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Why You Should Get a Cast Iron Pan (and How to Take Care of Her)

The Best Kitchen Purchase You've Never Made

By: Nick Kaimakis + Save to a List

Car camping, backpacking, or simply making a delicious home cooked meal, you’ve got to do it right. Most of us, even me, find it easiest to use a non-stick pan to avoid having to use too much elbow grease when washing dishes. Little did we know, the pan was subjecting us to cancerous chemicals caused by heating these types of dishware.

There is a solution. It is heavy enough to use for some minor workouts, but it will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Use a cast iron pan, because:

1. You can avoid all of the health hazards of Teflon and other non-stick pans.

PFOA, PTFE, and PFAS are just a few of the toxins that you enjoy with your non-stick pan cooked food.

2. You don’t need soap.

Actually, you can’t use soap. Cast iron pans can be cleaned with water and a brush, sponge, or anything, really.

3. You can scratch it to your heart's content.

These things are durable. You can clean them with your fork, sand (true car camping style), or a steel chain without worry.

4. It is the perfect camping pot/pan.

Since it is cleaned with water and a scraping tool of your choice, it is very convenient to take on any trip. If you are looking for something lighter for backpacking, try a stainless steel pan.

5. It retains spices. Permanently.

For better or for worse, cast iron pans sometimes come preseasoned, and they will hold the flavor of the spices you use with them. No longer stress about packing all of your spices!

6. It lasts forever.

This is literally cast iron. If you take good care of it, it will last you for the rest of your life. Love your pot.

Taking care of a cast iron pot is different than other pots and pans. There are a few simple steps you can take to make sure yours lasts forever.

  1. Wash with water, not soap.

  2. Dry completely after washing to prevent rust. This can be done by hand drying or heating until the water evaporates.

  3. Put oil on the pan when you are done using it. This prevents moisture from ruining the iron.

By taking these simple steps, a cast iron pot may be the best investment you’ve ever made.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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