One of the joys of camping outdoors is cooking your own food over and open fire. Having the right campfire cooking equipment is one of those camping essentials that you shouldn’t leave home without. You can’t simply throw a hot dog or a potato on a rock near the fire, you’ll need some specialized equipment for the best open fire cooking results.
Types Of Campfire Cooking Equipment
There are many different types of campfire cooking equipment, everything from pie irons to roasting sticks to campfire grills. Also keep in mind that you’re not restricted to open fire cooking, camp stoves and dutch ovens are great alternatives to cook some tasty meals while you’re in the outdoors.
Planning ahead is an important part of campfire cooking. The first thing you should do is make a list of all the camping meal ideas that you have. Then pick enough meals to cover the number of days you’ll be camping. Planning your meals ahead of time will determine what types of campfire cooking equipment to get so you will have everything you need when it comes time to prepare the meal.
What To Buy – The Best Campfire Cooking Equipment
If you’re going to buy some pots & pans for open fire cooking (or any camp cooking really) I would highly recommend going with cast-iron. Cast-iron pots and pans are heavy, but they’re nearly indestructible and won’t get ruined if you accidentally over heat them like teflon pans will. Plus, they distribute heat really well which is important when you’re cooking over a campfire, it’s not like the stove top =). Remember when you buy cast iron, be sure to clean and season your pan before you take it camping.
No matter what surface your cooking on, having a high quality pot (aka dutch oven), a skillet, and a griddle all come in very handy. Cast iron is one of my top picks of campfire cooking equipment.
This is a great choice because it’s a combo pack. It’s a 3 qt. dutch oven with a lid that doubles as a 10″ skillet. Buying this one piece of campfire cooking equipment will help you cook a ton of different meals, whether you’re open fire cooking or using a camp stove. It’s very versatile and highly recommended.
Complaints: The only complaints of this set is what you would expect from any cast-iron cooking equipment – it’s heavy and it rusts if you don’t treat it right. Click here to read a ton of good reviews about this combo cooker.
This cast-iron griddle is 10 1/2″ wide and complements the above combo cooker very well. It’s a very shallow pan (almost flat) which makes it easy to cook eggs, bacon, pancakes, anything that requires a flat surface – the low sides make flipping a cinch.
Complaints: Again a very solid cast-iron pan, the only complaints I could find were that the “pre-seasoned” part is probably not good enough, it should be seasoned 1 or 2 more times before cooking with. Also there’s some reports that the surface is extra bumpy, which can complicate cooking. Click here to read all the reviews about the Lodge 10 1/2 inch Round Griddle.
If you’ve got a big family or are cooking for more than a few people, this is a great dutch oven for you. It’s made of the same heavy duty cast-iron that distributes heat well on the bottom and up the sides so it cooks evenly. This pot is 12 inches in diameter and almost 5 inches deep, holding 7 quarts, which is a heap of food. Just remember, it’s going to be heavy when it’s full, also don’t forget the oven mitts!
Complaints: Another great piece of campfire cooking equipment by Lodge, the only problem customers have had with it is the pre-seaoning not being enough. Click here to read other customer reviews.
If you’re open fire cooking this tripod will come in very handy. Simply set it up over the fire, adjust the chain to the right height, and hook your dutch oven to the pot hook. The legs are 50″ tall and it folds up when not in use, making it easy to store and transport as long as you’re not backpacking. This piece of campfire cooking equipment will make your life much easier if you’re into Dutch Oven cooking. Comes with the 3 sturdy legs, an adjustable chain, and a pot hook (which some don’t come with)
Complaints: This tripod has lots of good reviews about it’s solid construction and sturdiness, while 1 complaint that it was flimsy. Set it up right and I think you’ll be OK. Click here to read other reviews about this dutch oven tripod.
This is a whole cook set that includes an 8 1/2 inch fry pan and 2 pots that nest inside each other for easy packing and carrying. They aren’t cast-iron, but are hard anodized aluminum, making them much lighter. These pans are also covered by a non-stick coating that works really well. These pans are lightweight and durable, but may not be a great choice if you’re doing a lot of open fire cooking. Great for cooking on a camp stove though.
Complaints: These pans have a lot of great reviews, only complaints are that the handles seem to be a little flimsy. Click here to read other customer reviews about this camp cooking set.
Other Campfire Cooking Equipment
If you’re looking to roast hot dogs or barbecue burgers over an open fire, then you’ll need a grill to put over the fire and put your food on. This type of campfire cooking equipment is great for all sorts of meat, veggies, kabobs, and anything else you want to roast over the fire. Below are 2 awesome grills to use for open fire cooking.
This is an easy to set-up grill that includes a steel rotisserie spit that turns and locks in four positions to give your food that slow-roasted flavor. The grill surface itself is 24″ long by 16″ wide, big enough to load a bunch of food on. Plus you can adjust the height in case your coals start getting low or that new log burns a little hotter than you expected.
The Texsport grill is self standing so you don’t have to pound any stakes in for it to work (really handy where there’s rocky ground like where I live). It’s even got steel side arms that you can hook a pot onto and swing over the fire to keep it warm while the rest of your food cooks. This is a really great all-in-one type grill for open fire cooking.
Complaints: This grill has a tendency to be a little unsteady. The rotisserie only has 1 skewer which can make it hard to balance a whole chicken on it. While it is adjustable, it can be hard to adjust while it’s loaded with meat, especially if you try to do it alone.
If you’re just looking for a simple way to barbecue meat or veggies over the campfire, this grill will likely be your choice. It’s built with 1 heavy duty stake that you pound into the ground, then you can easily move the grill up and down to the desired height. The grill rack is an 18″ diameter circle with a raised edge to keep your food from rolling off into the fire. This grill comes with a hot pad, a glove, and a carrying bag to haul it all around. This is probably the simplest solution for easy open fire cooking.
Complaints: This is a fairly new product so it doesn’t have a bunch of reviews. Those that it does have on Amazon are very good.
Campfire Cooking Equipment Buying Tips
When you’re looking at campfire cooking equipment be sure to pay attention to quality. There’s no use buying a cheap item if it’s just going to break on you and you’ll have to buy something different. It can really pay to spend a few more bucks for a high quality product. Stick to brands that have good reviews and a reputation for quality products. Be sure to read reviews (especially the low ones) to see what the potential problems are of a piece of equipment.
Having the right campfire cooking equipment can make your camping experience much more enjoyable, so get the good stuff and you’ll be happy you did.