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The 8 Best Camping Cooking Sets for Outdoor Enthusiasts [2024]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
Amar Hussain's image

Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

791 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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If you want to enjoy healthy, home-cooked food on the go, a camping cookware set will give you all the pots, pans, and utensils you need to chow down with friends and family.

From simple pots and pans to comprehensive camping cookware collections, the cookware you need to take with you will depend on where you are going and how many people you want to feed when you get there.

Things To Consider With Camping Cooking Sets

Camping Cooking Sets
A camping cookware set will give you all the pots, pans, and utensils you need. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Before you rush out and buy any old mess kit, consider the following from your camping cooking set.

Cookware

In order to heat your food, you will need to have pots and pans with you. Most sets contain a least 1 pot and 1 frying pan, while some more expensive kits may come with pots and pans of different sizes.

A separate lid is also useful as it helps to keep the heat in and let the steam escape for safer and more thorough heating, and some kits even come with multi-purpose handles that can be clipped onto each of the pots and pans, making them easier to lift off the stove.

Utensils

Camping Cookware Materials
Most mess kits come with cutlery included. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

You will, of course, need something to eat your food with, and most mess kits come with cutlery included.

As outdoor eating is not all about fine dining, multi-purpose utensils make it easy to eat your food without worrying about lots of extra things to carry around with you. Sporks a pronged spoon that can be used to stab food or scoop it up — are very commonplace in camping cookware sets, as are spatulas that can be used for cooking and foldable knives or forks that take up less space in your cookware set.

Hot Tip: Look for utensils that are easy to clean and resistant to rust if you want them to be useful for many adventures to come.

Materials

Camping Cookware Material
Aluminum is an excellent choice for camping cookware. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Your outdoor cookware needs to be made from strong and durable materials while still being lightweight and versatile. Stainless steel is a popular choice as it lasts well and is resistant to scratches. Affordable and easy to transport, stainless steel pots and pans are often found in less expensive mess kits.

Aluminum is also an excellent choice as it is able to conduct heat extremely well, even on a small camping stove. While not as durable as stainless steel, it is still a good choice for use in the great outdoors. If you are planning on using your camping cookware for many years to come, invest in a set that features hard-anodized aluminum pieces that are incredibly hardwearing and excellent to cook with.

Suppose you want to really impress your fellow campers. In that case, you could even consider titanium cookware that is super lightweight and easy to cook with, or go retro with heavy but almost indestructible cast iron pots and pans that can be used for cooking over fire, charcoal, or gas.

Nonstick Coatings

If you can, look for a cooking set that has a nonstick coating. These types of pans need very little oil to cook with and can be cleaned up super quickly. A word of warning, though — the coatings do eventually scratch off, making them less effective over time.

Size

Camping cookware size
2-liter pans are perfect when cooking for 2 people. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

If you are looking to feed the masses, you will need to consider the size and volume of the pots and pans you buy. While a 750-milliliter to 1-liter pan will be enough for a delicious dinner for 1, 2-liter pans are perfect for 2 people, 3 liters for 3 to 4 people, and you could consider even larger 4-liter versions if you want to feed more than 5 people at a time.

The logic behind this works in reverse, too. There is no need to carry around large pots and pans if it is just the 2 of you out in the wilds, and the bigger the pan, the heavier it will be, too, so keep that in mind when it comes to packing.

Portability

Camping Cookware portability
Most camping cookware sets are designed to nest inside each other for compact carrying. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

If you are car camping or traveling in your RV, you can opt for super-sized, super-heavy, high-quality cookware as you won’t need to lug it around with you. If, on the other hand, you are planning on trekking or hiking over long distances, you should consider the overall weight and size of your cookware before you buy.

Bottom Line: Most camping cookware sets have been designed to let the pieces nest inside each other or come with a compact carry bag to ensure that they don’t take up too much room in your backpack.

The 8 Best Camping Cooking Sets

1. Camping Cookware Set for Budding Outdoor Enthusiasts

MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit

This little camping cookware kit contains everything you need to enjoy alfresco dining wherever you are headed. Featuring 10 different pieces, it comes with a nonstick pot and pot cover, a nonstick pan, 2 bowls, a folding steel spork, a soup spoon, a wooden spoon spatula, a cleaning sponge, and a nylon drawstring pouch for easy transportation.

Designed to fold down into a small collapsible bundle, this awesome little travel kit is lightweight, practical, and perfect for hiking trips and camping. Designed to conduct heat nice and quickly, this has everything you need for solo dining.

What We Like

  • The kit has everything you need to get started

What We Don’t Like

  • The pots can get scratched quite easily

2. High-end Camping Cookware Set

Stanley Base Camp Cook Set for 4

Enjoy freshly cooked meals for all the family with this awesome 4-person cookware set. Made from 18/8 stainless steel, this cooking set is incredibly strong and durable while still being compact and lightweight enough to carry around with you.

Featuring 21 pieces in all, it includes a 3.5-liter pot, a 3-ply frying pan, a cutting board, a spatula, a serving spoon, 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 sporks, a dish drying rack, and a heat-resistant bungee, amongst other useful items. Designed to all nest together when not in use, this set is hardwearing, easy to clean, and perfect for family camping trips.

What We Like

  • This is a rugged and durable set

What We Don’t Like

  • The spatula is not very heat-resistant

3. Stovetop Mess Kit for Quick and Easy Meals for 2

Check on Walmart

Stanley Cook Set – 1 liter Stainless Steel Pot with 2 Bowls

This high-quality and well-designed cooking set has been designed for outdoor cooking, boiling water, or making a much-needed cup of coffee. With a vented top to let steam escape or strain liquid, and a handy folding handle, this is a versatile and easy-to-use cooking utensil that has many different uses on the road.

Made from 18/8 stainless steel, it comes with 2 bowls for hot and cold beverages and 2 sporks. Incredibly lightweight and compact enough to be carried with you virtually anywhere, this stovetop mess kit is an excellent choice for hiking, fishing, and camping trips.

What We Like

  • This steel cooker with nesting cups is surprisingly versatile

What We Don’t Like

  • Food can stick a bit when cooking

4. Traditional Cast Iron Camping Cookware Set

Bruntmor Pre-Seasoned 7 Piece Heavy Duty Cast Iron Dutch Oven

This incredible Dutch oven set is made from top-quality materials and offers everything you need to cook up hot food.

Create amazing meals using the 12-inch cast iron skillet, the 4.5-quart Dutch oven pot, the 2.5-quart saucepot, and the 9-inch heavy-duty cast iron griddle, and with an 8.6-inch trivet and lid lifter included, you really can cook like you are back at home.

Designed for use over an open fire or on burning ash, this set comes in a convenient wooden box that looks super classy and makes it easy to transport the cookware set in one go. Made with pre-seasoned and nonstick surfaces, these high-quality pieces not only cook beautifully, but they are also incredibly easy to clean.

What We Like

  • This cast iron set looks and feels like it really has been made to last a lifetime

What We Don’t Like

  • The wooden box could be better

5. Complete Camping Mess Kit for Family Vacations

Bulin 24pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit

Offering excellent value for money, this 24-piece camping cookware set has everything you need to cook up a storm for up to 4 people. With a large-size hanging pan, a nonstick pan, a kettle, 3 large plates, 4 small plates, 6 bowls, and other cooking utensils, this is an awesome cooking set that can be used over an open fire, or on a portable stove.

With each piece featuring a nonstick coating, the set is easy to clean and incredibly durable, and the pots and pans conduct heat quickly to allow for even heat distribution to ensure beautifully cooked food every time.

What We Like

  • This is a great set for family camping trips

What We Don’t Like

  • The different quantities of plates and bowls

6. Camping Cookware Set for You and up to 4 of Your Fellow Travelers

Yodo Anodized Aluminum Camping Cookware Set

Designed to offer everything you need to cook fresh meals for up to 5 people, this useful anodized aluminum cooking set comes with large, medium, and small cooking pots and a 7.7-inch frying pan.

It also features 1 large plate, 2 medium plates, 4 bowls, a rice ladle, and a loofah sponge for easy cleaning. Offering fast and efficient heat transfer, you can enjoy safely cooked food, and the tough and durable construction of the pots and pans makes them perfect for use over an open fire or camping stove.

With a foldable handle also included, this pan set will feel just as safe as cooking back at home, and with a mesh carry bag, you can keep all of your cooking gear neatly stashed away when not in use.

What We Like

  • The anodized aluminum is really good at heating up fast while also being easy to clean

What We Don’t Like

  • These pans do not come with a nonstick coating, so you need to be aware of that when cooking

7. Excellent Stacking Cookware Set

gear4U Ultra Compact Camping Cookware Kit

This impressive camping cookware kit is perfect for hiking, camping, and fishing trips and comes with everything you need to cook your own meals in the great outdoors.

Featuring 13 separate pieces, it includes a nonstick pot with a pot cover, a nonstick pan, 2 bowls, 2 collapsible cups with lids, 1 ladle, 1 spatula, 1 sponge, and a travel drawstring pouch for easy storage and transportation.

Compact and lightweight, this set collapses into itself when not in use, making it perfect for stashing in your backpack. Easy to clean and just the right size for cooking a full meal, the pots and pans in this set have been designed to be used with gas-powered camping stoves.

What We Like

  • This cookware set offers a lot of gear for your money

What We Don’t Like

  • Not as durable as other sets

8. Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Cookware

GSI Outdoors Stainless Steel Cookware Set – 3 Piece

Made from rust-proof 18/8 stainless steel, this camping cookware set is non-toxic, hardwearing, and designed to offer fast and even transfer of heat.

This set offers a 5-liter nonstick pot, a nonstick frying pan, and 3-liter pot. Both pot lids have vented holes for straining water, and the flip-up handles tuck neatly out of the way and are heat resistant.

Compact and highly portable, this set fits neatly in the largest pot for safe and easy storage and can be carried in the handy drawstring bag.

What We Like

  • The pans are made from durable stainless steel

What We Don’t Like

  • Quite a heavy set to carry

Final Thoughts

Cook like a boss, even on the go, with a durable and reliable camping cookware set. Made from lightweight materials that come with nonstick coatings and efficient conductivity, these impressive little cooking sets are almost as good as anything you would find back at home.

Portable, practical, and perfect for prepping, cooking, and enjoying your favorite meals, all of these cooking sets and mess kits offer everything you need to eat healthy, homestyle food.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a camping cooking set called?

A camping cooking set can often be referred to as a mess kit and includes utensils for cooking and eating. In other parts of the world, such as Australia and New Zealand, you may hear of these being referred to as a billy can.

Can you use aluminum pans for camping?

Most aluminum pans can be used for camping, but coals can burn very hot, so it is recommended that the aluminum pan is elevated above them.

Is cast iron cookware good for camping?

Cast iron cookware is excellent for durability but not suitable for camping where a lot of walking is involved, due to its weight.

Is stainless steel or aluminum better for camping cooking sets?

There are a few things that set stainless steel and aluminum apart when it comes to cooking. Aluminum heats up faster, more evenly, and arguably looks better than stainless steel. On the other hand, stainless steel is less prone to scratches, more forgiving with cleaning, and the better quality sets cost a little more.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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