While we’re spending time outside and enjoying ourselves in the nature, we still need to think about food and preparation. Even though it’s not the same as when you’re home, you can still make delicious and nutritious meals on the camping ground. Some of us take great pleasure in this, and even say that food tastes even better when prepared outdoors. On the other hand, maybe you don’t want to make complicated dishes but just need some hot water to mix with your dehydrated meal.
As you’ll see later on, conventional kitchenware is often not very practical. For this reason, outdoor gear manufacturers created special camping cookware which is lightweight, compact and neatly packed. At the same time, it gives you everything you need to cook a great dish.
Depending on what you intend to do, different packages exist. To find the best camping cookware you need to think about what you expect from it and how you’re going to use it. Some sets are pretty basic so you can put them in a backpack without taking up much space. Others have numerous pieces and make you feel like you’re in your own kitchen. Size is a factor too – you may be eating alone or you have a large family gathering and need to prepare a lot. We presented various options, and hope that you will find a suitable one for your camping trips. We also assembled a buying guide to show all the different choices, and how to find out if a certain product is good for you.
How To Choose A Camping Cookware Set – Buying Guide
First of all, not all people camp the same way. Some of us enjoy car camping on organized sites, while others just throw on a backpack packed with necessary gear and head out into the wilderness. These situations require different things from your cookware. Camping cook sets are generally a smart investment, since they aren’t overly expensive, especially compared to how useful they are. However, try to find a balance of product features because a pricier product doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better.
Choosing the right size is closely related to the intended use. If you’re going with your car, you probably won’t mind if it’s larger because you have enough space in your trunk. As you had the opportunity to see, manufacturers often list the packed size and weight for their product, because they are aware you need to know this before purchasing. This way you can measure and see if it fits you or not.
Camp cookware doesn’t always come with the same number of pieces, and having more pieces usually means it’s larger and weighs more. Think about the capacity of pots and pans you’re getting – if you’re cooking for a larger group of people it can be quite annoying to heat the water several times so everyone can get a portion. On the other hand, backpacking cook sets won’t come with so many pieces in order to stay smaller.
While we’re on the subject, it’s worth noting that you should choose the size of your cookware based on the burner size on your camping stove (if you own one). This way you can reduce energy loss and make everything quicker. If the pot much is smaller than the burner, unnecessary heat will be lost next to it. On the other hand, if it’s significantly larger the content inside won’t heat up evenly and it may be slow.
Even though these sets are designed to be light, there are certain differences between them. This depends on the number of pieces, but more on the material used in the making, which we will discuss a bit later. Weight ranges from less than one pound to over four pounds on some sets. If you only have a short walk from your car to the spot where you plan to set up your camp, then you can afford to get heavier cookware. However, you don’t want to carry something like that in your bag, because it can be tiring and cause a sore back and a ruined day. So be sure to check the product info beforehand.
Camping pots and pans are made of metal, but different types are used. They all have their ups and downs in terms of weight, usability and durability. Most traditional cookware for camping is made from aluminum. It’s cheap, weighs next to nothing and conducts heat very well. There are some downsides too. It’s not particularly strong, so you can dent and deform it quite easily. Also, when it comes into contact with certain foods it can leave a metallic taste which isn’t very pleasant when eating.
For this reason, manufacturers upgraded it and started using hard-anodized aluminum. It has a thick oxide layer on the surface which makes it much stronger and reduces the taste change in your food. Most cookware made from this material also has some sort of non-stick coating applied, which is an added bonus. If you’re looking for a balance between weight and function, then the best camping cookware is going to be made from this material.
Next up, we have stainless steel. As you know, steel is very strong so you will get excellent durability and full scratch resistance. This is a great choice if you need a set which will be used frequently. It’s also the optimal choice if you use metal utensils and don’t treat your gear very gently. However, steel cookware is considerably heavier than aluminum which can make carrying it a problem.
The food can sometimes stick to the surface so you need to control the fire and add some oil. Some products can have hot spots and cook your food unevenly so you need to be careful. There are, however, steel pots and pans with a laminated bottom which conducts heat more efficiently. A big plus for steel cookware is that it can be safely used over a campfire without risking damage, unlike products made from aluminum.
An alternative to aluminum in terms of weight is certainly titanium. It’s very light and thin, and it offers excellent strength too. It’s very popular among backpackers, who buy small titanium pots for their travels. This way they have something reliable to heat their water in, and it doesn’t weigh them down. On the other hand, titanium is more expensive than both aluminum and steel, which may be a dealbreaker for some people.
In additon to materials already mentioned, some people like to use cast iron cookware when camping. Even though it’s not exactly designed for this purpose, it’s very reliable and easy to use. It can last forever, and has a non-stick coating which you only need to re-season from time to time so it works like a charm. It can also safely be used over a campfire. The design doesn’t include smart packing, and it’s very heavy to carry around. There aren’t any compact sets made from this material, but we thought it was worth mentioning since it can have it’s place among your equipment while car camping.
We briefly mentioned the non-stick coating, and it’s an excellent addition to your cookware. It’s usually either Teflon or ceramics. Teflon is more common, less expensive and very effective if you take good care of it. Your food won’t stick and you will use less cooking oil. However, it can be easily damaged by scraping and the chunks that fall off aren’t exactly good for your health. Ceramic coating is also very efficient, but very similar when it comes to scraping. It can get damaged quickly, but it isn’t as harmful as Teflon. In addition, it usually comes at a greater price too. Keep in mind that you can use the cookware even when this layer is gone, it’s just that your food will begin sticking to the surface.
Some extra pieces like utensils, mugs, bowls and others may be made from plastic. It’s usually pretty strong so it can take the usage while camping. Look for products which are BPA-free, because they are safe for you. In addition, try to keep them away from heat sources because they can melt (this goes for the coating on the handle too).
How long your new set is going to last mainly depends on the materials we just discussed. Stainless steel has fantastic durability, and the function will be unchanged even if you give it a rough treatment or expose it to strong flames. Aluminum can show wear signs much quicker, especially if it doesn’t have additional protection. It can deform, or get damaged if the heat is too strong. The non-stick coating won’t be very durable if you don’t treat it right, so pay attention. It’s perhaps not a bad idea to go through some user experiences and see how well the cookware you plan on buying has performed for others.
This is certainly one of the key things you should think about, especially if you’re traveling light. We already discussed size and weight, but other things influence portability too. Everything should stack together nicely, so the available space is optimally used. Some things (certain handles for example) can be folded against the pot to additionally save space. It’s also good if they can be locked into place, so the set it’s more secure when packed. In addition, some manufacturers place everything in a bag which makes carrying much easier.
The more basic sets will only include a pot with a lid, and sometimes a frypan. However, some camping cook sets will contain much more. You can get an additional pot, plates, bowls or a teapot. Sometimes a spatula and camping utensils are included too. This makes these sets handy because you don’t have to buy a different set of plates and utensils. However, it’s unnecessary for some people, so it up to you to decide whether you need it.
More pots may be useful if you have more burners on your stove, or want to prepare several dishes. Having a set of mugs is very useful for drinking tea or soup, and they often have additional insulation so you can hold them while warm. As for utensils, if they are included you will most often get sporks (or foons) which is a combination of a spoon and a fork and can work as both. Every additional piece fits nice and tight in the package and doesn’t take up any extra space.
We mentioned lids, and almost every package comes with at least one. The lid can often fit on both pot and pan, which is useful. Sometimes you will get more than one, which adds weight but can be handy if you’re using both at the same time. A nice addition which many lids have is a strainer, so you can easily drain the water through the holes. This is a big plus if you love pasta and want to make some while camping.
Finally, we should discuss the handle. While it’s not a real accessory (because you must have it), there are different designs so it’s worth giving it a few words. Usually you will get a detachable handle (a grabber) which you use to hold the hot pot. It stays in place as long as you have your grip on it, and falls off when you let go. A nice modification are handles which can be locked into place, so you don’t have to hold them.
Some cooking pots have handles which can be folded to the sides, as we mentioned. This is handy for packing, and you can be certain you won’t lose the handle somewhere. However, you need to be careful when putting the pot on a heat source because they can get too warm to hold and sometimes even get damaged by the heat.
Care And Cleaning
Since you won’t be in the comfort of your home, you won’t have a sink nearby to quickly clean everything. For this reason, you should consider how to clean your new cookware, especially if you are on a longer trip and need to use it over and over again. Most are designed with this in mind, but some are easier to maintain – mainly cookware with the non-stick coating. Shape is also important, it’s better if there are less spaces on the outside where food and dirt can get stuck. As for care, the most important thing is to clean it regularly, and be careful not to damage the non-stick layer.
Q: How Should I Clean My Camping Cookware?
A: It’s easiest to clean the cookware right away, when you’re done with your meal. Because you don’t have the same options you do in your kitchen, the process is a bit different. If your pot or pan has a non-stick coating, you can simply wipe it off with a paper towel after use. This can work for a short while, until you need to use a detergent. When washing it, be careful that you only use a gentle sponge or cloth which won’t damage the surface.
As for steel cookware, it tolerates much more in terms of cleaning. Since some food can get stuck on the bottom, you can safely use a steel wool pad to scrub it clean – it won’t do any damage to the pot. Most often steel products can be safely put in a dishwasher when you get home; something that is not recommended for Teflon. Some products will come with instructions on how to best maintain them, so try to follow those.
When washing your dishes and cookware outside, always think about the environment. In addition to collecting the trash after yourself, try to use an environmentally friendly biodegradable soap, because all the waste water goes into the ground. This way you will help nature and leave no trace behind you when it’s time to go home.
Q: How Many Pieces Of Cookware Do I Really Need?
A: This mainly depends on the number of people who are going to eat. If your going on a family adventure and camping with kids, you need a set which includes a larger pot or two, mugs and plates for everyone. On the other hand if it’s just you, you can go buy with just a small pot, with an addition of a mug (or bowl) and some eating utensils. You shouldn’t buy a large set if you don’t need it, it will just weigh you down when carrying and it costs more of course.
Q: What Is Important For My Cookware To Come With?
A: It’s important to know how you’re going to use the cookware, and then choose accordingly. If you’re only going to be eating dehydrated meals, then a pot, one mug and a spoon should suffice. This combo is also good for soups, coffee and tea among other things. On the other hand, if you want to prepare a full meal you will probably need a frying pan too, some plates, bowls, a knife (camping knife can be used for chopping food too), and perhaps a cutting board. It all comes down to what you need in the given moment, and whether you want to prepare a proper meal or just want something to get a quick energy boost.
Q: Why Do I Need Camping Cookware (And Not Just Some Pots And Pans From Home)?
A: The main reason is that kitchen cookware is often too large and heavy for this purpose. It’s not designed to stack neatly, so it will be very bulky and difficult to pack when you’re preparing for your trip. On the other hand, camping cookware was designed exactly for this – to pack it tightly and easily transfer it wherever you’re going. It’s also significantly lighter, and often features removable handles.
Globo Surf Overview
Getting a quality camping cookware set is something you must consider when shopping for camping equipment. It features a particular design which allows it to be easily used outside, and to be very portable. As you’ve seen, you have many options to choose from – whether you want a steel set with many pieces or a lightweight aluminum pot for heating up some water on the trail. Selecting the best backpacking cookware is completely up to you, but we hope we helped you make an informed decision and buy a product you will be happy with.
Have you tried a camping cookware set that made it onto our list? Is it easy to prepare food? Can you quickly clean it afterwards? How are you satisfied with material quality and durability? Please share your experience with us in the comment section below.
Globo Surf Camping Cookware Sets Reviews