The Top 5 Best Camping Cooking Pots

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The 5 Best Camping Cooking Pots

Every camper or hiker needs the best camping cooking pot. What’s a camping cooking pot? Basically, it’s a large metal pot with a lid, also known as a dutch oven. Similar pots in your kitchen might be called braising pans, roasting pans, or dutch ovens. The purpose is to place the pot over a camping fire by using either a campfire tripod or placing the pot on a grill, iron grate or simply laying the dutch oven directly on the fire. Large cooking pots can be used for many things while camping; stews, soups, boiling water or, like the old west, baked beans. Which dutch ovens are the best? Keep reading for camping cooking pot reviews and ratings!

The 5 Top Camping Cooking Pots

When checking reviews, note how large the dutch oven is, what it’s made from, if it can be placed directly on the campfire, and if it has a lid and a carrying handle. The half-circle carrying handle attached to the camping pot is what is used to hang the pot over a campfire using a camping tripod. Below are more detailed dutch oven reviews and our top 5 for the camping cooking pots we chose as the best of the best.

Editor’s PicksBrandRating *
Best ChoiceCamp Chef DO-14 Pre-Seasoned Deluxe 12-Quart Dutch Oven with Lid♥♥♥♥♥
Premium PickLodge Seasoned Cast Iron 8 Quart Deep Camping Dutch Oven♥♥♥♥♥
Best ValueStansport Non-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven, Flat Bottom♥♥♥♥♡
Lightweight ChoiceFire Maple FMC-215 Large Camping Hanging Pot♥♥♥♥♡
Honorable MentionMonkeyJack Large Hanging Outdoor Camping Pot ♥♥♥♡♡
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* Ratings are determined using our specialized rating system.

Best Choice: Camp Chef DO-14 Pre-Seasoned Deluxe 12-Quart Dutch Oven with Lid

★ Best Choice
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Camp Chef DO-14 Pre-Seasoned Deluxe 12-Quart Dutch Oven with Lid

The Camp Chef DO-14 Pre-Seasoned Deluxe Dutch Oven is a fantastic dutch oven because of its large size, durability, and versatility in how it can be used, all at a fair price point.

The Camp Chef DO-14 Pre-Seasoned Deluxe Dutch Oven holds up to 12 quarts of liquid, or three gallons. It is the largest camping pot we reviewed – and weighs a very hefty 28 pounds. This camping pot has more “extras” than the others we rated. It comes with a pre-notched area for a thermometer (important when baking in a cast iron baking pan), as well as an over-lid lifter. The lid can also be turned upside down and used as a camping griddle or cast iron skillet. The manufacturer also includes a “starter booklet” with tips and recipes. Since the Camp Chef Cooking Pot is pre-seasoned, a large size that’s good for large groups, as well as all the little extras, we rate the Camp Chef DO-14 Pre-Seasoned Deluxe 12-Quart 14″ Dutch Oven with Lid our highest ranking of FIVE STARs!

Item Key Features:

Pros

  • Extremely sturdy for heavy-duty use
  • Lid can be used as a griddle
  • Comes with recipe book for new cast iron pot chefs
  • Comes pre-seasoned for easy start-up
  • Large carrying capacity for serving in bulk

Cons

  • Extremely heavy, especially when full

Premium Pick: Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron 8 Quart Deep Camping Dutch Oven

♛ Premium Pick
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Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron 8 Quart Deep Camping Dutch Oven

The Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Deep Camp Dutch Oven is a more premium cast iron cooking pot, but this dutch oven offers versatility and durability you just can’t get anywhere except made in the USA.

This Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Deep Camp Dutch Oven is the classic camping cooking pot. It holds up to 8 quarts or 2 gallons of liquid. It’s made from iron that has been pre-seasoned. It weighs a hefty 20 pounds. The lid can not only be used as a lid for the backpacking pot, but also could be used to hold hot coals or turned upside down for use as a griddle. The Lodge camping cooking pot is made in the USA and is made by the Lodge Company. Because of its solid construction, being pre-seasoned, and multipurpose lid, we give the Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Deep Camp Dutch Oven – 12 Inch / 8 Quart our highest rating of FIVE STARS.

Item Key Features:

Pros

  • Extremely sturdy for heavy-duty use
  • Lid can be used as a griddle
  • Comes pre-seasoned for easy start-up
  • Large carrying capacity for serving in bulk
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Weighs 20 lbs empty and is even heavier full

Best Value: Stansport Non-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven, Flat Bottom

$ Best Value
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Stansport Non-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven, Flat Bottom

The Stansport Non-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven is an affordable camping cooking pot for people who refuse to yield on quality without breaking the bank.

The Stansport Non-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven holds 1 quart of liquid (1/4 gallon). It is the smallest camping pot we reviewed. It is made from a heavy cast iron and weighs in at over 4 pounds. Note that this camping pot has no legs – which is great for placing directly on, or directly over, a campfire. Note that unlike the Lodge brand backpacking pot, this cast iron is NOT pre-seasoned. However, because of its smaller size (good for breads, biscuits and smaller portions), and heavy cast iron construction, we give the Stansport Non-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven, Flat Bottom a good rating of FOUR STARS.

Pros

  • Lightweight, making it good for single-camper use
  • Durable, cast iron construction

Cons

  • Needs to be seasoned before use
  • Is not large enough to feed a group

Lightweight Choice: Fire Maple FMC-215 Large Camping Hanging Pot

♥ Top Pick
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Fire Maple FMC-215 Large Camping Hanging Pot

The Fire Maple FMC-215 Large 8L Camping Hanging Pot is a lightweight aluminum camping pot perfect for people who want to travel light without sacrificing size and functionality.

The Fire Maple FMC-215 Large 8L Camping Hanging Pot is made from hard anodized aluminum. Its liquid capacity is a little over 2 gallons ( 8 liters). It weighs a bit over 2 pounds. The handle can support up to 22 pound of weight – important if using a camping tripod over a campfire. The Fire Maple Camping Pot is made from fairly thick aluminum, though the lid is a bit thin. We give the Fire Maple FMC-215 Large 8L Camping Hanging Pot a FOUR STAR rating!

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminum great for hiking and backpacking
  • Durable handle for tripod use
  • Large carrying capacity for feeding groups

Cons

  • Lid is thin and less durable
  • Aluminum is less durable than cast iron counterparts

Honorable Mention: MonkeyJack Large Hanging Outdoor Camping Pot

♥ Top Pick
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MonkeyJack Large Hanging Outdoor Camping Pot

The MonkeyJack Large Hanging Outdoor Camping Pot is a small, lightweight aluminum cooking pot perfect for the solo backpacker and hiker.

The MonkeyJack Large 8.5 x 5.75inch/ 21.6 x 14.6cm Aluminum Alloy Hanging Pot is made from a scratch-resistant aluminum. It has a good angled handle specifically for hanging over a campfire. This camping pot is one of the smallest we reviewed, also the lightest, and we would recommend it only for one or two people. It’s also great for hiking due to its light weight. As a result, we give the MonkeyJack Large 8.5 x 5.75inch/ 21.6 x 14.6cm Aluminum Alloy Hanging Pot Outdoor Camping a THREE STAR rating.

Pros

  • Ultra-light for hiking and backpacking
  • Great for camping in small groups

Cons

  • Aluminum is less durable than cast iron counterparts

Important Features to Consider

A dutch oven taken to a campsite can be used for many things. A few suggested uses for a camp cooking pot are:

  • Boiling water
  • Heating beans or making soups and stews
  • Makeshift clothes washer
  • Soaking tired hiking feet

Essentially, you can use a dutch oven with a dutch oven lid lifter for anything you might use a large pot for at home. Be creative and think outside the pot!

What Are Most Camping Cooking Pots Made From?

Camping cooking pots must be made from metal as they are subject to direct flame. The campfire heats the backpacking pot from the bottom so the metal must be thick enough to take high heat. Therefore, most dutch ovens are made from:

  • Aluminium
  • Pre-seasoned cast iron
  • Unseasoned cast iron

Cast iron is heavier than aluminum. Additionally, since iron will rust, it must either be treated or coated. Coating cast iron with another metal is an option, but most cast iron is seasoned. Quite simply, seasoning is a way of “baking” or browning a cooking oil onto the cast iron surface. Any cast iron equipment can be seasoned, whether it’s a cast iron wok, cast iron grill pan, or cast iron tea pot.

How Much Liquid Can a Camping Cooking Pot Hold?

stew cooking in a cast iron pot An important question before purchasing a camping or backcountry cooking pot is how big is it and how much liquid or product can it hold. Camping cooking pots come in several sizes, but the most common are:

  • 1 – 2 Quarts (1/4 to 1/2 Gallon)
  • 4 – 8 Quarts (1 – 2 Gallon)
  • 12 Quarts (3 Gallons)

Of course, the carrying capacity when using a dutch oven is dependent on the size of the backpacking pot. In other words, the larger the pot, the more it can hold. And in our reviews, we noted that larger pots often weigh more as well. One of our suggested dutch ovens weighs over 25 pounds! So when looking to buy a cooking pot, not note only its volume but its weight as well.

Conclusion

Many images we see of camping sites and the fun of camping, usually have a camping pot somewhere in the picture. Eating and cooking on the trail or in a campsite is part of the joy and adventure of camping – especially using a dutch oven! Because of this, our favorite choice hands down is the Camp Chef DO-14 Pre-Seasoned Deluxe 12-Quart Dutch Oven with Lid because of its versatility, durability, and size.