Maintaining Cast Iron While Camping (Guide and Packing List!)

Keeping cast iron camp cookware clean while camping may appear to be a difficult task, but with a little know-how and the right tools, it is simple. The key to keeping cast iron clean and in good condition is to clean it after each use, thoroughly dry it, and store it in a dry place.

We’ll go over the best methods and tips for keeping your cast iron camp cookware clean and in good condition in this blog post.

The Importance of Cast Iron Care

To begin, it is critical to comprehend why cleaning your cast iron cookware is so critical. Because cast iron is porous, it can absorb oils, food particles, and other debris. If not cleaned properly, this can result in rust formation and seasoning loss.

A well-seasoned cast iron pan will have a natural nonstick surface that is both useful and easy to clean. Check out our seasoning quick guide here!

Cleaning After Every Use

When camping, it is important to clean your cast iron cookware as soon as possible after use. This will make it easier to remove any stuck-on bits of food and prevent rust from forming. A stiff brush or scraper and hot water are all you need to clean your cast iron.

Avoid using harsh soaps as they can strip the seasoning and leave a soapy residue. If there is a particularly stubborn bit of food stuck to the pan, you can use a small amount of mild detergent and then rinse well and dry completely.

Keeping Things Dry

Another important aspect of keeping your cast iron clean while camping is to dry it thoroughly after cleaning. Moisture is the enemy of any outdoor camping adventure and especially cast iron, as it can lead to rust formation.

Make sure to dry your cast iron cookware with a clean cloth or paper towel, paying special attention to the bottom and edges of the pan. You can also put it on a low heat on the stove or on a campfire to evaporate any remaining moisture.

Storage is Key

When it comes to storing your cast iron cookware while camping, it is important to store it in a dry place. Moisture can cause rust to form and can damage the cast iron. If you are camping in a damp area, it’s a good idea to store your cast iron in a sealable plastic bag or container to keep it dry.

Most cast iron cookware manufacturers make carrying/storage cases to protect cast iron as well as to limit exposure to moisture in potential damp locations such as a camp site.

Avoid Using Metal Utensils

Finally, when cooking with cast iron, it is critical to avoid using metal utensils. Metal utensils can scratch the cast iron and remove the seasoning, making cleaning more difficult and rust more likely. Instead, use utensils made of wood, plastic, or silicone.

Here is a list of equipment that may be useful when maintaining cast iron cookware while camping:

  1. Metal scraper or stiff brush: For removing any food particles or debris that may be stuck to the surface of the cast iron.
  2. Chain mail scrubber: An alternative to a brush, this type of scrubber is gentle on cast iron and can be used to clean away stuck-on food.
  3. Hot water: For cleaning the cast iron after use.
  4. Mild detergent or soap: For cleaning the cast iron, mild detergent is best as it does not strip away the seasoning on the cast iron like soap can.
  5. Dry cloth or paper towels: For drying the cast iron after cleaning.
  6. Vegetable oil or flaxseed oil: For re-seasoning the cast iron while camping.
  7. Tongs or oven mitts: To handle the cast iron while it’s hot.
  8. Ziplock bags or beeswax wrap: For storing the cast iron cookware.
  9. Cast iron skillet rack: To ensure that the cast iron cookware is elevated and not on the ground which can cause rusting.
  10. Camp stove or fire pit: For reheating the cast iron and re-seasoning it if necessary.
  11. Cast iron skillet cover: To protect the cast iron from debris and dust while it’s stored.
  12. Aluminum foil: To line Dutch ovens and skillets to make them easy to clean.
  13. Cast iron oil: To protect the cast iron while it’s stored.
  14. Cast iron pan scraper: To remove stuck-on food and keep the cast iron clean.
  15. Biodegradable or natural cleaning supplies: To clean cast iron while camping without harming the environment.


By following these simple tips and methods, you can keep your cast iron camp cookware clean and well-maintained. Remember, the key to keeping cast iron clean is to clean it after every use, dry it thoroughly, and store it in a dry place. With a little bit of effort, your cast iron cookware will last for many camping trips to come.


An avid home cook and outdoor enthusiast. Sharing what I've learned in the kitchen and cooking outdoors to help you have a successful camping trip!

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