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Packable Fry Pans for Camp Fire?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I want to buy two carbon steel fry pans to handle cooking for parties of 4 to 6 persons on remote area camping/fishing trips. Sizes will probably be 11" and 12 1/2" diameter. I'd prefer the lightest pans I can get away with, for we must carry these and other essential gear upward of a mile at a time. Also, I intend to detach the handles, even if they are permanently affixed from the factory, so that the pans will better fit into our packs. Can you offer some advice as to what to buy?

I'm considering Matfer, Paderno, Vollrath, and deBuyer (not Camp Chef) so I'll accomplish making the handle detachable either by grinding off the rivets and replacing with ss bolts and wingnuts, or drilling out the welds and replacing with bolts and wingnuts.

Intended cooking use for these pans is on a heavy Forest Service cast iron grate over a wood fire. Foods will be fried potatoes, fresh veggies, peppers, onions, breaded fried fish, eggs, bacon, warming tortillas, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

What do you suggest as far as weight goes, considering I want to go with lighter weight, everything else being equal? Its not backpacking, so ultralight is not paramount, but I'll take a lighter pan in my pack any day.

The way I see it, I have three choices in general:

Heavy, 3mm thick pans, 12 1/2" weighing 6 pounds (I see this as too heavy)

Medium, 2 mm thick pans, 12 1/2" weighng about 4 to 4 1/2 pounds

Light, 1 to 1.5 mm thick pans, 12 1/2" weighing maybe 2.5 to 3 pounds

I don't much like the cheap-*** GCI/Coleman offering that are less than 1mm thick...that is what I'm replacing.

Thanks very much,


EDIT: I've recently been tempted by a Calphalon One Infused Anodized (not a non-stick) 12" pan at TJ Maxx for $35, do you think I should consider that? It weighs 4 pounds...
post #2 of 5
I don't think they're worth the weight for backpacking.

Pack stoves don't really have the heat to handle the larger sizes in my opinion.

I would consider a 12" wok however. Cook in small batches, then re-combine at the end to bring everything up to heat.

If you're working over a fire--which are often banned in my area and so my recommendations above-- then they may be worth it.

Any of the larger size pans, I'd leave the handles as they'll be heavy and unwieldy to manage otherwise. Vollrath are pretty reasonable in price and performance.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
It's not backpacking. It's BWCAW and rarely do we have a fire ban (but we did 3 yrs ago...) Sorry, I had some trouble getting this post entered initiially, and had to re-type it in three times; forgot some previoulsy entered details in the version that 'went to print'.

Our canoes will carry the load most of the time, but yes, we will have this/these pan(s) on our backs during our interlake portages; but were talking only 15 minutes max on our backs at a time, nowhere near as much as you'd expect on a lightweight backpacking trip. Also, I am not considering these pans for use atop a backpacking stove...we have an MSR Dragonfly stove, and an Optimus Nova, and light weight pots along for their intended uses: preparing soups, oatmeal, and coffee.

Thanks and I hope this clears up my needs.
post #4 of 5
I've used a set-up like that for years, when doing primitive trekking.

Even in a canoe, those handles can get in the way. You're idea of cutting them off and reattaching with machine screws and wing nuts is exactly how I go. When not in use the handle folds over the pan. Make sure to round off the sharp corners, and file down the edges, though, or you face some serious cuts.

I agree with Phil, though, about the size. My group each carries a 6" steel frypan, and from both a carrying (we are, after all, doing a form of backpacking) and use basis they seem to make more sense. Other than the grilled cheese sandwiches I've made everything you ticked off and more, and never felt handicapped by the small size.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Dang, I don't know what to think. I know for sure that I need a pan bigger than 6", for we sometimes have a need for six or so walleye fillets at a time. Given the small pan size you use, I don't know if asking you the wall thickness of your pan is helpful to me or not. I'll take it, though, if you have it handy.
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