As we mentioned in our earlier post on camp fire grills, cooking over fire has withstood the test of time because of the aroma and flavor of a fire-cooked meal. While the emergence of fuel-based cooking mechanisms such as isobutene, propane, and other fuel sources have made them quite popular, many people still prefer fire pit cooking because of the aroma, minimal fuel costs, and reduced carbon footprint. Why else do you think most campgrounds have pre built fire pits available for campers.
One of the primary challenges of cooking over a fire pit is to ensure even distribution of heat. We saw in our article on fire grills that how the grill grates can be used for fast, even cooking over a fire. Another way to cook over fire is to use a campfire tripod. A tripod provides an excellent way of efficient, even cooking, and is comparatively lightweight and compact when compared to a fire grill.
In this article, we will look at some of the best campfire tripods available in the market. We will also look at the major factors to consider while buying the tripod and also look at some of the safety considerations to keep in mind while using such cooking arrangement.
Best camping tripod comparison listOur pick of the best camping tripods out in the market and how they stack against each other.
|Camp Chef Dutch Oven Tripod||50"||9.7||- An extra-long tripod which features high quality steel legs and chain with S-hook.|
- Adjustable legs can create a height up to 45 inches.
- Can handle type 4 dutch Ovens, tea pots, jugs, lanterns etc.
|Solo Stove Tripod||43"||1.18||- A unique, ultralight tripod with aluminium legs and chain.|
- Adjustable design provided by removable leg pieces.
- Maximum height of 36 inches can be obtained.
- Can support dutch ovens, pots and lanterns.
- Comes with a carrying pouch.
|Texsport Deluxe Campfire Cooking Tripod||42.5"||9||- A popular dutch oven tripod made with high grade steel.|
- Features a 26 inch galvanized steel chain which can be used to hold vessels as well as lanterns, jugs and clothing.
- Adjustable legs can create a height up to 35 inches.
|Lodge Camp Dutch Oven Tripod||43"||8||- A heavy duty steel tripod, featuring adjustable legs and galvanized chain.|
- Adjustable legs can create a height of up to 36 inches.
- Can be used to safely hang dutch ovens, kettles etc.
|Stansport Cast Iron Cooking Tripod||45"||13||- Cast iron tripod with a nickel plated steel chain with S-hook.|
- Adjustable legs can create a height up to 39 inches.
- Can be used for dutch ovens, Coffee pots and even hanging lanterns.
|Bayou Classic 7485 Cooking Tripod||45"||10||- A classic tripod with cast iron legs and steel chain.|
- Adjustable legs can create a height up to 36 inches.
- Cast Iron legs mean that it can carry more weight than other tripods.
|Wilcor Campfire Tripod Grill||48"||8||- A grill grate tripod made with galvanized steel. |
- Features a 20 inch diameter grate which can be adjusted from 8 inch to 28 inch
- Can be used for grill cooking or holding lightweight utensils or lanterns,
- Comes with a carry bag for easy storage and transportation.
|Stansport Grill Tripod Cooker||48"||5.6||- A lightweight tripod made with high grade steel with an 18 inch diameter circular grate.|
- Can be used for grilling or holding lightweight pots and pans.
- Can be shipped to selected countries outside US
|Coleman Tripod Grill||40"||5.5||- A lightweight tripod featuring shock-corded, durable galvanized steel legs|
- It has a 17 inch diameter grill grate which can be used for grilling and holding night lanterns and some lightweight pots and pans
|Coghlan's Tripod Grill||40"||5.1||- An ultralight tripod with steel legs and 17 inch grill grate.|
- The legs are shock-corded together for stability.
- Can be used for grilling, holding pans and night lanterns.
|Sunnydaze Tripod Grilling Set||44.25”||6.6||- Heavy duty tripod grill made with steel and coated with heat-resistant paint.|
- Features a 19-inch adjustable cooking grill grate that can be setup at a height of 9-20 inches above ground. Can handle a weight of up to 20 lbs.
- Backed by a one-year manufacturer warranty.
What is a campfire tripod and why do you need one?
As per Wikipedia, “Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of the food, commonly from above or below. Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat quickly.” Grills come in different shapes and sizes. In addition to the table grates and swivel grills, the campfire tripod is a widely popular cooking mechanism. Tripods score over table grates because of their compactness and ability to provide long clearances up to 3.5 feet.
A campfire tripod comes in two basic designs – with grate and without grate/grill. The grate grill tripods are primarily meant for grilling and supporting lightweight vessels and lanterns. The without grate, chain tripods are primarily meant to support dutch ovens, jugs, pots etc. by hanging them to the chain. These designs are shown in the image below:
There are four primary reasons on why an over-the-fire tripod is a good to have camping cookware:
- Even Cooking: Since the tripod provides a uniform surface over the fire, it can help in ensuring even cooking of your food.
- Easy Cooking: A tripod with a grate provides a blending surface on grill away from the burning fire. Also because of ability to change clearance by readjusting the legs, tripod cooking is easy to manage.
- Compact Carrying and Storage: Since the tripod primarily contains vertical legs with a chain and a grate in some cases, it is easier to carry and store during camping trips when compared to table grates.
- Safety: Since the grill provides a uniform cooking grate, it is easier to cook items in pots and pans safely without a lot of hassle while stirring.
In the next section, we look at some of the factors while considering the best tripod for you. We will look at both chains only and grate models.
How to pick the best campfire tripod for yourself?
The major decision that you have to make about picking the most suitable tripod for yourself is to decide which type of cooking you are interested in. A tripod can basically be used for two types of cooking – cooking vessels such as dutch ovens, pots, kettles etc. can be held on the suspended grill or by the chain to cook directly over fire or the grill grate on the tripod can be used for grilling food by adjusting the height of the tripod. Once you decide to choose with a grate or without grate arrangement, the task of selecting the most suitable tripod would basically be governed by a few factors as listed below.
- Building Material of the tripod legs and chain.
- Length of the legs and maximum supported height of the tripod.
- Weight of the tripod.
- Accessories and Miscellaneous considerations.
Building material of the tripod legs and chain
Considering that the tripod is exposed to direct heat from fire or charcoal, the building material of the campfire tripod is an important criteria to consider, as it governs the durability and weight that the tripod can support. Traditionally the legs of the tripods were made up of cast iron to provide sturdiness. Nowadays, the body of tripod such as Camp Chef Dutch Oven Tripod is made up of high grade galvanized steel with a coating of fire resistant paint to prevent rusting. Lightweight tripods such as Solo Stove Tripod are made up of for aluminium.
The chain of the tripod is also an important part of the tripod as it would hold the weight of grill or the vessel. Typical tripod chains are made up of galvanized or stainless steel with an S or U-shaped hook at the end.
Check that the building material is specified as galvanized steel or aluminum while picking a suitable choice.
Length of the legs and maximum supported height
The length of legs of the campfire tripod is an important factor as they govern how big a utensil or grill fit in the pyramid created by the legs. It also governs the maximum clearance from a fire that a tripod can provide. Typical chain only tripods have leg length ranging from 42 to 48 inches, which can provide a maximum clearance of around 3 feet. Extra-long tripods such as Camp Chef Dutch Oven Tripod have a leg length of 50 inches and can support higher clearance.
Many campfire tripods such as Texsport Deluxe Campfire Cooking Tripod also have bigger models available. So based on your requirement, you can go for standard tripods or bigger models.
Weight of the tripod
If you are backpacking or hiking and carrying your own supplies, the weight of the tripod becomes important criteria to consider. Most heavy duty campfire tripods are not always the most suitable cooking gear to carry as they weigh in excess of 8 pounds. Lightweight tripods such as Coghlan’s Tripod Grill and Stansport Grill Tripod Cooker have a decently sized grill grate and weigh around 5.5 pounds. Of course you can also consider ultralight camping tripods such as Solo Stove Tripod offer a decent cooking grate and weigh as little as 1.2 pounds.
Accessories and Miscellaneous considerations
Most of the campfire tripods offer minimal accessories. Lightweight tripods such as Wilcor Campfire Tripod Grill and Solo Stove Tripod come with a smart carry pouch to store the collapsed tripod. Check out the accessories available with the grill and decide if they can help you in picking the best one for you.
In addition to the major factors listed above, there are some miscellaneous considerations that can help you choose the right tripod. One such consideration is the paint used on legs of the tripod. If weight is not a consideration, go for heavy duty heat resistant paint-coated tripods as they have a longer life.
Another consideration is the diameter of the grill grate if you are opting for such as a tripod. Tripods such as Coghlan’s Tripod Grill have a grill diameter of 17 inches only, while for almost the same weight, Wilcor Campfire Tripod Grill has a grill with 20 inch diameter. Go for a bigger grill grate whenever possible.
Which are the best campfire tripods and what our picks are?
Camp Chef Dutch oven Tripod – Editor’s choice for best heavy duty chain only tripod
The Camp Chef Dutch Oven Tripod is a well-built, heavy-duty campfire tripod. The tripod legs feature 3/4”-1” extra-long legs which are made with high grade galvanized steel. The legs are as much as 50 inches long and can create a maximum clearance of 45 inches. This is the major reason why the Camp Chef Dutch Oven Tripod scores over hugely popular Texsport Deluxe Campfire Cooking Tripod.
The chain of the Camp Chef Dutch Oven Tripod is made up of stainless steel and has an S-shaped hook that can easily handle type-4 dutch ovens, pots, and pans. The tripod can also be used to carry camping lanterns and clothes for drying. The standard sized tripod weighs a little less than 10 pounds. The Camp Chef Dutch Oven Tripod comes with limited one year manufacturer’s warranty.
Solo Stove Tripod – Editor’s choice for best light weight campfire tripod
The Solo Stove Tripod is an ultralight, dishwasher safe, decently sized tripod which is made from high-quality aluminum. It features a unique design with the legs divided into four equal length parts which can be removed to get different heights.
The total height of tripod legs is around 43 inches, but due to the unique design, the tripod can support a maximum height of 3 feet. The chain of the tripod is also made from aluminum but is quite sturdy. It can support Dutch ovens, kettles, jugs, and lanterns.
The Solo Stove Tripod comes with a carrying pouch for easy storage and transportation during camping and backpacking.
One limitation of the Solo Stove Tripod is that because of shorter legs, the maximum diameter of utensil that can be attached to the chain is limited. However, standard type-3/4 Dutch ovens would still fit comfortably.
Wilcor Campfire Tripod Grill – Editor’s choice for best grill grate campfire tripod
The Wilcor Campfire Tripod grill is a uniquely design grill grate tripod which features 48 inch long legs made with galvanized steel. The legs can be arranged to attain a maximum height of around 3 feet.
It has a well-designed tripod chain which supports a 20-inch diameter meshed grate, whose height can be adjusted from 8 inches to 28 inches. This grate is bigger than the grates provided by other tripods in the same category and hence one of the major factors of its selection as best pick.
The Wilcor tripod is primarily meant for grill cooking, however, it can still hold lightweight utensils or lanterns placed on the surface. The Wilcor Campfire Tripod grill also comes with a carry bag for easy storage and transportation.
Safety Considerations while using campfire tripod
Some basic safety considerations should be kept in mind while using a cooking tripod. These considerations are listed below:
- Many towns and campgrounds limit the use of open air fire pits and wood burning. Always check the local legalities before using campfire tripods.
- Never use the tripod in a closed area such as a tent or closed room. Ample air circulation is necessary to ensure dissipation of the generated fumes.
- Always ensure that you place the tripod on stable ground surface by spreading out the legs and checking the stability of the cooking grate or vessel.
- Always use recommended pots and pans of the correct size with the grate or the tripod hanger. Overloading the tripod can often lead to untimely folding of the tripod legs.
- Do not touch the tripod grate or vessels with bare hands. Always use a heat-resistant gloves, mitten or cloth to operate.
- Grill Armor Extreme Heat Resistant Oven Gloves
- G & F Dupont Nomex Heat Resistant gloves
- Comenzar Silicone Insulated BBQ Cooking Gloves
- Always ensure that you dispose of the ashes/residue after the cookout responsibly and safely. Use fire pits wherever possible. Any smoldering wood or charcoal can cause fires.
You can consider the following options for heat resistant gloves:
Campfire Tripod Cookware
In order to cook over the heavy duty classic tripods, you would need a dutch oven with a handle that can be attached to the chain of the tripod. Some of the popular dutch ovens available in the market are listed below:
- Winterial Cast Iron Camping Dutch Oven
- Lodge L12CO3 Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven
- Camp Chef Deluxe 10IN Dutch Oven
- Guro Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven
For tripod grills, you can opt for standard camping cookware set by placing it on the top of the circular grill. Just be sure to check the stability of the cooking vessel and grill before cooking. Also be careful while stirring and try to use a glove to hold the grill to prevent swinging.
Final thoughts on the best campfire tripods for camping or backyard cooking
In this post, we looked at some of the best over the fire cooking tripods. We looked at two types of tripods – ones with grill/grate and ones without a grate. The chain only tripods do not have a grate but have a sturdy build to support heavy vessels such as ovens, pots, lanterns, and jugs. The grate tripods are relatively lightweight and useful for direct grilling and holding lightweight vessels and lanterns. We also looked at some of the safety considerations to keep in mind while using campfire tripods. Do let us know how you found this article and if you would want us to consider anything else. And do not forget to check out our article on campfire cookbooks for some popular books on Dutch oven and tripod cooking.