The great outdoors are calling to tell you that it’s time to go camping. As you gather your gear for your trip, don’t forget about cookware! When you’re out in nature, you’ll still want to make sure that you’re able to have delicious meals to help keep you energized and ready for adventure.
There are a wide variety of camping cookware sets available, including ones in stainless steel or cast iron, so we put together a list of the 10 best ones to help you select the best set for your camping needs. Our number one choice is the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cooking Set because it comes with essential nonstick cookware and color-coded dishware, all of which are both easy to store and clean. Keep reading on to see the rest of our selections, along with our helpful buying guide reviewed by an outdoor guide.
Here is our helpful guide to help you select the best cookware set for your camping adventures, with input from an experienced outdoor guide and cyclist.
It's important to keep in mind how many people you will be camping with. The product listings will often state the size of the items, along with an approximate on how many people the sets serve. Are you going on a solo trip, a duo trip, or do you need to accommodate a larger number of people?
If you regularly go camping or hiking with your friends or family members, you might want to opt for a big cookware set. For a group of three to four people, two or three-liter pots should suffice. If you are going alone, a one-liter pot should be more than enough.
You may also see measurements in quarts or ounces, but you can choose the equivalent size that you need. Additionally, you'll probably want to bring other items, like utensils and plates. Some sets have color codes, so that everyone can have their own set.
A two-person cooking kit might be a good idea for those who go camping with a partner or friend, as well as for those folks who tend to eat a lot when they are super active outdoors or go camping. A two-liter pot is a pretty good size for this.
Don't forget to check the weight of the camping cookware set! If you’re using your car, you’ll be able to bring a larger quantity of items. However, if you're hiking by foot or bike, you'll want to minimize the weight on your back. You don't want the weight to hold you back on long trips.
When purchasing a cookware set, find a set where everything is easily collapsible into the pot so you can adjust accordingly depending on how many people are going and how many utensils and extra bowls you'll need for the trip.
Many people choose to cook over a campfire, but some also bring a gas camping stove or portable grill. Some materials are versatile and can be used with both gas and fire. The weight, durability, and heat conductivity will vary between materials. Aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, cast iron, and silicone are some that we'll discuss here.
Titanium is the camper's dream material. It's incredibly lightweight as well as durable. Its non-stick surface makes it easy to cook with, and it doesn't transfer flavors. Additionally, it's scratch-resistant and easy to clean.
Unfortunately, while titanium heats up quickly, it doesn't guarantee even heat distribution. That's why you need to keep a close eye on your food to make sure it doesn't burn. It's also on the more expensive side of cookware materials.
Aluminum is lightweight and conducts heat well. However, it's not as durable as stainless steel and it tends to dent easily. Unfortunately, it can also be reactive with certain foods, such as those with high acidity levels like vinegar and citrus fruits. Hard-anodized aluminum has an extra layer of coating that prevents the metal from oxidizing.
For a non-stick option, look for ceramic or PTFE-based coating, like Teflon. While they prevent food from getting stuck, they shouldn't be used over high heat for a prolonged time, as they can emit toxic fumes. They can also be scratched by metal utensils.
Still, aluminum is a good option for cooking temperature-sensitive foods, since it retains heat. Thus, it can even help you save on gas!
Stainless steel is extremely durable and scratch-resistant. It can withstand high heat and doesn't transfer any flavors to your food. These things make the material a solid choice, especially for those who do a lot of camping.
The main downside of stainless steel is that it's heavy, so if you like to go on long hikes, you might look at other options. Since low-quality stainless steel is more likely to warp or pit, opt for a high-quality cookware set to make sure it lasts.
Stainless steel cooking sets are a solid choice for those who also like to cook using a fire. If you are looking for a material that you'll only need to buy once, stainless steel would be your best bet as it is super durable and will last a lifetime, with proper care.
Cast iron will last you a lifetime if properly taken care of and it remains popular thanks to its durability. It's also naturally non-stick, thus easy to cook with. And it has efficient and even heat conductivity. On the downside, cast iron requires special care, such as needing to be re-seasoned. It may also be better suited for campers who travel in a car, since it's so heavy.
You won't be able to use silicone on an open fire, but it makes a good base material for other cookware items such as cups and plates. Since it's flexible, it won't break easily and can last you a long time. You can also find collapsible silicone items, making them space-saving as well as lightweight.
Clean-up is part of the act of cooking, so you'll want to consider that when looking for a camping cookware set. Non-stick coatings are easier to clean and will therefore be more convenient to take camping. They also require less oil while cooking.
However, you should avoid using metal utensils with any products with non-stick coating because the surface can be easily scratched. No one wants to have flakes of coating in their food! Heat-resistant silicone utensils are great to use with cookware that has non-stick coatings.
Another important factor you may want to consider is the ability to save space and stay organized. Check if the cookware is easy to transport. For example, look for nesting sets, where all the items can fit inside the largest one. Other sets have items with collapsible sides, which can flatten when not in use. Some sets also come with a storage bag to keep everything organized.
Be sure to have something to scrub your cookware, whether that's a small sponge or pot scraper. Also, when looking for a cooking set, try to avoid handles that have some plastic wrapped around them. These melt easily and make it so your pot can't be used in a campfire for cooking.
Here are our 10 best choices for camping cookware sets. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not affiliated with or recommended by Pak Eugene unless explicitly stated so. For more on our selection process, check out our editorial policy. Prices were gathered from respective EC sites on July 22, 2022.
Sea to Summit
Pinnacle Camper Cooking Set
Adventure All-in-One 2 Bowl Cook Set
Base Camp Cook Set
Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Combo Cooker
Ultimate Base Camp Kit
Trail Lite Duo System Cook Set
Bugaboo Base Camper (Small)
Camping Cookware Mess Kit (2 Liter)
Multi Compact Cookset
Color-Coded, Nonstick, Nesting Set
For the Minimalist Backpacker
A Sturdy Set for a Group of 4
A Versatile Cast Iron Set
A Kit With a Stove
A Colorful Set for Two Adventurers
Easy to Clean, Simple to Store
A Lightweight Kit for Solo Trips
Collapsible Silicone Saves Space
An Ultralight Titanium Set for Two
|Material||Teflon-coated anodized aluminum, plastic||Stainless steel, plastic||Stainless steel, silicone||Cast iron||Stainless steel||Hard-anodized aluminum, polypropylene||Teflon-coated aluminum||Anodized aluminum, stainless steel||Hard anodized aluminum, silicone||Titanium|
|Weight||3.62 lbs.||1.6 lbs.||5.7 lbs.||13.2 lbs.||4.9 lbs.||1.35 lbs.||2 lbs. 7 oz.||Not provided||1.34 lbs.||11.6 oz.|
|Included||2 pots, pan, 4 mugs, 4 bowls, 4 plates, sip-it tops, pot gripper, strainer lid, storage bag||Kettle, 2 bowls||Pot, vended lid, spatula, serving spoon, frying pan, 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 sporks, cutting board, spatula, dish rack, trivet, locking bungee||Deep skillet, shallow skillet||Pot, pan, handle, stove, camp kettle, grill, 2 cups, 2 plates, storage bag||Pot, 2 mugs, 2 bowls, strainer lid||2 pots, pan, 2 lids, cutting board, pot handle, storage bag||Pot, pan, 2 bowls, lid, spatula, spork, soup spoon, sponge, travel bag||Pot, kettle, pan, lids||2 pots, 2 pans|
|Material||Teflon-coated anodized aluminum, plastic|
|Included||2 pots, pan, 4 mugs, 4 bowls, 4 plates, sip-it tops, pot gripper, strainer lid, storage bag|
|Material||Stainless steel, plastic|
|Included||Kettle, 2 bowls|
|Material||Stainless steel, silicone|
|Included||Pot, vended lid, spatula, serving spoon, frying pan, 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 sporks, cutting board, spatula, dish rack, trivet, locking bungee|
|Included||Deep skillet, shallow skillet|
|Included||Pot, pan, handle, stove, camp kettle, grill, 2 cups, 2 plates, storage bag|
|Material||Hard-anodized aluminum, polypropylene|
|Included||Pot, 2 mugs, 2 bowls, strainer lid|
|Weight||2 lbs. 7 oz.|
|Included||2 pots, pan, 2 lids, cutting board, pot handle, storage bag|
|Material||Anodized aluminum, stainless steel|
|Included||Pot, pan, 2 bowls, lid, spatula, spork, soup spoon, sponge, travel bag|
|Material||Hard anodized aluminum, silicone|
|Included||Pot, kettle, pan, lids|
|Included||2 pots, 2 pans|
|Weight||8 lbs. 3.2 oz.|
|Included||Stock pot, sauce pan, vented lids, frying pan, collapsible cutting board, spatula, spoon, trivets and locking bungee|
If you want an all-in-one cook set for car camping and in the backcountry, be sure to check out the Stanley Even-Heat Camp Pro Cookset. It is an 11-piece cook set that has everything you need from pots, pans, utensils, and cookware. All of this fits in the main pot for easy storage!
Although cookware is super important for camping, you'll also need other gear to get you settled in. Check out these other articles for more great equipment ideas!
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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