One of the best, and might we add most useful essentials for camping, without a doubt, a Dutch oven. Dutch oven owners swear by them and say that once you’ve used a Dutch oven for camping, there’s no going back. In fact, you’re going to wonder how you ever cooked in the first place! No matter the size you intend to buy, the best Dutch ovens for camping, whether you’re in a lodge or hunched over a campfire allow for preparing almost any dish under the sun. Whether it’s preparing a chicken, making a delicious and healthy stew, or baking bread, or even a cake, it’s Dutch ovens to the rescue. Plus, you’re definitely going to agree that food always tastes better when it’s prepared outdoors! So, what is a Dutch oven, exactly?
Basically, the Dutch oven is a versatile cooking cast iron pot with a tight-fitting lid. Their name came about in the 17th century when most of the Dutch cooking was in cast iron. When an English gentleman visited the country, he saw this cookware that was economical as opposed to brass, loam, and clay ones back in England. Hence, he patented the cast-iron casserole dish, calling it a Dutch oven to respect its origins. These rugged pots can withstand an open flame, and today have transformed into portable enamel-covered things that’ll fit even the roughest of survivalist vacations. To that end, here are the 13 best Dutch ovens for camping.
How To Choose The Best Dutch Ovens For Camping?
After searching for the Best Camping Fire Starters and the Best Camping Axes to rustle up firewood, your next step is to look for a Dutch oven to plan your cooking accordingly. So, what size Dutch oven should I buy for camping and what else should I look for? Read on.
When it comes to a Bruntmore, Camp Chef, and Lodge Dutch oven for camping, the de-facto material is cast iron, which is known for its heat retention and durability. What’s more, it’s incredibly durable and resilient, and it’s not uncommon for them to be passed on through the generations. Moreover, they can withstand high temperatures, even though they’re very heavy at 10-30 lbs. Aluminum Dutch ovens, on the other hand, are lightweight and yet conduct heat really well. Also, they do a decent job of heat retention. Their only drawback? Their nonstick properties. Plus, since aluminum has a lower melting temperature, food left in after it’s cooked could potentially ruin your oven.
Handles and lid
An important factor for Dutch ovens is lids and handles. Basically, handles add leverage to your Dutch oven, especially those with larger loops that you can fit your fingers through. Additionally, look for ovens that come without curved lids, but rather flat ones with a lip. What’s more, many dutch ovens even come with reversible lids, allowing you to griddle your food even on the underside!
When it comes to legs on a Dutch oven, they do offer you some flexibility in the way you cook. With them around, you can place coals directly beneath the oven and cook away from the fire. Additionally, legs ensure a more leveled surface for cooking, but end up giving you a bit of a distance. However, if your Dutch oven doesn’t have legs, then you’ll have to rely on swings, tripods, or will rely on cooking grates to place or suspend your dutch oven over the fire heat source. After all, you do not want to put it directly over the coals.
One of the topmost questions asked about Dutch ovens is what size Dutch oven should I buy for camping? The practical answer is something you can use at home too. Basically, it shouldn’t be too heavy for your stovetop and should fit in your oven too. A general size guideline to choosing a Dutch oven is as follows – for 2-4 people, an 8-inch 2-quart, for 5-7 people, a 10-inch 4-quart, for 6-10 people, a 12-inch 6-quart, and for 12-20 people, a 14-inch 10-quart. Additionally, the Dutch oven’s diameter will tell you about the capacity or volume of the food that can be cooked too. Finally, some of the best-rated Dutch ovens come in different volumes for the same diameter.
Another important factor after size is the weight, which preferably should be between 13 and 15 lbs. Also, if you’ve to feed hoards of people, then it might be a good idea to invest in multiple smaller Dutch ovens rather than one huge one. Not only will it allow you to distribute the weight while you camp, but also they become more manageable and allow you to distribute cooking the Best Camping Foods at the same time.
What are Dutch ovens used for?
You might ask what the difference between a stock pot and a Dutch given is, but the latter supports a variety of cooking techniques. In fact, if you rifle through the Best Dutch Oven Camping Recipe Books, you’ll find recipes for camping that apply a gamut of methods such as braising, baking, pan-frying, sauté, simmering, and boiling, among others. If that wasn’t enough, you can even use it for making baked desserts, frittatas, Shepherd’s Pie, and more. That said, there are a few rules when it comes to using a Dutch oven. Firstly, braising and baking will require you to place coal on the lid too, while everything else only requires heat from the bottom. Finally, deeper or taller ovens Taller are ideal for frying and stewing, whereas shorter ones are better for baking.
Texsport Cast Iron Dutch Oven 4 QT
The Texsport Cast Iron Dutch Oven 4 QT is amongst the best Dutch ovens for camping thanks to its compact sizing and classic and simple look. This 4-quart oven is an affordable option if you want a cast-iron cooking pot for your travels and is perfect for 2-3 people. What’s more, it features a tight-fitting lid that ensures that the heat is evenly distributed in multiple directions. Plus, it even comes with a wire for hanging as well as legs on the pot, allowing you to choose how you want to cook. Moreover, the fit of the lid also keeps the food within the oven moist and juicy. It might be slightly heavy at 13 lbs, but when it comes to it, it’s hard to beat the $155 price of this Dutch oven.
- Has both a wire for hanging and legs.
- Ideal for small families.
- Super affordable.
- Heavy for its size.
Lodge 2 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Amongst the best options for a Lodge Dutch oven for camping is the Lodge 2-Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven. If you’re wondering what size Dutch oven to buy for camping when it’s just you or you and your partner, then this cast-iron oven is perfect. This is especially great since it’s harder to get good Dutch ovens of that size for solo or a couple of travelers. There’s a lot to like about this cute, little 2-quart oven, especially its weight of just 7 lbs. So, it can easily fit into one of the Best Kayaks For Camping too. Crafted from high-quality cast iron, this one will easily last you forever if you take good care of it. Despite not having a hanging handle or legs, this oven is a good buy.
- Fairly lightweight.
- High-quality cast iron.
- Perfect for solo or a couple of campers.
- Limited features.
GSI Outdoors Hard Anodized Dutch Oven
Amongst the best aluminum Dutch ovens for camping is the GSI Outdoors Hard Anodized Dutch Oven. Designed from high-quality anodized aluminum, this oven is slightly more durable as compared to regular aluminum and non-corrosive as well. Additionally, this also distributes the heat slightly better and also makes the surface easier to clean. What’s more, this one even has a wire for hanging if you want to place coals beneath. If that wasn’t enough, the lipped lid distributes heat evenly and also keeps the food within moist. Affordably priced between $70 and $120 and weighing just 3.7 lbs, this 8-quart Dutch oven is a great choice if you’re a bunch of 7-15 people.
- Easier to clean.
- Lipped lid for keeping coals on top and the food moist.
- Wire for hanging.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Aluminum heats up quickly, so you have to be more mindful.
Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven, 6-Quart
Yet another excellent Lodge Dutch oven for camping is the Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven, 6-Quart. Designed specifically for camping, this one is tough enough to sustain all sorts of heating sources, extreme temperatures, and rough conditions. This shallow Dutch oven works better for baking, pan-frying, and sautéing, which is more than enough if you aren’t going to stew, roast, fry, or braise stuff. Made from high-quality and durable cast iron, the oven has a deep-enough flanged lip to hold coal. In fact, the lid can even be inverted and used as a griddle! The oven also comes with sturdy legs that allow you to place it even on charcoal and uneven surfaces. Overall, the heat distribution and retention of this oven are excellent, while the shallow and wide design rendering many cooking methods.
- Shallow design perfect for baking.
- The lid can be inverted for use as a griddle.
- Comes with a wire for hanging.
- Uses high-quality cast iron.
- Super heavy.
Overmont Camp Dutch Oven Pre Seasoned Cast Iron
One of the most popular and favorite Dutch ovens for camping is the Overmont Camp Dutch Oven Pre Seasoned Cast Iron. Famed as amongst the best in terms of cast-iron quality, this oven will last you a lifetime, which is why it’s also sometimes called the “Lifetime Pot!” There’s a lot to like about this Dutch oven, which comes with legs on both the lid and the pot. This is great because legs are rare on 6-quart ovens. What’s more, the lid even comes attached with a stainless steel wire for hanging it over a campfire or suspending it over coals. If that wasn’t enough, the oven even comes with a lid lifter to make lifting more comfortable. However, what makes this Dutch oven a truly excellent investment is the high quality of the cast iron that allows even heat distribution and excellent heat retention.
- Lid lifter.
- Comes with a wire for hanging and legs.
- Superior quality of cast iron.
- Slightly heavy for its size.
Bruntmor Heavy Duty Pre-Seasoned 2-In-1 Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven
Costing less than $50, the Bruntmor Heavy Duty Pre-Seasoned 2-In-1 Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven is one of the most value-for-money Dutch ovens on this list. If you’re wondering what size of a Dutch oven to buy for camping with a small group, then this is it. For one, it’s made from robust and durable pre-seasoned cast iron, making it as unique as it’s versatile. What’s unique about this Dutch oven is that it features a dome-shaped lid, which is great for meat recipes and roast that you’ll find in these amazing Easy Campfire Recipe Books. And when you don’t require the lid, you can invert it and use it as a 10-inch campfire skillet that’s rarely available! Finally, the 5-quart Dutch oven weighs 14 lbs, which makes it suitable for even canoe or car camping.
- The lid doubles as a skillet.
- Perfect for a small group and car camping.
- No legs.
- No handle.
Camp Chef Deluxe
The Camp Chef Deluxe is one of the best Dutch ovens for camping and comes from the able stable of Camp Chef, which has been around for the last 30 years! Amongst the top-tier names in the world of outdoor cooking, this 12-quart Camp Chef oven is a beast. However, all of that isn’t just the main body, since the lid comes with its own pan, which is what accounts for part of the huge weight of 25 lbs. Moreover, the double-decker appearance is a game-changer for cooking for large groups, especially when it’s a huge or complicated meal. Moreover, the thermometer channel makes getting even a cake or a roast to the perfect temperature an effortless task. Designed from cast iron, this oven even has a lid with legs that can be used as a griddle or a skillet.
- Very easy to clean up.
- Perfect for cooking for huge groups.
- The lid with legs can be used as a skillet/griddle.
- Very heavy.
Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven
If you prefer going classic and traditional, then consider the Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven, an excellent Lodge Dutch oven for camping that’s also amongst the Best Camping Ovens with Hob. This versatile Dutch oven can even be placed on hot coals, thanks to its well-designed legs that provide the perfect base. What’s more, there’s even a handle to hang the oven over the campfire if your food needs to be cooked slowly over the heat. Made from durable and long-lasting cast iron, this portable oven is perfect for everything from sauteing and frying to baking. Plus, the smooth surface is very easy to clean and maintain, ensuring you don’t have to be hunched over the sink during your fun camping trip. And although it’s compact, the cast iron build is very sturdy.
- Can be used on a campfire, stove, coals, etc.
- Non-stick surface.
- Cast-iron body.
- Need hot water to clean it properly.
Coleman Cast Iron Dutch Oven
The Coleman Cast Iron Dutch Oven is amongst the most versatile Dutch ovens for camping, albeit not having legs. If you hit the outdoors casually and are looking for a more basic oven, then this is the one for you. Simply snap up a basic stand or place this over a grill, and voila! You are presented with a good distribution of heat throughout and well-cooked food. What’s more, since you’re distanced from your food, you’re protected from the scorching heat too. What’s more, if you decide to switch to RV camping, then this oven works indoors too without a hitch. Finally, the great volume of 7.5 quarts is enough to cook food for 8-10 people.
- Recessed lid for holding coals.
- Good heat distribution.
- Perfect for 8-10 people.
- Works indoors in an RV too.
- No legs.
Camp Maid 7-Piece Dutch Oven Tool Set
Save a ton of space in your camping gear with the Camp Maid 7-Piece Dutch Oven Tool Set, a complete barbeque set that’s amongst the Best Camping Cookware you can find. The entire set sets you up wonderfully for your next camping trip, no matter how long or extended it is. The inventive and multi-purpose cooking kit turns camping into a fine-dining experience with this Dutch oven that can be used as a frying pan, pizza oven, steamer, smoker, and been a griddle. Plus, you’ll find 6-8 other pieces of kitchenware along with the Dutch oven in the set. If you’re camping in an RV, then carrying the entire set along won’t be an issue either. Finally, it even comes with a tripod stand, so setting it on coals is easy, and a carry bag too.
- Multi-purpose kit.
- Comes with a carry bag and tripod stand.
- Pre-seasoned Dutch oven.
- Unsuitable for trekking and hiking.
Bayou Classic Cast Iron Cookware
One of the most classic Dutch ovens for camping is the Bayou Classic Cast Iron Cookware. This 8.5-quart huge Dutch oven can accommodate a hearty meal for at least 6-8 adults. Thanks to the presence of legs, you can even slide coals underneath to indulge in bottom-heat cooking, boiling water, or even baking bread. What’s more, the Dutch oven comes with not one but 3 stands. So, you can place it over burning embers while offering air to pass through. Plus, it gives you a bit of distance from the heat, thanks to the wire hanger that allows you to hang it over the fire too. Furthermore, it transfers and retains heat evenly as well, cooking your dish to perfection. Finally, the Dutch oven comes pre-seasoned which prevents it from rusting quickly.
- Can be used for baking, stewing, pan-frying, and more.
- Comes with legs and a wire hanger.
- When hung from the tripod, the wire handle might be a problem.
Legend Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Serving as multi-purpose cookware is the Legend Cast Iron Dutch Oven, which costs less than $50. What’s great about this Dutch oven is that while it’s perfect for outdoor cooking, its lip or top serves as a 3.2-quart skillet for grilling or frying a steak too. The more you cook in this oven, the better it performs! The modern features of this oven include long integrated handles on each skillet as well as a smoother finish. Add to that the shallow skillet’s perfect lip design, and you have an oven that works with all kinds of cooktops – live campfire coals, oven, stove, you name it. Cast from pure, solid, premium-grade iron and steel, this versatile workhorse is a must-buy for your camping trip.
- Shallow lid.
- Long integrated handles
- Works with all cooktops.
- Paper and cloth towels might cling to the pots.
Cuisinel Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Sitting atop the list of best Dutch ovens for camping is the Cuisinel Pre-seasoned 2-in-1 Multi-cooker. The dual Dutch oven is also a frying pan and skillet which offers great cooking convenience. Adding to the complete package is the superior craftsmanship of the oven which ensures that it’ll last you a long, long time. That’s because it comes pre-seasoned. which means that the pot only gets better with time and as you keep cooking food in it. Since it has a high heat resistance of more than 480 degrees Fahrenheit, it can easily withstand sitting over an open campfire flame for a long period of time. The 3-quart skillet can easily cook food for up to 4 adults and can be used for everything from sauteing, braising, and broiling to grilling, baking, and frying, and more!
- Comes with a cast-iron lid.
- Induction-cooker compatible.
- Can be used like a Dutch oven or a frying pan
- Virtually none.