There is something so wholesome about campfire cooking that the simplest of meals taste delicious. Perhaps, it is the sense of finding joy in simple things and the connection between nature and ourselves. Thus, accidents and spoiled food are a big no when camping outdoors. Allow us to suggest the best pots and pans that will make your campfire cooking experience easy and fun.
Cast-iron skillets and dutch ovens are your best bet when cooking outdoors. Not only is the material very heat-efficient, but the pots themselves are also versatile and can cook a range of tasty comfort foods. Titanium pots are a close second due to their strong structure.
Many people also go for anodized aluminum and stainless steel as they make for affordable, practical options. Additionally, the pots should be capable of carrying 1 pint per person—any more than that would be a hassle to manage in the harsh outdoor environment.
With such quality metals used for making cookware, how should one manage to make a single choice? An easy way is to understand what you are getting with each material and compare. If you'd like to learn more, keep reading ahead.
What To Consider When Looking for the Best Pot?
Before we analyze the best pots and pans depending upon the metal used in their construction, let us see what to look for in each piece.
Size and Portability
Set a standard volume depending upon the number of people. For example, for every backpacker, you must have a container that can hold at most 1 pint. Not only would this technique help you look for the right size, but it would also let you know the number of pots you should take along.
You are not going to be cooking fancy three-course dinners on the fire. Thus, investing in extravagant cookware sets that come with many add-ons is not worth it. Look for cookware that can do the basics like boiling and frying well.
Look into the material, the structure, and the warranties of what you are buying. You need a set that will last well in the face of open fires and fluctuating temperatures. Do not settle for any piece that can not be reused at home or will damage after campfire cooking.
Even with its lightweight composition, titanium bags the trophy for the highest strength-to-weight ratio and is suitable for heavy, rugged tasks. Reputable for their strength, titanium cookware pieces are an excellent investment that should accompany you on your adventures for years.
These pots and pans are equipped well for the outdoor environment and hold well against bumps and scrapes. While it is incredibly fuel-efficient, the thin composition plays a negative role in its delivery. Heat penetration through the material is common, and it may end up burning the actual food. Thus, for open-fire cooking, titanium pots and pans specialize in boil-only foods.
If you can comfortably survive on simple, instant meals, titanium cookware will remain loyal to you for a lifetime. Sure it comes with a hefty price tag, but the ultralight and reliable structure make up for it.
The key to using aluminum pots for open fires lies in choosing an efficient fire technique. You do not want a lot of direct heat reaching it. Instead, find a way to elevate the pot from the fire.
Hard-anodized aluminum has emerged as another trusted choice for cookware due to its reliability and long-lasting tendency. The extra layer gives the metal resistance and strength. The anodized material also helps evenly transfer heat. Thus, with uniform heat distribution, you do not have to worry about excessive heat exposure.
MSR offers a wide range of robust and quality camping pots and pans. The MSR Quick 2 System CookSet is a great backpacking companion full of anodized aluminum cookware.
Are Aluminum Camping Pots Safe?
As per the Public Health announcement by the ATSDR, aluminum levels found in food cooked in aluminum pots were considered safe. In another report, they noted that aluminum exposure plays no role in neural diseases. Thus, aluminum camping pots are safe and, if set up correctly, very efficient for campfire cooking.
With exceptional scratch-resistant and robust characteristics, stainless steel cookware lives up to its name. After all, it works with iron and chromium, both famous for their strength and versatility.
However, one common concern with them is hotspots and food burns. While it does consume only sufficient heat, it fails to transfer it evenly. For smaller food portions, simple stirring and adding water can prevent it.
You may also create a long-term solution by setting the fire in a way that direct contact with the pot is minimum. Here, the cabin method for the logs will work effectively to elevate the pot.
MSR's stainless steel fry pan is an obvious winner for campfire cooking. It takes up the strengths of steel cookware and comes with an aluminum disc attached to the bottom that makes up for the lack of heat efficiency.
Does Fire Ruin Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is prone to corrosion due to different organic and inorganic contaminants coming from the fire. It makes the material unsuitable for use, especially with food products. Fortunately, you can use treatment methods to degrease the surface of these contaminants using different acids and alkalis.
Stainless Steel pots and pans will be a worthy investment in cases where performance is valued more than durability. It is adequately priced and will deliver top-notch results for one-time use.
Presenting - the all-rounder material for campfire cooking - cast-iron. One could say that cast-iron pans are the old-school choice for cookware that has managed to remain the very best in its field.
It has stuck by through the years because it ticks all the boxes for campfire essentials. They remain undisturbed even by the extreme campfire temperatures. Additionally, cast iron adapts to the fluctuations in the campfires.
The Bruntmor Pre-seasoned Dutch oven is a great value meal, as it comes with a lid that converts to a 10-inch skillet. So, you won't have to make more room for an additional skillet. More ways to save space are always welcome!
While we gush over the efficiency of cast iron, it is important to note that this is the heaviest out of all the options. An average cast-iron skillet weighs about 8 pounds! Now, it comes down to whether you are willing to take extra on your back for better food on your plate.
What Do You Need for Camping Cookware?
You can extend your camping cookware collection as much as you can afford, carry and make fancy meals with. However, no campfire cooking is done without the basics. After all, you need the water boiled for the morning coffee and a fried egg to start the day right.
- Camping stove: We are not suggesting you cheat on an open fire. But, it is essential to have a backup gas stove that you can depend on in an emergency
- Frying pan/skillet
- Two pots (one big and small)
- Serving spoon and a knife
- Percolator (for the coffee lovers)
- Cutting board
What Is the Best Way To Cook When Camping?
Of course, there are many fancy ways to get your food prepared during camping, but the best remains the easiest ones. If you're camping the traditional way with an open fire, use a grill or grate to help get the pots in position. You may also opt for a dutch oven to make things simpler.
To cook directly on the fire, you will need to nail the foil-wrapping technique or rotisserie. Lastly, use a gas canister stove for car camping for a practical cooking experience.
What Is Good To Cook Over a Campfire?
You can choose to cook whatever you like as long as you have the skill and ingredients for it. However, the true essence of campfire food lies in simple meals that get fancy due to the wholesomeness of the moment.
Here's a list of easy comfort foods that are good to cook over a campfire:
- Hot dogs
- Vegetable stew
- Grilled cheese
- Grilled fish
You have the verdict for each type of campfire pot now. We hope the decision is no more a difficult one to make. All your camping needs are a few choices away.
Before you go, do you have other campfire cooking concerns? Are you considering bringing along a coffee percolator to enhance the experience? We have tips on how to use one! Check out our post - "How To Use A Campfire Coffee Percolator?"
Do you need ideas on what to cook in a Dutch oven? We can throw some ideas your way! Check out our post - "What Should You Cook In A Dutch Oven?"