Many cooks choose to put their coals on metal surfaces or on metal tales for Dutch Oven cooking. Metal pans can reduce impacts to your campsite, keep your coals from igniting grass or brush, and keep your coals manageable for clean up. A table can do all of the above and also reduce kneeling and bending. Especially helpful for aging Scoutmasters!
A simple drain pan can help you keep your coals together for easy clean up, Leave No Trace adherence, and assist with wind shields. Personal preference comes into play for square, rectangular, or circular.
Take a look at the Recipes section for more information about what to cook in a dutch oven. Check out these resources for more information on equipment and tools:
Dutch Oven-specific tables can make coal and ash clean up very easy. They can also include built-in wind/heat shields. Tables reduce the need to kneel and bend over and also can reduce the impact on the ground in your campsite.
Depending on how they are built, tables can require more storage space than pans. This need can be reduced by collapse wind shields and table legs. When not in use, such tables can be used to prepare food and for cleaning stations. In a pinch, it's a field desk!
Dutch Oven table
Sometimes you do the best you can with what is available (see rusted barrel lids below).