Whether it’s been a busy day enjoying the outdoors or a quiet one relaxing around the campground, one thing is true for all campers; they have to eat! Unfortunately, many people think camping food is limited to cold meals, hot dogs over the fire, and a s’more or two. Thankfully, a campfire cooking kit can change the game, unlocking various recipes and dishes you can cook around the campsite. Please read on as we explore seven of the best kits for would-be campground cooks and what makes them stand out. Let’s dive in!
What Is a Campfire Cooking Kit?
A campfire cooking kit is a general term for a collection of cookware manufacturers designed for use over an open fire, camp stove, or similar cooking method. Rather than forcing you to assemble each piece independently, they provide a complete set. You can start cooking immediately with everything you need. In addition, they’re typically far more durable than at-home pots, pans, and kitchen items due to the higher wear and tear they’ll experience cooking over open flames. They must also withstand being banged around during transit and at the campsite.
Who Needs a Campfire Cooking Kit?
Anyone who camps and prepares food can benefit from a campfire cooking kit. The sturdy pots and pans allow you to cook many campground recipes. Many of these recipes are as convenient as they are delicious. By putting all your necessary items and accessories together, you can have everything you need.
This makes campfire cooking kits an excellent choice for new campers without time to acquire items individually. However, they can be equally valuable for experienced outdoor enthusiasts, who’ve likely been dealing with mismatched lids, low-quality items, and other minor frustrations for many trips. By purchasing a kit, they can replace their entire set simultaneously and ensure manageable cooking for years to come.
What to Consider When Buying a Campfire Cooking Kit
Not every campfire cooking kit is equal. So what should aspiring outdoor cooks look for when purchasing one? Some of the most critical things to consider are the use case, construction materials, weight and packability, durability, and cleanability.
This is the most crucial decision in your campfire cooking kit purchase, as it will dictate what you’re looking for in your kit. First, consider how you plan to cook. Will you use a proper campfire, hot coals, a camp stove, a grill, or an RV kitchen instead? Those who plan to camp and cook frequently may want to invest in a heavier-duty set that stands up to many years of use, while infrequent campers can opt for a more affordable but less durable one.
Material is the second most essential choice in selecting a kit. The most common materials for campfire cooking kits are aluminum, stainless steel, and cast iron. However, other materials can be present. Each offers varying advantages and drawbacks, including price.
Weight and Packability
The weight of your campfire cooking kit is another crucial factor, especially for campers who’ll need to carry it themselves, like long-distance backpackers. Cast iron will be the highest-weight option, with many finding it prohibitively heavy for anything other than short trips from your vehicle to the campsite. Aluminum is the lightest choice, with stainless steel somewhere in between. These latter two materials offer much more realistic weight for extended carrying.
As you might expect, durability varies by material and is closely related to weight. Heavier cast-iron cookware can last a century or more when you appropriately care for it, turning a trusty skillet into a family heirloom. Stainless steel can also last many years or even decades. However, this requires a level of care, which can be a challenge to maintain for frequent campers. Aluminum cookware generally has the shortest lifespan, with regular cooks getting 3-5 years of use and even longer for occasional campers.
Campers can clean aluminum or stainless steel cooking items the way they do at home, with a bit of dish soap and water. However, this may not always be available for those at more primitive campsites. You can clean cast-iron pots with an abrasive like salt and a rough scrubber. This can provide an advantage for some campers without ready access to water and washing facilities.
Pro Tip: Start your campfire with ease with one of these 8 Best Campfire Starters to Bring on Every Outdoor Adventure.
7 Best Campfire Cooking Kits
No matter your needs, there’s a top-quality campfire cooking kit. Here are a few of our favorites and why they earned their top spots.
#1. Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron 5 Piece Bundle
About: When it comes to campfire cooking our personal favorite is cast iron. Lodge is one of America’s best-known cookware brands, producing quality cast-iron products for over 125 years. However, cast iron has been the go-to campfire cooking material for centuries before that. That’s due to its incredible durability and long-lasting even heat retention. For approximately $90, this set includes a dutch oven, a griddle, two skillets, and a lid, providing various surfaces for many recipes. They’re pre-seasoned, ready to use, and straightforward to maintain.
Best Features: Versatility, long-term durability
Who It’s Best For: Campers hoping to pass down their kits to their children; and who don’t mind some extra weight compared to other sets.
- One Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 5 Piece Set
- Cast iron cover features self-basting tips
- Easy-grip handles for secure control
#2. Stanley Base Camp Cook Set for 4
About: Our first option is this stainless steel Stanley set. It comes with 21 pieces, including basics like a pot, pan, and cooking utensils, but also less standard yet valuable items like a cutting board and dish drying rack. It’s convenient to bring along on nearly any camping trip, as the set nests within the largest pot. This kit stores an incredible amount of equipment in a small space. With enough plates, bowls, and utensils for four, it’s excellent for medium-sized groups.
Best Features: Scratchproof, rustproof, nesting storage
Who It’s Best For: Campfire cooks who want the highest-quality cookware that’s also manageable to maintain and transport.
- 21 NESTED COMPONENTS: (1) 3 5L pot, vented lid, (1) 7" 3-ply...
- TOUGH AND DURABLE: Manufactured using 18/8 stainless steel this...
- SPACE SAVING: This comes fully loaded with 21 different pieces...
#3. Stanley Even-Heat Camp Pro Cookset
About: Those with more to invest in their kit can opt for this Stanley’s Even-Heat design. This 3-ply construction distributes the heat of your cooking source throughout your pan like cast iron, eliminating hot spots, burn marks, and uneven food. This is a common problem with campfire cooking. With 11 stainless steel pieces that easily nest within one another, it has everything you’ll need for safe, reliable camp cuisine.
Best Features: Even-heat design, nesting storage
Who It’s Best For: Chefs who don’t want to sacrifice the control and precision of traditional stoves when cooking over irregular heat sources like campfires.
- CAMP LIKE A PRO: Everything you need to whip up a hearty meal...
- EVEN-HEAT DESIGN: We’ve crafted the cooking pots and pans with...
- LEGENDARY STANLEY QUALITY: Whether you’re camping, hiking,...
#4. Odoland 16pcs Camping Cookware Set
About: This affordable Odoland kit is perfect for campers starting their outdoor cooking life. Among the 16 pieces in the campfire cooking kit is an adjustable gas camp stove. It provides a far simpler cooking source for newbies than campfires or hot coals. With a combination of anodized aluminum and stainless steel, it also offers a perfect blend of low weight and long-term durability.
Best Features: Lightweight, adjustable gas camp stove included
Who It’s Best For: New campfire cooks or those who’d prefer a stove over an open fire.
- The Best Money You Ever Spent - The 16pcs camping cookware mess...
- High Quality Pots and Pan - Both the camping pots pan and kettle...
- Quick Heating Camping Stove - Fold to small size. Adjustable...
#5. Bulin Camping Cookware Mess Kit
About: This Bulin set is perfect for families and other medium to large camping groups. It can serve up to four people, and it cooks large quantities in two roomy pots. There’s also a kettle for quickly boiling water for coffee, tea, soup, and other uses. This campfire cooking kit is collapsible and nesting, and you can easily carry it in an included case.
Best Features: Convenient carrying case, BPA-free, rustproof
Who It’s Best For: Groups looking for an all-in-one camping food prep solution.
- Food-grade Material--The camping mess kit is made of safe,...
- Complete 3-4 Cookware Sets——Our backpacking cooking set...
- Lightweight Camping Cookware Set——Collapsible bundle design...
Pro Tip: Make cooking with your campfire kit easy by using one of these 7 Best Campfire Tripods for Sturdy Fire Cooking.
#6. Boundless Voyage Titanium Canteen Mess Kit
About: Based on models formerly used by military members, this compact, low-weight design includes a 1,100-milliliter capacity canteen, two cups/pots, and a lid. It fits together in the size of a typical water bottle. Better yet, it’s just over 1.25 pounds, making it our lightest choice. This combination of strength, durability, and lightweight design results from the 99.8% titanium composition.
Best Features: Titanium construction, ultralight and compact design
Who It’s Best For: Campers who need to preserve weight and space but still need a fully functional campfire cooking kit.
- The canteen set includes one canteen and two cups and one lid,...
- The lid has 3 vent holes, they are also used as strainer...
- The canteen's wide mouth design make it better to fill, and...
#7. Bisgear Camping Cookware
About: Bisgear offers a perfect campfire cooking kit for those looking to keep costs low. For under $30, buyers enjoy two different-sized pots, a stainless steel cutlery set, and a camp stove. It fits in a compact package for under 1.5 pounds. It’s an excellent choice for new campers who may not know how much they want to invest in camping cooking equipment.
Best Features: Adjustable gas camp stove included, lightweight construction
Who It’s Best For: Campers looking to start cooking on their trips without busting their budget.
- HIGHEST QUALITY/EASY CLEAN - Non-Toxic Anodized Aluminum Camping...
- BEST PRICE/SAVE MONEY - Bisgear 15pcs Camping Campfire Cookware...
- SPACE SAVING/EASY TO CARRY- The Entire Camping Cookware...
Can’t You Just Use Regular Cookware for Camping?
There are many situations where you can use traditional cooking utensils and cookware around the campsite. However, some at-home pots, pans, or other items can’t handle the intense, sustained, direct heat of cooking over a campfire or hot coals. You could damage or destroy them with this kind of use. Some may also not stand up to the rougher treatment they’ll experience being frequently packed, unpacked, and jostled in transit.
In addition, while campers can assemble their cookware for camping trips, the additional time and hassle in doing so make a campfire cooking kit an even better value.
Are Campfire Cooking Kits Worth It?
We all have to eat, especially after a busy day of camping. While you may get away with pre-made meals or essential recipes, there’s simply no comparison to the convenience, versatility, and value of a campfire cooking kit. Investing in one of these high-quality, affordable choices will benefit your cooking for years to come. Your stomach, and your fellow campers, will thank you later!
Which cooking kit on our list would work best for you? Tell us in the comments!
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