9 best Dutch ovens for camping

Today I bring you the best Dutch ovens for camping. Now some of you folks out there will underestimate the importance of a good Dutch oven believing any old thing will do. Well, today I tell you you’re wrong.

A good camping trip is nothing without good camp food…trust me, I’m a veteran of hundreds of trips and it’s pretty much up there as a make or break camp experience. It can literally make or break a trip. Done well, the memories can last a lifetime.

I’m one of those people that believe that things taste better when made over a fire…and there are lots like me.

Best Dutch ovens for camping
Before I give you some details on why you should invest in a cast iron Dutch oven, on what aspects to consider and everything else that is relevant…I will tell you what I think the best Dutch ovens for camping are.

I have selected a variety of sizes and features so there will be something here to suit most peoples needs. I have not included the prices as they change all the time but click the link and they will send you to Amazon which gives you the best price online.

My recommendations for the best Dutch ovens for camping in 2018

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Deep Camp Dutch Oven – 12 Inch/8 Quart
GSI Outdoors Hard Anodized Dutch Oven
Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven L10CO3, 4-Quart
Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven 17L12CO3, 6-Quart
Lodge Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven L8DD3, 5-Quart
AmazonBasics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven – 6-Quart
Camp Chef Deluxe 9 1/3-Quart Dutch Oven
Texsport Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Legs
Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven L8CO3, 2-Quart

What to look for when you’re buying new cast iron Dutch oven
Summary – Check the following;

Where was it made
Look at the surface for pitting, cracks, humps and lumps
Check for flat base
Check is the lid and how well it sits on the body
Even thickness of the walls

The first thing I consider when looking at cast iron Dutch ovens…or skillets for that matter…where is it made. The reason I say this is the difference in the quality of the actual cast iron. The US has better quality of cast iron it uses and it is specifically made for them.

Some foreign made goods are form cast iron that has been melted down from automotive blocks…see where I am going with this. It comes down to quality.

Good cast iron reduces the chance it will crack or warp and it will heat evenly.

When you are looking at your cast iron Dutch oven, make sure it is not pitted. Take a real close look at it to make sure there are no cracks or blemishes.

An important place to look for this is where the base meets the sides…both inside and out. This is a real vulnerable spot so pay attention.

With pre-seasoned cast iron, this can be a little difficult to see, but shine a cell phone torch on it and you should be able to have a good look.

Check that the Dutch oven sits flat on a surface. The flatness of the base is crucial to it heating efficiently and evenly. If it is warped, it can create hot spots which may ruin some of your food.

Another thing to look at is the thickness of the walls. You want your food to cook evenly so you need the heat to be delivered evenly. Is the thickness of the walls uniform? In most cases they are because of modern manufacturing but mistakes can be made.

One of the first things I check is the lid and how well it sits on the body of the Dutch oven. Make sure it is not too tight but not too lose neither. One way to do this is to spin the lid whilst on the vessel. It should spin round freely.

Make sure the Dutch oven you select has a lip on the lid…most do except some of the smaller ones. They are a design necessity to stop charcoal slipping off the lid. It is safer this way too.

The handles are the next place to check, making sure there are no obvious issues around the construction. Remember a fault here could potentially be very dangerous.

What Size Dutch Oven Should I Buy?
This is an important question that only you can really answer but I can give you some guidance. The biggest question is the number of people you will be cooking for?

The worst scenario is when you are cooking outside and the Dutch oven is too small. This means that people get less portion sizes or you have to repeat the dish again. This is problematic as some of these dishes are slow cooked for hours. You definitely don’t want hungry campers too…not great for the atmosphere!

Over the years, I have been asked this question numerous times. My answer is always the same. I always have two Dutch ovens that are 12 inches, one regular and one deep. These are relatively large compared to the array of sizes available but I work on the basis that I want leftovers…why have to cook when you don’t need to. Cook more than you need and it gives you options.

Even though I am cooking for a couple of people, I still use a larger Dutch oven…it just makes sense to me.

I do however base this on the fact that I drive to my camp sites. I am not really carrying them very far. If you do need to carry them, it changes everything…they are heavy, sometimes very heavy. Consider very carefully the size if you need to carry them far, it could be a mistake to buy a larger one.

There are some general sizing recommendations which may guide your decision…but as always, consider your own needs depending on what you cook and portion sizes.

Oven Size Oven Capacity Persons served
5 inches 1 Quart 1 to 2
8 inches 2 Quart 2 to 4
10 inches 4 Quart 4 to 8
12 inches 6 Quart 8 to 12
14 inches 8 Quart 14 to 18
16 inches 12 Quart 20 to 24
Where can I buy a Dutch oven?
There are plenty of places that you can buy a Dutch oven but I strongly suggest that you do not just chance it by picking one up at a local sporting store or camping shop…however convenient. The market has recently been saturated with cheap Chinese imports that are of a low quality with very questionable safety.

A good cast iron Dutch oven can last you your lifetime so if you are going to buy one, buy a quality one that will last…and also have a resale value if you decide to change up.

I always recommend that you buy from a renowned brand such as Lodge or Camp Chef. They have the heritage and trust of the market with plenty of loyal customers. They are loyal for good reason.

I would therefore recommend that you buy a known brand that you can research beforehand. You can of course buy them locally and the advantage is that you can take a good look at them first.

If you don’t have the local stockists, buy them online directly from the manufacturer or a market place like Amazon. You have the advantage of getting your item delivered…they can be quite heavy…and you can also return them for free if you aren’t happy.

The biggest advantage of buying online is of course the price. It will be cheaper on places like Amazon for the same item you see in store.

Do I need any other tools and accessories for my Dutch oven?

Lid lifter
Fire safety gloves
Lid stand
Dutch oven stand
Quite frankly you could get away with buying just a Dutch oven and then being a little creative. For an experienced old man like me, it is second nature.

It is not for everybody though. I have many years of experience under my belt and I was taught by my old pops.

If you are relative new to campfire Dutch oven cooking, I would strongly recommend that you err on the side of caution and do things in the safest manner possible. Remember that these ovens get incredibly hot and one slight mishap can cause serious injury.

Remember that it is not only you that needs protection, other people around also need to be protected. You may also have children around so be careful and play it safe.

To do things safely, make sure you take the right tools and accessories with you. Over time, you may decide you don’t need some of them but initially I strongly recommend that you at least consider them.

Quite frankly, they don’t cost very much and doing things safely is priority number one.

For more information, visit us at http://www.dutchovenscookware.com

The original article can be found at http://www.dutchovenscookware.com/best-dutch-ovens-camping/

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