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Camping Basics: Choose the Right Backpacking Cookware

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Hiking and traveling with minimum weight allow for fast and hassle-free travel but food is a necessity. While canned foods and bars may sound like a good idea, you may not like them for a long time. One needs to consider making cooking arrangements as they pack for their adventure. The choice of backpacking cookware, however, depends on the type of trip, its length, and personal preferences.

Short trippers usually opt for the basics such as a cup and a spork and hence a simple menu. Groups with more people or longer duration of the trip, on the other hand, choose more pieces to facilitate cooking as they are out camping.

Backpacking Cookware for Backpackers

Here is a fair idea of backpacking cookware options available for outdoor trips

Complete Set or Individual Pieces

Confused on what to invest? Cookset or Individual Pieces? Then read further.

One can choose to buy a complete set of cookware or choose separately to fulfill personal needs. Cooks-sets include nested pots and pans with coordinating lids. Some others may also include serve ware such as cups and plates also built to nest within the cookware.

Cookset or Individual Pieces?
Backpacking Cookware

While choosing individual pieces may be averse to weight considerations for backpacking, it offers the freedom to choose per your needs and thus adds to the versatility of your cookware.

Choice of Materials for Cookware

First time backpacking? Then you should check out the list of cookware material options:

1. Aluminum

This lightweight metal is affordable and conducts heat well. It offers ease of simmering foods but is prone to dents and scratches and may break down gradually with continued exposure to acidic foods.

2. Stainless steel

If you are looking for a tougher material, stainless steel is a great choice that is scratch resistant. The uniformity of heat conduction is, however, more in aluminum that is lighter.

3. Hard-anodized aluminum

This is the go-to material for the backpackers as hard anodized aluminum has a longer life and is scratch resistant.

4. Nonstick coatings

Worried about cleaning your cookware? Then go for this hassle free nonstick coating cookware. It will clean up in a jiffy but yes, its durability is questionable as it is scratched easily by metal utensils.

5. Titanium

While titanium is a costly alternative, it is the lightest choice that doesn’t discount the strength. It is great for low flames and resistant to corrosion. One must, however, avoid overheating it.

6. Cast iron

Baking and cooking are made a breeze in this tough metal. The only con of this material is that it is suitable only for larger groups and not for solo backpackers.

7. Plastic

Love traveling light? Then do add plastic cookware which is ideal for storage and serving but doesn’t work for heating or cooking.

8. Utensils

Traditional kitchen utensils can be carried with ease by car campers but may be bulky for backpackers who have made a shift to a spork in order to save weight and space.

A spork is a combo of a fork and spoon and is high on functionality. It weighs even less than an ounce. They may also include a small knife for added functionality. Some boast a telescopic handle that facilitates easy stirring.

backpacking cookware
Spork Source

Livingit Tip
You must also carry spatulas and measure spoons to suit your requirements.

Planning to go backpacking? Then read 14 Things to Keep in Mind on Your First Backpacking Trip

Backpacking Camp Kitchen Gadgets

The following appliances may be pretty useful for campers:

French Press

Coffee lovers you ought to carry French Press with you! This is a coffee maker that is conveniently sized to fit even for backpackers’ allowance.

Camp Kitchen Gadgets
French Press

Dutch Oven

After a long hike, who wouldn’t want a lip smacking meat? Invest in a Dutch oven and make your backpacking journey fun filled. Meats and stews are as delicious as ever with this efficient slow cooker.

camp kitchen gadget
Dutch Oven

Cooking Iron

Missing homemade sandwiches? Then cooking iron is at your rescue! This is great for making sandwiches that are an instant hunger companion.

camp kitchen gadget
Cooking Iron

Extension Forks

Camping and marshmallows go hand in hand. So invest in these long-handled forks make it easier to roast marshmallows and hot dogs.

backpacking cookare
Extension Forks

Popcorn Popper

Watching your favorite series on Netflix? How about munching on popcorn? Get this popcorn popper which will be an instant hit at a campfire.

Camp Kitchen Gadgets
Popcorn Popper

It is also good to carry spice containers and squeeze bottles that come in handy for your cooking endeavors on the go.
Cleaning supplies are also an essential carry.

If you are camping, read about How to Build a Campfire – Expert Advice on Camping Basics

Backpacking Cookware: Things to Look for While Buying

1. Material

A variety of sturdy and durable material options are mentioned above and are available for backpacking cookware.

2. Weight

Your comfort at a backpacking trip will be defined primarily by the weight you carry. Carrying cookware to make for half of the backpack isn’t a wise move and thus the choice must be made keeping in mind the weight of various utensils that you choose. Utensils made of Aluminum and titanium are great choices for minimizing weight.

3. Ease of Cleaning

The scarcity of water at camps makes it indispensable that cookware must be non-stick and easy to clean. Coated cookware is a great bet if you can maintain caution to not scratch the coating.

4. The Size of Pot

While a small pot may suffice for solo travelers, a large one is quintessential for groups. It is wise to invest in a medium sized pot to stay prepared for any strength of trip that you may take up.

5. Tight Lids

Fuel maximization can be achieved if lids fit tight and it will also save time and spills. While some sets have a single lid to fit all pots other have individual lids.

6. Lifters or Grabbers

Burnt fingers or hands are the last things that you would want while cooking! So, you must opt for cookware with either a lifting handle or a grabber in order to pick it up safely.

Backpacking Cookware: Best Stoves for One Pot Meals

One pot meals are your best bet for camping trips and a stove designed for cooking food may serve you just right. The ideal stoves can be simmered and choosing one with a wide burner head ensures even heat distribution. They thus help eliminate the possibility of burns.

Backpacking cookware
Stoves for One Pot Meals

Simmering capability come in with most canister, white gas and multi fuel stoves. These also come with wide burner heads. Wood stoves are also a great option.

Below are some stoves that have simmering capability as well as wide burner heads:

1. Upright Canister Stoves

Upright or top mounted canister stoves are for those who love to pack light. They are light weight, budget friendly and perfect for cold weathers. Below are the two brands worth investing in:

  • MSR Pocket Rocket

  • Snowpeak Gigapower Stove

  • Soto WindMaster

2. Remote Canister stoves

Backpacking in a group? Then remote canister stoves are for your pack. These stoves are stable and since they have a windscreen, your food would be made quickly. Some of the brands that you can look for are:

  • Kovea Spider Remote Canister Stove

  • Olicamp Xcelerator Ultra Titanium Stove

3. White Gas and Multi-Fuel Stoves

If you are backpacking around the world, then multi fuel stoves is the one you should pick. They are versatile stoves as you can use liquid fuels, white gas, kerosene. As these are cold weather friendly, you can carry them during your high mountains, sub zero environments. Some of the popular brands are:

  • MSR Whisperlite Universal

  • Optimus Polaris Optifuel Stove

  • MSR Dragonfly

4. Wood Stoves

If you are someone who enjoys cooking over a campfire, then you should go for the wood stove. The best thing about the wood stove is that you don’t have to carry any fuel plus you can feel the warmth of campfire every time you look! Listed below are popular brands to buy from:

  • EmberLit FireAnt

  • DutchWare Mini-E Titanium Wood Stove

  • Solo Stove Lite

Best Cook Pots for One Pot Backpacking Meals

Below are some specifications of cook pots ideal for one pot meals

  • Ideal Capacity of 1-1.5 ltr

  • Embossed specification of liquid capacity or measurements

  • Strainer lid

  • Tight lid

  • Insulated handles

  • Wide construction for easy stirring

Some good options are the following:

  • 1-litre Evernew Titanium Pasta Pot

  • Evernew 1.3 liter titanium pot

  • Snow Peak Trek 1400 Aluminum Cooker

  • MSR 1.3 L aluminum Quick Solo Pot

Check out our delicious Hiking Food Ideas – Not Knowing These Can Make You Regret!

The Best Backpacking Cookware of 2017

Now that you already know the specifications that you must look out for, here is a list of the best backpacking cookware of 2017:

1. G4Free Outdoor Camping Cookware

Looking for a perfect backpacking cookware? Then this brand is just for you!

Material – Anodized aluminum


  • Pieces fit on top of each other

  • Folding grabbers

  • Easy to know volumes of liquids through etched measurements

  • Includes: 4 pots

Ideal for – Small groups

backpacking cookware
Outdoor Camping Cookware

2. Yodo Camping Cookware Set

Considered as one of the best backpacking cookware of 2017, this brand is ideal for group backpackers. It comes in 4 pieces- pan, pots in 3 sizes-medium, small and large, 5 bowls, wooden spoon, utensil for serving, cleaning loofah.

Material – Anodized aluminum


  • Durable

  • Non-stick

  • Corrosion resistant

  • Quick cooking due to easy heat transfer

  • Compact storage design

Ideal for – Groups

backpacking cookware
Camping Cookware Set

3. RioRand Portable Cookware

This cookware set is bound to make cooking an easy feat! The backpacking cookware comes in a compact pot, bowl with folding handles.

Material – Aluminium Alloy


  • Excellent design

  • Even distribution of heat

  • Consumes less space

Ideal for – Solo Backpackers

Backpacking Cookware
RioRand Portable Cookware

4. MalloMe Camping Cookware

This is a well-known brand that offers amazing camping cookware. We suggest backpackers invest in this cookware as it comes with frying pan, small pot, spork in stainless steel, wooden spoon, utensil for serving, plastic bowls. Amazing right?

Material- Anodized aluminum


  • Compact

  • Lightweight

  • Even distribution of heat

Ideal for- 1-2 backpackers

Backpacking Cookware
Camping Cookware

Your most critical requirement needs to be addressed as you are out exploring the world. It is wise to weigh all pros and cons before investing in cookware as it is going to accompany you to various camping and hiking endeavors.

Choose the ideal cookware and make cooking an easy peasy task. If you have invested in any of these brands then do share your views in the comments below!

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