Best Backpacking Frying Pan for Trail Cooking

GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Frypan

Best Backpacking Fry Pan

GSI Outdoors Bugaboo 10' Aluminum Non-Stick Fry Pan for Camping, Home, Backpacking at The Cabin

It was a tough decision because there are so many fantastic backpacking frying pans, but we chose the GSI Bugaboo as the best overall because this product has a lot to offer backpackers. For starters, it comes in four different sizes. None of the other frying pans on the list have this many size options. This allows you to somewhat “customize” your selection.

Of course, quality is always a significant factor in determining the best. The Bugaboo frying pan has it – it’s made of high-grade aluminum alloy and features a non-stick Teflon coating. This is important because who wants to scrub pans in the middle of the woods? The aluminum allows you to evenly cook your food while the Teflon keeps it from sticking a burning.

The GSI Bugaboo frying pan is a great choice. Is it perfect? No. It’s a bit on the heavy side at 12.9 ounces, but this isn’t impossibly heavy, and the handle folds, making it easy to transport. We would recommend this frying pan to any backpacker.

The Best Frying Pans For Backpacking of 2024

Living off the land can be fun…at first. Eventually, you’ll probably want something hot and full of protein. Maybe you’ll even want to enjoy some warm soup. Having a great frying pan can make mealtime a piece of cake.

There are a lot of excellent backpacking frying pans that are lightweight and fit comfortably with your backcountry cooking gear. Don’t settle for the first one you come across, and don’t let price alone dictate what you buy. Choosing one may take a bit of time, considering the options you must navigate through, but this guide will point you in the right direction.

Keep reading to find out everything you’ll ever need to know about choosing a backpacking frying pan.

Looking for a New Camping Fry Pan?

In this guide, we’ll cover topics such as:

  • Qualities you should consider when choosing a camp frying pan.
  • How to care for a backpacking fry pan.
  • Reviews of the best backpacking frying pans, and our #1 pick.

How to Choose the Best Fry Pan for Backpacking

You may think it’s okay just to pick a camping frying pan and go, but doing this may cause you to end up with an unusable pan. There are quite a few qualities about backpacking frying pans that you should consider when choosing one. Below are the most important qualities you should pay attention to.

Cooking Performance

The cooking performance of your frying pan will largely depend on what you plan to cook. Not every backpacking cookware set is suitable for everything. Uncoated stainless steel is the material that’s closest to being a universal choice. You can cook anything from meats to pasta in this type of frying pan. However, uncoated stainless steel can be hard to clean.

Uncoated cast-iron frying pans, also called cast iron skillets, are a second great choice. They are great for cooking meat and can handle extremely high levels of heat. Unfortunately, they are cumbersome, high maintenance and better suited for car camping.

The third choice for excellent cooking performance is an anodized aluminum frying pan. Aluminum distributes heat evenly and is lightweight. However, as the coating wears off, it can stain your food or give it a bitter taste. Aluminum isn’t the best choice if you’re going to use the frying pan frequently.

Titanium cookware sets are a popular choice because products that are made from it are usually high-quality products. Titanium frying pans are expensive and the hardest pan to clean, but they cook meals well and lasts a lot longer than any other type.

Another choice worth mentioning is the non-stick frying pan. Non-stick frying pans are very convenient because you don’t have to worry about carrying around oil, and they’re easy to clean. These types of pans are great for delicate backpacking foods.

Packability & Weight

With any backpacking adventure, pack space and pack weight are hugely important. So, since you’ll be backpacking, you want something that can fit in your bag without taking up too much space or being so heavy that it’s a burden to carry. Many backpacking pans have folding handles to make them more compact. Some are even stackable if you want to bring more than one.

The weight of the frying pan is mostly going to depend on the material it’s made from. Cast iron is the heaviest material, so it will be the most tedious to carry, and in all honesty, is best reserved for car camping. If you get a cast iron pan, you should stick to smaller ones. On the other hand, aluminum is the lightest pan you can carry. It would be easier to take a large aluminum pan because they’re so light.


You want something durable – something that can handle a campfire, a wood camp stove, or any amount of heat you apply to it. Certain materials are better for durability than others. Cast iron is going to be the most durable material you can get. It’s sturdy, and it handles heat like a champ. Sure, you sacrifice the lightweight quality, but if you stick with smaller frying pans, the weight won’t be a big deal.

Stainless steel is another one that’s great for enduring high temperatures. While stainless steel frying pans may have a slightly higher price than others, if you can fit them in your budget, you’ll have a durable pan that looks good and cooks great.

When considering any frying pan, you also need to take the brand into account. Some brands are simply better than others because the manufacturers put more into production than others do. The brands we’ve listed in this guide are some of the top ones out there.

Ease of Use

How hard can it be to use a frying pan, right? Ideally, you put the frying pan on the heat, put your food in, cook it, and eat it. However, some things can make it challenging to use a frying pan. For example, if the handle is too short, you might burn yourself. If the pan is too thin, you might burn your meal. Both situations would make it more difficult to use your pan. Make sure you keep this in mind as you shop.


There are a few features that can make a backpacking frying pan a lot more desirable. One of the most critical design elements is folding handles. Portability is essential here, so you need to be able to fold the handle so it will fit in your cooking gear. Some handles fold flush to the pan, while others may fold sideways or detach altogether.

Another feature to look for is whether the frying pan has a rim. Many backpacking fry pans have a curved lip, while others have a straight edge. Straight sides are great for cooking liquids such as soup. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use one for the other. Rim choice is more a matter of personal preference.

Caring for Your Pan

If you take care of your backpacking frying pan, it will last you for a long time. Each different type of frying pan has a specific way to take care of it for the best results. Of course, if you’re camping in the middle of the woods, you won’t have access to regular dish cleaning tools such as a dishwasher or a sink, so you’ll need to use some alternative methods.

The easiest to clean is the non-stick frying pan, which is why it’s so popular among backpackers. You only need to wipe it out with a soft cloth, soap, and water. Any type of abrasive cleaner will damage the non-stick surface.

Your Camp Kitchen System

It’s also worth considering your current camp kitchen setup, and how a new frying pan could fill in the gaps “in service” between your current camping pots or camping mess kits.

In addition, don’t forget to consider the full weight and “packability” of all your kitchen gear, from your camping utensil set, and your best camping dinnerware in addition to your pots, pans and stove.

Cast iron skillets are also easy to clean. The most significant difference between this frying pan and a non-stick frying pan is that you should clean a cast-iron skillet while it’s still warm. Wipe the residue from the skillet with a paper towel or soft cloth, then clean it with a soft cloth, soap, and water. Uncoated cast iron skillets should be oiled after washing so that they won’t rust.

Stainless steel fry pans can take a while. You don’t want to scrub it with an abrasive scrubber because that will reduce the life of the frying pan. Instead, soak it in warm water until the stuck-on bits and pieces soften. If there are burn marks on the bottom of the pan, use baking soda to rub them away. Most importantly, be patient. This process could take a while.

Titanium frying pans are the ones you’ll probably need to use an abrasive cleaning sponge for. If you have stuck on/burnt on food, boiling water in the frying pan to soften it up. Then put in some elbow grease to scrub it off.

The Best Backpacking Frying Pans Reviewed

MSR Alpine Fry Pan

Most Even-Heating Fry Pan

MSR Alpine Stainless Steel Camping Fry Pan
  • Stainless steel construction is incredibly strong and offers the ultimate in durability
  • Aluminum bottom disc provides better heat distribution than steel alone
  • Handle is removable and allows for nesting in the MSR 3L Alpine pot (not included)
  • 7.7 in (19.6 cm) in diameter and 1.9 in (4.8cm) tall. Weighs 11.4 oz (323 g)

The MSR Alpine Fry Pan was made with the camper in mind. It’s lightweight, and one of the highest quality fry pans on the list. The Alpine is made of stainless steel and features an aluminum disc welded to the bottom of the pan. This aluminum disc is responsible for the even-heating you’ll experience when cooking in the Alpine fry pan. Aluminum has superb heat conductivity.

The MSR Alpine fry pan is middle-of-the-road when it comes to weight. It’s a typical-sized eight-inch pan that weighs in at 11.4 ounces. It’s about two inches deep. The handle is detachable, so it can easily fit in with the rest of your gear.

If you happen to invest in other cookware from the MSR Alpine line, the good news is that this product is stackable. You’ll save space while having an excellent pan for your food.


  • Detachable handle.
  • Aluminum disc for even-heating.
  • Pan has a v-shaped indenture to pour liquids easily.


  • Handle is shaped strangely and is thin.
  • No lid available for the pan.

Bottom Line: The MSR Alpine has a lot of desirable qualities and would make an excellent product for any backpacker.

Stansport Stainless Steel Mess Kit

Best Cook Set for Camping

Stansport Stainless Steel Mess Kit Copper Bottom (360)
  • SAFE TO USE DINNERWARE: This metal mess kit includes 1 boiling pot with lid, 1 frying pan with locking handle, and 1 stainless steel plate. They're all made of rugged, high-quality stainless steel with copper bottoms for uniform heat distribution.
  • PERFECT TRAVEL COOKWARE: This 3-piece set nests together and packs into its own included nylon mesh cover. Individually sized for any outdoor adventure like hiking, camping, or tailgating, this kit fits in your backpack, bag, or survival gear.
  • SLEEK AND STYLISH: You can never go wrong with the beauty and durability of stainless steel, and this kit is sure to make the pots and pans in your kitchen jealous!
  • COMPACT MAGIC: Look no further boys and girls, this steel mess kit sets compactly together so there is no need for a surplus of dinnerware when you're traveling or on-the-go. It makes it easier than ever to cook a full meal and quickly clean it up.
  • USE WITH OTHER COOKING ACCESSORIES: This lightweight cooking equipment pairs perfectly with other cooking supplies such as pots, pans, dishes, plates, bowls, utensils. The world is your kitchen with this Mess Kit, which can be used on any stove.

If you plan to do some serious cooking, you might want to go for a whole set of cookware instead of just a fry pan. The four-piece set comes with a boiling pot with a lid, pan, and a plate. The Stansport Kit has everything you need to make a two-course meal quickly, and it’s in an incredibly affordable price range.

The cookware is made from stainless steel and features copper plates on the bottom. Copper doesn’t cool as fast as aluminum, so you’ll have to make sure that you’re careful when you pull the pieces from the heat.

The handle on this model is the most impressive feature of this set. The pot and lid stack inside and the plate flips and stacks on top as a cover. You can then fold the handle over the plate to secure the whole cooking system and make it ready for transport.


  • The kit is stackable and compact.
  • Copper on the bottom for even heating.
  • Very affordable.


  • Handle is long and awkward.
  • The metal is thin.

Bottom Line: This is an affordable kit that won’t take up much more space than a single frying pan would.

GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Frypan

Our Top Pick

GSI Outdoors Bugaboo 10" Aluminum Non-Stick Fry Pan for Camping, Home, Backpacking at The Cabin
  • GOURMET CAMPFIRE COOKING: With this aluminum fry pan, you will be able to create gourmet meals while camping, backpacking, or relaxing at the cabin.
  • SAFETY FIRST: GSI's SureLock folding handle provides a sturdy, stable grip over the stove top or grill to prevent any accidents from happening
  • EASY CLEAN-UP: We know that cleaning up is always a hassle. With the Bugaboo's Teflon non-stick coating however, food won't stick on the pan, and makes clean-up fast and easy.
  • CONVENIENT AND COMPACT: Weighing only 17. 7 ounces and measuring 11. 1 x 10. 6 x 2. 8 inches, the Bugaboo Frypan's handle folds into the pan for convenient storage and transport.
  • LIFETIME PROMISE: GSI Outdoors spent over 30 years building quality, performance products and stands behind them 100%. GSI Outdoors

GSI is a company that is known for producing high-quality outdoor products. This Bugaboo is a perfect example of their line of goods. Not only is it a great frying pan, but it’s available in four different sizes so you can be sure to get what you need out of it. The available sizes are 8″, 10″, 12″, and 14″ fry pans.

One of it’s top features is that it’s made of heavy-gauge aluminum construction. While that means it will be slightly heavier than others (12.8 ounces), it also means that you won’t burn your food as quickly, and the product will last longer. To make it even better, it has a non-stick Teflon coating, so your food is protected from burning and sticking.


  • Comes in four sizes
  • Handle folds inward and flat.
  • Has a non-stick Teflon coatings.


  • It’s heavy.
  • Can’t be used for campfires.

Bottom Line: You can cook the perfect amount of food the first time around by choosing a size that will work for you and/or your group.

Sea to Summit X-Pan

Sea to Summit X-Pan Aluminum Camping Frying Pan, 8-Inch, Orange
  • Lightweight and durable 8-inch fry pan designed for cooking on camp stoves
  • Compact stainless-steel handles fold up for use and down for transport
  • Heat-resistant silicone grips are easy to grip and tuck away when stored
  • Hard-anodized aluminum material provides even heat distribution
  • Nests with Sea to Summit 2.8-liter X-Pot. Weight 8.6oz

The Sea to Summit X-pan is a remarkable product. It’s made of hard-anodized 6063 aluminum, which is both lightweight and very durable. It resists scratches from metal utensils and abrasive scrubbers, and it’s built to last a long time if you take care of it.

The product features impressive silicon handles that fold underneath for easy transport. Unlike other pans, the handles are a manageable size, so they aren’t excessively long. Not only that but it is stackable with another Sea Summit product – the X-pot, so you’ll have room for the whole cooking system.

The X-pan is a nine-inch diameter pan and only weighs 9.6 ounces. The product is easy to clean, but keep in mind that food may stick to it if you don’t use enough oil.


  • Silicone handles are BPA-free.
  • Silicone is heat resistant up to 440 degrees.
  • Easy to clean.


  • Creates a central “hot spot” that can burn your food.
  • Not dishwasher safe.

Bottom Line: The size and weight of the X-pan, plus the compact handles make it perfect for backpacking.

GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Frypan

Our Pick for Rugged Use

The GSI Outdoors Glacier is a robust and durable product that is the epitome of outdoor cookware. It’s made of a heavy-duty gauge premium 304 (18/8) stainless steel construction and features an aluminum core for even heating and no hot spots on the cooking area. The pan has a laser-etched non-stick surface. Even though the non-stick coating doesn’t cover the sides of the pan, it makes it easier than ever to release food from the bottom. This pan has a mix of materials that make it the perfect choice for “roughing it” in the woods.

The product is a little on the heavy side, weighing 17.9 ounces. It’s a standard, eight-inch model and has a handle that folds inward. Besides the weight, it’s easy to carry around.


  • Has a good mix of material.
  • Superior non-stick pan surface.
  • Can be used on a campfire.


  • Non-stick coating doesn’t cover the sides.
  • It’s heavy.

Bottom Line: If durability is your number one concern for cookware, you can’t go wrong with the GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Frypan.

Primus Campfire Fry Pan

Most Suited for Open Fires

Primus Campfire Frying Pan, 21cm
  • Package length: 6.4 cm
  • Package width: 18.2 cm
  • Package height: 23.0 cm
  • Product Type:DISHWARE PLATE

If you plan to cook on an open fire, you need a pan that can handle that amount of heat. The Primus Campfire was explicitly designed for this application. It’s made with 18/8 stainless steel and has an aluminum bottom for even heat distribution and no hot spots. The construction of the product is impeccable. It won’t warp, and you can continuously clean it back to its original shine.

You can get this model in two different sizes: eight-inch and ten-inch. It comes with a handy storage bag, and the handle easily detaches for easy packing.


  • Has aluminum bottom for even heating.
  • Can be used with a 10” Revereware skillet lid.
  • Handle is very sturdy.


  • It’s heavy for backpacking.
  • It’s expensive.

Bottom Line: The Primus Campfire is a bit on the heavy side at 16.6 ounces, but well worth it if you’re going to cook on an open fire.

MSR Quick Skillet

Most Lightweight Fry Pan

MSR Quick Skillet Hard-Anodized Aluminum Camping Cookware
  • Constructed from a nonstick, hard-anodized aluminum
  • 7-inch cooking surface
  • Ultralight, quick release Talon pot handle
  • Total weight: 5.6 oz
  • Aluminum is the cookware of choice for all-around backcountry use. It conducts heat evenly, is easy to clean when hard anodized and even easier when coated with a nonstick finish. It is also extremely efficient.

Some people have a lot of gear and need something that will add as little extra weight as possible. The MSR Quick Skillet fits that bill perfectly. It’s incredibly lightweight at only 5.9 ounces – it’s the lightest model on the list. It’s a standard eight-inch fry pan with a detachable handle, so it’s effortless to carry with your backpacking gear.

The pan is constructed from aluminum with a nonstick Duralite DX coating. The aluminum handle is covered with talon to keep it cooler than other grips. Best of all, it’s stackable with other MSR camping cookware.


  • Great non-stick pan coating.
  • Handle is very sturdy.
  • Very easy to clean.


  • The plastic piece holding the handle in place could melt.
  • Thin metal – not great for high heat

Bottom Line: This is our top choice for people whose primary concern is a lightweight product.

Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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