Last Updated on 27/08/2023
What are the Best Camping Pots and Pans?
In this guide to the best pots and pans, you will learn which camping cookware is worth the money and how to decide what material will work best. We explain the differences between stainless steel, cast iron, and titanium pots and pans for camping as well as the reasons we alternate between all three.
Cooking food is a big part of camping for us, and so we are very picky about the types of pots and pans we use. We have spent hours researching and years testing dozens of different lightweight pots and pans as well as the much heavier cast iron cookware for camping. If you’re reading this, we will assume that you love camping as much as we do and that you understand the pleasure of enjoying hot food outdoors in nature.
Some people think you need lots of different-sized pans and cooking pots when you are camping, but what you really need is one or two good pots and a single pan. Whether you are cooking on the embers of a campfire or a gas stove, our recommendations below will save you hours of research because we’ve already done it. If you really don’t know what you are looking for, then scroll all the way down to our buyer’s guide.
10 Best Pots, Pans, and Cooking Sets for Camping
Zebra Loop Handle Pot
Best Campfire Cooking Pot
- MATERIAL: Stainless Steel
- SIZE: 12cm, 14cm, and 16cm diameters
- VOLUME: 1.4 L, 1.9 L, and 3.1 L
- WEIGHT: 429 g, 737 g, 925 g
- INCLUDES: Billy Pot with Loop Handle, Lid, Nested Tray/Pan (optional extra)
The Zebra Loop Handle Pots are a bushcrafters favorite cooking pot because they are perfect for hanging over a fire or putting straight onto the embers. After My first Trangia, this is the second piece of camping cookware I ever got, and I still use it 20 years later. This pot was first made popular by Ray Mears, and it has become a staple piece of gear for campers who cook on campfires.
You can get it in three sizes; however, if we had to pick one, it would be 14 cm which is big enough for one or two people. Perfect for boiling water or cooking up meals in bags, the lid helps speed up the cooking time as well as prevents ash from getting in. The lid handle stays cool enough to lift with your bare hand, or you can easily use a stick if the fire is blazing.
The little notch in the handle is amazingly useful to prevent slipping when hung over a fire. It will sit neatly over most sticks under 1 inch in diameter or is the natural slot for a hook to sit if you have a fire tripod.
VERDICT: If you like your gear to last a long time and only want to carry one camping cookware pot, then the Zebra Loop Handle Pot is the one to get. The stainless steel is thick enough to be robust and not dent easily but not so thick that the weight becomes a burden in your backpack. It isn’t the lightest, but it is built to be used on a campfire which makes a big difference in how long it lasts.
Sea to Summit Alpha Lightweight Camping Fry Pan
Best Camp Frying Pan
- MATERIAL: Aluminum
- SIZE: 8 in, 10 in
- VOLUME: 500 L
- WEIGHT: 8.6 oz, 11.8 oz
- INCLUDES: Foldable handle
The Sea to Summit Alpha Lightweight Camping Fry Pan is the only frying pan you will ever need while out in the wilderness. If the tiny frying pans that come with most camping cookware sets aren’t big enough for you then the 10-inch S2S Alpha Pan is the obvious upgrade. It is lightweight and, more importantly, big enough for a steak or several rashers of bacon without overflowing.
The handle has an easy-to-operate locking pin system that secures it into position or folds neatly across the top. When the handle is locked, it is solid and the kind of pan you want when flipping pancakes. Made from hard-anodized aluminum alloy, which is free from Advanced PFOAs, the nonstick coating not only cooks things better but is about five times easier to clean.
You can use this on campfire coals, but it is best for use on some kind of stove that is not in direct contact with bring embers. Choose from two sizes that both nest well with other cooking pots for easy storage and portability.
VERDICT: The Sea to Summit Alpha Lightweight Camping Fry Pan is the ideal companion for any campers and backpackers that like to fry food wherever they go. Whether you are foraging wild edibles that need to be roasted in a pan or frying bacon and poaching eggs for breakfast, this nonstick pan comes highly recommended by us.
AceCamp Tribal Pot Aluminum Cooking Pot Set
Best Camping Pots and Pans for Families and Groups
- MATERIAL: Aluminum
- SIZE: 4 in, 8 in 12 in
- VOLUME: 4 L, 8 L, 12 L
- WEIGHT: 0.98lbs, 1.5lbs, 3lbs
- INCLUDES: Billy Pot with Loop Handle, Lid, Available individually or as a set
The AceCamp Tribal Pot Aluminum Cooking Pot Set is a good option for large groups and families that have a lot of mouths to feed and require lots of boiled water. You can hang all three pots over a campfire or place them directly onto moderately hot embers, although we do suggest building a light-raised platform with stones or sticks if possible.
You can buy each camping pot individually or as a set of three if you are cooking meals for groups or a family with hungry children. I always like to keep one for boiling water only and use the other two for cooking which cuts down on cleaning and also means your morning coffee doesn’t have a hint of last night’s curry in it.
The two smaller pots nest inside each other for efficient storage, but when you put these inside the largest pot, the lid doesn’t sit flush, which is a bit annoying. You can add a bungee to keep the lid secure, but we do think this is an obvious design floor to be addressed. If you do not have OCD, then this probably won’t bother you.
VERDICT: The AceCamp Tribal Pot Aluminum Cooking Pot Set provides lots of cooking capacity for larger groups and means you can also boil enough water in one go to refill all your water bottles. If you can get away with just the smaller two pots and pans, then this would make the most sense for the sake of packing them into a backpack to take camping.
TOAKS Titanium 1100ml Pot with Pan
Most Compact Pot and Pan for Solo Camping
- MATERIAL: Titanium
- SIZE: 4 3/8″ / 110 mm
- VOLUME: Pot: 37 oz (1100 ml) Pan: 9oz (280 ml)
- WEIGHT: 5.6 oz / 159 g
- INCLUDES: Pot and Pan with Foldable Handles
The TOAKS Titanium 1100ml Pot with Pan is the ideal solo camping cookware to use with a single burner stove. It is incredibly lightweight and compact to fit inside an already bulging backpack. To make the most of the space, you can fit a TOAKS Titanium Wood Stove (STV-11), TOAKS Titanium 750ml Pot, or a 200g gas canister.
The pot is the perfect size for a tin of beans or a camping read-meal, and although the pan is too small for many things, it is perfect for frying eggs and can fit two sausages or two rashers of bacon at a push. I tended to just use the lid to keep the heat in when cooking and then use it as a plate when eating, rarely using it as a frying pan.
Titanium has the benefit of transferring heat very fast, which means that it boils water quickly to conserve fuel, but you need to stir food as you are cooking to avoid burning at the bottom. Another benefit of titanium cookware is that it is one of the cleanest metals to boil water with no taste or leaching chemicals at all.
VERDICT: If you want a lightweight pot and pan for camping solo, then this is one of the best options. The price of titanium cookware has been dropping as more brands enter the market, and so the TOAKS Titanium 1100ml Pot with Pan is actually great value for money. The handles are not the most durable, but they do the job and help really keep the weight down.
EVERNEW Titanium Pasta Pot
Best Camping Pot for Pasta and Noodles
- MATERIAL: Titanium
- SIZE: 4.65 ” x 4.36 “
- VOLUME: 1 L
- WEIGHT: 4.1 oz
- INCLUDES: Insulated handle with heat-resistant silicon, Strainer lid, Mesh stuff sack
The EVERNEW Titanium Pasta Pot is one of our favorite camping pots and pans because it suits our diet when we are long-distance hiking. Noodles, rice, pasta, and other instant meals all help to keep the weight down when hiking for days between resupplying. This is the perfect pot design for all these and more.
The dimensions are designed to fit a 230-gram gas canister or store things like tea, coffee, sugar, and rations. If you are partial to a cup of tea in the morning, then this pot can even be used as a teapot to pour through. Couple this with a lightweight frying pan, and you should be good to go.
VERDICT: The EVERNEW Titanium Pasta Pot is the ideal small pot for cooking and boiling water while camping. The lid vents double as a strainer to remove water without losing your food or when making things like nettle tea and dandelion root coffee. If, like us, you like to chow down on noodles and pasta pots when camping, then this will be your new best friend.
Trangia 25 Cookset
Best Lightweight Camping Pots and Pans Set
- MATERIAL: Aluminum
- SIZE: Pan: 22 cm
- VOLUME: Pots: 1.75 L and 1.5
- WEIGHT: 865 Grams
- INCLUDES: Two pots, frying pan, windshield (upper and lower part), burner, handle and strap
The Trangia 25 Cookset was my first ever camp stove over 20 years ago, and it just so happens to include all the pots and pans you would need for a small group. I still have the same stove in excellent condition. However, I tend to use my gas stoves more these days. I should use this more, though, as it really is the business.
You can, of course, save weight by leaving the burner and windshields at home, which I have done before, but it is best used as a set. There are no lids to the pots other than the single frying pan because it is designed to be used on a single burner. You could absolutely use this on a campfire. However, we would advise against it if you want it to last a long time.
Made in Sweden using ultralightweight aluminum, the pots and durable but will show dents if you drop them, which over time add up. Using a Trangia with liquid fuel as opposed to gas fuel may seem like an odd choice, but it makes more sense than you might think. Mainly, you can visibly see how much fuel is left and even mark the bottle, which makes rationing fuel much easier. But also that liquid fuels are better in cold temperatures.
VERDICT: There will always be a space for a Trangia stove with pots and pans in my gear closet because they are just so cool and reliable. They work in high winds because of the windshields and come with everything you need to cook outdoors. This is one of the best pot and pan sets with a stove included you can buy and has been for close to 100 years.
Lodge Combo Cooker Cast Iron
Best Cast Iron Pots and Pans for Camping
- MATERIAL: Cast Iron
- SIZE: 15.3 x 10.8 x 4 inches
- VOLUME: 3 L
- WEIGHT: 13.2 lbs
- INCLUDES: Pot and Pan
The Lodge Combo Cooker Cast Iron is the heavyweight option in a category of lightweight products. If you are cooking on a campfire every day, then these are the pots and pans you want. The pan doubles as a lid which, when combined, creates a dutch oven for all your camping needs. Bake bread, make a casserole or fry a steak alongside some boiled potatoes and vegetables.
The large 3-liter pot is big enough to feed a family of 5, and the 10.25-Inch shallow skillet will fit four burgers or almost a full pack of bacon. Cleaning is easy because you don’t have to be too delicate, like with titanium or aluminum. The best way to clean burnt food from cast iron is to boil some water after you have cooked with it.
I personally never carry cast iron into the wilderness or even take it out in the campervan because it is too heavy, but in the firepit at home, it is all I use. I love using cast iron camping pots and pans, and I would use them all the time if they were just a little less inconvenient. Still, for some people who are willing to carry the extra weight, the Lodge combo set is some of the best.
VERDICT: If you are set on cast iron pots and pans for camping, then the Lodge Combo Cooker will do it all and last you a lifetime. You get a handle on both sides which is what you really need with cast iron camp cookware because it is heavy to lift from one side. This is something you can also use at home, so you really get your money’s worth.
MSR Alpine 2 Stainless Steel Camping Pot Set
Best Stainless Steel Pots and Pans Camping Set
- MATERIAL: Stainless Steel
- SIZE: 8.2 in x 4.4 in / 20.8 cm x 11.2 cm
- VOLUME: 1.5 L and 2 L
- WEIGHT: 1 lbs 10 oz / 733 g
- INCLUDES: Two pots and one pan lid, pot handler
The MSR Alpine 2 Stainless Steel Camping Pot Set is a simple but effective duo for boiling water and cooking camp food on a fire. They are well made and durable, so the dints don’t show unless it takes a big hit. They are wide and deep enough to be used as pots or pans, and there is no reason why you couldn’t use the lid as a frying pan too.
You can get this set in a four-piece, or you can keep the inside free, so you can also fit things like a small gas bottle, stove, tea bags, or coffee as well as a mug. The only thing we wish these pots had on them was a hanging attachment, but because they are stainless steel, you can use these in the embers all day long.
VERDICT: The MSR Alpine 2 Stainless Steel Camping pots and pans are heavy-duty and long-lasting, and safe to use on a campfire. They are the right size to boil enough water to refill your water bottles or serve a meal for 3 or 4 people but not too big to use on your own either. Overall these are an excellent choices for campers and backpackers.
Keith Titanium Ti6014 3-Piece Pot and Pan Cook Set
Best Titanium Pots and Pans Cooking Set for Camping
- MATERIAL: Titanium
- SIZE: 5.4 × 5.2 in / 138 × 133 mm (Set of 3)
- VOLUME: 13.5 oz, 27 oz, 40.6 oz / 400 ml, 800 ml, 1200 ml
- WEIGHT: 2.5 oz, 3.5 oz, 4.4 oz / 70 g, 100 g, 125 g
- INCLUDES: Two pots and a pan
The Keith Titanium Ti6014 3-Piece Pot and Pan Cook Set has everything you would need to cook and boil water when camping. All three camping pots and pans nest inside each other for convenient storage, and the pan doubles as a lid if you want one. The pan has a diameter of 130 mm, which is big enough for a couple of eggs or a small steak, so it will mostly be used as a lid or plate.
Because it is made from titanium, you can boil water very efficiently to save your stove fuel, but you do need to be careful you don’t let your food burn to the bottom by constantly stirring. The combined weight of all three pots and pans is 10.4 oz or 295 grams which is very impressive and makes a big difference to your pack weight when you have all your food, water, shelter, and sleeping system on your back.
VERDICT: We highly recommend this 3-piece titanium cookware set for camping because it is so lightweight, and the size is perfect for one or two people. If I had to choose one cooking set to take traveling, it would probably be the Kieth Titanium 3 Piece due to the size and weight suiting my needs to a tee.
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Base Camper Cook Set
Best Aluminum Camping Pots and Pan Set
- MATERIAL: Aluminum
- SIZE: 8.19 x 8.19 x 5.39 in
- VOLUME: 1.5 L, 2 L, 8″ frypan
- WEIGHT: 2 kg
- INCLUDES: Two pots and a pan, Two nylon strainer lids, a cutting board, a folding pot handle, and a stuff sack
The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Base Camper Cook Set is complete cookware set for campers that feature Teflon Radiance technology coating to prevent sticking. Cooking anything over a camp stove or campfire requires quite a lot of focus, as the intense heat can soon burn your food if you aren’t paying attention. With this non-stick set, you don’t have as much worry, and you actually end up getting to eat more of your food as it doesn’t stick to the pan.
In recent years I have been trying to avoid using Teflon-coated pans on a regular basis, but the benefits are so big that I think it’s okay to use them every now and again. Especially when you’re camping, it can be difficult to get pots and pans completely clean after cooking but with this set, you simply let it soak for a couple of minutes, and the surface will practically wipe clean without heavy scrubbing and scratching the coating off.
Some features that we really like on this set are that the storage sack is waterproof and so can be used as a sink to wash up after, as well as protect the rest of your gear inside your back from black soot. We also like that you get two lids, one for each pot, as well as a frying pan, although you could probably leave one at home to save weight.
VERDICT: The GSI Pinnacle Base Camper is a well-thought-out set that includes all the pots, pans, and lids you will need for camping. The stuff sack doubles as a washing-up sink, and there is even a cutting board inside for slicing up herbs and vegetables. Although the entire combination pack weighs a fair bit, you can leave things at home, and the actual pans are fairly light.
Guide to Camping Pots and Pans
There are hundreds of pots and pans out there, but only a dozen or so are any good for camping. This is where you learn about what makes a pot or a pan worth buying and the features you should think about before making any decisions.
The different types of metal that are used to make camping cookware include cast iron, stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium. We go into more detail on the individual benefits of the different materials further down the page but the just of it is that cast iron is good for cooking on a hot fire often, stainless steel is reliable too, aluminum and titanium are a little less durable but are much more lightweight.
The size of your pots determines how much water you can boil or how many people you can cook for. The size of your pan influences what you can cook and whether it is practical to take camping. If you do have multiple camping pots and pans, then choosing ones that nest inside each other is what you should be looking for.
Weight is important for most campers because they are already carrying enough gear to fill a backpack and feel heavy on their backs. This is why cast iron is not practical for most campers, and there are so many lightweight aluminum and titanium options out there. The lighter, the better, as far as I am concerned, but not at the cost of losing the ability to cook on red-hot embers.
Number of People
If you are just cooking for yourself, then a 1-liter pot and 8-inch frying pan should be sufficient, but if you are cooking for 2 – 4 people, then you want at least a 2-liter capacity just to boil enough water, let alone cook enough food. The alternative to taking 2 or 3 large pots and pans camping in a big group is that everyone takes their own solo cookware. Cooking in a large group is more social, communal, and often enjoyable, so if you can, take a big pan.
Type of Cooking
Most camping meals will involve adding hot water to some kind of dried food like noodles, pasta, or rice. This type of cooking only requires one small pit with a lid. If, however, you want to level up and cook an actual meal from scratch, then you are going to need more pots and pans and also different types of pots and pans.
If you want to bake some bread or roast a joint of beef, for example, then you will need something heavy like a dutch oven or cast iron cookpot. For fast cooking of prepared food, aluminum and titanium are the best options and also the lightest. If you need to stew things and cook for longer periods, then stainless steel or cast iron is the way to go.
The depth of your pots and pans limits what you can and can’t cook to some extent, so make sure you think about the types of food you want to cook and how deep they would sit in a pan. If you want to boil potatoes with some vegetables, then think about the size pan, you would use at home and try to match that with a lightweight camping pot.
Another consideration when looking at the depth of the pot is whether everything can nest inside the largest pot and also what size gas canister will fit inside. Pan depth is more of a personal choice, but I like it to be shallow so that I can get a camping spatula underneath to flip things as they cook.
You might not use a lid on your pots and pans at home, but when you are camping, they are vital for keeping things out of your water and food, as well as trapping in heat to conserve your stove fuel. If you have ever tried cooking at altitude or when it is very cold out, then you will know it can take a while and use a lot of fuel. A lid will improve efficiency dramatically, as proven in this study and so it is important that your outdoor cookware set comes with a lid or has a pan that can be used as one.
Handles and Hanging Loops
You may notice that many of the best camping pots and pans don’t have handles and instead have a detachable grabbing tool. This is good in that the cooking set becomes easier to pack down like a nesting doll, and it also means that the handle doesn’t get too hot to grab with campfire gloves. The problem is that it makes the pots more precarious to balance on top of embers.
We prefer a hanging loop that will work as a handle but also enables you to hang the pot above the flames of a fire as opposed to directly onto the embers. If you can get a hanging handle, then the next best is a folding handle that is permanently attached so that you can easily and quickly adjust the pot if it starts to tip as embers crumble.
While titanium and aluminum are incredibly tough and durable materials, they are often used in thinner quantities and are more delicate than stainless steel or cast iron pots and pans. The thinner the metal, the more likely it is to melt through if put on embers that are too hot. They will also show more dents from abrasions whilst in your backpack.
If you are cooking on open fires a lot, then durability and thickness are key factors, but if you are cooking on a stove or just occasionally on fire when you camp, then the lighter options make more sense.
Having heard negative things about Teflon coatings in recent years, I tend to avoid non-stick pots and pans for camping and at home. But I do miss it. The difference it makes to both cooking and cleaning is hard to ignore, with less food sticking to the base of the pan when cooking and any scraps just wiping straight off when cleaning. One tip with nonstick pots and pans is to avoid using metal utensils like a titanium spork, as these will scratch the coating off over time.
Over time I have accumulated so many different pot and pan sets that I can mix and match to get a combination that works for me. If you don’t have this luxury/curse, then you may find it easier to order a complete set in one go. This is a fine way to go and has the advantage of all fitting together neatly.
Alternatively, you might want to buy individual pots and pans to create your own custom set. This way, you don’t end up with pots you don’t need or a pan that isn’t quite big enough. One camp cooking set we do recommend is the Trangia bundle which includes a burner and windshield for the complete package.
Benefits of Cast Iron Camping Cookware
The benefits of cast iron pots and pans are that they will last a long time and can be used in the hottest fires without worry. You can season them with oil after every use to make sure they are always good to go. You can use them for cooking anything and everything, and the pots can be used as pans if they are wide enough. If you want to bake bread or slow-cook some meat, then cast iron is the only way.
Are there any downsides to cast iron pots and pans? Yes, there is one major downside to cast iron, and it’s a big one… the weight. Cast iron is HEAVY and no fun to carry in a backpack which does limit how far you can take them into the wilderness.
Benefits of Stainless Steel Camping Cookware
Stainless steel replaced cast iron a long time ago for many things and has now slowly started to be replaced by Aluminum and Titanium in the camp cookware department. The benefits of stainless steel pots and pans still hold up today and provide an excellent balance between weight and durability. You can use stainless steel cookware on open fires without too much worry about it melting your pan. Stainless steel is the happy medium and offers great value for money.
Are there any downsides to stainless steel pots and pans? There are no major downfalls of stainless steel other than it is neither as lightweight as Titanium nor Aluminum. There are different types of stainless steel, and many cheap camping pots and pans use cheap steel, which can give them a bad name.
Benefits of Titanium Camping Cookware
Titanium pots and pans are incredibly lightweight and excellent heat conductors, which makes them the perfect cooking accessory for solo campers. They are one of the most efficient types of pots for boiling water outdoors and, if cared for, will last a lifetime. They don’t leach any chemicals or metal taste and are completely safe to cook at high temperatures.
Are there any downsides to titanium pots and pans? Titanium pots and pans are the most expensive camping cooking ware on the market, and so they are not suited to budget thru-hikers and backpackers. Because titanium is so efficient at transferring heat, food can often burn to the bottom if you don’t constantly stir it.
Benefits of Aluminum Camping Cooking Pots
Aluminum is probably the most common metal used to make camping pots and pans because it is incredibly lightweight and effective. It offers many of the same benefits as titanium but at up to half the price. Aluminum pots and pans are what we would recommend to a beginner just getting into camping as well as a professional looking for the best value for money.
Are there any downsides to Aluminum pots and pans? Of all the different metal cookware materials, aluminum is the least abrasion-resistant and so will show dents the most.
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