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Editors’ Choice Gold 2012: Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Ovens

Feed the troops or go gourmet–these pots do both.
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For more than two centuries, campers have been fueling adventures with meals made in these pioneer pots. Our editors have only been using them for a decade or so, but we’re convinced: For car-, horse-, and boat-camping trips, when weight is no object, nothing beats these ovens for fireside meals. Our enthusiastic test crew has used them to make mashed-potato-topped shepherd’s pie, hearty green chili with chicken, blueberry cobbler, and more. The technique is simple: Build a hot bed of coals (you can use charcoal briquettes, too), set the cauldron on top, and cover the flat lid with more coals.

Sit back and enjoy a beverage while you rotate the pot every 10 minutes or so (to ensure even cooking). Lodge offers a slew of sizes (from 1- to 12-quart); just be sure to get one of the “Camp” models that come with legs for elevating the pot over the coals. Each includes a booklet filled with recipes and maintenance tips; never wash your oven with soap, and oil it before storing to prevent rusting. “It’s a family heirloom,” says one tester. “I’ll be handing this down to my kids someday.” $44-$175; 18 lbs. 10 oz. (12 qt.); lodgemfg.com

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