Camping, campfires, and cooking are a combination outdoor enthusiasts dream about. The art of cooking over a campfire is different than just cooking on a grill or stove at the campsite. Camp cooking is one thing, but actual campfire cooking is in a league of its own, and so is the campfire cooking equipment you’ll need to be a campfire chef.
In all honesty, there are just a few campfire cooking essentials you’ll need to successfully prepare a meal over a campfire. Some of the other items, although helpful and really cool, are not needed. But I’ll warn you – once you are bit by the campfire cooking bug, you’ll want some of these!
Campfire Cooking Equipment You Really Need
Sometimes less is more, and if you are wanting a minimal approach to campfire cooking, you will just need a few basic items.
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A Cast Iron Skillet
A cast iron skillet is one of the first pieces of campfire cooking equipment I would buy. Cast iron can withstand higher temperatures, lasts forever, and can be used directly on or to the side of your hot wood coals. Every meal of the day can be prepared in the skillet from bacon and eggs to one pan suppers.
A Camping Dutch Oven
A dutch oven for camping is probably my favorite piece of camp cooking equipment. It has the same qualities as the cast iron skillet, but is even more versatile. It is a slow cooker, oven, and skillet all in one. That being said, it really may be the first piece I would buy. If you already have a skillet at home though, you can start with that.
Related Post: The Best Dutch Ovens for Camping
With only either the skillet or dutch oven, you can start preparing delicious camping meals over the campfire. Take a pot holder and a few cooking utensils from home and start cooking!
A Campfire Grill Grate
A campfire cooking grate is not totally necessary. You can cook on smoldering wood coals or next to the campfire with the skillet or dutch oven, but a grill grate is nice to have. You can also use it like a regular grill – no skillet needed.
Many campsites have a campfire grill grate over the fire ring that you can use, but some do not. I have seen campsites that are hit or miss in the same campground – fire rings are present but the grill grate is missing on some sites.
I usually take a grate, just in case, so I can easily grill over the fire or coals and have a grate to place my skillet on.
This heavy duty grill grate is sturdy, has folding legs making it easy to pack, and is an awesome price. Check out the reviews! (Many people burn the paint off the grill cooking surface before using.)
You don’t have to worry about painted grill surfaces with this stainless steel grate that even comes with a carrying bag.
Tip: Aluminum foil is one of the cheapest and easiest methods of campfire cooking. Wrap your food in foil and cook it in the coals for a delicious meal.
Related Post: The Best Camping Grills ( For Every Budget )
The Campfire Cooking Equipment You May Want
Once you have a few basic pieces, you will probably want some more items. The following will crank up your campfire cooking and add variety. Not only are these good for camping, they would also be great for backyard cookouts.
Campfire Swivel Grill
This campfire grill grate easily fits over any open campfire. Just push the stake in the ground and you can swivel the grill grate over the fire and adjust the height. I like the fact that it will fit over any width fire ring.
Do you want more grilling surfaces over the fire? Check out this multi tiered swivel grill. It has a grill grate, a griddle, and a charcoal box/pan for double duty. One grate can be used over the campfire and the other over the charcoal box.
A Backpacking Grill Grate?
Usually the thought of packing a grill grate in your backpack would seem crazy. The fact that this little grate weighs less than a pound and costs less than $10.00, may make giving it a try worth it.
Lodge Campfire and Cook Stand
This Lodge fire and cook stand is really handy and versatile. It will hold a skillet or griddle. Check out the video!
A campfire tripod is handy for hanging your dutch oven and kettles over the fire. This is an easy way to cook simmering stews. Some tripods are cast iron and others are aluminum or steel. Some are also taller than others and have adjustable legs. This Stansport cast iron tripod is a best seller and affordable.
Tripods are also available with a hanging grate that you can grill on or place a pot or skillet on. You can usually adjust the height of the chain over the fire.
Cowboy Campfire Cooking Equipment
How about some cowboy campfire cooking equipment? Prepare enough food to feed a crowd with these awesome additions to your camp kitchen.
This campfire cooking equipment set has two side bars, a cross bar, hooks, a lid lifter, fire poker, and utensil holder. It gives you plenty of options to hang pots, dutch ovens, and kettles over your campfire.
An outdoor camping rotisserie grill set gives you a grilling surface and a rotisserie arm for chicken, turkey, rabbit, and roasts. It is perfect for days that you are staying at the campsite and can slow cook your meat on the rotisserie bar.
Your cowboy campfire cooking won’t be complete without an enameled coffee percolator and mugs!
You may want a set of campfire cookware that is lighter than cast iron and offers different pot size options. That is where a campfire cookware set like this comes in. The pots nest inside each other and are stored in a handy bag.
If you are cooking for more than one person you will want a set like the one below that is bigger than just an individual mess kit.
If you do want heavy duty, cast iron cookware, you need to check out this 7 piece set. It even comes with a griddle that is perfect for bacon and pancakes.
Campfire Cooking Equipment on a Stick
How many remember finding a stick and whittling a sharp end on it to cook your hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire? Or maybe you straightened a heavy duty clothes hanger to use. I have even seem people get really creative and roast marshmallows on the tines off a metal rack.
Although all those methods do work, you can now purchase some pretty neat campfire cooking equipment on a stick.
Many families purchase campfire sticks and forks for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs or smoked sausages. These forks come in a wide variety – you can purchase plain ones, ones with wooden handles, ones with glow in the dark handles, and even ones with telescoping handles. Some come with handy carrying cases to store them in (just be sure to clean the sticky marshmallow off before putting them away!)
Pie irons are another popular method of campfire cooking on a stick. You can make breakfast sandwiches, hot ham and cheese, pizza pockets, pot pies, and desserts. You can find round, square, heart shaped, and double pie irons.
Do want want a safe, clean place to set your pie irons while they are cooling off after using them over the campfire? You have got to check out this handy, pie iron kickstand.
This Rome 11 piece set has a great assortment of pie irons, roasting forks, s’mores maker, and carrying case.
Related camping post: The Easiest Pie Iron Pizza Recipe
A warm waffle with gooey syrup (and bacon!) cooked over a campfire is a delicious camping breakfast! A waffle iron on a stick is what you need to prepare waffles around the campfire.
Don’t forget the campfire popcorn! Of course you can just buy the small, disposable Jiffy popcorn (look at the neat extension handle for them!) or you can get an actual outdoor popcorn popper. You can buy small popcorn shakers or get a great popper with popcorn and seasonings like the set below. Just click the picture for more info.
Accessories for Campfire Cooking
You will need a few accessories to best use your campfire cooking equipment. You may have some of these items n your kitchen at home. It never hurts to have them stored in your camping gear though. It is easy to forget something if you are snatching it from your kitchen. Ask me how I know!
Utensils for Campfire Cooking
A basic set of BBQ utensils is a good start for your camp kitchen accessories. Most sets have at least spatula, fork, and tongs. This set has a large spoon. You may also want a pair of extra long tongs for reaching over your hot campfire grill. If the set you get doesn’t include a knife, be sure to bring one.
Campfire Cooking Gloves
It is easy to burn your hands cooking over a campfire and handling hot pans and skillets. Don’t forget your oven mitts! Some people prefer a suede glove that covers their arm, but many people are loving these Grill Armor gloves that even come in small sizes. So many mitts and gloves are too big for people with smaller hands, but both of the options I shared come in a size small.
Many people just use paper products when they are camping, but if you want a more eco friendly option than filling up the campground trash cans, consider getting a set of camping tableware.
Campfire Cooking Equipment Wish List
Many people plan dream kitchens at home – I think it is fun to create a camping kitchen! Let me know what items you have or want for your campfire kitchen. Is there a piece of equipment that is your favorite? I’d love to hear about your campfire cooking experiences!