For the outdoorsman, settling down for the evening next to the campfire with a hot meal in your belly is one of the few simple pleasures still attainable these days. And don’t worry, we’re not here to list out the benefits of a warm meal after a long day on the trail. This is obvious. Instead, we’re concerned with how to reach this state of food-induced nirvana – specifically, what kind of camping cookware is available out there that is both backpacker-friendly, reliable, and reasonably priced.
The answers to this handful of essential questions lie below. But before diving in, there are a few things to consider here. First, you must consider the intended use. That is, is this a backpacking trip or simple car camping? The answer is a crucial one since overall size and weight will become a determining factor given the former. Also, what’s the desired material? There exist several options available out there; from anodized aluminum to titanium to stainless steel. All of which have their own set pros and cons. However, as a brief primer, the desired common ground for what’s considered the best camping cookware sets boils down to several characteristics: lightweight, easy-to-clean options that are both packable and can feed more than one. That was the litmus test for us at least, resulting in our picks featured below.
Stanley Adventure Cook Set
It’s no secret that Stanley knows the great outdoors – making a myriad of versatile yet reliable products positioned to last a lifetime. Their cookset is no different, offering a highly affordable kit made from stainless steel and BPA-free plastic. Each set comes equipped with a ladle, spatula, folding cutting board, two 20 oz bowls and lids, a 1.5L pot and 2.3L pot. Additionally, their nesting system saves space during travel and the prep kit makes cooking a gourmet meal in the wilderness both easy and enjoyable.
Optimus Terra 3-Piece Cookset
Sometimes simplicity is the way to go. There’s less to keep track of, cleanup is easier, and things remain as lightweight as possible. Such is the case with this Optimus set, featuring a 1.65L Teflon coated pot, a 1.7L non-coated pot, and a 1.65L Teflon coated frying pan that doubles as a lid. Altogether, the set weighs less than 1.5 pounds and it comes with a fitted neoprene cover to reduce rattling when packed.
Sea to Summit X Set
Combining both hard anodized aluminum and food-grade heat-resistant silicone walls, this camping cook set is made to keep your hot meals hot and you from accidentally burning yourself in the process. Compiled in the cookset are two mugs, two bowls, and a large 2.8L pot for cooking. Best of all, everything fits neatly together in a compact and lightweight design. Can’t go wrong here.
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Backpacker
Outfitted as an ideal camping cookset for two backpackers, the GSI Pinnacle comes complete with just about everything you need to fix a home-cooked meal in the wilderness. It’s entirely coated in Teflon with their Radiance Technology to help reduce hot spots and built with a three-layer coating for full functionality in even the most difficult conditions. Each set is also comprised of a 2-liter pot, 8-inch frying pan, a nylon colander, 2 insulated mugs, 2 sip-throughs lids, 2 texting bowls and a folding pot handle. Best of all, the entire collection is designed to fit in a waterproof stuff sack for easy storage.
Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact Cookset
Snow Peak exists alongside the other major players here due to the fact that this cookset, in particular, boasts a lightweight packable construction that houses several key options for a gourmet meal. It includes both a 34-fl. oz and 26-fl. oz pots, and lids for both that double as a 12-fl. oz saucepan and 17-fl. oz fry pan. The entire set is also made from titanium and is stored in a 6 x 4-inch nylon mesh storage bag.
MSR Quick 2 System
As another hard-anodized aluminum option complete with nonstick surfaces, clean up will no doubt be a breeze after cooking up a hot dinner at the campsite. Here, MSR hooks it up with a 1.5L nonstick pot, and 2.5L hard-anodized pot, a strainer lid, 2 deep dish plates, 2 double-wall insulated mugs, and a Talon pot handle. Needless to say, they have you covered here – especially since the entire set weighs just under two pounds.
Primus Campfire Cookset
For those who wish to have the same quality cookware out in the backcountry as they do back at the homestead need to look no further than this Campfire Cookset from Primus. The entire set boasts a stainless steel construction and features two pots with lids compete with strainers, a frying pan, and comes in a classic stackable design for convenient packability. It is a little heavier than other options but will no doubt serve you well for years to come.
GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Camper Cookset
Probably the most interesting sounding cookset on the list, this option by no means skimps on utility and options made available to hungry campers on the go. Here, you’ll find Bugaboo pots and a frying pan that feature a double non-stick coating, four insulated mugs, four bowls and four 7.5-inch plates made with lightweight BPA-free plastic. It all packs down into the largest pot and fits inside the included stuff sack that protects the whole cookset from potential damage while in transit.
Tangia 27-3 Ultralight Stove Kit
When the campfire isn’t an option or you’d simply rather use a personal stove for your cooking, Trangia offers the best of both worlds with their stove kit. It features an output of 1000 w, uses alcohol as its fuel source, and weighs a modest 1.6 pounds. For reference, the set houses a stove with two 1 liter hard-anodized aluminum saucepans, a 7.24-inch non-stick frying pan, and lightweight windscreens.
MSR Flex 4 Cooking System
Cooking a meal for the entire family or group of friends at the campsite? Then the MSR Flex 4 is the perfect option. Boasting a modular and compact design, you’ll be amazed at what this cookset offers. We’re talking hard-anodized aluminum 5.3L and 3.2L pots with a Talon pot handle, strainer lids, four deep dish plates, four insulated mugs with splash-free lids, and a surprisingly light weight of only 3.5 pounds. Also, the entire set fits neatly inside the largest pot for easy packing and traveling.
12 Best Hiking Backpacks Around
Regardless of what cookware set you choose, a hiking backpack is necessary for any extended stay in the wilderness. Here’s a summary of the best hiking backpacks we found that are currently on the market.