What can be best than campfire cooking on a summer afternoon? All you need is quality campfire cooking tools, such as a campfire tripod for your pots or camping kettle, a cast iron dutch oven, grill grate for grilling some juicy hot dogs, and other kinds of heavy-duty cast iron cookware. If you’re not a seasoned camper, finding the right camping cooking gear can be daunting. Luckily, all you have to do is check out this list of campfire cooking equipment to find out what you need.
1. The Perfect CampfireGrill Heavy-Duty Log Tweezers
You’ve got the perfect campfire going, but it’s time to add another log and you’re worried about dropping one in and upsetting the delicate ecosystem you’ve created. The solution: log tweezers. They’re not something you regularly see at campsites, but once you’ve used them, you’ll see how they can take camp cooking to the next level.
The Perfect Campfiregrill’s tweezers are made from thick, powder-coated steel and put over two and a half feet of distance between you and the campfire; no need to worry about embers flying out whenever you add a new log. The tweezers’ wide jaws open to fit up to eight-inch logs and the two pivot points give it enough strength to pick up twenty pounds.
Some users complain about the shape of the jaws though; the half circle jaws have trouble clamping onto oddly shaped logs. The design was probably intended to prevent campers from handling anything larger, but it makes gripping all logs harder. The full metal handles aren’t the most comfortable either, but they are durable, even when left out in the sun or rain.
If you want to upgrade your fire-building game, log tweezers are a necessity and the ones from Perfect Campfiregrill are durable, relatively easy to use, and inexpensive.
2. Lodge 3-Quart Cast Iron Combo Cooker
Lodge is pretty much the undisputed king of cast iron cookware for camping. Their products are nearly unbreakable, provide even heating, and most important for cast-iron newbies, come pre-seasoned for straight-out-of-the-box cooking.
This two-piece set has everything you need for a camp kitchen: a 10-inch skillet for over the fire cooking and a 3.2-quart dutch oven to place over coals, with the skillet serving as the lid to the dutch oven. Together they weigh almost twenty pounds, so this isn’t a great purchase for weight-conscious campers.
Once you’ve used cast-iron though, it’s near impossible to go back to lightweight steel pans with their uneven heating.
Food sometimes sticks, even though the cookware is pre-seasoned. This is a common problem with any new cast-iron goods, but especially with some of the more inexpensive brands like Lodge. It’s a problem easily solved with some extra oil or grease, at least until the cookware has a chance to be broken in.
It should be noted that the dutch oven is supposed to be used on a camp grill, not placed directly on top of hot coals. It lacks the stubby legs seen on dutch ovens built for that purpose.
3. Jolly Green Products Marshmallow Roasting Sticks
Getting a perfectly toasted marshmallow is one of the greatest joys of camping, but let’s be real, they are elusive. It’s hard to find the perfect stick that’s green enough not to burn, long enough to reach the perfect section of coals in the fire, and thick enough for easy rotation. The search and preparation of said stick can be an hour or longer affair.
Fortunately, this set of five marshmallow sticks from Jolly Green takes all the guesswork out of stick selection.
Each of the skewers can telescope from 10-34 inches, depending on how close your seat is to the campfire. The skewer also rotates within the handle, keeping it in constant motion so you never need to worry about one side getting scorched.
When you’re not using them, they don’t take up too much space and the set comes with a convenient carrying bag along with covers for the sharp skewer tips.
For a set of five skewers, these are really inexpensive, and the only justification for choosing a stick is for nostalgia. If you want perfectly roasted marshmallows, these are the skewers to have.
4. GRILLART Grill Brush and Scraper
A clean grill is a happy grill. Leftover food remnants form hard deposits that can later ignite and cause flare-ups when you’re cooking your next meal. The Grillart Grill Brush and Scraper is an easy to use and inexpensive tool to have in your cleaning kit.
At its tip is the scraper tool, a sharp piece of stainless steel that easily removes the big stubborn chunks adhering to your grill wires. From there, there are five wire brush surfaces to get them cleaned down to the metal. The five brushes are all different sizes, going from coarse to fine, so you can get every last bit off.
There has been some pushback against wire grill brushes in the past few years as the CDC has warned that the bristles can detach and get lodged in your food.
However, this is primarily an issue with brushes that hold the wire on with adhesive, which can melt when used on a hot grill – it’s why all brush manufacturers say that you need to wait for the grill to cool before cleaning. Thee Grillart brush has its bristles woven through a tightly coiled wire, so adhesion isn’t really an issue anyway.
The handle is comfortable and has a non-slip surface, allowing you to put some elbow grease into your cleaning. Its 18-inch length also makes it easier to stand up straight while you scrub the grill.
5. Stromberg Carlson Stake and Grille
One of the most common ways to cook over a campfire is to let the logs burn down to the coals, and then put a folding grill over the top of them. But what if you don’t have the time for that or want to keep the fire going as you cook over one corner of it? That’s where a stake and grille comes in handy.
Before you get the logs burning (or carefully afterward), pound Stromberg Carlson’s three-foot-long stake into the corner of your campfire.
This serves as the base for your cooking platform, giving you a lot more flexibility for placement compared to a folding grill that requires a more or less level surface. From there, you attach the 15 by 22-inch grill, which locks onto the stake to create a stable grilling platform. The platform can rotate around the stake to remove it from the heat when needed.
The Stake and Grille costs nearly double what a high-quality folding grill would, so this isn’t for everyone. While the stake is incredibly sturdy, having just one point of contact with the grill won’t be as stable as four legs. That being said, this is a great tool for those wanting a more versatile grilling platform.
6. Wealers Camp Kitchen Utensil Organizer
Purchasing everything you need for a gourmet camp kitchen can get expensive, what with all the knives, serving utensils, and cutting board needed. Finding a way to keep all those tools organized is an even bigger issue, and Wealers 13-piece camp kitchen might be the best way to do it.
It comes with a plastic cutting board (easiest to keep sanitized), a sponge to clean up with, a microfiber towel to dry everything, a stainless steel spatula, soup ladle, chef’s knife, steak fork, kitchen shears, tongs, two spice shakers, a grater, a can opener, and it all fits in a carrying case no larger than most first-aid kits.
The main advantage of this kit is its organizational potential, not necessarily the quality of its components. If you’re particular about your knives, you might swap out the included one for your favorite.
Like any kit, there’s a chance you’ll end up with tools you don’t need – not everyone grates cheese at their campsite – but given the Wealers kit’s low cost, that’s probably not a deal-breaker. Just be sure to clean and dry everything before putting it away, as moisture will lead to mildew in the carrying case.
Overall though, most campers will find the included tools sufficient for their cooking needs and see no reason to upgrade.
7. Alpha Grillers Instant Read Meat Thermometer for Grill
There’s nothing quite like a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak to close out the day of hiking. While an experienced grillmaster can certainly eyeball its doneness, to be absolutely sure you’ll need a meat thermometer. The problem is that most meat thermometers aren’t made for backcountry camping.
The Alpha Grillers has solved some of the more irritating issues with camping meat thermometers, the biggest one being how long they take to give a reading. It is much harder to control the temperature on a campfire compared to an oven, so every second matters – the Alpha Griller gives a reading in less than five seconds.
Like every tool in your camp kitchen set, your meat thermometer needs to durable. This one is both waterproof and relatively shockproof, meaning it won’t shatter if you accidentally drop it on a rock. The digital readout is really bright too, so it’s easy to read in direct sunlight.
The only disadvantage to an electronic meat thermometer is that it requires batteries – never a positive when you’re far from power. It uses a single AAA though, which is a lot more convenient than hard to find watch-sized batteries and you could even use a rechargeable model.
The Alpha Grillers Instant Meat Thermometer is an inexpensive and useful addition to your kitchen setup that will keep you and your fellow campers free from food-borne illnesses.
8. Texsport Heavy Duty Over Fire Camp Grill
If you camp at a site without an included grill, there’s a good chance you’ve packed one of those lightweight, folding grills.
There’s nothing wrong with them; they’re a very useful option when you’re hiking several miles into the backcountry. For car camping though, they’re more hassle than they’re worth – too flimsy, not enough surface area, and with poor heat transfer to boot.
The Texsport Folding Grill is the upgrade you need when weight isn’t a factor. It still folds up for compact storage but has a rock-solid design that creates a steady cooking surface for your soon-to-be meal.
Their standard model is 24” wide by 16” long and 12” tall, giving you plenty of space to grill (fitting at least dozen burgers) and stack coals underneath. Its thick stainless steel construction ensures a long lifespan and superb heat transfer.
The biggest downside to the grill is that it doesn’t seem to be designed for direct heating; the gaps in the grill are pretty big for cooking loose meat like burgers, but also hot dogs or sausages. It works much better with a pan or griddle to contain the food.
Fortunately, the beefier construction allows it to hold heavy cookware, like cast-iron pots and pans. Thick steel isn’t light though; this grill weighs in at around seven pounds.
9. Rome’s Double Pie Iron with Steel and Wood Handles
Pie irons are a staple of the camping section at any sporting goods store; it’s one of those accessories that looks cool, but since you’re not quite sure how to use it, never gets purchased. Big mistake! In the hands of a knowledgeable wilderness chef, a quality pie iron is a fantastic upgrade to your camp kitchen.
So what can you do with a pie iron? Some of the most popular and easiest recipes include paninis, quesadillas, pizzas, and easy breakfast hashes.
They’re not only useful but also a great form of entertainment. Kids love building meals in the pie iron and then roasting them like a marshmallow over a set of hot coals.
Most pie irons are built to fit a single sandwich inside their cast iron clamshell; the Rome’s has double that capacity and solves one of the more annoying issues with pie irons – it takes forever to cook a meal for the family with just one of them. Its head is made from quality cast-iron that’s so durable you’ll be passing this pie iron on your grandkids.
Rome’s costs a bit more than your average pie iron, but as mentioned before, it has double the capacity, so you’ll only need one of them.
10. Steven Raichlen Extra Long Suede Grill Gloves
Grilling is a dangerous business, and that’s doubly true when it’s done over a campfire. Red-hot coals, airborne embers, and heavy cast-iron cookware all but necessitates some safety equipment in your camp kitchen setup.
A pair of leather work gloves can provide some protection, but they’re not really designed for heat and rarely extend past to wrist, leaving your forearms vulnerable. These dedicated BBQ gloves from Steven Raichlen are pretty much the ideal solution.
They’re made from a thick, high-quality suede leather that provides excellent protection when you’re picking up hot pots and pans while also being flexible enough for more detailed tasks. Unlike work gloves, the leather extends almost all the way to the elbow to prevent flying embers from burning you.
These are not oven mitts though. Leather is heat-resistant, but not heat-proof – don’t go picking up coals with them. If you hold a hot cast-iron pot or camp kettle, they will protect for several seconds before it gets too hot to handle.
On the other hand, they’re useful to have for other tasks like chopping logs or collecting wood. They’re a little pricey, but your hands will thank you for the investment.