When it comes to camping, good food is critical. What you end up eating majorly adds to the experience and you can create some great memories along the way. Pizza offers an amazing way to do this. After all, who doesn’t love pizza? And, what’s better than being able to make your own wherever you are?
Doing so doesn’t even have to be difficult. There many ways to make pizza while camping. The one we'll focus on for this page is using a portable pizza oven, instead of on the campfire. Not only do these produce great pizza but they are also easy to set up and very portable. Instead of burning your pizza in a cast iron pan on a bed of hot coals, you can get perfectly crispy, chewy crust and melty cheese.
Of course, to find the best solution, you have to take into account the type of camping that you’re doing. Each approach does vary in the resources that you have at hand, so your options for pizza ovens will vary as well. Likewise, you may find that some pizza oven options simply appeal to you more than others.
Types of Camping To Consider
Camping may be a general term but people do tend to mean different things when they plan to go out camping. For some, the best term is wildness camping or something similar. Here, you’re literally getting back into nature and the tools that you have with you are minimal. So, you would probably be cooking over a fire, which is going to severely limit what you can make. You are basically using either cast iron or foil.
A step up from this would be tent camping, such as at a campground or even out in nature. Generally speaking, tent campers would have more resources on hand, such as propane grills and the like. Because there is more structure, cooking pizza is often a more achievable goal with this idea. If you hike there, it's cast iron or foils, just like above. If you drive to a campsite, you have may have the option of using a grill, or you can bring your propane tank and use one of these portable pizza ovens we're talking about below.
There is also RV camping, which doesn’t need much of an explanation. Even though RV camping may offer more cooking tools, there is still something to be said for using a portable pizza oven to cook your own pizzas. In this case, you can make pizza inside the RV oven, outside the RV on a campfire, or even use a separate portable pizza cooker.
And, of course, there are many other variations. Some people use the flatbed of their truck as part of a camping experience, while others might even camp out in their backyard. But, regardless of the specific approach, cooking a pizza on the go simply requires a little planning and the right equipment.
Portable Propane Pizza Ovens
In many cases, the best answer is going to be a propane pizza oven. These come in various styles and sizes but there are many models out there that are easy to use and to move, making them perfect for camping.
With a propane pizza oven, there are just three main things you need. One is the pizza oven itself, while the other two are a gas bottle and a pizza peel of some description. For pizza peels, you can find wooden or metal. Wooden tends to be easier to use, although it can burn, while a metal peel is more powerful, especially if you have to scrape the pizza off your pizza stone.
Many brands also sell foldup versions of pizza peels. These can be particularly attractive for camping, simply because they are easier to carry and store.
Because you need to rely on a few different things, propane pizza ovens aren’t really a good fit for wildness camping. Realistically, if you’re trying to go back to nature as much as possible, lugging around a mini oven and gas canister probably isn’t the best move. But, for most other camping styles, these pizza ovens can work great, especially as they are incredibly portable.
There are many different products out there to choose from, so we’re just going to look at a few of the most interesting ones.
Pizzacraft actually produces two fairly similar products, with the other being the Pizzacraft PizzaQue. Of the options, this one is my favorite, partly because it looks better but also because it is a little more powerful. However, the PizzaQue is less expensive, which does make it popular as well.
Both products are countertop pizza ovens, so you can place them on a picnic table or on a tailgate to use them. For that matter, any relatively sturdy surface will do. If you don’t think you will have one, you can also buy a leg kit to go with the Pronto, which basically turns it into a freestanding model.
The pizza oven heats up in around 10 minutes, cooking a pizza in roughly 5 minutes. It will also run off a 1 lb propane tank for around 2 hours – so you can get cook many pizzas off just a single tank.
Cuisinart Outdoor Pizza Oven
Cuisinart also offers a countertop pizza oven, although this one looks different visually. As with the Pizzacraft Pronto, this will cook pizzas in around 5 minutes and it also works for medium-sized pizzas (up to around 12 inches).
In this case, there are also some extra features. One is a warming tray and the other is a smoker cup. The smoker cup lets you get some of the traditional wood fire flavor with your pizza, which normally isn’t present for gas pizza ovens.
The model does also have a stand that you can buy. In this case, the stand is a little different, as it basically folds up and down. The design would make the entire setup easier to move and would be perfect if you were short on space.
Uuni 3 Portable Pellet Pizza Oven
This particular product ends up falling into a category of its own, simply because it is so unique. The pizza oven itself isn’t actually designed for camping but you could easily use it in this role, simply because it is so portable.
In this case, the pizza oven doesn’t run off gas. Instead, it makes use of wood pellets as a source of fuel. The downside is that you actually have to bring the wood pellets with you if you want to use it. But, that’s not all that different than carrying a propane tank.
The really cool thing is that the Unni results in similar outcomes to a wood fire pizza oven. After all, you’re actually burning a type of wood in there, so the pizza even ends up with that desirable wood smoked flavor. What’s more, the oven is fairly inexpensive for what you get.
As with a gas pizza oven, this style is probably best if you are camping somewhere near your vehicle or a camping ground. For one thing, the pizza oven is a countertop one, so you’ll have to find somewhere to put it. Plus, lugging the oven, pellets, pizza peel and ingredients wouldn’t be fun if you had a long distance to travel.
Pizza Oven Accessories And Grill Conversions
If you already have a portable grill for camping, using a pizza oven accessory could be more practical than a full pizza oven. This type of accessory allows you to convert a gas or a charcoal grill into a pizza oven. The idea works well if you still want to be able to grill food as well and don’t want to have a full grill and a full pizza oven.
Again, the approach works best if you’re relatively near your vehicle or campsite – although, everybody does vary in their preferences.
The biggest challenge with this idea is that you end up with an extra piece of gear to cart around. So, instead of just a pizza oven and the gas tank, you also need to bring the grill. Depending on the size of the grill, this could be useful or a pain.
KettlePizza Weber Grill Insert
One of the best options for cooking pizza on the go has to be this KettlePizza Weber Grill Insert. This product works with an 18.5-inch or a 22.5-inch Weber grill, turning it into a surprisingly powerful pizza oven. In doing so, the insert gives you the ability to put pizzas into the grill without having to remove the lid, which traps the heat nicely.
At the same time, you’re working with a Weber grill, which is high-quality anyway and very portable. I’ve completed a full review of the KettlePizza Weber Grill Insert in the past, which you can check out for additional information about how it works.
But, I can say that I was very impressed with the product overall. Plus, I think it would work great for camping. After all, many people would already be bringing their charcoal grill with them, so taking this too isn’t that much extra effort.
Pizzacraft PizzaQue Grill Kit
The idea of turning your charcoal grill into a pizza oven isn’t unique to KettlePizza. Instead, there are a few different competing models. The most significant of those is this model from Pizzacraft. The biggest advantage with this product has to be the price, especially if you went with the cheapest kit the company had to offer.
However, that being said, I didn’t like this kit nearly as much. One problem is that just feels less sturdy overall. When I tried it out myself, I was worried about pushing the pizza stone too far back and tipping my pizza onto the coals.
Camp Chef Pizza Oven Accessory
As the name suggests, the Camp Chef brand strongly focuses on cooking high-quality food while you are camping. In fact, their various products can result in some great meals that aren’t normally associated with camping.
Now, the brand does actually have a portable pizza oven, much like the ones from Pizzacraft and Cuisinart. But, here we’re interested in a different product, which is their pizza oven accessory.
This product is specifically designed for Camp Chef portable gas grills and basically lets you convert the grill into a pizza oven. There are other products out there that do this as well, such as the KettlePizza Gas Pro, but you can't really bring that one camping because you need a 3-burner gas grill, which can be pretty big.
So, the Camp Chef option is interesting because it is designed for a portable gas grill. In contrast, most products that modify a gas grill are built for standard 3-burner gas grills.
This isn’t my favorite pizza oven, especially as it forces you to buy a gas grill from one specific company. But, it is a good choice if you want a portable gas grill anyway or if you already own one of Camp Chef’s grills. If nothing else, the product gives you the chance to cook pizza when camping, while also having access to a gas grill.
The best pizza will normally come from something designed as a pizza oven. But, if you’re roughing it, many of the options on this list may not be practical. If that’s the case, you can consider less conventional alternatives, such as making pizza on a campfire as I talked about before. If this idea appeals to you, you can check out these Dutch oven pizza recipes for camping.
Doing so can be simple or complex, such as cooking directly on a grill over an open fire. You can even cook a pizza in tin foil on the coals directly, although the idea may take a few tries to get right.
Cooking over a fire is more fun, but often leaves us with unpredictable results. Burned dough, uncooked dough, cheese melting onto things, unevenly cooked toppings – these are all issues I've run into before. With a portable pizza oven for camping, you can get consistent, delicious results. Of course, it's not really “roughin' it” to bring a pizza oven, but we don't all have to be a Bear Grillis outdoorsman. Sometimes it's nice to just get back to nature, with a few of the comforts of home.
What’s The Best Choice?
As you can see, there are various different styles of pizza oven that can work well for camping, along with other approaches for cooking pizza. In some ways, the amount of choice here may seem overwhelming, especially as this post only covered some of the individual models that are available. But, picking the right pizza oven doesn’t have to be difficult.
The best way to do so is to simply step back and think about what you want. For example, if you want great pizza and plan to camp near or at your vehicle, a countertop pizza oven may make sense. Many of these have legs anyway, so you could easily set it up at your campsite.
In contrast, you might go with a grill conversion if you are camping with your RV, as you may already have a grill that you use anyway. If you're cooking on a campfire, the a cast iron dutch oven is all you need. At the end of the day, all of these pizza oven options can work well – it’s just a matter of picking the best for you.
There isn’t really a wrong choice. Check out our post on how to cook pizza in your backyard as well, and see if there are any crossover products so that you can “double up”, and use your pizza oven for camping as well as for home cooking on your patio/deck.