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kenk

Cast Iron Fry Pans for Patrol Use

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My son's Boy Scout troop purchased cook kits for each patrol - not the BSA one, but the teflon coated ones sold at Campmor.com. After just a few campouts the fry pans that came with the cook kits are already kinda trashed.

 

On a related note, last weekend while camping with my daughter's Girl Scout troop I used some cheap aluminum fry pans I had around the house and, though we did our best to manage the Coleman propane stove's heat, those pans are trashed after just one weekend.

 

Now I'm wondering if we should buy one or two 10-1/4" Lodge cast iron skillets for each patrol. They are only $11 each and it seems they would last a long long time and I've read reviews that say they outperform pans costing $150 and up.

 

Are there any troops out there using cast iron fry pans instead of the aluminum ones?

 

Ken

 

 

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Are you backpacking or trailer camping?

 

If trailer camping the cast irons will be great. We use Cast Iron Dutch ovens almost every time the trailer rolls.

 

If backpacking have you considered getting pans from your local thrift store, using non-metallic spatulas etc. and replacing them when they get too bad. They are a LOT lighter than the Cast-iron counterparts.

We can often buy pans at the Salvation Army or the Council for the Blind or American Veterans or even garage sales for less than $3 each. Cooking implements are usually 50 cents to a dollar a piece.

 

Also if backpacking, try to find a copy of Woods Wisdom and see the innovative (how old are these?) methods to use all sorts of things besides a pan or using aluminum foil as a folded pan.

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We went to using Cast Iron skillets a long time ago because they are almost indestructible, easier to clean, and do a great job of proper heat distribution. You just have to teach them and keep reinforcing the proper care of cast iron.

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We do a relatively short backpacking trip each spring, but when we do we'll bring a subset of pots from each patrol's cook kit to boil water and we do very simple meals - certainly no cast iron involved ... unless someone misbehaves (just kidding).

 

Ken

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Cast iron fry pans are superb for ones daily use pans around the house. I have four of different sizes that I keep in use. The use that a troop may put them too may not be the best for them. When I stored pans in my non climate controlled garage the seemed to acquire a layer of rust due to humidity and the oil to turn to muck with the dust. I suspect that the same thing would happen in a troop trailer particularly if the pan was not dried on the stove and re-oiled. Our troop gear are the stainless steel camping sets with the removable handles. These lack the "non-stick" coating which seems to be the issue. If the boys burn stuff in em we turn them loose with a brillo pad and a little or a lot of elbow grease will get them clean. The problem with "non-stick" is that stuff still sticks and then you are limited in what you use to clean them. Visit a professional or restaurant kitchen and you will see stainless cookware most of the time.

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I don't get this "re-oiling" that some people talk about. If you season a pan properly, you don't need to smear more oil on it unless you foolishly attack it with a brillo pad.

 

I have . . . um. . . about 10 cast iron cooking pots, pans and griddles (five sillets, chicken fryer, dutch oven, two corn bread pans, two griddles). Get them well seasoned, nice and black and you don't have to fuss with them again.

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--We interrupt this thread for a minor hijacking--This past summer we went to Skymont Scout Camp near Monteagle, TN.  On the way we passed through South Pittsburgh, TN, home of the Lodge factory (and only factory outlet store).  I could not convince the other leaders to stop, even though it was only 5 miles off the freeway.  More curious, however, one of the CITs for the new scout program, is a member of the troop from South Pittsburgh, and it is chartered by Lodge.  He assured me that ALL their "car camping" cookware was cast iron. Some troops have all the luck...  Also related, Skymont has a daily Cast Iron Skillet Award (dates back some 20 years, and they are all hanging in the dining hall).  Any guess where they get these?--We now return you to your regular scheduled thread--

Our troop has 2 cast iron skillets, but it is up to the patrols to choose to use them, which I cannot recall that they ever have.  On the other hand, we have 4 dutch ovens which they use whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Our skillets probably need some attention, and I will look into that.  Cast iron certainly is better, if properly maintained.  Maybe we should encourage the use of our skillets more....

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Ikea sells really cheap teflon pans which would be better for backpacking - I cant imagine schlepping cast iron along. I think Walmart also has the cheap pans.

 

I would get a set for camping (like lodge) and a set for backpacking that is cheap. If you take care of the cheap ones they can last a bit.

 

I sell on eBay so I also will suggest that resource. I just keyed in Cast Iron skillet and under home and garden there are 260 results. If you set the search option to "price plus shipping lowest first" you will see there are MANY good deals.

 

REMEMBER ebay is having financial issues too and many folks who sell on eBay have dropped their prices. I got a darth maul costume for my son for $11.00 including ship when retail is around $35 plus tax.

 

fyi!!!

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I can't think of why I'd want to schlep a frying pan of any sort on a backpacking trip. What sort of food do you fry? Maybe if you catch fresh fish and cook them but then where do you get the oil? Do you schlep that too? An aluminum stock pot and roaster bags work wonderfully.

 

If I ever make it to Tennessee, I'll have to stop in and see the Lodge factory. I called them looking for information once and the guy on the phone, who if memory serves was the head of marketing, spend about a 45 minutes with me talking about the history of cast iron, how to identify old from new and a bunch of other cast iron stuff.

 

 

 

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For car camping my troop uses cast iron griddles that fit on our two burner coleman stoves. For backpacking I have mostly avoided having to use a fry pan. If you can have cooking fires where you go meals made in foil are less work and less cleanup. Dried foods that just have to be re-hydrated and warmed can be used rather than fresh meats that have to be fried. Most foods can be cooked with alternate methods so as to not need a fry pan.

 

All that said for my personal camping I buy a 10"-12" non-stick skillet at a discount store and just replace it every few years. If I get 20 nights of camping out of it I'm happy. They usually can be had for

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"This past summer we went to Skymont Scout Camp near Monteagle, TN. On the way we passed through South Pittsburgh, TN, home of the Lodge factory (and only factory outlet store). I could not convince the other leaders to stop, even though it was only 5 miles off the freeway."

 

Been there, it is just off I40 a few miles. Selection is really good, though most things are not less expensive. There may be some "factory seconds" and imperfect items that you will find a good deal on though. It's moved locations in the last few years, a little farther from the expressway.

 

I'm sure if you had mentioned to the boys that the Smokey Mountain Knifeworks was pretty much right next door and that it was in the same plaza as a Coleman outlet, there may have been more interest in stopping.

 

http://www.eknifeworks.com/webapp/eCommerce/main_front.jsp

 

 

 

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just a note - I just received in the mail a flyer from Target. They have Calphalon cast iron skillets for around $20 each

 

just to let you know

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Like I had said before ... the Lodge 10-1/4" pre-seasoned cast iron skillets are only $11 w/ free shipping for orders over $25 with amazon.com. $11 for a top quality skillet is kind of amazing.

 

The Lodge web site has link to a Chicago Tribune review of high-end non-teflon skillets - most costing in the $100-$160 range. The $11 skillet was rated superior to all of them for quality of cooking and stick-free'edness. I was really suprized - not having been a cast iron skillet user (other than a dutch oven)!

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Resurrecting because someone put it on their Christmas list -- mainly for stovetop use, but if there's an excursion within driving distance, I wouldn't be surprised if it sees some outdoors.

It's been 11 years. What say you all? Is lodge all that?

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