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Best Camping Cookware: The Perfect Lightweight Cookware for Camping

The Best Camping Cookware
Russell McCarty
Written by Russell McCarty

Camping is one such outdoor activity that everyone loves. And many of you will agree that a huge part of camping and hiking is enjoying delicious meals while in the middle of nowhere. This goes without saying that you will need the right tools for cooking the best meals that you can come up with.

There is a number of cookware available in the market, which makes it tough for the buyers to find a camping friendly cookware. To help you make the right purchase, we have created a quick guide that points out the best features to look for in a camp cooking system. On top of that, we have also reviewed some of the most noteworthy systems that you can find in the market. Let’s take a closer look!

Our top picks

ProductNo.
Of Pieces
ServesDefining FeaturePrice
Optimus Terra3 pieces set1 personNon stick coatingCheck price on Amazon
G4Free Outdoor Hiking4 pieces set1 - 2 peopleFoldable and easy storageCheck price on Amazon
Sea to Summit X 315 pieces set3 - 4 peopleFood grade, heat resistant silicone wallsCheck price on Amazon
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle8 pieces set1 - 2 peopleCrush proof, heat-resistant nylon strainer lidCheck price on Amazon
Winterial Camping Cookware11 pieces set3 - 4 peopleHigh temperature and friction resistantCheck price on Amazon
MalloMe Camping10 pieces set3 - 4 peopleNon toxic anodized aluminumCheck price on Amazon
Snow Peak Titanium3 pieces set1 - 2 peopleExcellent heat resistant technologyCheck price on Amazon
MSR Alpine 2 Pot2 pieces set1 - 2 peopleClassic pots with multi functionalityCheck price on Amazon
MSR Quick 2 System4 pieces set1 - 2 peopleHard ionized and nonstickCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

What sort of cookware you need while camping completely depends on what you are planning to cook. If you just want to prepare simple meals, you can make do with a few lightweight pots, some plates and mugs and a kettle. However, if you are planning on an elaborate meal, you need more tools than that. Besides these terms, these are some factors that you need to look for:

Type of Camping

This is the first thing you should consider. Are you going backpacking or reaching your destination by car? If you are traveling by car, you can pack heavy stuff with you. You can even take a portable grill and a camping stove which uses propane. As space is usually less of an issue, you can also carry several pots.

Best Cookware

However, if you are going backpacking, you need lighter stuff. You need to pack your pots and pans carefully so they don’t take up too much space. It is best to go for compact cooking sets which are multi purpose.

Number of Utensils

You have to strike a balance here. Neither take too less, nor too many pots. Consider the number of people there are, and pack accordingly. As a rule, you should have enough utensils to hold one pint of food for everyone.

Number of Utensils

Unfortunately, there are many cookware sets that are catered not just for one’s purposes but to the number of people being served as well.

Material

Your cooking material should be lightweight. Aluminum alloy utensils are a great idea as they are light and heat up evenly. However, the disadvantage here is that they are not quite as durable as stainless steel. Yet, if you are planning on going backpacking and need lightweight cookware for basic cooking and water boiling, this is a great option.

Camping Cookware Material

Again, this will all depend on your intended use. If you’re going car camping with a group, a cookware system that has all the bells and whistles should be a good option. However if you’re into lightweight backpacking, a set with the bare essentials is a must as you don’t want to be weighed down.

Choosing the Pieces

To make sure everything is covered in terms of camp cooking, make sure you have a good assortment of pots, skillets, utensils, cups, bowls and more. The number of pieces and the variety will again depend on the type of camping that you will be doing and the size of your camping party.

Camping Cookware Pieces

The key here is not to overbuy and overpack. Just because a system includes many pieces on the set, it doesn’t mean that it’s the smartest choice because you might end up with more items you don’t need which only takes valuable space.

Care and Cleanup

Cleaning up after a camp meal is not most people’s favorite task. However, this is highly important as your uncleaned utensils can attract unwanted animal visitors. Of course, you want pieces that can be easily cleaned like non stick cookware. Fortunately, there are biodegradable soaps that are backcountry and camp friendly.

Camping Cookware Cleaning

If you’re planning to throw your cookware into the dishwasher once you get home, make sure that the kit is dishwasher safe.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Resulting to our hours of research, here is a complete list of top selling camping cookware in the market.

Optimus Terra Cookset

Price: Approx. $60Optimus Terra Cookset

Weight: 1.43 pounds

Set contains: 1.74 qt. coated pot, 1.74 qt. frying pan, 1.8 qt. non coated pot

Specific features: Made of anodized aluminum coated with Teflon, neoprene storage sack, pan doubles as lid

Best use: Backpacking and camping

The Optimus Terra Cookset is very lightweight, which means it can easily be carried anywhere. The set is durable and will not be damaged when used outdoors.

HE stands for Heat Exchanger which means that boil time is reduced by 20 percent. This system is also fuel efficient. Heat is transferred perfectly, so there will be no burnt food. You will receive the package with 3 sets of cookware in it, including 1.8 qt. non coated pot, 1.74 qt. Teflon coated pot, and 1.74 qt. Teflon coated fry pan.

Because of its Heat Exchanger technology, the pot can be used to boil, saute, stir, simmer or even fry all kinds of foodstuffs. This means you can even fry eggs in this set. The Teflon coating of the frying pan ensures that nothing will stick to it.

This is a great set if you’re looking to cook your food evenly.

PROS:

  • Reasonably compact
  • Wide pan
  • Non stick and simplified cooking
 CONS:

  • A bit heavy

Related: The Preup Outdoor Camping Pan is another cooking set made of anodized aluminum, which has greater capacity and can be used to pack cooking utensils. There will be a total of 10 pieces including pot, cauldron, small and large frying pan, 3 plastic bowls, 2 spoons, and 1 loofah sponge. The quick heat transfer technology saves a lot of heat and fuel. We recommend it for hiking, backpacking, and camping purposed for 2 – 3 persons.

Check the price on Amazon

G4 Free Outdoor Hiking Cookware

Price: Approx. $20G4Free Outdoor

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Set contains: 2 x pot, 2 x frying pan

Specific features: 4 utensils, mesh bag included, foldable handles, lightweight and compact when packed

Best use: Camping and backpacking

The G4 Free Outdoor Hiking Cookware includes two non stick pots, two non stick frying pans, and a mesh bag. There are folding handles with each of the four utensils, which makes it easy to pack and carry them.

The big pot is large enough that it can carry matches, salt and pepper pots and other utensils, when the lid is secured. Hence this cooking set is perfect for traveling.

The material is anodized aluminum, which makes it lightweight, with good heat transfer. The lids double as bowls so you do not have to pack them, to, while going backpacking.

The disadvantage of this cookware set is that the green handles can become discolored easily on high heat. Also, it works best for boiling water and is not perfect for complicated cooking as there may be hot spots when the utensils are heated on high temperature.

PROS:

  • Extremely portable
  • Non stick coated pan
  • Good heat transfer
 CONS:

  • The green color on handle can fade soon

Related: The Blue Lion Camping Cookware is one of the products that you can consider along with this cookware. The lightweight and space saving design makes it easier for you to indulge in outdoor cooking. As the plastic handles come with heat insulation feature, it is more comfortable and safe for you to cook. The cookware kit is super light and portable so that you can carry it easily on your outdoor trails.

Check the price on Amazon

Sea to Summit X Set 31

Price: Approx. $90Sea to Summit X-Set 31

Weight: 1.34 pounds

Set contains: X-Pot 2.95 qt. & 2 x X-Bowls & 2 x X-Mugs

Specific features: Compact, silicone walls are heat resistant, translucent lid with build in strainer

Best use: Camping and backpacking

The Sea to Summit X Set 31 is the perfect cooking set if you want to go hiking or backpacking. The set becomes very compact and hence carrying it while traveling is very easy. This collapsible set has a hard anodized aluminum base, so it is lightweight while also ensuring even cooking. This means that there are no hot spots while cooking food.

The disadvantage is that the utensils are not always very stable, which means that you need to be careful where you put them. Also, it is best not to hand them to children as they might not be able to hold the utensils properly without making them fall.

After prolonged use, the lid might start to bend or crack, if not handled properly. The lid can also crack if the heat is too high.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Good material
 CONS:

  • After sometimes the lid might crack
  • Not so stable

Related: The Finess City Titanium Cookware set is a good alternative. The set is lightweight and the space saving design is absolutely suitable for outdoor cooking. Plus, it’s durable, dishwasher safe, and eco friendly. The total weight of the entire gear is merely 0.65 pounds, which makes for easy carrying.

Check the price on Amazon

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Cookset

Price: Approx. $95GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Cookset

Weight: 1.8 pounds

Set contains: 2.11 qt. pot, fry pan, strainer lid, 2 x 0.43 qt. insulated mugs, 2 x 0.43. bowls, 2 sip it tops, folding pot gripper, welded sink

Specific features: Pot made of hard anodized aluminum, 2 mugs and two bowls, pot lid has a built in strainer, suitable for two backpackers, Teflon coated, so has non stick properties

Best use: Gourmet backpacking

The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Cookset is ideal for two backpackers who want to travel light. The utensils are lightweight and easy to carry and the size of the set is compact. The pot is very good as a cooking utensil and therefore can be used to cook proper meals, rather than just for boiling water. It can even be used to fry an egg or fish.

The material of this cooking set is durable, and the non stick coating will not wear off or get damaged easily. The lid also does not crack. The built in strainer in the lid is perfect if you want to drain pasta or anything else. The handles are foldable and can even be removed if you want to balance the pot on a small stove.

This set is not big enough to store a stove, so you have to carry one separately. Although the utensils can fit in the pot, the size of the pot is large so it will take up some space. However if you want to cook proper three time meals, this set is a good idea.

PROS:

  • Foldable handles
  • Non stick pan
  • Durable materials
 CONS:

  • Heavy for backpacking
  • Pots can be quite large

Related: GSI Outdoors produces other integrated cooking sets as well which can be packed into a small space. GSI Outdoors Halulite is one of the products that work the best while camping, tracking, and other outdoor activities. Made out of hard anodized aluminum, this cooking set is compact and ultra weight.

Check the price on Amazon

Winterial Camping Cookware

Price: Approx. $45Winterial Camping Cookware

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Set contains: 2 qt. large pot and lid, 1 qt. frying pan, 1 qt. tea kettle, serving ladle, 1 personal bowl, serving spoon / spatula, cleaning sponge, carry bag

Specific features: 11 piece set, easy to carry, non stick Teflon coating

Best use: Backpacking, camping and hiking.

The Winterial Camping Cookware ideal for backpacking, hiking or trekking, as it is extremely light weight. The utensils all fit in the pot so you can easily carry it around in the carrying bag which comes with the set.

The frying pan can be used to fry eggs or even fish. A tea pot is included in the set so you can prepare tea on cold mornings and nights while out camping. The items in this pack are very durable and will not get damaged easily. The handles are also durable and will not melt or get damaged even at high heat.

The lid handles can get very hot when cooking and might even burn your hands if you are not careful. The pan is a little thin so you need to keep an eye on it while frying anything. Also, if you plan on cooking large meals, this is not the set for you as the pots and pans are small and compact in size. A good option for a two person or solo camper.

PROS:

  • Small
  • Portable
  • Good durability
 CONS:

  • Good for small meals only

Related: A good alternative for more comprehensive outdoor cooking is the Bisgear Camping Cookware. The package comes with 12/16 pieces, all made out of high quality materials. All the utensils can be stored in the mesh bag so as to keep things manageable.

Check the price on Amazon

MalloMe Camping Cookware

Price: Approx. $22MalloMe

Weight: 0.7 pounds

Set contains: Aluminum nonstick pot (1.05 qt. capacity), pot cover, non stick pan, 2 BPA free bowls, folding stainless steel spork, BPA free soup spoon, wooden spoon spatula

Specific features: Teflon coated, easy to carry, 10 piece mess kit, made of anodized aluminum

Best use: Backpacking, hiking, trekking

The MalloMe Camping Cookware is made of FDA approved non anodized aluminum. All the components of the set are durable and very lightweight. The pack is easy to carry and small in size. An e-book with 10 recipes is also included in the pack.

If you want to buy a cooking set which is small yet durable and of high quality, this is definitely one you should consider. It is best if you pack the handle of the pot separately as it might end up scratching the Teflon coating. The material is non reactive and hence will not damage your food.

This camp cookware has got to be one of the most popular choices for backpackers and campers. And it’s easy to see why. It’s got everything you’ll need to make a decent meal outdoors. Plus, the overall durability and quality are both to an impressive degree. Definitely one of the sets that is worth checking out.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Compact design
  • Great price
 CONS:

  • The spatula is too large for the set

Related: One of the other things that you can add to your list is the Coleman Alu Mess Kit. It’s a very subtle set of cookware with five pieces inside, including a frying pan, pot with lids, and deep dish plates. The nests are easy to store and you can also clean it in the simplest way. Being super light and quick heat transmission, it’s an easy backpacking cookware choice.

Check the price on Amazon

Snow Peak Titanium Cookset

Price: Approx. $50Snow Peak 3 Piece Titanium Cookset

Weight: 0.44 pounds

Set contains: 2 pots and a fry pan

Specific features: Made of titanium, heat resistant

Best use: Camping and backpacking for a single person

The Snow Peak Titanium Cookset is an ideal outdoors cooking set for the adventurous camper or backpacker. The set is very durable as it is made of titanium, which is even more corrosion resistant than stainless steel.

It is also heat resistant, which means that the pots or pan will not get damaged even at high heat. The material is non reactive and thus will not cause any allergies. The handles do not heat up easily so you can hold the utensils easily while cooking. The largest pot is large enough that you can fit a small cylinder inside.

As you can see, this is about as basic as you can get as far as camping cook systems go. This might not be ideal for large group camping but it should easily get the job done if you’re simply camping solo.

PROS:

  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Good material
 CONS:

  • Good only for short or solo trips

Related: The Camping Cookware Titanium Set is one of the options to look for while you are looking for some camping cookware. Made out of titanium, these vessels are stronger than those which come with steel body. Even in terms of compactness and weight, these are better than steel cookwares. With the good heat transferring features, it’s hard to go wrong with this one.

Check the price on Amazon

MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set

Price: Approx. $50MSR Alpine 2-Pot Set

Weight: 1.7 pounds

Set contains: 2 pots

Specific features: Made of stainless steel, lids acts like plate, compact shape

Best use: Camping and backpacking

The MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set is tough and durable and thus is a perfect option for rigorous campers and backpackers. The pots can withstand all kinds of conditions.

The set includes two pots, one of 2.11 qt. and other of 1.58 qt capacity. A stuff sack is included in the set for easy carriage. The handle is very strong and will not break easily. Lid fits both the pots and can even be used as a frying pan. Another advantage is that a small stove can fit inside the pot, and so you do not have to carry a stove separately.

If you are going for a solo trip, then we certainly recommend this for you. At first, you can cook the meal in the pot and then you can use the lids as the plate. The only downside is that it comes in a higher price tag considering the items that you will be getting.

PROS:

  • Good for solo trips
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Efficient nesting design
 CONS:

  • Contains just two pots
  • A little expensive

Related: The Snow Peak Titanium Compact Cookset is another set that you can consider if you are traveling with a group. This is going to cost you a bit but it’s a solid cookware for 2 to 4 persons. It’s lightweight and portable, which makes it easy for you to cook even in the bumpy trails.

Check the price on Amazon

MSR Quick 2 System

Price: Approx. $100MSR Quick 2 System

Weight: 2 pounds

Set contains: 1.58 qt. nonstick pot, 2.64 qt. hard anodized pot, strainer lid, 2 x deep dish plates, 2 x double wall insulated mugs, talon pot handle

Specific features: Made of hard anodized aluminum, lid doubles as a strainer, 7 piece set

Best use: Camping

The MSR Quick 2 System consists of proper utensils which are perfect for two campers or hikers. The cups are insulated which means that your drinks will remain warm. The lid can also be used as a strainer, so you can even cook pasta in these pots.

The handle can fold over the lid. The pot is large enough to cook a large meal, which can serve more than just one person. It is also easy to clean this cook set.

The cons are that the pot size is large so it might be difficult to pack in a small bag. Also, metal has hot spots in the center so you have to beware of that while cooking, otherwise you may end up burning something.

PROS:

  • Large
  • Good for group meals
  • Non stick covering
 CONS:

  • Big pots make it difficult to pack

Related: You will need a place to place those pots and food. In that case the Sportneer Portable Folding Chair and Table should come in handy. Made out of the high strength aluminum alloy frame, this camp chair and table is lightweight and portable. The rust free poles offer enough overall longevity and stability to the table.

Check the price on Amazon

In Conclusion

For those who want to go camping and are looking for lightweight, durable cooking sets, the above mentioned products are all great options. Just keep in mind what your specific requirements are.

How many people do you need to cook for, how much space you have for carrying cooking utensils and how much weight you can carry are all points which you should consider before buying a camping cooking set. Cooking is an essential part of camping but it does not have to be a cumbersome process.

Camping Cookware

Buy a good quality, durable, versatile cooking set and your camping experience will greatly improve. What type of cookware do you like best? How do you determine what’s going to work best for your next trip? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Russell McCarty
Russell McCarty

Russell considers backpacking one of his great passions in life. He actually managed to transform his passion into a living becoming a professional adventurer. Russell loves long-distance backpacking and he enriched his portfolio with famous trails like the Alaska-Yukon Expedition or the Appalachian Trail. With thousands of miles under his feet, Russell is the expert to consult when it comes to how to prepare for a successful outdoor adventure.

  • John Millard

    We added the Optimus Terra Cookset to our camping gear and it has been a really great addition! It’s wider than most of the other cook wear we own, which is good and is perfect for 3+ people. Best part? The Omnifuel fits inside! Very happy with this gear!

  • Russell McCarty

    I agree with you on this one John – the Optimus Terra Cookset is a dream. Very lightweight so you don’t feel like you’re carrying a ton of pots and pans on your back. The material is sturdy and conducts heat easily so cooking is fast. And yes, it fits on the Omnifuel – cool!

  • Marcus Sheehan

    I really don’t think you can go wrong with the MSR Quick 2 System. I’ve had this cookware for a bit and can tell you that it works just great. The lid strains well with the smaller pot and it has cooked up our food so well. Just season inside with a smidgen of vegetable oil and you are ready to go!

  • Russell McCarty

    Hi Marcus and I believe you are loving your camping cookware. Good to know. I’ve always been designated cook (up to this day, I don’t know why) and an excellent cookware set is important to me. I’ve used the MSR Quick 2 System and it’s definitely an excellent one.

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