What to Consider When Buying a Top Camp Dutch Oven
Camping out doesn’t mean you have to suffer eating cold canned food or campfire-cooked crudely prepared meals. Imagine being able to eat pizza, stew, or even steak, under a beautiful starry night. Surprisingly, what you need to create gourmet-level camp food isn’t some high-tech food processor; it’s something that has been around for more than a century – the camp Dutch oven. By investing in the best camp Dutch oven available for your camping needs, you can enjoy nature while also enjoying gourmet food, all without burning a hole through your pockets. That being said, this buying guide aims to help you choose the best Dutch oven available by listing important aspects you should pay attention to.
How many mouths do you plan on feeding? Typically, for feeding more than a dozen people, a 16-inch camp Dutch oven will suffice. You’ll have to consider the type of dish you’re preparing, though; since you can prepare pizza with a camp Dutch oven, and a 16-inch pizza seems to feed fewer people than stew made on the same 16-inch pan. Also, remember that the higher the capacity of the Dutch oven, the higher its weight; a 12-inch Dutch oven can weigh about 25lbs when filled with food.
Aluminum vs. Cast Iron
Most of the time, people still prefer cast iron over aluminum because it can last through several generations due to its innate sturdiness. It also distributes heat much more evenly, therefore requiring less heat in general. Lastly, cast iron cookware is built to withstand much higher temperatures without melting, cracking, or crumbling. However, for people who don’t like lugging around heavy cookware especially when climbing mountains or trudging through muddy terrains, aluminum Dutch ovens are great alternatives, as they have almost 1/3 the weight of their cast iron counterparts. In terms of maintenance, one also isn’t faced with the problem of rusting or having to season the pans regularly.
Pre-seasoned vs. non-seasoned
Should you choose to go with the traditional cast iron camp Dutch oven, you’d be faced with two options in terms of seasoning: pre-seasoned and non-seasoned. Pre-seasoned Dutch ovens are coated with wax or vegetable oil in order to prevent them from rusting. This makes them ready to use as soon as you acquire them. Non-seasoned Dutch ovens, on the other hand, need to be seasoned before you use them. Take note, however, that both types require re-seasoning once the food starts to stick, so the difference only lies on the first few uses.
Top Rated Camp Dutch Ovens in 2021
There truly is no single best camp Dutch oven, as some people may prefer lightweight pans over sturdy pans, non-seasoned over pre-seasoned, etc. However, we’ve managed to list camp Dutch ovens that have garnered quite a lot of positive reviews in order to help you find one that best suits you.
The Lodge Camp Dutch Oven has a 12-inch diameter and 3.75-inch depth, which translates to having about 6 Quarts of capacity. This product comes pre-seasoned, which means that you can take this straight out of the box and into the fire. It definitely lives up to the reputation of Lodge as the pioneer of cast iron cookware, as it’s said to outlast several generations. Even after generations of use and abuse, this product can be made as good as new with just a little re-seasoning. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense camp Dutch oven that’s ready to use and can be used to cook almost any type of food, you can’t go wrong with this product.
It’s a common misconception that you have to fork over a couple hundred bucks for a half-decent camp Dutch oven. The Camp Chef DO-10-National Parks 6 Quart Dutch Oven is a Dutch oven made for budget-conscious cooks. Of course, due to its low cost, it had to be seasoned more than once. What people love about this product is that it has a top that you can place coals on for more even heat distribution, or flip and place on coals to be used as a skillet. Other than these few nuances, you can expect other qualities you’d find from any camp Dutch oven, such as general sturdiness, heavy weight, heat retention, etc. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly camp Dutch oven, this product is a perfect choice.
Looking for a smaller, low-cost camp Dutch oven? The Texsport Cast Iron Dutch Oven weighs only about 12 pounds, with a tight-fitting lid and sturdy hands and legs for a better outdoor cooking experience. Having only about 10 inches in diameter, however, you can only serve about 4-6 people. Also, some food will require a longer cooking time due to the reduced surface area of this product. For the price, you definitely can’t go wrong with purchasing this product, especially if you don’t really need a huge camp Dutch oven and the tremendous weight that comes with it.
If you’re planning to use cooking grills instead of regular coal, the Stansport Non-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven is a great choice due to its legless design. The legless design not only allows this product to maintain a stable position on the grill, but it also allows heat to spread in a more even manner. This product is available in 1, 2, 4, 8, and 12 Quart capacities. For people who camp alone and don’t need or want to prepare huge meals, the 1 or 2-Quart camp Dutch oven is a great choice, as it could easily fit in a standard backpack and will also be much faster to heat than its larger counterparts. Take note, however, that with smaller size comes much less heat retention. In any case, this product is good enough for the occasional camping trips and outdoor cooking and is a great alternative for those flimsy aluminum pans. Just make sure that you season this product first before using.
The Universal Housewares Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Camping 5-Quart Dutch Oven contains all of the features of a camp Dutch oven you’ll love, as well as a few extras, such as a reversible lid with three legs, a stay cool wire handle, and factory pre-seasoning that lasts longer than home seasoning. You can also put another pot on top of the reversible lid for a double-decker oven setup. Basically, with this product, you can cook two different things at once, which saves you a lot of time. A lot of users love this product because of its sturdy construction and nifty features that make it stand out even among well known brands. If you can afford to shell out a bit more cash for a well-made camp Dutch oven, you won’t regret this purchase.