Anyone using carbon steel for cooking at camp?

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ovrlndr

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I know cast iron is popular for cooking at camp, but I’m interested to see if anyone is using carbon steel pans instead of cast iron?

For those unfamiliar with carbon steel, it’s similar in concept to cast iron in that it must be seasoned and eventually develops a slick non-stick coating, it can handle high temperatures, including baking and direct flame (even being placed directly in a fire) but it’s lighter weight because the steel is thinner and thus is also more responsive to temperature changes. The walls of the pan are also sloped as opposed to the more upright walls on cast iron, meaning that it’s better for flipping / tossing the contents of the pan.

Given the similar properties to cast iron, but the clear weight advantages, just curious if anyone is using carbon steel to cook at camp.
 

jordan04gx

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Being more responsive to temperature changes can be a negative when dealing with non-uniform heat sources like a camp fire. That is one of the reasons why cast iron is popular, because it helps to even out the heat across the surface, even when the underlying heat source is not very even. Personally, I don't carry cast iron gear because I can't afford the weight or space. In my family camping setup (small popup camper) I carry one very small cast iron plate (kind a square thing about 8x10" for things like sliders/burgers/steak). I'd like to carry one large cast iron skillet, but for me its just too big, too awkward to fit, and too heavy (XJs are deceptively small). When I solo with the Jeep, I am ultralight so definitely no cast iron. I rarely cook anything that requires pots/pans or things that need to be cleaned and carried (but I'm not a foody either). I carry a pack stove that fits in the palm of your hand for heating water with a tiny mess kit, and everything else I try to cook on fire directly with a stick or foil.
 

ovrlndr

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Yep, carbon steel would definitely be better used over a camp stove with a more uniform burner than over (or in) a camp fire, but if using a more uniform heat source, I can see it having the advantages of being lighter and quicker to heat up and get cooking on, and quicker to cool down and pack away.
 

Traveler I

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Phoenix, AZ
I have a set of the old Cold Steel pans. They are well seasoned and make great little frying pans over a stove or coals. There are newer ones similar to Cold Steel if you look around.