So you’re all set to travel and ready to have the adventure of your life! It is important to always prepare all your travel gear and essentials ahead of time. It is also strategic to keep a handy backpacker cookware at hand to refuel when you’re on the trail.
Consider These Things First before You Choose the Best backpacking Cookware
Backpacking cookware may vary in different forms, in the material used, and even with sizes. Each is tailored to meet specifically the individual needs of a person.
There are benefits and pitfalls of each one, and having the right knowledge and understanding could help you pick the right product that could suit you.
1. Material Used
Backpacking cookware can vary when it comes to the materials used. It is important to consider the type that you would buy so that it could fit in perfectly with your needs as well as in your budget.
- This is more durable than most aluminum out there.
- The material is scratch resistant and made to last.
- It is best used when cooking meals with fresh, raw ingredients and best used to simmer meals.
- It is generally more expensive than ordinary aluminum.
- It should be generally combined with a non-stick coating to produce optimal results and would require more careful maintenance.
- Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat, which translates to faster cooking time.
- It is generally affordable and lightweight.
- Best used with easy to cook meals with boiling water.
- The only drawback would be is that it easily reacts with certain foods (acid and alkaline) upon cooking so it could possibly change the flavor.
- It can also easily be bent or twisted out of shape.
- The most expensive material used, but it is lightweight so it could easily conduct heat.
- Although it is lightweight, just like aluminum, its strength is not compromised.
- Therefore, your titanium cookware will not bent easily.
- It is generally more expensive compared to the others and it can create hot spots when conducting heat.
- When cooking, it requires less oil and after cooking.
- It allows faster cleaning.
- It scratches easily, and when it does, it breaks up in larger chunks that should not be eaten.
- It is as resistant to scratch as it is durable.
- Because of its durability, it would be a great option if you travel and cook often.
- This could be ideal for travel guides, or well-versed travelers who could be pretty rough on their gears.
- The drawback would be is that it is the heaviest among all the other options.
- It also creates hot spots that could cause uneven heating, causing burning of the food.
- By far, it is the toughest and the most scratch-resistant, though.
Weight is considered as an important factor as you pack your gears. If you’re going to hike for hours on a trail, you could consider several options: consider looking at a titanium sets or an aluminum ones.
Titanium ones are better heat conductors so they’re good at frying food.
Certain materials are more difficult to clean than others. Titanium and stainless steel are the ones where food could easily stick at the bottom.
Aluminum, on the other hand, is fairly easy to clean, but you have to be extra careful not to scratch the bottom.
4. Size of your group
It is good to know for how many people you’re going to cook for. If you’re traveling on your own, you can consider bring a small pot.
While if you’re traveling with a large group, you’ll probably need bigger ones like GSI Outdoors Bugaboo cookware to accommodate everyone in the group. Pots and pans may vary, as they come with different forms and sizes.
5. Grabber or handle?
What is the main difference between these two and how can you differentiate one from the other? The grabber is usually a detachable one while the handle is more stationary.
A Grabber can be used on multiple pots, but could pose a potential problem while using it, because it needs continuous gripping and there are chances that you could lose grip of it and spill all your food.
There are several factors that could contribute to your cookware’s efficacy such as color, diameter and height. Wider diameter pots are more efficient than taller, slimmer ones due to wider surface area.
On the other hand, pots that are darker, especially in the bottom, are more fuel-efficient.
Water can be boiled faster if there are lids that are on the pot as it decreases the amount of heat lost through the top of the pot.
Before you head out on the trail, check this out.
Top Reviews of the Best Backpacking Cookware
***Below, you will find more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customers' reviews on Amazon.
It is one of the most efficient. This set provides you just about anything you need as you hike the long grueling trail of the rice terraces to spending the night camping and stargaze.
It is an eight piece set made of aluminum that includes a 2-liter pot with straining lid, a 1.5-liter pot, two deep dish plates, two insulated mugs, and an interchangeable pot handle.
- Excellent on a two burner propane camping stove and can be used regularly in the kitchen as well
- Can cook a variety of camping meals. It passed ‘The Scrambled Egg Challenge’ - able to cook the eggs evenly.
- Food not sticking to the pan, so clean-up will be a breeze.
- Has useful features like dip-dish plates, useful for holding liquid meals and two insulated mugs which can be alternatively used for cereal bowls.
- Interchangeable handle clips onto the pots and locks for security.
- Wide range of use and versatile
- Handle is interchangeable, so it is not firmly attached to the pot. Over time, this may lead to failure.
- It ranks low in the value scale as it is not that cheap, costing around $100.
If you’re planning a hiking trip outdoors and you’re on a budget, this might be the perfect fit when it comes to value.
The product composes of 11 pieces weighing about 1.5 lbs. It includes a pot, pan and tea kettle with a lid and 7 other essentials that could fit in for your next adventure.
- Cooks well and evenly.
- Clean-up after the ‘Scrambled Eggs Test’ is fairly easy.
- Has stable handles that collapse back around the pot and pan
- Can be broken down or dismantled into pieces, allowing you to take the only necessary pieces when backpacking.
- The deep fry pan is a bonus, no more worrying about food spilling.
- Comes with a scrub pad, helping you clean the pots relatively easy. This can prove to be helpful especially if running water is not available.
- Great value overall.
- The two bowls included are quite small.
- For the “Scramble Eggs Test”, the eggs stuck a bit after cooking, resulting in a few burns on the egg residue.
This four piece set cast of aluminum weighs about 1.2 pounds. It comes with two pots and two bowls that double as lids and could be ideal for camping in the woods, hiking or backpacking.
It also allows enough room to store your other essentials like matches, the stove, seasonings, and the like.
- It can easily fit an entire cooking system. It can be split up between backpackers for to divide the weight, or trimmed down into a single pot and lid for one traveler.
- Composes of versatile and useful pieces with great size and weight.
- It is generally smaller in diameter, its oblong shape makes it easy to pack but taller than most cookware, ideal for backpacking.
- Lids that can double as bowls which is better than the lids that double as plates.
- Handles are bright green silicone coated, keeping the handles from overheating.
- The handle wraps are stable and secure so it is fairly comfortable to use on the campsite.
- Versatile and useful, the pot base is flat and sits well in almost all types of surfaces.
- The green silicone on the handles can melt easily especially in larger burners.
- During the Scrambled Egg Test, it cooks unevenly and the eggs stuck to the pan.
- It is better for cooking foods with higher fat content or recipes that use a lot of oil and butter.
The Optimum Terra HE Cook set is a three pot combo made up of hard- anodized aluminum: an uncoated 1.75-liter pot that has a feature of a heat exchanger, a nonstick coated 1.7-liter pot and a nonstick frypan measured an 8.5-inch.
Large pots are ideal for boiling noodles or pasta, smaller ones for your home cooked recipes, and the frypan for making those early morning pancakes.
- The pot has a special heat exchanger (HE) bottom that reduces the amount of fuel you'll need to boil water.
- Cooks food easily because of the heat exchange technology.
- Saves time and fuel because it's easy to cook and clean.
- A compact cook set suitable for car campers and good for two people or couples.
- The fry pan doubles as a lid for both pots, but it doesn’t seal tightly and packs awkwardly in the included neoprene storage.
- The clunky aluminum pot gripper is uncomfortable to hold.
- Not generally suitable for backpackers because of its heaviness.
A lightweight four piece set specifically designed for backpackers. It comes with a mesh bag and can also be bought as a three piece set without the smaller lid.
- It comes with a 4 piece set or 3 piece set, good for group backpackers.
- Very durable and super lightweight.
- It weighs less than a pound and 4 inches tall with 6 inches in diameter.
- The material is made of Titanium, the lightest material.
- Good for cooking meals in boiling water which is great for people going for a healthy diet.
- Too many unnecessary pieces if you're alone or it’s just cooking for two.
- Price is quite expensive
- You're paying for the material, Titanium - the lightest material compared to steel and aluminum without compromising the durability.
- The handles create a little stress and a weak point of the system because it's made to flip up and down to wrap the pieces.
In our opinion, the MSR Quick 2 System has the highest performance over-all. It provides you with just about anything you need either when you’re on trail or camping out under the stars.
It has features that could be incredibly useful either for a solo-traveler, or a traveling group.
For the Boil Test, it is fairly efficient in heat conduction and took only about 12 seconds longer than the product with the fastest heating, the Optimus Terra HE Cookset.
MSR Quick 2 System also did fairly well in the Scrambled Egg Test, cooking the eggs evenly, with bare minimum eggs sticking to the pan. Clean-up is fairly easy.
When it comes to weight, it’s super light and you can carry it around in a backpack relatively easy. Durability-wise, since it is made of hard anodized aluminum, it is pretty tough. It rarely has scratches or dents, even after continuous usage.
Overall, The MSR Quick 2 System scored the highest among the products when it comes to ease of use. One of its features- the deep dish plates can be incredibly handy in cooking meals with liquid.
Furthermore, those insulated mugs can keep you warm on cold mornings. The distinct straining lid and pour spout on the pot help you avoid spilling your meal while draining out the water.
When it comes to value, although its is not as affordable as the Winterial Camping Cookware, it is still worth it considering its overall great cooking performance.
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