Best Dutch Oven for Camping: The Right Cookware for the Outdoors
Cooking in the campsite may seem like an overwhelming task, which is especially true for first-timers. While it is not the easiest thing to do, especially because you are devoid of the luxuries of a fully-equipped kitchen, it is entirely possible as long as you have the right gear. With this, among others, one that you will need is the best Dutch oven for camping.
If you are thinking of buying a Dutch oven that you can use in the campsite, we are here to help you out. Keep on reading and we’ll share with you some valuable insights, including five of the best products you might want to include in your list of choices.
Types of Dutch Oven for Camping
Before anything else, it is important to be familiar with the different materials that are used in a Dutch oven, which include the following:
- Plain Cast Iron: This is an ideal material if you are looking for a Dutch oven that comes with an affordable price. It is heavy, but it is meant to withstand the test of time. However, it is important to note that it requires seasoning before its first use.
- Enameled Cast Iron: Although more expensive than plain cast iron, this is what more people prefer. One of its best characteristics is that it does not need to be seasoned. However, you need to observe caution as the enamel can be prone to cracking.
- Stainless Steel: Durability and heating efficiency are some of the things that make it another favorite material when it comes to Dutch ovens. In some models, a copper core is added to improve heat conduction.
- Copper: Heat conductivity is one of the advantages of this material for a Dutch oven. It also regulated temperature efficiently. However, one drawback is that it can easily react to acidic foods.
Essential Factors to Consider
As you look for the best Dutch oven for camping, below are some of the things that you should consider:
- Weight: Most Dutch ovens can be heavy, especially those that are made from cast iron. As much as possible, choose one that is lightweight, which means that it won’t be a significant addition to the gears you have to bring in the campsite.
- Size: As you try to make the right choice, think about the number of people for whom you will be cooking. This will help to determine the right size of the Dutch oven that you should use.
- Design: Since it is going to be used for the outdoors, there are some design elements that will prove to be essential. For instance, one of the most important is to choose a Dutch oven with feet, which will make it stable when cooking on the ground. A concave lid is also a must, which will be effective in sealing flavor and in maximizing the space inside.
- Versatility: This is a good thing if you want the best value for money. With this, it will be good to choose one that comes with a lid that is designed to double as a skillet. This means that you will be able to do more with your Dutch oven.
- Warranty: This is important as it will provide you with peace of mind. If there is an extensive warranty coverage, you can rely on the support of the manufacturer if in case the product proves to be defective.
Tips in Using a Dutch Oven in the Campsite
To make the most out of your Dutch oven, be sure to keep these things in mind:
- Avoid using utensils that are sharp. This can scratch the surface. Some materials are fragile and this can cause the coating to flake. It is especially important if you are using a Dutch oven that has been pre-seasoned.
- It is also important to make sure that your coals are arranged evenly. This will ensure consistent cooking and leaving no hotspots. Some Dutch ovens are very thick, which is why you need to have high heat to cook your food.
- Cook ahead of time. Take note that in the case of most recipes, cooking in a Dutch oven will take mostly one hour. With this, think about your timeline so that you will know when it is already time to start cooking.
- Keep the Dutch oven clean. This is the best way to prolong its functional life and to make sure that it will demonstrate superior quality even after a long time.
Top Picks for the Best Dutch Oven for Camping
In this section, we will have a quick look at five of the best products that are currently available in the market.
Among others, one thing that we loved the most about this product is how it is already pre-seasoned, which means that it is ready to be used right out of the box. It has a nonstick coating, which will allow you to cook with minimal oil. The main material used is cast iron, although there are some complaints with how it can be prone to cracks. It should also be noted that it is made using non-toxic materials. Even when subjected to high heat, it will not be a hazard. Lastly, with stable feet, this functions as an excellent camping stove, making it easy to cook even if you are outdoors.
- Has a stable base
- Comes pre-seasoned
- Made from cast iron
- Can be prone to cracks
Camp Chef is a brand that has been around since 1990. Until now, it is one of the best names within the product category, which can provide you with a guarantee on the quality of this Dutch oven. One thing that you might love about this product is its generous capacity as it can cook up to12 quarts and has a diameter of 14 inches. The versatility is also worth pointing out. The lid also comes with feet, which will allow it to double as a skillet. There is also a starter booklet that is included, making it perfect for beginners. Plus, you will learn about some of the tips when seasoning the Dutch oven.
- Generous capacity
- Versatile lid
- Easy to clean
- Made in China
- Not properly seasoned
Affordability and durability – these are two of the reasons why we are including this product in our list of the top choices. Despite its affordable price, it is worth noting that it is made using high-quality materials. With this, you can expect that it will resist warping and external damages, even with frequent and prolonged use. The cast iron construction is excellent not only for longevity, but also for the distribution of heat, which will guarantee more consistent cooking. The tight fit of the lid is also a plus, which will seal flavor and moisture.
- Durable construction
- Easy to lift
- Affordable price
- Can cause a metallic aftertaste
- Quite heavy
The hard-anodized construction of this Dutch oven is one of its best features. This makes it lighter compared to cast iron. Hence, you can bring it easily in the campsite. It has an aluminum cooking surface, which is good because it is nonreactive. It will cook food slowly, which will allow maximum extraction of flavor from the ingredients that are used. Another thing that we love sis the fact that there is no seasoning that is needed. This makes it hassle-free to use in the long run.
- Lightweight construction
- Easy to clean
- Distributes heat evenly
- Handle design is inferior
- Coating can peel
On the top of the reasons why we love this Dutch oven is the fact that it is made by Coleman, a company that is known for the production of high-quality outdoor products. It has a capacity of 7.5 quarts. It is made using high-quality cast iron, which is known for its extreme durability, although this material also means that it is going to be heavy. The material that is used also allowsit to resist warping. You can also expect superior heat distribution with this product, which means that your food will be cooked evenly.
- Made by a trusted brand
- Can resist warping
- Durable construction
- Quite expensive
- Interior metal finish is rough
Read more : Camp Cooking with a Dutch Oven
In sum, the best Dutch oven for camping is one of the cooking essentials that you need to have in the outdoors. To maximize its benefits, be sure to choose wisely. One of the first things you should consider is the quality of the material. From heat distribution to durability, see to it that it can deliver excellent cooking performance.
If there is one model that I can recommend, it would be Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Deep Camp Dutch Oven. The latter comes with a stable base, which will allow you to cook directly above coal. It is also a good thing that it is already pre-seasoned. For sure, it will make cooking in the campsite a lot easier.