A budget-friendly campfire cooking kit is a must-have for all overnight and weekend camping trips. We go into the outdoors to feel closer to nature, and while practicing bushcraft skills is useful, cooking up a nice meal with ease is the ultimate reward after a long day outside. Finding the right campfire cooking kit that offers both quality and versatility at a particular price point can require some research. Hot dogs over a fire will get the job done for one night, but if you plan to spend multiple nights out in the wilderness, you're going to want some variety ranging from steak and burgers to less common but very tasty dove dishes. Fortunately, there are a ton of great options on the market today, some of which come at an affordable price point.
Advanced cooking features can make a big difference in the meals you prepare, but it's also important to prioritize size and weight, as you're going to have limited space to pack everything in your truck or camper. It's just as important for campers to have basic cooking skills when bending over an open flame. That's all made easier when you've got the right equipment. Whether you're backpacking or taking a camping trip just outside your car, these cookware kits cover your cravings.
1. Our Top Pick
From BBQ to pizzas, this pie iron and stand are a bestseller among campfire cookware enthusiasts. Yes, it's heavy-duty, but so are the meals that will come out of it. The frame holds the heating elements steady while the pan or Dutch oven of your choice rests above on a collapsible stand. Cast iron cookware is heavy and hot, so thankfully, this comes equipped with a lid lifter, tongs, and a cooking pot hanger. If you're car camping and not pressed about the weight, it's hard to find a more iconic camp stove. However, it does come with a carry bag.
Again, note: The Dutch Oven is sold separately, but we recommend Camp Chef's seasoned 6-quart oven to round out this purchase. Not only is this convenient for camping, but it's also a great addition to have on hand along with this kit in case of a power outage.
2. Best Lightweight Option
Trusted brand MSR has created the exact opposite of our first camping cookware set. At 1 pound, 12 ounces, this option couldn't be farther away from a cast iron. Backpackers, this is well-made kit is for you. Going with a lighter cooking setup often means weaker materials, which can cause problems in the backcountry. Fortunately, relying on this light unit doesn't cost you in durability. A 2.5-liter pot made of hard-anodized, non-stick aluminum forms the base of your camping stove. The combo system fits another 1.5L pot along with two deep dish plates and two cups. The mugs are insulated with sip-thru lids, and the plates are color-coded, which is another feature that makes this a great pick for two people camping together. Overall, it's one of the easiest cookware sets to pack up and out.
3. Best Cookware Set for Groups
If you are working over an ordinary campfire grill and not in need of a collapsible option like the MSR, then consider Stanley's culinary camping gear. In addition to a 3.5-liter pot, you'll also have a frying pan, cutting board, sporks, a drying rack, and even cooking utensils. This is ideal for when you have to cook for a group, as you won't be limited to cooking and serving your food on make-shift plates or containers. Instead, you'll be prepared with everything you need for all your friends to grab a bite: and if all of that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that it stacks and stores easily. Plus, you'll be able to cook a variety of foods, from veggies and hotdogs to s'mores and cobblers. Stanley has been trusted over fire pits for decades and comes with a lifetime warranty.
4. Best Mid-Priced Option
Bulin's set is super storage-friendly but still delivers a wide variety of different cookware and cutlery. It's high-quality, too. Reviewers report that the steel pot lids have steam holes to prevent boiling over, and even the built-in kettle is "perfectly balanced and the pour spout works well." Sounds efficient. Additionally, if you ask any backcountry regular, they'll tell you not to underestimate the convenience of a carrying case to keep everything in one place.
The BPA-free mess kit is made of non-toxic aluminum for safety and a non-stick coating for easy cleaning. (If you take a basin to do dishes, this will make clean-up so easy.) It's a great kit for a group of four people, as you'll get two pots with lids, one frying pan, one kettle, four bowls, two plates, one spoon, ladle, and a cleaning sponge. It's built for outdoor cooking -- it's corrosion-resistant, rust-free, and heat-resistant, so you'll be safe cooking over an open fire with this kit. After cooking and cleaning, use the included carry bag. The collapsible bundle design makes it easy to transport.
5. Best Budget Option
The affordable Odoland set is a good middle ground between the Bulin and the tiny MSR, but will stand up strong to whatever your grilling needs are. The 10-piece campfire cooking kit comes with one non-stick pot, one frying pan, a tea kettle, two stainless steel cups, one serving spoon, one fork, one knife, one carabiner, and a carrying bag. You'll love the foldable handles on the pot since they can be folded down to save space. Easily stash all of the items into the included mesh bag for transporting to and from home.
No matter where you plan to go or what you plan to cook, just make sure you double-check your inventory to ensure you have everything you'll need, as once you're out there, there's no going back for any forgotten items. In short: don't forget your firestarter, roasting sticks, and marshmallows, of course.
This post was originally published on June 16, 2021. It has been updated by Allison Johnson.
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