When you love to camp, having a great campfire cookware set will make mealtimes much less stressful.
Unfortunately, finding a quality set of cookware that will last for years isn’t always straightforward. For example, it’s common to buy a campfire cooking set and find out (only after putting it to the test) that it’s of poor quality materials, isn’t the right size for your needs, or is difficult to clean.
Stop wasting money on the wrong cookware for camping. Instead, use our buying guide to find the top cookware sets that will help you efficiently create delicious campground meals season after season.
Camping Cookware Features to Look For
Expect to pay between $40 and $150 dollars for the below-featured quality camping cookware sets.
Durable Materials and Construction
There’s nothing more frustrating than forking over for an expensive camp cookware set only to have a pan warp, a pot handle that keeps falling off, or a surface that causes food to stick, leaving you scrubbing away after meals instead of relaxing.
Durability is critical when shopping for cookware for campfire use, as open flames are notorious for hot spots that can warp lesser-quality metals or cause food to burn.
The best material for camping cookware is stainless steel or cast iron for overall strength to deal with hot campfire flames, accidental drops, and the ability to withstand harsh scrubbing when necessary.
For backpack camping, where you’ll be carrying your cookware on your hike, lightweight aluminum may be a better choice. Every ounce matters when you are walking for hours on uneven trails.
If you only need to lug your cookware from the trunk of your car over to your campsite “kitchen,” then the weight of cast iron pots and pans won’t be as big of a concern.
Other materials common in camping cookware are:
- Titanium – extremely durable, lightweight, yet expensive
- Hard-anodized aluminum – a more rugged take on basic aluminum cookware that resists scratches, dents, and acidic foods better
- Plastic or Silicone – lightweight, inexpensive, and can handle moderate heat for cooking
Easy to Clean Surface
Camp cookware sets typically have three types of surfaces:
- Non-stick PTFE
- Seasoned cast iron
Non-stick surfaces help prevent food from sticking to the pan during cooking and lessen the chance of hard-to-clean burnt-on food scraping and scrubbing away later.
With water often a precious commodity at a campsite, the last thing you want to do is waste it to clean your camping cookware.
The most common non-stick surface is polytetrafluoroethylene, better known as Teflon from the company that discovered this compound back in the 1930s.
While this non-stick coating is convenient for cooking and cleaning, the chemicals in the compound can wear off into your food or wastewater, and many are banned entirely from use. These issues have made this surface fall out of favor with camping enthusiasts recently.
Ceramic coatings are the modern version of the Teflon-like PFTE surfaces but don’t use harmful chemicals.
Ceramic-coated campfire cookware sets are more prone to scorching or chipping if you’re not careful but tend to work well for general campground cooking and clean-up needs.
Cast iron is the iconic camping family cookware set material, with amazingly durable pieces passed down through generations.
With proper seasoning and maintenance, the material can be non-stick and move from grill to campfire, to oven, to stovetop without missing a beat.
The Right Size and Type for Your Cooking Style
The size and shape of your cookware must meet your needs.
A smaller set may suffice if you’re only cooking basic meals for one. On the other hand, cooking for a family or group may require the largest backpacking frying pan you can haul along or wide, deep pots for big batches of chili or pork and beans.
Many camping experts find they only need one medium-sized pot with a handle and lid that can work to boil water for coffee, cook a fish filet, or stir up some stew.
Think through what foods you like to cook while camping and how many people you are likely to feed. Then, build a collection of cookware pieces that fit your needs while keeping it as streamlined as possible.
Lids, Inclusive Handles, Grippers, or Pot Lifters
Camping cookware without a lid makes it difficult to prepare many types of food properly. A great pot or pan set for campfire cooking will not only include a well-fitting lid, but it may also take on other roles, such as doubling as a pan or plate, or that will fit other pieces in the cookware set.
Some cookware sets have a detachable handle that will clip onto any pan or pot edges, reducing bulk while also being functional. However, think about how you cook and whether or not moving a single handle to several pots or pans during meals will create a problem.
Also, test how easy it is to clip the handle onto hot cookware pieces and how secure it feels. The last thing to worry about is for a pot of hot food to fall and hurt someone because the interchangeable handle slipped off.
Some cookware sets come with a gripper or pot lifter that will work seamlessly with each item and help prevent burns while handling hot pots and pans. These little extras make cooking safer and add overall value to the campfire cookware.
Packing, hauling, and storing camping cookware sets shouldn’t be a hassle, but using the items must work during meal times. If you prefer cookware with a long handle, get them, even if it means they are bulkier to pack along versus versions with handles built right into the sides.
Cookware sets for camping that stack inside each other are excellent for saving on storage space, while collapsible pots and pans are another option to reduce camping-gear bulk.
Whatever features make a cookware set lighter, smaller, more efficient, or provide cooking flexibility, you’ll be happy to have in your camping supply arsenal.
5 Best Camping Cookware Sets
If you camp as much as we do, you understand the importance of using the best camping cookware for an open fire that withstands the rigors of travel, use, and clean-up.
The following are the five best-performing camping cookware sets with features and price details to help you comparison-shop.
1. Snow Peak Al Dente Cookset
- Material: Stainless steel and wood
- Weight: 4 lbs., 6 oz
- Durable & Dependable Camping Accessories: Built to last, this stainless steel cookware set is perfect for camp cooking…
- Complete Cooking Set for Camping: This reliable camping cookware set includes two pots, two lids, and a mesh strainer…
- Lightweight & Compact Cookware: Perfect for backpacking and camping, our stainless steel cookset is easy to carry and…
- Versatile Camp Cooking Set: The strainer in this cookset is perfect for washing produce or straining pasta, making it an…
- Experience Nature with Snow Peak: For more than 60 years, we’ve been making heirloom-quality gear and apparel to help…
The Snow Peak Al Dente Cookset provides an excellent starting point for all camp cooking, with two pots (4.5 and 6.9 quarts) with lids, a strainer, and a mesh storage sack.
With a heat-proof wooden handle grip on the lids, and a sizeable fold-down bail handle on the pots, carrying a heavy load of food or liquid or checking on the status of your meal will be efficient and safe.`
The pot walls are thin and conduct heat very well, allowing you to boil water quickly. A minor sticking point is that the bottom of the pots doesn’t distribute the heat evenly, so you need to take care to avoid burns from hot spots.
While the stainless steel makes the set a bit heavier than others, the superb construction, sleek styling, and functional sizes of the cooking vessels make this set ideal for campfire or grill cooking.
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Snow Peak Al Dente Cookset (Video)
2. Texsport Black Ice Anodized 5-pc Camping Cookware Set
- Material: Hard-anodized aluminum
- Weight: 1 lb., 10 oz
The Texsport Black Ice Anodized Camping Cook Set is an ideal package for couples’ adventures, with not only two pots and an 8-inch frying pan, but also a universal gripper, and a dishcloth for clean-up duties.
We find the set has excellent scratch resistance and can withstand heat up to 428°F, so it’s easy to transport, cook in, and wash up without worrying about surface damage.
Everything stacks together and fits neatly inside the included mesh carry bag for convenience. With this campfire cooking set made to hold up against the extremes of Canadian outdoor adventures, you can rest assured you’re making a good investment.
3. Outdoor Gourmet Cast-Iron 5-Piece Camping Cookware Set
- Material: Hard-anodized aluminum
- Weight: 30 lbs., 3 oz
The Outdoor Gourmet Cast-Iron Cookware Set is a tried-and-true way to create campsite meals for decades to come. The kit comes with two deep skillets (8-inch and 10.5-inch), a Dutch oven, a lid, and a griddle, which will cover an array of cooking needs.
The set comes pre-seasoned, saving time prepping the cast iron for use. While this cookware set will be the heaviest of our recommendations, the other kits can’t beat the durability no matter what heat source you cook over.
Making stews, cornbread, and other delicious foods in the Dutch oven expands this set’s flexibility, which customers note in their great reviews. However, the weight means you won’t easily take it all on a backpacking trip, and the group of pieces is bulky for storage or transport.
Clean-up requires only a rinse and wipe, with no scrubbing or detergent necessary, saving you time while being better for the environment. You only need to allow the metal to dry and then apply a light coat of vegetable oil before storage to keep the iron in great shape and prevent rusting.
4. Stanley Even-Heat Camp Pro Cook Set
- Material: 18/8 Stainless Steel
- Weight: 8 lbs., 2 oz
The Stanley Even-Heat Camp Pro Cookset is ideal for group meals. The kit comes with a 4.75-quart lidded stock pot, a 9-quart lidded saucepan, an 8.5-inch frying pan, and extras like a collapsible cutting board, spoon, trivets, spatula, and bungee that locks around the nesting pieces for transport.
The commercial-grade stainless steel construction distributes heat evenly across the thick, multi-layered bottom to avoid annoying hot spots and burning, so your food cooks perfectly.
We agree with the superb customer ratings that this kit is worth the investment if you do overland or car camping, as the weight may be too much for backpack trips. The set works wonderfully across all cooking options, from open fires to grills to ovens to stovetops.
The collapsible and locking handles on the pan and pot are surprisingly strong, even after seasons of use. The only real downfall of this set is that it doesn’t have a non-stick surface, but using a cooking spray before adding food helps tremendously to combat any problems with stuck-on food.
Stanley Adventure Even-Heat Camp Pro Cook Set (Review)
5. MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set
- Material: Hard-anodized aluminum
- Weight: 15.7 oz
- Light aluminum 2-piece cooking pot set with 1.5-liter and 2.5-liter pots, both featuring premium Fusion ceramic nonstick…
- Durable Fusion ceramic nonstick finish is scratch-resistant with metal utensils, is safe at high temperatures, and is…
- Aluminum construction disperses heat evenly for efficient cooking experience, while lid doubles as a strainer; includes…
- Pots nest together with room inside for a mug and utensils, saving precious pack space
- Includes one 2.5L aluminum pot, one 1.5L aluminum pot, one strainer lid, and one pot handle; packs to 7.8×5 inches;…
The MSR Cookware Set is super lightweight at under a pound, yet maintains its shape through the rigors of camping trips and hot flames. The trim kit features 1.5-liter and 2.5-liter nesting pots with a single interchangeable lid and handle and is compact enough to fit into a backpack for meal-making during hiking trips.
The aluminum pots feature the ultra-durable Fusion ceramic coating that keeps food from sticking no matter the temperature and is also free of harmful PFOA and PTFE chemicals used in other non-stick coatings.
The Talon pot handle design uses a pushbutton to attach/detach onto the piece and can fold over the pot top to keep the set secure during transport. On the downside, the single handle may be a hassle when using both pots for cooking, so consider buying an extra handle from the company.
We found this pot the easiest to clean, and the cost of the set reasonable for the quality, especially if a lightweight camping cookware set is your top priority.
MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set (Video)
Camping Cookware Wrap Up
Starting your next camping season off with one of the 5 best camping cookware sets for open fire ready in your supply stash will allow you to create incredible meals no matter when you set up camp.
If you need a lightweight cookware set for backpacking trips, a non-stick option to reduce clean-up efforts, or stainless steel or cast iron set that will last through years of adventures, the kits from our list above will perform reliably.
When you purchase a camping-specific cookware set, you’ll enjoy the compact, durable and functional combination that will make every mealtime at campfires less stressful!
- What are the key factors to consider when choosing camping cookware?
When choosing camping cookware, the key factors to consider are material, weight, durability, and ease of cleaning.
It’s also important to consider the type of camping you’ll be doing (backpacking, car camping, etc.), the number of people you’ll be cooking for, and the complexity of the meals you plan to prepare.
- How does the material of the cookware affect its performance and durability?
The material of the cookware significantly impacts its performance and durability.
Different materials, such as cast iron, stainless steel, or non-stick, have varying heat conductivity, reactivity with food, maintenance requirements, and longevity, thus affecting how well the cookware performs over time and how long it lasts.
- Why is the ease of cleaning important for camping cookware?
Ease of cleaning is important for camping cookware because it saves valuable time and water resources, which are often limited during outdoor adventures.
Additionally, clean cookware helps prevent foodborne illnesses, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable camping experience.
- What are some of the best camping cookware sets available?
The GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Camper Cookset is highly rated for its durable, non-stick-coated aluminum pots and pans, and compact nesting design.
Another top choice I recommend is the MSR Quick 2 System, which is praised for its versatility, lightweight design, and inclusion of two insulated mugs and deep-dish plates.
- How does the weight of the cookware affect its suitability for different types of camping?
The weight of the cookware significantly impacts its suitability for different types of camping.
For backpacking or hiking trips where every ounce matters, lightweight, compact cookware is ideal, while for car camping or RV trips where weight isn’t a concern, heavier, more durable cookware that can withstand higher heat and offer better cooking performance may be more suitable.
"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt."
-- John Muir