Dutch ovens have become one of my favourite things to bring on camping trips. They unlock so many awesome recipes – freshly baked bread, cakes and pies, chilli and enchiladas, and so many more classic Dutch oven camping recipes.
And if you have read my backcountry cookbook, you already know that I take my meals while camping very seriously. It’s precisely why I recommend regular campers invest in a good Dutch oven for camping.
Since I am in the market for a new Dutch oven myself, I’m going to take you through exactly what I went over when finding the best Dutch ovens for camping.
In this camping Dutch ovens buying guide, I’ll be reviewing the following ovens:
- GSI Outdoors Aluminum Dutch Oven (My Top Pick)
- Overmont 6 Quart All-Round Dutch Oven (My Top Pick for Cast Iron)
- GSI Outdoors Aluminum Dutch Oven (My Next Purchase)
- Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven 6-Quart
- Texsport Dutch Oven 4 QT
- Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven 2-Quart
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My Top Pick – The Best Camping Dutch Oven
In my opinion, the best camping Dutch Oven is the GSI Outdoors Aluminum Dutch Oven. Unlike the other cast iron dutch ovens on this list, this one uses aluminum. The performance isn’t quite as top notch as the others – aluminum doesn’t distribute heat as nicely as cast iron – but it does a great job while only weighing 3 lbs 11 oz (for the 10-inch model).
Note: Although I’ve said this one is my top pick, I haven’t yet tried the very similar GSI Outdoors 10″ Hard Anodized Dutch Oven and I have a feeling it’ll be better. Will keep you posted.
Comparison Chart – Best Dutch Ovens Camping 2021
Below is a comparison chart with details about the best camp Dutch ovens. Before reading the Dutch oven reviews, go through this chart to better understand which is the best Dutch oven camping for your needs.
Think about how many the capacity you need (skip down to the next section if you don’t know) and consider what a reasonable weight is for you.
|Brand / Name||Capacity (quarts)||Dimensions||Weight||Price|
|GSI Outdoors Aluminum Dutch Oven||3 qt||11.2 in x 10.7 in x 3.6||3 lbs 11 oz||$|
|Bruntmor Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven||5 qt||12.63 x 12 x 5.5 inches||14 lbs||$$|
|Overmont Camp Dutch Oven||6 qt||11.02 x 11.02 x 7.48 inches||13 lbs||$$|
|GSI Outdoors 10″ Hard Anodized Dutch Oven||3 qt||11.2 x 10.8 x 3.7 inches||3 lbs 11 oz||$|
|Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven||6 qt||13.20 x 13.10 x 7.20 inches||19 lbs||$$$|
|Texsport Dutch Ovens||4 qt||7 x 10.6 x 11.5 inches||13 lbs||$|
|Lodge 2 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven||2 qt||9.84 x 8.66 x 3.54 inches||7 lbs||$|
Best Dutch Ovens Camping 2020 – Detailed Reviews
In this section, you will find detailed reviews of my top rated Dutch ovens for camping. While all the products listed here are great for campers, the detailed reviews will help you narrow down your search to find one that’s suitable for you.
Pros – Extremely lightweight, rust-resistant, very affordable, includes a wire for hanging and lipped lid for keeping coals on top.
Cons – Aluminum heats up quickly and can burn food
This Dutch oven is made from highly conductive aluminum, which heats up quickly and, unlike cast iron, won’t ever rust. The 10-inch model does not have legs, but the 12-inch model does.
I had this Dutch oven on the Missinaibi River and it did a really good job. One drawback is that, since it heats up so quickly, the edges of food tend to get brown and crispy (and sometimes burn). For example, the bottom of our bread was also slightly burnt and I attribute this to the aluminum material.
So with that drawback, why is it still my top pick? Because of its weight. The 10-inch weighs 4 lbs. FOUR POUNDS. That is so light that you could bring it on a solo trip without any issues.
Pros – Affordable, ideal choice for casual campers, perfect size for a small group, comes with a domed lid for roasts, the lid can double up as a skillet.
Cons – Does not come with legs, a bit heavy for the size, round lid top not ideal for coals. Doesn’t have a handle.
This is a top-quality product available in the market for an incredibly affordable price. The reason I’ve included this one on my list of cast iron Dutch oven reviews, even though I haven’t used it personally, is because it is so versatile and unique.
The unique feature of this Dutch oven is that it comes with a dome-shaped lid. This dome-shaped lid is particularly suitable for roasts and meat recipes. When you do not need a lid, you can invert the top and use it as a rarely available 10-inch campfire skillet. Two dishes in one!
Plus it has an acceptable weight for its size. This is a 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven and it comes in at 14 lbs, making it suitable for car camping or canoe camping in a large group. The construction is reliable and can easily withstand extreme temperatures.
Pros – Affordable, provides excellent value for money, superior quality of cast-iron that can last a lifetime, pot and lid come with legs, comes with wire for hanging. A lid-lifter is also provided.
Cons – A bit heavy for its size.
This is one is my favourite on the list, though I’ve only used it on a short trip a ways back. The Overmont Camp Dutch oven is known to be the best in terms of its cast-iron quality. It can easily last you a full lifetime, and that’s why the makers call it the Lifetime Pot.
This Dutch oven is also equipped with legs both on the pot as well as the lid. I really like that this one has legs, even though it’s a small Dutch oven (lid legs are rare for a six-quart pot). The lid also comes attached with a stainless steel wire so you can hang it over a campfire. To make lifting the top more comfortable, this Dutch oven provides a lid lifter too.
But what truly makes this Dutch oven an excellent investment is the quality of its cast iron. The high-quality cast iron, coupled with its superior design, allows excellent heat retention and even heat distribution. These qualities are environment-friendly and ensure even cooking.
In my opinion, if you are looking for the best camp Dutch oven and want to go cast iron, rather than aluminum, you should not look beyond this product.
Pros – Extremely lightweight, rust-resistant, very affordable, includes a wire for hanging and lipped lid for keeping coals on top, anodized aluminum for easier cleanup. Anodized aluminum doesn’t require seasoning.
Cons – Aluminum heats up quickly and this might be a problem for bread.
This Dutch oven is almost identical to the GSI Outdoors Aluminum Dutch Oven, except it is made from anodized aluminum instead of regular aluminum. A quick Google search revealed that “anodized” makes a metal non-corrosive and slightly more durable. For our purposes though, it means the surface is easier to clean and distributes heat a little better. Anodized aluminum also doesn’t need to be seasoned.
Similar to the one above, the Dutch oven has a lipped lid for placing coals and a wire for hanging.
This is the Dutch Oven I have decided to buy next.
Pros – Uses high-quality cast-iron, comes with wire for hanging, the lid can be inverted for use as a griddle; the shallow design allows better baking.
Cons – Super heavy.
As I have specified earlier, Lodge cast iron Dutch ovens are the best in the market. They are made specifically for camping needs and therefore are tough enough to sustain rough conditions, extreme temperatures, and various heating sources.
This model is much more shallow than some of the comparable Dutch ovens. This means it works better for baking, but doesn’t offer the same versatility as other models (i.e. you can’t do a roast or stew in it).
Like the other Lodge Dutch ovens, this oven is also made using high-quality super durable cast iron. The lid is flanged and deep enough to hold coal placed on top of it securely. The lid can also be inverted and used as a griddle.
The pot legs are sturdy enough for placing on uneven surfaces and charcoal. Overall, the heat retention and distribution are excellent, and the wide and shallow design renders even baking.
The only downside of this Dutch oven is its weight. The Dutch oven is quite heavy for being carried around to remote campsites but should work well for car campers. In comparison to the Overmont, this oven is heavier and more expensive.
Pros – Super affordable, good-quality cast-iron, durable, ideal for small family campers, comes with legs on the pot and a wire for hanging.
Cons – Heavy for its size, quality is not as high as other ovens.
I like this Texsport Dutch Oven because of its simple, classic look and compact sizing. I haven’t used this oven myself but have included it as an affordable option if you want cast iron. It comes with most of the features of a Lodge Dutch oven but costs much less (the quality of cast iron isn’t quite as high apparently).
This 4-quart Dutch oven is perfect for 2-3 people. It features legs on the pot, wire for hanging, a tight-fitting lid that ensures even multi-directional distribution of heat. The fit of the lid also keeps the food inside moist.
Personally, I think its heavy for its size and wouldn’t recommend it over the Overmont 6 Quart All-Round Dutch Oven (if you want cast iron) or the GSI Outdoors Aluminum Dutch Oven (if you want inexpensive).
Pros – Super small dutch oven suitable for solo or partner campers, high quality cast iron, fairly lightweight.
Cons – Limited features.
This is the cast iron Dutch oven I’d recommend to campers traveling alone or in pairs (as I don’t do that personally, I haven’t used this one). But I love how cute and little it is! Just 2 quarts and weighing in at 7 lbs, this could easily fit in a 30 L barrel on a canoe trip. You could maybe bring it on a short backpacking trip too, but I’d need to test it before I made that claim.
Similar to the larger Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven 6-Quart, this one is also made with high quality cast iron and will easily last forever if you take care of it. It doesn’t have legs or a handle for hanging.
FAQs – All about the Best Dutch Ovens for Camping
Before we review the best Dutch ovens for camping, let’s go over the basics and what to look for in a Dutch oven.
What is a Dutch oven?
A Dutch oven is a cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. It is mostly made using cast iron, but you will also find aluminum and ceramic variants. A Dutch oven can be used to cook almost everything that you cook in a regular oven. It can also be used for roasts, soups, stews, and pot meals.
A Dutch oven is incredibly useful because its construction facilitates excellent retention of heat in the pot. The pot also distributes the heat evenly all across. A Dutch oven is versatile and requires hardly any maintenance.
What is the difference between a regular Dutch oven and a camping Dutch oven?
Technically, a camp Dutch oven is a type of Dutch oven that is preferred for camping use. Thus, while every camping Dutch oven can be used at home, every dutch-oven ideal for home use can’t withstand the outdoors.
However, here are a few key differences to watch out for when looking for a Dutch oven for camping.
|Dutch Oven for Home Use||Dutch Oven for Camping|
|Can be lighter in weight. Mini Dutch ovens and smaller-sized Dutch ovens are more popular for home use.||Must be sturdy (which sometimes means heavy). Usually made in larger sizes.|
|Usually made from cast iron, but aluminium Dutch ovens and ceramic Dutch ovens are also available in the market for home use.||Made using a cast iron.|
|Most Dutch ovens for home use are sealed in enamel for use on a stovetop, burner or an oven.||Enamel cast iron Dutch ovens are not suitable for use on a campfire.|
|Come in a flat bottom suitable for placing over stove tops and inside ovens||Often come with legs on the bottom for placing over charcoal and wood. These Dutch ovens also come with a raised rim on the lid ideal for placing the charcoal on top.|
What are some of the popular brands of Dutch ovens?
The popular brands of Dutch ovens for camping are Lodge, Overmont, Camp Chef, and Bruntmore. You can often find Lodge Dutch ovens and Camp Chef Dutch ovens in many camping stores.
On the other hand, Staub Dutch ovens and Creuset Dutch ovens are popular brands of Dutch ovens, but are suitable for home use, not camp use.
What are Dutch ovens used for?
Dutch ovens support a variety of cooking techniques. You will find Dutch oven recipes for camping that apply various methods like boiling, simmering, sauté, pan-frying, baking as well as braising.
I most often use a Dutch oven for baking bread on long camping trips. You can also use it for recipes like Shepherd’s Pie, frittatas, baked desserts and more.
There are a couple of cooking rules that you must keep in mind when using a Dutch oven:
- Baking and braising require you to place coal on the lid as well. On the other hand, boiling, simmering, sautee, pan-frying, shallow frying, etc. only requires bottom-end heating.
- Taller or deeper Dutch ovens are ideal for stewing and frying, whereas shorter Dutch ovens work better for baking.
What accessories are required to get the best out of a Dutch oven?
In addition to a Dutch oven, you can consider buying the following additional accessories –
Lid Lifter – used to lift the heavy lid of a Dutch oven.
Metal Tongs – to move the charcoal
Heat Resistant Gloves – to protect your hands against heat
Thermometer – to get your heating temperatures right.
Tripod -to hang the Dutch oven over a campfire
If you do not want to buy accessories individually, you could consider purchasing a Dutch oven that comes with accessories such as this 6-piece Dutch oven set by CampMaid.
Personally, I only have metal tongs and heat resistant gloves. A lid lifter would definitely be helpful, as I’m usually worried about dropping charcoals in the food when I try to lift the lid.
The Reflector Oven is a nifty, though less popular, alternative to a Dutch oven and is good for baking.
How to determine what size Dutch oven to buy?
You will find a variety of sizes of Dutch ovens available in the market. Since you want to minimize size and weight on camping trips, go with the smallest size that can accommodate your group.
Here is a general guideline for choosing a Dutch oven –
- 8-inch 2-quart: 2 to 4 people
- 10-inch 4-quart: 5 to 7 people
- 12-inch 6-quart 6 to 10 people
- 14-inch 10-quart 12 to 20 people
Note that the diameter of the Dutch oven alone will not tell you how much food can be cooked in it. To figure that out, you must check the volume or the capacity of the Dutch oven too.
Some of the best rated Dutch ovens come in varying volumes for the same diameter. Thus you will find a 12-inch diameter Dutch oven that comes in a 6-quart capacity as well as one that may come in an 8-quart capacity.
Final Thoughts on the Best Dutch Ovens for Camping
I hope you find this detailed guide with reviews of dutch ovens useful for deciding which one to settle on. As stated above, I recommend the GSI Outdoors 10″ Hard Anodized Dutch Oven for canoe camping and Overmont 6 Quart All-Round Dutch Oven for car camping (or canoeing if you don’t mind the weight).
Also make sure you check out my backcountry cookbook for some interesting Dutch oven recipes for camping or some fun Dutch oven dessert recipes for camping.