Best Backpacking Cookware of 2023
What’s new: We’ve added the Vargo Bot – a unique cookpot that can double as a water bottle. We also moved the SOTO Amicus Combo up to the number four spot after the whole team got more experience with it. It’s an unbeatable deal if you’re looking for an all-in-one stove/cookset package.
If you’re in the market for new backpacking cookware, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of outdoor experts has used dozens of cooksets to make hundreds of meals on trails all over the world. To create this list, we thoroughly analyzed and field-tested the very best backpacking cookware on the market. Our recommendations are fully independent, and our number one goal is to help our readers find products they’ll love for many years of backcountry use.
We fully understand how tough it is to find trustworthy gear advice, and that’s one of the main reasons we built CleverHiker. We live for outdoor adventure, we take these guides very seriously, and we really hope you find our honest recommendations helpful.
Check out this quick list of our favorites if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full list of the best backpacking cookware with in-depth reviews.
- Best titanium pot overall for weight & affordability:TOAKS Titanium 750ml
- Best ultralight cookset + cup combo:Snow Peak Mini Solo
- Best value stove + pot kit:MSR PocketRocket 2 Mini
- Best budget stove + pot kit:SOTO Amicus Combo
- Super fast & convenient cook system:Jetboil Flash
- Large, versatile titanium cookpot that doubles as water bottle: Vargo Bot
- Versatile ultralight cookset with great heat retention:SOTO Thermostack Combo
- Best budget backpacking pot:Stanley Adventure Set
- Large-capacity cookset for base camp cooking:GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Dualist HS
- Most compact cookset:Sea to Summit X-Set 11
What’s Most Important to You in Backpacking Cookware?
PRICE – Some backpacking cooksets are offered as a bundle that includes abackpacking stove (MSR,Jetboil &Amicus) which can save you some money if you need both. If you already have some items that you like (a cup, stove, or pot), it might make more sense to purchase pieces individually to build a customized cookset.
WEIGHT/SIZE – Keeping backpacking cookware as lightweight and compact as possible is pretty important, especially if you’ll be hiking lots of miles or tackling big elevation changes.
A simple ultralight pot with a lid, a cup, and a spoon is generally all we carry in the backcountry. We prefer cookware that nests together in a compact package and can fit a stove, lighter, and a small fuel canister inside. Bonus points if the pot can hold a spoon and other accessories.
If you’re looking for larger cookware with more conveniences for front-country camping, check out ourBest Camping Cookware list.
VOLUME – A compact cookset will conserve space in your backpack, but you should also consider how much water you’ll need to heat at a time. The most common trail meals – freeze-dried meals, ramen, etc. – use about two cups of water.
For solo hikers who don’t cook much, a small pot is most efficient. If you’ll be cooking for multiple people or you like to heat water for a hot drink and a meal at the same time, a larger pot (around 1L) will be more convenient.
MATERIAL – Titanium is ideal for ultralight backpacking because it’s super lightweight and highly durable. That said, it’s better for boiling water rather than for cooking. Aluminum is very lightweight, affordable, and it distributes heat well. It’s strong but not as durable as steel. Stainless steel is the most durable, but it’s heavier and prone to hot spots, so it’s best for attentive cooks.
Best Backpacking Cookware of 2023
BEST TITANIUM POT OVERALL FOR WEIGHT & AFFORDABILITY
WEIGHT: 3.9 oz.
INCLUDES: Titanium pot (.75L), lid, stuff sack
PROS: Affordable, ultralight, compact, durable, secure handles
CONS: Small/average capacity
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re looking for the best balance of low weight and durability for backpacking, you can’t beat a basic titanium pot. TheTOAKS Titanium 750ml Pot is a long-time favorite in the outdoor community for its excellent value and compact size.
Titanium can be expensive because it’s rarer than other metals and it’s more difficult to process, but this TOAKS pot comes in at about half the cost of many other titanium pots. It isn’t all-inclusive (with a cup and stove) like some kits, but the 750ml Pot is a great building block for an efficient, ultralight cook system.
BEST ULTRALIGHT COOKSET + CUP COMBO
WEIGHT: 6.4 oz. (all parts) / 4.1 (pot & lid only)
INCLUDES: Titanium pot (.9L), lid, cup
PROS: Ultralight, compact, durable, above-average capacity, includes nesting cup, handy lid tab, secure handles
BOTTOM LINE: TheSnow Peak Mini Solohas been one of our go-tocooksets for ultralight backpacking for years. We like it because it’s simple, streamlined, and very lightweight – especially for the functionality.
The Mini Solo’s capacity is a bit larger than other backpacking pots on the market. And it’s one of the few pot sets that includes a titanium cup, which adds a ton of value and justifies the price. The cup nests on the outside of the pot, so you can store a small fuel canister, astove, and some accessories inside.
This set is also great if you’re hiking with a partner – all they’ll need to carry is an additional lightweightcup. With that, you’ll have three vessels – one to boil hot water for food and two for sipping drinks while you wait. The Mini Solo Cookset has a great balance of efficiency and convenience for big-mile trips and will last for many years of adventures.
BEST VALUE STOVE + POT KIT
MSRP: $105 (stove + cookset bundle) / $50 (cookset only)
WEIGHT: 10 oz. (set) / 6.6 oz. (cookset only)
INCLUDES:Stove, aluminum pot (.75L), lid, cup, pot grip
PROS: Excellent value, ultralight, compact, clear lid makes it easy to monitor contents
CONS: Small/average capacity
BOTTOM LINE: TheMSR PocketRocket 2 Mini Stove Kit bundles one of our all-time favorite backpacking stoves with an ultralight pot and convenient accessories for backcountry cooking.
ThePocketRocket 2 is the top canister stove overall on ourBest Backpacking Stoves list because it’s ultralight, durable, and has excellent simmer control. The pot is thoughtfully designed with a silicone grip to make it easier to handle when hot and a clear lid with a handy strainer. The simple cup makes measuring the perfect amount of water easy and allows you to eat and drink simultaneously without adding much weight or bulk.
The Mini Stove Kit is an efficient way to cook in the backcountry and a great value for the money. If you already have a backpacking stove, you can also buy the Mini Solo (.75L) and Mini Duo (1.2L) cooksets separately.
BEST BUDGET STOVE + POT KIT
WEIGHT: 11.2 oz. (with stove) / 8.5 oz. (cookset only)
INCLUDES: Stove, aluminum pot (1L), lid/cup
PROS: Affordable, lightweight, above-average capacity, lid doubles as 2nd cup, push-button ignitor
CONS: Less durable than some, no measurement markers, no lid for pot when using small pot as a cup
BOTTOM LINE: TheSOTO Amicus Stove Cookset Combo is one of the most affordable cooksets bundles on the market that includes both an ultralight stove and pot. TheAmicus Stove alone is worth the price since it has excellent simmer control, four locking legs that provide solid pot support, and it has a recessed burner for increased performance in the wind.
The cookware that comes with this set is somewhat basic, but it’s lightweight and gets the job done efficiently. We like that the pot has a generous capacity so we can heat enough water for everything at once and the deep lid can be used as a separate cup.
We use the lid to makeinstant coffee while we cook oats for breakfast. We recommend the Amicus Combo to anyone on a budget who needs a complete, lightweight cook system for backpacking.
SUPER FAST & CONVENIENT COOK SYSTEM
MSRP: $125 (stove + cookset bundle)
WEIGHT: 13 oz. (all parts)
INCLUDES: Stove, aluminum pot (1L), insulated sleeve, lid, cup, stabilizer
PROS: Stable, convenient (easy to use + boils water very fast), performs well in wind, push-button ignitor
CONS: Expensive, heavier/bulkier than some,no simmer control
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re looking for a fast and efficient way to cook on your adventures, look no further than theJetboil Flash Cooking System. It boils two cups of water in under two minutes – that means you can have a warm meal and a drink in your hands almost instantly. When you’re done, everything nests inside the pot, including a small fuel canister.
The Jetboil is so convenient, we’ve even busted it out on the trail midday to make hot drinks while backpacking in cold, wet conditions. If you’re a big coffee drinker, you may want to consider getting theFlash Java Kit, which converts the pot into a french press and saves you a few bucks versus buying the Flash andPress separately.
The Flash Cook System is intended for backcountry use, but we like it so much we bring it along for camping and road trips as well.
LARGE, VERSATILE TITANIUM COOKPOT THAT DOUBLES AS A WATER BOTTLE
WEIGHT: 5.2 oz.
INCLUDES: Titanium pot (1L), screw-on lid
PROS: Ultralight, versatile, sealable/leakproof, large capacity, durable
CONS: Expensive for a single pot, no handles (version with handles costs even more)
BOTTOM LINE: The Vargo Bot is pretty unique for backpacking cookware since it includes a watertight screw-on lid that allows it to act as both a water bottle and a cookpot. It can also be used to cold soak your meals while on the go if that’s your thing. We love dual-purpose backpacking gear because it can save you weight and space in your pack.
We have found the water bottle function particularly useful in areas with intermittent dry stretches or where we have to dry camp. Instead of carrying a separate water vessel (like a Platy Bottle) that we may only use once on a trip, the Bot – which we were already carrying to cook with – can be used for extra water storage when needed.
We also love the large capacity – especially since the Bot is one of the lightest cook pots on our list (weighing less even than most pots with lower volumes). One liter is generally plenty big enough to boil water for two hikers at once, so there’s no need for both people to carry separate pots and stoves.
The largest drawback is certainly the high price, but we think the Bot is well worth the cost for its low weight and highly functional design. We were skeptical of this slightly odd design at first, but it has quickly become a staple on our lightweight adventures.
VERSATILE ULTRALIGHT COOKSET WITH GREAT HEAT RETENTION
WEIGHT: 11.3 oz. (all pieces) / 4.5 oz. (pot, lid, & cozy only)
INCLUDES: Titanium pot (.75L), titanium cup, stainless steel cup, 2 lids, pot grip, insulated cozy
PROS: Great value,versatile, durable, excellent heat retention, main pot is ultralight/compact
CONS: Small/average capacity, heavier than some (w/ all pieces), lids are a bit difficult to lift when pot is hot
BOTTOM LINE: TheSOTO Thermostack Combo is all about versatility and efficient heat retention. It comes with three vessels that can be used in various combinations for different needs on different trips.
The larger titanium pot, lid, and insulated cozy can be used alone on ultralight trips when you want a fuel canister and stove to fit inside. The two cups can be slipped together to form a double-wall mug, or separated for individual use when traveling as a pair.
The Thermostack is a great buy for anyone who appreciates quality, efficiency, and having options. We like to pair it with the SOTO Windmaster, a highly efficient stove that performs beautifully in windy conditions.
BEST BUDGET BACKPACKING POT
WEIGHT: 14.4 oz. (set) / 8 oz. (pot & lid only)
INCLUDES: Stainless steel pot (.85L), lid, 2 cups
PROS: Very affordable, very durable
CONS: Slightly heavier/bulkier than some
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re looking for maximum durability at a minimum price, you can’t beat theStanley Adventure Nesting Two Cup Cook Set. The pot and lid are a little heavier than a titanium cookset, weighing in at 8 oz., but that’s not bad, especially considering the low cost.
The included cups are insulated and a great size to split a meal or sip a beverage, but they weigh 3.2 oz. each and take up most of the space inside the pot when stored. If you want to be able to stash a small fuel canister, a backpacking stove, and a lighter inside, we recommend ditching the cups.
No matter how you plan to use the Stanley Adventure Cookset, it’s an incredible bargain for the price and it will last for a very long time.
LARGE-CAPACITY COOKSET FOR BASE CAMP COOKING
WEIGHT: 1 lb. 7 oz. (set) / 12.2 oz. (pot & lid only)
INCLUDES: Aluminum pot (1.8L), lid, 2 bowls, 2 insulated mugs w/ lids, 2 folding sporks, stuff sack
PROS: Large capacity, versatile (also works for car camping), heats water efficiently, utensils included, stuff sack doubles as wash basin
CONS: Slightly expensive,heavy/bulky for backpacking, bowl-like mugs are a bit awkward
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re on a budget and want a cookset that’s great for both backpacking and camping, theGSI Outdoors Pinnacle Dualist HS is an excellent option. The coils at the base of the pot help speed up the water boiling process by 30%, so you can get to eating faster.
We love how all the components nest neatly together in the pot with room for a large fuel canister as well. The Dualist set is very compact for car camping, but pretty bulky for backpacking unless you’re hiking as a group. It’d be a great option for a backpacking family of four with the addition of 2 moresporks (and possibly some extraultralight mugs).
The Dualist is neither the lightest for backpacking nor the most luxurious for camping, but it’s a great value for what you get and great for anyone who needs a single set that can pull double duty.
MOST COMPACT COOKSET
WEIGHT: 12 oz. (set) / 6.5 oz. (pot & lid only)
INCLUDES: Silicone/aluminum pot (1.3L), lid, 2 cups
PROS: Good value, very compact, above-average capacity, clear lid makes it easy to monitor contents
CONS: A bit heavy for backpacking, not as durable as some, tougher to clean than some, doesn’t hold a fuel canister
BOTTOM LINE: TheSea to Summit X-Set 11 Cooksettakes packability to a whole new level. Both the pot and two mugs collapse down as flat as a pancake and nest for easy storage and transport.
The lid is translucent so you can see what’s happening inside the pot, and the cups are a great size for drinks or splitting a meal. The cups also have measurement marks to make adding the perfect amount of water easy. You do have to be mindful about how you set the kettle on your stove to make sure it doesn’t get damaged since the flames shouldn’t come into direct contact with the silicone sides.
The X-Set is also a tad on the heavy side for backpacking compared to a titanium setup. That said, we love the innovation of the X-Set 11, and it’s a good value since it’s useful for both backpacking and camping trips.
The following cooksets didn’t make our final list, but they still have a lot of good things going for them. You never know, one of them might be perfect for you:
COMPLETING YOUR CAMP KITCHEN – A great cookset is at the heart of every delicious outdoor meal, but it takes a few more things to make a camp kitchen hum. Here are our favorite products in each of the following categories:
- Backpacking stove
- Fuel canister(s)
- Eating utensil
- Ultralight cup/mug
- Pocket knife or multitool
- Spice kit
- Ultralight coffee maker
- Small quick-dry towel
- Eco-friendly soap (optional)
- Food storage bag
For a complete list, check out our Ultimate Backpacking Checklist.
BACKPACKING FOOD IDEAS – The weight of food adds up really quickly in your backpack, so it’s important to choose your calories wisely for backcountry trips. Check out our food guides for more info:
Need More Gear Advice?
If you liked this list, you’ll love the CleverHiker Gear Guide where we test and recommend tons of outdoor adventure gear from a variety of categories. here are some links to popular articles:
Why Trust Us?
We fully understand how tough it is to find trustworthy gear advice, and that’s one of the main reasons we built CleverHiker. We live for outdoor adventure, and we take these guides very seriously. Here are some of the reasons you can trust us:
- Our choices are completely independent and based on personal experience.
- We’ve logged over 10,000 trail miles and test outdoor gear for a living.
- We own and field test every product we recommend, which is sadly not the norm.
- We travel to industry trade shows to learn about upcoming product innovations.
- We constantly update our guides when new products launch.
- We treat our recommendations as if they were for our family and friends.
- We’re lifelong learners and we’re always open to constructive criticism. If you think we’ve missed a product or got something wrong, we’d love to hear your feedback.
We hope this guide helps you find the perfect gear for your needs. If you have more questions or a suggestion, we’d love to hear from you! Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on our latest posts then visit our Facebook page and Instagram to join the community conversation.
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Thanks for reading and happy trails!
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