Best Camping Cookware

If you like to spend your camping time enjoying a hot meal, then you may be in the market for a new set of camping cookware. One of the most important things to remember is that the cookware you choose should match the type of camping you enjoy.

To that end, we have a quick guide to deciding on the right cookware for your next adventure.

Quick Summary

  • If you’re going solo or as a pair, check out the Snow Peak Personal Cooker:
    • Polished stainless steel
    • Weighs under 2 pounds
    • Stackable for easy transportation
  • If you’re after the best value, the Terra Hiker Camping Cookware has you covered:
    • Nonstick material and scratch-free utensils
    • Weighs under 2 pounds
    • Kettle included
  • If you’re looking for a backpacking setup, REDCAMP Camping Mess Kit may be the way to go:
    • Anodized aluminum
    • Weighs less than 1 pound
    • Includes 360-day limited warranty
  • If you just want our best overall recommendation, take a look at the Stanley Adventure Base 4X Camp Cook Set:
    • All-inclusive set to serve four people
    • Weighs 5 pounds
    • Designed for cooking on uneven sources of heat

Who Should Get This?

If you’re someone who camps for one or two nights and eats junk food and roasted hot dogs, you may not need camping cookware.

If you are camping for more than a night or two, or you want fresh eggs and bacon in the morning, camping cookware is a good idea. Even a basic set can make preparing your meals easier than roasting your meal on a stick.

Best Camping Cookware: What to Look For

What Kind of Camping Are You Doing?

The type of camping you enjoy will have an impact on the type of cookware you need to bring.

  • Car camping – If you’re car camping, you can likely afford the extra space and weight of nicer, heavier cookware sets.
  • Short hike camping – If you’re camping less than a mile or two from your car, you may be okay taking slightly heavier or bulkier cookware set with you.
  • Backpacking – If you’re backpacking, you’re probably going to want the lightest, sturdiest set you can get. The more your cookware weighs, the less food, clothing, and tent setup you can carry.

Materials

The materials your cookware is made of determines two critical factors: weight and sturdiness. With some sets, the better the materials are, the heavier they are. While there are nearly a dozen materials on offer, we have chosen some of the most common here:

  • Hard-anodized aluminum
    • Sturdier than regular aluminum
    • Safe to cook fresh food
    • Weighs more than aluminum
  • Stainless steel
    • Scratch-resistant
    • Ideal for campers hard on their gear
    • Prone to “hot spots” that over- and under-cook food
  • Cast iron
    • Lasts a lifetime
    • Heats and cooks evenly
    • Incredibly heavy

Cleaning and Care

If you’re car camping for a night or two, simply wiping out your cookware may be okay. However, those who are camping for longer may need to choose cookware that cleans easily and with little resources.

To clean your cookware, boil some water in your pan to loosen any gunk. Dump the water out and wipe out with a paper towel or reusable dishtowel. If you’re using dish soap in your water, try to opt for an environmentally friendly version, as you’re likely going to dump the dishwater in the wild.

Best Camping Cookware: Our Picks

1. Best For Solo and 2-Person Trips: Snow Peak Personal Cooker

If you’re a solo hiker seeking a long-lasting, lightweight set, the Snow Peak Personal Cooker may be for you. This set contains two pots, a frying pan, and serving dishes – everything needed to cook a basic meal. The set does not come with tableware, so you’ll have to bring your own, but it does weigh less than two pounds.

The entire kit fits together to make it easy to transport. All pieces are made of polished stainless steel to ensure durability and make it easy to keep clean.

What We Like:

  • Contains two pots and serving dishes
  • Weighs less than two pounds
  • Made of polished stainless steel

What We Don’t Like:

  • No tableware included
  • May cause “hot spots” that cook food unevenly

2. Best Value: Terra Hiker Camping Cookware

If you’re looking for the best overall value, the Terra Hiker Camping Cookware set may be a good choice.

The smaller set, which has ten pieces, comes with a pot, pan, and kettle, as well as serving dishes. It has no tableware but weighs less than two pounds total, making it easy to carry.

The larger set, at 16 pieces, has three plates and five bowls. The cookware is suitable for up to five people. This set also does not have tableware but weighs in at less than three pounds so that it can be carried on longer hikes.

What We Like:

  • Two set sizes to serve smaller and larger groups
  • Lightweight materials make transportation easier
  • Cheaper than many of the other options

What We Don’t Like:

  • No tableware included in either set
  • The bowls and plates are plastic

3. Best For Backpacking: REDCAMP Camping Mess Kit

If you’re a solo backpacker, the REDCAMP Camping Mess Kit may be the cookware set for you. This ten-piece set weighs less than one pound altogether and includes a single of the essentials: pot, pan, fork, spoon, and bowl, and others. This makes it easy to carry for days at a time.

The cookware itself is made of anodized aluminum, which makes it safe for cooking fresh food. The manufacturer also extends a 360-day limited warranty and a 100% money-back guarantee to ensure you are satisfied with your product.

What We Like:

  • Weighs less than one pound
  • All of the pieces fit into the pot, making the set easy to store and carry
  • 100% money-back guarantee plus a limited warranty

What We Don’t Like:

  • The kit is too small for multiple people to eat at once

4. Best Overall Recommendation: Stanley Adventure Base 4X Camp Cook Set

The Stanley Adventure Base 4X Camp Cook Set includes 19 pieces and has everything a group of four needs to cook and eat a meal together. This eliminates the need for everyone to bring their own cookware.

However, at 5 pounds, this set might be best suited for car camping.
The cookware itself is designed to distribute heat evenly, so everything cooks quickly and smoothly. There are plates, bowls, and utensils for four included. The pot and pan are extra-large to hold enough food, and everything can easily be packed into the pot to make transportation easier.

What We Like:

  • 19 pieces and four place settings make it good for large groups
  • Pot and pan are extra-large
  • Everything packs into the 3.7-quart pot

What We Don’t Like:

  • Too big for groups of 1 or 2
  • Weighs 5 pounds

Useful Tips and Resources

If you are like many outdoor cookers, you have the same problem with a lot of your cookware: the collapsible handles. Most cookware handles are easily overheated and hard to balance when you’re cooking over a stove. Some handles even have coatings that will melt over hot fires. For those who are tired of dealing with difficult pot handles, there is an easy solution: buy your cookware without handles and purchase an attachable handle to replace them.

Detachable handles, like this handle from Olicamp, can be clipped to practically any pot. Additionally, the material won’t melt, and it is built with enough ventilation to avoid overheating. Bonus: you can use the same handle on all of your cookware to save weight and space.

Additionally, if you’re a person always looking for nifty tips and tricks to try, check out these camping food hacks.

Final Words

Camping cookware is an essential item for those who like a hot meal every morning of their outdoor vacations. Whether you need a mini setup such as the REDCAMP kit or a more family-friendly option like the Stanley Adventure set, there is sure to be cookware set to fit your needs.

Questions or thoughts on our choices? Suggestions on camping cookware specifically, food preparation while camping in general, or other aspects of choosing the right gear? Let us know!

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