Nobody wants to end up with burnt food, warped camping kettles, and melting panhandles! If you are hoping to cook on an open fire, you will need the right cooking equipment.
This article will show you the best camping cookware for open fire on the market and give you useful tips for cooking safely on an open fire.
Best Camping Cookware for Open Fire Review
Bruntmor Campfire Cooking Stand
The Bruntmor Campfire Cooking Stand is an adjustable steel cooking stand with 5 lengths of hooks and a hanging grill.
You can use the hooks to hang a cauldron-style pot or camping kettle; the grill doubles as a stand for a Dutch oven, cast iron pan, or coffee percolator.
You can also grill food directly on the stand, but we recommend that you invest in a few pots and pans to make buying the stand worthwhile.
The Bushcraft Backpacker’s Grill Grate
The Bushcraft Backpacker's Grill Grate is a hand-welded stainless steel fire grill, suitable for more of a back-to-basics camping trip.
You can cook things like meat, fish, or vegetables directly on the grate, or you can place a cooking pot or camping kettle on top of the grate for support.
Bruntmor Cast Iron African Potje Pot
The Bruntmor Cast Iron African Potje Pot is high-quality and functional—and it looks fantastic, too.
This cast-iron pot has tall legs so it can be used directly over an open fire or gas burner. It also comes with a handle so that it can be hung above the fire using a campfire cooking stand.
The domed lid and base help to evenly distribute heat through the pot, and the design keeps liquids toward the bottom of the pot to prevent burning.
Stansport Cooking Broiler
The Stansport Cooking Broiler is a chrome-plated wire basket grill with a wooden handle.
Simply place your meat or vegetables between the wire grills and then shut it securely with the locking ring. You can now place it over the barbeque or hot coals of a campfire, turning it with the handle when your food is cooked on one side.
Calaphon Pre-Seasoned Iron Skillet
The Calaphon Pre Seasoned Iron Skillet is the perfect pan for whipping up your eggs in the morning. It is surprisingly light for a cast iron pan of its size, though it will still be much heavier than the pots and pans used in most modern kitchens.
When frying in a cast iron pan, you need to get the oil really hot to prevent sticking. Also, wear suitable oven gloves because the handle will get very hot!
Texsport Swivel Grill
The Texsport Swivel Grill is a heavy-duty camping grill with adjustable height and 360 rotation to help you get the perfect cooking temperature over your open fire.
Made from steel, it is designed with a post to be driven securely into the ground before you build the fire beneath it. You can either cook directly on the grill or use it to support other pots and pans.
Camp Chef Lumberjack Over Fire Grill
The Camp Chef Lumberjack Over Fire Grill has folding legs to help prevent you from burning your food. It is a stable, heavy-gauge steel grill that is big enough to hold two pots, or a pot and a kettle.
Stansport Grill Tripod Cooker
The Stansport Grill Tripod Cooker shares some similarities with our Best Choice Bruntmor Cooking Stand. The height of the hanging grill can be adjusted to cook at the ideal temperature, and you can use the grill directly or with a cooking pot.
However, this tripod cooker doesn’t have multiple hooks to allow you to cook several things at the same time and the materials are not as high-quality as the Bruntmor’s.
On the other hand, it is lighter weight and more affordable, so it might be more suitable for some people.
Camp Chef Dutch Oven
The Camp Chef Dutch Oven is a brilliant quality cast iron Dutch oven, with plenty of capacity to feed a large camping group. The lid can also be reversed and used as a skillet!
This pot is huge, and you’ll be able to cook up to 18 eggs in it at the same time! Just make sure you don’t have to carry it too far because it weighs an impressive 25 pounds.
Stansport 6 Piece Cast Iron Cookset
Armed with this set, you can cook almost anything. We do recommend that you get some kind of grill on which to rest some of these pots, as this will help ensure that your cooking temperature is more even.
Redcamp Folding Campfire Grill
The Redcamp Folding Campfire Grill has a design similar to that of the Camp Chef Lumberjack Grill that we mentioned previously, but it is much lighter. This can make it more convenient for a camping trip, but it also means that the materials are of lower quality.
All in all, it’s an effective and affordable folding grill; just don’t expect it to last a lifetime.
Backcountry Cast Iron Square Grill Pan
The Backcountry Cast Iron Square Grill Pan is a pre-seasoned pan, perfect for grilling or searing a camping feast. One benefit of using a pan like this (rather than grilling directly on steel mesh) is that your food is less likely to roll off the edge and get cremated in the campfire!
Stansport Coffee Percolator
The Stansport Coffee Percolator is a large 28-cup coffee percolator, perfect for keeping all the troops happy on your next camping trip. Keep in mind that 28 cups refers to the standard cup measurement, not how many large mugs of coffee you can get out of it.
This coffee percolator will last much longer if you place it on a raised grill rather than directly onto the fire.
Odoland Folding Campfire Grill
The Odoland Folding Campfire Grill comes with a carry case and camping tongs. It has a nonstick surface to make cooking and cleaning easier. It is the perfect size for two people and the stainless steel is scratch- and rust-resistant.
Odoland Camping Kettle with Cups
The Odoland Camping Kettle can be used on an open fire, gas burner, or electric, alcohol, or ceramic stove. It comes with 4 cups that stack together and can be stored inside the kettle, making it portable and lightweight.
A clear audible whistle will tell you when your boiling water is ready, but make sure you use this on a cooking stand because the rubber handle could be ruined at high heat.
Mr. Barbeque Folding Grill Basket
The Mr. Barbeque Folding Grill Basket is a stainless steel basket grill, designed to resist rust. Unlike the Stansport Cooking Broiler that we mentioned earlier, the Mr. Barbeque version does not have a wooden handle. It comes with a heat protection glove, but be sure to avoid touching the metal handle with your bare hands.
Mallome Smores Sticks
No campfire is complete without roasted marshmallows!
The Mallome Smores Sticks are perfect for the job. The rounded ends will help prevent children from cutting themselves, while the multi-colored-handle tips make for easy identification and less squabbling!
If you are going to be cooking meat on the bonfire, it’s important to use a Meat Thermometer. This allows you to check that the center is cooked without having to take a bite.
For food like chicken and fish, this can prevent sickness that will ruin your trip.
Extreme Heat Gloves
Another important piece of equipment for open fire cooking is a pair of Extreme Heat Gloves. These are lightweight and compact and will protect your hands when you’re handling metal pots or adding wood to the campfire.
Don’t do anything with these gloves that you wouldn’t do while wearing conventional kitchen oven mitts, as no oven gloves are completely fireproof!
Tips for Outdoor Cooking
If you have space, it’s a good idea to bring a cooking stand. These can be on either folding legs or a hanging frame. Cooking stands make it easier to regulate the temperature in your pots and pans and prevent any handles from melting or metal from warping.
Low-Tech Campfire Cooking
If you are packing really light, you can roast food in aluminum foil. For example, you can stab a potato a few times with a fork, then wrap it in foil and place it in the glowing coals of a campfire. Turn it occasionally, and it will cook evenly. Don’t worry if the skin goes a bit black; the inner potato will be delicious.
You can also roast food on a metal stick. For example, sausages, bacon, marshmallows, and even bread dough work well with this method.
If you want to cook an egg on a stick, you can carefully peel an orange and use half the peel as a basket which you pierce with your stick and crack the egg into!
Wait for the fire to die down
The best way to start cooking on a campfire is to ‘cook on the coals’. This means building a fire, waiting until the flames have subsided, and then cooking on the hot embers.
This way, you are less likely to burn yourself, but you will have to be patient and start the fire well before you are ready to cook.
Cast Iron Care
Cast iron is more expensive than steel or aluminum, but it can last a lifetime. It’s important to not use soap to clean it. Use just hot water and a brush, and make sure you season it occasionally to prevent rust and food from sticking to the pan.
This video shows you how to season your cast iron:
Every year, people and wild animals lose their lives and homes due to wildfires accidentally caused by campfires. For this reason, don’t build a campfire in places where it is not permitted.
The best way to prevent wildfire spread is to use a firepit that is raised off the ground. You could either look at purchasing one or use designated firepits in National Park camping zones.
If you do build a fire on the ground, it is much better to do this outside of summer, or at least on the beach or rocky ground rather than in a forest.
Make sure to put it out yourself rather than wait for it to go out. It takes up to 20 minutes to properly put out a campfire because fire can spread beneath the ground through the underground root systems of trees and grasses.
Despite what you might think, lining a fire with stones does not prevent fire spread. It can stop the fire from spreading at the surface, but not beneath the ground. So, it is a good practice, but you still need to put your fire out with lots of water.
Leave No Trace
As users of nature, we must leave the outdoors as we find it. This video has some great tips for building a leave-no-trace fire:
FAQs About Campfire Cooking Equipment
What does pre-seasoned mean?
If a cast iron pan is pre-seasoned, it has been greased with fat or oil before purchase. You should still periodically season your pan, as described in the Tips for Outdoor Cooking section.
Can you put stainless steel on an open fire?
Yes, you can. To prevent warping, it’s a good idea to use steel cooking pots on a stand rather than directly on the embers.
What is better: stainless steel or hard-anodized aluminum?
Whilst hard-anodized aluminum (nonstick) cookware can be useful, it is also linked to some health concerns such as Alzheimer’s. For this reason, we recommend stainless steel, though it needs to be seasoned to prevent sticking.
Can you use enamel cookware on an open fire?
It is not a good idea to use enamel cookware on an open fire because the coating can get damaged and flake off.
Cast iron is, indeed, more expensive and heavier than steel and aluminum cookware, but it will last a lifetime if you look after it well.
We also recommend that you use a good quality cooking stand like the Bruntmor Campfire Cooking Stand because it will help you cater to more people at the same time, without burning your food.
Make sure to put out your campfire before going to sleep. We wish you many happy cooking adventures over the open fire!
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Rachel is a freelance adventure writer and founder of Highly Sensitive Nomad. When she isn’t writing, she can be found wild camping in the mountains and swimming in the lakes of Europe.