Mom Goes Camping

Best Camping Cookware Sets, As Chosen By an Outdoorsy Mom

best camping cookware

While you can bring your normal cookware camping, it can cause a lot of hassle.  Normal cookware doesn’t pack well, sometimes won’t even fit on your stove and you can forget about campfire cooking.  So, if you go camping often enough, it is really worth it to get a good camping cookware set.

Which camping cook set to get? It really depends on the type of camping you do.  Here, I’ve broken down the best camp cookware  by complete sets, pots and pan sets, and cast iron cookware. If you aren’t sure how to choose, check out the buying guide after the reviews.

 

Quick Picks:

*See this post if you are looking for lightweight cookware for backpacking.

 

Best Complete Camping Cookware Sets

These sets include camping pots and pans as well as bowls, plates, and utensils which all nestle into the pots.

Pro tip: Get a larger set than you think you need.  Then you’ll have extra plates in case friends join, or you can remove some of the items from the cook set to fit other kitchen gear.

 

1. GSI Pinnacle Camper Cook Set

gsi outdoors pinnacle 4 person camp cookware set

Best for: Minimalist family camping

  • Includes: 3L pot with lid, 2L pot with lid, fry pan, pot gripper, 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 insulated mugs with lids, stuff sack/sink
  • Serves: 4 people
  • Material: Anodized aluminum with Teflon coating
  • Handle: Removable
  • Weight: 3lbs 10oz

This is one of the best designed camping cook sets you will find.  Everything nestles in it wonderfully.  The cups and bowls are 14oz, which is actually a decent size.  If you get folding utensils, you can fit them inside the mugs when everything is empty.

Note that this cook set is almost identical to the GSI Bugaboo set.  The difference is that the Bugaboo set is Teflon-coated aluminum whereas the Pinnacle is Teflon-coated anodized aluminum, which is more durable.

I personally prefer removable handles because they don’t get hot and make packing easier.  But be warned that the handle is a bit tricky to use at first.  Also, make sure you don’t lose the handle!

Pros:

  • Stuff sack doubles as sink
  • Room for some extra items in the mugs
  • Integrated strainers in lids
  • BPA free
  • Color coded
  • Very compact

Cons:

  • A bit pricy
  • Removable handle has learning curve
  • All pots share one handle
  • Can’t use lids on frying pan

Get It At Amazon, REI


 

2. MSR Quick 2 Pot Set

MSR Quick 2 camping cookware set

Best for: Couples camping

  • Includes: 2.5L pot, 1.5L pot, strainer lid, 2 deep dish plates, 2 insulated mugs, pot handle
  • Serves: 2 people
  • Material: Anodized nonstick aluminum
  • Handle: Removable
  • Weight: 1lb 12oz

The entire set clocks in at 1lb 12oz and packs to 7.75×5”.  It is designed for two people but you could just take one of the pots if you are camping solo.

I love all the little details with this set.  Like how the lid has a strainer.  And how the handle can fold upwards to lock the lid in place (great for when you are pre-soaking dehydrated camp meals).  The color-coding system is a nice touch, even if I wouldn’t care whose plate I eat off of. 🙂

It’s cool that only one of the pots is nonstick.  This gives you some versatility so you can cook foods more likely to stick in that pot and food that you’ll want to scrub off in the other pot.  Of course, it does mean you’ve got to remember not to use abrasives on the nonstick pot.

Pros:

  • Good for backpacking or camping
  • Only 1lb 12oz
  • One pot has non-stick coating

Cons:

  • Difficult to remove handle while cooking
  • Liquid pools at top of sippy cup lids due to bad design
  • Somewhat pricy

Get It At Amazon, REI


 

3. Odoland 39pcs Camp Cookware and Mess Kit

Odoland group camping cookware set

Best for: Large groups

  • Includes: 4L hanging pot with lid, 2.9L pot with lid, 1.6L kettle, 1.5L nonstick pan, 6 stainless steel dishes, 6 stainless steel cups, 6 spoons, 6 forks, 6 knives, 4 cleaning clothes, 1 carry bag
  • Serves: 4 people
  • Material: Nonstick aluminum pots/pan/kettle and stainless steel mess kit
  • Handle: Fold back and hanging
  • Weight: 6.8lbs

This is the camping cook set to get if you want a kettle for your hot drinks.  The cups are stainless steel and have heat guards on them, which is a nice touch – even if the cups still do get hot.  It’s also one of the few camp mess sets which includes stainless steel dishes instead of plastic.

Just be warned that the pots and pans scratch easily.  You may want to put a towel in the frying pan underneath the pot when nestled to prevent scratching and definitely don’t use metal utensils or a scouring pad on the pan!

Pros:

  • Stainless steel instead of plastic plates and mugs
  • Good value
  • Fits full-size utensils

Cons:

  • Pan scratches easily
  • Fairly heavy
  • Plates are small

Get It Here


 

4. Stanley Base Camp Cook Set

Stanley Adventure base camp cookware set

Best for: Durable family camping cook set

  • Includes: 5L pot with lid, frying pan, cutting board, spatula, serving spoon, 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 sporks, drying rack, trivet, bungee cord
  • Serves: 4 people
  • Material: Stainless steel, plates
  • Handle: Folding
  • Weight: 4.8lbs

There is a good reason that the Stanley Base Camp is regularly voted the best camping cook set.  The pots are made from a durable stainless steel which withstands abuse well.   While the plates and bowls are made from plastic, they are thick and won’t warp from heat like those in some cheap camping sets.   The folding spatula and serving spoon are a nice touch.

Overall, it is hard to complain about this cookware set.  I do wish there were some mugs included.  You’ll have to pack these separately as there isn’t room to nest any other big pieces in the kit.

Pros:

  • Very durable
  • Bowls are good sizes
  • Includes drying rack

Cons:

  • A bit heavy
  • Plates are small
  • No mugs

Get It Here At Amazon, REI


 

5. Sea to Summit Sigma  2.2

sea to summit sigma 2 camping cookware set

Best for: Long-lasting and durable camping or backpacking cook set for two

  • Includes: 2.7L pot, 1.2L pot, two strainer lids, 2 DeltaLight bowls, 2 DeltaLight insulated mugs, dishcloth
  • Serves: 2 people
  • Material: Stainless steel, glass-reinforced polypropylene, neoprene, silicone
  • Handle: Folding
  • Weight: 2lbs 1oz

While it is a very minimalist camp cook set, Sea to Summit put a lot of thought into it.  There are nice features like the rubberized grips and mugs which actually insulate.  The bowls are deep enough to use for soups but still functional for non-liquid meals.  The main selling point of the set is the pots though: they are very high quality and you won’t have to worry about them scratching or deforming on you.

Pros:

  • Quality materials
  • Handle locks set in place
  • Lid has strainer
  • Cups and bowls are a nice size
  • Rubberized grip

Cons:

  • No fry pan

Get It Here At REI


 

6. Bulin 13pcs Camping Cook Set

bulin 13 pcs camping cookware set

Best for: A set you can adjust easily for more or fewer pieces

  • Includes: 4.2L pot with lid, 2.6L pot with lid, 1.5L kettle, frying pan, 6 bowls, 7 plates, folding ladle, spoon, cleaning sponge,
  • Serves: 4+ people
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Handle: Folding and hanging
  • Weight: 4.4lbs

This camping cook set says that it is good for 6-7 people.  While it does include that many plates and bowls, I actually find it better for a family of 3-4.  You will be able to use some of the pieces as serving bowls.  Or, remove some of the pieces so you can fit your utensils and other equipment into the nest.  If you remove the kettle or one of the pots, you’ll be able to fit a lot more into it.

Pros:

  • Decent quality
  • Conducts heat well
  • Includes lots of pieces

Cons:

  • Bowls are tiny and get hot
  • No mugs included

Get It Here


 

Best Camping Pots and Pans Sets

If you don’t want plates and utensils in your cookware set, then choose one of these camping pots and pans sets which nest together.

7. Stansport Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Camping Cook Set

stansport heavy duty camping cookware

Best for: A set you can adjust easily for more or fewer pieces

  • Includes: 4 quart pot, 3 quart pot, 2 quart pot, 1 quart pot, 10 inch frying pan, lid, handle
  • Material: Stainless steel with aluminum clad bottom
  • Handle: Detachable
  • Weight: 9.3lbs

The camping pots are made from stainless steel and have aluminum added to the bottoms.  This helps conduct heat so you don’t get hot spots and prevents food from burning.  It is a really great pot and pan set if you want to cook proper meals while camping.

Note that this set comes with a lifter-type handle, not a gripper-type handle. It can be tricky to use, and is difficult to move from one pot to another while cooking.   If you cook with more than one pot at a time, I’d recommend buying a second handle to use with the other pots.

Pros:

  • Heavy bottoms for even cooking
  • Detachable handle
  • Nests really well
  • Can use for campfire cooking
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Handle is hard to remove while cooking
  • Wish it came with a second handle
  • Need to supply your own bungee for securing the set together

Get It Here


 

8. Stanley Even Heat Camp Pro Cookset

stanley even heat camping cookware set

Best for: Frequent campers who love to cook

  • Includes: 4.75 quart pot, 1.9 quart sauce pot, 8.5 inch frying pan, 2 lids, 2 trivets, bungee cord, and folding cutting board, spatula and spoon
  • Material: Stainless steel with multilayer bottom
  • Handle: Folding
  • Weight: 8.2lbs

This camp pots and pan set is designed for serious cooks.  It includes a large pot, sauce pot and a frying pan – which should be adequate for all your camp cooking needs.  The stainless steel construction makes this set very durable.  Stansport put a 3-layer bottom on the cookware so it distributes  heat evenly and you don’t get those annoying hot spots and burnt food.  Cleanup is also a breeze with the stainless steel.

The handles on the smaller pot and pan are fold-away and seem sturdy even when the cookware is full.  I wish they put a bail handle on the bigger pot so you could hang it though.   There are some nice extras with the set too, like a folding camp utensils and even a folding cutting board.

Pros:

  • Great heat distribution
  • Includes folding cutting board, spatula and spoon
  • Very good quality and durability
  • Can use for camping cooking

Cons:

  • Would be nice to have bail handle on bigger pot

Get It Here At Amazon, REI


 

9. Texsport Kangaroo 7 pcs

Best for: Good value lightweight cook set

  • Includes: 2.5 quart pot, 1.5 quart pot, 1 quart pot, 8.75 fry pan, 7.5 inch fry pan, 6.5 inch fry pan, handle
  • Material: Teflon-coated aluminum
  • Handle: Detachable
  • Weight: 2lbs

So long as you understand the downsides of having Teflon-coated pots and pans for camping, this is a great cookware set.  The coating means the pots and pans are easier to clean and you can actually sauté fresh foods without them sticking.  The bottoms are great at distributing heat so you won’t have to constantly stir food to prevent burning.

Not everyone will love that all the pots and pans share one handle.  The pans are also the lids for the pots, so not ideal if you need to use both at the same time.  However, the design is great, it nestles well, and you really can’t beat this camp cookware set when it comes to value.

Pros:

  • Nonstick
  • Great value
  • Mesh bag can be used for drying set
  • Distributes heat well

Cons:

  • Wish it came with another handle
  • Very basic

Get It Here


 

10. Alocs Camp Cookware Set with Heat Exchanger

Best for: Cheap, minimalist pot and pan set that still cooks well

  • Includes: 1.7L pot with 7.5 inch pan/lid
  • Material: Anodized aluminum
  • Handle: Folding
  • Weight: 1.4lbs

Even though this camping pot and pan is cheap, it functions very well.  The heat exchanger feature is not just a gimmick: it actually helps the pot cook faster than pots without the feature.  You’ll appreciate this if camping with a limited fuel supply.

The only real downside of the pot and pan set is that the handles are flimsy.  I’m not sure how well they will hold up in the long term.  You may need to buy a clamp-style handle if they break.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Heat exchanger for efficient cooking
  • Silicone coated handles

Cons:

  • Handles are a bit flimsy

Get It Here


 

11. Snow Peak Trek 1400

Snow Peak Trek titanium ultralight pot for group backpacking

Best for: Group backpacking

  • Includes: 1.4L pot with 0.5L pan lid
  • Material: Titanium
  • Handle: Folding
  • Weight: 7.4oz

Snow Peak makes ultralight pots and pans from titanium.  Their products are made in Japan and great quality.  Most of their titanium cookware is too small for camping but this one is a great size for 1-3 people.  It is only 7.4oz so it is light enough for group backpacking trips too.

The only downsides of the set are what you’d expect from any titanium cookware: there will be some hotspots and it can scratch easily.   Just take care of the set and it will last for dozens of trips.  The pot is 5.5 inches (D) x 4.5 inches (W) and will fit a fuel canister plus backpacking stove inside.

Pros:

  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Fits fuel canister inside
  • Measurements on side of pot

Cons:

  • Very minimalist set

Get It Here At Amazon, REI


 

Best Cast Iron Camp Cookware

If you want to have fun cooking over an open fire or coals, then cast iron cookware is your best bet.  Not all cast iron cookware is suited for camping though.  The ones below have features which make it easier to use on campfires.

12. Lodge Cast Iron Cook It All

lodge cook it all cast iron camping cookware

Best for: Versatile campfire cooking

  • Includes: 14 inch grill/griddle, 6.8 quart wok/skillet and two handles
  • Weight: 29lbs 5oz

This is one of the coolest cast iron cookware for camping.  It consists of only two pieces but you can use them in various configurations:

The main piece is a skillet or wok. Put the lid on top of this and you’ve got a Dutch oven.  Flip it so the lid is on the bottom and it is a pizza oven.  The lid has two sides so you can use it as a grill or griddle.   It comes with a booklet with advice on how to use it.

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Good size for camp cooking
  • Charcoal stays on lid well

Cons:

  • Very heavy

Get It Here At Amazon, REI


 

13. Overmont Dutch Oven with Skillet Lid

overmont camping dutch oven

Best for: Campfire cooking

  • Includes: Pot with skillet lid (4.4Q or 6.6Q sizes)
  • Weight: 14lbs

There are a lot of Dutch ovens you can buy but this one by Overmont is specifically designed for camping and open fire cooking.  For starters, there are legs on the bottom so you can push coals underneath.  The lid has a nice lip to it for holding coals in place.

Another awesome feature is that the lid can be flipped over and used as a skillet.  This gives you much more versatility without having to bring another heavy cast iron item with you.

Note that the listed sizes are a bit confusing.  They are for the TOTAL capacity of the pot plus lid.  The smaller set is a 4.4 quart pot with a 1.6 quart lid. It is ideal for 2-5 people. The larger set has a 6.6 quart pot with a 2.6 quart lid.  It is ideal for 5-8 people.

Pros:

  • Lid also is a skillet
  • Pot has legs and sturdy handle
  • Handle for hanging over fire
  • Large handle for removing lid

Cons:

  • Confusing dimensions

Get It Here


 

14. Bruntmor Cast Iron Camp Cooking Set

Bruntmor Cast Iron Camp Cooking Set

Best for: Cast iron cookware that you can use at home too

  • Includes: 4.5 quart Dutch oven, 2.5 quart pot, 20×9” reversible griddle, 12” skillet, trivet, lid lifter, storage box
  • Weight: 43lbs

You get 4 different cast iron cookware pieces in this kit (plus some extras like the lid lifter). Because it is made in China, it is a lot more affordable than USA-made cast iron like Lodge.  Despite being cheap, it performs really well.

The set isn’t specifically made for camping – there are no legs on the Dutch oven – but it does come with a stand so you can easily use it in a fire or over coals.  There is also a really nice lip on the lid of the Dutch oven lid for holding coals in place.  The entire set is really heavy at about 43lbs and the box, while seemingly nice, will break from the weight.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Use at home or camping
  • Lid has lip for holding coals

Cons:

  • Box will break
  • Very heavy set
  • Made in China

Get It Here


 

How to Choose Camping Cookware

Below are some of the most important things to look at when choosing cookware for camping.

 

Camp Cookware Materials

You’ve got four main options when it comes to camping cookware materials.

Aluminum

  • Pros: It is a very cheap material and incredibly lightweight. It conducts heat well so you won’t get hot spots.
  • Cons: Aluminum is a very soft material so will dent and scratch easily. It isn’t nonstick so is somewhat difficult to clean.  Anodized aluminum is stronger but a bit more expensive.

Stainless Steel

  • Pros: There are a lot of affordable options for stainless steel camping pots and cans. It is a durable material.  It withstands scratching so you can use metal utensils and even use it for campfire cooking.  Most are dishwasher safe.
  • Cons: Stainless steel is heavy, so not great for backpacking trips.  It also doesn’t conduct heat well so you’ll end up with hot spots which can burn food.

Titanium

  • Pros: The main benefit of titanium cookware is that it is incredibly lightweight yet still strong. This is why it is popular with backpackers.
  • Cons: Titanium is very expensive and scratches fairly easily. It doesn’t conduct heat well and you’ll get hot spots which can burn food. It’s best for boiling water for meals and not traditional cooking.

Cast Iron

  • Pros: Cast iron cookware is incredibly durable. You can put it right on a campfire and even bake in it.
  • Cons: Cast iron is insanely heavy and only makes sense for car camping where you won’t have to carry dishes far. There’s also a fairly large learning curve for using cast iron.

Silicone

  • Pros: Some newer camping pots are made from silicone with a metal base. The silicone means the pot is completely collapsible to save space.
  • Cons: If you aren’t careful, it is easy to burn a hole in the silicone pot. There aren’t too many options when it comes to these collapsible camping pots.

Ceramic or Teflon Cookware

  • Pros: The coating makes cleanup easier and you won’t have to use as much oil when cooking.
  • Cons: These pots and pans scratch very easily. With Teflon, the scratched pot is actually health hazard.

 

Does the Camp Cookware Nestle?

Nestling means that the camping cookware will fit inside each other.  This saves you a lot of space and makes packing easier.  Some camping cookware sets come with plates and bowls which also nestle into the pots.  If you want to include other items in the set, make sure there is some extra room.

 

Handle Type

The type of handle on your camping cookware is actually very important.  There are four main types and each has its pros/cons.

Fold-away handles:

  • Pros: These types of handles are found on most cheap camping cookware sets. They are easy to use and the folding design saves space.
  • Cons: The handles can get hot. If it has a rubberized coating, the coating can sometimes melt.  You also can’t use rubberized handle pots for campfire cooking.

Detachable handles:

  • Pros: These handles clip on to the pot or pan. You can use the same handle on multiple pots.  You don’t have to worry about the handle getting too hot and can use the pot for campfire cooking if needed.
  • Cons: The handles can be a big tricky to use, especially if the pot is very heavy.

Bail Handle:

  • Pros: This handle allows you to hang the pot over a campfire. It also makes it easier to pick up very large or heavy pots. Some pots have removable bail handles so you can use them over campfires or on a stove.
  • Cons: If the pot only has a bail handle, you won’t be able to use it on a stove easily.

Attached Handles:

  • Pros: Cast iron camping pots will have an attached handle. This is the only way the handle can be strong enough to hold the weight of the cast iron.
  • Cons: Because the handle doesn’t fold away, it is annoying to pack. The handle also gets very hot, which is why some will come with holders.

 

Do you want to cook over a campfire?

If you are a major foodie and really want to cook over the campfire, then it might be worth getting cast iron camp cookware, like a Dutch oven.   At the very least, you’ll need a bail handle on your camping pot.  You won’t be able to use camp cookware with rubberized handles.

Just be warned that campfire cooking is a lot of work and very impractical in many situations.  However, it’s still nice to have the option to cook over a campfire with your pot.  For example, I’ve run out of fuel while backpacking and was happy I could use my camp pot over a fire.   This would not have been possible if my pot had rubberized handles.

Campfire cobbler cooked in a cast iron Dutch oven

 

Base Width of the Camp Cookware

Consider your stove type when choosing the camping cookware. It is very difficult to balance a large pot on a small backpacking-type canister stove.  Instead, you’ll want to get a tall and skinny pot.  If you are using a larger camping stove, then you’ll be able to use wider pots and pans without trouble.

Pray that the pot doesn’t fall over and spill your food everywhere!

 

Can You Use Metal Utensils with the Cookware?

Be warned that a lot of camping cookware cannot be used with metal utensils.  This includes any cookware which is coated, such as Teflon and ceramic cookware.  It’s also not a good idea to use metal on titanium camping cookware as it scratches easily.

This is easily solved by bringing a plastic or wooden spoon for cooking. But, if you want to use the pots for things like salad serving bowls, then you are better off choosing cookware which is safe for use with metal utensils, such as stainless steel.


Image credit: “Camping cookware” (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by twentysixcats,
Campfire Cobbler in a Dutch Oven” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by Zach K
MacDougall’s Stove” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by peretzp
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About the author /


Diane Vukovic grew up camping and backpacking in upstate New York. Now, she takes her own daughters on wilderness adventures so they can connect with nature and learn resiliency. With dozens of trips under her belt, Diane is an expert in minimalist camping, going lightweight, planning, and keeping her kids entertained without screens.

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