Cast iron cookware is popular among camp chefs and cooks because it holds heat well and is durable enough to withstand the wear and tear that occurs with camping. Unlike aluminum, cast iron is harder to warp, bend and dent. It also hides soot buildup on the sides and bottom too. Although there are many cast iron cookware options available, a few stand out as essential for camping.
A Dutch oven is a large cast iron pot that has a lid. It is deep and sometimes has a handle for hanging it above or in a fire. A Dutch oven has advantages over other cast iron cookware because of its larger size and food capacity. The most common cast iron Dutch ovens are usually 5 to 5 1/2 quarts, large enough to cook for 10 to 15 people. This capacity makes them popular for larger groups or chefs who like to cook in bulk. Dutch ovens are also versatile and can cook stews, soups, casseroles, vegetables and desserts. A good Dutch oven, as of 2009, costs approximately $40 to $60.
Cast iron skillets are similar to pans, but are deeper and typically hold more food than a frying pan. A skillet is used directly over a fire, and is one of the most essential camping cookware items. It is preferred over deeper cookware for cooking omelets, hash browns and sausages because it is still light enough to use to flip food. A large 12-inch skillet will easily cook food for four people, and is easier to clean than a larger pot. Skillets are one of the most affordable cookware options, running about $15 to $35 as of 2009.
Teakettles and Teapots
Coffee and tea at a campsite can be difficult to come by. Cast iron teapots are an excellent way to enjoy hot drinks and instant foods without having to heat up entire pots of water. A cast iron teapot or kettle is also more beneficial than an aluminum one because it retains heat better than other tea kettles. This means that water stays warm much longer than it would in another kind of pot or kettle. Unlike Dutch ovens and skillets, however, a teapot or kettle is harder to dry, so rust can be a significant problem. Because of this, it is advised that you purchase a coated teapot or kettle, which will resist rusting better than a normal uncoated cast iron kettle. With the quality comes the price, so be prepared to spend $100 to $140 for a good kettle or teapot (2009 prices).
Article Written By Justin Chen
Justin Chen is a freelance writer and photographer with 6 years of professional experience in outdoor activities, extreme sports, travel and marketing topics. His professional work experience includes publication with KOMO 4 News Seattle, Fisher Interactive Network, and Demand Studios. He is a current Pre-Med student at Walla Walla University.