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Best Backpacking Cooking Gear: Finding the Right Equipment for Outdoor Cooking

Best Backpacking Cooking Gear
Dorothy Tobias
Written by Dorothy Tobias

Do you enjoy eating out of a cold can while camping or backpacking? We’re guessing that it’s not the case. Nothing can truly beat the pleasure of indulging in either a warm drink or a warm meal after a chilly day out in the backcountry. You begin to miss these simple things when you go backpacking, but all you really need is some cooking gear and you can enjoy great meals while in the wild. Sounds simple right? It is until the problems begin to arise when you come to choose the best backpacking cooking gear that best fits your needs.

 

Outdoor cooking gear is designed for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, backpacking or even just a good ol’ patio grilling. Therefore, it’s not like you can just use your traditional cooking equipment at home since they are not optimized in terms of factors like weight and size. Thus the question: how in the world are you supposed to know which option is right for you? Lucky for you, we’re here to help!

In this article, we will be giving a brief guide on how to choose the right cooking gear for your outdoor needs based on a number of factors. Plus, we will be highlighting some great products that should be worth checking out. Let’s get to it!

Our Top Picks

ProductDimensionsWeightIncludesPrice
MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit3.8 x 6.3 x 6.6 inches1.15 poundsA full-set of cookwareCheck price on Amazon
Jolly Green Marshmallow Roasting Sticks1.6 x 4.6 x 10.6 inches0.75 poundsFive marshmallow roasting sticksCheck price on Amazon
TOAKS Titongs Set9 x 3 x 1 inches0.075 poundsA single pair of titongsCheck price on Amazon
NEWSTYLE 8pcs Portable Camping Cookware3.8 x 6.55 x 6.65 inches0.99 poundsA full-set of cookwareCheck price on Amazon
Solo Stove Pot 900 Backpacking Pot4.49 x 4.69 x 4.69 inches0.9 poundsOne lightweight cooking potCheck price on Amazon
Wealers Utensils Set1.8 x 8.7 x 13.6 inches2.1 poundsA full-set of cookware.Check price on Amazon
Coleman Serving Set2.7 x 4.2 x 11.9 inches0.3 poundsThree large serving utensilsCheck price on Amazon
Bisgear Camping Cooking Set4 x 6.6 x 6.7 inches1.63 poundsA full-set of cookwareCheck price on Amazon
Cabela’s Outdoor Portable Kitchen80 x 80 x 22 inches57 poundsA large camping kitchenCheck price on Amazon
MRS Reactor Stove System7.5 x 5.75 x 7.5 inches1.29 poundsA lightweight, efficient stove systemCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying 

There are plenty of things that you need to consider before you go on to buy your own cooking gear and utensils, regardless of whether you are looking to purchase hiking cooking gear or camping cooking gear. Some of the things that you need to consider include:

Durability

Your cooking gear should always be durable if you intend on using it while you are exploring the great outdoors. The right gear will be capable of standing up to the elements and to any rough and tumble adventures that it might have to go on while it is in your pack. If your cookware is not durable, then you will quickly notice that it will not survive your trip.

Cooking Gear Durability

If you are looking for metal camping cookware, then you should make sure that the metal is either stainless steel or aluminium. If it is aluminium, then you should also make sure that it is an FDA-approved type of anodized aluminium to make sure that it is perfectly safe to use with food. Keep an eye out for small pieces that you think might be prone to breaking.

Weight

The weight of any item that you are planning on carrying while you are out in the wilderness is something that you need to thoroughly consider. Remember that taking heavy items simply means that you will have more to carry. This could make your trip unpleasant and it could make you quickly regret taking those extra items with you.

Lightweight Cooking Gear

Due to this, you should try to make sure that you choose cookware that is as light as possible. This might mean that you have to look around and compare different products, but the time spent doing that is worth it in the long run. You should also be aware of the fact that you should never have to sacrifice on durability in order to find lightweight cookware.

Practicality

You need to make sure that the cookware that you choose is practical, but you also have to understand that just because one person finds a specific item to be practical does not mean that you will. For example, why would you ever buy a set of marshmallow skewers if you have absolutely no intention of ever roasting marshmallows around a campfire during the night?

Cooking Gear Practicality

To avoid purchasing items that are not actually practical for you, you should write a list of all of the things that you need your cookware to be capable of doing while you are out in the wilderness. That way you can go and look at different products with your list to make sure that each individual product really is perfect for you. If you do buy a product that you will never use, then you will simply be carrying more than you should be.

Number of Pieces

One of the most important things that you need to decide on is whether you would like to buy your items in a pre-formed set or as individual pieces. Generally speaking, purchasing a full set of items makes things a lot easier to do as it requires a lot less sifting through the internet. It also means that you can make sure that all of the pieces will work well together.

Camping Cookware Set

On the other hand, purchasing a set of individual items will give you the freedom that you need to build a set that is perfect for you. A lot of pre-formed sets will contain a mixture of items that you would use and items that you would never use. This means that creating your own set will allow you to cut down on any excess weight that would otherwise come from the latter.

Cleaning

We all know that things can get a little bit dirty out in the wilderness. All it takes is a little bit of rain and suddenly the ground beneath your feet can become covered in a thick layer of slippery mud. You can imagine just how easy it might be for your cookware to get dirty in the wilderness too.

Cleaning Camping Cookware

When you are backpacking you need to make sure that the cookware that you are thinking about purchasing can be easily cleaned on a whim. You have to remember that you might not always have access to running water, in that situation you would have to be able to clean all of your cookware using either bottled water or a natural water source. Certain materials are also easier to clean than others are.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Now that you know what you should be looking out for when you come to purchase your own set of cookware for either backpacking, camping, or going on other outdoor adventures, it is time to dive head first into our review area. Today we are going to be reviewing some of the best products that can currently be found on the market, they include:

MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit

Price: Approx. $21Camping Cookware Mess Kit

Weight: 1.15 pounds

Dimensions: 3.8 x 6.3 x 6.6 inches

Specific features: FDA approved, lightweight anodized aluminium, 10-piece kit, non-stick

Best use: Backpacking and camping

Description: When it comes to camping cooking gear, the MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit really does have to be at the top of the list because of the number of products that it includes.

The bundle itself includes a lightweight aluminium non-stick pot, a pot cover, a non-stick pan, 2 BPA-free bowls, a folding stainless steel spork, a BPA-free soup spoon, a wooden spoon spatula, a cleaning sponge, a travel bag and even a guide on how you can roast perfect marshmallows and smores!

The aluminium itself is specifically an FDA-approved, non-toxic type of anodized aluminium. This means that it is both safe and really, really lightweight. The material also conducts heat quickly so that your food cooks as fast as it can.

All of the tools and accessories that you need to clean this mess kit are included in the bundle so you do not have to worry about going out and buying them separately.

PROS:

  • Contains a number of useful utensils
  • Lightweight and easy to carry around in the travel bag
  • Comes with an eBook on marshmallow roasting
 CONS:

  • The coating on the pans can scratch off if you use metal utensils with them

Related: If you want to take full advantage of your free eBook, then MalloMe also sell a set of Marshmallow Roasting Sticks with smores skewers.

Check the price on Amazon

Jolly Green Marshmallow Roasting Sticks

Price: Approx. $17Telescoping Rotating Marshmallow

Weight: 0.75 pounds

Dimensions: 1.6 x 4.6 x 10.6 inches

Specific features: Stainless steel design, safe for children and easy to transport

Best use: Roasting marshmallows around a campfire

Description: Who doesn’t enjoy eating marshmallows while they sit next to a roaring campfire underneath the night sky? The Jolly Green Marshmallow Roasting Sticks have been specifically designed to capture your attention with thoughts of consuming warm, gooey marshmallows when your surroundings are cold and dark.

The set includes a total of five skewers and each of the individual skewers is made out of a high-quality stainless steel, meaning that these skewers would not be prone to breaking and bending the way that alternative products might. They are also perfectly safe for children to use and they come with a lifetime warranty that you can take advantage of.

With a set of marshmallow skewers, you will no longer have to hunt around the forest floor for a dirty twig that would be suitable for roasting marshmallows on. You can simply pull these out of your bag, get to work and clean them within a matter of minutes.

PROS:

  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Easy to use
  • Safe for children
 CONS:

  • The quality of the storage bag is a little bit questionable

Related: If you are scared of putting your hands too close to the campfire, then you might want to consider investing in a pair of Ekogrips BBQ Oven Gloves. These should be capable of making you feel a little bit safer.

Check the price on Amazon

TOAKS Titongs Set

Price: Approx. $19TOAKS Titongs Se

Weight: 1.2 ounces

Dimensions: 9 x 3 x 1 inches

Specific features: Multiple uses and portable design

Best use: Camping and backpacking

Description: The TOAKS Titongs Set is a rather unique item because it can offer you a multi-use feature that you usually would not see in camping cookware products. One of the options that you have is to keep the fork and spoon connected to each other so that you can use them for either cooking or serving food without burning yourself, or you can separate them both to use them as standard cutlery while you eat.

The fact that these titongs can be used in two different ways makes them a perfect option for people who like to go backpacking with lightweight equipment. It is worth noting that the connector piece that sits between the fork and the spoon has little to no real spring force because it is removable.

This means that you would probably struggle to turn anything too heavy with them on a backpacking grill, but they would be more than suitable for handling small items.

PROS:

  • Simple and yet effective
  • Lightweight
  • Multiple uses
 CONS:

  • The joint piece does not have rounded edges so it is really easy for it to poke out of the carry case

Related: TOAKS also sell the perfect TOAKS Titanium 3-Piece Cutlery Set of utensils that are all held together by a single ring. This set would be a great addition to your titongs set.

Check the price on Amazon

NEWSTYLE 8pcs Portable Camping Cookware

Price: Approx. $15NEWSTYLE 8pcs Portable Outdoor Camping Cookware

Weight: 1 pound

Dimensions: 3.8 x 6.55 x 6.65 inches

Specific features: Fits into a carry case, made out of a lightweight anodized aluminium, nested design

Best use: Backpacking, camping, and emergency situations

Description: The NEWSTYLE 8pcs Portable Camping Cookware has been specifically designed for a mixture of backpacking, camping, hiking and emergency situations. It is also frequently used to teach people how they can enhance their own survival skills.

There is enough equipment in the set for two people to use it at once and after you have eaten all of the different pieces can be quickly tossed away into a single carry case.

The set itself consists of a large main pot, a sturdy pot cover, a frying pan, a soup spoon, a loofah sponge, a rice ladle, a strong mesh bag and two separate plastic bowls. This means that all you would need to add would be a set of utensils for eating with. It is also worth noting that the cooking set itself has been coated with a non-stick material so that you do not have to worry about anything sticking to the frying pan.

PROS:

  • A great example of a survival kit
  • Everything fits together perfectly
  • Made out of a lightweight aluminium
 CONS:

  • This particular set does not come with any form of cutlery

Related: NEWSTYLE also offers the NEWSTYLE Kids Play Tent for children to play in for some backyard fan. We certainly wouldn’t recommend this when camping out in the wilderness.

Check the price on Amazon

Solo Stove Pot 900 Backpacking Pot

Price: Approx. $34Solo Stove Pot 900 Backpacking Pot

Weight: 0.9 pounds

Dimensions: 4.49 x 4.69 x 4.69 inches

Specific features: Lockable lid, foldable handles, durable design,

Best use: Backpacking, camping, and hiking

Description: The Solo Stove Pot 900 Backpacking Pot has actually been designed specifically for use with the Solo Stove Light, one of the best compact wood burning backpacking stoves that can currently be found on the market. This means that if you are considering purchasing the pot, then you would probably be best off purchasing the stove too.

Every inch of the pot itself has been designed to be both compact and robust. The handles on the pot fold in to make it smaller, yet the lid features a lockable lift tab for additional safety.

The pot itself is small enough to carry in your pack, but it does come with a nylon stuff sack that you can place it in. It also features a pouring spout, volume markings in both ounces and millilitres and a maximum volume of 30 oz. Definitely one of the best solo pots that you can get in the market.

PROS:

  • Highly durable
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Made out of 340 stainless steel
 CONS:

  • Difficult to use on first try

Related: This particular pot is the companion pot to the solo stove. In our opinion, the Solo Stove Lite is perfect for backpacking because of how lightweight and easy to use it is.

Check the price on Amazon

Wealers 7 Piece Cooking Utensils Set

Price: Approx. $24Wealers 7 Piece

Weight: 2.1 pounds

Dimensions: 1.8 x 8.7 x 13.6 inches

Specific features: Weather resistant, durable and compact, made from tough woven cotton, dishwasher safe

Best use: Backpacking and hiking

Description: The Wealers 7 Piece Cooking Utensils Set is a compact kit that you can take with you on almost any type of adventure. The kit itself is really important because it is made out of a tough, woven cotton that can protect all of the cooking utensils that are inside of the kit from things like the elements and the rough and tumble that usually occurs while you are out in the wilderness.

The kit itself contains everything from a knife and a chopping board to a ladle and a spatula. Each individual utensil has a designated pouch so that there is no risk of your utensils getting damaged or scratched while you are on the move.

This also means that there is no risk of annoying clashing sounds coming from inside of your pack. Overall, this is a great kit as far as cooking utensils go. Grab some pots and you’re all set.

PROS:

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Weather retardant
  • Secure zip seal for keeping your things safe
 CONS:

  • The case can initially have a chemical smell like glue
  • Plastic items could be more sturdy

Related: Wealers are also known for their Wealers 13-Piece Stainless Steel Cutlery Set that would go perfectly with this set of utensils.

Check the price on Amazon

Coleman 3-Piece Serving Set

Price: Approx. $9Coleman 3-Piece Serving Set

Weight: 4.8 ounces

Dimensions: 2.7 x 4.2 x 11.9 inches

Specific features: Made out of nylon, bright red color

Best use: Any adventures in the backcountry

Description: This Coleman 3-Piece Serving Set consists of one large spoon, one slotted spoon and one slotted spatula that are all held together by a metal ring. What other cooking utensils do you really need? Each of the utensils is made out of a type of lightweight nylon so that they are easy to carry around and much more portable than separate metal alternatives.

You also have to consider the fact that the spatula will never scratch the coating away from your cookware because it is not made of metal. One additional feature involves the color, all of the utensils are a bright red that would make them really hard to lose or misplace in the wilderness.

Overall, this is a very basic 3-piece cooking equipment that should serve your outdoor cooking needs. You can’t also go wrong with its very affordable price and is a worthy addition to your outdoor cooking repertoire.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Bound together for easy storage
  • Durable
 CONS:

  • Red ‘dye’ can leak from the cutlery

Related: If you go camping and travel by car, then you might also want to consider purchasing the matching Coleman 24-Piece Enamel Dinnerware Set.

Check the price on Amazon

Bisgear Camping Cookware Set

Price: Approx. $26Bisgear Set

Weight: 1.63 pounds

Dimensions:4 x 6.6 x 6.7 inches

Specific features: Full range of equipment and FDA-approval

Best use: Camping, hiking, backpacking and even picnics

Description: The Bisgear Camping Cookware Set is quite impressive because it includes 16 different pieces of equipment that you might need. In the set, you can find a full cutlery set, a mini stove with a piezo ignition, an FDA-approved anodized aluminium pot, a non-stick frying pan, 2 BPA-free bowls, 1 BPA-free spoon, a large rice ladle, a loofah sponge, a carabiner and a nylon bag that you can use to store all of the different pieces of equipment in.

It can actually be quite handy to have all of your equipment together like this because it makes it much easier to carry. You also have to consider the fact that aluminium is both lightweight and durable so it is perfect for a cooking pot. The versatility of this kit means that you can take it pretty much anywhere, be that backpacking or for a picnic in the park.

PROS:

  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Large enough for either a single person or a couple
  • Versatile enough for different environments
 CONS:

  • Still lacks some core equipment that people might need

Related: To relax by your campsite, you should consider purchasing a comfortable Bisgear Camping Hammock. It features excellent quality for a budget-friendly price.

Check the price on Amazon

Cabela’s Deluxe Portable Camping Kitchen

Price: Approx. $139Cabela Portable Kitchen

Weight: 57 pounds

Dimensions: 80 x 80 x 22 inches

Specific features: Durable steel frame, melamine table top, and shelf space

Best use: Perfect for regular campers or people who camp near their car

Description: The Cabela’s Deluxe Portable Camping Kitchen could quite possibly be the best camp kitchen that is currently available on the market today. It has the ability to offer campers a perfect balance of both durability and ease of assembly.

This is a balance that most companies tend to get wrong because they have to sacrifice one in order to make the other a real possibility. Luckily, Cabela have managed to find a perfect balance.

The durability of this particular portable camping kitchen comes in the form of a powder-coated steel frame and a set of heavy-duty polyester compartments that are both unlikely to break. There is even a steel storage rack that can be found beneath the main table for carrying heavier pots and pans.

Even with all of the effort that has been put into making sure that this kitchen is durable, it can still be assembled in a matter of minutes so that you can start cooking as soon as you want to.

PROS:

  • Highly durable and weather resistant
  • Can be easily wiped down
  • Quick assembly
 CONS:

  • This would be too heavy for most people to carry around

Related: If you are constantly camping by your car, then you might want to consider purchasing a product like the Camp Chef Outdoor Camp Oven, to make your life even easier. It has 7,500 BTU and cooks up to 5 hours on high heat.

Check the price on Amazon

MSR Reactor Stove System

Price: Approx. $239MSR Reactor Stove System

Weight: 1.29 pounds

Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.75 x 7.5 inches

Specific features: Wind resistant, lightweight, patent-pending radiant burner

Best use: Camping and hiking

Description: The MSR Reactor Stove System is a compact and lightweight piece of hardware that would be perfect for use while either camping or hiking. The weight and size of the stove system mean that you can easily place it into your pack and carry it around throughout the day or night without having to worry about the weight in the way that you would if you were carrying a standard stove system.

It is also a well-known fact that this stove can produce an unrivaled boil time, with the capability that it has to boil half a liter of water in just a minute and a half. This can be a real advantage out in the wilderness, especially if you are part of a larger group of people who are all using the same stove.

You don’t even need to worry about the risk of having to carry more fuel to keep your stove system alive because this particular model is known for being highly efficient. This efficiency mostly comes from the design.

The heat exchanger is used to enclose the burner so that there is little to no risk of the wind knocking it out. It is also worth noting that MSR products are known for their durability and this particular model is no exception to that rule.

PROS:

  • Features a compact and lightweight design
  • Highly fuel efficient
  • Just as durable as other MSR products
 CONS:

  • You have to be careful that you do not accidentally burn the lid
  • 1 liter pot might be too small for many people

Related: The best stand that you could use with this product would have to be the MSR Universal Canister Stand. It features a really wide base that is known for being stable and it can be adjusted to be used with other models.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Remember that the cookware that you choose should always match your own needs and requirements as a backpacker. You need items that are lightweight and yet durable, compact and yet easy to find when you need to find them. Unfortunately, sometimes we need to work on a basis of trial and error to make sure that the cookware that we have bought does work well for us.

What type of cookware do you use when you are out in the wilderness, and what do you enjoy cooking? We would love to hear your stories in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dorothy Tobias
Dorothy Tobias

Dorothy is a full-time writer, who loves traveling, good food, and understands the beauty of a night spent under the stars. She likes to discover new experiences wherever she goes and she feels most comfortable in her tent, with her favorite sleeping bag. Dorothy started camping with her family when she was 4 years old and remained loyal to the practice throughout the years. Today, she is an experienced backpacker and camper and knows everything there is to know about products in this niche.

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