6 Best Camping Cookware Sets of 2021

Last Updated: January 2021

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This guide to the best camping cookware covers everything you need to know, with picks for different budgets and needs.

Rustling up some gourmet grub while camping is one of the best parts of any outdoor adventure. However, without the right tools at your disposal, creating your next culinary masterpiece on a camping trip isn’t as easy as it might seem.

Any good outdoor trip starts with great gear, and a solid camping cookware set should undoubtedly be on your packing list.

That being said, there are a whole lot of different camping cookware kits out there, so it can be hard to know precisely which is right for your needs.

We understand how difficult it can be to select the perfect outdoor cook set, so we’ve reviewed 6 of the best options on the market today.

Offering an excellent mix of durability, functionality, and affordability, the GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Camper Cookware Set is ideal for car camping and backpacking trips.

Specs:

  • Max Capacity: 3L
  • Serves: 4
  • Weight: 3.5lbs (1.6kg)
  • Material: Stainless Steel

Pros:

  • Very durable materials
  • Highly portable nesting design
  • Relatively affordable

Cons:

  • Doesn't include cutlery

Offering an excellent mix of durability, functionality, and affordability, the GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Camper Cookware Set boasts two pots - one 3L and one 2L - and a frying pan for maximum flexibility while cooking.

Each pot and pan comes with its own non-slip handles, while the included lid also doubles as a strainer when you need it most.

Nestled inside this surprisingly compact cook set is four 14oz mugs with insulated sleeves, four plates, and four 14oz bowls. All of these components are BPA-free and are color-coded so everyone knows whose is whose while camping.

Wrapping up a great list of features is the cookset’s sturdy stainless steel construction.

As a result, the GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Camper Cookware Set is strong enough to hold up throughout frequent trips to the backcountry. It also has a rust-proof finish and is designed to be used on an open flame for campfire cooking.

Most Affordable Cookware Set

Winterial 10 Piece Set

Combining the best of budget-friendliness with quality materials, the Winterial 10 Piece Set is a reliable option for camping duos that prioritize affordability.

Specs:

  • Max Capacity: 1.9L
  • Serves: 2
  • Weight: 1.5lbs (0.7kg)
  • Material: Non-stick aluminum

Pros:

  • Very budget-friendly
  • Includes servings spoons
  • Comes with a pot, pan, and tea kettle

Cons:

  • Small capacity

The Winterial 10 Piece Set is a reliable option for camping duos that prioritize affordability.

This cookset is made from a durable metal alloy with a non-stick coating for easier cleaning and cooking.

At just 1.5lbs (0.7kg), it’s also among the lightest 2 person cooksets around, making it an excellent choice for people who enjoy car camping and backpacking.

Unlike many other budget cooksets, the Winterial 10 Piece Set comes with a sizable pot and lid, a frying pan, and even a tea kettle. This great mixture of supplies provides everything one needs to cook up a meal for two.

Additionally, this model boasts 2 personal-sized bowls, a serving ladle, and a spatula, a cleaning sponge, and even a cutting board to make your life easier in the kitchen.

All of these components also pack down into a compact carry bag for simplified transport on the trail.

Best Cookware Set for Backpacking

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookware Set

When weight savings and functionality are your top priority in the backcountry, the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookware Set is hard to beat.

Specs:

  • Max Capacity: 3L
  • Serves: 4
  • Weight: 3.6lbs (1.6kg)
  • Material: Non-stick aluminum

Pros:

  • Lightweight for a fully-featured kit
  • Compact size
  • Built-in lid trainer

Cons:

  • Relatively pricey

The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookware Set is a fully-outfitted kit. It features two pots and one pan made with extra-tough anodized aluminum treated with non-stick Teflon Radiance Technology. 

As a result, it’s easy to clean and helps food cook faster than other cooksets.

As far as eating goes, this kit comes with four 14oz mugs with insulated sleeves and four plates and four 14oz bowls that are all color-coded.

Although it doesn’t come with cutlery, the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookware Set does boast an included strainer lids and a folding pot gripper.

When it’s time to pack up camp, you can put the entire cookset in the included storage bag, which also doubles as a kitchen sink when you’re outside.

For more information, check out our article on the Best Backpacking Cooksets.

Best Cookware Set for Couples

MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set

Blending weight savings and versatility, the MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set is a backpacker’s best friend in the mountains. 

Specs:

  • Max Capacity: 2.5L
  • Serves: 2
  • Weight: 1.75lbs (0.8kg)
  • Material: Aluminum

Pros:

  • Very lightweight

Cons: 

  • Does not include a pan

Thanks to its ultra-durable anodized aluminum frame, the MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set is strong enough to continue performing after weeks on the trail.

In addition to being made from burly aluminum, one of the two included pots is non-stick, while the other is uncoated for extra versatility.

For cooking, you can choose between a large 2.5L pot and a smaller 1.5L pot for your recipes. You can then use the included Talon pot handle and strainer lid to ensure that the cooking process goes as smoothly as possible.

When it's time to chow down, the MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set has two DeepDish plates and two insulated mugs to help you enjoy your meal. Then, once everything’s clean and tidy, the entire system nests inside itself for added portability between campsites.

Best Cookware Set for Family of 4

GSI Bugaboo Camper 4

Feeding a family of four isn’t easy, and doing so outside isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Thankfully, the GSI Bugaboo Camper 4 provides everything you need to make meals outside for the whole family, just like you do at home.

Specs:

  • Max Capacity: 3L
  • Serves: 4
  • Weight: 3.7lbs (1.7kg)
  • Material: Non-stick aluminum

Pros:

  • Includes two lids
  • Stuff sack doubles as a sink
  • Nesting design is highly compact

Cons:

  • Cookware surface is prone to scratching

In the GSI Bugaboo Camper 4 cookset, you get a 3L pot, a 2L pot, and a large frying pan for cooking. Each of these items is made from non-stick Teflon coated aluminum for an easier cooking and cleaning experience.

Moreover, the two included pot lids double as strainers for those pasta-based dishes.

To make your life simpler while outside, this cookset also comes with a color-coded dish system. Each of the included mugs, bowls, and plates are made with one of four colors, so there’s no confusion at the dinner table.

The GSI Bugaboo Camper 4 also comes with a collapsible pot gripper that’s easy to use with any of the pots or pans. For cleaning up at the end of the meal, this set’s included stuff sack also doubles as a kitchen sink for added versatility.

Best Cookware Set for Open Fire

Stanley Base Camp Cook Set


If you’re on the lookout for one cookware set that can do it all, the Stanley Base Camp Cook Set might be what you need. This well-stocked kit features one large stainless steel pot and one frying pan, each designed for use on either a stove or a fire

Specs:

  • Max Capacity: 3.5L
  • Serves: 4
  • Weight: 5.6lbs (2.5kg)
  • Material: Stainless steel

Pros:

  • 21 pieces, including cutlery for 4 campers
  • Durable enough for use on a fire
  • Great value for the money

Cons:

  • Does not include mugs or cups

The well-stocked Stanley Base Camp Cook Set features one large stainless steel pot and one frying pan, each designed for use on either a stove or a fire. Plus, the set comes with a silicone trivet, which provides a sturdy place to set your pot down to cook on the fire.

The pot and pan also have enough capacity to comfortably fit all the food you’d cook for a group of four. Once the meal is over, the included dish drying rack also makes cleaning up a simple, efficient process.

To make serving and cooking easier, the Stanley Base Camp Cook Set comes with a serving spoon and a spatula, each of which has an extendable handle.

Additionally, the cookware set boasts four plates, four bowls, and even four sporks, offering everything you need to chow down on some gourmet backcountry food.

camping cookware

Camping Cookware Buying Guide


There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a camping cookware set.

So, to get you started, here are some of the most important things to keep in mind as you choose a cooking kit for your outdoor adventures:

Types of Camping Cookware

It turns out that there are quite a few different types of camping cookware sets, each with their advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what you need to know:

Cooksets

A cookset generally includes everything you’d ended to prepare a meal in the backcountry for a small group of people.

At a minimum, these self-contained kits usually provide a pot, pan, lid, and enough bowls for everyone to eat their meal. 

What sets a cookset apart from a collection of different camping items is that a cookset is designed to accommodate more than one person.

Additionally, the individual components of a cookset should nest inside of each other for easier storage.

Mess Kits

Mess kits are very similar to cooksets in terms of their components and design. Like cooksets, mess kits usually have a pot, pan/lid, and a bowl that all nest together.

However, mess kits are generally designed for individual campers, so they tend to be substantially lighter and more compact than cooksets.

That being said, due to their smaller capacity cooking, mess kits are best used for solo camping trips.

Individual Items

Finally, you can choose to buy the components of a mess kit or cook set individually to mix and match the items you like most.

While doing so allows you to get precisely the components you want, it is often the more expensive option.

Additionally, since the components of mess kits and cooksets are designed to nest inside of each other, buying items individually often results in a decreased portability.

But, purchasing individual items is ideal if you’re looking to customize your cooking gear completely.


Cookware Materials

When it comes to cookware, the materials used to craft your pots and pans have a major impact on their overall durability and functionality. This is how these different materials perform in the real world:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an affordable and durable option for cookware. It’s particularly popular for use in camping cook sets because it is sturdy enough to withstand frequent use.

Additionally, camping cooksets that are made from stainless steel can generally be used directly on a fire.

The downside to stainless steel is that it is often heavier than the alternatives.

So, it’s best used during car camping trips or short backpacking adventures where weight isn’t as big of a concern.

Anodized Aluminum

Anodized aluminum cooksets are rapidly taking over the camping cookware market. This is because aluminum is simultaneously lightweight and durable.

While aluminum cookware is more prone to bending and warping, when treated with care, it can last for years.

However, aluminum tends to be more expensive than steel, so it’s a good option for campers that are willing to spend a little more in exchange for weight savings.

Silicone

Silicone is an up and coming material on the camping cookware scene. It is a fan favorite for its portability as many silicone pots and pans can collapse down to a smaller packed size.

With silicone, however, special care is needed to avoid damaging the pots and pans while cooking.

Silicone should never be exposed directly to flames or very high heat, so campers that choose to use these cooksets should know the limitations of their gear. Moreover, silicone cooksets tend to be quite pricey.

Titanium

Titanium is often lauded as a “super metal” for its ability to be both highly durable and very lightweight. Of course, these great features come with a higher price tag, but many ultralight campers find that it’s well worth the extra expense.

One thing to keep in mind about titanium is that it’s generally not available with a non-stick coating.

Therefore, titanium cooksets are best used for boiling water to rehydrated freeze-dried food and instant meals.

Nonstick

Nonstick is not a material, per se, but a coating that’s applied to cooksets to make them easier to cook and clean with.

The majority of nonstick pots and pans are made with a Teflon coating, which provides all the nonstick properties you need for cooking.

That being said, nonstick pots and pans, for all their usefulness, do come with one big caveat: One should not use metal utensils when cooking with nonstick cookware. 

This is because metal utensils can destroy the nonstick coating on the pots and pans. When this happens, nonstick pans can actually emit toxic compounds into your food, which is something that’s best avoided.

Cast Iron

Cast iron was the material of choice for home cooking for generations, and it still remains a popular choice for outdoor use.

While cast iron cookware is generally too heavy for backpacking, it’s a fan favorite on car camping trips.

Cast iron is uber durable and nearly impossible to break with regular use. Pans made from cast iron also hold heat for a long period, keeping your food warm in the process. 

camping table plates

Core Cookware Components

When searching for a camping cookset, keep an eye out for models that come with the following core components:

Pots 

A pot is considered an essential for any camping trip because it allows you to boil water and cook pasta or rice - two staples of outdoor eating.

In a cookware set, the pot also generally acts as a de facto carrying case as many of the other components nest inside.

Pans

Pans are a must if you like to fry eggs, bacon, or any other tasty delights while outside. Many cooksets also have pans that can double as a pot lid to save weight.

Plates & Bowls

Any good cookset should come with something to eat out of, whether that’s a plate or a bowl. Bowls are the most commonly included cookset item, but you may find some that also offer plates as an added bonus.

Mugs & Cups. The majority of cooksets will offer either a mug or a cup, which is essential if you want to enjoy some hot chocolate while outside. Keep in mind that some cooksets provide just one mug, which also doubles as a bowl to save weight.

Additional Cookware Set Components

In addition to the core components listed above, some cookware sets come with the following add-on items that make life just a bit easier while you’re outside:

Cutlery & Utensils 

Cutlery, such as spoons, forks, and even sporks, are must-haves for camping. However, keep in mind that these often aren’t included in cooksets.

Other utensils, including spatulas and serving spoons, are sometimes found in larger cookware kits that are made specifically for car camping.

Lids

A lid might seem like an essential piece of gear for cooking, but many sets opt not to include a lid in the interest of weight savings. Instead, many manufacturers expect that you can use your pot as a makeshift lid while cooking. But, lids that can also serve as a strainer are quite helpful.

Kettle

If you really enjoy hot drinks, a kettle is a great addition to any cookset. Although you can use a pot, instead, there’s nothing better than putting a kettle on the stove for an afternoon tea at the end of a camping day.

Pot Gripper

Pot grips are essential if your pots and pans don’t come with their own folding handles. When searching for kits with pot grippers, look for models that are lightweight and highly packable.

Coffee Maker

Some single camper mess kits will come with a french press-style coffee maker that can be used to brew a cup o’ joe right inside your pot. This is ideal for the coffee fanatics among us, especially if you were planning to carry a separate coffee maker, anyway. Check out our article on Easy Ways to Make Coffee While Camping for more information.

Popcorn Popper

Who doesn’t love popcorn? Some cast iron cookware sets will come with a popcorn popper that you can use to create a fun treat over the campfire.

Roasting Forks

S’mores are a staple of any camping trip, and roasting forks are an easy way to get your marshmallows perfectly toasted. These are a less-common add on to camping cooksets but are sometimes included in cast iron cookware kits.

camping cooking

Camp Cookware Buying Considerations

Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind as you shop for your next camping cookware set:

Weight

The weight of a cookware set is particularly crucial to backpackers, but it should be a key consideration for any camping trip. 

Aluminum and titanium cooksets tend to be preferred for backpacking trips because they’re lighter and more portable. Alternatively, steel and cast iron are ideal for car camping, where durability and ease of use are the top priority.

Capacity/Servings

Every camping cookset is designed to accommodate a certain number of people.

This is usually evident based on the number of bowls or cups that are included, but the size of the pot also indicates the appropriate number of servings you can make with your cookset.

For groups of 4, a pot size of 2.5L should be a minimum.

Storing & Nesting

To make packing easier, most cookware sets have components that nest inside each other and then fit into an included storage bag.

That way, you can save space in your pack, while still ensuring that you have all the gear you need to cook up a great meal while outside.

Final Takeaways

Any good outdoor trip starts with great gear, and a solid camping cookware set should undoubtedly be on your packing list.

After reading this buying guide we hope that you can find the best camping cookware set for your needs. 

Happy Camping!

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