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Just because you’re camping out in a tent the middle of the woods, doesn’t mean you have to cook food with some twigs and a bonfire you built yourself. The best camping cookware sets these days come with pots, pans, and even accessories like bowls and utensils to help cook and serve up your food to perfection.
When it comes to camping, backpacking, or embarking on an outdoor adventure, you’re bound to be roughing it a little. But you don’t have to sacrifice warm, delicious food for more space in your backpack. You might still need to provide the fire pit, but you won’t be lacking in any culinary bare necessities. Here’s everything you should know.
What Are the Best Camping Cookware Sets?
We rounded up a few things to consider when shopping for the best cookware sets for camping online.
Size and Portability: Even if you’re traveling by car or RV, portability and storage should be at the top of your list. Cookware sets for camping should be able to nest together into one manageable unit, fold up, or be easily be able to story in a travel bag. While you might sacrifice some cooking volume with smaller pots and pans, your back and arms will thank you.
Materials: Consider the material that make up your cookware sets, as different kinds have their own pros and cons. For example, having a non-stick kit will make clean up a breeze, but might be less durable and prone to scratching. Stainless steel will be tougher, and give you a faster cook, but is a much heavier option.
Durability: You want your camping pots and pans to be able to take a few hits, either from jostling in your backpack, or from being thrown around a campsite. Pick a set that you know can stand up years of cooking in the elements and heavy usage, since you don’t want a replaceable set just because it’s meant for camping.
Add-Ons: Certain cooksets come stocked with mugs, utensils, plates, bowls, and even cleaning supplies like sponges. This can be convenient if you don’t want to buy these items specifically for travel, but aren’t necessary.
Ease-of-Use: Just like a sturdy pitched tent, you want your camp cookware to be reliable. It’s better to invest in a good quality set that’s meant for serious cooking, so check and see if the cookware conducts heat evenly, can boil water fast, and do simple frying like an egg. The best kits should also be able to clean up well, since you’re not going to be packing a dishwasher with you too.
1. GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookset
For larger camping groups, the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper is your complete, versatile solution to cooking and serving up a lot of food at once.
The set comes with two pots (the largest holds 3 liters), along with a 9″ skillet, and is conveniently loaded up with plates, mugs and bowls for four people. The color-coding helps you keep track of which set is yours, and the set is overall much easier to use (and clean up) than cast iron pans.
What we love: entire kit is compact, offering you enough room to cook an ample meal, while nesting together afterwards into the size of a soccer ball. The pots and pans are coated with Teflon’s expert non-stick material, which makes it a great choice for whipping up grub without needing to excessively grease the pan. The plates, bowls and mugs are also made from durable polypropylene that’ll last for many outdoor adventures to come.
Reviews do caution that the entire set is a a little heavy, and with so many pieces and components, it isn’t the best cookware set for smaller camping groups. The folding handles that lock and attach to the side of the pots and pans are pretty convenient, but also heat up to the touch when cooking.
But overall, the versatility and cooking performance is top notch, making the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle set a must-have for your next camping trip.
2. Winterial Camping Cookware and Pot Set
If portability is your main concern, then look no further than Winterial’s Camping Cookware and Pot set. The entire kit can fit within a drawstring sack, measuring 7.4 x 4.8 inches, and weighs just under two pounds (1.5 lbs).
The 10-piece kit comes with a lot, though: the pot, frying pan and tea kettle are made of solid and light aluminum oxide with a teflon coating, which is high-temperature and friction-resistant. Not a lot of camping cookware sets include a kettle, and that’s essential when you’re out in the middle of the woods and want to boil water rapidly.
You also get some bonuses, like a ladle, spatula, cleaning sponge, and a hot pad that doubles as a cutting board. It also comes with a couple of plastic bowls, which are convenient, but not very sturdy. But the handles on the pots and frying pan are at least designed to handle the heat, and won’t burn your hands like other sets will.
While this set was clearly designed with the portability of backpackers in mind, if you’re looking for cookware that’s a bit more durable, this might not be the set for you. But if you don’t want to lug a full kit of heavy-duty pots and pans up a mountain trail, than the Winterial 10-piece Cookset should be your pick.
3. MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit
MalloMe’s Camping Mess Kit is an great value if you want to enjoy a cookout in the outdoors without breaking the bank, or sacrificing on quality. You’ll still get 10 pieces of lightweight, compact cookware, and while the smaller size of the pieces overall makes it better suited for solo outings, it gets the job done.
You’ll get a 1-3 Liter pot, pot cover, and pan, all made from nonstick anodized aluminum. The kit also comes with a nifty stainless steel folding spork, wooden spatula, cleaning sponge, soup spoon, and two BPA-free serving bowls. The accessories aren’t very large, so they may feel a bit awkward to use and cook with, but the upside here is clearly convenience—the entire set only weighs 1.2 lbs.
The nonstick cookware cleans up in a breeze with the scrubbing sponge. While you won’t be able to use this set over a roaring bonfire, you will be able to stow everything away after your done in a backpack or carrying bag, which makes this budget-friendly set worth it.
4. Stanley Even-Heat Camp Pro Cookset
Stanley’s durable stainless steel kit will be able to handle even the toughest of backpacking trips. The set comes with a stock pot, saucepan, frying pan, and vented lids that feel as incredibly sturdy as they look.
The convenient locking pot handles will save you space, and a diagram on the bottom of lid shows you how to nest all the pieces together to save you even more space. The 11-piece set really gives you more than just the basics to make a satisfying meal, including trivets, a collapsible cutting board, spatula, and serving spoon.
It performs well while giving a great sear meats like steaks, and frying too. But this kit just wouldn’t be feasible to use during, say, a multi-day backpacking trip, as you sacrifice weight for faster cook time—even though the whole set assembles into one piece, it weighs around 8 lbs when stacked together.
Stanley’s set can stand up to more heavy duty dishes, but when it comes time to wash the dishes, you might find that it requires more elbow grease to scrub the pan than other non-stick options. But this is a set meant to last for years of outdoor use, and you can’t beat that kind of durability.