You can disagree with me if you like, but in my opinion, cooking up a decent feed is one of the best parts of camping. With one of the best camping ovens, you will be able to cook everything from a roast dinner to cakes and other desserts.
You can cook on a campfire in most parts of Australia, and a decent camp oven (or three) should be part of every keen adventurer's kit. Discover my top 8 options below and find the perfect model for your next trip.
My Review Process
In case you haven't already noticed, I'm a pretty keen chef. I have a collection of camp ovens which are among my most prized possessions, and I rarely go on a camping trip without at least a couple of them.
In my experience, the best camping ovens are durable, versatile, and made with high-quality materials. I've used this knowledge and my experience cooking with camp ovens to bring you this list of the top models on the market today.
If you're looking for a high-quality camp oven with the essential accessories, you can't go past this Campfire 9-quart camp oven set. The cast-iron oven is thick and durable, designed to hold heat and distribute it for even cooking.
Along with the camp oven, you will get a set of heat-proof gloves, a storage bag, and a lid lifter. The oven itself comes with a steam vent that can be opened and closed as required, and you can use the lid to fry or saute ingredients.
The two spring-loaded handles make it easy to move this camp oven, and it comes pre-seasoned so you can use it immediately. Overall, this is a great choice if you're looking for a great all-purpose oven for camping that comes at a reasonable price.
In my experience, you don't always need to spend a fortune on a new camp oven. This Campfire stove is a perfect example, and it's right up there with the best budget options on the market. It is a little small at 4.5 quarts, but this is still more than large enough to cook a hot meal for two or three people.
This budget camp oven comes pre-seasoned, enabling you to use it after a quick wipe. The lid is flanged, enabling you to place coals on top, and the spring-loaded handle makes it easy to move the oven itself. If you're looking for a cheap option to enter the market, this is it.
Spun steel camp ovens are less prone to breaking than their cast iron counterparts, and this Southern Metal Spinners model is the best I've seen. It comes with a neat metal trivet, and you can use it as a pot, oven, frying pan, or hanging pan.
This spun steel camp oven is also much lighter than cast iron ovens, coming in at around a quarter of the weight. It's Australian-made, and I'd recommend it if you're looking for a spun steel model.
The Snow Peak Micro Oval camp oven is small and expensive, but it's worth every cent. It's the perfect backpacking stove, and it enables you to cook all types of meals in any weather. Camp oven reviews from past customers suggest that it's perfect for one or two people.
The lid can be flipped and used as a grill plate, and the small, lightweight design is one of the best I've seen. If you're looking for a low-capacity camp oven to complement your other camp kitchen equipment, this model is worth considering.
This six-piece cast iron camp oven set is one of Camp Chef's most popular products, and I'd highly recommend it if you're into cooking intricate meals when you're on the road. Along with a small 4-quart dutch oven, you will get a lid, three skillets, and a trivet for resting your cookware.
One of the things I love about this set is that it enables you to have different types of meals on the go at the same time. For example, if I wanted to cook a quick and easy meal, I'd use the camp oven to cook rice and the large skillet to make a curry.
This 3-legged cast iron Potjie is quite different in appearance from most of the camp ovens on this list, but I love it. The design enables you to build a small fire underneath it, and the tough cast-iron legs enable excellent airflow.
The Potjie is a South African invention, but it's becoming increasingly common in Australia. The pre-seasoned cast iron means that you can begin cooking immediately, and it comes with a 12-month manufacturer's warranty. If you're looking for something a little different to add to your camping gear, this is it!
If you're looking for a versatile camp oven, the Camp Chef 30cm Deluxe model is an excellent option. Its lid doubles as a skillet/frying pan, and it comes with a lid lifter to make things easier than ever. The pre-seasoned cast-iron design means that you can begin using it immediately.
What's more, this Camp Chef model comes with an informational booklet detailing how to maintain and preseason your camp oven. There's even a small thermometer slot for anyone who wants to keep a close eye on the temperature while they're cooking.
Bedourie camp ovens are an Australian invention that are designed for the rough outback. They are much less brittle than cast-iron models, and they won't break if dropped or impacted. Dr Livingstone's 12-inch Bedourie Camp Oven is my favourite model, and it has a lot going for it.
For example, the lid can be flipped and used as a frying pan. It weighs just 3.9kg, and the stackable design makes it easy to store. The main downside is that it doesn't have the heat retention and distribution properties of a cast-iron oven, but this problem is universal with spun steel models.
How To Choose The Best Camping Oven
In the past, camp ovens were expensive, and many people couldn't afford them. However, modern manufacturing techniques have significantly lowered their price, making camp ovens an essential part of any complete camping kitchen.
Here, I've taken a close look at a few of the most important things to think about when you're buying a new camp oven.
In Australia, most camp ovens are made with cast iron. However, you will also find a few spun steel models which can be useful for specific situations.
Cast Iron - Cast iron camping equipment is usually heavy and boasts great heat distribution and retention. It's super durable and should last for longer than your lifetime if you look after it.
Spun Steel - Spun steel ovens have a lower weight and are thinner than cast-iron models. They heat up and cool down quicker, but they don't offer the same level of temperature control.
There are three main types of camp ovens. All three can be used on a fire, and all three use the same basic design.
Flat Bottom Camp Ovens - Flat bottom models are probably the most widely used in Australia, and they are cheap and simple. They can be placed directly on the coals, and most come with a lipped lid so you can add more coals on top.
Dutch Ovens - Dutch ovens are basically the same as flat-bottom ovens, but they come with short (usually 10-25mm) legs to hold them above the coals.
Potjie - The Potjie originated in South Africa, and the increasing number of South African immigrants to Australia in recent years has seen them jump in popularity. They are similar to a dutch oven, except they have a more rounded bottom and much longer legs.
Any experienced camp chef will tell you that you should have more than one portable camping oven at your fingertips at all times. Different sizes are suited to different meals and types of cooking, and I'd recommend thinking carefully about what you want to cook before purchasing your next oven.
Since most camp ovens are made of cast iron, their high weight can be an issue for some people. Even basic 9-quart camp ovens can weigh more than 10kg (empty), making them difficult to move when they're full. But at the same time, heavier ovens are usually built with better-quality cast iron and boast better heat retention and distribution.
Camp ovens are simple, but most come with a few nifty little features. For example, some come with a lipped lid that's designed to hold coals, there are different handle styles, and some come with a built-in steam vent.
In many cases, camp ovens come pre-seasoned so you can use them immediately, but some will require a thorough clean and season before you can cook with them. A few models even come with a lid that can be used as a frying pan!
The Campfire Pioneer 9 Quart Camp Oven is my top choice for Australian conditions. The smaller Campfire 4.5-quart oven is a popular budget option, and the other options on my list are great for specific situations.
If I can say one thing here to bring everything together, it’s that you don’t need to think too much about your new camp oven. A basic model will do the trick unless you already have some camp cooking experience.
What are you waiting for? Get your hands on a new dutch oven and cook up a storm on your next camping adventure!
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.