Best Camping/Hiking Cookware – Reviews and Guide 2020

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Last Update: 25.May.2020

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GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookset

hese durable, non-stick coated, hard anodized aluminum pots are the ultimate in design, space efficiency and cooking performance. The set includes 4 plates, 4 insulated mugs and sip-it tops, 4 bowls and a 2 L pot with strainer lid, which nest into a generous 3 L pot and frypan with a strainer lid.
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MSR Trail Mini Duo

When you and that special someone take off for the woods for the weekend, you need a cookset to avoid those arguments that only come up when you're hangry. Bring the Trail Mini Duo Cookset, and whether you're boiling water for a bedtime hot toddy or your morning coffee, you'll have hot water quickly. The 1.2-liter capacity holds enough water for a hearty drink for two or two pouch meals, and nests an 8oz fuel container and a PocketRocket 2 (sold separately) to save space in your pack.

by Willie Test

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Last Update: 25.May.2020

After a long hard trailing day, refueling is essential. But most of the people get scared of thinking about cooking outdoors because they think that they will need to give up on the idea of cooking an appetizing meal. If you are looking to eat something else than those freeze-dried meals then you need to bring the best camping cookware with you.

You won’t have to deal with those thin junk pots anymore because we are going to share with you some important points on which best camping cookware you need to take with you on your hiking trip. Your cookware needs to be properly designed and it needs to make your life more comfortable when it comes to cooking in the backcountry. Furthermore, the cookware needs to have a compact design and it should be very easy to carry as well.

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookset

The GSI Pinnacle Camper cookset sets you up with the gear you need to accommodate 4 hungry hikers. It's loaded with plates, bowls, mugs, pots and a frypan.
hese durable, non-stick coated, hard anodized aluminum pots are the ultimate in design, space efficiency and cooking performance. The set includes 4 plates, 4 insulated mugs and sip-it tops, 4 bowls and a 2 L pot with strainer lid, which nest into a generous 3 L pot and frypan with a strainer lid.
Go to Amazon Shop
Pros

Comprehensive - All items nest neatly within the 3-liter pot

Pinnacle-series hard-anodized aluminum pots

Excellent nonstick coating

Cons

Pot handle gets hot

MSR Trail Mini Duo

The ultimate space-maximizing minimalist cook set for two backpackers. When space is at a premium, this incredibly pack-efficient cook set is the perfect solution for making hot meals and drinks for two.
When you and that special someone take off for the woods for the weekend, you need a cookset to avoid those arguments that only come up when you're hangry. Bring the Trail Mini Duo Cookset, and whether you're boiling water for a bedtime hot toddy or your morning coffee, you'll have hot water quickly. The 1.2-liter capacity holds enough water for a hearty drink for two or two pouch meals, and nests an 8oz fuel container and a PocketRocket 2 (sold separately) to save space in your pack.
Go to Amazon Shop
Pros

Integrated rubber pot grip

Just the right features

Anodized aluminum pot is lightweight and durable

Cons

Limited non-stick performance

Tall and narrow profile focuses heat on the bottom.

MSR Ceramic Two-Pot Set

The nonstick aluminum MSR Ceramic two-pot set is perfect for cooking meals in the backcountry.
Dehydrated desserts are less appetizing when you have to wash what's left of your dehydrated dinner before you can start boiling the water required for said sugary sweets. With MSR's Ceramic 2 Pot Set, you have an extra pot to start boiling water for dessert while you're eating dinner. Both pots are made from light aluminum, and they pack into each other, so its like you get this convenient quickness all at the packing space and weight of a single pot. MSR includes a carry handle and lid that accommodate differently sized pots.
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Pros

Nonstick ceramic coating

Lightweight and versatile overall construction

Cons

Fragile coating and pots dent easily

Snow Peak Multi Compact Titanium Cookset

Whip up gourmet meals in the backcountry! The Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact cookset is perfect for the minimalist looking to shave weight without limiting the menu.
This lightweight, easily packable cookset is perfect for your next weekend backpacking trip. Not only does it give you the option to have multiple meals going at the same time, but it also takes up hardly any room or weight in your pack, especially when just one person's packing cookware for the whole crew.
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Pros

Each pan has a handle that folds flat for packing

Easy to clean

Ultralight

Easily packable cookset

Cons

Only really boils water

GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist II Cookset

Say goodbye to scratches, burn circles and grams. The superlight GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist II cookset uses a proprietary alloy to conduct heat evenly and efficiently, saving on fuel.
The pinnacle of camp cooking for one, GSI Outdoors' Pinnacle Soloist II Cook Set packs a pot and bowl/mug combo for backpacking meals. The pot provides non-stick convenience, and there's a detachable handle and strainer lid for convenience. There's an insulated sleeve over the cup and Sip It lid so you don't spill or cool your coffee, and the bowl has tapered edges to prevent spilling. All of these nest together, along with the folding fpoon, inside the stuff sack that doubles as a waterproof sink for easy cleaning at the campsite.
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Pros

Hard-anodized Halulite alloy pot

Crushproof, heat-resistant

Insulating sleeve keeps drinks hot

Convenient graduations molded into the 1.4-liter pot make for easy measuring

Cons

Cook set designed for one backpacker

Benefits

There are various advantages of camping cookware. At the end of a long tiring day of hiking when you come back to your base or set it up somewhere, you will definitely want to eat. Now if you are a huge fan of those ready to eat frozen meals then you don’t need to do much.

Just open the packet and throw the meal into a pot, warm it up and have a bite! But if you love to cook in the outdoors then camping cookware is going to be your trusty companion. Of course, with this cookware, you are not limited to those frozen recipes. You can cook anything you want and try any recipe you like.

Such cookware (mess kit) is very light and hence they are excellent for backpacking. You can easily set it up anywhere you like and start cooking what you love. You are only limited by your imagination and creativity. Due to the compact design, camping cookware is very easy to carry as well and it will not add much weight to your load.

Cookware Material Options

Due to their immense popularity, there are a variety of material options available when it comes to camping cookware. Different brands have made their efforts and did some experiments by using different kinds of materials for camping cookware.

Most of these materials can easily withstand environmental abuse. But not all materials are best for every scenario. They all have their own positives and negatives. Let’s have a brief look at each of them one by one below,

 

  • Aluminum. This is one of the most frequently used materials in the construction of camping cookware. Aluminum is popular because it is lightweight and it has a good ability to conduct heat as well. However, it also blends very easily. One of the best reasons why aluminum is very popular is that it is affordable too. Apart from that raw aluminum also has a tendency to react with alkaline and acidic foods and it will negatively impact the flavor. Therefore, your food is not going to taste good in such a scenario.
  • Hard-anodized aluminum. This cookware will feature s a tough and thick coating and this will get rid of the problems that the raw aluminum cookware has. Hence, with this hard anodized coating, the aluminum material of the cookware is not going to react with the alkaline and acidic foods and it will also not later the flavors. Apart from that, this coating makes the cookware extremely long-lasting. However, there is a slight issue with the non-stick coating as well. You can easily chip the coating while you are cleaning and it will render an unhealthy and useless pot. Therefore, you need to be a lot more careful when using this cookware.
  • Plastic. You are not going to find any pot that is made of plastic and it is meant to be placed directly on heat. But most of the cook sets include plastic cups and bowls for you to serve the food when you are done cooking it. You need to be100% sure that the plastic used in the construction of these cooks sets is BPA and BPS free. It needs to be FDA approved and is food-grade.
  • Stainless steel. These cook sets are extremely tough and durable plus they are also resistant to any scratches or dents. You can easily scrub them as hard as you want. In simple words, they are not going to lose their shine even for many years. But stainless steel has a tendency to create hotspots. You will experience uneven cooking with these cook sets. Moreover, these cook sets are heavy and are not suitable for backpacking.
  • Titanium. If you are looking for the most lightweight option for your next backpacking trip then you need to go for titanium. Furthermore, it also has the ability to conduct heat far better than aluminum or any other metal in this list. But titanium also faces the same issue just like steel and creates hot spots. This will result in uneven cooking. Moreover, this cook set is going to be very expensive as compared to the rest.
  • Cast iron. Surely, cast iron is one of the most durable options for you to consider for outdoor cooking. Such cookware is going to cook everything very evenly and cookware is non-stick as well. But this cookware is going to be very heavy and this is not an ideal option for backpacking. Additionally, this cookware also requires frequent maintenance and seasoning if you want it to last years after years.
  • Nonstick coatings. You need to understand the two different types of coatings as well: one is ceramic and the other one is Teflon. You will not need more oil during cooking and they both are very easy to clean. However, Teflon is more prone to scratches as compared to ceramic. Make sure that you don’t use any metal utensils in these pots and don’t scrub them too hard while cleaning.

Cookware Safety Matters

As we have mentioned above that aluminum is very popular among the hikers because of its lightweight nature and brilliant heat conductivity. But many people are also concerned about the point that is aluminum unhealthy!  To calm things down a bit for the concerned ones, aluminum is not unhealthy for cooking purposes and the National Institute of Health, Food & Drug Administration and Alzheimer’s Society London approve it.

When talking about the non-stick coatings, the variants that have a food-grade PTFE fluoropolymer have a tendency to release toxic fumes if you overheat them severely. If you inhale these fumes, they will cause symptoms that are just like the flu. These fumes are lethally toxic for pet birds. Therefore, beware of not overheating the pans and pots with these coatings.

Then there is plastic that needs to be BPA free as well! BPA stands for Bisphenol A and it is a synthetic compound that is most likely present in the older plastic cookware. This is toxic for human consumption and you need to see that the cookware you are using has BPA-free plastic.

Buyer’s Guide

There are different brands floating on the market that have their camping cookware. You need to understand your needs and wants if you want to invest wisely. Otherwise, you will find that the cookware that you have brought with you is useless. And finding that on the field can be very problematic. Therefore, to assist you in this regard we have developed this buying guide for you so that your investment doesn’t end up in agony.

Value

It is important for you to get the best bang for your buck. If you are looking for value then you need to go for durable cookware. The heavier it is, the longer it is going to last because it is made of thick materials.

Lighter cookware is not going to cost you a lot as well unless it is titanium. But there is a general rule of thumb and that is if cookware is heavy then it will stand the test of time. However, you need to balance it out if you are a light backpacker.

Cooking Performance

The most critical aspect of any cookware is its cooking performance. Your cook set shouldn’t burn the food or alter its flavor. It must also boil water efficiently and also reduces heat loss to reduce fuel consumption. If cookware checks all these boxes then its cooking performance is outstanding and you need to own it immediately.

Design

The design of cookware that you are considering for your next trip needs to be very compact. Make sure that your cookware doesn’t have a design that makes it jostle around when you are on the move. But with that being said, you also need to have some cooking space as well that is good enough for you to cook a meal for two or the number of people that will be with you on your trip.

Packability

Convenient is a critical feature that your camping cookware needs to have because it will allow you to save more space. Packability goes hand in hand with design because with compact design cookware is more packable and it will enable you to save a good deal of space as well.

Durability

When looking for camping cookware, durability is important. Noon likes to wave their pans and pots a goodbye after a couple of trips. But our cookware takes a serious toll over time. If durability is your topmost priority then you need to go for titanium because it is strong and light. Steel is another good option but it is heavy.

Accessories

Accessories that come with your purchase are always good. Those extra spoons and spatulas come in very handy when you need them. Some packages also include extra handles and lids as well. If your package doesn’t include any of these accessories then you can always buy them separately.

Weight

As we have mentioned above, weight is important and if you are looking to hike long trails then you need to pack light. The best camp cookware for you to consider is titanium because it is strong and light. If you are on short hikes and will rest frequently between the trails then you need to go for stainless steel which is heavier than titanium.

Grabber vs. handle

With a handle, you will have to deal with space issues because the handle is not detachable. This is where a grabber comes in to play its role. A grabber is of course not the part of the pot and it will allow you to pack even more compactly. Plus, you can use the grabber to grabber other things as well.

Usability

If you are able to cook great tasting foods evenly and boil water efficiently, then your cookware is very easy to use and offers high performance. Its heat conductivity needs to be spot on and the materials should be durable as well.

Care & Clean up

It should be an easy task for you to clean your camping cookware. Be careful when you are using those nonstick coatings because they tend to chip if you scrub them hard. Titanium and stainless steel are your best friends because they can go through almost anything and have a great ability to withstand anything.

Conclusion

Cooking in the outdoors is great fun. You get to try out different recipes and have a great time with your camping partner. There are different types of camping cookware you can choose based on the materials that are used to construct them and your needs and requirements. 

Different materials perform differently and they all have their own properties that are useful in various conditions. You need to determine what your requirements are and then choose cookware accordingly. 

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