5 Essentials For The Camp Oven Chef

So you’ve never cooked over an open fire before? Or maybe you have, but it didn’t turn out so well…Maybe it’s time to consider a camp oven! These 5 essentials will get you in the game and help prevent you burning your first meal, though I can’t make any promises!

1: A Camp Oven

My super cool Yosemite themed camp oven

My super cool Yosemite themed camp oven

Yes you can cook damper on a stick, cook fish in foil on the coals, and toast marshmallows;  but the range of great food you can create is much larger with a simple camp oven. When choosing your camp oven keep the following factors in mind:

  • Size: Most people recommend around 9 Quart. A Quart is something I have never used in my life, so lets say around 10 inches or 240mm.
  • Material: Cast iron or spun steel. Cast iron is probably best for the beginner and is what I use. I’ve heard that cast iron is more forgiving to the beginner, where spun steel requires a little more finesse to work with. Plus cast iron ovens are cheaper and more readily available.
  • Price: Don’t spend a fortune but don’t be a tight arse either. Quality is the key here. Look for a camp oven with nice thick metal which is the same thickness all around. You will know a crappy oven when you see one.

2: Lid Lifter

DSC_8801These things are about 10 bucks and will pay for itself the first time it saves your dinner from an ash shower. The lid lifter is more than a simple hook. It is designed in a way that when tilted back a little it will lift the lid off cleanly without it rocking all over the place and adding unwanted seasoning to your meal. Believe me, I have added crunchy bits to a few meals by trying to lift the lid off with a stick.

3: Trivet

Camp ovens are not supposed to be scrubbed clean. This removes the seasoning from the oven and leaves it open to rust. A trivet is a steel mesh with feet or an edge on it which raises your meal off the bottom of the camp oven. Whilst this might not help with stews and such, it is very useful with a roast which always leaves a bit of itself stuck to the base. The trivet also allows heat to circulate more evenly through the oven, so you won’t get a burned base on your damper so easily.DSC_8796





4: Welding Gloves

DSC_8800I only just got myself a pair of these a few weeks ago. What was I waiting for?! these make life so much easier!! Not much to explain here really, pick em up for $10 at Bunnings and you can pretty much use your hands to get the fire to your camp oven. No more stuffing around trying to grip the oven with tea-towels or rags, just pick it up!

5: Thermometer

DSC_8794Experienced bush cooks probably don’t need one of these, and there are a few methods to get an estimate on oven temperature which I won’t go into. For the beginner though a thermometer will be a huge help in creating edible meals. My camp oven has a tiny hole between the lid and the pot which when lined up correctly allows you to stick the temperature probe into the oven, something to consider when purchasing your oven.

A relatively compact and simple kit to satisfy most needs

I don’t claim to be the most experienced camp oven cook out there. What you see here is what I have learned in my own research and experiences. Do you have your own experiences and idea’s to add? Do feel free to leave a comment, and share it with everyone else discovering the possibilities of camp oven cooking.


Alex Garner




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  1. Aaron Schubert
    July 19, 16:17 Reply
    Great post mate. We don't even have a camp oven yet, but no doubt we will get one eventually. Nothing beats a nice roast done on the fire!
    • Alex Garner
      July 22, 21:26 Reply
      Yeah they're a pretty useful bit of gear Aaron! It's amazing what you can cook in them once you learn about it.
  2. Sherryl
    June 07, 09:25 Reply
    Do you have any video of that? I'd love to find out more details.
    • Alex Garner
      June 08, 08:33 Reply
      I don't have any video on camp oven cooking Sherryl, but I've taken note and I may do one in the future :) In the meantime, you might like to take a look at the Cast Iron Boys website. They are loaded with all kinds of information on camp cooking. http://castironboys.com/

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