If you have ever gone on a camping trip, you should agree with me that there is something special about the meals. And while there are several ways to cook on a campsite, there is nothing better than cooking with a dutch oven.
Why do I love dutch ovens? Well, I’m a big fan of one-pot meals and dutch ovens allow me to make them without fuss. Why do I have to settle for the sluggish cooker when I have my dutch ovens?
My dutch ovens are one of the first items that I pick up whenever I’m going on a camping trip. They help me prepare some fantastic Dutch oven camping recipes including bread, cake, enchiladas, and more.
I was recently in the market to get a new dutch oven and while at it, I got some very valuable information. In this review, I’ll be telling you all you need to know about the best dutch ovens available today.
So, let’s get started!
IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…
|Best Dutch Oven For Camping||Product||Material||Capacity||Buy|
|TopLodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven 8-Quart||Cast Iron||4.2 liters||Check price|
|OVERMONT 5.7L/6 Quart||Cast Iron||5.7 liters||Check price|
|Camp Chef 12 Qt Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven||Cast Iron||11.3 liters||Check price|
|Texsport Cast Iron Dutch Oven||Cast Iron||3.7 liters||Check price|
|GSI Outdoors Hard Anodized Dutch Oven||Anodized aluminum||3.7 liters||Check price|
Table of Contents
The 5 Best Dutch Ovens For Camping
Though there are several models of dutch ovens that you can buy, only a few of them are worth the investment. To save you the trouble, here are the 5 best dutch ovens for your camp cooking:
Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven 8-Quart
The Lodge Camp Dutch Oven is made by one of the most reputable makers kg cast iron cookware. Though it isn’t the most stylish, it is a highly durable camping dutch oven. It is built for campfire cooking and it offers a whole lot of room.
By investing in this product, you will get a camping dutch oven that you can always rely on. The oven has three legs to ensure that heat is properly distributed as you prepare your meal over charcoal. It also has a lid that you can flip to turn into a griddle.
For slow cooking, the Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven features a with which you can suspend it on a tripod. It is also versatile as you can use it on either an open flame or grill. The pot’s impressive depth means that it can be used for preparing means for between 3 to 6 people.
You won’t find a dutch oven that can beat this cast iron dutch oven when it comes to durability. Its legs and sturdiness make it an excellent choice for the outdoors, it’s not so suitable for indoor use. To keep it in good condition, you will have to get it seasoned from time to time. You shouldn’t put it in a dishwasher too.
OVERMONT 5.7L/6 Quart Dutch Oven
The second dutch oven on my list is a product that offers a combination of affordability and functionality. The Overmont dutch oven has all the necessary features and yet, it comes at a very affordable price. It is a high-quality oven that is made of durable cast iron. Hence, you should be able to pass it down to your kids if you maintain it well.
The highly versatile dutch oven has legs below it and on its lids too. As a result, the oven can be placed directly above over fires while the lid can also be converted to a skillet. The flat-shaped lid features a rim that enables users to safely put hot coals on it.
Additionally, the dutch oven comes with a handle that makes it easy to carry around. The oven will also arrive pre-seasoned so you will be able to put it to use right away. As for the size, the 5.7l/6 quart is pretty decent. You can use it to prepare a meal for 2 to 5 campers.
In the end, you will find it very difficult to find a product that offers better value for money. The manufacturer even added a lid lifter for more convenience.
Camp Chef 12 Qt Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven
There are several things to love about the Camp Chef Dutch Oven. It comes with an excellent cast iron pre-seasoned finish and is as smooth as a dutch oven can be. However, you should consider giving it a quick seasoning before using it for the first time.
It is a good camping dutch oven as it offers a lot in terms of versatility. First, it features a lid and legs. This will allow you to flip it and convert it to a skillet or griddle on an open flame directly.
You may also convert it into a double dutch oven by flipping it over. The steam from the main pot will pass through the lid and in doing so, help you cook more food. Additionally, the deep oven’s design allows greater circulation of air for even cooking. The lid can be used as a serving trivet.
Furthermore, the Camp Chef Dutch Oven features a built-in dutch oven. This innovative feature will allow you to monitor the temperature inside without opening the lid. Finally, a loop handle has been added to the lid for safety. With it, you will be able to safely lift the lid when it’s hot.
Texsport Cast Iron Dutch Oven
I’ve included this product in my list of the best dutch ovens for camping mainly because it is long-lasting and affordable. It also comes with three legs that allow it to sit over campfires and offer adequate distance for the even distribution of heat.
Additionally, this cast iron pot features a tight-fitting lid to ensure that your food remains moist and warm. The dutch oven also has a bail with a center hook that makes it easy to hang. At just 12 pounds, it is the lightest dutch oven on the list. So, carrying it around shouldn’t be an issue for you.
This quality dutch oven will be a good fit for small families of 2 to 3 people. However, you should note that you won’t be able to use this product right away. This is because you will find a waxy film that will have to be removed before the seasoning can be done.
The importance of the film is to prevent the cast iron from rusting and to remove it, you only have to heat the pot and wipe the surface. This is unusual because cast iron dutch ovens come pre-seasoned. But since the product is very affordable, it should be just a slight inconvenience.
GSI Outdoors Hard Anodized Dutch Oven
Cast iron is widely used in the production of dutch ovens for camping due to its durability and heat distribution. However, cast iron dutch ovens have one disadvantage which is their weight. This has led to the introduction of lighter alternatives like the hard-anodized dutch ovens from GSI.
The GSI Outdoors Hard Anodized Dutch Oven is well built, efficient, and offers impressive heat distribution. It is available in three different sizes. These include 10 inches, 12 inches, and 14 inches. Though the 12 and 14-inch models come with legs, there are no legs in the 10-inch model. So, a stand may be needed to lift it above the ground.
It is cool that the handle flips to one side, however, this could result in a problem. You should avoid carrying the pot by the bail when it is filled if you don’t want to still its contents. Also, you need to watch where you place the charcoal because aluminum conducts quickly.
Furthermore, aluminum cookware isn’t the safest option for preparing your meals. This is why the manufacturers of the product had to seal it with the hard anodized layer. The layer is quite safe as it doesn’t peel easily. In the end, this anodized aluminum dutch oven is a good alternative to cast iron.
Our Top Choice
We have gone through five of the best dutch ovens for camping. They are all high-quality products but if you want the very best, then you should opt for the Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven 8-Quart.
This dutch oven simply has it all. To start with, there are sturdy legs that will allow you to use the oven over a campfire. Also, the pot features a flanged lid that can be used as a griddle or put hot coals on top of it.
If you want slow-cooked food, you can suspend the bail over a tripod. The heavy-duty Dutch oven is available in other sizes and you will get a cookbook when you make a purchase.
How To Find The Best Dutch Ovens For Camping
Dutch ovens are the key to preparing some of the most special meals on camping trips. But if you are to find the right camping dutch oven for you, you need to know the features to look out for.
Here are the most essential factors to consider when looking for a Dutch oven:
The main material used in the production of dutch ovens for camping is cast iron. However, some other materials are also used:
Cast iron is the go-to material for several dutch oven makers due to its characteristics. It is a heavy-duty material that is known to be very long-lasting. Also, you can rely on a cast iron dutch oven to withstand very high temperatures. However, you should note that the quality of cast iron dutch ovens varies by model. The main disadvantages of cast iron are that it is heavy and might rust when exposed to the elements of the weather.
Another material used in the production of dutch ovens is anodized aluminum. It is much lighter than cast iron and doesn’t rust. However, it is less durable and energy-efficient.
Carbon steel is one material that offers more durability than cast iron and has an identical weight to stainless steel. However, it has poor heat retention and is likely to distribute heat unevenly when it isn’t on a balanced surface. As a result, campfire cooking with a carbon steel dutch oven is a tough task.
Copper is another dutch oven material that is lighter than cast iron. However, it is a less durable option and doesn’t last as long as other materials.
To know the serving size offered by a dutch oven, you will have to take a look at its liquid capacity. You should choose a dutch oven that can hold enough food for your family group.
The diameter and depth of a pot determine its volume and this, in turn, tells you the number of servings that you can get. For instance, a 6-quart dutch oven with a diameter of 12 inches will be able to serve a minimum of 12 people and a maximum of 14.
The weight of your camping gear is something that you should never overlook, even if you are car camping. This is due to the need to transport supplies from one place to another.
Since the most used material for dutch ovens is cast iron, they are generally known to be heavy. But they remain an excellent camping gear to have. You can expect a 6 quart cast iron dutch oven to weigh nothing less than 10 lbs. On the other hand, a same-sized anodized aluminum dutch oven can weigh as little as 5 lbs.
Another essential factor that you need to consider when buying a dutch oven for camping is the shape. Would you prefer a deep or shallow pot? Deep dutch ovens are more common and ideal for one-pot cooking and roasts. Meanwhile, a shallow dutch oven is the right choice for baking. You should make your choice based on the meals you would like to have on your camping trips.
Also, would you rather have a dutch oven with a round bottom or a flat one? The most popular option is the latter due to its ability to sit on a grill. On the other hand, a dutch oven with a round bottom can’t sit on a grill or stove. It is also a great choice for preparing big joints of meat.
Legs are an important feature of dutch ovens for camping. Though you can cook with a dutch oven that has no legs, you will have to use extra accessories like grates and tripods to hang the oven. If you go ahead to place your pot directly on charcoal, there will be a high chance of you having nasty hot spots.
Metal Loop Handle
When using a dutch oven on a campsite, you need to ensure that it has a handle. This is because a hot Dutch oven without a handle is unsafe. You will also need a handle when cooking with a tripod.
Dutch Oven Accessories
There are dutch oven accessories that you will need to purchase along with your Dutch oven. These items will make your dutch oven cooking more convenient and safer.
Below, we’ll mention a few of them:
Dutch Oven Tripod
A tripod is an item with which you can suspend your dutch oven over an open flame. The benefit of using a tripod is that it will allow you to control how the oven is heated. You may use a grill instead of a tripod.
Dutch Oven Stand
Dutch ovens get very hot after use. As a result, they tend to damage surfaces that they are placed on. The safest place to keep your hot dutch oven is a dutch oven stand.
When cooking, you will need to spin your pot around to ensure that heat is properly distributed. You will also need to carry it once the food inside is ready. A heat protective glove will allow you to safely come in contact with your hot dutch oven.
For your oven to be heated evenly, there are several things that you have to do. Asides from spinning the oven, you will have to adjust the logs and coals using a tong. A tong will also come in handy when you need to place hot coals on the lid of your oven.
A carry bag
The outer part of camping dutch ovens tends to get grubby due to the way that they are used. Hence, a carry bag will be a good addition to your camping gear. It can also help you shield your oven from damage.
Dutch Oven Lid Lifter
Some of the dutch ovens in this review come with lid lifters. But if you should buy one that doesn’t have a lid lifter, you will need to purchase one separately.
Sometimes, when cooking or baking, you will need to know the exact temperature inside the oven. You will need a thermometer in such situations. The Camp Chef Dutch Oven comes equipped with an in-built thermometer.
Do I Need to Season My Dutch Oven?
Gone are the days when you have to season your cast iron dutch oven before using it. Now, most dutch ovens and skillets come from the manufacturers seasoned. This trend was kickstarted by Lodge Dodge Oven and copied by other brands due to its success.
However, you will still have to season your dutch from time to time to preserve its quality and extend its life span. You may watch this short video to learn how to season your dutch oven.
How to Clean Cast Iron Dutch Ovens
You have to clean your dutch oven after use if you want to keep it in excellent condition. Though the presence of the nonstick surface and patina will make the task a lot easier, there are still some steps that you have to take.
In most cases, you will only have to rinse it with hot water before scrubbing it with a nylon brush. However, food may stick to the pot’s surface and make it harder to clean. In such a situation, you will need to boil some water in it to loosen the leftover food. After that, you can proceed to scrub.
You need to give your cast iron dutch oven enough time to dry before storing it. This is because water can cause it to rust regardless of its quality. I usually heat my dutch oven after washing it to ensure that all moisture is eliminated. Towel drying is another good option.
You may also watch this video to learn how to clean your cast iron dutch oven when cooking outdoors:
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I cook in a camping dutch oven?
You may prepare any stew or meal in a dutch oven during your camping trips. However, some of the best ideas include cast iron poutine, banana boats, and campfire nachos.
Is it a good idea to take my home dutch oven on a camping trip?
It is okay to go camping with the dutch oven you use at home, however, it is better to use an oven that is specifically designed for camping. A camp dutch oven will come with legs, extended handles, and deep lids for more convenient and safer cooking.
Will I get any accessories when I buy a dutch oven?
It depends on the product you purchase. Some models come with accessories while others don’t. However, almost all manufacturers add a fitted lid to their dutch ovens. Some other accessories that you may get include tongs, tripods, and handles.
Can a cast iron dutch oven be damaged by fire?
The honest answer is yes. Despite the incredible durability of cast iron, it can become damaged in extremely high temperatures. This type of damage isn’t repairable. As a result, you should only use charcoal or low flames just like when making a BBQ.
Is enamel cast iron suitable for open fires?
No, enamel cast iron should not be used on open fires. The material has a high sensitivity to heat and is not used in the production of dutch ovens.
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