The Best Campfire Cooking Kits Put to the Test (2024 Review)

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In this post, I’m reviewing the top campfire cooking kits! Not all camp cooking kits are safe for campfire use. Rest assured that all the kits reviewed in this post are campfire safe, and I personally put them to the test over the fire. Let’s dive into the results! 

Stanley pot and Primus pot over the campfire

Amanda’s Top Pick >> Primus Campfire Cookset

(full review below!)

What Makes a Good Campfire Cooking Kit?

If you search campfire cooking kits on Amazon, many of the results are kits that actually can’t be used over a campfire!

In this post, I made sure that all the kits I reviewed were safe for the campfire. I also went a step further to buy and use all these kits to cook over a flame and give my honest review.

Before we dive in, it’s important to discuss the difference between camp FIRE cooking and camp STOVE cooking:

  • Campfire cooking is when you cook over a flame.
  • Camp stove cooking is when you use a propane stove to cook.

Some cookware is perfectly safe for a camp stove, but cannot be used over a fire.

Backpacking versus Car Camping

There’s also a difference between cook sets that you would use backpacking and those that you would use car camping.

When backpacking, you want things to be small, compact, and lightweight. Titanium is popular for backpacking, but it’s not ideal for campfire cooking because titanium heats and cools quickly and doesn’t hold an even heat like cast iron does.

In this post, I’m reviewing campfire cooking equipment for car camping (when you drive your vehicle up to a campsite).

When camping, I cook camping meals on both the camp stove and over the campfire. I want to have ONE camp cooking kit that’s usable on BOTH a camp stove and a campfire.

Many of the campfire cooking kits recommended in other reviews are not actually safe for cooking over a campfire. For example, the GSI Pinnacle Camper (a common recommendation) is NOT safe for campfire cooking.

Amanda cooking with a cast iron skillet over the campfire

Campfire Cooking Kit Essentials

Here are the essentials that I look for in a good kit:

  • The pots and pans are made of stainless steel or cast iron. Avoid non-stick coatings and thin aluminum pots and pans that will warp or melt over a flame.
  • Sturdy and stable handles and lids
  • There are no plastic components on the handles or lids
  • Long-handled utensils that are safe for high heat. I use stainless steel or wood.

Exactly what and how much gear you need to cook over the campfire is up to you. If you’re new to camp cooking, then start small with a pot and a pan, fire-safe cooking utensils, and heat protection for your hands and arms. Build up from there.

A kit can be a great place to start. Most kits are designed to nest together so they take up less space in your camping kitchen bin. This is one of the main benefits of a campfire cooking kit – they pack up nicely! 

Top Stainless Steel Campfire Cooking Kits (Put to the Test)

Stainless steel cookware is great for campfire cooking! Below you’ll find the top stainless steel sets and my reviews after putting them to use over the fire. 

1. Stanley Base Camp Cook Set (Review)

Stanley Base Camp Cook Set

Stanley has been making camping gear for over 100 years. I tested the popular Stanley Base Camp Cook Set.

This kit is very compact and small considering how much stuff is in this one. I like the size of the 3.5 L pot. It’s nice and sturdy with measurements on the inside of the pot and the lid has a strainer. 

The handles on the pot get hot during cooking, but that’s to be expected. With any kit that you buy, you’ll need to make sure you have proper protection for your hands and arms when cooking over an open fire. 

Cooking with the Stanley stainless steel pot over the campfire
boiling pasta in the Stanley campfire cooking kit

The 7-inch fry pan in this kit is also really nice and way thicker than I was expecting. The handle folds open and closed and has a little latch that helps to lock it open so you don’t accidentally squeeze it and drop all your food.

The rest of this kit is where the quality breaks down. The plates and bowls are okay if you need something, but the cutting board is so tiny and not very useful. The plates are small, about the size of my hand. I would not use the serving spoon or the plastic spatula that comes with this kit. They seem like children’s toys and I worry that they would melt on the hot pan.

If you want a kit that has two pots and none of the plastic plates and bowls, the Stanley Adventure Even-Heat Camp Pro Cookset is another (more premium-priced) option. 

Stanley Base Camp Cook Set

Amanda’s Bottom Line: This is a great budget starter kit. If you only camp a couple of times a year and want an all-in-one budget set, this will do the job. The stainless steel pot and pan are very nice, but I would consider upgrading the utensils.  

2. GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Camper Set (Review)

GSI Glacier Stainless Camper Cooking Kit

This cook set is like the GSI Pinnacle Camper Cooking Set, but the Glacier Stainless is safe for over a campfire, while the often recommended Pinnacle is NOT.

This set is compact and everything nests together well. The bag it packs into can be used as a wash bucket which is a nice touch. This set comes with two pots – a 3L and a 2L. The frying pan is 9 inches. 

The bowls, mugs, and plates are all plastic, but again, these would do the job. 

GSI stainless camper pot handle
cooking over the campfire with the GSI stainless camper cook kit

Where this campfire cooking kit breaks down is in the handle design. Inexplicably, there’s only one handle for all the pots and pans. You must try to clip and unclip it to the item you’re trying to use. 

When I put this to the test over the campfire, it was very hard to use and actually quite dangerous trying to clip it on and off while cooking over a fire. The handle gets really hot and is coated in something, so it shouldn’t be left over the fire. The handle has such an odd design and I worry that it would break easily. 

GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Camper Set (I do not recommend this set)

Amanda’s Bottom Line: Don’t buy. The handle design on this kit makes it really difficult to use around a campfire and having only one handle for 3 items makes no sense to me. 

3. Primus Campfire Cookset Large (Review)

Primus Campfire Cookset Large

This Primus Cookset is a smaller campfire cook set compared to the others above. It comes with two pots (a 3 L and a 1.8 L) and an 8.25-inch fry pan. The kit does not contain any other items like plastic plates or bowls.

The handles on the pots swing open when in use and then wrap around the pot during packing. The fry pan is really nice with a sturdy collapsible handle that locks in place well, although, I still prefer a cast iron skillet. (More on those below!)

boiling water in the Primus stainless steel pot over the campfire
pasta salad in the Primus stainless steel pot

The pot lids and the frying pan handle all have a small leather tab that makes it easy to check on your food or move the pan. This is such a nice design feature, and when I was using these items over the campfire, I found it really helpful.

I love that this kit doesn’t come with a bunch of extra stuff that you don’t need. Instead, you can buy a few bowls, plates, and utensils to go with this kit and you’re all set. I provide some nice options at the end of this post.

The last design feature that sets this kit apart is the ability to hang the larger pot over a fire thanks to the top handle that locks in place. This gives you more options for how to cook over the campfire!

Primus Campfire Cookset Large

Amanda’s Bottom Line: I love this set! The design is thoughtful and the quality is excellent. Pick up a few inexpensive plates, bowls, and utensils to go with this kit and you have everything you need. This is my top pick for stainless steel campfire cooking kits!  

Amanda cooking with a dutch oven over the campfire

Cast Iron Campfire Cooking Kit

No list of campfire cooking kits would be complete if we didn’t talk about cast iron cookware! 

Cast iron is perfect for camping and every camper should have a good seasoned cast iron skillet.

No matter how nice the stainless steel pans are in the kits mentioned above, in my opinion, they’re no match for the functionality of cast iron. Food tends to stick to stainless steel pans, but a well-seasoned cast iron pan has a wonderful non-stick quality that cannot be beaten!

Be wary of big cast iron cooking kits. You don’t need all that stuff. A simple skillet will do.

If you want to take things to the next level, an outdoor dutch oven is a lot of fun too. Check out my Outdoor Dutch Oven Cooking Course if you want to learn all about dutch oven cooking!

Cast Iron Skillet Options

a cast iron skillet with peppers and onions

Cast iron skillets are very easy to find. The most common is by the brand Lodge. They make a great cast iron skillet in so many different sizes. I would go with an 8-inch or a 10-inch for camping. 

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

You can use a cast iron pan on the stove or over the campfire, it’s durable, holds an even heat, and will last a lifetime and beyond with proper care. My antique cast iron pan is over 100 years old!

And don’t worry! Cleaning a cast iron pan at camp is very quick and simple.

Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

cooking with a dutch oven over the campfire

I have dutch ovens from the brands Lodge, Camp Chef, and Barebones Living. I also have an antique Griswold dutch oven. They’re all great options with slightly different design features. 

Lodge Camping Dutch Oven

Camp Chef also sells a national park-themed cast iron cook set with a skillet and a dutch oven if you want both. 

Whatever dutch oven you buy for camping, just make sure that your dutch oven has legs on the bottom and a rim around the lid to hold in the coals. These are some of the key design features of an outdoor dutch oven. 

stainless steel campfire cooking kits over the fire

How to Build a Custom Campfire Cooking Kit

It might be hard to find a campfire cooking kit that has everything that you need, and nothing that you don’t. If you’re just getting started, a kit is nice, but eventually, you might want to upgrade certain items or add in other campfire cooking essentials

The benefit of building your own campfire cooking kit is that you can pick and choose the specific items that you need.

For example, many kits come with plates, bowls, and utensils for 4 people, but what if your group is smaller or larger than that?

Typically, it’s Nick and me camping together. I don’t need gear for four people. I also don’t love using plastic tableware and instead prefer enamel.

Enamel is extremely durable, inexpensive, and much nicer than the plastic plates and bowls that come with most campfire cooking kits.

As I mentioned above, I love the Primus Campfire Cooking Kit and that kit is perfect for covering the basics. Then, to round out the kit, separately buy some inexpensive sporks, plates, and bowls for the number of people that you’ll be camping with.

Here are my top picks for camping tableware to build out your campfire cooking kit: 

GSI Outdoors Enamel Tableware

chili in blue enamel bowls for camping

When I think of classic camping tableware, this is it! The GSI enamel line has everything from plates, bowls, and mugs, to pint cups and percolators. You can buy items individually or buy a tableware kit. 

GSI Enamel Tableware (also available individually)

Amanda’s Bottom Line: This is awesome outdoor tableware on a budget! Combine some of these items with the Primus Campfire Cook Kit reviewed above, and you have a great kit for years of camp cooking and eating!

Barebones Living Enamelware

camping dinner on enamel plates

This enamelware is great for camping. It is durable, reusable, and not plastic. You can purchase the plates, bowls, and mugs separately in sets of 2. This enamelware comes in many different colors.

Barebones Living Enamelware

Amanda’s Bottom Line: A little pricey, but the durability and elegance of this enamel tableware are awesome!

campfire in the desert

What meals can you cook on a campfire with these cooking kits?

Cooking over the fire can be so much fun and a great way to spend quality time with friends and family. Now that you have the gear, you might be wondering what to cook with it, right?

Here are some of my favorite campfire meals to get you started: 

Final Thoughts

If you want to cook delicious meals at camp, then you’re going to need the right tools to do it.

A good campfire cooking kit will last you for many years. It’s worth investing in quality pots and pans that are safe for use on a campfire.

I recommend starting small with the Primus Campfire Cooking Kit and some enamel tableware. Buy additional items over time as you need them. Most importantly, enjoy cooking at camp!

Do you have any questions about these kits? Comment below! 

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One Comment

  1. Just another suggestion for non-breakable dinnerware. We had an old set of corelle dishes from college that we use. It won’t break, it’s not too heavy (even though car camping), and it doesn’t score, chip or absorb food stains or odors. It has survived a family of four’s camping adventures for 20+ years & still looks brand new! Cheapest place to buy new corelle is a Corning factory outlet store. For cutlery on a budget, just go to almost any thrift store & they always have piles of odd kitchen cutlery. Sometime you can score some great cooking utensils & I’ve even stumbled across some cast iron cookware before.