Selecting camping cookware is an important decision. Survival in the outdoors depends on a person’s ability to eat, which is why it is wise to invest in the best quality of camping cookware that you can afford. Even if you are only going on a short camping trip, it is always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared in the event of an emergency. Nature can be quite fickle and unpredictable, and a two-day camping trip can often turn into a week-long battle for survival.
Durability is the most important consideration when looking for camping cookware. Most cookware designed for outdoor use is made of cast iron or stainless steel. Both are terrific, since they are both durable and affordable. Stainless steel is lightweight, rust-resistant and easy to clean. Cast iron, on the other hand, is extremely heavy and will rust if not “seasoned” first. Cast iron is also nearly indestructible. There are many cast iron skillets and frying pans in use today that were made over a hundred years ago.
Cast iron is often preferable to stainless steel because of its heat-retention properties. When cooking over an open fire, which can fluctuate in temperature, cast iron allows food to be cooked at an even level of heat. Cast iron can also withstand higher temperatures than stainless steel.
Some camping cookware is made out of aluminum. While aluminum cookware is lightweight and inexpensive, it is far inferior in many ways than stainless steel or cast iron. Aluminum can react with acidic foods, causing them to taste funny. This is canned vegetables never taste the same as fresh or frozen vegetables. There are many experts who believe that exposure to aluminum can be toxic over long periods of time.
Portability is another important consideration. While a 50-piece cast iron outdoor cooking set may look nice in a Cabela’s catalog or a Gander Mountain showroom, it is impractical for the recreational camper or hiker. It is best to start with the cookware essentials and then gradually add to your collection than to purchase tons of cookware you do not need. The basics should include a skillet, collapsible drinking cups, knives and forks, and a pot for boiling water. These items are the only things needed for a basic camping trip.
Price is the final consideration. In the world of camping cookware, high prices do not necessarily mean better quality. The best-quality items are those that have been around for generations, not gimmicky cookware that boasts the latest in innovative design and high-shine non-stick finishes. Camping should be about simplicity, and the simple things in life are often the most affordable.