Updated on October 12, 2020

One of life’s greatest enjoyments is to kick back after a hard day on the trail and fire up some delicious food. Considered to be one of the most essential pieces of gear to own, your investment in having one of the best backpacking cookware sets will go a long way in providing creature comforts on the rugged trail.

There aren’t too many details that you’ll have to sweat over, making this purchase a relatively straightforward one. But with literally hundreds of options to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 best backpacking cookware sets to make your choice as simple as possible.

For more of our top backpacking gear recommendations, check out the Best Backpacking Stoves

 

Quick Answer - The Best Backpacking Cookware

  1. MSR Quick 2 System
  2. Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact
  3. Snow Peak Titanium Mini Solo
  4. GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist II
  5. Toaks Titanium 1600ml Pot With Pan
  6. Sea To Summit Alpha 2 Pot 4.2
  7. Sea To Summit Alpha Pan
  8. GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper
  9. GSI Outdoors Glacier Minimalist
  10. Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3

 

Comparison Table - Best Backpacking Cookware

PictureNameWeightBest UsePriceRating
MSR Quick 2 SystemMSR Quick 2 System1 lbs. 12 oz.Backpacking$$5.0
Snow Peak Titanium Multi CompactSnow Peak Titanium Multi Compact11.6 oz.Ultralight Backpacking$$4.9
Snow Peak Titanium Mini Solo6.38 oz.Ultralight Backpacking$$4.85
GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist IIGSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist II1 lbs. 7 oz.Backpacking$$4.8
Toaks Titanium 1600ml Pot With PanToaks Titanium 1600ml Pot With Pan8.2 oz.Ultralight Backpacking$4.75
Sea To Summit Alpha 2 Pot 4.2Sea To Summit Alpha 2 Pot 4.22 lbs. 11 oz.Family/Group Backpacking$$$4.7
Sea To Summit Alpha PanSea To Summit Alpha Pan8.6 oz.Family/Group Backpacking OR Ultralight Backpacking$$4.65
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle CamperGSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper3 lbs. 10 oz.Family/Group Backpacking$$$4.6
GSI Outdoors Glacier MinimalistGSI Outdoors Glacier Minimalist7.4 oz.Ultralight Backpacking$4.4
Snow Peak Personal Cooker 31 lbs. 4.5 oz.Backpacking$4.2
PictureNameWeightBest UsePriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Cookware for Backpacking

MSR Quick 2 System

Specs
  • Best Use: Backpacking
  • Weight: 1 lbs. 12 oz.
  • Cookware Material: Hard-Anodized Aluminum
  • Nonstick Surface: Yes
Features
  • Color Coded Plates/Mugs Prevent Mixups
  • Entire Set Nests Within 2.5L Pot For Efficient Packing
  • Pieces Can Be Left At Home To Create An Even Lighter Set
MSR Quick 2 System

BEST FOR: COMPACT COOKING FOR 2

Perfect for any backpacking duo, the MSR Quick 2 System is a light and versatile cookset that covers all your bases and can be stripped down to the essentials for an even lighter load. 

Boasting two of (almost) everything for a complete meal set for each backpacker, this cookset features 2 insulated mugs with lids, 2 “DeepDish” plates (for either soup or solid food – it’s essentially a bowl-plate), and 2 pots (1.5 Liter & 2.5 Liter). It also sports a lid with a built-in strainer and a detachable pot lifter that won’t scratch the interior. 

This set can also be stripped down for a single backpacker or if both you and your partner already have water bottles, you can remove the cups to create room inside the pot to store your stove!

Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact

Specs
  • Best Use: Ultralight Backpacking
  • Weight: 11.6 oz.
  • Cookware Material: Titanium
  • Nonstick Surface: No
Features
  • Extremely Lightweight And Durable
  • Handles Pack Flat For Easy Storage
  • Includes A Lightweight Nylon Mesh Storage Bag
Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact

BEST FOR: HIGH-QUALITY, MINIMAL DESIGN FOR SMALL GROUPS

Small backpacking groups of 2-3 people looking to invest in the most durable and longest lasting cookware set ought to consider the Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact cookset. Sporting the lightest, most durable, and longest lasting material (Titanium), you’ll get the absolute best bang for your buck. 

The set features 2 pots (34 oz. & 26 oz.), a 17 oz. frying pan, and a 12 oz. saucepan, the latter two which can double as lids for the pots. The handles on each pot and pan fold down for easy storage and all four pieces nest within each other for the most efficient use of space and can also store a 100/110g fuel canister inside (sold seperately).

Snow Peak Titanium Mini Solo

Specs
  • Best Use: Ultralight Backpacking
  • Weight: 6.38 oz.
  • Cookware Material: Titanium
  • Nonstick Surface: No
Features
  • 100g Fuel Canisters Can Fit Inside The 30 oz. Pot
  • Pot Nests Snuggly Inside The Cup For Compact Storage
  • Rounded Bottom Edges Are Easy To Clean And Improve Heating Efficiency

BEST FOR: ULTRALIGHT SOLO BACKPACKERS

The lightest of the lightest available cooksets, the Snow Peak Titanium Mini Solo cookset is streamlined and efficient for your most rugged outdoor adventures. 

Made from Titanium, the lightest and most durable material for a cookset, the Mini Solo resists corrosion and heats food evenly. It’s also extremely efficient meaning you’ll use less fuel for each cook. The taller 30 oz pot fits snugly inside the shorter 18.3 oz. cup thanks to a slight difference in circumference size, allowing you to nest the two pieces for the ultimate packdown. 

The lid for the pot also has a silicone tab for burn-free removal! No need to cover your hand first.

GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist II

Specs
  • Best Use: Backpacking
  • Weight: 1 lbs. 7 oz.
  • Cookware Material: Hard-Anodized Aluminum
  • Nonstick Surface: No
Features
  • Hard-Anodized Aluminum Heats Food Evenly
  • Welded Stuff Sack Protects Cookware And Doubles As Wash Basin
  • Pot Lid Is Crushproof And Heat Resistant, Also Includes Built-In Strainer
GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist II

BEST FOR: TWO-PERSON OUTINGS

Having a complete cookset for two doesn’t have to be bulky, heavy and expensive. The GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist II shatters all of those conventions in favor of a streamlined, lightweight, affordable cookset that sports all the features of a fully-loaded set. 

Nesting all of its pieces within a 1.4L pot, this cookset features two 14 oz. bowls, two 14 oz. mugs with sippable lids, two folding foons (fork-spoons), and a lid for your pot with a built-in strainer. 

The folding foons collapse to just 3.7” inches from it’s fully extended 6.1” inch length, making it small enough to fit inside the nesting system.

Toaks Titanium 1600ml Pot With Pan

Specs
  • Best Use: Ultralight Backpacking
  • Weight: 8.2 oz.
  • Cookware Material: Titanium
  • Nonstick Surface: No
Features
  • Includes A Mesh Storage Sack
  • No Metallic Aftertaste With Titanium
  • Ounce And Liter Marks Allow For Precise Measurement
Toaks Titanium 1600ml Pot With Pan

BEST FOR: EXPANDING YOUR EXISTING MINIMAL SET

If you have a minimalist solo set or an ultralight cookware set for two, then the TOAKS Titanium 1600ml Pot with Pan is a perfect addition to expand your set. Able to hold 1.6 Liters (1600ml), this sizeable pot is still super lightweight and has a lid that doubles as a fry pan (or vise versa). 

The entire set weighs just 8.2 oz., making this expansion set the best ultralight add-on. It’s also large enough to store a 220g fuel canister and small stove inside itself. The handles even feature a nifty fold-down mechanism for compact storage.

Sea To Summit Alpha 2 Pot 4.2

Specs
  • Best Use: Family/Group Backpacking
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 11 oz.
  • Cookware Material: Hard-Anodized Aluminum
  • Nonstick Surface: No
Features
  • Entire Set Nests Together Into A 5.3” Inch Stack
  • Stainless Steel Handles Fold Away For Streamlined Packing
  • Compatible With Sea To Summit Alpha Pan (Sold Seperately)
Sea To Summit Alpha 2 Pot 4.2

BEST FOR: FOUR-PERSON BACKPACKING CREW

Featuring 2 hard-anodized aluminum pots and a full dinner set for 4, the Sea to Summit Alpha 2 Pot Cookset 4.2 is the perfect cookware set for a group of friends or a family! The pots are pretty sizeable, measuring in at 2.7 Liters and 3.7 Liters, and each have their own lid with built-in strainer for pasta. 

The dinner set features 4 bowl-plates and 4 insulated mugs with lids, all made from a BPA-free plastic that’s both lightweight and easy to clean. This set is also compatible (able to nest) with Sea to Summit Alpha Pans (sold separately) if you need to expand the set.

Sea To Summit Alpha Pan

Specs
  • Best Use: Family/Group Backpacking OR Ultralight Backpacking
  • Weight: 8.6 oz.
  • Cookware Material: Hard-Anodized Aluminum
  • Nonstick Surface: Yes
Features
  • Nonstick Surface Is Scratch Resistant
  • Stainless Steel Handles Fold Away For Streamlined Packing
  • Nests Perfectly With The Sea To Summit Alpha 2 Pot Cookset
Sea To Summit Alpha Pan

BEST FOR: EXPANDING YOUR EXISTING GROUP SET

If you already have the Sea to Summit Alpha 2 Pot Cookset and are looking to expand your set with a frying pan, then the Sea to Summit Alpha Pan is your perfect matching companion. To be clear, you can add this pan to any existing set you already have, but the the 8” in. pan nests perfectly with the aforementioned set and matches.

Sporting an aluminum base with a nonstick finish that is both scratch resistant and a great conductor of heat, you’ll be able to heat food evenly and efficiently. You can also buy this piece and use it individually for quick frying/heating and it would be a nice piece for an ultralight backpacker’s needs. 

You can also add the 10” in. Alpha Pan to your cookset for a complete 2 pot + 2 pan set to create luxurious meals or large meals for bigger groups.

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper

Specs
  • Best Use: Family/Group Backpacking
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 10 oz.
  • Cookware Material: Aluminum
  • Nonstick Surface: Yes
Features
  • Pot Gripper Attaches Externally To Avoid Internal Scratches
  • Nonstick Surface Is Scratch Resistant And Heats Food Evenly
  • Color Coded Dinnerware Helps Each Person Keep Track Of What’s Theirs
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper

BEST FOR: GLAMPING / LIGHT BACKPACKING

Looking for a fully loaded cookset that has pots, pans, plates, and cups galore? Then the GSI Pinnacle Camper Cookset is your perfect match for a truly cushy camping experience. 

This cookset features 2 pots (3 Liters & 2 Liters) each with their own lid that has a built-in strainer for pasta, a frying pan, 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 insulated mugs with sippable lids, and an external pot gripper that won’t scratch the interior of your pots. The dinnerware is color coded so that no one mixes up whose is whose.  The set also features a welded sink basin that doubles as a carry bag.

GSI Outdoors Glacier Minimalist

Specs
  • Best Use: Ultralight Backpacking
  • Weight: 7.4 oz.
  • Cookware Material: Stainless Steel
  • Nonstick Surface: No
Features
  • Streamlined Design Doesn’t Need Any Ultralight Modifications
  • Includes Folding Foon/Spork And Miniature Silicone Pot Gripper
  • Nesting Design Can Hold 110g Fuel Canister & Small Stove Inside
GSI Outdoors Glacier Minimalist

BEST FOR: MINIMALIST COOKING FOR THE BUDGET-SAVVY BACKPACKER

For the ultralight backpacking soloist who obsesses over cutting off handles, shaving down large parts, and leaving extraneous pieces behind in an attempt to reduce their base weight, the GSI Outdoors Glacier Minimalist cookset is your match made in minimalist heaven. 

At just 7.4 oz. this cookset is the second lightest on our list, but the most cost-effective. While it is stainless steel, a less effective medium that doesn’t cook food as evenly, the small size and base weight makes up for that. 

Making this set even more efficient, the 0.6 Liter pot doubles as an insulated mug – just slip on the cover and pop on the sippable lid!

Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3

Specs
  • Best Use: Backpacking
  • Weight: 1 lbs. 4.5 oz.
  • Cookware Material: Stainless Steel
  • Nonstick Surface: No
Features
  • Stainless Steel Won’t Rust Or Corrode
  • Great Starter Set For New Backpackers
  • Set Can Serve 2 Or Be Paired Down To Serve 1

BEST FOR: BUDGET CONSCIOUS BACKPACKERS

If you need a full cookset but have a shoestring budget, there’s a cookset for you! The Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3 is both budget-conscious and equipped with everything you need for a basic starter cookset. 

Featuring 2 pots and a frying pan (each with foldable handles), 2 plates that double as pot lids, and a bowl, you’ll be set with all the basic pieces. While stainless steel won’t heat food as evenly as other materials, it also won’t rust or corrode. 

This set also comes with a nylon carry case to keep all your pieces in one place in your backpack.

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING BACKPACKING COOKSETS

MATERIALS

There are a wide variety of materials that cooksets are offered in. Below, we detail the pros and cons of each and rate them for backpacking and car camping. 

Aluminum

  • Backpacking: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭒
  • Car Camping: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭒

Lightweight and affordable, aluminum is a fantastic material for a cookset. Food is cooked evenly and efficiently on aluminum cookware since it’s such a great conductor of heat. While it’s pretty durable, over time it will eventually break down and need replacing, especially if you cook highly acidic foods such as tomato sauce. Aluminum is also softer than other metals, meaning it will get banged up, taking both scratches and dents with heavy use. 

Hard-Anodized Aluminum 

  • Backpacking: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑
  • Car Camping: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

A more durable, albeit pricer, option to aluminum is hard-anodized aluminum. It provides all the benefits of standard aluminum without any of the downsides – just cook away! 

Stainless Steel

  • Backpacking: ⭑⭒⭒⭒⭒
  • Car Camping: ⭑⭑⭒⭒⭒

While it is an option, stainless steel offers little benefit to backpackers and campers. Although it’s way more durable than aluminum, it’s also much more expensive yet doesn’t heat food as evenly. It’s also really heavy which can be quite the drawback when you’re trying to save weight. For the high price tag, you’re better off investing in titanium or hard-anodized aluminum. 

Titanium

  • Backpacking: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑
  • Car Camping: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

If you’re not constrained by a budget, this is your absolute best option! Titanium is the lightest material possible which makes it ideal for backpackers looking to shave weight. While it is more expensive than some other options, it’s extremely efficient which translates into fuel cost savings. Last but not least, titanium is highly corrosion-resistant meaning it will outlast and outperform any other cookset material. 

Non-Stick Coating

  • Backpacking: ⭑⭑⭒⭒⭒
  • Car Camping: ⭑⭑⭑⭒⭒

Non-stick coatings are really easy to clean, making your post-meal chores a breeze. However, the coating is much less durable than aluminum or titanium. It’s important to use only plastic utensils while cooking with non-stick or you will likely scratch and degrade the non-stick surface. 

Cast Iron

  • Backpacking: ⭒⭒⭒⭒⭒
  • Car Camping: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Best for car camping, cast iron skillets hold seasoning really well and make some amazingly delicious campfire dinners. They’re crazy durable but also extremely heavy, which makes them a no-go for backpacking. 

 

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

Number of Pots/Pans

When choosing a cookware set, it’s best to consider how many people you usually backpack or camp with. A rough estimate is 1 pot for every 1 to 2 people in your group, but that largely depends on what you’re cooking. 

For dehydrated meals that simply need boiled water to be added, or can-ready meals that need warming like chili, then 1 pot per 2 backpackers will be enough. But if you’re cooking a more standard meal from scratch with multiple ingredients, then each backpacker will likely need a dedicated pot/pan. 

Pot Size

The size of your chosen pots and pans also plays a critical role in determining the best cookware set. Larger pots are more efficient for space and resources since you won’t need as many burners as you would with multiple smaller pots. Ideally, the largest pot in your set should hold 1 pint per person in your group. So if you’re a hiking group of 4 people, then you’ll need a pot than can hold at least 4 pints, if not a little more. 

Lids and Handles

While completely optional, and usually ditched by ultralight enthusiasts, lids can help food cook faster and achieve results such as melting cheese atop a burger pattie. Some cookware sets are super efficient, and double their pans as lids.

Handles are also really important to consider. Many sets offer collapsible handles to help save space in your pack while other sets completely ditch them in favor of a single pot lifter/gripper than can be used for multiple pots/pans. This can help save weight for ounce-conscious hikers.  

 

OPTIONAL GADGETS

Those who can’t bear to go a morning without coffee may want to invest in a french press. You can find compact and durable ones made specifically for backpacking! Coffee while camping may seem like a luxury to some, but it’s a necessity for many! Car campers may enjoy a dutch oven as it increases your dinner options and makes large meals easy to cook.

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

BPA

Bisphenol A – a chemical used to make polycarbonate plastics that is not food safe. When choosing plastic containers for food and water, make sure they’re BPA-free. 

 

Liter

Many of the pots and pans on the list above are measured in liters, which is roughly 4 cups of water. 

 

Ultralight

A style of backpacking that focuses on reducing unnecessary weight to make travel lighter. Many ultralight backpackers obsess over ounces and have been known to snap toothbrushes in half and shave them down to create the most minimalist design possible. Their theory is that each ounce saved ends up equalling pounds, and each pound saved over a mile is less energy spent.  

READ MORE

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2 Responses

  1. Diego@Kitchenitems

    Wow, Great post. I’m enjoying reading this article. These are looking cool cookware sets, I like to try MSR Quick 2 System cookware sets. BTW Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

  2. Cindy Tesler

    Thanks for mentioning that aluminum is affordable for camping cookware. You also said that it is very lightweight. I think it’s a good idea to choose camping cooking supplies that are compact for travel.

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