No camping trip is complete without a cookware set to help make your meals while you’re in the great outdoors. Even though the ethos of camping is to make do with what you’ve got, you want to make sure that what you’ve got can get the job done. Whether you’re the kind of camper that’s whipping up a gourmet meal over the campfire or you just need a few pots and pans to help you boil water and maybe fry an egg with a camping stove, there’s a camping cookware set out there that will fit your needs.
In the Just Cooking Tools Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab, we’ve tested more than 90 sets of camping cookware. While we may not have pitched our tents or set up a campfire to test them, we made 50 eggs, seared 10 steaks, and brought 10 quarts of water to a boil to help us with our ratings. We also evaluated how well the nonstick coating or stainless steel worked (as well as how easy they were to clean), how well the pans were able to brown meat and if these saucepans were able to maintain a simmer. Finally, we checked how easy all cookware items were to use, including whether handles became hot to the touch and how easy it was to reassemble the stacked nesting order.
Here are the best camping cookware sets you can buy in 2021, including top-tested picks, popular brands, and editor favorites:
- Best Overall Nonstick Cookware Set: GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Cookware Set
- Best Value Camping Cookware Set: Stanley Adventure Full Kitchen Base Camp Cook Set
- Most Durable Camping Cookware Set: Stanley Adventure Even-Heat Camp Pro Cook Set
- Best Slim Camping Cookware Set: Sea to Summit 3-Piece Set
- Best Camping Cookware Set for Backpacking: Toaks Titanium Set
- Best Camping Cookware Set for a Solo Day Trip: Soto Navigator Cook Set
- Best Camping Cookware for RV/Car Camping: Lodge Blacklock Deep Skillet
- Best Camping Cookware Set with Stove: Kelly Kettle Ultimate Base Camp Kit
- Best Camping Cookware for Beginners: Woods Selkirk Anodized 4-piece Cook Set
- Easiest-to-Clean Camping Cookware Set: GSI Bugaboo Base Cookware Set
This is the cookware set that got us most excited about our next trip to the great outdoors. The smooth, Teflon-coated hard-anodized aluminum non-stick pans were the clear winner in our egg frying and cleaning tests, and the pans also boasted even heat distribution and uniform browning when we seared a steak on it. The eggs slid off the pan (without any oil!), and it just took a bit of hot water to completely clean the pan. The set also includes plates, mugs and bowls for four people which is not only convenient, but this was the only set that offered a fun mix of colors. The metal folding pot gripper does get hot while cooking, so exercise caution when touching with bare hands. That said, it was quite secure and easy to maneuver with a dish towel.
- Includes plates, mugs, and bowls
- Easy to clean
- Top Performer in egg frying tests
- Pot gripper can become warm during cooking
- Made with Teflon, which should be used over medium to medium-low heat
This 21-piece cookware set was a clear top-performer across all of our tests and for just $80, your dollar goes a long way. This four-person camping cookware set has everything you need for your next campsite adventure. We liked how efficiently and cohesively all of the different parts nested, and the vented lid is also marked with the correct stacking order to ensure you can put it all back together when you’re done cooking. In our tests, we were impressed by its ability to fry an egg without much pan stickage, plus the pans were extremely easy to clean after using.
- Easy to nest after using
- Easy to clean
- Large in volume when everything is nested
This set contains a stainless steel stock pot, stainless steel frying pan, and stainless steel saucepan that can make it through even the most rugged camping trip. The convenient locking bungees keep all of the parts nestled and secure, and the convenient diagram on the bottom of the lid will help you assemble all the pieces in the correct order for optimal storage. Stocked with trivets, a collapsible cutting board, a spatula and a spoon, this set has met all of your equipment needs. Compared to other stainless steel sets, this one performed well in our egg frying and steak cooking tests. Clean up was not as breezy as some of the other sets as it required extra soaking and scrubbing to rid the pain of crusted-on egg bits, but you can’t beat the efficiency and durability of this set.
- Includes trivets, cutting board and utensils
- Heats evenly
- Durable material
- Difficult to clean
Whereas most camp sets nest together in a large cylindrical shape, this set includes a large pot, kettle and pan that nest inside of each other to form a slim, compact disc. (The pot and kettle have expandable silicone walls, which make this type of nesting possible.) In our tests, the silicone handles on the pan stayed cool to the touch the entire time, and they conveniently folded into the pan when we were done using them. We also really liked how easy it was to clean after frying eggs and searing steaks. Plus, the fun silicone colors are also an added plus to this humble set. Just note that this camping cookware set is designed for use with a camping stove and not directly over an open flame.
- Kettle is convenient
- Nests in a flat disc shape
- Super lightweight
- Can’t use over open fire
If you’re on a backpacking trip and need a simple pot and cup to help you boil some water and consume your meal, this set will do the trick. It’s by far the lightest set that we tested, making it a great option for a backpacker. We really liked the mesh storage sack, which would definitely keep the pot protected in a crammed backpack or tight storage area. It can nest a gas canister, making it a one-stop shop for all your backpacking essentials. While it may not be big enough to fry an egg or sear a steak, it’s a sturdy, basic set that’s great for a backpacker looking for a simple cooking set up. It’s the perfect size to boil enough water for dehydrated meals plus a cup of coffee or tea. The metal handles got quite warm as the pots were used, so make sure to use protective heat wear.
- Super lightweight and compact
- Easy to boil water
- Not large enough for substantial cooking
If you’re more of a solo camper, this cook set is perfect for your needs. Super compact and light, you could easily stuff this into your backpack. In our tests, we found that this anodized aluminum was not as effective in frying an egg as other sets, but for low-maintence cooking tasks, like boiling water or frying a protein, this set was extremely proficient. It includes a metal piece that can double as both a handle for the pots as well as tongs, and the lid can be used as a cutting board, fuel canister stabilizer and a colander, which we found to be convenient and an efficient use of weight and space.
- Handle can also act as tongs
- Distributed heat evenly and quickly
- Lightweight and compact
- Difficult to clean
If you have the space in your car or RV to stow away a cast iron pot, there’s no better option than this cast iron deep skillet. A top performer in our boiling and searing tests, this pot offers even heat distribution and unmatched durability. Because of its heavy weight (almost 11 pounds) it can be a bit more difficult to maneuver (especially over a campfire) and clean than the lighter cookware sets, but you can’t beat the volume, toughness and look of this sleek cast iron pot. The side handles and aluminum knobs become quite hot while cooking, so always use protective wear. Keep in mind, cast iron pots do require a bit more TLC than some of the other non-stick or aluminum camping cookware options, so plan to pack a clean rag and maybe a little bit of oil to help season the pot after you use it. In our tests, we also used the 5.5 quart Dutch oven, which offered the same results when searing a steak, frying an egg and boiling water, however we found it’s slightly larger size to be a bit too much for outdoor camping.
- Heats evenly
- Large in volume for big groups
- Extremely durable
- Heavy and difficult to maneuver
- Handles and lid knob become hot while cooking
This cookware set not only boasts a pot, a pan, cups and plates, but it also includes a large stove and kettle. The kettle and entire apparatus was no small undertaking, but we were impressed by the stove’s ability to hold a flame and stay warm. The metal pots and pans included in the set were quite hard to maneuver with the clip-on attachment, but it’s hard to match the convenience of having a source of fire with cookware and a kettle. In our tests, boiling water was incredibly easy and straightforward and it did not require much time. This kit may be excessive if you already have a camping stove or a jet boil, but if you’re looking for a set that offers both cookware and a source of heat, then this is a great option. If you plan to do a lot of cooking over the stove, it might be a good idea to bring other pans or pots because the ones included could only achieve basic tasks, like simmering water.
- Includes a source of heat
- Easy to boil water quickly
- Pot and pan are hard to clean
- Large in volume
This highly attractive, super lightweight and nest-able set is great for small groups or families. While it was not a top performer in our egg frying tests and we found clean up to be a bit cumbersome, it was quite efficient in frying steaks and boiling water. We loved the foldable silicone handles, which never warmed up during cooking, making them super easy to maneuver. The metal kettle also set this cookware kit apart from its competitors because it was the only one with a fully metal kettle (other kettles had silicone sides which are not ideal for open fire) that fit perfectly into the stacked set. While a lot of the other sets offer convenient perks like strainer lids, foldable cutting boards, utensils, plates and bowls, this did not offer any of those small add-ons, so plan to pack those in addition to this set.
- Metal kettle is great for open fire
- Silicone handles stay cool to the touch
- Difficult to clean
Not only is this set equipped with two pots, a fry pan and a strainer lid, but it also includes four insulated mugs, four plates, four bowls and a welded bag that can double as a sink. We were so impressed by the pieces’ outstanding nonstick surface. The coating was so effective that we could fry and scramble eggs without a drop of oil and they still slid right off the pan! Not to mention, the pan cleaned up easily with warm water. If you’re staying at a campsite without water hook-ups, this is a great option that you can easily clean without a ton of water and scrubbing. The painted finish on the outside of the pots is not only an attractive look, but it protects the pot from abrasion or discoloration.
- Includes mugs, plates, bowls, and makeshift sink
- Easy to clean
- Nonstick coating was effective
- Large in volume
Weight and size: Depending on what kind of outdoor excursions you’re typically embarking on will factor into which cookware set is best for you. If you’re taking your cookware set backpacking, then you’ll definitely want a set that is light and compact. If you’re car- or RV-camping, you have a little bit more leeway with weight and size, since you have the luxury (well, in the realm of camping) of stowing it away. Sets that have pieces that easily nest together are always ideal because they are great for storage and help ensure that a piece never goes missing.
Number of pieces: Some camping cookware sets have upwards of 10 or 12 pieces whereas others only have 2 or 3. Consider how many people you’ll be cooking for when you’re camping. If you’re only cooking for one, you can probably get away with having fewer pieces, but the more campers you’re feeding, the more pieces you’ll likely need for efficient and enjoyable cooking.
Ease of clean up: If you think doing the dishes in your home kitchen isn’t fun, just try doing them in the middle of a forest with no running water! You definitely want to look for unfussy cookware that will clean up easily. If clean up requires a great deal of maintenance, additional equipment or excessive scrubbing, it might not be the best cookware to take on your next camping trip.
Handles: Cooking in the great outdoors is certainly an art, so you want a set of pots and pans that feels good in your hand. Some cookware sets offer foldable silicone handles that stay cool to the touch while cooking, whereas some sets have metal attachments that you can hook onto the edge of the pan. Some offer no handles at all. If your pans become hot while they’re cooking, you might need to bring some protective heat wear in your gear, or just embrace the figure-it-out mentality of camping and use a t-shirt.