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The 8 Best Camping Dutch Ovens [2024]

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Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

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Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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One of the best parts of camping is taking a moment to appreciate and enjoy a meal slowly cooked over fire or coals. A good quality Dutch oven can provide a range of delicious meals over the course of a lifetime and is worth investing in for your next camping trip.

While most Dutch ovens aren’t suitable for lightweight camping, they definitely earn a spot on the must-have list for car camping or camper vans.

Things To Consider With Camping Dutch Ovens

Dutch ovens come in all shapes, sizes, and capacities with different features that might appeal to some but not others. If you’re on the hunt for one, consider these factors while you browse.

Capacity

Camping dutch oven capacity
Dutch ovens come in all shapes, sizes, and capacities. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

If you’re wondering what size pot is best for your camping style, the general rule is that 1 quart will feed 1 person a full-sized meal. Though it might provide a little bit more, it’s better to err on the side of caution as campers’ appetites can be voracious, especially when hiking or swimming is involved.

Since most Dutch ovens will list capacity in quarts, it’s an easy rule of thumb to remember when shopping. You might also want to consider the type of food you’re cooking. For example, a Dutch oven with a capacity of 6+ quarts might be necessary for larger chickens or roasts.

Cooking Surface

Camping dutch oven integrated legs
Integrated legs help to balance the pot and avoid spills. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

As you browse through the options, you’ll notice a major differentiating factor with Dutch ovens: whether or not they have integrated legs. It might not seem so important at first, but integrated legs on Dutch ovens are not suitable for all cooking surfaces.

Coals are an unstable surface to cook on, so integrated legs help to balance the pot and avoid spills. However, if you’re doing tripod cooking or planning to also use your Dutch oven on a grill or flat surface, you may want to buy one without integrated legs for better heating.

Material and Care

All Dutch ovens on this list are cast iron, although they exist in various other materials like stainless steel and ceramic. But don’t be intimidated — cast iron is easy to care for if you follow a few simple instructions (which are usually included).

You probably have a friend or 2 that has a cast iron pan passed down from a grandmother because good cast iron is known to be a lifetime product. A good scrub brush and oil to re-season your pan are essentials for keeping your Dutch oven in tip-top shape.

Bottom Line: Consider learning the essential tips and tricks of care before you purchase — you’ll thank us later.

Weight and Size

Camping dutch oven 1
Most Dutch ovens aren’t suitable for lightweight camping. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Cast iron is hefty — there are no 2 ways about it. Most Dutch ovens aren’t suitable for lightweight camping, but they are perfect for campervans and car camping where you don’t have to lug it too far.

If your campsite is a long hike away, consider one of the smaller, lighter options on the list so you can still experience the homemade, delicious food they provide.

Added Features

Dutch oven additional features
Many Dutch ovens have features such as lids that double as inverted skillets or loop handles. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Many Dutch ovens have multi-functional features such as lids that double as inverted skillets, loop handles, bail handles for hanging, built-in thermometer notches, or studs on the inner cover to facilitate condensation distribution.

You might be tempted to get one with loads of features, but it might not be the best fit. Think about what cooking you’ll be doing to decide what extra functions might be most beneficial to you.

Hot Tip: Make sure to travel with one of our recommendations for the best camping tableware sets!

The 8 Best Camping Dutch Ovens

In order to narrow down all the options and make your job a little less overwhelming, we’ve rounded up our top picks below.

1. The Classic Cast Iron Dutch Oven

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Lodge 5 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven

The brand Lodge is practically synonymous with cast iron, and its products are well-loved amongst campers. This pre-seasoned cast iron Dutch oven has a 5-quart capacity, ample for your favorite camp recipes like stews, casseroles, and smaller roasts.

It has a secure lid with studs on the inside to ensure condensation is equally distributed and an ergonomic bail handle to make lifting easier — which is helpful as it weighs 13.49 pounds.

Rated up to 400 degrees, you can use this Dutch oven with propane burners or place it directly over the campfire or onto coals. Its size also means it can fit into standard ovens, so you can still get bang for your buck even when you aren’t camping.

What We Like:

  • Pre-seasoned means less hassle

What We Don’t Like:

  • Legless Dutch ovens can be less stable

2. Large-capacity Camping Dutch Oven

Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven

Ideal for trips with family or friends, this 8-quart Dutch oven has plenty of room to cook up a feast for hungry campers. Designed with 3 integral legs for extra stability, it can balance perfectly on coals and withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees.

The flanged, fitted lid also means you can cook with coals on top without getting it into your food. Flip the lid over, and voila — you got yourself a griddle for bacon and eggs in the morning.

As with many Lodge cast iron products, it comes pre-seasoned for easy use and even includes a cookbook to get you started with some delicious camp classics.

What We Like:

  • Lid inverts and becomes a griddle

What We Don’t Like:

  • The handle could be a bit sturdier

Hot Tip: If you need more of a complete set, consider our guide to the best camping cooking sets for outdoor enthusiasts.

3. Dutch Oven With Great Overall Value

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Overmont Camp Dutch Oven

A versatile Dutch oven with a reasonable price point and excellent cast iron make this a solid addition to your camping equipment.

It has 2 parts for small camping groups: the pot, with 4.4 quarts capacity, and a flanged lid, which also becomes a skillet when inverted. A stainless steel handle makes it easy to hang over the fire, and the 3 legs on the pot and skillet add stability if cooking on coals.

Capable of handling heat up to 450 degrees, the Overmont also weighs just under 14 pounds, which is still pretty reasonable for a cast iron of its capacity. Like many others, it comes pre-seasoned and ready to work on your next camping trip.

What We Like:

  • Includes a lid lifter for safe handling

What We Don’t Like:

  • This option has a slightly lower capacity

4. Dutch Oven for Smaller Jobs

Amazon Basics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Dutch ovens come in many larger sizes, but more compact ones can be handy for smaller camp groups or those who want one designated for specific needs — like bread baking or desserts.

This pre-seasoned cast iron Dutch oven has a simple, round design with a lid handle and 2 handles on the pot’s side. Its 2-quart capacity is perfect for cooking up meals for between 1 to 3 people, and it’s easy to pack up as it only weighs 5.49 pounds — the lightest on the list by far.

Rated for up to 500 degrees, you can enjoy all your camp favorites — stews, casseroles, cobblers, and more.

What We Like:

  • A smaller, portable option

What We Don’t Like:

  • No handle for hanging over the fire

5. The 2-in-1 Camping Dutch Oven

Bruntmor 2 in 1 Cast Iron Dutch Oven

A great 2-in-1 option, this Bruntmor Dutch oven holds 5 quarts and has a skillet lid that can hold an extra 1.6 quarts. That makes it handy for meals that might require 2 pans or for making 2 separate dishes entirely — like dinner and dessert.

A good option for camp cookouts with small families or groups of up to 5, and weighing in at 13 pounds, it’s perfect for car camping.

It’s also safe for use on open fires, ovens, induction, electric, and gas stoves, making it a smart purchase if you want to get the most bang for your buck with your Dutch oven.

What We Like:

  • Dutch oven and skillet in one

What We Don’t Like:

  • No legs for stability

6. Smooth-finish Camping Dutch Oven

Uno Casa Cast Iron Camping Dutch Oven

Although not everyone has a preference, there are definitely those who go for smooth vs. rough cast iron. If you’re Team Smooth, this 6-quart Dutch oven might be a good choice for your camping gear.

Weighing 17 pounds and measuring 12 x 6.8 inches, this product has a flanged lid that doubles as a shallow skillet for multi-function. The lid has a handle and 3 legs for stability when used as a skillet, and the pot has a handle and 3 extra-long legs so it can sit securely in coals.

A few extras also sweeten the deal: a tote bag for carrying, a lid lifter, and a downloadable recipe book so you can get creative around the campfire.

What We Like:

  • Extra-long legs for stability on coals

What We Don’t Like:

  • A little heavier than other like-sized options

7. The No-frills Dutch Oven

Camp Chef Classic 10” Dutch Oven

Although extra features can be a great addition, there’s also a lot to be said for a no-frills classic. This quality cast iron Dutch oven has a simple, effective design and features a thermometer notch, handles on the side and lid, a sturdy metal bail handle, and a flanged lid you can stack your coals on top of.

Temperature rated to 350 degrees, it’s fit to withstand open fire, and its 4-quart capacity is great for sharing a meal at the campground with a group of friends. Like many of its counterparts, it comes pre-seasoned for easy out-of-the-box use.

What We Like:

  • Classic, simple design

What We Don’t Like:

  • Slightly lower temperature rating

8. Dutch Oven With Thermometer Notches

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Pit Boss 68009 10” Cast Iron Dutch Oven

If you have a budding chef in your camp group, or a recipe that demands a little precision, a Dutch oven with a thermometer notch is a nice little bonus feature.

Built-in side handles and an additional stainless-steel handle make it easy to hang over the fire, and its 4-quart capacity will serve up hearty meals for up to 4 campers.

The flanged lid fits on tightly to keep coals balanced on top and inverts for use as a griddle on its own. Quality cast iron offers excellent heat retention and distribution, so your favorite camp stews, roasts, or cakes cook perfectly.

What We Like:

  • Thermometer notch for precise cooking

What We Don’t Like:

  • No legs on inverted lid griddle

Final Thoughts

Dutch ovens have many different options, but focusing on the specs helps you pick the best one for your camping activities. They can be more costly or heavy than other camping kitchen gear, but the payoff is worth it.

You’ll end up with a quality product that you can use throughout your life on many camping trips. The quality, quantity, and variety of food you can cook in a Dutch oven are practically unbeatable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean Dutch ovens?

Cast iron sometimes gets a bad rep, but cleaning a Dutch oven is straightforward — a cloth or brush with a bit of oil is all you need to scrub. You can use soap if needed, but never put cold water on hot cast iron as it could cause cracking.

What can I cook in a Dutch oven?

There are endless options of what to cook in a Dutch oven. Stews, roasts, soups, casseroles, lasagna, fried foods, cobblers, bread, and cakes — you name it, the Dutch oven can handle it.

What heat source can I use with Dutch ovens?

Dutch ovens were traditionally used in an open flame, which is why durable cast iron is the material of choice. Most can also be used in ovens, grill tops, and induction stovetops. Always check the specs and temperature rating before using it.

What is meant by pre-seasoned?

Seasoning refers to a coat of polymerized oil that allows cast iron to become non-stick — like a protective coating. You’ll have to re-season it throughout its life, which usually entails applying a light coat of oil and baking it on. Pre-seasoned means the manufacturer has already done that job so that you can use your Dutch oven immediately.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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