Best Open Fire Cooking Skillet | 3 Best for Campfire Cooking

Cooking over an open fire exposes your skillet to high heat and tough soot – requiring the right materials to make a delicious meal during your next trip!

This buying guide takes all the important factors one needs to consider before buying a skillet for campfire cooking. We have also included our four favorite options and reviews of pros and cons to help give you a clear understanding about what to expect from each open fire skillet and allow you to make the most informed buying decision. Let’s start looking into these factors and choices!

MSR Alpine Fry Pan

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Home-Complete Cast Iron Skillet

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Boundless Voyage Titanium Frying Pan

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Best Stainless Steel Skillet 

Best Cast Iron

Best Ultralight Skillet for One

Material

Stainless Steel

Cast Iron

Titanium

Diameter

7.7"

12"

7"

Weight

0.83 lbs

7 lbs

.27 lbs

Sneak Peek: Best Skillet for Open Fire Cooking

MSR Alpine Fry Pan

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  • Aluminum bottom heats more evenly than pure stainless steel
  • Incredibly light
  • Detachable handle for easy storage

What to Consider

There are several important factors that you need to consider while you are looking for an open fire cooking skillet. The most important factor to consider is material. The material that a skillet is made of can affect the quality and durability of the skillet when used over a campfire.

Material

The material your open fire cooking skillet is made from is an undeniably important aspect of finding the right skillet to make all your meals. Since you will be using the skillet over an open fire, you need to ensure that the material can withstand the intense heat of the fire while also evenly distributing this heat across the pan.

The three most common kinds of material for open fire skillets are cast iron, aluminum and stainless steel. Below, we will investigate these in more detail to find out which works best.

Cast Iron

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Cast iron is a classic and unbeatable material when it comes to cooking over an open fire. Since cast iron skillets are heavy and thick, they are great at retaining the heat inside them. Their thickness also enables them to endure the strong heat of an open fire, making them more durable than most other materials.

Typically, cast iron skillets come pre-seasoned. With subsequent usage the seasoning continues to build up in the pan, making it easier and easier to clean. This creates a distinct non-stick barrier in the pan.

Cast iron skillets are usually very heavy to carry around, making it inconvenient for camping trips where there will be a lot of walking or backpacking involved. It’s still a great option if you will be camping in an RV or a tent near your car!

Aluminium

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Aluminum is another common preference when it comes to open fire cooking skillets, especially when packing light is a priority. It can be a great choice of material when it comes to backpacking or primitive camping spots.

In addition, aluminum is a great conductor of heat and will be able to retain heat and endure the flames of an open fire.

Some aluminum skillets tend to come with non-stick coatings that allow you to cook your food conveniently without worrying about the surface chipping off. However, make sure you check whether the coating contains toxic chemicals or not. Ceramic non-stick coating is typically safer to use than materials like Teflon.

It’s also important to use gentle, non-scratch sponges and rags to clean your aluminum skillet. Roughness and scratchy material can cause the non-stick coating to start to peel off.

Stainless Steel

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Stainless steel is another lightweight option for camp skillets. If you’re looking to minimize the amount of weight you will be carrying around, then stainless steel might be a good choice.

Stainless steel can retain heat well and withstand the intensity of open flames, making it convenient to use over an open fire. However, it’s important to note that stainless steel skillets are usually much thinner than their cast iron counterparts which makes them less durable.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure you buy a premium stainless steel skillet and not opt for the cheapest option. While stainless steel skillets are more expensive than aluminum ones, they will probably last you longer while also being just as light and portable.

Detailed Reviews

Now that you know more about what types of materials will keep your camping skillet strong and perfect for cooking, it’s time to look at some products! Look through the products below and their descriptions to help you make an informed decision and ensure you end up with an open fire skillet that meets all of your camping and outdoor cooking needs!

All of these products are good choices when it comes to open fire cooking skillets. They differ on the basis of their material and features so make sure you keep your personal needs in mind!

MSR Alpine Fry Pan

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Pros

  • Attached aluminum disc at the bottom of the pan evenly distributes heat across the pan
  • Foldable/Removable handle convenient to manage the pan while cooking
  • lightweight and portable
  • Easy to clean the pan with liquid detergent

Cons

  • Handle may become hot if too close to the coals

The MSR Alpine fry pan is a stainless steel frying pan with a folding and adjustable handle that is also removable. It does a great job at retaining and distributing heat (this is aided by an aluminum disc at the bottom of the pan).

It is lightweight, portable and efficient. When it comes to your camping and outdoor cooking needs, you should definitely consider this pan. Its depth also ensures enough space within the pan for you to do your cooking.

Home-Complete Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

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Pros

  • The cast iron material ensures maximum heat retention as well as even heat distribution across the entire skillet
  • The pre-seasoned coating makes it durable and healthy
  • Withstands high heat from direct fire
  • You only need water to wash the skillet
  • Its long handle on one side enables you to hold and manage the skillet conveniently

Cons

  • It is quite heavy and not suited for hiking-in campgrounds or backpacking
  • It does not come with an attached turner
  • The handle of the pan will also get quite hot so you may want to consider a handle sleeve

The Home-Complete Skillet is a high quality, durable cast-iron skillet for your camping and outdoor cooking needs. This skillet gives you even heating across the pan to thoroughly cook your food.

Its pre-seasoned coating ensures excellent heat retention while also making it easy to clean. You don’t need to worry about it losing this coating as it will just continue to season over time with more usage!

Boundless Voyage Titanium Frying Pan

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Pros

  • This pan is a healthy and hygienic option for cooking in outdoor settings
  • The heat is evenly distributed and retained in the pan
  • It is lightweight, portable and comes with a drawstring bag
  • There is an anti-fingerprint blasting on the surface of the pan
  • It is resistant to rust, corrosion and extreme weather conditions

Cons

  • Campfire may leave a bit of soot on the outside difficult to remove

The Boundless Voyage titanium frying pan is an extremely lightweight option for your outdoor cooking and camping needs. Made from titanium, it ensures good heat retention and distribution while also working well in all kinds of climates.

With a folding handle, smooth bottom, and portability, this skillet is a great choice when it comes to travel, camping, as well as daily use. Its versatility and depth are also good features that make this frying pan convenient and efficient.

Conclusion

Remember, it’s extremely important to consider the material of the open fire cooking skillet before you purchase one. Make sure the material you decide on meets your individual needs. Think about how often you plan to use this skillet, the weather conditions it will face, and what activities you will be using the skillet for. Don’t pick a cast iron skillet for your solo backpacking trip through the mountains!

Now that you have a better understanding of open fire skillets and the factors to consider when buying one, you can make an informed choice to buy the best open fire cooking skillet for you and your family!

So, go ahead, find your skillet and start cooking!

If you’re still looking to round out your set, check out our favorite kettles for campfire cooking!

You Might Also Like…More Open Fire Cooking Gear Guides

Robbie
Co-Founder | Editor at Midwest Camping | Website | See related work

Robbie is a Co-Founder and editor at Midwest Camping. Robbie has backpacked over two hundred miles of the Appalachian trail, visited seventeen national parks, and camped regularly for the last two decades.

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