Choosing the best backpacking cookware is a must if you want to eat well when out in the wilderness.
Some of you might want to cook proper meals for yourself and your fellow backpackers, while some ultralight minimalists will just require a basic cookware set for cooking simple meals.
Whatever your preference, we have reviewed the best backpacking cookware sets to help you select which one will work best for you. Most cooking sets here are built to last and accompany you on rugged trails for years.
So without further ado, let’s start our Top 7 Best Backpacking Cookware review.
Number of Pots
MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set – Best Overall
2.5L + 1.5L
MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set – Runner-Up
2.5L + 1.5L
TOAKS Titanium 750ml Pot – Best on a Budget
1L + 800ml
The Best Backpacking Cookware In 2020
1. MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set – Best Overall
- Two-person backpacking cookset is lightweight (1 pound 12 ounces), compact (packed size 7.75 x 5 inches), and efficient for backcountry trips
- Includes 1.5L hard-anodized non-stick aluminum pot, 2.5L hard-anodized aluminum pot, strainer lid, 2 deep dish plates, 2 insulated mugs, pot handle
- Camp cookware features a smaller non-stick coated pot for sauces and simmers, and a larger uncoated pot for boiling water and meal prep
- Polypropylene deep-dish plates can accommodate any meal, and 12.5-ounce mugs are insulated with sip-thru lids; plates and mugs are color-coded
- All cook set components nest within the 2.5L pot for easy packing; set can be adapted to size of group and length of trip
MSR is one of the most renowned and prominent manufacturers on the market when it comes to manufacturing outdoor gear for adventure fanatics.
By the same token, their Quick 2 System Cook Set is the best backpacking cookware. It is basically everything you need to completely transform your backcountry kitchen experience.
MSR Quick 2 is a power-packed cook-and-eat system which excels in both design and longevity. It is a one-and-done cooking set which includes two cooking pots – a 1.5L non-stick Duralite DX pot and a 2.5L hard anodized pot. It also comes with a lid with a convenient strainer vent, so you can easily pour out excess water while cooking pasta, for example.
You can use the smaller nonstick pot for simmers and sauces, while the 2.5L pot can be used for cooking larger meals or boiling water.
As well as the two cooking pots, the MSR Quick™ 2 also includes two 12.5-ounce stainless-steel mugs, 2 polypropylene DeepDish plates and a removable Talon pot handle (pot lifter) which fits on both pots and won’t scratch the inside of them. Both mugs are insulated with sip-thru lids, so your drinks will stay warm.
The best part about its design is that all the equipment can be placed together in the bigger 2.5L pot for easy packing. Also, the mugs and plates are color-coded, so there’s no mix up.
Two backpackers can effortlessly carry this lightweight yet versatile set of cookware.
The Quick™ 2 system feels ultra-lightweight as it is crafted from hard-anodized aluminum. One pot is uncoated while the other is non-stick for enhanced versatility. Even the lid with the built-
in strainer is made from aluminum. Overall, this camping cookware set weighs just 1 lbs. 12 oz (0.8kg).
Furthermore, it packs down to just 7.75” x 5”, which makes it the ultimate choice for backpacking trips!
Things we like
- Backed by lifetime warranty
- Compact nesting design saves space
- Includes two insulated mugs and plates
- Versatile pair of cooking pots
- Hard-anodized surface prevents rusting
- Includes convenient strainer lid and talon pot lifter
- Lightweight and durable
Things we don’t like
- The talon pot handle is small, difficult to move the 2.5L pot when it is full
- Thin aluminum construction – might catch hot spot in center
Hands down, this is the best backpacking cookware for two adventurers as it has everything in sets of two. It is an ideal backpacking meal prep solution if lightweight and ultra-compact design are your key priorities. Even single backpackers can quickly strip down this cookware set to suit their expedition.
2. MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set Runner-Up
- Ceramic nonstick: the toughest nonstick Coating we've ever found is scratch-resistant, easy to clean, and handles high-temperature cooking
- Compact: efficient nesting design saves precious pack space
- Modular: Add DeepDish plates and insulated mugs (sold separately), or customize it to suit your needs
- Includes: one 2.5 liter ceramic nonstick, hard-anodized aluminum pot, one 1.5 liter ceramic nonstick, hard-anodized aluminum pot, one aluminum strainer lid, one Talon pot handle
- Weighs 16.2 ounces; packs to 7.8 x 5 inches
Here’s another best camping cookware option by MSR with the Ceramic 2-Pot Set.
There aren’t many bells and whistles with this one really. There are simply two cooking pots deliberately designed for backcountry chefs who love cooking but who don’t enjoy a strenuous cleaning process.
MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set features two ceramic non-stick, hard-anodized aluminum cooking pots. One of them has a 2.5L capacity, while the other one is 1.5L. With these cooking pots, you also receive one aluminum lid with a built-in strainer vent and a talon pot handle for easy handling.
Ceramic 2-Pot Set features premium Fusion® ceramic non-stick coating which can endure high heat, is durable and free of PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) and PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid). Therefore, it is safe to use.
Easy to Clean
Given their premium non-stick coating, both cooking pots are extremely easy to clean, which is the most sought-after feature for backpacking trips. These cooking pots won’t have any hot spots or other such issues.
Ceramic 2-Pot Set is a breeze to haul around as it weighs just 15.6 oz (0.44kg). It packs down to just 7.2” x 7.7” x 5”.
In addition, the 2.5L pot and 1.5L pot nest together for easy packing, thereby saving a lot of space.
Things we like
- Non-stick surface, easy to clean
- Backed by lifetime warranty
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Includes two cooking pots with strainer lid
- Includes a talon pot handle
- Nesting design saves space
Things we don’t like
- Thin aluminum tends to scratch easily
MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set is the best backpacking cookware if easy cleaning is your main priority. With the two non-stick cooking pots, you also get a strainer lid and talon pot lifter. All in all, this cooking set is lightweight, space-saving and ideal for all your wilderness meals.
3. TOAKS Titanium 750ml Pot Best on a Budget
- Material: Titanium (no coating) Total Weight: 3.6oz (103g)
- Capacity: 25.4oz (750ml) (measured to the top of rim)
- Dimension: 3 3/4" (95mm) (D) (external at lower part) x 4 3/8" (110mm) (H)
- Origin: Designed in California manufactured in China
- Notes: 1. Gradation marks in ml and oz. 2. It comes with a mesh sack. 3. TOAKS 375ml & 450ml cup, TOAKS Wood Stove (small), 4oz gas canister can nest inside this pot. 4. Nalgene 32oz, Klean Canteen 42oz water bottle can fit inside but lid can not cover. 5. It can nest inside TOAKS 1100ml Pot with Pan or TOAKS 1600ml Pot with Pan. 6. TOAKS Titanium 550ml D103mm Bowl (BWL-550-D103) can nest this pot from outside.
For all of those seeking budget-friendly cooking pots, have a look at the TOAKS Titanium Pot.
Ultralight minimalists are certainly going to be impressed with this 3.6-ounce (103 grams) titanium cookware.
The 750ml pot is made from lightweight titanium with no coating whatsoever. What makes it the best camping cookware is how extremely lightweight it is.
In addition, it fits easily into your backpack without eating up much space with its 3.75” diameter and 4.37” height.
Lockable Lid Grip
The TOAKS Titanium pot has gradation marks in both ml and oz, so you won’t need other measuring equipment when cooking meals. It also has its own lid with lockable grip for convenient handling.
Lockable grip here means that the triangle handle above the lid won’t fall off but will remain firmly in place, so you can take the lid off or place it on with ease.
The lid seals quite tightly, thereby excelling in heat retention performance. The lid also has three holes to allow steam to escape.
This TOAKS titanium cookware model can nest together with plenty of other cooking gear for easy packing, such as TOAKS Titanium 450ml/375ml cups, TOAKS 1100mml Pot with Pan and more.
It has enough space inside to accommodate even a small stove kit such as MSR Pocket Rocket 2 along with 100ml gas canister. Even the handles on the pot can be folded for compact packing.
The TOAKS Titanium 750 Pot comes with its own mesh sack with a drawstring for easy storage or portability. The volume of the pot is sufficient to serve a single backpacker.
Things we like
- Ultra-lightweight design
- Titanium construction
- Compact, easy to pack
- Can nest with other cookware models or stove kits
- Lid provides tight seal
- Includes a mesh sack for easy carrying
- Perfect for single backpackers
Things we don’t like
- Triangle-shaped handle grip is flimsy
- Pot is too thin
With a weight of just 3.6 ounces, the TOAKS Titanium 750 Pot is one of the best lightweight backpacking cookware sets.
However, the volume might not be enough if you want to make larger meals. It is just big enough to cook a single ramen pack or boil water for preparing freezer-bag meals. Overall, it’s a durable titanium pot which is available at a very reasonable price.
4. Vargo BOT – 700
- Crafted from the highest quality materials
- Built for performance and durability
- Made in China
Vargo has been manufacturing ultralight outdoor gear for adventure enthusiasts since 2002. The brand specializes in titanium for creating durable, strong yet ultralight innovative products which won’t make your backpacking trips burdensome.
Vargo BOT- 700 is their titanium cookware which comes with a versatile lid to reduce cooking times, whilst also saving fuel.
Watertight Screw Top Lid
To reduce cooking times and save fuel, the Vargo BOT 700 comes with a watertight screw top lid which also doubles as a cooking lid.
Simply add food to the pot along with the required amount of water, then seal the container with the watertight lid and allow it to rest for an hour or more till you finish hiking.
When it’s time, keep the pot on the stove and you’ll see the time and fuel required for cooking your food is much less. Pre-hydrating your meals in this way greatly improves the taste, saves fuel and reduces waiting time.
While cooking on the stove, the watertight lid doubles as a cooking lid by simply turning it upside down. Always make sure to unscrew the lid and flip it over while cooking, as there is a risk of explosion if you keep it tightly screwed.
The BOT 700 also includes a heat-resistant O-ring which efficiently seals the contents inside, whether they are liquid or solid.
Versatile BOT Design
As the name suggests, the Vargo BOT stands for ‘bottle and pot’ design which can measure, cook, hold and carry your meals for you. Use it as a pot, water bottle, soaking container, bowl or a mug – the choice is yours.
It is made from pure-grade titanium which is 100% biocompatible.
In addition, it has 7a 00ml (23 oz) capacity and measures 4.1” in diameter and 4.8” in height.
With a weight of just 4.8 ounces (138 grams), the BOT 700 is ultra-lightweight and easy to carry on your backpacking adventures. It has graduated marks for easy measuring and also features foldaway handles for compact packing.
Things we like
- Easy to use and clean
- Versatile design allows you to pre-soak foods
- Foldaway handles; compact design
- Made from 100% pure-grade titanium
- Has graduated marks for easy measuring
Things we don’t like
- Prone to slight leaking
If you don’t like to spend a lot of time on cooking meals, the Vargo BOT 700 is a great choice. The design of this titanium BOT (bottle and pot) is versatile, as it allows you to pre-soak freeze- dried or dehydrated food with the aid of the watertight lid. This saves cooking time and stove fuel later on.
It is perfect to make one- or two-person meals.
5. Primus LiTech Trek Kettle
- BPA Free ! (No bisphenol-A)
- Lightweight saucepan and frying pan
- Constructed of hard-anodized aluminum
- Multilayer non-stick surface on the inside
- Folding handles for storage
Primus has been in the outdoor cooking gear industry for over 125 years now, so you can expect nothing but the best from this company.
Their LiTech Trek Kettle is your best pots and pans set, as it is lightweight and quite versatile in its own way.
Kettle with Fry Pan Lid
Primus LiTech Trek Kettle is the best camping cookware for people who want to fry some eggs, vegetables or even fish in the morning.
It features a 1 Liter kettle with a lid that also doubles as a frying pan.
This camping cookware set is built to last with hard-anodized aluminum construction and multilayer titanium non-stick coating inside. This coating makes it easier to clean the pots.
The kettle itself is spacious enough and can also accommodate a 230g gas cartridge or Primus 2207 inside for compact packing.
The Trek Kettle weighs just 10.05 ounces (approximately 285 grams) which is fairly lightweight and easy to carry on your trek. It has a floor area of 4.3” x 3.9” which makes it just right for cooking meals for one or two backpackers.
The foldaway handles make it a breeze to carry this set in your backpack. These handles have insulated grips which come in handy when handling hot liquids.
Things we like
- Foldable handles
- Insulated grips
- Lid doubles as a frying pan
- Multiplayer titanium non-stick inner surface
- Comes with a net stuff sack
- Easy to clean
Things we don’t like
- No measurement marks
- Not as light as titanium pots
If you don’t mind the fact that it does not have any measurement markings, the Primus LiTech is probably the best pots and pans set currently available. The lid doubling as a frying pan is great for those who want to prepare fried eggs during hikes.
6. Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3
- Camping Cookware Set: Includes 2 pots, a frying pan, lid, plate, bowl, and a carrying case
- For 2-Person Meals: Enjoy your soup, stew, rice, and more with others during camping trips
- Safe Storage: Pots' handles fold when not in use for easy storage in the carrying case and backpack
- Outdoor Dining Bliss: Enjoy the outdoors with our products' minimalism and elegance
- Snow Peak: Our backpacking and camping products are made using a historic manufacturing process
For several decades, Snow Peak has produced premium mountaineering equipment including cookware, drinkware, bedding, tents and much more. All their products are made in Japan, which signifies the quality and craftsmanship of the gear.
In this best backpacking cookware review, we are going to look at their Personal Cooker 3 model, which is probably the most budget-friendly set on this list.
All in all, this camping cookware set is quite versatile and perfect for beginners who are looking for basic equipment.
Highly Versatile Starter Set
The all-inclusive design of Personal Cooker 3 comes with two pots, a frying pan, a lid, a bowl and a plate. All of these nest together and pack down into the nylon carry sack, which is included with the set.
Made in Japan, the set features polished stainless-steel construction which offers excellent durability and ruggedness for surviving in the wilderness. However, it won’t really be as light as aluminum or titanium pots. The entire camping cookware set weighs approximately 20.5 oz (583g) which some people may find too heavy.
Good Heat Retention
Compared to most backpacking pots, these stainless-steel pots are quite thick and retain heat better. The only downside is that the lid does not have any type of grip or handle for convenient use. You must therefore be careful when preparing hot meals.
2 Person Set
The Personal Cooker 3 set is perfect for cooking outdoor meals for 1-2 backpackers. You can also strip it down to serve a single person.
The best feature of this set is that the two pots and frying pan come with foldable handles, making it a breeze to pack the set. Another great thing is that stainless-steel won’t corrode or rust.
The larger pot is 1L, while the smaller pot has a capacity of approximately 800ml.
Things we like
- Durable stainless-steel construction
- Nesting design packs down compactly
- Pots and frying pan features foldable handles
- Includes a nylon carry sack
- Includes a bowl, a plate, a frying pan, two pots and a lid
- Can cook meals for 1 or 2 people
Things we don’t like
- Lid does not have any grip or handle
- Handles get pretty hot and are not insulated
The Snow Peak Personal Cooker is definitely not the lightest backpacking gear, but if you’re on a tight budget and need a decent beginner’s cookware set, then Personal Cooker 3 won’t disappoint. The pots are built to last and are quite sturdy, reliable and durable.
7. Optimus Terra Weekend HE Cook Sets
- 0.95-Liter heat exchange cooking pot has pouring lip and measuring marks in both milliliters and ounces, while attachable fry pan doubles as lid
- Non-stick surface and included cleaning sponge make clean up easy
- Heat exchange ring reduces boil time by 20%
- Convenient mesh storage bag keeps everything together; standard eight-ounce gas cartridge fits inside
Optimus is an industry-leader when it comes to manufacturing outdoor gear, as it has been around for over a century.
The Terra Weekend Cook Set is a highly-rated camping cookware set which is best suited for solo backpackers.
Rugged Anodized Aluminum Construction
The Terra Weekend set is made from durable anodized aluminum which makes it lightweight and portable. Furthermore, it features non-stick coating inside for easy cleaning.
Built-in Heat Exchanger
The set comes with a large 0.95L saucepan and a frying pan which also doubles as a lid.
The bottom of the larger pot features an innovative, fuel-saving heat exchanger which is designed to reduce the boiling time by 20%. The heat exchanger surrounds the stove flame, preventing energy waste and greatly reducing boiling time.
The main pot also has a nice pouring lip for spill-free pouring of liquids and measurement marks (oz and mL) for quick reference.
Fry Pan Lid
The Terra Weekend HE kit includes a frying pan which can also serve as a lid for the main pot.
This feature is amazing for people who’d like to have fried eggs or vegetables.
This kit can easily contain a small gas canister, Optimus gas stove and a compact spork inside it.
The main pot is designed with butterfly handles featuring insulated grips. These handles fold down compactly for hassle-free packing, yet they remain stable and firm when handling hot meals.
Even the frying pan has an insulated handle for user convenience.
With a weight of only 284 grams, the Terra Weekend set is neither too lightweight nor too heavy, and strikes a perfect balance between both. The package also includes a small BOB sponge for easy cleaning of the kit and a mesh carry bag.
Things we like
- Non-stick coating
- Aluminum construction with heat exchanging bottom
- 0.95L pot with pouring spout
- Frying pan doubles as a lid
- Foldable, insulated butterfly handles
- Includes a mesh carry sack and BOB sponge
- Measuring marks in oz and mL
- Holds a compact stove, standard LPG canister and Optimus Folding Spork inside
Things we don’t like
- Too heavy
Backpackers who prefer robust cookware with a heat exchanging bottom can opt for this Optimus Terra Weekend Cook set. The main pot is quite large with a 0.95L capacity, and it comes with a nice frying pan-cum-lid. Overall, the cook set is adequate enough for 1-2 adventurers.
Buying Guide for Best Backpacking Cookware
Here are some of the most important factors you need to consider when buying a backpacking cookware set:
Types of Backpacking Cookware Sets
- Cooking Pot Sets: Most backpacking cookware consists of a basic set of pots and lids with different capacities. The lids may also double as frying pans. Such simple design makes them more convenient and easy to use on backpacking expeditions.
- Cookware Sets with Integrated Stoves: Few cookware sets come with their own integrated stove system. This is why such sets are heavier and larger in size, but also have greater fuel efficiency as their components all work together efficiently.
- Mess Kits: Mess kits are like advanced versions of pot sets made up of basic dining gear such as bowls, plates, mugs, etc. Typically, such kits have a nesting design, so all the accessories can fit together compactly to form a portable kit.
- Titanium: Titanium cookware sets are ultra-lightweight, so minimalists and light packers must consider titanium pots for backpacking. Also, these sets are also extremely strong and corrosion-resistant. One thing with titanium cookware is that it is expensive and thin, so it will efficiently transfer heat using less fuel. However, it doesn’t evenly conduct heat, so you may witness hot spots in the center of the pots.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is a widely used material for backpacking or camping cookware sets. It strikes a perfect balance between being lightweight, affordable and durable. It has the ability to conduct heat evenly and allow for even cooking. The only downside is that aluminum cookware may become dented or scratched after rugged use.
- Hard-Anodized Aluminum: If high cooking performance is what you’re looking for, go for hard-anodized aluminum pots. These are much more durable and efficient than simple aluminum pots but are also a bit more expensive.
- Stainless-Steel: Stainless-steel pots are a bit heavy compared to titanium and aluminum cookware, but they are also durable and built to last for many years.
The thickness, depth and diameter of your best backpacking cookware plays a vital role in heat retention and better conductivity.
- Thicker metal will conduct heat better and evenly distribute heat, thereby delivering better cooking performance. However, they may not be best for fuel optimization.
- Pots with built-in HE (heat exchanger) rings on the bottom will reduce cooking times significantly due to better heat transfer.
So, if you are going to locations where saving fuel is very important, you should consider pots with HE bottoms.
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The sole purpose of non-stick coating in backpacking cookware is to allow for easy cleaning after meals. However, you must make sure the coating is multilayered and durable, otherwise it will just flake away over time. It must also be free from harmful, carcinogenic chemicals.
- Ceramic coating is prone to chipping and scratching, similar to Teflon and other Teflon- like coatings, but ceramic coatings are much safer for your health.
A well-designed pot must come with a lid which fits snugly. The best lids are those which have an inbuilt strainer vent to expel excess moisture. Some innovative lid designs also double as frying pans, which is a great feature to look forward to.
A small knob or grab handle on the lid is another minimal yet significant feature to consider, as this allows you to easily lift it.
Most backpacking cookware pots feature foldaway handles. As these handles are likely to become hot while cooking, most of them come with insulating rubber grips. However, rubber insulation can melt off over time due to exposure to high heat.
You can chose pots with metal handles, but you must use a cloth or small towel when touching them.
Some sets don’t have handles at all, and instead provide a detachable pot lifter which can help you lift any pot or pan. This is a good feature and is very convenient.
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Capacity or Volume of Pots
The size of the pot you choose depends on how many people you will be cooking for regularly. The size is generally measured in liters or ounces.
- Single backpackers can choose a pot that is anywhere from 700 to 800 ml. This capacity is enough for boiling water and for making simple freezer-dried meals.
- 1L to 1.5L pots are more ideal for two backpackers.
- Larger pots with a volume of 2.5L are recommended for two or more backpackers.
This feature cannot be overlooked, particularly if you are cooking a pack of noodles or pasta.
You don’t want to overcook your meals, so it is better if your pot has measurement marks inside in ml and ounces to help you accurately measure water when cooking meals.
Here are a few features which are useful to have in a camping cookware set:
- If you are planning on boiling water to pour into dehydrated meals, consider buying a pot which has a pouring spout or lip.
- See whether the cooking pot you’ve chosen can hold a small stove system or gas canister inside. This will make backpacking more systematic and reduce the overall volume of your entire cookware set.
- With titanium pots, make sure that the lid is also made from titanium.
Be careful with the type of scrubber you use to clean your cookware set, as this can ruin it completely. Stainless-steel pots can endure rugged use and harsh steel wool scrubbers.
However, other aluminum and titanium pots must be washed gently, particularly if they have a non-stick coating.
We have put together this best backpacking cookware review based on thorough research and insight.
Considering all facts and features, we believe that the MSR Quick™ 2 System is the best backpacking cookware set by far. It has amazing versatility, as it includes two pots with a strainer lid, two mugs, two plates and a nice Talon pot lifter.
All the components fit together inside the bigger pot for systematic and compact organization in your backpack. Basically, it has everything you could possibly need for cooking meals in the wilderness.