4 Easy Camp Dutch Oven Recipes

4 Easy Camp Dutch Oven Recipes

Are you looking for some easy camp Dutch oven recipes for your next backyard or wilderness adventure?

Here we have compiled a selection of 4 easy and tasty recipes to get you started, for both main course and dessert.

All these recipes are tried and tested and you can pick up all of the ingredients at your local grocery store.

If you need some Dutch oven and guidance on how to use one, we have put together a comprehensive article here.

Regardless, let’s get into the recipes…

Dutch oven cowboy baked beans from Scratch

A classic, hearty recipe that’s easy to cook and tastes delicious!

A lot of these ingredients are staples that you will probably have in your kitchen and the rest are easily purchased in your local store.

Ingredients:

  • 1 good slug of vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 large size onions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of your knife and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium chillies finely chopped (leave out if you don’t like spice)
  • 1lb of bacon, sliced
  • 1lb of minced beef
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can butter beans
  • 3 cans baked beans
  • 6 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Light a suitable fire and let it die down to a good base of embers.
  • Place your dutch oven in the embers and wait for it to get up to cooking temperature.
  • Pour in the vegetable oil and heat until ready to fry on.
  • Add the onion, garlic and chillies and fry until softened.
  • Now fry the bacon until lightly browned.
  • Add the minced beef and fry until the bacon and beef are both nicely browned.
  • Introduce the rest of the ingredients, stir thoroughly and cover with the lid.
  • Place a layer of embers on the lid and cook for around 30 minutes, replacing embers as necessary.
  • Remove lid and serve with some fresh, buttered bread.
Campfire Dutch oven bread

Campfire Dutch oven bread

This is a delicious Dutch oven no-knead bread. Just be careful not to burn it.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups white flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ cups water, around room temp

Instructions

  • Using a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast and salt together.
  • Make a well and slowly pour in the water, mixing with a wooden spoon as you go.
  • Once mixed, cover the bowl with cling film and leave at room temperature overnight to prove.
  • Light a suitable fire and let it die down to a good base of embers.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured work surface.
  • Shape into a ball.
  • Place your dutch oven in the embers and wait for it to get up to cooking temperature.
  • Sprinkle a bit more flour inside the oven and place the dough inside.
  • Place the lid on and cover with a good layer of embers.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, checking the bread every so often.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the lid and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
  • Once brown, remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Serve with butter.
Campfire venison stew in Dutch oven

Campfire venison stew

A great tasty stew to warm to cockles. You can substitute the venison for beef if required.

Ingredients

  • 1 good slug of vegetable or olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of your knife and roughly chopped
  • 2 pounds venison, cubed
  • 4 green peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 large potatoes, cubed
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 8 small whole onions or shallots, peeled
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of whole peppercorns

Instructions

  • Light a suitable fire and let it die down to a good base of embers.
  • Place your Dutch oven in the embers and wait for it to get up to cooking temperature.
  • Pour in the vegetable oil and heat until ready to fry on.
  • Add garlic and onion. Fry until softened.
  • Add venison and brown.
  • Add remaining ingredients in order.
  • Stir thoroughly.
  • Place the lid on and cover with a good layer of embers.
  • Cook for 45 – 60 mins, checking periodically.
  • Remove lid – serve and enjoy!
Camping dutch oven peach cobbler recipe

Camping dutch oven peach cobbler recipe

A delicious and easy dessert to make over the campfire. The simple ingredients also make it an easy one to do.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 2 cans of sliced peaches, in syrup

Instructions

  • Light a suitable fire and let it die down to a good base of embers.
  • Add the sugar and flour into the oven and mix together.
  • Pour both cans of peaches on top, and very lightly stir together with the sugar and flour mix. You still want some un-floured peaches showing on top.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over the top.
  • Place your dutch oven in the embers.
  • Place the lid on and cover with a good layer of embers.
  • Cook for around 40 minutes, replacing embers as necessary.
  • Remove lid and serve.

Serve with cream or evaporated milk.

And now for some entertainment…


Camp Dutch oven recipe cookbooks

For a few more recipe ideas, why not try some of the highly-rated books below.

The Camp Dutch Oven Cookbook

The Camp Dutch Oven Cookbook
The Camp Dutch Oven Cookbook – Robin Donovan

A nicely illustrated camp dutch oven specific recipe book, which keeps things simple by using only 5 main ingredients per recipe.

There is also a good amount of advice at the front, including oven maintenance and recipe preparation.

Links: USA | UK | CAN

101 Things To Do With A Dutch Oven

101 Things To Do With A Dutch Oven
101 Things To Do With A Dutch Oven – Vernon Winterton

There is plenty in here to keep you busy and develop your knowledge.

Links: USA | UK | CAN

Summary

We hope you decide to get out there and try our 4 easy camp Dutch oven recipes. They are all relatively simple to do and you will no doubt have a lot of fun while doing cooking them.

As mentioned above, we would recommend you have a look through our Dutch oven cooking article, which goes into the history as well as more practical matters, such as how many coals you should use and how you should care for and season your oven.

You can find that here.

What can you make in a Dutch oven while camping?

The great thing about Dutch ovens is they are extremely versatile and the more experienced you become with one, the more confident you will be as a cook and the world really is your oyster (in cooking terms).

You can bake, boil, fry steam in a Dutch oven, so you really are covered for most types of camp cooking.

How do you bake in a camp oven?

If we are talking about baking things such as breads and desserts, then we have two recipes here and this gives you a simple process to follow.

You can also see our charcoal guide here for more precise cooking.

Common Limpet Foraging – The Ultimate Guide

Common Limpet - Coastal Bushcraft Foraging

Found on rocky shorelines across the UK, the common limpet is an almost guaranteed find for the shoreline hunter and is a handy addition to any foraging trip. 

With that in mind, let’s look at some limpet facts…

What are limpets?

Limpets are small, cone-shaped creatures that live on rocks in the inter-tidal zone.

They are usually spotted at low tide clamped to rocks and should you try and pick one up, will nearly always clamp down and become immovable. They are seriously impressive in this regard.

In this clamped state, they don’t really do a lot, but once the tide returns, and they have submerged once again, they ‘spring to life’ and start going about their business of feeding on their chosen home.

There are two main types to be found in Britain, the common limpet and the slipper limpet.

Today we will focus on the common limpet.

What is the scientific name for limpets?

The scientific name for the common limpet is patella vulgata.

Patella vulgata are the European common limpets and as the name suggests – are of the Patella genus

These are marine gastropod molluscs and are in the Patellidae family.

Can you eat common limpets? Are common limpets edible?

Yes, you can eat common limpets providing you follow the advice below.

Although I can say with confidence that there are certainly tastier wild treats to be had, the limpet is certainly worth knowing about from a wild food perspective, even if that said food does sometimes resemble the texture of pencil rubbers.

Are limpets healthy to eat?

Yes, as long as they were a healthy limpet when you collected them and you have stored and prepared them correctly, limpets are a high protein snack, with many many other vitamins and minerals to boot.

Do limpets have eyes?

Yes, the common limpet has a left and a right ‘eye‘, but there is little research on what they can actually view with these.

They also have two antennae for feeling their way around and sensing. The combination of the two helps them build up a picture of what is around them when hunting for food.

Can limpets swim?

Juvenile limpets spend the first part of their lives as free-swimming planktonic creatures and therefore do technically swim.

Once they mature though, they find a home that they like and stay put.

Fully grown limpets do not swim. They use their foot to travel across surfaces.

Where are limpet shells found?

The common limpet can be found in coastal areas all over the British Isles

They are not usually hard to find and are generally located in shallow water, on rocks or cliffs that are within the intertidal zone.

What is unique about the intertidal coastline?

The intertidal coastline or intertidal zone is unique in the fact that it is submerged by seawater around 2 times a day.

It is essentially the section of shoreline that is between the high and low watermark.

This area is fully submerged at high tide and then dry again at low tide.

Creatures and plants must therefore be able to survive in both of these states.

This makes for a special environment that supports many different creatures including limpets, starfish, sea anemones, sea stars, mussels, winkles, crabs and many more.

How do you identify a limpet?

What does a limpet look like?

The common limpet is cone-shaped and easy to identify. There will often be many limpets attached to one rock, in varying sizes.

Their shape and ability to tightly attach themselves to rocks allows them to remain in place – even whilst getting pounded by strong waves.

What do limpets eat?

At high tide, the limpet feeds by slowly moving around its chosen rock, feeding on algae and similar vegetative marine life.

Although classed as herbivores, they are also thought to eat small creatures like young barnacles etc.

Do limpets bite?

No, well they wont bite you anyway.

Limpets have a super tongue which they use to feed with. This is known as a radula.

The radula is similar to a tongue, but has rows of tiny ‘teeth’ attached.

As you can probably imagine, this radula is extremely tough, as it needs to be able to scrape food off rocks when feeding.

Indeed, UK engineers discovered that the teeth attached to this are made from the toughest biological material that has ever been tested.

Impressive stuff!

Limpets will generally stay in a localised area and not stray too far from their home, which they will always come back to when the tide goes back out.

Over time, this can cause an indentation on the rock which is known as a ‘home scar’. 

The limpet clamps down on this section of rock, using its powerful ‘foot’ and remains there until the tide comes back in and it’s ready to move and feed again.

How do you forage for limpets?

Common limpet collected in bucket - Seaweed - common limpet foraging
A little seaweed and water helps keep the limpets fresh

Common Limpets can be collected all year round.

Ensure that the area you intend to forage from has a regular and strong tide to ensure that the limpets are regularly submerged.

Also, check that the local area has good water quality and is free from pollutants.

The common limpet is an important part of the ecosystem, keeping the rock’s algal growth in check.

It is vital therefore that you do not gather too many from one area, as an imbalance can occur.

Good practice would be to take only one from each rock or immediate area, leaving the others to carry on their good work.

If there is only one on a rock, then leave it be. Do not over-collect in one area.

Fill your bucket or collecting vessel with fresh seawater and place some carefully collected seaweed in as well if available.

This will help to keep your limpets fresh.

How do you remove limpets from rocks?

A variety of tools can be used to prize the limpet away, including an old chisel or sharp implement such as a knife etc, but a rock will usually do and is usually readily available.

One thing to know when collecting limpets is that you only really get one good chance at them.

Although they will be stuck to the rock when you approach them, they are not usually ‘fully clamped’.

A sharp whack from one side will usually dislodge them.

If you do not manage to dislodge them on the first whack, or they sense you coming, they will fully clamp down on the rock and you will have a hard time getting them off the rock, no matter how hard you try.

They are unbelievably strong.

You can follow up with a second strike very shortly after the first one, but if this fails, leave them alone or you risk damaging them, as they will now have fully clamped down.

Your best bet is to go and find another to work on.

When collecting them myself, I generally have one hand holding the dislodging rock and my other hand is placed on the opposite side of the limpet, ready to catch the dislodged morsel before it disappears into the brine below.

In a good area, it is not hard to quickly collect a bucketful. Remember, do not take more than you need.

If your camp is based nearby, you can always return if necessary, or visit another spot.

Can you eat a limpet raw?

The common limpet is edible and can be eaten raw, but you’re probably going to want to cook it.

Check that the limpet is still alive, especially if it has been a while since collection.

You will see it moving, so it’s not hard to check this. 

Are limpets tasty?

I’m going to get straight to the point here and say that limpets probably aren’t going to on your top 10 list of bushcraft cuisine.

The fact is that they are usually chewy, really chewy – no matter what you do to them!

The flavour isn’t bad, it’s like a chewy mussle, but the texture isn’t always great – well never great actually!

Some say not to cook them for too long, but they seem to be chewy whatever you do to them, so just expect that to be the case.

One way to combat the chewiness is to finely chop them and add them to other dishes so that they are more easily consumed.

This can be done after they are cooked and then added to a curry or stew etc.

They will certainly add a new dimension to the dish!

Caveats aside, they are definitely worth a try and can form a great addition to other foods if prepared in a certain way.

If you want to cook them on their own, try cooking them upside down, straight on the embers of your fire.

If you have the luxury, try adding some olive oil and some garlic to add some flavour and cook until the oil starts to bubble.

Remove from the shell, remove the black part if you wish and enjoy.

I can guarantee you will remember the experience.

What does limpet taste like?

Limpets have a taste of their own, but to give you a rough idea – they taste a bit like a chewier version of a mussle and are equally sweet in taste.

Can you fry limpets?

Yes. You can fry them in their shells, or for a more direct method, you can remove them from their shells, tenderise them with a meat hammer or similar and then fry.

You can fry them as is, or coat them in a flour mixture first, depending on your preference.

Safety whilst common limpet foraging

As with all foraging, there is a degree of risk involved.

Coastal foraging brings additional dangers.

Apart from the food safety side that is mentioned above, the actual collection part can be risky in itself.

You are usually stepping on or wading through rocky areas when foraging, contending with slippy, jagged surfaces and possibly waves.

Common sense goes a long way here.

Take great care with your foot placement and move slowly and deliberately.

A wading stick may prove useful.

Wear appropriate footwear, something that will protect your feet from the sharp rocks and provide you with some grip.

Avoid standing on rocks with a slimy green surface. The last thing you want is a fall in this environment.

Be aware of the tides. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the moment, only to realise that the tide is a lot higher than you thought, with your access back to dry land now cut off.

As with most things, preparation is key here.

Plan your route and enjoy the forage!

James

Bushcraft Hub

What’s your favourite way to eat limpets?

Let us know in the comments below.

Camp Dutch Oven Cooking

Dutch oven cowboy baked beans

Dutch ovens provide a fantastic way to cook outdoors.

This article guides you through everything you need to know about camp dutch oven cooking, from selection to care and maintenance.

There are also some tasty recipes to try out!

Let’s jump in!

What is a camp Dutch oven?

A dutch oven that is designed for outdoor use, is commonly known as a camp dutch oven.

Put simply they are a cooking vessel, constructed of heavy, cast iron material, that allows you to cook efficiently over an open fire.

These ovens enable you to cook a wide variety of foods, from bread to more exotic main meals and will serve you well for your camp cooking needs.

This article explains what they do and how you can use them within bushcraft and other outdoor activities.

Camp Dutch oven cooking coals on lid

History of the Dutch oven

The dutch ovens of today owe their original design to Englishman, Abraham Darcy after he travelled to Holland to look for a better way to mould metals.

At the time, the Dutch were experts in casting brass pots using sand, which was a different method to that of loam and clay, which the Brits used.

He returned to England and decided to use cast iron instead of brass to make the pot, and the first incarnation of the cast-iron ‘dutch oven’ was born.

During the American colonial era, legs and a lid flange were added.

This version of Dutch ovens (legs or without) is what we know these days as a camp Dutch oven and were the cooking vessels favoured by the early American pioneers.

Often mentioned in peoples wills, as to who they should go to upon the owner’s death, they were an item of great importance and value.

They were the oven of choice for the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 – 1806, as they travelled and mapped the waterways from Pittsburgh in the East, to the Pacific coast out West.

These days, dutch oven cooking is very much alive and well, with a multitude of organisations around the world, such as the International Dutch Oven Society, still practising this fun, tasty and authentic way of cooking.

Design and features

Most ovens are made of cast iron and black in colour (unless rusty) – and have a pot and lid section.

There are some aluminium dutch oven designs out there, such as the GSI version, but these are not so common.

Most designs usually have a large carrying handle, which also allows the oven to be suspended over a fire, using a purpose-made tripod or pot hanger.

As above, most camp-style ovens also have 3 legs on the bottom, which are designed to let the oven sit directly in the fire’s embers, whilst providing stability and keeping the main pot raised above the coals.

Some users prefer not to have these legs though, which we will get into later.

As a large part of the camp Dutch oven cooking process comes from the heat above it, they all include a lid that is designed to have embers placed on top of them.

This allows heat to come from above and below.

This lid features a lip around its edge that stops the embers from falling into the pot when the lid is lifted – and into your food!

Due to their cast iron construction, they are heavy, so are not really suited to any hiking activities!

However, if you have a vehicle to transport it in, such as a car, 4wd or canoe, they are an excellent option for your campfire cooking, especially if you are staying put for a while.

Why do some Dutch ovens have legs?

Lodge Camp Dutch Oven

As above, you can buy a camp-style dutch oven with legs, or without legs.

The rest of the oven is generally identical.

What you go for will depend on how you intend to use the oven and your needs.

Indeed Ray Mears comments in the video below that he prefers a dutch oven without legs, due to the possibility of them breaking when being stored and transported in vehicles.

Take a look at Ray baking some bread below to see what I mean – it’s also a good recipe!

As you can see, he’s opting for no legs, due to the portability factor.

Our opinion:

We would argue that the legs are very robust, and do not get damaged with normal use and transportation.

You should be storing your oven in a better manner if that’s a problem, but everyone has their views, and they do indeed have the potential to catch on things.

If you are solely going to cook on a tripod with your oven, above a fire, then the legs may not be necessary for you and it may be best to go for a simple legless pot.

If however, you are only going to buy one oven, and want to be able to use it straight on top of embers, with the added functionality of still being able to use it on a tripod, we would opt for the legged variety, as it allows you to comfortably do both.

Of course, the best thing is to have two ovens, one with legs, one without and you can then choose which one is best suited to your trip – or take both.

How to season a cast iron Dutch oven

As with all cast iron cookware, a dutch oven will need to be seasoned before it can be used.

Many ovens now come pre-seasoned, so you can technically cook on them straight away.

However, this factory seasoning can almost always be improved on, so it would be wise to season the oven yourself before use regardless.

This is an essential process to get your oven off to a good start.

Does a Dutch oven need to be seasoned?

Cast iron in its raw state, will rust and is not non-stick.

In order to make it non-stick, we must first correctly season the iron.

This seasoning process applies a very thin layer of oil to the metal surface of the oven, which is then placed inside a larger oven or stovetop and heated to a very high temperature.

This process ‘bakes’ the fat onto the metal, to form a hard and protective layer on the oven surface, known as seasoning.

This technical name for this is polymerization.

This ‘baked-on’ layer (which is actually a chemical reaction between the hot iron and the fat), stops the oven from oxidizing, keeping rust at bay.

Done correctly, this now provides a natural, non-stick coating to the surface. 

This aids the cooking process and obviously helps prevent food from sticking to your pot.

With care, as you use your oven in the future, this protective layer will build and improve further.

How to season a cast iron Dutch oven and lid

If your dutch oven comes with a yellow waxy coating on it (which is a rarity these days) this will need to be completely removed before starting.

This waxy coating has been placed on by the manufacturer to protect the oven from rust during transportation and storage.

Wax fully removed, start by cleaning away any surface residue from the cast iron.

You need to get down to the bare metal.

To do this, use a scouring pad or some steel wool with hot soapy water, and scrub well, all over the pot and lid.

Rinse all surfaces well with clean water.

TipIf you have a used, rusty pan, follow this process also, until all the surface rust is removed and you are back down to the bare metal again.

Dry thoroughly with a tea towel, ideally lint-free.

Once towel dry, let the oven air dry, or even better place in another low-temperature oven, so that any moisture is completely removed from the surface.

You can also place the oven on a burner and watch the surface change colour from the bottom upwards, as the water evaporates.

This ensures the metal is completely dry.

Now leave to cool.

With the oven now completely clean and dry – apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to all of its surfaces – inside and out, on both the pot and lid sections.

Wipe off the excess oil, so that it looks like the oven is almost dry again.

Don’t worry, there will still be a very thin layer of oil on the surface, which is what you want.

The best oils for seasoning cast iron

It’s best to use vegetable oil – which can be made from soybean, canola (rapeseed) or sunflower oil.

However, all cooking oils and fats can be used for the seasoning process.

100% pure flaxseed oil is very good, although this can be expensive.

Alternatively, you can also use melted shortening.

You ideally want a ‘drying oil’, that hardens as it heats and doesn’t leave an oily residue.

I keep it simple and use standard vegetable oil.

In the UK is usually either rapeseed oil or sunflower oil.

This currently works well for me.

Heating process

You now need to get the dutch oven very hot in order to seal it.

You will need to use your kitchen oven if your camp oven will fit inside.

Alternatively, you can use a kettle type BBQ so that the lid creates an oven in itself.

As the dutch oven now has a thin layer of oil on it, this process can cause some smoke, as the oil heats up.

Therefore, this process is best done outside if you can, but if you have to do this inside, prepare accordingly by ensuring good ventilation.

As with most things like this, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your particular dutch oven.

As a general guideline, you will want to get your oven up to around 205 ℃ / 400 F for the seasoning process to work correctly.

Once complete, this process seals the oven, protecting it from rust and giving the oven its natural non-stick coating.

If you are looking for a perfect finish, this process may need to be repeated a few times (4-6) to get the desired result.

With careful use, cleaning and storage, the oven should not need seasoning again and the seasoned layer will actually improve over time.

If it does need doing again, and your pan starts to rust, or the seasoned layer is just not up to standard anymore, simply follow the steps above to restore it back to its full glory.

The short Lodge video below also goes through a similar process.

Fuel for Dutch ovens

You can use a variety of fuels with your oven.

If out in the woods, you may have some decent dry firewood available to you.

If using this, you want a type that produces a good bed of embers when it burns down, as these are what provides the majority of heat for your oven.

Go for hardwoods like Oak and Ash if you can, as these will produce a good bed of embers.

Softwoods will burn quickly and will work, but will not produce as good a bed of embers like the above hardwoods will.

How to use a Dutch oven with charcoal

You can also use charcoal, which is a popular choice, which you can bring with you.

This generally comes in either lump wood or briquette form.

Either is good, but the briquettes seem to hold the heat for the longest time and give a good steady burn.

Tip – If using charcoal, an easy way to get your coals going is to use a chimney starter, such as the Weber version pictured below.

Charcoal chimney starter for camp dutch oven cooking - bushcraft cooking
A chimney starter gets the coals lit using just newspaper – no lighter fuel required!

How many coals do I need for a camp oven?

If using wood, it’s a bit more of a guess as to the number of embers that you need.

It depends on the wood used and oven size.

Experience will help you get a good idea of cooking times and temperature for your oven, so get cooking and find out what works.

If using charcoal, the rough rule of thumb is to use twice the amount of coals as to your oven size.

So, if you have a 12″ oven, then you need 24 coals.

This is quite simplistic but is a good rough guide.

For a more exact heat and coal number, including the amount that should be placed above and below – the table below shows the suggested amount.

Dutch oven coal temperature chart

Dutch oven coal temperature chart

Cleaning a camp oven

A good cleaning and maintenance regime will keep your oven in tip-top condition.

Clean your oven as below:

  • Scrape all food residues to loosen them from the surface and remove.
  • Pour in some hot water and scrub with a brush until all food residue is removed. Use some washing up liquid if necessary.
  • Rinse out with fresh water and dry with a lint-free tea towel or similar and leave to air dry.
  • Now place a small amount of vegetable oil in the pan, and wipe this around both sides of the pot and lid, so that all the surfaces are coated with a very thin layer of oil.
  • Your oven is now clean and ready for its next use.

Can you use soap to clean a dutch oven?

The short answer is yes. There is no issue using a mild detergent, such as washing up liquid to clean a dutch oven.

There is a common misconception that the soap will remove the seasoned layer, as soap breaks down fat and it is this fat that forms the seasoning.

However, the fat has gone through a chemical process when the oven was seasoned and is chemically bonded to the metal through this heat process.

It will therefore not be removed with soap, so feel free to use it if required.

How to store your cast iron Dutch oven

Store your oven in a clean, dry, well-ventilated area.

Your oven should have a very thin layer of oil on all of its surfaces to protect it during storage.

Do not use lard or similar, as this can go rancid if left for a long period.

Use vegetable oil and wipe off any excess.

If storing the pot and lid together, leave a small gap by placing a folded up tea towel or similar between the pot and the lid. 

This will allow fresh air to circulate inside the oven, allowing any moisture to escape and help prevent any rust from forming.

What utensils do you use with a Dutch oven?

You can use all normal cooking utensils in your oven, both wood and metal, without them damaging the seasoned layer.

Just use them with care though and don’t be too rough.

How long will a camp dutch oven last for?

Properly cared for, your oven should easily outlast you and can be handed down to the next generation.

They should easily last 100 years or more and there is no reason why they can’t last for a few hundred years.

There is something deeply satisfying about owning and using something that you know will still be able to be used by your family, long after you have gone.

Not the dying bit though!!!

Purchasing one should definitely be considered an investment and is why I would recommend purchasing a good quality one from the outset – and looking after it.

What size dutch oven should I buy for camping?

The 8-quart (12 inch) is a good size for cooking larger meals, for multiple persons, but is also fine for smaller meals too.

We have this size, as it is a good all-rounder, whatever you decide to cook.

We’re also gluttons when it comes to food like this, so having some extra available is no bad thing in our opinion – it will all disappear 🙂

There are different sizes available to suit your needs, so go with what you feel is best for you.

A smaller size will do if you generally only cook for 1-2 people.

What is the best camp oven to buy?

Camp Dutch Oven Cooking - Lodge - Cowboy Beans
Rustling up some Cowboy Beans

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

There are multiple brands of camp dutch ovens on the market, with the cheaper ovens often being made in China.

These are often of a much lower quality than the USA or European brands – that’s just a fact.

If that’s all you can afford, or just want to dip your toe in and try dutch oven cooking, then these will certainly have their uses – you may end up disappointed though.

We always strongly recommend going for the best kit you can afford – it usually works out cheaper in the long run.

If you go for one of the decent makes, and your dutch oven ends up lasting you 100 years or more, that initial investment will seem quite insignificant, given the years of use and enjoyment that you and your family get out of it.

With that in mind, we would recommend either Lodge or Petromax dutch ovens.

Is Lodge a good Dutch oven brand?

Camp Dutch Oven Stew

Yes. They are considered the best brand out there.

We personally own and currently use the Lodge 8-quart 12 inch – deep camp dutch oven.

We went for this as Lodge, in our opinion, make the best ovens and have a great pedigree. 

They are made in Lodge’s USA factory, to a very high standard. 

They are pricey, especially in Europe, but as above, we view it as an investment and see it as great value considering what you are getting in return.

No-nonsense and great looking, these will last you and your family a very long time indeed.

Links: US | UK | CAN

Petromax Dutch ovens

Petromax Camp Dutch Oven

A good alternative to the Lodge is the Petromax oven.

They also produce camp dutch ovens with leg and non-leg options.

The lid on these is a bit more elaborate than the Lodge’s and are a bit harder to keep clean, but is not so much of an issue that it should stop you from buying one.

Where are petromax Dutch ovens made?

Petromax are made in Germany, not China like so many other brands – so this gives you some peace of mind over their build quality

They certainly look nice and are a great alternative to the Lodge.

Links: US | UK | CAN

Camp dutch oven inspections

When you receive your dutch oven, new or otherwise, take a few moments to check its build quality.

  • Place the lid on the oven and make sure that it’s a tight fit all around.
  • Make sure that the lid does not rock and sits flat on all sides.
  • Spin the lid to make sure that it easily rotates and is circular.
  • Check the oven sidewalls to make sure they are of equal thickness all around.
  • Inspect all surfaces, inside and out, for any notable cracks or blemishes on the metal’s surface.
  • Ensure that the bail arm is secured to each side of the oven, at opposite sides to each other. These alternate fixing points prevent the handle falling off if the oven tips to one side when carrying the oven.

Camp dutch oven accessories

You don’t necessarily need any special accessories to use your oven, you can use what you have in the kitchen – even a stick to lift the lid if necessary.

If you want the correct kit, however, you may want to take a look at the below.

Camp Dutch Oven Lid lifter

One item that you will need when cooking with these ovens is some form of lid-lifter.

You can use a claw hammer or a strong stick, but a proper tool for the job is a purpose-made device such as the one made by Petromax below.

Petromax dutch oven lid lifter
Petromax lid lifter

This has the added advantage of being able to be used as a poker for the embers of your fire.

Links: USA| UK | CAN

Campfire Dutch Oven Tripod

If you want to raise your dutch oven above the embers and also have somewhere to hang your camp kettle, a tripod may be a handy addition to your camp set up.

The Lodge version features an adjustable chain so that you can vary the height and therefore the temperature of your cooking.

Lodge campfire dutch oven tripod
Lodge tripod

Links: USA | UK | CAN

How do you make a camp oven tripod?

Want to make your own? Here’s a great DIY option from Mr Mears…

Cast Iron Chainmail Cleaner

Chain Mail Cleaner
Chainmail cleaner

To keep your oven in tip-top condition, a chain mail cleaner, such as the Petromax one above is a good addition to your kit.

As mentioned previously, a good maintenance regime will keep your oven in tip-top condition for many years to come.

These are therefore a worthwhile investment.

Links: USA | UK | CAN

Summary

Camp Dutch ovens are a fantastic time-tested cooking vessel.

Large and heavy they may be, but if you are staying at camp for a while, they are usually worth the effort of transporting and setting up.

They create delicious meals and are a joy to cook on.

If you haven’t tried one yet, I hope this article has at least spiked your interest to do so.

It might even be the start of a lifelong obsession!

As ever, thanks for reading.

James

What is the Best Bushcraft Stove?

Bushcraft liquid fuel stove - MSR XGK EX

Although it is generally preferable to cook on an open fire, there are times when you will want, or indeed need, some form of bushcraft stove.

Fast and reliable, they will get things cooking in minutes.

So what’s available?

Wood burning camp stoves

If you can’t have an open fire due to it not being practical, or perhaps they are prohibited at your location, then you may be able to use a wood-burning camping stove.

These are also sometimes known as Hobo Stoves.

If used with wood, these are as close to an open fire as you can get, whilst having the benefit of keeping the flame concentrated and controlled.

Of course, the main benefit of a wood-fired stove is that you can operate them using free fuel.

This is presuming this is available at your location, or you have brought some in with you.

Most of these stoves are fairly compact, with some being foldable.

They pack down into a smaller carry bag, making them suitable for transportation.

These stoves are primarily designed to burn small twigs and sticks, but most will also run on a variety of other fuels if required.

This includes hexy blocks or meths/alcohol.

Some will even let you incorporate a gas burner.

There are various models and designs on the market, with some performing a lot better than others.

The main options are the foldable box type or the wood gas type.

Box type

Honey Wood Stove - Bushcraft
Backpacking Light’s Honey Stove

The box type wood stoves feature a series of sections that slot together, allowing for different configurations, providing a solid base and pot support.

A popular choice is the Honey Stove which is made by Backpacking Light.

The Honey Stove consists of multiple pieces that can be constructed in a variety of fashions.

You can alter this depending on what you are cooking/boiling and what fuel you are using.

This stove allows for many fuel types including dry leaves, grass, wood, hexamine blocks, to name a few.

It can also incorporate a meths burner (Trangia type) and will even utilise an Optimus Nova burner if required.

All in all, it’s a very versatile choice for bushcraft activities.

These stoves fold down to a very compact size and are therefore ideal for transportation.

Similar alternatives to the Honey Stove include the Firebox or BushBox XL.

Wood gas stoves (Solostove)

Solo Stove Lite Wood Gas Stove
Solo Stove Lite

These types of stoves are usually cylindrical in design and incorporate an external jacket.

How does a wood burning camp stove work?

This jacket funnels warm air (taken from the external vents below), upwards.

This warm air is then deposited into the top of the main fire compartment, via the internal vent holes, just above the flames.

The Solo Stove diagram below shows the process in more detail.

Solo Stove Airflow Diagram

As you can see in the diagram, the airflow process effectively fans the flames, similar to when you blow on a fire to get it roaring.

This creates a hotter, cleaner burn, and also helps to reduce soot build-up.

The above process will begin to happen once the fire in the main compartment has warmed the stove up to operating temperature.

Wood stove round-up

Whether you opt for the box or wood gas type, these stoves are very popular and have very little to go wrong.

They are therefore a great choice if you are looking for a no-nonsense stove, that should last for many years.

The fact that most can also incorporate other fuels, such as meths or hexy blocks, is an added bonus and further increases their versatility in the field.

The main consideration on which type to go for would be transportation.

If you want one that can fold away into a flat package, the box type is probably your best bet.

They take a little assembling, and they can be a little frustrating to put together at times, but once together, they are solid.

If portability isn’t your primary concern and you are happy with a fixed unit, the wood gas type is a great option.

These are already good to go, so are great from a time perspective, but do not fully pack down.

Your choice will ultimately boil down to space and your trip length.

What is a Solostove?

A Solostove is a type of wood gas stove that is cylindrical in design and incorporates a jacket, so that cold air can be drawn upwards from the bottom of the stove, warmed by the flames and then delivered to the top of the stove where it fans the flame and produces a hotter burn.

See the image above for a visual description.

What is a twig stove?

A twig stove is a type of camping/outdoor stove that uses natural materials, such as dry twigs, leaves, pine cones, pine needles etc.

These stoves are a great option if you have a reliable supply of fuel as they can be run on free to find materials.

Additionally, some models allow you to incorporate a basic burner, such as a Trangia or you can just use a basic hexy block. See above for more on these.

Meth burners

Trangia Meth Alcohol Burner Bushcraft Stove
Trangia Spirit Burner

Sometimes known as an alcohol or spirit burner, this style of stove is another simple option for bushcraft activities.

They are generally known as Trangias, although this is a brand name and they are not all made by Trangia.

These stoves are small in design, lightweight and portable.

You will need some form of pot support as well, as these will not generally work with a pot placed directly on them.

However, there are many options available.

How does a Trangia work?

These burners all work on the same principle, in that you partially fill the main central chamber with fuel, then light it.

The main chamber will slowly burn (sometimes it’s very hard to see) and heat up the stove and fuel.

Once it is up to operating temperature, the fuel that is in the outside chamber, starts to vapourise.

This vapour then rises up to the small pinprick vents at the top, where it combusts.

This is often referred to as ‘blooming’ and means the burner is now ready to cook on.

Trangia spirit burner

The Trangia Spirit Burner pictured above is the best known and most widely used meth/alcohol burner out there.

Low cost, virtually indestructible and brilliantly simple in its design, this is a fantastic, relatively lightweight stove, with a multitude of applications.

Designed back in 1951, at Trangia’s headquarters in Sweden, not much has changed.

It is made of brass, with a weight of 110g and consists of the main burner unit, screw-on lid and a simmer ring.

The simmer ring’s design allows the flame to be regulated and also allows you to extinguish the burner completely when finished.

The stove is designed to run on methylated spirits (denatured alcohol). This fuel can be obtained very cheaply from your local hardware store.

It is worth noting that this burner can be used on its own if it is placed in a sheltered depression and your cooking vessel suspended above.

In general, though, the spirit burner is designed to be used inside a cooking system.

Examples include Trangia’s popular 25-2 cooking set or other makes such as the Honey Stove mentioned above.

The meth (or alcohol burner) is an extremely simple and effective cooking system, that has stood the test of time.

Esbit alcohol burner stove

Esbit Alcohol Burner Methylated Stove - bushcraft stoves
Esbit alcohol stove

A good alternative to the Trangia is the Esbit Alcohol Burner.

It is based on the Trangia, however, the Esbit also incorporates a foldaway handle, that operates the simmer ring.

This lessens the possibility of you burning your fingers when adjusting the flame – making it more user friendly.

You can purchase the Esbit here: USA | UK | CAN

Gas stoves

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Gas Stove
MSR PocketRocket 2 Gas Stove

One of the most convenient and simple options out there is the gas stove.

As long as you have a ready supply of canisters, these stoves are a great choice for your cooking needs.

They provide a quick, clean heat-source, providing minimum hassle for the user. They are just as quick to dismantle and pack away.

Gas selection

Historically, gas canisters were 100% butane. This is the worst performing gas for stoves.

In the early days, 100% butane fueled gas stoves struggled to work at all in cold conditions.

This is due to the fact that butane’s boiling point is approximately -2 deg C.

Essentially, this means that below -2 deg C, butane gas reverts back into a liquid.

It, therefore, loses its pressure and does not want to leave the canister, as it is no longer a gas.

This doesn’t help matters if you are relying on it to ignite.

What gas do you use for a camping stove? The modern solution

In more recent years, nearly all gas canisters are a butane/propane mix, generally around 70% butane and 30% propane.

Propane has a much lower boiling point of around -42 deg C.

When combined with butane, the mixture provides good performance well into the minus figures.

Another gas commonly used in isobutane.

This shares the same chemical structure as butane but delivers higher pressure, which increases flame performance.

If you want to read more about gas stove fuel options see the MSR article here.

Modern gas stoves may struggle at extreme altitudes, but for most applications, they will operate absolutely fine.

Due to the above, these stoves are slowly becoming the choice of professional mountaineers.

This is due to their simplicity and the fact that they are generally more lightweight and safer in use than liquid fuel options.

Fuel availability

One thing with gas stoves is that you do need to have the correct gas canister cartridge for your stove.

You also need to be able to find these fairly easily should you need to get replacements.

This is not usually a problem in more developed parts of the world, but may be an issue in more remote regions.,

Make sure to check this before setting off if you are likely to need more.

How does a camping stove work?

In general, most gas stoves simply require you to:

  • attach the gas canister by screwing it onto the burner (clockwise)
  • deploy the pan and stove supports (if any)
  • turn on gas by opening the valve
  • ignite

Simplicity!

Some stoves even feature an integrated piezo ignition, which ignites the gas for you when you turn on the gas.

This is a handy feature to have.

However, even if your stove has this, you should always carry an alternative form of ignition.

This could be a ferro rod or lighter, in case the piezo ignition fails for whatever reason.

Top-mounted canister stoves

This is the most common type (see picture above). The gas canister screws onto the bottom of the burner and acts as the stove’s base.

Because of this, top-mounted stoves require a very stable and level surface to place the complete unit on.

This style of stove set-up often becomes top-heavy.

This is especially true if you have a lot of liquid in the cooking vessel that might slosh from side to side.

This sloshing can then end up tipping the stove over, including your food.

It is therefore important to site the stove correctly in the first place, on a flat, level surface.

Be vigilant of any gusts of wind that might have your pot toppling.

You also need to guard against you or your companions knocking into it.

Although the above is a bit of a drawback with this style, the fact that they are simple and generally cheaper than other designs, makes them a popular and solid choice for your bushcraft cooking needs.

Remote mounted canister stoves

Primus Express Spider 2 Gas Stove - bushcraft stoves
Primus Express Spider 2

This style of gas stove is by far the most stable, due to the burner being much lower to the ground and having a set of wide legs for stabilisation and support.

The gas canister is attached to a hose that allows the canister to sit to one side, adjacent to the burner.

However, due to the additional materials used, they are generally a little more expensive to buy than the top-mounted style.

Other than that, they generally operate in much the same way as topmounted stoves.

Liquid fuel portable stoves

MSR XGK EX Liquid Fuel Stove
MSR XGK EX

Liquid fuel stoves generally cost more than their gas-fired cousins.

They also usually weigh more and involve a bit more effort in their operation.

With this in mind, why would you choose to opt for liquid fuel over the more common gas cartridge type?

What are the advantages of a liquid fuel stove?

In most cases, it chiefly centers around the fuel that you can obtain.

If you are operating in remote locations, for extended periods, a liquid fuel stove may be the better option over gas or other types.

The reason for this is that gas canisters are not always readily available should you run out.

They are usually stocked in outdoor shops and available online.

However, if you are out of area and certainly if you are in a different country, you may not be able to come across them quite so easily.

You can obviously bring 1 or 2 in your pack when you are on shorter outings.

For extended trips though, such as expeditions etc, you need to be mindful of how much fuel you are likely to use.

It is likely that you will find that you do not have the room to be taking heaps of gas canisters with you.

Added to this, once used, empty gas canisters need to be brought out with you and disposed of responsibly.

This creates additional dead weight and space that you will have to carry out with you.

Here lies the advantage of liquid fuel stoves!

In most places around the world, you can find some form of fuel to use in your stove.

Available fuels

Most liquid fuel stoves burn a variety of fuels, that are readily available across the globe, so you should never (hopefully) find yourself without a fuel source.

These include – white gas (also known as Coleman Fuel), petrol (auto gasoline), kerosene, diesel and more.

Read more on this here.

If you are travelling by vehicle, an additional benefit is that the stove can share the same fuel as the vehicle.

This can simplify things by eliminating the need for additional fuel storage.

How much fuel should you carry for your trip? Check out this MSR article here.

Economy

Because they can run on standard unleaded petrol or in some cases diesel and other fuels, they tend to be more cost-effective, when compared to resealable gas canisters.

This is especially true if you are on an extended trip.

This needs to be balanced with the fact that they are usually more costly to buy.

However, over the lifetime of the stove, this difference is negligible.

Safety procedures for using a liquid fuel stove

There are safety considerations to take on board when using liquid fuel stoves.

You have a bottle of extremely flammable liquid, usually petrol or similar, a few inches away from a roaring burner.

This sounds worse than it actually is, as the stove is obviously designed to operate this way and is safe as long as you use it sensibly.

How to fill a liquid stove fuel bottle

MSR Stove Liquid Fuel Bottles
MSR Fuel Bottles

One of the big things to remember is to wipe everything down after filling the fuel bottle, as you will no doubt spill a small amount whilst doing this.

Tip – It sounds obvious, but do not fill the bottle over its max fill line.

If you do, when you go to insert the pump, it will spurt out fuel all over your hands and the bottle, as the fuel pump takes up quite a bit of volume.

Only operate the stove once the stove is properly connected and you are sure there is no fuel residue left on the outside.

Can you use a camping stove inside a tent?

As with any stove, only use in a well-ventilated area. It’s not a great idea to use stoves inside of tents.

Apart from the obvious reason of potentially burning the tent down, you can get carbon monoxide poisoning too.

Follow the instructions and use some common sense and you won’t go too far wrong.

Remember, gas and other stoves are potentially hazardous too.

How to use a liquid fuel stove

One thing to note is that liquid fuel stoves require priming before they will work.

This means that a small amount of fuel is pumped into the stove and burnt off before it can be used properly.

The main purpose of priming is to heat up the section of metal tube that sits over the top of the burner.

This is known as the Generator Tube.

This is what fuel passes through before it reaches the burner. Once this is warm, it transfers heat to the fuel passing through it.

This, in turn, enables the now heated fuel to vapourise and combust correctly when it reaches the actual burner.

Stove Maintenance

MSR Expedition Service Kit for MSR Stoves
MSR Expedition Service Kit

There are more moving parts on a liquid fuel stove as opposed to gas.

Due to this, although very reliable, it is essential to carry some form of field repair kit if you are relying on your stove to function effectively.

Most of the stoves mentioned below will come with a small parts kit included.

However, it is wise to bolster this with some extra parts such as those included in the MSR expedition service kit.

Periodic maintenance of the stove is required to ensure long term performance.

The MSR expedition service kits will cover most eventualities in the field and are a good item to carry with you.

If looked after, and properly maintained, these stoves should last a lifetime.

Summary

There are many options available when selecting a bushcraft stove.

If you have a good supply of small twigs etc and don’t mind longer boil times, the closest and most environmentally sustainable option is the wood type, such as the Solo Stove, or Honey Stove.

The fact that this fuel is usually free and readily available, further adds to their appeal.

However, if you want or need to go down the fuel route, meths, gas and liquid fuel stoves are all excellent in their own right.

Your choice will depend on the environment you will be in at the time, trip length and of course, personal preference.

Hopefully, this post has outlined the main bushcraft stove options available.

If you feel you would like anything else mentioned, please leave a comment below or use the contact us page and I will do my best to oblige.

Thanks for your visit today