Best Backpacking Cooking Gear: How to Effectively Prepare Outdoor Meals

Cooking in the forest
Written by Rita Warfield

When you’re in the great outdoors, but still want to benefit from a comfortable experience preparing your meals, consider getting the best backpacking cooking gear. That means you should be getting kitchen equipment that’s easy to carry and to use in the wild.

We’re here to give you some tips on how to choose the right gear that will make your life easier when you’re preparing outdoor meals. After that, we’ll take you through a selection of the coolest items used for outdoor cooking, so you can make an informed decision.

Camping pot on gas stove

How to choose

The things to consider when you’re buying outdoor cooking equipment, especially for backpacking purposes, are:

Top materials

That means you should get pots and pans made from aluminum or stainless steel because these conduct heat perfectly and warm up your meal fast.

On the other hand, the best materials for kitchen utensils like sporks or spatulas shouldn’t conduct heat, like nylon, so they don’t get your hands all hot. Also, look out for insulated mugs that keep your beverages warm.

Plus, we like materials that are non-stick so you can prepare your meals without burning the food, as well as materials that are easy to clean.

Cooking food on fire

Top design

A good design means getting a set that’s:

  • Foldable for space-saving reasons.
  • Compact and light so it can fit in your backpack or car trunk.
  • Easy to fit in an included carrying case or pouch.

For the included pots, pans and utensils, make sure they:

  • Are foldable.
  • Fit into each other for optimal use of space.
  • Have handles and other accessories for easy grabbing and use.

Backpacking cooking gear

Top craftsmanship

The things you’re getting should be:

  • Strong.
  • Durable.
  • Resistant to on-field damages.
  • Resistant to rust and mold.
  • Windproof so you can cook regardless of bad weather.

What you should get

With all the above characteristics, there are certain products we absolutely love. Some of these are full kitchen kits, while others feature just some necessary utensils. We’ll also talk about a stand-alone kitchen, so read along.

Camping PotsCamping Pots

Weight: 0.8 ounces – 3.5 pounds

Specifications: includes 20 items; mesh bag included; 4-5 people; non-stick; anodized aluminum manufacturing; silicone tube handles; stainless steel wire saw and foldable sporks; money back guarantee

Best use: hiking

This 4.3 stars and $42.99 Camping Pots is one of the least expensive, yet very comprehensive cooking gears for hiking on the market. The reason is that all 20 items can be made to fit one into the other, so the whole thing is extremely portable. In fact, the entire pack is quite compact and also lightweight, since you can select which things to take with you. But if you take all 20 items, you’ll still end up carrying just around 3.5 pounds.

And you have a complementary mesh bag included in the price, so portability is definitely a top quality here.

You can select various other models and packages, with different numbers of utensils included, from 5 to 17. This specific package is targeted at a family with four or five members, and it includes:

  • 3 pots, each with a different size and with their own covers.
  • 1 frying pan.
  • 5 bowls.
  • 3 plates.
  • Various spoons, ladles, and sporks.
  • Cleaning and carrying utensils.

We love how all the items are manufactured from great materials. None of the pots and pans are sticky, which is great for cleaning purposes. The cooking set is made of anodized aluminum, which has been tested and approved by the FDA as being non-toxic. That means you’ll get a durable, yet light cooking equipment that’s also eco-friendly.

Their handles are covered with a silicone tube, which is great to prevent burns. Plus, this folds easily so you can carry and store the whole thing problem-free. We also like that the wire saw and foldable sporks are made from stainless steel, another strong, yet light material.

And if you’re not satisfied with what you get, this camping gear comes with a guarantee for full refunding of your money.

Check the price on Amazon

JetboilMiniMo Cooking SystemJetboilMiniMo Cooking System

Weight: 1.6 pounds

Dimensions:8 x 9 x 9 inches

Specifications: Carbon color; one-size model; simmer control; metal handles; button-activated igniter; insulating lid; included measuring cup

Best use: camping

This 4.7 stars and $134.95 Jetboil MiniMo is a great camping cooking gear since it helps you readily prepare your hot meals, so you don’t have to forego your home comfort. The color pattern of this particular stove is Carbon, which looks minimalistic and modern. If you’re not happy with this, you can select from six other more vibrant colors to add more bling.

You can’t select the size of the stove since it’s a one-size model, but you shouldn’t be too concerned about its portability. It’s a compact piece of equipment, and at just under 2 pounds you can easily carry it in your backpack.

The construction is sturdy and its functioning is precise. Its top notch valve and minute regulator help you control the simmering very well. That means you’ll get your meals done in no-time and the cooking will be just right, without burning orundercooking your food.

The handles are made from metal, which means they’re sturdy enough to withhold the weight of the stove when you’re carrying it. Plus, the igniter is activated with the simple push of a button, so you can start/ stop the stove fast.

The user-friendly design of this stove is completed with an added lid to drink from that keeps your beverage warm, as well as a measuring cup. Moreover, the lower spoon angle allows you to eat directly from the cup, which underlines how convenient this gadget actually is.

Check the price on Amazon

Coleman Serving SetColeman Serving Set

Weight: 4.8 ounces

Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 12.2 inches

Specifications: includes spoon, slotted spoon, slotted spatula; nylon manufacturing; non-scratch design; metal ring; easy cleaning

Best use: camping or home use

Coleman Serving Set 4.3 stars and $8.08 can be added to your camp kitchen to make it even better. The items you’ll be getting are a spoon to eat your food with, a slotted spoon for cooking pasta, and a slotted spatula for frying your eggs better.

The set is made from nylon, which is a great choice for serving sets. The first reason is that it’s a strong, resistant material, so you won’t be throwing your money out the window. Secondly, it weighs very little, so it’s convenient to carry even when you’re just taking the basic stuff with you. Additionally, it won’t melt when in contact with the hot pots and pans you’re using, and it won’t scratch them either.

We like that Coleman has thought about putting these serving items on a metal ring because it helps keep you organized, decreasing the risk of misplacing the three things. Besides, you can easily take each one out when you want to use them. And when you’re done with all the cooking, there’s nothing easier than cleaning them either by hand or in the dishwasher.

Check the price on Amazon

Solo Stove TitanSolo Stove Titan

Weight: 16.5 ounces

Dimensions :5.59 x 5.12 x 5.12 inches

Specifications: foldable; boils 1 liter of water in 5 minutes; stainless steel and nichrome wire manufacturing; no batteries or fuel required; double wall design; less smoke

Best use: backpacking

Solo Stove Titan 4.8 stars and $89.99 award winning stove is great for backpacking, seeing as it’s so light and compact. But even if the packed length reaches about 5.6 ounces, it becomes 7.9 inches tall when you assemble it. That means you can save even more space by folding it completely. And if you have the Solo Stove Pot 1800, you can fit this stove inside it, so you won’t use any extra space in your backpack.

But this small little thing can surely cook fast seeing as it can boil 34 fluid ounces of water in about 5 minutes, so you’ll be getting your daily necessary intake in 10 minutes. The fact that it’s made out of a mixture of stainless steel and nichrome wire certainly contributes to this because it conducts heat.

Another reason why this is the perfect hiking cooking gear is that it uses thefree fuel you’ll find on your trail, like twigs, dry leaves, and wood. Therefore, you’re getting an eco-friendly piece of equipment, which doesn’t require you to carry all sorts of batteries and fuel to pollute the environment and add to the bulk of your pack.

This stove has a patented design which entails a double wall which helps protect the environment thanks to its clean gasification, while also cooking your meals faster courtesy of the secondary combustion. That means your fuel is entirely used with less smoke, so you won’t have to constantly gather new twigs.

Check the price on Amazon

Wealers 7 Piece Cooking Utensils SetWealers 7 Piece Cooking Utensils Set

Weight: 2.1 pounds

Dimensions: 1.8 x 8.4 x 13.9 inches

Specifications: orange; 7 stainless steel and polypropylene cooking utensils; included ballistic nylon carrying case; FDA approved

Best use: barbecuing

Wealers Cooking Utensils Set 4.4 stars and $24.99  is comprised out of seven different cooking utensils. This is one of the best sets to buy for your camping cooking gear because it helps you get your barbecue ready in no time. In fact, you have all the things you need to show off you’re a real chef and prepare your food fast.

The included accessories feature:

  • A cutting board that comes with its own protective cover for minimal damage when you’re carrying it.
  • A rice paddle to get the perfect risotto.
  • Tongs for easy grabbing of various food items and salad.
  • Scissorsfor cutting the prepped meal packages.
  • A sharp knife that’s 6.5 inches long and with a 4.5 inches handle. This has a cover of its own so it doesn’t ruin the case, plus its edge has holes in it, which makes it non-stick.

All these items will fit in the included carrying case for portability and organizational purposes. Plus, the case is manufactured from ballistic nylon, which makes it resistant to various scratches and punctures. The tools themselves are made from top materials: stainless steel and polypropylene, which is a thermoplastic polymer. Therefore you’re getting some strong tools that won’t melt when in contact with hot food.

Additionally, the quality of this set is ascertained through thorough testing conducted by Wealers and bears the FDA approval.

Check the price on Amazon

MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess KitMalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit

Weight: 0.7 pounds

Dimensions: 3.8 x 6.3 x 6.6 inches

Specifications: 10 items; foldable; non-toxic anodized aluminum manufacturing; FDA approved; money back guarantee

Best use: hiking

This 4.7 stars and $19.95 MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit is a great hiking cooking gear since it’s so compact and light. In fact, all its ten items can be folded and packed one into the other, so the final size ends up being as big as a 1-liter pot. With that in mind, you’ll get your complete set that turns into a mini-kitchen outdoors:

  • A non-stick pot made from sturdy and light anodized aluminum that holds 1 liter of water and comes with its included pot cover.
  • A nonstick pan that’s easy to clean after you’ve fried your dinner.
  • Two eco-friendly bowls that don’t contain any toxic BPAs.
  • A strong, multi-functional spork made from stainless steel, that can fold for taking up a minimum amount of space.
  • A soup spoon that’s also BPA-free.
  • A wooden spoon spatula to help prepare all your meals with ease.
  • A cleaning sponge to make sure your set is perfectly clean once you’re done with the cooking.
  • A travel bag made from nylon with a drawstring pouch to carry and store this set problem-free.
  • A guide for roasting marshmallows and making smores, that includes 10 recipes to make your camping trip more whimsically delicious.

All these items are sturdy and can withstand damage just fine, plus they’re light enough to become an asset portability-wise. That’s because they’re manufactured from a non-toxic sort of anodized aluminum, that’s been approved by the FDA. This material is a great heat conductor, so your food will be ready in a jiffy.

But if you end up having problems with this remarkable set, rest assured you can get your money back by simply getting in touch with MalloMe.

Check the price on Amazon

Deluxe Portable Camping KitchenDeluxe Portable Camping Kitchen

Weight: 57 pounds

Dimensions: 80 x 80 x 22 inches unfolded

Specifications: foldable; Cordura carry bag; tubular steel frame; easy setup; three tabletops; included PVC sink with drain

Best use: camping

Deluxe Portable Camping Kitchen 4.7 stars and $263.96  is one of the best camping kitchens on the market. Since it weighs 57 pounds, it’s not considerably heavy, but it’s still intended for trips by car because it’s a bit much for hiking trips. However, if you’re going on a lengthier fishing or hunting trip, or if you’re organizing an outdoor event, you can definitely consider this.

You can easily carry the whole kitchen on short distances in its included Cordura bag. This is one of the most resistant types of nylon on the market, yet considerably lighter than other materials, so you know it will hold.

The kitchen is foldable, with packed dimensions of 42 x 26 x 14 inches, which makes it really compact to fit in your car trunk or tent. We love that it’s easy to set it up at your destination thanks to a frame made from tubular steel, which is a sturdy material. The takedown process is equally easy, but in the meanwhile, you’ll be getting a reliable space to prepare meals.

The kitchen consists of three big enough tabletops that are stable enough so you can put a lot of tableware on them, as well as prepare meals. The tabletop in the middle can be easily removed when you want access to the included PVC sink. The sink comes with its own incorporated drain, which makes washing the dishes even easier.

Check the price on Amazon

MSR WindBurner Stove SystemMSR WindBurner Stove System

Weight: 1 pounds

Dimensions: 9 x 5 x 5 inches

Specifications: included PVC sink black; 1 or 1.8-liter size; includes pot, mug, and air combustion stove; inner pressure regulator; foldable; windproof

Best use: hiking

This 4.7 stars MSR WindBurner Stove has a price range of $127.58 – $159.95 depending on the size you’ll choose: 1 liter or 1.8 liters, and both options can be purchased in an appealing black color. But the color is not what makes its design great.

In fact, it’s the fact that this system has an all-in-one construction which reunites a stove plus a cookware system with a pot and mug. The pot can be locked securely so you can use it for carrying your food, and the insulated mug has an ergonomic handle for an easy grip. We also like the drinking and straining ports on the lid because the meals become less messy.

The stove itself works on 100 primary air combustion, and it gas an inner pressure regulator. That, along with the encapsulated construction render the stove windproof, so you can cook even when the weather is against you.

This system has a compact construction, so the stove, your fuel canister and the canister stand that folds can all fit inside the pot. The bowl which is impressively large can simply fit on the outside thanks to a snap-on mechanism.

Check the price on Amazon

What will you get?

With all those great items above, we’re curious what you’re going to get. Do you already have some kitchen gear for outdoor use or are you starting from scratch? What sort of trip are you planning to use this equipment on?

Cooking food outdoors

Have we missed something in our advice section? Let us know in the comments that, and whatever else crosses your mind regarding this topic.


Rita Warfield

Fully passionate about the outdoors and totally committed to a life of exploration and learning, Rita is the perfect guide when it comes to choosing the right gear for your adventures. She gathered years of practical experience in testing her survival skills and knowledge in a wide range of difficult situations but she is also a passionate mountain climber. Even more, Rita loves hunting, she knows her way around a weapon, and she doesn’t back off in a difficult situation.