Food just tastes better when you’re surrounded by nature and fresh air, especially after an action-packed day. But to make the deliciousness happen, it takes a great set of cookware – one that’s versatile enough to be used for everything, space-saving for easy transport and storage, and easy to wash without running water. It also helps if the cookware is durable enough to be packed in a bin, dropped in the dirt, and used over and over again.
Our team of outdoor gear experts has made tons of meals in campsites all over the world. We have experience cooking simple and elaborate meals for group sizes from big to small, so we know what really matters in the camp kitchen. We found the most promising pots, pans, and cooksets and put them to the test to bring you this list of the very best camping cookware on the market.
Check out this quick list of our favorite cookware if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.
- Best camping cookware overall:Stanley Adventure Base Camp 4
- Best cookware for gourmet & open-flame camp cooking: Lodge Dutch Oven Combo Cooker
- Best compact cookware:Sea to Summit Alpha 2.2
- Best non-stick cookware:GSI Bugaboo Base Camper Large
- Best cookware for large groups: GSI Glacier Stainless Troop Cookset
- Best camping dishes: GSI Infinity Deluxe Table Set
- Lightweight/compact cookware for camping & short backpacking trips:GSI Pinnacle Dualist HS
- Fast & convenient cook system for hot water & coffee: Jetboil Flash / Sumo
- Luxury compact stove + cookset combo: Jetboil Genesis Basecamp
What’s Most Important to You in Camping Cookware?
PRICE – If you’re starting from scratch, a cookware set that includes the most pieces for the money might be your best bet. If you already own some items building a customized kit might be better. For those that plan to do a little backpacking as well as car camping, lightweight/compact cookware that could be used for both activities provides an excellent bang for your buck, though we prefer to have a separateultralight cookset for backpacking.
- Most pieces for the price: Stanley Adventure Base Camp, Sea to Summit Alpha 2.2, GSI Bugaboo Base Camper &GSI Infinity Deluxe
- Highest-quality pots/pans: Stanley Adventure Base Camp, Lodge Combo Cooker, GSI Glacier Troop & Jetboil Genesis
- Compact/most versatile sets: Sea to Summit Alpha 2.2, GSI Pinnacle Dualist HS & Jetboil Flash / Sumo
WEIGHT/SIZE – Sets that nest together in a compact package are great for camping, but you’ll need a set with a balance of size and functionality to feed a big group. Weight isn’t quite as important for car camping, but it’s still nice when your cookware is easy to tote and doesn’t take up a ton of space. If you have a small vehicle, limited storage space at home, or you’ll be carrying your stuff into the campsite, consider going with a lightweight/compact set. If you’re looking for ultralight and more compact cookware for backcountry use, check out our Best Backpacking Cookware list.
MATERIAL – Each material has its strengths and weaknesses in regards to cost, weight, heat distribution, and durability. Stainless steel is the most durable, but it’s heavier and prone to hot spots, so it’s best for attentive cooks. Cast iron is extremely durable and cooks beautifully over an open flame, but it’s really heavy and requires special care. Aluminum is extremely lightweight, affordable, and distributes heat well, but it’s not as durable.
Best Camping Cookware of 2023
BEST CAMPING COOKWARE OVERALL
WEIGHT: 4 lb. 13 oz.
INCLUDES: Stainless steel pot with lid (3.7 qt.), small frying pan, 4 plates, 4 bowls, cutting board, spatula, serving spoon, 4 sporks, drying rack, spoon rest
PROS: Affordable/great value, relatively lightweight/compact, convenient, durable
CONS: Frying pan and plates on the small side
BOTTOM LINE: The Stanley Adventure Base Camp Cookset 4 is high quality, affordable, and includes everything you need for great camp cooking. The heavy stainless steel cookware is super durable, and the BPA-free dishes and utensils are lightweight and convenient. While this set may be a bit on the small side to cook for large groups, it’s just right for couples and small families. The Base Camp set has a great ratio of sturdiness to portability, and extras like collapsible utensils, a dish rack, and a cutting board make it easy to choose the Base Camp Cookset for our adventures time and time again.
BEST COOKWARE FOR GOURMET & OPEN-FLAME CAMP COOKING
WEIGHT: 13 lbs.
INCLUDES: Deep cast iron skillet (3.2 qt.), lid that doubles as a frying pad
PROS: Affordable, durable, versatile (can be used on a stove, over fire, in the oven, etc.)
CONS: Very heavy, slight learning curve to cook in and clean
BOTTOM LINE: A cast iron skillet, like theLodge Dutch Oven Combo Cooker, is undoubtedly one of the best ways to cook outside. It’s heavy, but cast iron is incredibly tough, versatile, and fun to use. We love it because it disperses heat evenly for searing and frying. It takes a while to get the technique down, but once you get used to cooking in cast iron, you’ll never go back. Cast iron rusts if exposed to prolonged moisture, and it needs to be washed in a specific way to preserve the non-stick coating. That said, when cared for properly, cast iron tends to get better with age. We like the Combo Cooker for camping because it’s deep enough to use for soups and stews, and it comes with a lid that can be used as a frying pan.
BEST COMPACT COOKWARE
WEIGHT: 1 lb. 14 oz.
INCLUDES: Aluminum pot (2.7 qt.), small pot, 2 lids, 2 bowls, 2 insulated mugs w/ lids
PROS: Lightweight, compact, versatile bowls, ergonomic mugs, great locking handles
CONS: Slightly expensive, no frying pan, a little on the small side
BOTTOM LINE: TheSea to Summit Alpha 2.2 is small and lightweight, so it makes packing for trips and storing it at home much easier. The Alpha set’s two pots are great for boiling water for hot drinks and cooking up a batch of chili simultaneously. The hybrid plate-bowls are infinitely useful, and we love that the mugs are a typical shape instead of triangular or bowl-shaped like in some other nesting sets. Alpha pots, dishes, and utensils are also available individually so you can customize your set.
BEST NON-STICK COOKWARE
WEIGHT: 3 lb. 4 oz.
INCLUDES: Aluminum pot (5 qt.), small pot, small frying pan, 2 lids, cutting board, pot grip, stuff sack
PROS: Non-stick, easy to clean, lightweight, large volume
CONS: A bit expensive, non-stick coatings aren’t super durable, no built-in handles on small pot & frying pan
BOTTOM LINE: TheGSI Bugaboo Base Camper Cookset covers all your camp kitchen needs and has an impressive volume to weight ratio, so it’s big enough to cook for a group and a cinch to pack. The non-stick coating makes it possible to cook food with less oil, and the pots and pans are really easy to clean in the field with minimal water. Coated cookware tends to wear out quicker than pots made with other materials (1-5 years). That said, the convenience of the Bugaboo Base Camper set might be worth the tradeoff in durability. You can extend the life of non-stick cookware by usingsoft utensils that don’t scratch the coating and using medium heat instead of high. The similar Bugaboo Camper set is also popular; it includes plates and mugs in lieu of the frying pan and has slightly smaller pots.
BEST COOKWARE FOR LARGE GROUPS
WEIGHT: 8 lb. 6 oz.
INCLUDES: Stainless steel pot (8.5 qt.), medium pot, 2 lids, large frying pan, stuff sack
PROS: Large capacity, very durable
CONS: Expensive, heavy/bulky
BOTTOM LINE: When you have a large group of hungry campers to cook for, you can’t mess around with small cookware. You need full-size, durable pots and pans like those in the GSI Glacier Stainless Troop Cookset that can handle real large-batch cooking. This set isn’t cheap, but since it’s made with heavy-gauge stainless steel, you can count on it to stand the test of time. It’s often worth it to spend more money one time to buy something that will last instead of buying cheap stuff that will inevitably break. Whenever we head out for multi-day trips that call for serious camp cooking, the Troop Cookset is one of the first items on our list.
BEST CAMPING DISHES
WEIGHT: 3 lb. 4.8 oz.
INCLUDES: 4 plates, 4 bowls w/ lids, 4 cups, 4 insulated mugs w/ lids, stuff sack
PROS: Excellent value,lightweight, durable, color-coded, bowls double as containers
CONS: A bit bulky, no utensils included
BOTTOM LINE: If you need a great dish set for camping, we’re big fans of the GSI Infinity Deluxe Table Set. It comes with four full-size place settings complete with plates, cups, mugs, and bowls that all fit nicely into a mesh bag. We love that each person can have their own color-coded dishes to make it easier to keep track of them in camp. And the bowls can double as containers with tight-fitting lids, so they can be used to stash leftovers in the cooler. All parts of this set are BPA-free, lightweight, and durable. A full table set like the Infinity Deluxe is a great place to start when you’re building your camp kitchen because it eliminates the need for single-use tableware and is infinitely useful for everything from picnicking to expeditions.
LIGHTWEIGHT/COMPACT COOKWARE FOR CAMPING & SHORT BACKPACKING TRIPS
WEIGHT: 1 lb. 7 oz. (pot & lid alone: 12.2 oz.)
INCLUDES: Aluminum pot (1.9 qt.), lid, 2 bowls, 2 insulated mugs w/ lids, 2 folding sporks, stuff sack
PROS: Versatile (can also be used for short backpacking trips), lightweight, compact, stuff sack doubles as wash basin, sporks included
CONS: A bit heavy/bulky for backpacking, smaller capacity, bowl-like mugs are a bit awkward
BOTTOM LINE: If you do a little backpacking as well as camping and you want a cookset that can handle both, theGSI Pinnacle Dualist HS is an excellent option. The pot’s coil base helps increase surface area to speed up the water boiling process by 30%, so you can get food on the table faster. We love how all the components nest neatly together in the pot with room for a large fuel canister as well. This set is very compact for car camping, but a bit on the bulky side for backpacking unless you’re hiking as a group. That said, it’s a great value for what you get and great for anyone who needs a single set that can pull double duty.
FAST & CONVENIENT COOK SYSTEM FOR HOT WATER & COFFEE
MSRP: $125 (Flash) / $175 (Sumo) both include stove & cookset
WEIGHT: 13.1 oz. (Flash) / 16 oz. (Sumo)
INCLUDES: Stove, aluminum pot (1 qt. Flash / 1.9 qt. Sumo) with insulated sleeve, lid, cup, stabilizer
PROS: Fast, convenient, lightweight, compact, fuel efficient, push-button ignitor
CONS: Slightly expensive, no simmer control, smaller capacity
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re looking for a fast and efficient way to boil water for coffee, tea, or instant meals, look no further than theJetboil Flash andSumo Cooking Systems. The Flash is more compact so it can be used for camping and backpacking, and the Sumo is great for group cooking in the frontcountry since it has a larger capacity. Both cook systems boil water in under two minutes, so you can have a warm drink or a meal in your hands almost instantly. If you’re a big coffee drinker, you may want to consider getting the Flash Java Kit, which includes a french press accessory. This bundle will save you a few dollars versus buying the Silicone Coffee Press (fits Flash) / Grande Press (fits Sumo) separately.
LUXURY COMPACT STOVE + COOKSET COMBO
MSRP: $400 (includes stove & cookset)
WEIGHT: 9.31 lbs.
INCLUDES: Stove, aluminum pot (5.3 qt.), lid, ceramic-coated frying pan, windscreen, regulator
PROS: Very compact with inclusion of folding 2-burner stove, efficient, auto ignition
BOTTOM LINE: If you need full-size cookware in a compact package, you’ll love theJetboil Genesis Basecamp System. It comes with a super unique 2-burner stove that folds and nests neatly inside the large pot, making it easy to pack and carry. The Genesis pot has coils at the base to speed up the boil time and make better use of your fuel. The set includes a 10-inch, non-stick frying pan as well. The Genesis Basecamp System is on the spendy side, but it’s worth the cost for those that prioritize portability and fuel efficiency. The Genesis Stove is expandable using the Jetlink port to connect with the Luna Satellite Burner or the HalfGen burner (sold separately).
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 these cookware sets might be perfect for you:
- MSR Quick 2 System Cookset – A compact camping cookset similar to the Sea to Summit Alpha Cookset. We ultimately prefer the Alpha 2.2 because it’s slightly less expensive, has attached handles, and better mugs
- MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set – A higher-quality, but more expensive and slightly less durable type of non-stick cookware for camp cooking
COMPLETING YOUR CAMP KITCHEN – Great cookware 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:
- Camping stove
- Knife set / pocket knife
- Eating utensil(s)
- Ultralight cup(s) / travel mug(s)
- Coffee maker
- Spice kit
- Quick-dry towel
- Sponge / scrubber
- Camping table
- Cooking utensils
- Can opener, corkscrew/bottle opener or multitool
- Cutting board
- Wash basin
- Eco-friendly soap
- Storage bin(s) (for food and gear)
- Water container
For a complete list, check out our Ultimate Camping Checklist.
CAMPING FOOD – When you’re camping near a vehicle, you can get more creative with your camp food. Since you don’t have to carry your food far, you can bring heavier and fresher stuff – like vegetables and dairy. Canned and pre-made foods are nice and easy, or you can cook from scratch. You’ll need acooler and plenty of ice to keep perishables chilled, and we usually organize dry goods in aclear plastic bin with a lid. At night, we simply stash it in the car to protect food from wildlife.
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:
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- 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.
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- We constantly update our guides when new products launch.
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Thanks for reading and happy trails!
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