best camping cookware for open fires
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Best Camping Cookware For Open Fires

Whether you’re cooking over the open campfire or on a portable stove, you’ll need a camping cookware set you can rely on. Whether you’re heading out to the woods for the weekend or you’re traveling cross country, camping is one of the best ways to experience the great outdoors.

The outdoor environment, however, is not the most ideal place to store your cookware. Even the best camping cookware needs to be able to withstand a bit of rough handling and multiple uses. (For more tips on how to pack cookware for camping, check out our guide.)

At Kitchen Reader, we have reviewed many camping cookware sets over the years, including cast iron pots, pot stands, dutch ovens, frying pans, skillets, barbecues, grill pans, hibachis, griddles, and collapsible stoves. Our top picks have had to stand up to repeated uses in extreme temperatures (including searing temperatures) and taste tests with recipes from campfire classics like beef stew to messy camp meals like mac and cheese.

These are the best camping cookware sets you can buy in 2022.

How to Choose The Best Camping Cookware Set

As always, the key to selecting the right cookware for you will depend on where you intend to operate on that scale and your budget, and your typical trip duration.

When you’re on the move, weight is always important, but try to focus on pan volume and outright weight. While it is theoretically possible to cook all sorts of impressive meals in a tiny, cup-sized pan (with YouTube videos to prove it), trying to do so several days in a row after big days out isn’t fun, and you’ll long for a proper roomy pot or pan to just bung things in.

Just like when cooking at home, the smaller the pan, the more effort is required to stir and regulate the heat to achieve a good result, which can be a drag when tired.

Number of Pieces

Every camping cookware set is unique and includes a unique assortment of pots, pans, cups, bowls, plates, and utensils. Some include additional useful tools such as a colander, a cutting board, and even spatulas or whisks.

Suppose you already have a separate set of cutlery or plateware for camping. In that case, you’re probably better off going with a set that only includes cookware, but if you want to get more bang for your buck, sets that include plates and utensils are worth considering.

You should also consider how many people you usually cook for on these trips. If you’re cooking for 1-3 people, you probably don’t need as many pots as you would for a larger group.

Material

The material of your camping cookware will indicate its durability, ease of cleaning, and performance over a camp stove or open fire. Cast iron is extremely durable and evenly heats but also extremely bulky and heavy.

Anodized aluminum and nonstick cookware are both lightweight and easy to clean. Silicone and rubber handles should also be avoided because they should not be used near an open fire.

Weight and size

Another factor to consider is whether you intend to take this set car, RV camping, or backpacking. If you’re going on a solo backpacking trip, you’ll want something light, compact, and small to have enough room for everything.

If you’re in a car or RV with plenty of space, you can probably size up to larger, heavier sets. Cast iron is an excellent material for the great outdoors but is far too heavy to carry by hand, so save it for car or RV excursions.

Ease of Cleaning

Cooking in the great outdoors will be much more enjoyable if you have a set of cookware that cleans up quickly and easily.

Cookware with a nonstick coating is typically much easier to clean with a small amount of water because the stuck-on food bits easily come off. If a pot requires a lot of scrubbing or cleaning products, it’s probably not the best investment for your camping cookware.

Handles & Lids

Handles and lids are essential when cooking over an open flame.

Lids are important because they keep heat and moisture in the pot or cooker, allowing the food to cook faster.

Avoid using plastic handles when cooking over a campfire because they will either melt or harm you. When cooking with cast iron, use heat-resistant handles and gloves.

In my experience, you should lift your pot and feel the weight because some pots have poor weight distribution due to the incorrect angle of the handle, making the handle feel heavier than the pot itself. So, when I lift the same pot as shown in the image, the 1-liter water feels like a 2-liter, and my hands are a little uneasy when serving through this pot.

According to my experience, you should not just pick any cookware you like; when it arrives, you should open it immediately and experience the first-hand sensation of lifting it.

If it feels heavier on the handle, I would recommend that port or any cookware for camping cooking, at the very least.

Staff Pick
Lixada Cookware Lightweight Titanium Collapsible

Lixada Camping Titanium Pot for Outdoor Camping

Want a complete titanium cookware set that’s ideal for outdoor activities like camping, trekking, and backpacking? The Lixada Camping Titanium Cookware Set is the only option. This three-piece set, which is made of titanium, comprises a 750ml pot, a 420ml cup, and a folding spork.

Key Features

  • Strong and corrosion resistant
  • Hook design, easy to hang
  • Efficient Heating
  • Preserves the original taste of food
  • Reusable

Consider the Lixada Camping Titanium Cookware Set if you’re a camper or hiker looking for a set of compact, durable cookware. It is ideal for cooking on the go because of the titanium structure, which guarantees equal heat distribution and exceptional heat retention.

Additionally, the small size makes it portable and simple to pack for travel. Why then wait? Be the Lixada Camping Titanium Cookware Set right away to get ready for your upcoming epic journey!

Conclusion:

This kit comes with everything you need to prepare delectable meals, whether you’re going camping for the weekend or taking part in a longer outdoor excursion. Additionally, the small size makes it portable and simple to pack for travel.

ColorTitanium
MaterialTitanium
Diameter3 and 5/8 inches.
Weight15 grams

Pros

  • High-quality and lightweight
  • Heat distribution
  • All in one 
  • Handy

Cons

  • The pot’s flaw is that the top doesn’t secure to the pot.
Budget Pick
compact stainless steel campfire cooking pots and pans

Barbecues Camping Cookware Set

Best open-fire camping cookware with swinging overhead handles. The Overhead handle is important for open-fire cooking because you can hang it on a stand or easily grab it with your hands without passing through fire.

Key Features

  • Portability
  • Space Saver
  • Great Design
  • Compatibility
  • Easy to Clean

The entire cooking set is made of premium 304 stainless steel, which adds to its durability and longevity. You can cook your meals not only on an open fire but also on charcoal, wood, and induction when hiking, camping, or driving.

To ensure even heat distribution, the pot and pan bases are encapsulated in pure aluminum.

Conclusion:

Lightweight innovation for those arduous mountain excursions, family outings, or a day at the beach. Comfortable handles are included on the tote bag to allow for easy transfer of your kitchen supplies. The combo package is ideal for preparing your favorite meals while away from home, whether you’re camping, barbecuing, or hiking in the mountains.

ColorStainless Steel
MaterialStainless Steel
Dimensions10.79 x 10.71 x 6.81 inches
Weight3.31 kg

Pros

  • It has a rounded handle that provides good support while being placed over an open flame.
  • Both inside and outside cooking is possible.
  • It provides efficient heat transfer, resulting in quick and uniform food cooking.

Cons

  • Although the manufacturer claims it is dishwasher safe, some users have complained that it can also rust. It is, therefore, best to use caution when handling it and to let it thoroughly dry before packing.
Best Pick
primus stainless steel campfire cookset

Primus Stainless Steel Campfire Cookset

It includes a 3.0L stock pot, 1.8L saucepan, 21cm frying pan, and two lids with built-in colanders that simply stack and nest for simple transportation. integrated carrying bag.

Key Features

  • Two lids with integrated colanders
  • 1.8L and 1.0L saucepans
  • Storage bag included
  • 21cm frying pan
  • Durable Stainless Steel

Another great material for cooking over an open flame is stainless steel. It lacks cast iron’s strength and density, and it does not season or become any simpler to clean.

With no scratchable covering, it is more robust than aluminum. Additionally, it costs a lot more than aluminum. For cooking over an open fire, the Primus Stainless Steel Campfire Cookset is a good entry-level set of pots and pans.

For those seeking cookware that is strong and long-lasting but also lightweight and compact, this is a terrific set. It is, therefore, my top choice for the best camping cookware for cooking over an open flame.

Conclusion:

Food simply tastes better outside, but that doesn’t mean your cooking methods need to change. The Primus Campfire Cooksets provide everything you need to prepare gourmet meals while camping and nest together quickly afterward. The ideal set of pots and pans for cooking over an open flame or camping.

ColorStainless Steel
MaterialSilver
Dimensions‎4 x 4 x 1 inches
Weight1.89 Kilograms

Pros

  • A frying pan’s bottom made of aluminum guarantees consistent heating.
  • All pots and pans include folding handles and 18/8 stainless steel construction to make cooking and cleaning up a snap.
  • Both pots’ lids have built-in colanders.
  • Lightweight and durable for camping cooking 

Cons

  • The pot covers have begun to rust.
lodge combo cooker cast iron

Lodge Combo Cooker Cast Iron

A skillet and a dutch oven, which, when connected using the skillet ring, function as a cooker and a baker. The volume of the cooker is only 3 liters, which is good for 4 people or less but insufficient for a large family. It can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the most durable and safe set for open-fire camping.

Key Features

  • Can be used on all cooking surfaces
  • Oven Safe
  • Ready to use upon purchase
  • Budget Friendly

Although the skillet and pot provide good heat retention and even heat distribution, the entire set is far too heavy for backpackers and hikers. Lodge 3 is more useful for sauteing, simmering, baking, roasting, searing, and frying while camping.

Lodge 3 is the best camping cookware made from cast iron that is completely seasoned using 100% vegetable oil; Use it daily at home for a month, doing all or some of your cooking before using it on an open fire because it will stick at first but will develop tolerance and stick less and less with time.

Conclusion:

The Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker is capable of anything. a Dutch oven, deep skillet, fryer, and lid that functions as a shallow skillet or griddle. This adaptable item works well in the kitchen or outside.

ColorBlack
MaterialCast iron
Dimensions15.3 x 10.8 x 4 inches
Weight5.6 kg
Capacity3 liters

Pros

  • The cookware’s construction is extremely durable and can withstand high temperatures, allowing it to last a lifetime.
  • Can almost do everything a conventional cook would want to do with their equipment, from simmering to baking.
  • It is excellent cookware that is distinguished by even heating, a natural, easy-release finish, adaptability, and durability.
  • First and foremost, it is a Lodge product that is well-known throughout the world, and secondly, the Lodge 3 combo version is reasonably priced in comparison to its competitors.

Cons

  • It is too heavy for backpackers to carry.
odoland camping cookware mess kit

Odoland 29pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit

If you like to go camping with a large group, you’ll need camping cookware that can keep up with the crowd. This 29-piece set will easily feed everyone. Though it is more expensive than the average set, we believe it is well worth the extra money because it contains so many pieces.

Key Features

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to carry
  • Four sets of dinner cutleries
  • Non-toxic anodized aluminum pots and pans
  • 2 cleaning cloth

The pots have a large volume capacity, and the collapsible bucket makes cleaning dishes a breeze. The pans are made of anodized aluminum, allowing a hot, even sear and easy cleanup.

Furthermore, the included cutlery ensures that you won’t need anything else to enjoy your camping meal from beginning to end. It’s not the lightest cookware set (you probably don’t want to take it backpacking, but at 5 pounds, it seems reasonable for what it offers.

Conclusion:

All of the camping equipment fits together well, and it is all stacked and placed into a nylon mesh bag. The package weighs only 5.1 lbs overall and has dimensions of 8.7×8.7×6.5 inches. This camping cooking set is something you should consider for both traditional camping and RV road trips.

ColorStainless Steel
MaterialStainless Steel
Dimensions9.33 x 9.06 x 7.6 inches
Weight2.65 Kilograms

Pros

  • Can serve four or more people
  • Plates, bowls, cutlery, and buckets are included.
  • The collapsible basin is also useful for food preparation and cleanup.
  • Dishwasher safe, lightweight, and simple to use

Cons

  • It’s too big and heavy for backpacking.
cuisinel cast iron skillet set

Cuisinel Pre-seasoned Oven Safe Cookware Set

Contains one each of the following: a 6-inch pan, an 8-inch pan, a 10-inch pan, a 12-inch pan, and four hot handle holders. – heat-resistant, non-slip silicone handle covers to protect your hands when preparing or serving meals.

Key Features

  • Perfect for cooking indoors and outdoors
  • Long-lasting
  • Perfect cooking every time
  • Oven safe

The Cuisine cast iron skillet has a smooth finish that distributes heat evenly whether you use it over an open fire camping, induction cooktops, or grills. You can use it for grilling, broiling, baking, braising, sautéing meats and vegetables, frying, and nearly anything else you can think of.

The cuisine skillet set has two main specialties: First, it is made of seasoned cast iron, which will last a long time, and second, this set includes a silicone handle holder, which is slip-resistant and heat-resistant, keeping your hand safe while cooking and serving.

However, if something goes wrong, you’ll be covered by their lifetime guarantee, durability, and quality, as well as Amazon’s 30-day money-back guarantee.

Conclusion:

For those searching for a set of skillets that can be used over an open fire, this is the most adaptable choice. You can use it to make everything from healthy vegetable meals to delicious pizza.

With this 4-piece, 6-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch cast iron skillet set, you can prepare delicious foods both indoors and outdoors on the grill, stove, induction cooktops, and even in the oven.

ColorBlack
MaterialCast iron
Dimensions17.13 x 13.47 x 5.2 inches
Weight20.2 pounds

Pros

  • The set includes a removable silicone holder to prevent slips and keep your hand safe from hot surfaces.
  • They are extremely durable and fire-resistant.
  • If you don’t want to use Teflon in your kitchen, this is a good option.

Cons

  • They are too heavy to be called skillets or frying pans, as you can feel when washing and drying them.
mallome camping cookware mess kit

MalloMe Camping Cookware Set

The MalloMe Camping Cookware is designed for survival because it includes a kit covering everything you need for eating and cooking. But not made for more than one to two-person meals and can only be used over the grill on a controlled open fire.

Key Features

  • Solid Material
  • Multiple Colors
  • Battery Powered
  • Budget Friendly
  • Additional

MalloMe constructs this set with non-toxic anodized aluminum that quickly conducts heat and serves a ready meal to one boy scout or backpacker.

We can only use them over a controlled fire or coals, but you’ll also need a grill to keep the fire from directly touching it.

Conclusion:

There are some comforts that you must forgo when going camping, hiking, or on an outdoor trip if you want to appreciate the experience fully. The MalloMe 10-Piece Cookware Mess Kit is a small, transportable cooking set that enables you to make tasty meals anywhere.

With a pot or skillet included in this functional cookware set, you may serve and eat whatever you’ve prepared using BPA-free bowls and a spoon. It includes a little wooden spatula to turn perfectly, season, and brown your food.

Note: Hand washing is recommended for optimal results; dishwasher use is not recommended.

ColorGreen
MaterialAnodized Aluminum
Dimensions6.5 x 6.46 x 3.86 inches
Weight‎0.52 Kilograms

Pros

  • The set is useful in an emergency where you’re stuck in the middle of survival camping. Simply gather some dry wood and arrange it so that it does not create a large fire.
  • It includes everything you need to start cooking and eating.
  • Very small and portable enough to fit in any backpack

Cons

  • Not intended for use on large open fires. It can only be used over the grill over the controlled fire.
  • If you use it over a large fire, the handles will melt, and your investment will be lost.

Materials For Open Fire Camping Cookware

1) Cast iron

Cast iron cookware is the only open-fire cookware that I believe is more popular and preferred than any other for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Every time you cook, your food absorbs iron, which is essential for all of your cells.
  • They enhance the presentation of your food, especially when used for pies or bread.
  • They are, however.
  • Have a high heat retention rate
  • Cast iron is well-known for being one of the most durable materials.
  • When they get hot, they stay hot for a long time, requiring less firewood.
  • If properly seasoned, they are naturally nonstick.
  • Cast iron tends to become more nonstick and easy to clean with each use.

All the reasons mentioned above are sufficient for a car camper to choose it, but due to its heavy weight, cast iron cookware is not recommended for hikers and backpackers.

2) Stainless Steel:

Stainless steel has advantages. This is the way to go if you want less stain and no rust.

If you’re prone to rust and can’t keep your cookware clean, 304 stainless steel is a better option because it resists many chemical corrodents.

The advantages of purchasing stainless steel cookware for open-fire cooking are as follows:

  • Good stainless steel cookware can even be passed down to future generations.
  • It is very easy to clean due to its smooth and hard surface.
  • This product is ideal for boiling, baking, and sautéing.
  • Stainless steel, according to eatingwell.com, is non-reactive and thus suitable for cooking acidic foods.
  • Low upkeep is required.
  • It appears appealing.
  • Depending on the steel, working method, and capacity of the cookware, prices can range from very low to very high.

On the other hand, stainless steel cookware has poor heat distribution and requires more oil to stay nonstick than cast iron. Stay away, oil heaters! Also, when cooking over a campfire, their bottom may turn black.

3) Aluminum

Aluminum cookware is an excellent conductor of heat, but it is not recommended to cook acidic foods such as tomatoes and vinegar because they are highly reactive to acidic contents.

  • Aluminum cookware has a special place in our hearts for the following reasons:
  • They are reasonably priced.
  • Because of their lightweight, they are a popular choice among backpackers.
  • Aluminum evenly distributes heat and thus cooks the food.
  • They are a good heat conductor and cook food quickly.
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Choose cookware with a food-grade anodized coating so that your food never comes into contact with the actual aluminum, which experts believe is harmful.
  • The anodized coating also prevents the cookware from sticking.

As long as you’re not cooking anything acidic, aluminum is fine, but stainless steel is the way to go if you intend to.

Always choose a food-grade anodized coating to avoid potential risks when purchasing aluminum cookware.

4) Heat Retention

In most cases, it appears that traditional cast iron triumphs. In this case, cast iron is the best cookware to retain heat for longer.

However, as previously stated, the main issue with cast iron is that it does not distribute heat evenly. As a piece of advice, preheat the cast iron pan for 5 to 10 minutes so that heat is no longer concentrated in one area but is distributed evenly across the entire cooking surface.

By placing your hand 1-2 inches over the skillet to check the heat distribution, you can tell when it’s time to add some butter or oil.

As a result, cast iron is ideal for roasting and pan-frying.

You can rely on stainless steel and copper-made cookware after cast iron.

However, if you don’t care how long the pan or pot remains hot after being removed from an open fire, an aluminum cooking system is the best for even heat distribution.

5) Portability

To be honest, the portability of cookware isn’t an issue for car or RV campers.

However, it is one of the most important factors to consider for a backpacker or hiker before purchasing any type of cookware.

Here are some considerations to make sure it is portable.

The more of the given criteria your chosen cookware meets, the more portable it is.

  • Weight should be less than 2 lbs.
  • It would be preferable if the handles were removable, stackable, or at the very least foldable.
  • It is preferable if you can find a cooking pot that can also be used to store gear to free up some space in your backpack. MSR Stowaway is unique.
  • Compact options should not be too tall, wide, or small.
  • As a solo hiker or camper, choosing a size large enough to cook a meal is perfectly acceptable.

FAQs

What cookware can be used on an open fire?

As the heat is intense, only metal-lid cookware can be used on an open fire. You can use thick aluminum, copper, and stainless steel pots, frying pans, and casseroles. With metal cookware, you should bring fire-resistant covers.

Can you put stainless steel over an open fire?

Stainless steel is notoriously bad at conducting heat, which means that it can quickly burn. Therefore, it’s not recommended to grill with it. Stainless steel is also magnetic, so if you are using a grill, you should use a nonstick surface to protect the meat from sticking.

Can you put cast iron on open fire?

Cast-iron cookware can be used on open fires, but should not be left unattended. When you lay cast iron cookware on an open fire, it must cool completely before putting it away to prevent cracking.

Why do people use cast iron for camping?

Cast iron has many advantages as a material for camp cookware. It’s cheap, it heats well, and it lasts. Cast iron is durable, too. The enamel coating on a cast iron skillet has actually improved with age, so it won’t flake off like on other skillets.

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