One of the most important items that you can pack on your next trip into the great outdoors is your camping cookware. Without a sturdy set of pots and pans (and maybe more), it’s going to be pretty hard to whip up some food while you’re camping. Whether you’re the kind of camper who wants to create elaborate meals or you just need a vessel to boil some water and warm up a few things, there is a camping cookware set out there that will fit your needs and price range.
When shopping for camping cookware, it’s important to consider the weight and size of the set, the materials used, what the set includes, and how easy it is to clean and pack up the set. Consider how many people you are typically cooking for when you set out on an adventure and also factor in if this cookware will be used over an open fire or a camp stove. Once you’ve picked out a tent and a cooler, your cookware set might be the next most important component of your camping toys, so definitely weigh your options before deciding on the one.
Here, the best camping cookware for your next adventure.
GSI Cookware Pinnacle Base Camper Cookset
Stuff sack can double as a dish sink
Includes cutting board
Teflon is triple coated and nonstick
Doesn’t include utensils or plates
If you’re ready to take your camping cookware setup to the next level, this set is going to get you there. The nonstick coating is perfect for frying eggs and searing steaks, plus you don’t have to worry about a difficult cleanup. The hard-anodized aluminum surface is extremely durable, scratch-resistant, and nonreactive. The set stacks up super easily, making it a compact addition for backpacking or car camping. Not to mention, the sack that it nests in can also double as a sink when it’s time to rinse everything. While it doesn’t include plates, bowls, or utensils, this set has you completely covered in the cookware department, and it can support large groups of people.
Price at time of publish: $150
Includes: 5-liter pot, 3-liter pot, 9-inch frypan, two nylon strainer lids, a cutting board, a folding pot handle, a waterproof welded stuff sack
Stanley Adventure All-in-One 2-Bowl Cook Set
Nests for easy storage and transport
Lid locks in place when closed
Doesn't include utensils
This set includes the must-have basics for camp cooking: a stainless steel pot with lid, 2 large bowls, a folding cutting board, spatula, and ladle. At less than $50, this set is a good price for the versatility it offers. The lightweight set works well for car camping, in an RV, or even backpacking. Plus, the whole set nests inside the pot and the handle locks the lid in place for easy transporting. The stainless steel pot can be used on a camping stove or over a fire, or over an induction hot plate. And it's dishwasher-safe and cleans up easily.
The pot is made of 18/8 stainless steel as well as the lid (it also have drainage holes, much to our delight). Stainless steel is heat-safe so there wouldn’t be any concern using the lid while cooking.
Price at time of publish: $33
Includes: 1.58-quart pot, vented pot lid, two 20-ounce bowls, two bowl lids, folding cutting board, spatula with extending handle, ladle with extending handle
Best Stainless Steel
Stanley Adventure Full Kitchen Base Camp Cook Set
Includes cutlery and other utensils
Durable and works over an open flame
This stainless steel set for four people has everything you need. Not only does it have a pot and pan, but it includes a cutting board, utensils, bowls, plates, and sporks. A dish drying rack also makes for an organized cleanup station. The 18/8 stainless steel heats evenly, is super durable, and cleans up like a breeze—plus it’s totally fine to use it over an open flame. The efficient nesting makes this set incredibly easy to pack on a trip where you might be a little pressed for space.
This set can easily accommodate four people, though it can support a bigger crowd, if necessary. The pot (which is nearly 4 quarts in volume) is equipped with a vented lid for simmering items. Reviewers love this set for their family camping trips, and many people love the curved handles and how easy and comfortable they are to hold.
Price at time of publish: $90
Includes: 3.5-liter pot, vented lid, 7-inch tri-ply frying pan, cutting board, spatula, serving spoon, four 6-inch plates, four 22-ounce bowls, four sporks, dish drying rack, heat resistant trivet, locking bungee
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookset
Includes mugs, plates, and bowls in a range of colors
Removable handles store easily
Too large for backpacking
If you’re planning a handful of upcoming camping trips and want to go all out on your fireside meals, then maybe you’re ready to invest in a top-of-the-line cookware set. Not only does it have you covered in the cooking department, but also the eating department, with insulated mugs (with tops and sleeves!), bowls, and plates. Plus, they all come in a variety of colors, which is not only visually appealing but a great way for everyone to keep track of their own items.
The stuff sack can double as a washing sink. The anodized aluminum pots are food-safe, durable, and easy to clean—plus they heat evenly and quickly. The folding and removable handles lock easily, and when you’re done using them, you can easily stow them away for easy nesting storage. This set is probably too large and heavy to take backpacking, but it’s a great option for car or RV camping.
Price at time of publish: $160
Includes: Four plates, four insulated mugs with sip-it tops and sleeves, four bowls, 2-liter pot with strainer lid, 3-liter pot with strainer lid, fry pan, folding handle, stuff sack/washbasin
Best for Backpacking
MSR PocketRocket Ultralight Backpacking Stove Kit
Includes a propane stove
Doesn't include many utensils
The MSR PocketRocket Ultralight Camping and Backpacking Stove Kit includes everything you need to cook for two people while backpacking. This set includes one 2-liter aluminum pot, two deep bowls, a strainer lid, two 12.5-ounce insulated mugs, two folding sporks, and a stove. You'll have to pick up a propane canister to power the MSR PocketRocket stove, but once you hook it up, it can bring a pot of water to a boil in a mere 3.5 minutes. All of these items nest snugly inside the pot for easy carrying, compactly fitting into the 5.5 x 6.25-inch space. BPA-free plastic is used for the bowls, mugs, and sporks, which helps keep the whole kit at only 1 pound, 10 ounces. It’s incredibly lightweight and exactly what you would want to have with you backpacking.
Though it’s a great idea to have foldable, lightweight sporks to go backpacking with, these might be flimsier and more prone to breaking than other options. You should definitely throw a few extra utensils in your backpack.
Price at time of publish: $110
Includes: PocketRocket stove, 2-liter aluminum pot, two deep dish bowls, two 12.5-ounce double-wall insulated mugs, strainer lid, two folding sporks
GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Base Camper Nesting Cook Set
Three pieces of cookware plus strainer lids
Large set is very lightweight
Carrying bag doubles as a sink
No utensils or dinnerware
Only one removable handle
No one wants to scrub their dishes in the woods, so it's worth it to get a nonstick cooking set. The GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Base Camper Cookset has everything you need, without the cleaning hassle. This is available in small, medium, or large, with the only difference being the size of the pots and frying pan. We recommend the large set; it has a 3-liter and a 5-liter pot, plus a 9-inch frying pan. Even with those three pieces of cookware, it only weighs a total of 3.4 pounds.
With this, the pots and pans have the strong Teflon nonstick coating that keeps food from sticking and easily wipes clean. Additionally, the set includes two lids that double as strainers. Conveniently, the lid for the large pot also fits the frying pan. A cutting board and a carrying sack are also included in the set, which nests snugly inside the large pot.
The set includes a removable handle that fits each of the pots and pans but with only one, you are unable to easily use two pots at a time. Thankfully, extra handles are available for sale.
Price at time of publish: $125
Includes: Two pots, a frypan, two nylon strainer lids, a cutting board, a folding pot handle, a stuff sack/sink
Best for Families
Stanley Adventure Even-Heat Camp Pro Cook Set
Comes with a stock pot and a frying pan
Nests together for storage
Too heavy for backpacking
The Stanley Adventure Even-Heat Camp Pro Cook Set is a high quality, 11-piece set that includes two 18/8 stainless steel pots, a collapsible cutting board, two trivets, and a locking bungee. A 4.5-liter stock pot is large enough to boil pasta for the whole family, while the 8.5-inch stainless steel frying pan comes with a handle that unlocks for storage. All the pieces fit comfortably inside the largest pot and the bungee keeps the set secure while transporting.
Cooking utensils are an important part of camp cooking, so we were delighted to see that this set has both a spatula and a spoon with retractable handles. The set cleans up easily and is dishwasher-safe. One downside is that the set is best used for car camping or in an RV as it is too heavy (more than 8 pounds) and too large to take on a hike or a backpacking trip.
Price at time of publish: $150
Includes: 4.75-quart stock pot, 1.9-quart saucepan, 8.5-inch frying pan, vented lids, collapsible cutting board, spatula, spoon, two trivets, locking bungee
Sea to Summit X-Pot 5-Piece Cookware Set
Fully collapsible and nests for storage
Mugs are microwave safe
Silicone can be damaged by excessive heat
Doesn't include utensils
This 5-piece silicone set includes a pot, two large bowls, and two large mugs that collapse for easy transporting. The pot includes a transparent lid, has carrying handles, and most importantly, the bottom is hard-anodized aluminum that works on a camping stove. The silicone dishes are heat-resistant up to 300 degrees and dishwasher-safe. As an added bonus, the bowls have a nylon bottom that can double as a cutting board! The whole set nests together when collapsed and the handles snap onto the lid to keep it all stored securely until the next time. Each set has two colors and we especially like the vibrant Pacific blue/lime combination—it's pretty hard to leave a lime green bowl behind!
One thing to keep in mind is that while the pot is designed to be used on a camping stove, the silicone can easily be damaged if the flame gets too high and reaches the silicone sides. This also does not come with any utensils or lids for the bowls
Price at time of publish: $110
Includes: 2.8-liter pot, two 22-ounce bowls, two 16-ounce mugs, vented lid
The nesting GSI Cookware Pinnacle Base Camper Cookset is durable, nonstick, and our pick for every type of outdoor adventure. If you're going car or cabin camping with a larger group, the Stanley Adventure Even-Heat Camp Pro Cook Set will get you through every meal.
What to Look for When Buying Camping Cookware
Number of Pieces
“You’ll want an assortment for your camp setup," says Jen Streby, a Senior Buyer at evo. "This should include pots/pans, plates/bowls, utensils, and cups. I like to use a dutch oven and cast-iron pan when car camping. I go with lighter aluminum pots when in the backcountry. Look for items that collapse or nest inside of each other to save on space and ease of storing.”
Every camping cookware set is different and will offer a different variety of pots, pans, cups, bowls, plates, and utensils. Some include other handy tools like a colander, a cutting board, and even some spatulas or whisks. If you already have a separate set of cutlery or dishes for camping, you’re probably better off opting for a set with solely cookware, but if you want to get more bang for your buck, then it’s certainly worth looking into sets that include plates and utensils. Additionally, you should consider how many people you’re typically cooking for on these trips. If it’s for 1-3 people, you probably don’t need as many pots as if you’re cooking for larger groups.
The material of your camping cookware will indicate how durable it is, how easy it is to clean, and how well it performs over a camp stove or open fire. Cast iron is super durable and heats evenly, but it’s extremely bulky and heavy.
Anodized aluminum and nonstick are both lightweight and great options when it comes to cleanup. Silicone and rubber handles are also something to look out for as it’s not a good idea to place these over an open fire.
Weight and Size
Whether you plan to take this set car or RV camping versus backpacking is another consideration. If this is for a solo backpacking trip, you definitely want something light, compact, and small so that you have room for all of your things. If you’re in a car or RV and you’re not as pressed for space, you can likely size up to bigger, heavier sets. Cast iron is a great material for the great outdoors, but it’s far too heavy to carry by hand, so definitely keep that to car or RV excursions.
Ease of Cleaning
Owning a set of cookware that cleans up quickly and easily will make your cooking in the great outdoors much more enjoyable. Cookware with a nonstick coating is typically much easier to clean off with limited water because the stuck-on food bits come off easily. If a pot requires an excessive amount of scrubbing or cleaning product, this is probably not the best investment for your camping cookware inventory.
Is enamel camping cookware safe?
Enameled cooking is typically a cast iron material with an enamel coating. This material is known for distributing heat well and cleaning up easily, and it’s non-reactive, so it’s safe to cook any food on it. This material can be highly durable and it is fine to use metal utensils on it.
“The downside to enamel cookware although nostalgic and speckled, is that it can get very hot when used over a campfire," says Streby. "Wear gloves when handling after cooking. It’s safe if it’s not chipped. Continued cooking on a chipped pan would result in more chipping and possible ingestion.”
Is aluminum camping cookware safe?
"Aluminum camping cookware is safe and lightweight which can be a plus," says Streby. "It both heats up quickly and cools down quickly."
As long as the aluminum cookware that you’re using is anodized, then it’s safe to use. Without this coating, it can be reactive with highly acidic foods, so make sure you confirm that the aluminum cookware is anodized. This coating does not make the cookware completely nonstick but it certainly helps, so if you want nonstick aluminum pans, make sure there is also a nonstick coating.
How do you clean camping cookware?
In order to clean camping cookware, you definitely want warm water. You can heat water in a kettle over the fire, and if it starts to boil, you can cut the heat with some room-temperature water. Create a small camping sink (you can use a small cooler) and handwash all of your items with warm, soapy water. It’s always helpful to start with the cleaner items first and then move to the dirtiest. Separately, it’s helpful to create an additional sanitizing sink where dishes can soak. Towel dry the plates and then either dispose of the dirty water at any nearby facilities (if your campsite has them) or distribute it among the soil far away from any water sources.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Sara Tane has written nearly a dozen buying guides for The Spruce Eats, understanding what consumers and cooks need to consider before making a new purchase for their culinary adventures. She is a professionally trained chef in addition to a camping and outdoor cooking enthusiast. With many weekends of cooking elaborate, delicious meals out in the great outdoors, she is no stranger to what it takes to have a successful bout of cooking at a campsite. After researching different camping cookware sets and their materials, she can help you find the best camping cookware for your next adventure. She not only takes her camping menu pretty seriously, but she understands what makes for an easy, seamless cooking experience. Nobody wants to be fussing with their camping cookware in the middle of nowhere.
This roundup was updated by Rachel Knecht, a food writer in the Pacific Northwest. She loves the great outdoors and knows that packing the right cookware makes mealtimes so much easier.