Unless you’re hiking to your campsite and need lightweight cookware, cast iron is the best option for cooking over an open fire. It’s heavy and heats evenly and if properly seasoned, is also easy to clean and care for.
Our first camping cookware was this Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned Combo Cooker, 10.25″ that I continue to use almost daily in my own kitchen. And of course we toss it in the car when we head out to the lake every spring and fall! (some yummy campfire recipes here)
I was raised cooking with cast iron and my mother taught me how to properly care for my cookware so that I can enjoy mine daily, year after year.
Caring for Your Cast Iron Pans
Besides seasoning and cleaning, there are a few things you can do to ensure your cast iron cookware is ready for your camping trips and that food doesn’t stick.
- Use wooden utensils. My favorites are wood or bamboo. Metal utensils can scratch the surface, cutting through the seasoning and sometimes leaving micro scratches in the iron itself. Soon your pans will rust and food will stick.
- During the off-season, when you’re huddled inside cause it’s too cold to camp, store your cast iron with a few pieces of newspaper or paper towel between the pans. This keeps them from scratching one another as they shift and will also absorb moisture and prevent your cookware from rusting.
- After cooking acidic foods like chili, spaghetti sauce, etc, rinse the pot out quickly. The acid in tomatoes can eat away at the seasoning in your pans! When we go camping we love to cook things like chili, but we make sure to bring a plastic storage container or mason jar to store any leftovers and we get that pan cleaned up fast!
Learn how to clean and season cast iron cookware!
Let’s dispel a few cast iron cookware myths…
- Food sticks to cast iron. Not if it’s been properly seasoned.
- Once cast iron is rusted, it’s ruined. Not if you know how to clean it!
I’ve written an extensive article on How to Care for Cast Iron Cookware on MomPrepares.com where I cover the best ways to clean cast iron and how to season new cast iron cookware.
And, here’s a video I shot of me cleaning my favorite skillet:
Do you cook with cast iron on your camping trips?
I’d love to hear about your favorite pieces for camping, whether you’ve tried dutch oven cooking, and about the most callenging dishes you’ve cooked in your cast iron cookware!
Erica is married to Ryan and is the mother of their two little boys.