Best Backpacking Cookware For On-The-Go Chefs

If you’re in a rush, the best backpacking cookware set of today is the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Set.

Cooking can sure seem daunting when you’re camping. When you’re backpacking, it can seem even worse.

When you’re limited to picking what fits on your back, how are you supposed to carry everything you need to cook a decent meal? There’s no way you can bring your whole kitchen with you, so you’ve got to improvise.

Luckily, there’s a ton of cookware available that’s engineered to take up as little space (and weight) as possible. On top of that, these sets still function as well as your home’s kitchen cookware.

If you’ve ever wanted to go beyond the trail mix and MRE’s when backpacking, try one of these backpacking cookware sets.

The 5 Best Backpacking Cookware Sets

When you’re backpacking, you quickly learn how to work with the bare minimum. But, that doesn’t have to mean eating only bland food.

With the right backpacking cookware set, you can cook up some of the same meals you enjoy at home. To make your decision easy, I’ve found the five best backpacking cookware sets. Read on to learn more.

GSI Outdoors – Halulite Microdualist 2-Person Cookset


This set from GSI Outdoors is a stellar choice for backpacking thanks to its pack-ability.

Their two-person set includes a 1.4L halulite pot with a lid that doubles as a strainer, 2 bowls with sleeves and sippable lids, 2 sporks, and a carrying bag. Needless to say, it’s got everything you need.

This cookware set will not weigh you down or take all your space. It only weighs a little over one pound!

With the bowls that double as mugs and stackability of the set, this is an excellent space saver.

If you’re concerned about space, these bivy-style tents are great for lightweight backpackers.

Pros:

  • This entire set efficiently nests inside of the pot for painless storage and packing.
  • The pot handle locks to keep everything inside, without falling out.
  • The bowls double as mugs (with sleeves and sippable lids), reducing the number of items you need.
  • The pot is made out of a proprietary alloy called halulite, which conducts heat better than titanium for faster and more even cooking.
  • This comes with a welded stuff sack for quick carrying or to use as a bag to wash your dishes in.

Cons:

  • This pot shouldn’t be used on stoves.
  • The utensils in this set aren’t the best, so it might be worthwhile to grab your own.

Best for: two people who want a simple set that can pack up in seconds.

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MSR – Alpine 2-Pot Set


This stainless steel cookware set will last you for years, thanks to its durable, metal construction. Inside, you’ll get a 1.5L pot, a 2L pot, a lid that doubles as a plate, a removable pot handle, and a stuff sack.

Although made of stainless steel, this metal is lightweight. Don’t worry about this set dragging you down.

Besides, there aren’t many pieces, since MSR’s lid conveniently doubles as a plate.

Pros:

  • Stainless steel is very durable and is made to last a long time.
  • The included lid fits both pots and also doubles as a plate, so you have to keep up with fewer pieces.
  • Every piece in this backpacking cookware set nests quickly within the 2L pot.
  • The stuff sack is big enough for you to throw other tools.
  • The stainless steel construction adds versatility to your cooking options – coffee, tea, quinoa, ramen, and more.

Cons:

  • Cooking with stainless steel is not the easiest since some things might stick.

Best for: people who want a long-lasting cookware set that cooks everything.

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Wuudi – Outdoor Camping Pots and Pans Set

The Wuudi Outdoor Camping Pots and Pans Set is a simple and affordable set that any backpacker can find space for. It only comes with two pots (that double as bowls), so there isn’t much weight.

While it is only a two-piece set, the two pieces fit together in a way that leaves you plenty of room to store things inside. As an added bonus, these bowls also have measuring marks inside, so you know just how much liquid to add!

Pros:

  • Instead of a removable handle that’s shared by two pots and pans, these bowls each have their own handle that folds down for easy storing.
  • These bowls fit together to create a canister of sorts that allows you to store smaller items (utensils, seasonings, etc.) inside of them.
  • The measuring marks on the inside tell you how much water you’ve added.
  • The aluminum alloy construction heats quickly and doesn’t add much volume to your pack.
  • These bowls weigh less than a pound combined, which is a super lightweight.

Cons:

  • The handles are plastic, and therefore shouldn’t be put under the direct flame.
  • This is not a complete cookware set, so it doesn’t come with lids, plates, cups, or utensils.

Best for: campers who only need pots and pans, but want a super light cookware set.

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GSI Outdoors – Pinnacle Camper 4 Person Camping Cook Set


The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper 4 Person Camping Cook Set is the cookware set to use when you’re adventuring with several people. This set includes the whole kit and kaboodle. You’ll get a 3L & 2L pot, a frying pan, 2 lids, a folding handle, 4 mugs, 4 plates, 4 bowls with sleeves, and a stuff sack that doubles as a washbasin.

That’s pretty much everything you’d need to whip up a nice meal for four people around the campfire.

Although it comes with a lot of items, everything nests together for easy packing and storing. Additionally, several articles have dual functions to reduce the number of things you need to pack, making it perfect for backpacking.

Pros:

  • This cookware set is big and has everything you need to feed four people.
  • The cups, bowls, and plates are color-coordinated, so you can tell if you are missing anything with a quick glance.
  • The entire set nests easily within the large pots and leaves a little room to spare for smaller items (like condiments).
  • The included stuff sack fits everything properly, while also serving as a washbasin for dirty dishes.
  • Several items are built for space-saving: the lids are strainers, and the pot handles come off.
  • The pots and pan’s non-stick Teflon coating make clean up easy and quick.

Cons:

  • Since this set is for four people, there are a lot of pieces, and it is somewhat expensive compared to other kits on this list.
  • The pots and pans are not great with high heat cooking.

Best for: large groups who aren’t worried about pack weight.

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Winterial – Camping Cookware and Pot Set


This is a rugged cookware set that’ll last more miles than you’d ever expect. It comes with a 2-quart pot, a 1-quart frying pan, a 1-quart tea kettle, lids, a serving ladle, a serving spoon, a cleaning sponge, and a carrying bag.

Even with 10 different pieces, this entire cookware set weighs only 1.5 pounds. That’s thanks to its impressive design, which packs up like Russian dolls. Every piece nests together efficiently for easy packing.

Not to mention, the included carrying bag keeps everything coordinated for quick retrieval.

Pros:

  • This 10 piece set has everything you need to cook meals that’ll leave you stuffed.
  • It only weighs 1.5 pounds, making it perfect for backpacking.
  • While many camping cookware sets have one handle that’s shared between multiple pots and pans, this set gives each their own handle.
  • The included tea kettle makes fixing warm beverages that much easier.
  • All 10 pieces in this set nest snuggly together and fit within the included carrying bag.
  • The non-stick Teflon coating is thick and will allow quick clean-up for years.

Cons:

  • The handles have a plastic coating, so try to keep them away from a direct flame.

Best for: this set is an excellent choice for all campers. If you can’t decide, pick this one.

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Food to Cook While You Are Backpacking

Packing for backpacking is all about weight, space, and convenience. You need to fit everything on your back, not just your clothes or food. You also only have so much room, so you want to make sure you use it wisely.

Besides getting a light, compact backpacking cookware set to bring, you also need to put the same consideration into the food you choose to pack. Planning ahead is an essential step in this process and can save you a lot of time and trouble.

Watch The Weight

To start, heavy, bulky items like canned foods are usually a no-go when you are backpacking unless your trip will be a short one.

When you start packing multiple cans, things will get burdensome, real fast. If you have to pack any canned food, make sure only to pack a couple of tins, and only in emergencies.

Pass On Perishables

Not to mention, perishable foods will only be good for a day or two, so pack those sparingly as well.

Some veggies, like carrots, may last longer without refrigeration. Use your best judgment here, but don’t rely on perishable foods for your entire food supply.

Then, What Do I Bring?

The main foods you will find yourself packing are light and dry, like pasta or dehydrated foods. Just boil some water, and you have yourself an entire, hearty meal. If that sounds a bit bland for your palette, pack condiments or spices to make these ordinary foods more exciting.

Prepackaged foods, like energy bars, jerky, or trail mix, have the potential to become your best friend when backpacking. They’re great for a quick breakfast, lunch, or snack when you need to keep moving. They’ll also ramp up your metabolism, keeping you warm in cold weather.

Your meal choices open up when you bring along a stove that works in your tent. This’ll allow you to cook pasta, meats, or whatever food you desire.

Conclusion

As you can see, you have a lot of choices when it comes to backpacking cookware sets. They all have different features, and different sets fit different people. The decision is yours!

At the end of the day, a great cookware set can completely change the way you cook in the great outdoors.

With my experience and research, I found that the best backpacking cookware is the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle 4-Person Camping Cook Set. With enough supplies to cook for four people, you can’t get any better than this set.

It includes several pieces of cookware that serve dual functions. That consists of the pot lids (that are strainers) and the carrying bag (that’s a washbasin). This way, you don’t have to pack extra supplies.

If you don’t need to cook for four people, just leave some items at home! This cookware set is very adaptable. That’s why it’s my top pick.