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The Best Camping Cookware of 2024

Camping season is upon us, and whether you’re gearing up for backcountry hiking or a family trip to a nearby state park, having the right kitchen essentials can enhance your outdoor dining experience. Living in Upstate New York, my local camping trips either involve car camping or boating out to lakeside sites in the Adirondacks where I prepare all my meals by camp stove. Over the years, I’ve also embarked on a number of backpacking trips where I carried in my own tent, cookware, and provisions for several days of off-the-grid adventure, so it’s important that I carefully choose all of my essential gear. For me, that includes high-quality cookware that is both durable and versatile.

There are a range of camping cookware options to accommodate different camping styles, group sizes, and culinary ambitions. Quality cookware can speed up meal prep and cleanup while expanding the menu options for dining al fresco. To help narrow your search, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite camping cookware, considering their performance, durability, ease of use, and versatility from lightweight and stackable designs to gourmet and open-flame cooking.

Amazon Stanley Adventure Base Camp Cookset for 4



Having started my adult camping ventures with a collection of mismatched plates and cookware, I appreciate the efficiency and convenience of getting a fully stocked camp kitchen in one go. Whether starting from scratch or looking to overhaul your camp kitchen, the 21-piece Stanley Adventure Base Camp Cook Set has you covered.

In terms of cookware, the 3.5-liter stainless steel pot and three-ply frying pan offer solid heat distribution and performance for preparing more complicated camp meals. I appreciate the inclusion of a cutting board, spatula, and serving spoon to streamline meal prep and dishing out portions while everything is still hot. It also comes with bowls, sporks, a trivet, dish drying rack, and a vented pot lid for straining. A quality knife is about the only thing missing from this comprehensive cook set.

The Details: Stainless steel | 5.7 pounds

REI Sea to Summit Detour Stainless Steel One Pot Cook Set



Whenever possible, I try to choose equipment and gear that’s multipurpose. Take the Sea to Summit Detour Cook Set, for instance. It’s compatible with gas stoves and induction cooktops alike, making it a great investment for campers who also travel by RV or boat.

For me, the packability afforded by the compact design is where this cookware stands out. The 3-liter pot, bowls, and mugs nest together and compress down to just 2.5 inches tall. The rubber silicone stays rigid when unfurled, and the stainless-steel pot handles add stability while moving or pouring. I also love that it’s made to be “rattle-proof,” so there’s no clinking and clanking if carrying over land or transporting on rough roads.

The Details: Stainless steel and silicone rubber | 2.8 pounds

Amazon Jetboil Stash Ultralight Camping and Backpacking Stove



To minimize my packed weight on thru-hikes or backpacking trips, I look for all-in-one cooking systems instead of piecing together cookware and stoves from different brands or product lines. When every ounce counts, these integrated systems offer the lightest and most compact options. Totaling 7.1 ounces and spanning just 5.1 x 4.4 inches, the Stash Cooking System can easily fit into most hiking backpacks, even the more minimalist varieties.

Everything stores inside the 0.8-liter pot, including the fuel stabilizer and fuel canister. Since it’s so packable and incredibly fuel efficient, it’s a useful accessory to have when I’m car camping, too. It can boil water in a few minutes, so I can reserve my stovetop for sautéing, simmering, and more precise cooking needs.

The Details: Aluminum (pot) and titanium (stove) | 0.44 pounds




If space constraints and weight aren’t an issue, this high-quality cookware delivers incredible functionality to satisfy even the most ambitious camp chefs. The stainless-steel construction not only looks the part, but it offers enhanced heat distribution and durability for years of outdoor adventures. Between the stock pot, saucepan, frying pan, and corresponding vented lids, the menu is only limited by one’s imagination and cooler space. The addition of a collapsible cutting board, utensils, and trivets go beyond the usual wares I find in most cook sets for an upgraded cooking experience. All 11 pieces nest together in the largest 4.75-quart pot for compact and convenient storage. The locking bungee system that attaches between the two pot handles is a thoughtful detail for secure and easy transport.

The Details: Stainless steel | 8.2 pounds

GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Camper Cookset


GSI Outdoors

To upgrade your camp kitchen in one fell swoop, the Bugaboo Camper Cookset is a great choice. The four-person cook set stacks neatly into the three-liter pot and a stuff sack that also serves as a wash basin for dishes. I love how intuitive and quick it is to pack up. It takes just a minute or two to load the sets of mugs, bowls, and plates into the two-liter pot, then tuck it into the larger three-liter pot with the frying pan and folding interchangeable handle. Being able to swap the handle from the nine-inch frying pan to the two-liter pot with a single hand is incredibly convenient, especially when managing multiple pots and pans. I’m also a fan of the integrated strainer lids, which stay cool enough that you can safely hold the top while draining.

The Details: Aluminum (pots and pan) and Cascandia BPA-free plastic (mugs, bowls, and plates) | 3.3 pounds

Amazon Lodge 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Skillet



A cast iron skillet is about as classic as camp cooking gets. I love the 10.25-inch version of this Lodge skillet, as it’s large enough to cook for a small group, but not too big that it prevents another pot or pan from fitting on my two-burner camp stove. It’s also a highly versatile piece of cookware. From cooking eggs and pancakes to stir fries and more complicated skillet dishes for dinner, it comes in handy for virtually every meal. And the more you use it, the better seasoned it gets. From the start though, it comes pre-seasoned with 100 percent vegetable oil, so you can use it right out of the box.

The Details: Cast iron | 5.3 pounds

Amazon GSI Outdoors Stainless Troop Cookset



If cooking for a crowd, I opt for equipment and recipes that are geared for cooking in bulk. The Troop three-piece stainless-steel set does just that. Between its 8.5-liter pot, a 5-liter pot, and 10-inch frying pan, there’s ample volume and functionality for larger and elaborate meals.  I love how the pot handles are designed to lock up, saving space on the stovetop so I can have two pots or a pot and frying pan cooking at the same time. The stainless-steel construction also works well for cooking on a grate over an open fire. Despite its weight and volume, I’m impressed how the three-piece set neatly stacks and stores in a stuff sack for easy transport.

The Details: Stainless steel | 8.4 pounds

Amazon MSR Nonstick Ceramic Coated 2-Pot Camping Cook Set



When cooking outdoors, I look for equipment that will simplify packing, meal prep, and cleanup. This ceramic cookware set simplifies things with a single removable handle that serves both pots, plus a lid that doubles as a strainer. The ceramic coating on the 1.5- and 2.5-liter pots delivers nonstick performance that makes gourmet camp cooking a far easier task. When it’s time to wash, it takes minimal effort to scrub away any remaining food.

I’m also a big fan of this ceramic cookware for its lack of chemical additives — a risk when cooking with nonstick Teflon equipment. While cast iron also offers safe nonstick cooking, the reduced weight of ceramic-coated aluminum lightens the load. I appreciate the Fusion pots’ space-saving, stackable design for backpacking or overnight trips, but tacking on the MSR ceramic skillet could be worth the broader menu options for group trips and car camping.

The Details: Aluminum with a ceramic coating | 1 pound

Tips for Buying Camping Cookware

Pack according to your needs

Preparing for the unexpected is a good rule of thumb for camping, but when it comes to camping cookware, overpacking can take up valuable weight and space. Meal planning ahead of time — choosing recipes and portioning ingredients to the size of your group — can inform the appropriate cookware size and types (pots or pans) to pack that will best suit your needs. While breakfast dishes like eggs can be easier to cook “to order,” your packed cookware and cooking system should be sufficient to prepare dinner for the whole group all in one go.

Think about weight and portability

While weight and portability may be top of mind for backpackers, it’s worth considering the latter for car camping, too. Stackable cookware, or those that come with carry cases, are easier to pack, transport, and store between trips. For backpackers, the benefits of a stackable system may not translate if it’s too bulky to neatly tuck in with other gear in your pack. If car camping, think about how cookware fits in your camping gear storage, such as a gearbox or dry bag

Prioritize durability

Certain materials — namely stainless steel and cast iron — stand out for their scratch resistance and durability. With cast iron, it’s essential to wash, dry, and regularly coat with oil to extend the life of the cookware. Besides materials, look for cookware that comes with protective casing or nesting designs that protect more vulnerable items (like ceramic pots and pans) from abrasions and damage in transit.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best material for camping pots?

    Camping pots and cookware are made from a range of materials. The best material depends on your preferences for durability, performance, weight, and other factors. Stainless steel, cast iron, and titanium stand out for their durability, but the first two can be quite heavy. For nonstick performance, consider choosing cookware with ceramic coating or made from cast iron.

  • What is the best type of frying pan for camping?

    The best type of frying pan depends in part on your cooking preferences. A cast iron skillet is one of the most versatile and durable options, though it is often quite heavy. If backpacking, a lighter weight design with a folding or detachable handle may be a better fit for your needs.

  • Is it safe to cook over an open campfire?

    Yes, it’s safe to cook over an open campfire, but only in the right location and with proper equipment. Make use of fire pits if available. If not, look for a space that is free of grass, roots, and overhead branches and offers some wind protection (only after checking local regulations).

    It’s important to have a stable cooking surface, such as a grate or stand, to place the cookware over the fire. You should also be sure to choose metal cookware, such as cast iron or stainless steel, that doesn’t have rubber handles or any non-metal components that could melt.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Kevin Brouillard is an avid camper who specializes in outdoor gear and apparel. His work has been published in TripSavvy, Jetsetter, and Oyster, and he served in the Peace Corps in Cambodia for two years. He used his first-hand experience camping in update New York and cooking outdoors in compiling this list of camping cookware.

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