Best Portable Camp Ovens

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

25 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
186 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best portable camp ovens

Last Updated October 2019

You can only roast so many campfire hot dogs before you long for a real meal. But your kitchen’s oven doesn’t exactly fit in your backpack — nor could you find a spot to plug it in. A   portable camp oven provides a reliable, versatile cooking option when you’re camping, tailgating, or preparing food away from home.

Portable camp ovens run on alternative power sources, so they don’t require electricity to function. Some models simply bake your food while others include range-style burners on top so you can simultaneously prepare sides.

Whether you’re cooking for a couple or a crowd, you can find a variety of portable camp ovens that fit your needs for size, price range, and portability. Keep reading to learn more about camp oven options and features, and when you’re ready to buy, check our recommendations for the best portable camp ovens on the market.

Ovens with matchless ignitions give you one less thing to pack and track.

Key considerations

Weight

When thinking about the weight of your portable camp oven, there are a couple of factors you should take into account. Will you primarily be transporting the oven in a vehicle, or do you plan to carry it in a backpack? What type of fuel will your oven require, and how heavy is that fuel?

If you’re looking for a lightweight option to carry on the trails, you’ll want to take into account the weight of both the oven and the fuel source. If you’re planning to use the oven frequently during a hiking trip, it will require more fuel. In this case, a solar oven — which requires no external fuel — might be a good option if you’re planning to heat up pre-cooked foods while on the trails.

If you’re going to be transporting the oven in a vehicle, you will have more flexibility with the weight. You might look into a dutch oven, which is perfect for cooking elaborate campfire meals. Alternately, if you want to use your portable camp oven to prepare food at a tailgate, you can choose one that runs on propane and bring a large cylinder of fuel to keep it going all day.

Size

In addition to the weight, the size of your portable camp oven will affect what you’re able to use it for. If you’re hoping to fit it into a backpack or compact vehicle, look for an option that can easily fold down when not in use. Think also about the fuel source and its footprint when considering if your camp oven will fit into your pack or car. Some more powerful portable ovens cannot fold but might be a better option if you want to use it for big cookouts or tailgates without having to transport it too far from your vehicle.

Pay attention to the internal size of the camp oven as well because this will affect the size of the dishes that can fit inside. If you’ll be using the oven to prepare meals for a larger group, think about the serving size and the measurements of your cookware.

Heat source

One of the most important things to choose when it comes to a camp oven is your energy source. Some heavier, fuel-intensive ovens are best transported to your campsite by truck. Others, by necessity, must fit in a lightweight pack.

  • Propane: Many camping tools are powered by propane, a liquid petroleum gas usually sold in 16-ounce canisters and 20-pound cylinders. Most hardware stores and some big box stores sell propane. It cooks quickly, it’s non-toxic, and it’s considered to be a clean form of energy because it’s primarily a byproduct of processing natural gas. Propane is relatively inexpensive, but it does need to be purchased ahead and carried to your location.
     

  • Solar-powered: Solar-powered camp ovens are a convenient choice for primitive camping and backpacking because they don’t require an external fuel source. These ovens use energy from the sun to cook your food. However, this means they may work slowly — or not at all, if it’s overcast or if sundown is early. Even on sunny days, you may spend a bit of time moving your oven so it stays in direct sunlight.

    Many solar ovens work well in the range of 150 to 200ºF but have difficulty climbing much higher. While some users are able to cook impressive dishes using solar ovens, these are usually best for heating foods that have been pre-cooked and simply require re-heating.
     

  • Fire: Campfire cooking will never go out of style — but flames will damage most cookware. Cast iron dutch ovens are ideal for heating with flames and coals. These heavy-duty workhorses can be used anywhere you can build a fire or use charcoal to cook almost anything. They don’t cook as quickly as propane but will probably finish dinner more quickly than a solar oven. They’re hefty and retain their heat for a long time, which means they must be handled with care long after dinner is done. You’ll also need to pack enough towels to dry your equipment right away in order to prevent rust.

Other considerations

When choosing the right oven and equipment for your needs, you should also consider:

  • Some camping ovens heat with white gas, a type of liquid fuel that’s more expensive but burns cleaner than propane.

  • Enameled cast iron cookware looks attractive but cannot be used over open flames.

  • Water boils at 212ºF — a temperature that most solar-powered ovens can achieve provided they’re in direct sunlight — which makes boiled eggs, instant oatmeal, and other dehydrated foods possible.

Ready for anything

Home range meets out on the range in this substantial camp oven. The Camp Chef outdoor oven boasts rack space for two 9 by 13-inch pans, plus two range-style burners to boot. It runs on propane, with one pound of propane powering the oven’s highest setting for more than five hours. It can be adapted for larger propane tanks, too. It’s far too heavy for backpacking, but it’s a reliable favorite for drive-up spots.

Features

Whether you’re camping, tailgating, or hosting a cookout, food is an integral component of the experience. Different portable camp ovens offer various features, so consider what types of food you’ll be cooking when exploring your options.

Thermometer

Some dishes just need to be hot, but others must cook at a specific temperature to avoid food poisoning. Some higher-powered ovens come with temperature settings and thermometers to ensure your food reaches a safe temperature. If the oven you choose doesn’t get high marks for accuracy, consider buying an oven-safe thermometer or food thermometer to make sure your meal has reached its proper temperature.

Racks

Unless you have a one-pot dinner, you may need to cook multiple items at once. Camp ovens with racks let you space your dishes so you don’t have to cook dinner one pan at a time. Just make sure you give your meal a few extra minutes to heat since it’s sharing space and heat.

Burners

Sophisticated meals sometimes need sides like pasta or rice. Higher-end portable camp ovens often come with range-style burners to provide more cooking options or let you cook multiple dishes at once. Keep in mind, if you’re using heat in more than one area, your unit will consume more fuel than ovens using only one heat source.

Portability

The term “portable” means different things to different people. Some customers just want their camp oven to fit in their vehicle, while others need it to fit in their backpacks. Different features can help you maximize your space, no matter which model you choose.

  • Folding sides: A number of portable camp ovens fold up to fit in backpacks, supply bins, or other tight spaces. The folded edges sometimes pull double duty, creating a barrier for breezes that might blow out a pilot light or disburse insulatory heat.

  • Carrying bag: Some portable camp ovens come with cases or bags that help reduce its footprint in your pack as well as protect the finish. These space-savers can come in handy if you’re short on room, and they can help keep your oven in good condition.

Accessories

  • Camping stoves: If the portable oven you choose doesn’t include stovetop burners but you still want the option to cook multiple dishes at once, purchasing a separate camping stove might be the way to go. Remember that you will need a separate fuel source hookup for your oven and your stove if you plan to use them at the same time.

  • Camping coffee makers:  When you’re up with the sun, caffeine isn’t optional. If your portable oven has stove burners or gets hot enough to boil water, you can start the day with a strong cup of coffee made from an easily-portable camping coffee maker.

  • Propane tank gauges: If your portable camp oven runs on propane, a propane tank gauge will ensure that you don’t run out of fuel in the middle of cooking. This is especially useful when you’re using the oven for an event and will be consuming a significant amount of fuel.
DID YOU KNOW?

Portable camp ovens can be used to cook meals at home during extended power outages.

DID YOU KNOW?

Many flat dutch oven lids can be reversed and used as a griddle.

DID YOU KNOW?

A camping oven with a burner can be used to prepare coffee in the morning if you have a percolator.

Prices

You can find budget-priced portable camp ovens for around $50. At this price, camp ovens will be powered by propane or cook using energy transferred from another heat source. You’ll also find basic folding ovens and thinner cast iron models in this tier.

The next grade of portable camp ovens will cost $50 to $150. Ovens in this range may use propane, solar energy, or heat from your campfire to cook your food. Ovens may have thermometers or adjustable racks, but probably won’t hold a full 9 by 13-inch pan. Cast iron ovens will be thicker and higher quality in this range.

High-end portable camping ovens are often priced at $150 or more. Camp ovens priced this high should hold at least one 9” by 13-inch baking pan and feature a burner or two. Most in this price range will be powered by propane or other commercial fuel to ensure the job gets done quickly and effectively.

Compact and convenient

This bargain oven folds down for packing but has enough room inside to bake all your favorite comfort foods in an 8 by 8-inch pan. A single rack adjusts for different heights so you can cook anything from rich brownies to fluffy muffins. To power this oven, simply rest it on top of two- or three-burner Coleman camping stove to transfer heat. Since it relies on an outside power source, its internal thermometer may not be terribly accurate.

Tips

  • Don’t forget to pack oven mitts, trivets, and other protective gear to handle hot cookware.

  • Make sure you season cast iron cookware before your big trip.

  • If your portable camp oven comes with specialized pots, make sure you use them. Most are designed to optimize cooking and cleanup for your specific unit.

  • When setting up a campsite, designate areas for cooking and food storage to make sure your cooking space is a safe distance from your tent.

Other products we considered

The SolCook All Season Solar Cooker Camper is large enough to hold several pots and pans thanks to its panel-cooking design. Manufacturers boast the oven is large enough to hold an entire turkey and powerful enough to cook it, too. Its adjustable panels let you harness the sun’s rays at any point in the day, not just when they’re directly overhead. Rather than propane, the Martin Portable Camping Trailer oven runs on butane cartridges. An auto gas shutoff feature makes it safer to operate and transport. A tempered glass window lets you keep an eye on your food, which can cook for up to 3 hours in this well-insulated oven.

Make all-in-one s’more packets to melt your chocolate and marshmallows with less mess in your camp oven.

FAQ

Q. What are the best meals to cook in a portable camp oven?

A. Pizzas are the popular food of the moment and are a great option for tailgating. When you’re away from your kitchen sink, one-pot meals are satisfying and make for easy clean-up. Chili, stew, and casseroles can be easily prepped ahead of time and popped in the oven onsite. Be sure to cut your meat and vegetables into small pieces when preparing — doing so will ensure you use less fuel and reduce cooking time.

Q. At what temperature is my food fully cooked?

A. This is an important question, since portable ovens don’t always have the most reliable thermometers. You may end up having to check your pot or pan with a food thermometer in order to guarantee accuracy. To avoid food poisoning, dishes containing meat must be cooked to a specific temperature. Different meats vary from 140 to 165ºF, but if you’re uncertain it’s best to go with 165ºF.

Q. How quickly does food cook in a solar oven?

A. There’s no easy answer since the oven temperature is entirely dependent upon weather conditions. Solar ovens seem like a natural choice for remote backpacking trips, but they take longer to cook than other types, so you must arrive at your destination with plenty of time to spare if you plan to use this type of portable oven. In general, solar ovens take 1.5 to 3 times longer to cook than a traditional oven, assuming abundant sunshine. If you’re hiking in the mountains, be sure to set your oven up in an open area where peaks won’t cut your daylight even shorter.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer
  • Sarah
    Sarah
    Editorial Assistant

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