Cooking on a camping trip doesn’t have to be hard, although it certainly will be different than just popping a piece of bread in the toaster to make toast. One thing that will make cooking while camping a whole lot easier is the use of cast iron cookware.
Although there is an array of many different cast iron cookware pieces, when you are camping you really only need two pieces for cooking outside and those are an outdoor Dutch oven and a skillet with a lid. Dutch ovens that are designed to be used outdoors are often called camp ovens and have some distinct features that sets them aside from cast iron indoor Dutch ovens.
Outdoor Dutch ovens will have a flat or at least flatter lid than an indoor Dutch oven. This feature allows you to place hot coals on the top of the outdoor Dutch oven. Another feature that a camp oven has is that it has three tiny feet, where as an indoor Dutch oven’s bottom is flat. This way you can keep the Dutch oven above the heat source. Some outdoor Dutch ovens will have a reversible lid so you can flip it over and use it as a griddle.
When you have a cast iron Dutch oven that allows you to place coals on it you can monitor the temperature that you are cooking at with the number of coals that you are using. For an eight inch Dutch oven 15 coals will put you at 325 degrees, and with the addition of coals you will increase the temperature 25 degrees with each new piece of coal. For 10, 12 and 14 inch Dutch ovens it will take 2 pieces of coal to bring the temperature up 25 degrees and to start at 325 degrees you will need 19 pieces of coal for the 10 inch, 23 pieces of coal for the 12 inch and 30 pieces of coal for the 14 inch cast iron Dutch oven.
Be sure to remember to bring oven gloves, as you will likely be cooking around an open flame or above very hot coals. Long utensils will help you stir and serve the dishes that you have prepared in your cast iron cookware while keeping your hands far away from the heat source. People tend to find that there can be a lot of ash on their cast iron lids if they are placing coals on them, for this reason bringing a simple paint brush can help you brush off any excess ash. Also, you will want to clean your cast iron cookware as you would in your home after you done using it. Remember to take anything that you use when you clean it.
Since cast iron is easy to clean and cooks evenly it is the camping cookware of choice.