Essential Cast Iron Camping Cookware

Our severely warped aluminum griddle

Our severely warped aluminum griddle

There’s something about camping and cast iron cookware that just seems right. Maybe it’s the old westerns, with the dutch oven sitting over the fire, or the cowboy frying-up bacon in his skillet over an open fire – cast iron cookware is an icon of the American West and it remains so, today.

Lodge Pro Logic Square Griddle

Lodge Pro Logic Square Griddle

When it comes to cast iron cookware, it’s hard to not to argue that Lodge Cast Iron® is the standard by which all others are judged. Their cookware is thick, heavy and made for a lifetime of campfire cooking. In contrast, our name-brand aluminum griddle that we have only used for two years, is warped from the heat. For just a bit more money, we could have bought a similar 12-inch Lodge griddle that we could hand down to our kids, someday.

Lodge cookware is pre-seasoned, meaning that is just needs a light coat of vegetable oil to keep food from sticking. Cast iron cookware should not be cleaned with soap, or scoured with metal brushes or pads, so they’re great for camping. Just use a stiff nylon brush and hot water, then towel-dry and apply a light coat of oil to inhibit rust.

Lodge 3qt. Dutch Oven

Lodge 4qt. Dutch Oven (affiliate link)

How much cookware do you need for a well-equipped camp kitchen? Thankfully, not a lot. We currently use a 12-inch griddle, a 12-inch skillet, and a saucepan for soups and baked beans. Like our aluminum griddle, our current cookware is in dire need of replacing. Because of the non-stick coatings on most of today’s cookware, they don’t hold up well to camping because the coating is easily scratched by metal utensils. We are planning to replace everything with cast iron this Spring, to include a dutch oven for our soups and baked beans.

I know cast iron isn’t for everybody – you sure wouldn’t want to haul this stuff in your backpack. But if you’re into car camping it cannot be beat.

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27 thoughts on “Essential Cast Iron Camping Cookware

  1. I have a small camp stove colmans pump up as this fuel is not avalaible everwhere do u recommend any other fuel ? Would lamp fuel work can any one help please

  2. Pingback: How to pack food for a camping safari « Overlanding Africa Blog

  3. When you appropriately take care of your cooking equipment and make sure it’s clean and season properly. Use only environmentally friendly nonstick cookware and recommend the same to your family and friends.

  4. I’m not certain where you’re getting your info, however great topic. I must spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I used to be looking for this information for my mission.

  5. A good cast iron skillet and a pan, and I’m pretty well set. I’ve been reading a lot about dutch ovens recently though. I think I’ll have to pick one up soon and give it a try.

  6. Can’t agree more that cast iron cookware can’t be beat. As the owner of in excess of 35 pieces, we use them at home as much as we use them outdoors. We also have small oval griddles that despite their obvious weight, can be included in the backpack so that they can be used while hiking. (They weigh about the same as binoculars) The most versatile pieces are the dutch ovens. This is the one to have if your budget is limited.

  7. Cast Iron Pie Irons!!! I talked about them somewhere else on here, but think about using these also! I ignored them for years and finally saw a demo on them, bought them and have used them for the first time this summer. I should have bought them years ago. I would also like to have the smallest size Dutch Oven.

  8. I have 2 12 inch dutch ovens and a 8 inch dutch oven. My wife loves it since i cook breakfast,dinner and dessert with them. They are so good you can cook anything and you have family time while it is cooking.

  9. Well… I visit your website first time and found this site very useful and interesting! Well… you guys doing nice work and I just want to say that keep rocking and keep it up!!!!

    Cynthia Kurtz
    camper trailer

  10. Great article. Enjoyable read. Along with standard pieces like cast iron camping dutch ovens, I have enjoyed using cast iron pie irons and plan to get a cast iron waffle iron. Rome Industries makes some really fun outdoor camping products. I agree with you that Lodge products cannot be beaten for value and quality.

  11. Good luck, Sandie! Got to admit, though – our dutch oven is the only new pot or pan we have. I think some of our stuff might be pre-marriage :)

  12. On some of our rafting trips we carry up to 6 dutch ovens with us! The cast-iron D.O.s weigh so much that we recently switched over to aluminum… which actually works out just fine. Turns out it didn’t really matter what we cooked it in, just as long as we were outside. The greatest spice for food is being outside!

  13. I love my cast iron. I own several pieces that go back to my great, great grandma that I still use.

    Oh and VE is right it also makes for great protection.
    Got a cheating spouse?
    Got someone breaking in your house use the cast iron skillet.
    Need to hammer some nails use your cast iron skillet.

    Gladys’s last blog post..Cha-Ching!

  14. Thanks Brent – it was actually your little write-up in campingforums.com on your new Camp Chef Grill that gave me the inspiration for this!

  15. Cast Iron Cookware is the greatest! We have a lot of it and for car camping and an organized field kitchen, cast iron can’t be beat. No matter if it’s baked beans, homemade soup in the dutch oven, pancakes on the 13″ flat pan, or two juicy big T-bone steaks, you are guaranteed even cooking temperatures throughout the surfaces of each piece of ironware you use! We love it, but then we love camping too! Just back from 6 days in Joshua Tree National Park. We stayed in Jumbo Rock Campground where every site is on a first-come first-served basis. We had no problem, and the weather was fantastic! We are going again in March and we always take our cast iron cooking ware. Sometimes we even use it at home too. Clean up is easy and be sure to oil it a little after every use to fight rust. Wonderful cook ware!

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