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If the thought of a juicy steak washed down with a glass of red wine sounds more appealing than instant ramen or granola bars then welcome to the gourmet camping club.
Before we start debating the merits of different recipes, let’s cover the camping cookware you need for your various cuisines.
The good news is, cooking delicious food outdoors doesn’t mean having to pack your entire kitchen every time you want to go camping.
Here’s my selection of the best camping cookware to create a meal worthy of sharing on Instagram!
Different Camping Cookware for Different Styles
Before we look at pots and pans, it’s worth considering how you’ll be cooking.
Cast-iron cookware is the best option for open fires, but if you’re only ever going to cook using a portable stove, then a more compact set of pans will be a better investment.
Many campsites, particularly in the US, come with fire pits or grills, but open fires aren’t always an option, particularly if the fire risk is high, so it’s worth having a stove as backup.
For the lightweight camper, you can usually get by with a single stove, but if you car camp, then a two-burner camp stove is a good investment.
It gives you the flexibility to make meals requiring two pans without having to worry about food getting cold before your dinner finishes cooking.
The Fundamental Gourmet Cookware
For car camping, cast iron cookware is worth its weight in, well, iron.
If you want to create gourmet meals over a roaring campfire, a skillet and Dutch oven will allow you to cook pretty much everything you want.
If you have to carry your cookware any distance, then you’ll want to look at more lightweight options.
1. Cast-iron Skillet
For searing steaks, sizzling bacon and whipping up a stir-fry, this is your staple item of camping cookware.
Cast iron skillets (that's our favorite) come in lots of shapes and sizes. I would get either a 10-inch or 8-inch skillet – that will allow you to make multi-pan dishes or desserts.
If you’re buying a brand-new cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, then you may need to season it before taking it camping.
If you look after it properly, your cast iron cookware could easily outlive you.
2. Dutch Oven
The humble Dutch oven is the most versatile of all camping cookware.
Dutch ovens are perfect for slow cooking meat, bean stews, and berry cobbler, but you can also use them to make lasagna, nachos, and even chocolate cake.
Lots of campsites will provide grills, but if you’re camping in the wild, then you’ll need to take your own.
So finding one that is collapsible would be a priority like the above grill from Wolf and Grizzly that just weighs a little over 2 pounds..
If you want to leave no trace of your presence, then a portable flatpack fire pit and grill will let you grill meat, fish, and vegetables without impacting the environment.
4. Non-Stick Pan
There are times when a cast-iron pan isn’t ideal for cooking.
Learning how to fry eggs on a skillet is something of an art and if you’re backpacking or cooking over a small stove, you’ll probably want some lighter cookware.
For these occasions, a non-stick pan is a worthy addition to your gourmet camping arsenal.
Most non-stick camping pans are coated in Teflon or similar polymers, but if you’re a health-conscious foodie, MSR makes quality camping gear like this ceramic skillet.
Whether you’re a tea, coffee or hot chocolate lover, one thing you need for all three is boiling water.
There are plenty of options out there from sturdy stainless-steel whistlers to lightweight titanium kettles.
We went with this GSI Outdoors kettle because the size was perfect for the two of us plus it's very lightweight for any backpacking adventures we go on.
Specialty Camping Cookware
With your basic cookware list complete, you can create a myriad of delicious gourmet meals.
But if you really want to be the envy of your friends, here’s the best camping cookware to make your food stand out from the crowd.
6. Pizza Oven
Sometimes a product comes along that looks so perfect, you wish you’d been the one to invent it.
A portable pizza oven is one of those things!
Well now you can make your own pizza pies even out in the wild because one of our favorite camp cooking gear companies - Camp Chef - has their very own pizza oven.
7. Pie Iron
A pie iron is basically a sandwich press on a stick.
I know what you’re thinking: grilled cheese sandwiches aren’t exactly the height of gourmet cuisine, but you can’t deny that they’re fun to make.
Besides, you don’t need to limit yourself to sandwiches – your pie iron can be used to make cinnamon buns, hash browns, and bacon and eggs.
If you’re still not convinced, try this drool-worthy blueberry cream cheese stuffed French toast recipe.
8. Espresso Maker
Brewing the perfect campsite coffee is a topic worthy of an entire blog post (go ahead and click that link to read our suggestions).
But for gourmet espresso, there are two things you need: a portable coffee grinder and a Wacaco Minipresso.
While Andrew's an espresso addict, I’m definitely more of cappuccino person, which is why a battery-powered milk frother is part of my essential camping cookware list.
Now you’ve got your camping cookware sorted, it’s time to put your apron on and dig out some gourmet camping recipes.
Or, if a few pans just aren’t enough, go the whole hog and invest in a full-on camp kitchen.
After all, if there’s ever going be a camping version of MasterChef, you want to be prepared.
About the Author - Ashley
Ashley's a Florida girl that didn't see snow until her twenty's. Andrew initiated her with a January trip to Breckenridge and the rest is history! A flatlander most of her life, Ashley now craves challenging trails but isn't a fan of log crossings over rapidly flowing mountain streams. Learn more about Ashley's outdoorsy background...