When camping, you don’t have to resort to bland canned and dehydrated meals that just meet your basic need for nutrition. Equipped with a camping mess kit, you can prepare tasty and nutritious meals you will enjoy and that will refuel you after a tiresome but fun day trekking, hiking, climbing, hunting, or fishing. The good news is that you don’t have to lug along heavy and bulky pots, pans, and utensils.
The best camping mess kits contain all the necessary cooking and serving utensils organized into a lightweight and compact package that is easy to pack and carry no matter where the trail or your travels take you. Below, check out our top ten picks of the best mess kits that are sure to bring the joy and comfort of a delicious homemade meal to your campsites and make your expeditions much more enjoyable.
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How To Choose A Camping Mess Kit – Buying Guide
There is a wide variety of camping cookware on the market today and they vary in design, size, weight, packability, components, materials, and prices. This means you have a lot of options to choose from. The best mess kit for you will also depend on how you will be traveling, what kinds of means you will be cooking, how long you will be out there and how many diners you will be serving. Here are the factors to consider in order to choose a camp mess kit that will suit your camping habits and outdoor cooking needs best:
Cooking Set Up
The mess kit you go for should suit your camp cooking set up. If you’re car camping, you will want to ensure the pots and pans have a flat bottom, as it is ideal for the kind of stoves used when car camping. For backcountry backpacking adventures, you will want to choose a cookware kit that will work best with backpacking mini stoves that feature a single burner. If you plan to cook over a campfire, you need pots, pans, and cookware handles that can withstand exposure to open flames.
What you will be using the mess kit for should be at the top of your mind when buying a camping cookware set. Do you want a set for use when hiking, scouting, or car camping? How many people will you be cooking for? What kind of dishes will you be preparing? Asking yourself these questions will help you determine the best cookware set for you.
Car camping gives you the freedom to choose the best mess kit that will offer you the best outdoor cooking and dining experience. You don’t have to skimp on anything, as weight and space aren’t issues. When hiking, scouting, mountaineering, biking, or backpacking, space is always a premium and weight and packability are crucial considerations. You will want a lightweight and compact mess kit when you’re packing light.
The material is a very important consideration when purchasing any kind of cookware. Cookware materials affect weight, cooking performance, efficiency and durability of the pots and pans.
Aluminum Mess Kits
Most camping mess kits are made from aluminum because it is lightweight, it conducts heat very well and leads to even heat distribution, fast cooking, and efficient fuel consumption, and it is affordable. The downside to aluminum is that it can react with acidic or basic foods and its lightness makes it prone to dents, scratches, and warps, especially when it is meant for use outdoors. To overcome these weaknesses, aluminum is usually anodized to make it harder, more durable, non-reactive and healthy to cook with. Aluminum cookware is great for simmering, fresh ingredients, and temperature-sensitive foods like eggs.
Titanium Mess Kits
Titanium is ultralight and thin and at the same time incredibly strong and durable. It is also rust and corrosion resistant. Titanium cookware heats up very fast and is ideal for boiling water or melting ice. Its downsides are that it is pricey and a poor conductor of heat so it creates hot spots.
Stainless Steel Mess Kits
Stainless steel is sturdy, scratch resistant, very easy to clean and very durable. It is the best material for campers who are hard on their gear and want their cookware to last. Its negatives are that it is on the heavy side and it tends to develop hot spots and burn food. Laminated stainless steel cookware has multiple layers to improve heat conductivity and dispersion. However, multiple layers make it heavy and it is only suitable for car camping.
Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron is the king of all cookware. It cooks evenly and efficiently, has a naturally non-stick surface, and lasts for generations. It is great for cooking or baking over a stove or campfire. However, it is very heavy and only suits car camping. In order to maintain the non-stick surface, its cleaning and maintenance requirements are more demanding than other cookware materials.
Non-stick cookware is great for healthy cooking as it makes it possible to cook with little oil. It is also easy to clean up. The downside is that non-stick coatings are prone to scratches especially when metal utensils are used. The loose flakes mix with food and are ingested. There are concerns that Teflon coatings have harmful effects on the body. Ceramic coatings are inert and therefore don’t have any effects on the body.
You want a mess kit that doesn’t burn food and one that has efficient fuel consumption. You will want to evaluate the efficiency of the pots and pans in a mess kit. Apart from the material the pot or pan is made of, other factors that determine efficiency include the diameter and depth of the pot, color, and whether there is a heat exchanging ring.
Aluminum, cast iron, and darker pots and pans are fuel efficient. Wider diameter pots that are slightly larger than the diameter of the burner are more efficient than narrow, tall ones as more surface area is heated directly. For boiling water or melting snow, look for a pot with a heat exchanging ring on the outer circumference of its base. This ring promotes efficiency by preventing heat escape.
Number of Pieces
The pieces in camping mess kits vary. Some simple kits contain only a pot, frying pan, and lid. The typical mess kit comes with a small camp stove, a skillet, a small pot with lid, folding utensils such as a fork, knife, spoon and spork, bowls, mugs, wooden ladle, a cleaning sponge or brush and a mesh carry bag.
Ensure the kit you choose has the pots, pans, and utensils you will need. The number of pieces you need will depend on the kinds of meals you will be preparing, how many people you will be serving, the duration of the expeditions, and how you will be traveling.
For hikers and backpackers who need to save weight and space, a set made up of just the basic cookware is ideal as it will pack small and light. You can also leave behind the pieces you don’t need to minimize the stuff you have to pack and save weight. If you’re car camping, you can go for an elaborate set that includes all kinds of pots, pans, utensils, and bonus accessories.
Camping mess kits differ in the items they offer. Some simple basic kits include just a pot, a pan, and a lid. Many mess kits come with other accessories that come handy when cooking outdoors. Typical extras include silverware, eating and drinking utensils, cooking and serving utensils, cleaning items, and small accessories such as fire starters and bottle openers. Some even include towels and teapots.
You can choose a basic mess kit made up of just the pots and pans and add the other extras from your own kitchen or you can go for a complete mess kit that also includes other camp cooking essentials and nice to have accessories. If you’re assembling your first camp kitchen, you may find a set with plenty of extras convenient.
Camping mess kits are convenient cooking solutions for outdoor fans. Their main benefit is the convenience of having all cooking essentials in a compact and lightweight kit that is easy to pack and carry. Any other feature that adds to this convenience for you is always nice. Some great features for convenience include handy accessories, multi-purpose pieces, lifetime warranty, etc.
Finally, pay attention to how the items in the mess kit you’re considering are constructed. This will determine their ease of use, cooking performance and efficiency, and their durability. You want sturdy, well-made pieces that will hold up well. The first thing to look at is the material and coating as we’ve discussed above.
To ensure that you choose safe cookware, choose cookware that is non-toxic and FDA approved and check that the bowls and serving utensils are BPA-free. Silicone pot and plastic pan handles are great but they might melt when you’re cooking over a large burner or campfire. Polypropylene is a great material for dishes and utensils, as it is strong and resistant to high temperatures.
Q: What Is A Mess Kit And Why Do I Need It?
A: A mess kit is a set of lightweight cookware and utensils designed to fold into each other and collapse into a small package that is easy to pack and transport. For hiking, camping, backpacking, picnicking, and other outdoor adventures, you will need to warm or prepare meals or boil water when out there. You need cookware that is both lightweight and easy to pack and carry. A mess kit is exactly that. It offers everything you need to cook and serve in a weight and space efficient package. Without a mess kit, you would have to lug heavy cookware from your home kitchen or settle for canned and dehydrated foods.
Q: What Does A Standard Mess Kit Contain?
A: A typical mess kit usually contains a small camp stove, a small pot with a lid, a frying pan, utensils such as a fork, knife, spoon and spork with a folding design to save on space, bowls, mug, wooden ladle, a cleaning sponge or brush and a mesh carry bag. Mess kits vary in their content but these are the typical items you will find in most kits.
Q: What Are The Usual Sizes Of Pots Included In The Mess Kit?
A: Most pots in mess kits are smaller than standard home kitchen pots. Usual sizes of pots in mess kits are 5.9 inches, 6 inches or 6.5 inches in width and 1.5 – 3 inches in depth. Their typical capacity ranges from 1.0 – 2.5 liters. The size will depend on whether the pot is made to cook for glamping excursions or to serve one to two backpackers.
Q: How Do I Clean My Mess Kit?
A: After a long day and a satisfying meal, the last thing you want is to get up to wash the dishes. However, it is important to clean up and dry your mess kit as soon as you’re done cooking and eating. This will ensure your kit remains in good condition.
Most mess kits come with a non-abrasive cleaning brush or sponge. You can also carry a gentle, biodegradable dishwashing soap to deal with grease. When you’re back home, you can throw the mess kit components in the dishwasher for a thorough cleanup. However, not all mess kits are dishwasher safe – check the label on yours first.
Q: Can I Wash My Mess Kit In The Dishwasher?
A: This will depend on whether your particular mess kit is dishwasher safe. First of all, check the manufacturer’s packaging to see whether your mess kit is dishwasher safe and follow the recommended instructions if it is.
Q: What Is The Best Way To Pack And Carry My Mess Kit?
A: Your mess kit will be designed in such a way that the pieces fit into each other and collapse into a neatly compact set that will fit into a carrying bag. You will be able to see how the items fit together when unpacking your mess kit. The manual will also explain how to pack the items.
So what is the best way to carry the kit once stuffed in its carrying sack? If you have an external frame, it is best to carry your kit close to your back. If you have a hiking backpack, you can hang or stash your kit towards the top. This will ensure a balanced weight distribution, so the kit will be easy and comfortable to carry.
Globo Surf Overview
The dining experience is one of the factors that determine how much you enjoy your outdoor excursions and how long you will be able to keep exploring. Camping adventures are very fulfilling but if your stomach isn’t satisfied, you won’t enjoy them to the maximum.
If your heart belongs in the outdoors and you find yourself spending more and more time out there camping, hiking, backpacking, hunting, picnicking, fishing, or enjoying any other outdoor adventure, the best camping mess kit is a necessity.
Mess kits are such terrific inventions – lightweight and super packable yet they contain pretty much all the essential camping cookware and utensils. There are plenty of mess kits available on the market and there is one that will suit your needs. We are confident that there is something for you in our camping mess kit reviews, no matter your preference or camp cooking habits.
With the ability to prepare and enjoy hearty meals, you will find that you enjoy your excursions even more and can explore as long as you want. You will also find that cooking and eating beside the campfire and under the night sky is very fun.
- Teflon Non-stock Cookware Safety , www.healthline.com
Which of the camping mess kits on our list is your top choice? We would love to read your thoughts or experience with the camp cookware we’ve reviewed! Feel free to share in the comment box below!
Globo Surf Camping Mess Kits Reviews