Best dutch oven for camping: 2021 review

Dutch oven for camping Review

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Camping Dutch ovens: buying guide

One of the best campervan essentials is, without a doubt, a camp Dutch oven! Once you are the proud owner of your own Dutch oven for camping, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without one.

Dutch oven cooking while camping allows you to prepare almost any dish you want. Whether it is making a stew, braising a chicken, or even baking bread and a cake.

And wouldn’t you agree the food always tastes better when it’s prepared outside, over the campfire or in the coals?

But how to choose the best Dutch oven (cast iron)? There are so many different sizes, qualities and Dutch oven brands. Which Dutch oven camping accessories do you need?

We’ll help you out in this complete guide to buy the Dutch oven for outdoor cooking that suits you best!

Best Dutch ovens for camping cooking outdoor

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Best Dutch ovens for camping: a comparison

In this article, we’ll review the best camp Dutch ovens and the different brands in detail.

If you don’t have a lot of time, here’s a quick overview depending on how many people you are traveling with or what you would like to cook.

Don’t worry if you get confused by the ‘quarts’, we’ll explain that later.

Best cast iron Dutch oven for:

Why you should buy a Dutch oven for YOUR NEXT CAMPING TRIP

We said it before… Nothing so fulfilling as preparing your own meal outside, over a fire, in a Dutch oven.

Cast iron Dutch oven cooking goes way back. Hundreds of years ago, people already used this heavy-duty cookware.

And we understand why. A Dutch oven can be used to prepare almost any recipe. Whether you want to fry, bake, or roast, anything is possible. Check one of these Dutch oven campfire recipes to get inspired.

You’ll soon learn to appreciate the Dutch oven as the most versatile piece of your camping cooking gear. And if you take care of it, it will last a lifetime.

Dutch oven baking bread outdoor camping
You can even prepare bread in a cast iron Dutch oven

What to look for when buying Dutch Ovens for camping

Regular Dutch oven versus camping Dutch oven: what’s the difference

A regular Dutch oven is designed to use on a stove, in the oven, or anywhere else in your home kitchen.

Most of them are cast iron but covered with enamel. This means they can not be used over an open fire, as you would do with an outdoor cooking Dutch oven. One of the top brands here is Le Creuset.

Almost all outdoor Dutch ovens are entirely made of cast iron. It’s the best material to withstand the extreme heat that comes from an open campfire. These rugged pots can deal with almost all weather and camping conditions.

For this article, we only reviewed brands such as Lodge, Camp Chef, Overmont, and Texsport, which have legs, a flanged lid, and a handle. We believe these are essential features for a good Dutch oven for outdoor cooking.

Some other Dutch oven brands such as Bruntmor or Coleman weren’t considered for the scope of this article.

Typical features you should look for when you buy a camping Dutch oven

First of all, legs are very handy to place the pot over hot charcoals. The downside of these legs is you won’t be able to use your Dutch oven on a camping stove.

Secondly, a flat lid with raised edges allows you to cover the lid with hot charcoals. This distributes the heat, which is necessary for baking. And in some cases, you can use the lid as a frying pan or griddle.

And last but not least, we prefer it if they have a handle. Not only to carry them around but mostly to hang your Dutch oven over an open fire with a tripod.

Camp Dutch Oven Hot Coals
Metal legs and a flanged lid make it possible to warm the entire Dutch oven with coals

Dutch oven size

Dutch ovens come in many different sizes. The first thing to consider is how many people you will be cooking for.

We travel around with our kids, so need a camping Dutch oven that serves at least four persons. But if it’s just you, or with your partner or friend, you’ll want a smaller version.

One other thing to consider is whether you choose a shallow or a deep Dutch oven. Shallow is better for baking, a deep Dutch oven is better for big groups or preparing stews.

Size can be expressed in quarts, which gives the capacity of the Dutch oven. Depending on the number of people you are cooking for, you’ll want a different capacity.

  • Up to 2/3 people: 2 quarts
  • Up to 4/5 people: 5 quarts
  • Big groups: 8 quarts or more

In other words, if you choose a shallow Dutch oven (which we believe is most versatile), you’ll need a bigger diameter if you want to cook for more people.

Dutch oven camping accessories and tools

Buying a Dutch oven is step one, but you’ll make your experience much more enjoyable with some Dutch oven accessories for camping.

You could buy a complete Dutch oven set for camping, or choose your favorite accessories below.

Tripod Dutch Oven Camping

TripodLodge Adjustable Camp Tripod

True camping essential if you ask us. We love to hang our Dutch oven over an open campfire or fire bowl. This tripod by Lodge is foldable, so perfect for camping.

Lid stand/lifter4 in 1 Lodge Camp Dutch Oven Tool

This versatile tool is for protecting your hands from the heat while lifting up the lid or bail. But it can also be used as a pot stand or a lid stand if you flip the lid for an extra cooking surface. Fits inside a 10-inch pot. Can be combined with a regular lid-lifter.

Lid stand lifter Dutch oven
Charcoal Chimney cooking outside

Charcoal chimneyCampMaid Foldable Charcoal Chimney Starter

A charcoal chimney starter is great for speeding up the process of lighting coals without any starter fluid. This one is foldable, which means perfect for camping.

Heat resistant glovesHomemaxs BBQ Gloves

Cast iron gets really hot! Don’t burn your hands and use a good pair of heat resistant gloves.

Heat resistant gloves camp cooking
Instant read thermometer Dutch oven cooking

Instant read thermometerThermoPro Digital Instant Read Thermometer

If you want to take your Dutch oven campfire cooking to the next level, you’ll want to know the inside temperature of your pot or meat.

Dutch oven tote bag

These tote bags are great for storing your Dutch oven or transporting it in the car. Choose the right size, each Dutch oven brand has its own.

Dutch oven tote bag
Parchment paper Dutch oven baking

Parchment paperKatbite 205 SQ FT Heavy Duty Parchment Paper Roll

Parchment paper for Dutch oven baking makes your life so much easier.

BBQ TongsExtra Long Stainless Steel Tongs

These BBQ tongs are perfect for rearranging the coals or placing them on the lid for camping Dutch oven cooking.

BBQ Tongs cooking outside
Plastic scraper Dutch oven cleaning

Plastic ScraperLodge Scraper Combo

Keeping your cast iron Dutch oven clean without damaging it is so important. These plastic scrapers do the task perfectly!

Metal skewersKabob Skewers Flat Metal

For Dutch oven baking, you often need to release steam that builds up inside the pot. These metal skewers are perfect for that!

Metal skewers cooking cast iron pot
Dutch oven cook book

Dutch Oven Cook BookThe Camp Dutch Oven Cookbook (Robin Donovan)

Get inspired by these Dutch oven cooking recipes for camping by Robin Donovan. Each recipe only has 5 ingredients, perfect for cooking outdoors.

Cleaning and seasoning your Dutch oven

With a bit of special care, you’re cast iron pots and pans will last a lifetime. The most important thing is that you know how to clean and season your cast iron cookware.

There are different ways for cleaning your cast iron Dutch oven, but this is the essence:

  • Wash it out with warm water. Some say you can use some soap, but we don’t recommend it. A plastic scraper works great without damaging the seasoning.
  • Make sure the Dutch oven is completely dry.
  • Use some oil and rub it evenly over the inside.

Cast iron dutch ovens need a proper seasoning if you want them to stay in good shape. Try to choose a Dutch oven with a quality pre-seasoning when you buy one.

But if there is no seasoning it is damaged over the years, you’ll want to season your cast iron Dutch oven yourself.

Detailed reviews of the best CAMPING Dutch ovens

Overmont Dutch Oven for Camping Review

Overmont is a company specialised in all outdoor gear. In the last years, they also brought cast iron camp cookware on the market.

The Overmont Dutch oven comes in two sizes, 6 quarts, and 9 quarts. The 6 quarts version is perfect for a family or couple. Overmont Dutch oven reviews are mainly positive.

Overmont Dutch Oven 6 quarts

Pros

The Overmont Dutch oven is very affordable, without giving in on quality. It has all the essential features such as legs, a handle, and a lid with a rim. It even has legs on the lid, which means you can flip it to use a griddle.

The Overmont camp Dutch oven is made out of qualitative cast iron, said to last a lifetime with the proper care. It comes pre-seasoned, but it doesn’t hurt to give it an extra seasoning after some time.

Because of its high-quality cast iron, the pot holds its heat very well and has an evenly heat-distribution. Besides making it more environmentally-friendly, it also means you can easily cook anything in these pots.

Every Dutch oven comes with a lid-lifter, perfect for handling the hot lid while cooking.

Cons

The biggest issue with the Overmont Dutch oven is the size. It is smaller than the advertised 6 quarts or 9 quarts. They add the lid as an extra 2 quarts, which is misleading.

The handle doesn’t have a center point, which means the pot can move when it hangs over a fire.

Although the Overmont cast iron has great quality, it is made in China. A downside to some people who prefer locally produced materials.

It’s a bit heavy for its size, which is a bit of a disadvantage for camping. But the high-quality cast iron makes up for this.

Lodge Camp Dutch Oven Review

Lodge is the best-known brand for cast iron cookware in general and Dutch ovens in particular. With over a hundred years of experience, they are the most established players in the cast iron market.

Lodge Dutch ovens for camping come in 6 different sizes: 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 quarts.

These can be divided in two main groups:

  • Lodge Camp Dutch Ovens (2, 4, and 6 quarts)

These models are shallow, which makes them the most versatile for cooking. Especially if you want to bake in your Dutch oven, you’ll need a pot that is less deep.

Lodge Camp Dutch oven 6 quarts

The Lodge Camp Dutch oven 2 quarts is perfect for solo travelers, backpackers, or travelers by (motor)bike.

Lodge Camp Dutch oven 2 quarts
  • Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Ovens (5, 8, or 10 quarts)

Because these models are deep, they are perfect for braising a chicken, roasting a ham, or making stews.

The Lodge Deep Camp 8 quarts or Lodge Deep Camp 10 quarts are what you need for big families or groups.

Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven 10 quarts

Pros

Although Lodge isn’t the cheapest brand, it is still quite affordable. You get great quality for most budgets.

They produce very high quality cast iron, made in the USA. Lasts a lifetime with the proper care.

Their cast iron is pre-seasoned with 100% natural vegetable oil. Instructions for re-seasoning it are in the manual.

The pots have perfect heat retention and even distribution. Perfect for cooking anything. And they come with the Camp Dutch Oven Cooking 101 cookbook.

All of the Lodge Dutch oven camp versions have legs to put them over a bed of coals and a flanged, deep lid. Cover the lid with hot coals to spread out the heat and create the real oven effect. With a lid stand, you can flip the lid to use it as a griddle.

They come with a bailing hook, so you can easily hang it on a tripod over a fire.

Cons

Lodge Dutch ovens are quite heavy. Not evident if your backpacking or camping.

The handle could be a bit stronger to hold this heavy pot.

Almost all Lodge Camp Dutch oven reviews are positive, except for some reports of cracked pots when delivered or after first use. But you’ll get a replacement if that happens.

Camp Chef Dutch Oven Review

Camp Chef is an outdoor cookware brand, established a couple of decades ago. Although they are rather new on the market, they have proven themselves to be a trustworthy Dutch oven brand.

The Camp Chef Dutch oven range has 3 main types: Camp Chef Classic Dutch ovens, Camp Chef Deep Dutch ovens, and Camp Chef Deluxe Dutch ovens.

As we believe the Camp Chef Deluxe Dutch ovens are the best value for money, we’ll just review those in this article. They come in 6 quarts, 9 quarts, and 12 quarts.

Pros

Great value for money, for example, the Camp Chef Deluxe Dutch oven 6 quarts is quite a bit cheaper than the same model by Lodge.

Camp Chef Deluxe Dutch Oven 10 inch

The pre-seasoned quality cast iron is very robust and sturdy, perfect for handling extreme temperatures.

The lid has its own legs, which makes it perfect for using it as a griddle or skillet over coals.

The big advantage of the Camp Chef Deluxe is the built-in thermometer notch. No more problems to measure the exact temperature inside the pot.

The 12 quarts Camp Chef Deluxe Dutch oven is one of the best on the market for cooking for large groups.

12 quarts Camp Chef Deluxe Dutch Oven

Cons

Although the Camp Chef cast iron Dutch oven has great quality, it is made in China. A downside to some people who prefer locally produced materials.

Their cast iron is reported to be a bit less durable as other Dutch oven brands. Maybe not a lifetime cast iron pot.

Texsport Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Texsport is an outdoor gear brand, based in the USA.

In their Dutch oven range, they have different sizes. The most popular are the 4 quarts and 8 quarts Texsport cast iron Dutch oven.

Pros

A Texsport Dutch oven is great for people who want to try out Dutch oven camp cooking.

These Dutch ovens are very affordable. They come with a lot of the same features as Lodge or Camp Chef, but a lot cheaper.

The Dutch ovens have legs, a handle (with fixed middle), and a great fitting lid. Because they are quite deep, they are perfect for stews and baking.

If cared for properly, this pot can last a long time.

The 4 quarts is ideal for a couple of small family.

Texsport Dutch Oven 4 quarts

Cons

Texsport Dutch ovens don’t come pre-seasoned, or with a very low quality seasoning. You’ll want to season them yourselves before your first use.

They are cheaper and this translates in the quality of the cast iron. Although they aren’t bad at all, you can’t expect the same quality as the top brands.

The Dutch ovens are quite heavy for their size, not ideal for backpackers.

Final thoughts on buying a Dutch oven for camping

We hope this buying guide has been helpful for selecting the best Dutch oven for your next outdoor trip.

Your Dutch oven will soon become your favourite piece of your camping or campervan equipment! Dutch oven cooking while camping is so fulfilling and will bring you a lot of joy (and good food).

Here’s again our overview with our top picks depending on your kind of cooking or the size of your group.

Let us know in comments which one you pick!

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