookware’s lifespan. Here are some tips:
- Before using new cookware, wash them thoroughly to remove any manufacturing residues.
- Season your cast iron cookware: If you have cast iron pots or pans, remember to season them. This is done by applying a layer of cooking oil to the inside of the pot or pan and heating it over the fire until it smokes. This creates a non-stick layer and prevents rust.
- Store your cookware in a dry place. If you’re storing it in a camping bag, make sure the bag is dry to avoid rust or mildew.
Remember, good cookware is an investment. If cared for properly, these tools can accompany you on countless camping trips, serving you delicious meals by the fire.
Campfire Cooking FAQs
What are some safety tips for using camping cookware on open fire?
When the moon’s up and you’re out in the wild, there’s nothing more satisfying than a well-cooked meal over an open fire. But, as with any cooking method, you’ve got to keep safety front and center. So, how do you do that? Let’s dive into some essential safety tips for using camping cookware on an open fire.
Choosing the right location: The cardinal rule of cooking over an open fire? Location, location, location. Always set up your campfire away from flammable materials, like dry leaves, grass, or your tent, to avoid accidental fires.
Also, consider wind direction to prevent smoke and sparks from blowing into your camp.
Preparation is key: Before you get cooking, ensure your fire is manageable. A roaring bonfire might be great for ghost stories, but it’s a safety risk when it comes to cooking.
Aim for a small, steady fire and keep a bucket of water or dirt nearby for emergency use.
Handle with care: Remember, camping cookware gets extremely hot on open fires. So, always use a pot lifter or oven mitts when handling cookware.
And don’t forget to secure pots and pans properly on the fire grate to prevent tipping.
Keep it clean: Food residue can build up on your cookware and become a fire hazard. Cleaning your cookware after every meal not only helps with safety but also ensures your food tastes its best.
Bonus tip: avoid using soaps or detergents that can harm the environment.
Respect the flames: Last but not least, treat fire with respect. Never leave a fire unattended and make sure it’s completely extinguished before you hit the hay. Remember, a safe campfire is a happy campfire.
Can I use regular kitchen pots and pans for open fire cooking?
It’s a common question – can you take your favorite kitchen pots and pans camping? Well, while it’s technically possible, it’s not exactly the best move. Let’s break down why.
Durability: Most kitchen cookware isn’t built to withstand the intensity of an open fire. You’re likely to end up with warped and damaged pots and pans.
Heat Distribution: Cookware for camping is designed to distribute heat evenly, something your kitchen pots might not do effectively on an open fire.
Materials: Non-stick pans can emit toxic fumes when heated over a high flame. Plus, ceramic and glass can crack or explode from the direct heat.
So, while your kitchenware might look like it can handle the job, you’re better off investing in cookware specifically designed for open fire cooking like the recommendations above.
Wrapping It Up…
Choosing the best camping cookware for open fire cooking is a crucial part of your camping gear.
From heat-resistant materials to compact designs, the right cookware can make a huge difference in your outdoor cooking experience.
So, for your 2023 camping adventures, don’t just settle for any ordinary kitchenware; go for those specifically designed for open fire cooking, like the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, Dutch Oven, or the Stanley Adventure Set.
Remember, cooking over an open fire is not just about feeding your appetite; it’s about embracing the outdoor experience, relishing the simple joy of preparing a meal under the open sky, and creating those unforgettable memories around the campfire.
Happy camping and bon appétit!