Best Camping Cookware for Outdoor Adventures

Winterial Camping Cookware and Pot Set

Best Camping Cookware

Winterial Camping Cookware and Pot Set, 10 Piece Set for Camping, Backpacking, Hiking, Trekking

The Winterial camping cookware set checks off so many boxes for such a wide variety of different camping situations that it is difficult to see any other option taking this spot. For one, this camping cookware comes with ten different pieces, but it even includes dishware as well as a cleaning scrub too.

As if that were not enough, the Winterial camping cookware set features some of the best camping specs for hiking campers as well. For example, this camping cookware has the second-smallest footprint we reviewed at only 6 ¾” x 3 ½” as well as being one of the lightest sets on our list at only 1 ½ pounds.

Outside of the dishware, the Winterial camping cookware set is also one of the few options we found that includes a kettle, which makes boiling water that much easier. The plastic handles and Teflon non-stick coating also make this one of the easier cook sets to use as well.

Bottom Line: For a pair of campers that do not want to worry about lugging around large, heavy cookware but still want plenty of options, the Winterial camping cookware set has you covered.

Introduction

Camping involves a lot of preparation from where you plan to camp, how you are going to get there, and setting up your site. Of course, once all of the “hard stuff” is taken care of, you still need gear for the day to day living.

One of the easiest things to take for granted when planning a trip is how you plan to prepare good food for camping. Traditional kitchen cooking implements are not generally ideal for camping since you need to consider size and weight.

That is why we put together our list of the nine best camping cookware reviews of 2020, highlighting what each set does best. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide so you understand how to choose the best camping cookware for your next outdoor adventure.

Looking for the Best Camping Cookware Sets?

You’re in the right place! In this guide we will be covering the following:

  • The differences between car camping and backpacking cook sets.
  • What features are important when deciding between the best camping cookware sets?
  • Reviews of the best camping cookware sets
  • Our unbiased

How to Choose the Best Camping Cook Set for Your Needs

Construction Materials

Hard Anodized-Aluminum

This is one of the more commonly used materials for camping cookware due to its combination of durability and weight. Hard-anodized aluminum does not add more weight than traditional aluminum oxide, but it is a good bit stronger than lower grades of aluminum oxide.

Aluminum Oxide

This arrangement of the oxide compound provides a similar level and type of protection against chemical wear as the hard-anodized version. Much in the same way, aluminum oxide forms a relatively inert and durable surface coating that protects the cookware from general wear and tear. Even better, this level of protection does not cost as much as hard anodized-aluminum, though it is not as strong either.

8/18 Stainless Steel

While a bit heavier than most of the aluminum alloys used, stainless steel is also significantly stronger than aluminum. On top of that, stainless steel provides a more even heat distribution to get a better cooking result than other materials.

Halulite

Halulite is a proprietary alloy owned and used by GSI Outdoors company that coats hard-anodized aluminum in a hard garnet coating to prevent scratching or the need for Teflon. This is one of the lighter materials available that also provides a bit more durability than other options. This allows GSI Outdoors camping cookware to provide larger cooking capacities without adding too much weight.

Features to Consider

Cooking Performance & Capacity

Cooking performance is important regardless of the type of camping that you do with steel generally cooking better than aluminum alloys. As a sweeping generalization, the aluminum pots more readily form hot spots than their steel counterparts which heat more evenly. On occasion, some camping cookware includes minor features that attempt to reduce hot spots and promote evenness and speed of heat distribution.

The capacity matters more if you have a larger group, though some of those members can supplement by bringing their cookware as well.

Packability & Weight

Weight and packability matter significantly more if you are planning to hike or go backpacking for a longer distance before setting up your campsite. Stuffing cast iron cookware in with your camping gear is one way to work up a sweat on the trail. In this situation look for lighter and more minimalistic sets that compact down well.

If you are just going car camping and will set up next to your vehicle, you do not have to worry about the weight and packability quite as much. A cook set for camping should pack into itself to reduce its footprint while a storage bag is always a nice bonus.

Durability

Thankfully, most camping cooking sets are made out of durable materials, though their long term durability can vary a bit. The main thing to consider is how easily the materials scratch and how long any coatings last, particularly if using metal utensils (Ed: If your spork is looking a little dated, then check out our review of the best camping utensils. Thankfully, most backpacking cookware uses naturally water-resistant materials, so you should not have to worry about rust too much.

Ease of Use

The two main aspects to consider here is how easy are they to use, and how easy to clean are they?

Ease of use largely comes down to how easy are the pots, frying pan, lid, etc to handle. The handles or grab points, should be large and easily accessible enough to be able to cook without burning yourself. The grabbing points should be made out of plastic or silicone to prevent you from accidentally burning your hands.

Pots and frying pans that stick and burn easily are a nightmare to clean in a well-stocked home kitchen, so trying to scrape dense carbon off your frying pan will put a damper on your backpacking trip. Easy to clean pots, pans and frying pans are the order of the day here.

Additional brownie points awarded to cook sets that include handy features like a lid that can act as a sieve. Just make sure that you’re cookware compliments what you already have in your mess kit – if you currently don’t have one, then check out our reviews to find the best backpacking mess kit for you.

Number & Type of Pieces

Depending on what and how you intend to cook, you may need to look for a camping cook set that has pots and pans, mess kits and plates to cater for a wide range gourmet outdoor cuisine. Alternatively, if you’re one or two people and are backpacking light, then two pots and a mess kit are possibly everything you need to cook.

Similarly, the number of pieces – multiple pots and pans, camping skillet and a mess kit area cook set more suited to large groups who are car camping. Some of the bigger kits even include a camping plate set.

Value

This comes down more to what you need from your camp cookware and making sure you do not pay for extras that will not get used. For example, plenty of backpacking cooking sets include lids that can double as plates with the removal of straining holes. If you are an avid camper, then it might make more sense to look for a set that is scratch-resistant.

Best Camping and Backpacking Cookware Sets Reviewed

MSR Alpine 4 Pot Set

Best Camping Cookware for Durability

MSR Alpine 4 Pot Set
  • Strong: Stainless steel offers the ultimate in durability.
  • Compact: Efficient nesting design saves valuable pack room
  • Multi-Function: Lid fits both pots and can be used as a plate.
  • Weight 3 lbs 2 oz / 1398 g

The MSR Alpine takes a pretty straightforward approach, compared to some of the other options on our list, which pays off in a couple of important ways. First, this kit uses more stainless steel than any other product we reviewed, which allows it to be the most durable entry on our list.

The material composition also means that the MSR Alpine cooks more evenly and distributes heat better than many alternatives we came across too.

One surprising quality of the MSR Alpine is how well it complements itself, with a relatively small packed footprint of 9 ½” x 4 ¾”. However, the awe-inspiring element about this small footprint is that this model still manages to provide one of the larger capacities on our list at 3 L.

On the other hand, the use of so much stainless steel does have its downside as the MSR Alpine is one of the heavier products we encountered at 3.12 pounds. Also, this is not one of the easier to clean cook sets to use with no non-stick coating or silicone handholds.

PROS

  • Is a less expensive cookware set
  • Has a larger capacity
  • Has a smaller footprint
  • Made of stainless steel

CONS

  • Is heavier cookware
  • Not easy to use

Bottom line: Thanks to a nearly complete stainless steel construction, the MSR Alpine 4 cooking pot set is one of the most durable and evenly cooking camping cookware sets we found.

GSI Outdoors Glacier Cookset

Easiest Camping Cookware to Use

GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Steel Base Camper - Medium - 3 Pieces Cookset - Compact, Durable Pot Pan for Camping
  • Car Camping Essential This 3-piece stainless steel cook set is ideal for cooking for groups of 4+! Both sizes include 2 Strainer Lids 9" Fry Pan Stuff Sack Large Size also includes 5L Pot 3L Pot Medium Size also includes 3L Pot 2L Pot
  • Cook Like a Chef Safe to use on the stove or over coals while providing an Incredibly even controlled heat Teflon free!
  • Durability and Design Indestructible stainless steel and compact nesting design means that all your cooking needs can store in a small footprint!
  • Value When compared to other materials such as aluminum or Titanium stainless steel material makes this Camp set more durable but lighter on your wallet
  • GSI Outdoors spent over 30 years building quality performance products and stands behind them 100% GSI Outdoors warranties all products for the original owner against manufacturing defects for the lifetime of the product

The GSI Outdoors Glacier Cookset focusing on ease of use over most other qualities. You can see this clearly through this camping cookware’s heavy use of silicone at various handling points, so you do not have to worry about burning your hands while handling the pieces.

Another great quality of the Glacier Cookset and GSI Outdoors camping cookware, in general, is the large capacity with this option featuring a 3 L capacity. Aside from a large capacity, this camping cookware set is also made out of stainless steel.

This composition allows the GSI Outdoors Glacier Cookset to cook food more evenly and distribute the heat better than many of its competitors. It also does not hurt that this is one of the more durable camping cook sets, despite the use of silicone at many points.

On the other hand, this is also somewhat cumbersome and large camping cookware set at 2.8 pounds and 8” x 5.7” respectively.

PROS

  • Has a larger capacity
  • Made of stainless steel
  • Has silicone handles
  • Has folding handles

CONS

  • Is a more expensive cookware set
  • Not many pieces

Bottom line: Thanks to the numerous silicone parts, collapsible handles, and straining lids, the GSI Outdoors Glacier Cookset is easier to use than most of its competitors.

Winterial Camping Cookware and Pot Set

Best All-Around Value Camping Cookware

Winterial Camping Cookware and Pot Set, 10 Piece Set for Camping, Backpacking, Hiking, Trekking
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: Only 1.5lbs, this set is perfect for any backpacking adventure.
  • COMPACT with CARRYING BAG: All of the pieces are stored together and extremely portable in their convenient carry.
  • 10 PEICE SET: The pot, frying pan and tea kettle are made of solid and light aluminum oxide, which is high-temperature and friction-resistant. Making this set very durable.
  • NON-STICK: Each piece has a non-stick teflon coating for easy cleaning and durability.
  • OutdoorGearLab consumers Best Buy Choice award!

The Winterial camping cookware and pot set clears the bar for value and leaves most of the competition in the dust. A big part of the value is that this product also comes with ten different pieces.

However, these pieces include more than just cookware as the Winterial also comes with dishware, serving ware and a cleaning sponge. What makes this even more impressive is that this model is one of the lightest on our list at only 1.5 pounds.

That said, this cook set is one of the few we found that only uses aluminum oxide for its material, which is not as durable over the long run as other materials. On top of that, the non-stick Teflon coating does not perform well at all as scrambled eggs stick to the pan, which often leads to scratches when cooking.

On the other hand, the lightweight design of the Winterial also features one of the more packable profiles on our list with a footprint of 6 ¾” x 3 ½”. The handles are made out of plastic and collapse around the sides of the pots to reduce the footprint further.

PROS

  • Tends to the lower end of the price scale
  • Is lightweight cookware
  • Has a smaller footprint
  • Has ten pieces

CONS

  • Not the best material
  • Is not non-stick

Bottom line: The Winterial camping cookware and pot set may not top our list in many categories, but it offers the best combination of specs to value.

GSI Outdoors – Bugaboo Base Camper

Largest Capacity Camping Cookware

GSI Outdoors, Bugaboo Base Camper, Nesting Cook Set, Superior Backcountry Cookware Since 1985, Large
  • TOUGH IN ANY TERRAIN: The Bugaboo Base Camper's included pots and frypan are coated with Teflon Classic for amazing non-stick performance. This set comes in three sizes, small, medium, and large, so you can find the perfect set for you.
  • COMPACT CAMPING: The set is ingeniously designed to nest into the stuff sack that doubles as a sink for washing. The small weighs 2lbs 7oz, medium 2lbs 10oz, and large 3lbs 4oz.
  • FEAST IN THE FOREST: The Bugaboo Base Camper is perfect for family camping. Every set includes two pots, a frypan, two nylon strainer lids, a cutting board, a folding pot handle, and a stuff sack/sink. The pot and lid combo are perfect for stovetop use.
  • ADVENTURE READY: Features a folding gripper handle that locks on to exterior brackets to make cooking a breeze. Plus, once you're done it can be easily removed and stored.
  • IT'S ALL ABOUT THE OUTDOORS: In 1985 three siblings motivated by their love for the outdoors founded the camping and backcountry cookware company GSI Outdoors. Three decades later GSI continues to bring quality cookware to outdoor lovers everywhere.

GSI Outdoors makes another appearance on our list, but this time the company focuses on feeding a large group of people. With two pots and a frying pan, the GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Base Camper set includes the most massive capacity pot on our list at 5 L, which is a full 1.5 L larger than the next closest competitor.

Even better, this model makes sure it is easier to use with a removable folding pot handle and silicone components to help you lift hot cookware. On top of that, the GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Base Camper also features side-straining nylon pot lids and a non-stick Teflon coating for easier cooking and cleanup.

While this GSI Outdoors also uses Halulite, it is still a bit bigger and heavier than many of its competitors at 10” x 6” and 3.25 pounds, respectively. Also, the overall value of this camping cookware drops a bit with only eight different pieces.

Thankfully, the GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Base Camper is one of the more durable options we came across, which helps increase its value. Not to mention that the use of side straining lids means you can use this product’s lids as plates in a pinch.

PROS

  • Has a larger capacity
  • Has a non-stick coating
  • Is easy to use
  • Has a good case

CONS

  • Is a more expensive cookware set
  • Is heavier cookware

Bottom line: If you have a large group and need to cook more food, the GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Base Camper can handle your feasts better than any other product we came across.

Stanley Adventure Base 4X Camp Cook Set

Best Car Camping Cooking Set

Sale
Stanley Base Camp Cook Set for 4 | 21 Pcs Nesting Cookware Made from Stainless Steel & BPA Free Material | Incl Pot, lid, Cutting Board, Spatula, Plates, Spoons, Forks, Bowls, Dish Rack, Trivet
  • 21 NESTED COMPONENTS: (1) 3 5L pot, vented lid, (1) 7" 3-ply frying pan, (1) cutting board, (1) spatula, (1) serving spoon, (4) 6" plates, (4) 22oz bowls, (4) sporks, (1) dish drying rack, (1) heat resistant trivet, (1) locking bungee
  • TOUGH AND DURABLE: Manufactured using 18/8 stainless steel this cooking set is strong, scratch proof and rustproof No maintenance other than washing is required, making this cookware easy-to-use and reliable for every trip
  • SPACE SAVING: This comes fully loaded with 21 different pieces that can cook meals for small or large groups without taking up too much space The kit all nests together (instructions are engraved in the lid), making this compact and easy to transport
  • EASY TO CLEAN: You should spend your time adventuring, not cleaning – that’s why we’ve made our cookware easy to clean A basic clean needs just soap and warm water or a paper towel while steel wool can be used for deeper cleans
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY: ‘Built for life’ is a motto we’ve stood by since 1913 with our promise to provide rugged, capable gear for food and drink, built to last a lifetime It’s a promise we still keep Our products come with a lifetime warranty

The Stanley Adventure Base 4x Camp Cool set focuses more on large camping groups. This is most notably apparent with the inclusion of a whopping 21 different pieces, easily the most number of pieces on our list.

As if that were not enough, the Base 4X also comes with dishware for four people as well as various odds and ends like a dish drying rack. To keep up with your large camping group, this product also features one of the largest capacities on our list as well at 3.5 L.

Of course, all of these different pieces have to go somewhere, and the Base 4X has one of the larger packed footprints on our list at 11” x 6”. Making it easily the heaviest kits that we reviewed at 5.6 pounds, more than a pound heavier than the next heaviest, thus making it most suitable for car camping than backpacking.

Still, the Base 4X set uses stainless steel for the cooking implements, which is more durable and cooks better than most other materials. The other pieces use either BPA-free plastic or silicone to cut down on weight while still being safe and easy to use.

PROS

  • Is a less expensive cookware set
  • Has a larger capacity
  • Has 21 pieces
  • Has a full set

CONS

  • Is heavier cookware
  • Has a larger footprint

Bottom line: For everything all in one place, the Stanley Adventure Base 4X camp cook set provides more and different pieces than any other option on our list

Sea to Summit Alpha Cook Set 2.1

Best Backpacking Mess Kit for Two People

Sea to Summit Alpha 2 Bowls 2 Mugs Cook Set 2.1, Grey, 1.9 L Pot
  • Lightweight, hard-anodized pot with graded measurement scale and textured base for better grip on stoves
  • Patent-pending silicone grip stainless steel pivot-lock handle
  • Easy flow strainer pot lid for efficient draining
  • Bowls and cups are ergonomically shaped
  • Bowls and mugs made of strong yet light glass-reinforced Polypropylene

The Sea to Summit Alpha Cook Set 2.1 puts all of its focus on comfort and making sure you have the simple things. For example, this is the only product on our list that includes insulated mugs, and these mugs even have lids too.

That said, by far, one of the most impressive qualities of the Sea to Summit Alpha Cook Set 2.1 is its weight comes in a list-low 1.15 pounds or around the same weight as a can of soup. Of course, this lightweight design also lends itself to a smaller footprint as it is only 6 ½” x 4 ⅘” when packed.

The Sea to Summit Alpha Cook Set 2.1 might not provide the best value we found due to the few number of pieces included. Aside from the cups and lids, this product only comes with one pot and lid and two bowls & plates.

Thankfully, everything except the pot is made out of BPA-free plastic or silicone, making it easier to use and clean. The lid has solid strainer holes while the Sea to Summit Alpha Cook Set 2.1 pot includes a patent-pending pivot-lock handle to keep everything in place.

PROS

  • Has a smaller footprint
  • Is lightweight cookware
  • Has bowls and cups
  • Is easy to use

CONS

  • Is a more expensive cookware set
  • Not many cooking pieces

Bottom line: When hiking long treks to your campsite, the Sea to Summit Alpha Cook Set 2.1 sheds ounces better than the other models we found.

Terra Hiker Camping Cookware

Best Backpacking Cook Set on a Budget

Terra Hiker Camping Cookware, Nonstick, Lightweight Pots, Pans with Mesh Set Bag for Backpacking, Hiking, Picnic
  • Cooking Performance: The Camping pot boils 400 ml water only in 2 minutes 30 seconds; and it is ease of use, it will be a great help whether you are going to make breakfast, lunch and dinner with friends, or hike in for romantic picnics, as well as overnight excursions
  • Nonstick Pots & Pans: The camping cookware is made of safe and non-toxic aluminum with non-stick coating for easy cleaning; bowls and serving ladle are made of food-grade PP plastic
  • Heat-Resistant Handles: Thermally insulated plastic handles keep your fingers safe from the heat; anti-slip design offers a firm and comfortable grip in your hands
  • Compact & Portable: This camping cookware is space saving and compactable; a nylon mesh bag is provided to pack all the items neatly for easy carrying. It designs to pack up small and take up little room, so that you barely feel the weight within the pack on your back
  • Great for Outdoor Kitchen: The camping cookware comes equipped with all of your kitchen essentials, offering an ideal solution for boiling water and cooking food outdoors. This set is perfect for camping, backpacking, hiking, and more

As a newer company, Terra Hiker cannot rely on name-recognition or a well-earned, so they have to get their start with competitive values. Thankfully, the Terra Hiker still gets the basics down, too, with the cookware made out of anodized aluminum and featuring a non-stick coating.

As such, it should come as little surprise that the Terra Hiker set is our best budget cookware. Still, this mess kit’s value does not preclude utility as this set comes with 13 different pieces.

Aside from the 3 primary cooking implements you expect, the Terra Hiker also comes with plastic plates, plastic bowls, a ladle, and even a rice spoon– not to mention a cleaning loofah. Pretty much everything you need. Unfortunately, you cannot get a full cookware and dishware set without taking up a good bit more space than others, and the Terra Hiker has one of the largest packed footprints at 12 ½” x 8”.

On top of that, all of these different pieces also account for 3 pounds of weight, though it is one of the lighter full cook sets we found. It also does not hurt that it includes collapsible plastic handles for easier use.

PROS

  • Is a less expensive cookware set
  • Has 13 pieces
  • Has a full set
  • Easy to clean

CONS

  • Is heavier cookware
  • Has a larger footprint

Bottom line: The Terra Hiker mess kit offers plenty of pieces that are easier to use and offers one of the better values we found.

Optimus Terra HE Cookset Panset

Best Cooking Camping Cookware Mess Kit

Optimus 8019750 Terra HE Cook Set (Non-stick + BOB Sponge) Cook Sets
  • Country Of Origin: China
  • Item Package Dimensions: 12.6 L X 22.1 W X 22.3 H (Cm)
  • Item Package Weight: 0.886 kgs
  • Product Type: Dishware Plate

Optimus Terra makes it a point to offer the best camp cooking performance that you can get. By far, the biggest feature to this end is the inclusion of a heat exchanger at the base of the largest pot.

This allows the Optimus Terra HE pot to heat up quickly and distribute the heat more evenly than competitors without a heat exchanger. To further provide a superior cooking experience, this model is made out of hard-anodized aluminum with a non-stick coating.

Keep in mind that the non-stick coating also makes cleanup much easier, too, though the Optimus Terra HE does not offer any handles or components to make using the pots and pans easier. On top of that, this mess kit has the smallest capacity that we reviewed at a maximum of 1.75 L for the largest pot.

However, that small capacity does at least allow the Optimus Terra HE to provide one of the smaller packed footprints on our list at 8 ¼” x 4 ½”. Even better, this is also one of the lightest products we reviewed as well at 1.6 pounds.

PROS

  • Is a less expensive cookware set
  • Is lightweight cookware
  • Has a smaller footprint
  • Has a heat-exchanger

CONS

  • Not many pieces
  • Has a smaller capacity

Bottom line: When you want cookware that performs its essential function better than most, the Optimus Terra HE Cookset Panset has you covered.

Sea to Summit X Series Pot Set

Most Packable Camping Cookware

Sea to Summit X-Set 32 (3 Piece) X-Pot & X-Pan & X-Kettle, 2.8 Large/8"/1.3 L, Orange
  • Set includes: X-Pot 2.8L, X Kettle & X Pan
  • Set nests completely together for ease of transport and storage
  • X Pots are built with BPA free, food grade, heat resistant silicone

Our last entry sees another model from Sea to Summit, this time with the incredibly compact X Series pot set. What sets this product apart from all of the others that came before is its ability to collapse all of the various pieces of the set completely.

Thanks to the collapsible silicone sides of the different pieces, the Sea to Summit X Series set offers the smallest packed footprint on our list at an amazing 9” by only 2”. Even better, the heavy use of silicone for the piece sides also allows this kit to shed plenty of weight and come in at a svelte 1.8 pounds.

It is worth noting that the prodigious use of so much silicone is not without its faults as the Sea to Summit X Series is also one of the least durable products we reviewed as well.

That said, the use of silicone also facilitates easier use of the Sea to Summit X Series as you do not have to worry about burning your hands when using the piece.

PROS

  • Has a smaller footprint
  • Is lightweight cookware
  • Easy to clean
  • Made of silicone hard-anodized aluminum

CONS

  • Is a more expensive cookware set
  • Not the most durable

Bottom line: Not only one of the lightest options on our list, but the Sea to Summit X Series pot set also collapses into the smallest footprint for all of your long hiking needs.

Last update on 2020-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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