Camping just isn’t camping without an open campfire. There’s something about the warmth of the flames, the soft popping sounds, and the conversations while huddled around the fire.
But cooking with an open campfire can be a challenge. There’s a learning curve, and you need the right tools. There are several camping cookware pieces and sets available, but you might find yourself wondering which one is the best.
If I were going to get just one piece? It would be the Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It’s durable, versatile, has even heat distribution, and is perfect for open-fire cooking.
But other options might be a better fit for you. Something lightweight, for instance. Or you might prefer a complete set versus one piece.
The good news is that there’s a variety of camping cookware for open fires, so you can find what’s right for you.
Which type of camping cookware is right for your outdoor adventure? Check out my open fire cookware list to learn more.
All About Open Fire Cooking
What Kind of Cookware Can You Use on an Open Fire?
Perhaps the most popular type of cookware for a campfire is cast iron cookware. Cast iron can handle high temperatures and has maximum durability. Cast iron is also known for its even heat distribution, which is a must-have for campfire cooking.
But in addition to cast iron, you can also use stainless steel cookware on an open fire. Stainless steel can also handle extreme temperatures, but it’s lighter-weight and rust-resistant.
If you’re hiking and need something extra light, you can use aluminum cookware with an open fire. However, if you just stick an aluminum pan over an open flame, it could melt!
To safely use aluminum, it’s important to use indirect heat and only use cookware designed for camping.
Lastly, there’s titanium camping cookware. Titanium is great because it’s corrosion-resistant. It’s also some of the lightest cookware, yet still durable. For all of these reasons, titanium is a popular choice for the best camping cookware.
Can You Put Stainless Steel on an Open Flame?
Yes, you can, but you should use indirect heat. This means that you should not place the steel directly over the flames. You can use coal or wood to create a layer of heat underneath the grate. The steel will cook the food indirectly.
What Types of Cookware Do You Typically See While Camping?
In addition to the common materials, there are certain pans that you’ll see more often when camping. Skillets are commonly used for cooking pancakes, eggs, bacon, and other dishes. They’re great because they conveniently stack and don’t require as much room as other cookware pieces.
Dutch ovens are also a popular choice for campfire cooking. These are perfect for one-pot meals like chili, soups, and stews.
And because a Dutch oven comes with a lid, the food will stay warm for a long time. Covering the food also keeps any hungry critters from getting your food! But these pots do require more storage space, so they’re not suited for hiking.
You might also see griddles, although they aren’t as common as the other two pieces. Griddles are great for flipping foods, like pancakes and sausage patties. But many skillets can do double duty as a griddle, so you may not need a separate piece.
Campfire Cookware Reviews
Lodge Camping Dutch Oven: Best Camping Dutch Oven
This Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven is heavy-duty and perfect for large batches. It topped my list as the best camping Dutch oven. With a capacity of 8 quarts (7.6 liters), this cooking pot can make enough food for 6-8 people.
But if that’s not the right size, rest assured there are several sizes available. This Lodge cast iron pot has integral legs that allow the oven to sit over open fires without wobbling.
The large pot cover is flanged and can hold hot coals. It can also double as a griddle, giving this piece maximum versatility.
New to cooking food over open fires? No problem. The Lodge Dutch oven includes a recipe booklet for open-fire cooking. Oh, and it’s also made in the U.S.A.
Buyers used this camping cookware piece to make peach cobbler, shrimp boil, barbecue, cakes, lasagna, roast, and more. They were impressed with the even heat distribution and durability.
Some customers had problems with scratched seasoning on the inside of the cooking pot, but they were able to add a layer of seasoning without problems.
This Lodge Dutch oven is a must-have for outdoor cooks who want hearty meals while on outdoor adventures.
- Preseasoned and ready to use
- Sturdy integral legs for balancing on campfire coals
- Flanged lid that doubles as a griddle
- Loop handles for convenient handling
- Includes cookbook
- High-quality cast iron
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Complaints of some scratched models on the inside
Bulin Backpacking Outdoor Cookware Set: Best Non-Stick Family Set
The Bulin Backp acking Camping Non-Stick Cookware Set is also a mess kit, including a whopping 27 pieces. That’s why I featured it as the best non-stick set in a previous review. It comes with the following:
- frying pan
- hanging pot with lid
- boiling pot with lid
- teapot with lid
- 6 bowls, 3 large plates, 4 small plates
- soup spoon & rice ladle
- cleaning sponge
- storage bag
Don’t need that many pieces for your next camping trip? No worries. This set comes in several sizes, so you can pick the one that’s best for you.
The Bulin Camping Cookware set is made of hard-anodized aluminum with a non-stick coating. The non-toxic anodized aluminum is non-reactive, withstands a high temperature, and resists corrosion.
These non-stick pans feature a nesting design, making them space-saving and easy to carry. The anodized aluminum also makes them lightweight, so you aren’t lugging around heavy cast iron pans.
The convenient handles make this great cookware for open-fire cooking. And when you’re done cooking, remove the cookware from the camp stove and use the bowls and plates to serve food.
This set has mostly positive reviews. Customers love the lighter weight and easy storage of this set. They like the variety of cookware pieces, as well. Some said they would have liked utensils included, but that was a minor issue.
Even though the Bulin set has a non-stick coating, several customers did have problems with sticking or peeling frying pans. This is fairly typical of non-stick or Teflon-coated cookware.
But customers did say these pans heat evenly, so that’s nice. If you want something non-stick that can handle campfire cooking, this Bulin set is it.
- Lightweight and compact
- Non-stick cooking surface
- Hard-anodized aluminum construction
- Pot can hang over open fire
- Range of sizes available
- Non-stick layer peels off over time
Stanley Base Camp Cook Set: Best Stainless Steel Family Set
Stanley is one of the most well-respected brands in outdoor cooking. This Stanley Camping Cook Set is a complete cookware set and serving ware for four people, earning its spot as the best stainless steel set for families. It comes with the following pieces:
- 3.69-quart (3.5 liters) pot with vented lid
- 7-inch (17.8 cm) frying pan
- cutting board
- spatula, serving spoon
- 4 plates, bowls, & sporks
- dish drying rack
- heat-resistant trivet
- 1 locking bungee cord
You may be thinking, “That’s too much to carry on camping trips!” But this Stanley open-fire cookware set nests together and can be stored in a mesh carrying bag for convenient storage and easy travel.
Simply stack the materials inside the frying pan and use the lockable handle to keep everything in place.
This nesting cooking set is made with 18/8 stainless steel. It’s durable, scratch-proof, and rust-resistant. It’s also low-maintenance and doesn’t require seasoning.
As some buyers noted, these stainless steel pans won’t behave like non-stick pans. Food is more likely to stick, but using cooking fats and preheating the frying pan should help.
Use a cleaning sponge or steel wool with hot soapy water to remove stuck-on food.
This Stanley open-fire cookware set got glowing reviews. Customers were pleased with the even heating and the durability. They used this cookware to make eggs, hot dogs, bacon, and more.
The plates are small, and some people said they were a little too small. This set is also on the pricey side, although you’re getting a lot of pieces.
But overall? This stainless steel camping cookware set has a lot of utility and excellent performance.
- Lightweight engineering
- Nesting set
- Durable stainless steel
- Includes serving ware
- Low maintenance
- Prone to sticking
- Plates are small
Timberbrother Titanium Cup with Lid: Best Backpacking for Open Fire
When you’re mountain trekking, the last thing you need is a cast iron pan to carry. Fortunately, you don’t have to compromise utility to get something portable.
The Timberbrother Camping Mug is made of 100% titanium. This pot won’t rust or leave any metallic smell or taste in the food.
This mug is super light and easy to store. With a foldaway handle, you can easily store this in a travel bag or backpack. The cup comes in a compact mesh package.
It has a capacity of 1100 mL, equivalent to 1.16 quarts or 37 fluid ounces. The smaller volume, along with the compact storage, makes this great for individual use.
The interior volume marks help you measure the right amount of hot water or liquid to use. And the titanium bail handle can be used to hang the pot for camp cooking.
Just to give you an idea of the possibilities, this single mug can be used for boiling water, insulating water bottles, cooking Ramen noodles or other single-serve foods, or holding hot drinks like coffee or tea.
- Compact mesh storage bag included
- Includes lid with handle
- Calibrated volume marks inside the cup
- Perfect for individual use
- Small in volume
- Reports of handles getting loose over time
Overmont Camp Dutch Oven: Runner-Up Best Camping Dutch Oven
The Overmont Camp Dutch Oven is known as the Lifetime Pot. It has a capacity of 4.4 quarts (4.16 liters), but there’s also a 6-quart (5.7 liters) option, as well. This was my choice as a runner-up for best camping Dutch oven.
This piece is a camper’s dream. The integral legs on the pot and lid allow the oven to sit perfectly over the campfire. Plus, the lid can double as a skillet for frying.
This pot is made with high-quality cast iron. The durable metal hanger allows you to hang it over an open fire for easy use.
This Overmont camp Dutch oven also comes with a Dutch oven lid lifter to lift the cover or entire pot when it’s hot.
Customers had great results with the Overmont Dutch oven and lid. They liked the legs on the lid and pot, as well as the even heating. The legs are one of the best features, but that does mean you can’t use this on the stovetop. This is for outdoor cooking only.
Some said it was smaller than they anticipated. It appears that the product description overestimates the capacity. If you plan to cook for more than 2 people, I’d go a size up to be sure.
If you don’t mind a rougher cast iron, this Overmont Dutch oven is a great choice.
- Sturdy legs for sitting over the campfire
- Integral legs on the lid
- Flanged lid that doubles as a skillet
- Lid lifter to lift the pot when hot
- High-quality cast iron
- Not as versatile (not for stovetop use)
- Pots hold less capacity than stated
Lodge 17-Inch Skillet: Best Skillet for Camping
A quality cast iron skillet is an essential piece of camping cookware for anyone cooking over an open fire. This Lodge 17-inch (43 cm) preseasoned cast-iron skillet is perfect for your next camping trip and earned my choice as the best skillet for camping in a previous review.
The large diameter and 2-inch (5 cm) depth mean you can easily fit a whole chicken or a dozen baked potatoes inside while covering the campfire.
And since you can use this piece in the kitchen once you’re back home, it’s super versatile.
The Lodge skillet can accommodate pretty much any style of cooking over an open fire, including searing, sautéing, baking, broiling, braising, frying, or grilling.
Instead of the traditional long handle, this skillet features double loop handles for easy transport. It’s preseasoned with 100% natural vegetable oil, so you can start cooking with it right away.
And like all of Lodge’s uncoated cast iron cookware, this piece is made in the U.S.A.
Customers love this Lodge cast iron skillet. Several were able to make food for multiple families while camping. We’re talking pancakes, eggs, potatoes, sausage, onions, you name it.
This skillet is great for almost everyone. If you can’t lift heavy cookware, though, you might pass. This Lodge skillet is hefty, clocking in at 13 pounds (5.9 kg)! You’ll also have to season the pan occasionally.
- Large capacity
- Two short handles make it easier to handle
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Requires seasoning
Stansport Cast Iron Cookware Set: Best Cast Iron Cookware Set
Designed with campers in mind, this Stansport 6-Piece Cast Iron Cookware Set comes with a 10-inch (25 cm) fry pan, a 3-quart (2.89 liters) chicken fryer, 10-inch Dutch oven, 10-inch universal lid, lid lifter, and hot handle holder. This was my top choice as a cast iron cookware set.
This is a complete camping cooking set that could potentially serve all of your campfire cooking needs. The pots evenly cook food, and, when properly seasoned, are stick-resistant.
The versatile 10-inch (25 cm) lid fits any of the cookware pieces. And for safety, this set comes with a lid lifter and a handle holder.
To top it off, this Stansport cast iron camping cookware set is an excellent value.
Buyers agree that this set is an incredible value. Many used the pans for making campfire food like biscuits and gravy and steaks.
But several did say these pans need additional seasoning before the first use. The set comes pre-seasoned, but you’ll want to apply another coat before using it.
Also, the lid is curved, which means you can’t put coals on top. Not a big deal, but that could be an inconvenience.
Other than that, customers were super pleased with this Stansport camping cookware set. They especially liked the lid lifter and the interchangeable lid.
- Excellent value
- Interchangeable lid
- Comes with a lid lifter and handle holder
- Pre-seasoned cast iron
- Curved lid unsuitable for coals to sit atop
- Needs additional seasoning before first use
Best Camping Cookware for Open Fire: The Last Word
So what is the best camping cookware for open fire? It depends on what you need. My recommendation for a skillet is the Lodge 17-Inch Cast Iron Skillet. For Dutch ovens? I’d get the Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven.
Need an entire set? I’d go with the Stanley Base Camp Cook Set. It’s light, stackable, and high-performing, and will provide a lot of value on your next camping trip.