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The Best Camping Pans for Your Next Trip

best camping pans

When it comes to camping, you need the right gear to make sure you have a great time.

One of the most important pieces of gear you will need is a good set of pans. With the right pans, you can cook all of your favourite meals while you are out in the wilderness.

Pans come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from skillets that are great for camp side pancakes or juicy flatiron steaks that go well in a baguette – there are tons of options for campers that cook!

At Wood To Water, we know what it means to keep your energy levels up, so we sell a great range of camping pans. From cast iron cookware, deep pots and frying pans for your eggs and bacon – our pans and utensils section is well worth a look!

Let’s take a look at some of the most practical camping pans.

The Different Types of Camping Pans

Thus far, you might have spent most of your time camping, eating out of tins or waiting for your foil-wrapped jacket potato to be ready. A lot of people think that camping is limiting for your menu, but it doesn’t have to be if you have the right camping pans, then you can make pretty much anything that you would make at home. 

Camping Skillets

First up, we have camping skillets. It offers a larger surface area to cook on. While it looks and acts similarly to a frying pan, it is deeper.

The depth makes it ideal for cooking any number of dishes, including a huge range of one-pot meals. Skillets also tend to be made of metal in their entirety which means you don’t have to worry about using them on a campfire. 

Camping Fry Pans

Camping frying pans are obviously designed to be used while camping which is important because normal frying pans tend to have plastic components, which would melt on the campfire and contaminate the food.

Frying pans and skillets are somewhat similar, although frying pans are shallower.

Camping Dutch Ovens

A Dutch oven is an invaluable instrument when it comes to campfire cooking. It is essentially a large cast metal pot with a lid. It seals the heat inside and evenly distributes it to cook the contents through without burning it.

Dutch ovens can be used to stew, fry, roast and bake, which makes them incredibly versatile!

Camping Casserole Dishes

Camping casserole dishes are somewhat similar to a Dutch oven, but they tend to be longer, shallower and don’t always come with a lid.

They also aren’t as versatile as a Dutch oven, having limited uses – predominantly casseroles. 

Cookware Sets

Camping cookware sets are great for beginners.

They provide you with a basic set of pots and pans to get you started. You can then add to your set as needed. In addition, the sets often fit together to make them more easily transportable. 

How To Choose A Camping Pan

Material

There are several material options to choose from, but the most common are aluminium, stainless steel, cast iron and titanium. This is because these metals tend to be more durable and longer-lasting.

Cast iron cookware is one of the more traditional options, and it works great, although it can be a little heavy.

Aluminium heats up and cools down quickly, which is advantageous when cooking outdoors. It also holds heat effectively, making the cooking process easier. However, aluminium can also rust if not looked after properly. Stainless steel is next; it also heats up and cools down quickly.

However, it is less affected by rust, although if it is, it is easy to sort out. Lastly, titanium, this is the least popular of the three, perhaps because it tends to be slightly more expensive, but it doesn’t rust at all. 

Size

The size of the pots and pans are entirely dictated by your needs. You need to consider how far you will have to carry your equipment; if you have to travel long distances with it, then it makes sense to take smaller items.

Best camping pan sizes
The Best Camping Pans for Your Next Trip

However, if you have to cook for multiple people, then taking bigger pans makes more sense. 

The last consideration to make is the menu. This will obviously need planning in advance, and once you know what you are cooking, you should have a better idea of what cookware you will need. Camping pans come in a variety of sizes which means that you should be able to find what you are looking for.

Storage

Depending on where you are camping and how long you are camping for, you will need to have put some thought into how you are going to store your camping pans. If you are trying to travel light, most people tend to cook and eat out of the same canteen, which is then attached to their camping backpack. 

Otherwise, the storage options depend on you, both inside your home while you aren’t using them, and when camping too, the pots and pans are hardy and durable, so the storage solutions don’t matter too much. Of course, you should always clean them before first use, especially if they have been packed away for a while. 

Your Heat Source

You have a few different options when it comes to choosing your heat source while camping. Firstly, you could make a campfire if it is within your capabilities to do so. Of course, this limits the number of things you have to carry with you, but if it has rained recently, it can be incredibly difficult to get a campfire going. 

Best pans for campfires
The Best Camping Pans for Your Next Trip

There are also camping stoves or portable barbecues to consider; while this does mean extra weight to carry, you can often get smaller, lightweight versions. If you can’t build your own campfire, then obviously, one of these will be a better option. 

Washing Your Camping Pans

One of the trickier parts of cooking while camping is working out how to wash your pots afterwards. This will depend on where you camp. If you are camping at a campsite, then you should have a water source on-site that you can use.

If not, you will either have to take enough water with you or find your own water source. 

  • Boil your washing up water to get it warm
  • Add your washing-up liquid
  • Wash as normal

Apart from boiling the water to heat it up, washing your pots while camping isn’t really any different to washing your pots at home. 

Washing your camping pans
The Best Camping Pans for Your Next Trip

5 Tasty Camping Recipes

Smoky Bean Breakfast (Feeds 8-10)

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
  • 3-4 rosemary sprigs
  • 6 chipolatas
  • 12 small cooking chorizos
  • 6 hot dog sausages 
  • 2 onions

Start by adding oil to the pan. While that’s heating up, dice the onion and cut the meat into chunks. Brown the meat first, then add the onion. Next, add the seasoning, passata and BBQ sauce. Simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the beans. Use the back of the spoon to create wells in the mixture, and crack the eggs into the wells. Cover with foil and cook for a further 10 minutes. 

BBQ Sausages with Tomato Sauce (Feeds 6-8)

Ingredients

  • 24 chipolata sausages
  • 100g low-sugar ketchup
  • 100g passata
  • 100ml cider vinegar

Make the sauce by adding all but the sausages into a saucepan, bring to the boil until the sauce is glossy and smooth. Set aside to cool. Cook the sausages through; once they begin to brown, you can brush them with the sauce until they are cooked through. Serve with more sauce.

The best camping pans for your next trip guides
The Best Camping Pans for Your Next Trip

Halloumi Burgers

Ingredients

  • 250g block halloumi cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 brioche buns

Slice the halloumi, brush with a bit of oil on each side. Fry the halloumi on both sides until golden brown. Toast the bun and construct the burger. Spread hummus and salsa on the bun, add some lettuce and a bit of tomato, finish off with the halloumi and top with the top bun.

Cheese & Mango Chutney Cheese Toasties

Ingredients

  • 100g grated mozzarella
  • 100g grated medium or mild cheddar
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced 

Mix together the cheese and spring onion. Spread a tablespoon of mango chutney over four slices of the bread, then distribute the cheese mixture evenly between the slices. Top with the other four slices of bread. Melt the knob of butter in a pan, then add the sandwiches. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until nice and toasted. Serve with more mango chutney. 

Skillet Hash Browns & Eggs Topped with Cheese

Ingredients

  • 250g Maris Piper potato
  • 2 egg
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 40g grated cheddar

Grate the potato and place in a clean tea towel. Wring out all excess water. Add the grated potato to a bowl, mix in the flour, one egg, half the spring onion and half cheese. Season well. Add some oil to the skillet. Once hot, add the hashbrown mixture, fry until golden – 5 – 10 minutes. Create a well in the middle, and add the remaining egg either allow to cook as is or beat before adding for scrambled eggs. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and the chili flakes. Top with foil – or the lid. Cook until the egg is cooked through. 

The best camping pans for your next trip guides
The Best Camping Pans for Your Next Trip

Final Thoughts

Cooking while camping doesn’t have to be the challenge that everyone thinks that it is. It simply requires some planning on your part. Think about the menu. What ingredients, equipment, and tools do you need? If you are prepared, there is no reason why you can create as good a meal as you do at home

FAQs

What kind of pans do you use for camping?

This comes down to the individual, there are a number of different options out there, and in all honesty, it depends on what you are making. The most important thing to remember is that the pan needs to be made entirely of metal to avoid melting or otherwise contaminating the food. 

Can you use regular pans on a campfire?

No. Normal pans are made of a mixture of metal, plastic and other materials that shouldn’t be used on campfires or while camping in general because they can melt, warp and contaminate the food. From a practical standpoint, they also aren’t as portable. 

Is stainless steel or aluminium better for camping?

Both are popular options, and both have their own benefits. One of the distinguishing features, however, is that aluminium is more prone to rust than stainless steel. 

How do you get soot off camping pans?

Firstly, you can try simply washing your pots with warm water and detergent. If that doesn’t work, you can add a cup of vinegar to the water. If that still doesn’t work, then create a paste out with water and baking soda, apply it to the pot, scrub, then rinse clean. Remember when scrubbing to use gentle circular motions.

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