Best Backpacking Cook Sets of 2021

Last Updated: January 2021

Quick Recommendations


About Backpacking Cook Sets

There’s nothing more satisfying after miles of hiking than kicking off your boots and enjoying a hot meal.

Whether you love the convenience of a dehydrated backpacker meal or you’re a certified off-grid chef, there’s a cook set for you.

Backpacker cook sets often include a small stove and a fuel source. Plus, a lightweight pot to boil water and prepare food.

Companies like Jetboil make all-in-one systems, including the stove, pot, lid, and other accessories, in a set and attach together for use.

Other companies, like GSI Outdoors make cookware sets. These include pots, lids, bowls, and utensils that nest together.

You're able to use these cookware sets with a variety of stoves. Companies like TOAKS and Snow Peak specialize in minimal, lightweight pots. These are for the ultralight backpackers who prefer fewer bells and whistles.

With hundreds of options to choose from, figuring out what to buy can be overwhelming.

Check out our favorite options on the market today and see our breakdown of the types of cook sets and tips for choosing a cook set.


The Best Backpacking Cook Sets

Best All-In-One Backpacking Cook Set 

 Jetboil MiniMo

Weight: 14.6 oz

MSRP: $149.95

Capacity: 1 liter

The Jetboil MiniMo is our top pick for convenient all-in-one cooking and eating. For years, Jetboil has been a leader in backpacking canister stove systems. The MiniMo is even better than previous versions. Note that the fuel canister is sold separately. 

What we like:

We love the convenience of the Jetboil MiniMo. Screw on the fuel canister, pour in some water, and you’ve got boiling water in 2 minutes and 15 seconds.

The stove and pot attach together as one unit. Therefore, we never have to worry about knocking the pot off and spilling our precious morning cup o’ joe.

The MiniMo has a regulator for incremental heat adjustments from a light simmer to a full boil.  A huge improvement over older Jetboil models that were pretty much all or nothing.

With 6000BTU/h, some food seems to stick or burn pretty quickly, even on the simmer setting.

Our favorite part of the Jetboil MiniMo is the shape. It has a shorter but wider pot design. This means it’s easier to dig a full spoonful directly out of the MiniMo and not end up with food all over your knuckles!

What we don’t like:

The MiniMo can store the fuel canister and burner inside the pot. Yet, extra accessories like the pot support do not fit inside. You have to pack it separately.

Similar Products:

Also available in a smaller .8L size called the Jetboil MicroMo. Weighing 12 oz, it has all of the same features as the MiniMo with a smaller pot capacity.


Best Backpacking Cook Set for Ultra-Fast Boiling

Jetboil Flash Cooking System

Weight: 13.1 oz

MSRP: $109.95

Capacity: 1 liter

The name says it all - the Jetboil Flash is the fastest option we’ve seen for boiling water. Imagine waking up and having fresh hot coffee in 100 seconds.

It’s literally faster than digging out our instant coffee packets from our bag most mornings. Once again, the fuel canister is sold separately. 

What we like:

Boiling water is ultra-fast and super-efficient. We’re always exhausted when we get to camp after a long day of hiking.

The Flash sets up in seconds for our favorite dehydrated Mountain House meal in under 2 minutes.

Pro Tip: For coffee almost as good as your favorite coffee shop, add the coffee press attachment.

It turns your Flash into a french press for the backcountry and packs down inside when it’s time to hike.

The push-button ignitor is handy and reliable. We love not digging through our bag to find a lighter - one less thing to pack.

What we don’t like:

The Jetboil Flash is perfect for boiling water, making coffee and heating soup. The Flash doesn’t have a fuel regulator like the MiniMo. Thus it’s quite difficult to cook any solid foods without burning.

In a pinch, we tried scrambled eggs one time and were soaking burnt eggs off the bottom of the pot for hours. Pack the Flash if you’re only planning on dehydrated meals, and you’ll be a happy camper.

Similar Products:

MSR Windburner Personal Stove System - The MSR Windburner’s wind-proof radiant burner and pressure regulator maintain performance. Especially in cold and windy conditions.


Best Two-Person Backpacking Cookware Set  

GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist II Cookset

Weight: 1.04 lb

MSRP: $59.95

Capacity: 1.4 liter

Beginner backpackers and couples prefer cookware sets that include bowls, mugs, and utensils. They’re good for backpacking as well as car-camping getaways. As they include almost everything you’ll need to cook and eat in a convenient set.

GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist II kit includes:

  • A hard-anodized 1.4L pot with strainer lid
  • Two 14 fl. oz. insulated mugs with lids
  • Two 14 fl. oz. bowls
  • Two folding “foons”
  • A welded sink/storage bag
  • Fuel canister and stove sold separately

The nested design means everything fits together within the pot with room for a 110g fuel canister and ultralight stove.

What we like:

The hard-anodized Halulite alloy pot is super durable. We’ve used the Microdualist for years and had more than a few mishaps. It fell off a table or tumbled out of a pack and onto a bunch of rocks. No scratches or dents!

The handle snaps into place and holds tight when turning a full pot to pour. Once you’ve packed up, the handle flips up to secure the lid and keep everything inside.

Pair it with MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove to get your cooking started. The PocketRocket 2 has been backpackers' all-time favorite backpacking stove for more than a decade. It's ultralight for those who are weight sensitive. 

What we don’t like:

The model Microdualist we have is a few years old and came with plastic sliding “foons” (fork & spoon). We stopped using after a couple of trips.

The newest versions offer the folding “foons” mechanism. We think they are still challenging to use.

Thus, we’ll opt for leaving them at home. We love the Sea to Summit AlphaLight Spoon, Fork and Knife set instead.

Alternative:

Sea to Summit Alpha Cookset 2.1 with 1.9-liter pot, strainer lid, two bowls and two mugs (no utensils)


Best Ultralight Backpacking Pot 

TOAKS Titanium 1100ml Pot

Weight: 4.8 oz

MSRP: $52.95

Capacity: 1.1 liter

For minimalists and gram counters, the TOAKS Titanium 1100ml pot is for you. We love the ultralight pot with convenient folding wire handles and minimal lid. It does exactly what you need it to do and nothing more.

What we like:

The Titanium pot is the perfect size for cooking ramen noodles and other similar meals without boiling over. It’s small enough to pick up and drink out of. Yet, large enough for simple meals like Knorr's Pasta Sides. These are popular with long-distance backpackers.

We love how fast the pot cools once you’re done. Boil water, pour it into your meal packet, and almost immediately it's ready to store away.

A small fuel canister and lightweight stove fit down into the pot for travel. We recommend throwing a lightweight towel or bandana to keep everything from rattling.

What we don’t like:

We wish the lid snapped down onto this pot. It sits on top. That’s fine for cooking, but not so good for storing in your gear when backpacking. We lock it all together with a big rubber band or use the provided storage bag if you don’t mind a couple ofextra ounces.

Other sizes:

TOAKS makes this pot/mug and lid style in a few sizes: 375ml, 450ml, 550ml, 650ml, 750ml, 900ml, 1100ml.


Best for Hot Beverages 

Snow Peak Titanium Single 450 Cup with HotLips

Weight: 2.4 oz

MSRP: $29.95  & 2 HotLips for $6.95

Capacity: 450ml

Sometimes all you need is a hot beverage to get you going in the morning or wind down the evening. When we don’t need a full-sized cook pot, the Snow Peak Titanium 450ml cup is our favorite go-to mug. Pair it with the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 for a total of 5 oz.

What we like:

The Snow Peak Titanium 450ml Cup is perfect for making a quick hot beverage on the trail. It’s made of single-walled titanium, so it’s super light, and the small size fits pretty much anywhere inside a pack.

Or hang it from the outside of your pack from the two sturdy, foldable metal handles.

Snow Peak also makes a clever accessory for their mugs called HotLips. Push the HotLips accessory onto the rim, and you can drink from it without burning your mouth. These have saved our lips more than once!

Pro Tip: In addition to this cup, Snow Peak also sells several double similar mugs that are doubled-walled.

They’re awesome for keeping your drinks warm and your hands from burning. But, since they are double-walled, you can’t place them over an open flame for cooking, thus making them a little less useful in our book.

What we don’t like:

Most backpackers pride themselves on dual uses for every piece of gear in their bag.

At 450ml (less than 2 cups), it’s pretty difficult to cook anything in this mug. You can get creative in a pinch and oatmeal works pretty well. However, for go-to hiker meals like ramen or instant mashed potatoes, you’ll need a bigger pot for sure.

Photo Finish Tie:

TOAKS Titanium Single Wall 450ml Cup. These two mugs are neck and neck for us. The TOAKS 450ml weights a hair more at 2.7 oz, but not a noticeable difference. Other than that, both single-walled titanium cups are an excellent choice!


Best Stand-Alone Skillet 

MSR Quick Skillet

Weight: 5.9 oz

MSRP: $29.95

Size: 7-inch width, 2-inch depth

If you’re hiking with a buddy and can split up gear weight, consider taking along a skillet. It opens up the possibilities of gourmet backcountry meals. This skillet is also great for adding to your car-camping cook setup. It is the perfect size for a hot cooked breakfast of eggs and sausage before a day of exploring.

Learn about what to pack for your car camping trip in our Car Camping Gear Guide.

What we like:

The MSR Quick Skillet is deep enough to simmer spaghetti sauce for two without bubbling over. Yet, not too deep for flipping pancakes. It’s small enough to carry but large enough to actually cook in.

The handle removes completely for easy storage and transport. The handle snaps on tightly when you need it.

What we don’t like:

The MSR Quick Skillet has straight sides that don’t curve very much where they meet the bottom of the pan.

It’s great for cooking meats and veggies. However, things like sauces and scrambled eggs tend to get into the corners and make it harder to clean out.

They make a ceramic non-stick version we haven’t been able to try yet but might help solve this complaint.

If money is no object:

Check out the Jetboil Summit Skillet. It’s roughly the same size as the MSR Quick Skillet but comes in a super fun orange color! The downside is that it weighs in at 10.6 oz.

However, we do like the “Eco-conscious, PFOA-free ceramic non-stick coating”. Cleanup is a breeze. Wipe out food bits, and you’re done. It’s a lot more like cooking in a non-stick skillet at home.


Types of Backpacking Cook Sets

Integrated "All-In-One" Canister Stove and Pot Systems

jetboil backpacking cook set camping

Jetboil, MSR and Primus are companies known for integrated systems. They combine a stove burner, heat exchanger, and pot into one package. A canister fuel source screws on the bottom.

Pros:

  • Integrated heat exchanger increases surface areas on the bottom of the pot. Thus it heats quicker for super fast boil times.
  • Components all lock together for stability.
  • Most have built-in windscreens around the burner for easier use in windy conditions.

Cons:

  • Often more expensive than separate stove and cook set combinations.
  • Integrated systems work with one particular pot. Optional accessories are available to expand use.
  • Only some models have incremental fuel regulation. It can be difficult to control the temperature to a simmer.

Separate Stove and Pot Systems

backpacking cook sets

The majority of backpacking cook sets are compatible with any stand-alone stove,  such as the MSR Pocket Rocket, SnowPeak Giga Power, and MSR WhisperLite. Pots sit on top of small pot stands attached to the burner.

Pros:

  • Versatility! You can mix and match various cook pots, sets and accessories to fit your needs on every trip.
  • Cost - there are pots, skillets and complete sets to fit any budget.
  • Weight - For ultralighters, there are many combinations of lightweight stoves and pots to cut weight.

Cons:

  • Less wind resistant than integrated systems. There are optional windscreen accessories.

Considerations When Choosing a Cook Set

There are a few main things you’ll want to consider when choosing the best cook set option for your adventure. You may even find that you’ll want more than one type of setup for different trips.

Where will you be cooking?

Will you be carrying your cooking gear many miles into the backcountry? If so, weight might be your biggest concern.

Do you prefer dual-purpose use instead? Something for backpacking and also when front-country camping with a group? If so, you’ll want something with many size options.

Do you expect to have cold and windy weather conditions? We recommend the integrated all-in-one canister stove and pot options. These are the most fuel-efficient and wind-proof.

What types of foods will you be cooking?

Are you planning to primarily boil water for beverages and dehydrated meals?

Integrated all-in-one canister stove and pot sets like the Jetboil boil water fast. But they aren’t great for preparing more solid cooked foods as food tends to stick or burn.

If you plan to cook more extensive meals, look at pot and skillet combo sets like the TOAKS Titanium Pot with Pan. The lid doubles as a small skillet that comes in handy.

How many people will you be cooking for?

If you’re hiking solo, you’ll find that a 750ml pot is large enough for all your cooking needs. But if you’re traveling with a partner or two, opt for something larger like a 1400ml or 1600ml. This way, you can prepare everyone’s meals at once.

Cleanup

No one - seriously, no one likes scrubbing dirty cook pots in the backcountry. Plus, depending on where you’re backpacking, you may not have a lot of extra water available to do dishes. Most backpacking friendly cook sets are non-stick. Some wipe clean with ease while others may need a little more elbow grease.

Flexibility

We love the convenience of integrated systems like Jetboil. The fuel, stove, windscreen, and pot all snap together. They’re easy to use and very efficient. However, you’re pretty much stuck with one pot for every use.

For the most flexibility, we recommend choosing a cook set that works on any stove - pots like the TOAKS Titanium 1600ml with Pan. You can even fit a smaller TOAKS pot inside of them for group options for backcountry cooking.

Cost

Individual cook pots, sets, and integrated stove/pot systems come in a wide range of price points.

Titanium sets are generally the most expensive. They are the lightest and generally most efficient.

Aluminum comes in a close second on weight and is a bit cheaper. Aluminum is not as non-stick and needs more maintenance. However, it distributes more even heat.

Stainless steel cookware is the most affordable option. Yet, they are heavier, and you’ll pay for it with extra weight to carry around.

Now that you know what to look for in a backpacking cook set; check out our other backpacking how-to guides:


Backpacking Cook Sets Comparison Table

Product Name

Weight

Type

MSRP

14.6 oz

All-in-one

$149.95

12 oz

All-in-one

$144.95

13.1 oz 

All-in-one

$109.95

15.5 oz

All-in-one

$149.95

MSR Pocket Rocket

2.9 oz

Stove

$69.95

2.6 oz

Stove

$44.95

1.04 lbs

Cooking set

$59.95

1.15 lbs

Cooking set

$69.95

4.8 oz

Pot

$52.95

2.4 oz

Cup

$29.95

2.7 oz

Cup

$24.95

0.3 oz

Lip cover

$6.95

5.9 oz

Skillet

$29.95

10.6 oz

Skillet

$44.95


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