Camping is a great way to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors. But what if you want to enjoy quality meals outdoors too? That's where camping cookware comes in, and some of the sturdiest kitchenware available is cast iron.
Below you'll find our top cast iron cookware picks, keep reading for a more in-depth look at them.
Cast Iron Set
The Stansport Cast Iron Cookware Set contains six items made of high quality cast iron that distributes heat evenly and keeps food warm for longer periods than regular cookware. You can use this cookware on a stove top or over a fire.
The set includes a universal 10-inch lid that fits on the frying pan and Dutch oven. It's a heavy cast iron lid that traps heat and moisture in your pot. For the Dutch oven, there is a lid lifter, while the hot handle holder is useful for all pieces of cookware.
Some campers might view the lifter and holder as extra accessories, but they really do reduce the risk of a burn and make cooking outdoors much easier for me.
Stansport's Cookware Set has only received a few complaints. The handles on their cookware are rather small, which make the hot handle holder even more necessary. The cast iron pots also have a rough bottom, which can cause food to stick easily.
- Includes: 10-inch Fry Pan, 3 Quart Chicken Fryer, 10 inch Dutch Oven, 10 inch Universal Lid, Lid Lifter, Cast Iron Hot Handle Holder
- Heavy universal lid saves space and keeps food warm and tender
- Works over a fire or on a stove topLid lifter and handle holder allow you to check food easily and without risk
- Easy to clean
- Rough bottom can make it hard to clean food out
- Short handles
The Lodge LCC3 Cast Iron Combo Cooker includes two pieces: a 3.2-quart Dutch oven and a 10.25-inch skillet. Keeping functionality in mind, Lodge has designed the skillet so that it doubles as a lid for the Dutch oven.
This US-made product has excellent heat retention and cooks food evenly. It's pre-seasoned so that you can use it immediately after purchase. Both pieces have sturdy handles with a hole for hanging.
This iron cast cookware works well on induction cooktops, on a stove, in the oven and over a fire. The surface can feel rough, and initially, food might stick.
- Includes: 3.2-quart Dutch oven and 10.25-inch skillet
- Pre-seasoned with vegetable oil
- Easy to maintain and clean
- Dutch Oven Dimensions: 3 qt. Base: 10.25-inch diameter, 3-inch depth
- Skillet Dimensions: 10.25-inch diameter, 1.5-inch depth
- Rough surface can cause food to stick
Winterial's Cast Iron Camping Cookware is a sturdy, high-quality Dutch oven. Although this product only has one piece of cookware, the lid of the Dutch oven can double as a griddle.
It includes a heavy grade handle to hang the pot over your hearth or a campfire and fits cast iron tripod stands. This Dutch oven has three legs so you can also cook over hot coals and not worry about balance.
You can get this Cast Iron cookware in a 4-quart or 6-quart size. They're easy to care for and clean, requiring only a brush and hot water.
- Two size options: 4-quart and 6-quart
- Tight fitting lid is multipurpose and can function as a griddle
- Three legs for balance
- Sturdy handle lets you hang the pot over any heat source
- Easy care
- No lid lifter included
- Mid to high range price
The Rome 1805 Round Pie Iron is a different type of camping cookware. Pie irons are suitable for simple campfire cooking, like toasted sandwiches, pies, pockets, or melted desserts.
This particular Pie Iron is the original and has been around since 1964. The entire length of the Rome Pie Iron is 28 inches, while the iron itself is 4.25 inches in diameter. The handle is reinforced with steel and wood to remain durable but not too heavy to lift. One unique bonus is that this product includes a list of suggested Pie Iron recipes to try.
Some people prefer a square design, especially for foods like sandwiches. Otherwise, the only complaint about Rome's Round Pie Iron are the hinges, which broke easily for some users.
- Round cast iron design with 4.25-inch diameter
- Well-known, well-established product and manufacturer
- Handle uses wood and steel for reinforced strength
- Overall length: 28 inches
- Recipes included
- Only for light cooking
- Square design is more natural for some users
- Some people had problems with the hinges breaking
The Outdoor Gourmet Cast Iron Cookware Set includes five pieces: two skillets, a Dutch oven, a griddle/frying pan, and a lid.
The skillets hold two quarts and four quarters, while their cooking diameter is 8 inches and 10.5 inches, respectively. The cast iron lid is 10 inches in diameter and can easily fit the 2-quart skillet and Dutch oven.
This cookware is durable and gives you several different size options to help you cook your meal. These dishes may have rough surfaces which initially cause food to stick. A few users also complain that the legs of the Dutch oven broke easily, but the remainder of the products function well.
- 5 pieces: 2 cast iron skillets, 1 cast iron Dutch oven, 1 cast iron griddle/frying pan, and 1 cast iron lid
- Several size options with iron skillets that hold 2 quarts and 4 quarts
- 10-inch cast iron lid fits pan and Dutch oven
- Some users experienced trouble with Dutch oven feet breaking easily
- Bottom of pots have a rough which causes food to stick
The Stansport Cast Iron 6 Piece Cookware Set gives you the best quality and variety for its price. This set has six different types of cookware, including a lid lifter and hot handle holder for safety.
If you don't plan to do much outdoor cooking, you might settle for one type of cast iron, like a standalone Dutch oven or pie iron. However, the Stansport set is versatile and allows you to cook multiple dishes with one set
What's So Great About Cast Iron Cookware?
Cast iron is extremely sturdy and long-lasting. With proper care, cast iron skillets can last your entire lifetime!
Unaffected by heat and warp-resistant, cast iron is ideal for cooking. It can withstand high temperatures and retains heat very well. Cast iron skillets do take time to heat up, but once they're hot, the heat stays.
There are several reasons to get a cast iron skillet, from the fact that it can help you consume more iron, to the need for less oil when using cast iron.
What Kind of Cookware Do I Need for Camping?
The most common types of camping cookware are:
- Dutch oven
- Griddle or frying pan
- Pie iron
Your choice depends on the type of dishes you're planning to make outdoors and how serious you want to be about your cooking. Unless soup is on your menu, a skillet takes care of most cooking needs. However, if you want a deeper pot, opt for a Dutch oven, sometimes called a Dutch broiler.
Pie irons are a type of cookware unique to camping and the outdoors. These irons allow you to create pies, pockets, toasted sandwiches, and even desserts. They're a step above roasting marshmallows, but might not be enough for a full meal.
Caring for Cast Iron Cookware
Some people have the false impression that caring for cast iron pots and pans is difficult. However, once you know the necessary procedures, cleaning and maintaining your cookware is actually pretty simple.
Seasoning Your Cast Iron
There's a strange term in the world of cast iron cooking, and it's seasoning. You might hear that your pan needs to be seasoned or see a skillet advertised as "pre-seasoned."
Seasoning doesn't refer to flavoring or spices. It's a process that protects your cast iron cookware and helps it last longer. Even when products come pre-seasoned, it's a good idea to season them yourself to ensure your pan will last.
To season your cast iron skillet, pan, or pot, begin by coating it with a layer of canola oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, or lard. Wipe away the excess oil and then place it in an oven preheated to between 350 to 375 degrees. Leave your cast iron cookware in the oven for at least an hour. The recommended time varies by personal preference.
Some people chose to perform extra steps before or after heating their pan, such as drying it thoroughly in the oven before applying oil, or adding another coat of oil after the pan has come out of the oven.
For a visual demonstration of how to season cast iron cookware, take a look at this video:
A properly seasoned pan will take a very long time to wear out. Periodically re-seasoning and refurbishing your cast iron will keep it in top shape.
Today cast iron isn't made the same way it was in the past. Manufacturers produce cast iron through a sand mold casting process. Pans made in the 20th century involved an additional step: polishing. That's the reason vintage pans are so much smoother than pans manufactured today.
A rough surface can cause food to stick and be harder to clean than smooth pans. However, you don't have to be complacent with a rough skillet. One option is to sand down the pot to create a smooth surface. Afterwards, be sure to season your pan again.
Washing Cast Iron
Cleaning a cast iron skillet is a fairly simple process. All you need are a brush and hot water. It's a good idea to wash your skillet while it's still warm.
Only wash your cast iron cookware by hand; never in the dishwasher. If there is any excess food stuck to the pan, you can try scrubbing it off with salt and warm water.Typically you don't need to use any soap on your cast iron pan, but if you really can't stand not using soap, use only a mild soap or watered down dish detergent.
After you've finished washing your skillet, towel dry it immediately to avoid any rusting.