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Cleaning & Care

Our Complete Guide to Camp Cooking & Cleanup

By: Lodge Cast Iron / June 30, 2022

No one likes doing the dishes, but we think it’s better to be in charge of the camp kitchen than setting up the tent. Use this guide to pack everything you need to simplify cooking, prep, and cleanup at your campsite and protect your cast iron on all of your on-the-go cooking adventures.

Camp Dutch Oven


Pack everything—including the kitchen sink! 

Your packing list will change based on where you’re going and what you’re cooking. If you’re going to carry supplies on a long hike to the campsite, only pack the essentials. If you’re cooking around the fire, but you’ll be near your vehicle—you’ll have the flexibility to prepare dishes that are more involved and pack some nice-to-have items. 

We know camp cooks try to pack light, but you really do need to think about where you’re going to wash your dishes, and often, that means packing your own sink. We like to use a plastic storage box, which should be large enough to fill with water to wash your cookware and utensils. This container can double as a storage place for your cooking gear, including your chimney starter, charcoal, kitchen utensils, oil, seasonings, and paper towels. 

And you’ll need a versatile piece of cookware, of course. You can make almost anything with a skillet and lid, which is a practical option if you’re packing light. A camp dutch oven is another great choice, especially if you’re cooking for a larger crowd. Plus, the lid can double as a skillet. 

L12CO3 Camp Dutch Oven, Mountain Man Breakfast

Packing List

For Cooking 

  • Lighter or fire starter 
  • Tongs and/or spatula 
  • Cooler 
  • Aluminum foil 
  • Cutting board 
  • Pot holder 
  • Hatchet 

For Cleanup

Cleaning Cast Iron 

Just like at home, you’ll want to allow your cast iron to cool before you wash, dry, and rub with oil. If you use soap, be sure to pack something that’s biodegradable and safe for the environment. Once your cast iron has dried, store it in the plastic storage container along with your other kitchen supplies. This protects your gear from the elements and keeps your campsite tidy.   

Leave No Trace 

No matter where you set up your outdoor kitchen, it’s important to leave the area just as you found it. Plan ahead so that you’re able to dispose of waste properly. This minimizes campfire impacts to keep wildlife and visitors safe. We bring plenty of bags for garbage and recycling and use a cheesecloth to catch food particles when we drain our dishwater—that way we don’t leave anything behind and attract animals to the campsite. 

What should I make? 

When we plan our camp menus, we choose recipes that we’ve already mastered from the comfort of our own kitchen. When possible, prep ingredients ahead of time. Chopped veggies, for example, will keep well in a cooler for a couple of days. Store and marinate your proteins in a sealable container. You’ll deliver more flavorful dishes and cut down on cleanup. We also find dishes that don’t require a lot of ingredients or anything that’s difficult to pack and store. If you can find a few recipes that share ingredients—even better! 

Contributed By: Lodge Cast Iron

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