The Best Camping Cookware for Making Delicious Meals in the Outdoors
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Looking to stock your camp kitchen? We share all the essential camp cookware you need to make incredible meals on your next camping trip!
Enjoying a well-cooked meal in the great outdoors is one of the highlights of any camping trip. Nothing tastes quite as good as camping food, whether it’s something simple like blueberry banana pancakes for breakfast or a little more elaborate like Dutch Oven Lasagna.
But in order to make great-tasting food while camping, you need two pieces of special equipment. The first is a good camp stove, and the second is a good set of camp cookware.
Trying to cook with cheap, gimmicky camp pots and pans can be frustrating, and dragging out your expensive home cookware risks damaging it. That is why we recommend picking up a few dedicated pieces of cookware that you use specifically for camping.
There is no need to break the bank to get set up. But, there are a few items that can really enhance your camp cooking experience and expand the types of meals you can pull off at the campsite.
Below we share our favorite pieces of camp cookware, as well as a few bonus items that are just fun to have.
So, if you are looking to build a camp kitchen (or you’re looking to make a few upgrades) we’ll cover everything you need to know below!
Top recommended camp cookware
- Best Cast Iron Skillet: Lodge 10” Skillet
- Best Non-Stick Skillet: GSI Bugaboo 10” Skillet
- Best Space Saving Cookware: GSI 3L Escape Pot
- Best Complete Camp Cookware Kit: GSI Pinnacle Camper Cookset
- Best Camping / Backpacking Hybrid: Sea to Summit Alpha Pot
- Best Dutch Oven: Lodge 4 quart 10” Dutch Oven
Keep reading for our full reviews & recommendations!
Benefits of dedicated camp cookware
While you can use some of the pots and pans from your home kitchen, there are some benefits of owning a dedicated set of camp cookware.
Makes Packing Easier: The biggest advantage of owning a set of camp cookware is that you don’t have to rummage through your kitchen each time you want to go camping. Everything you need—cookware, dishware, utensils—can be stored together. It also reduces the chance of forgetting something critical at home—like the kettle—because you used to make coffee that morning!
More compact: Folding handles, collapsible silicone pots, and nesting skillets–many types of camp cookware incorporate innovative design features to make them compact. While some of these designs are pretty clever, others are a little too clever. Keep your particular use case in mind.
Durability: There’s no way around it, when cooking at a campsite your cookware is liable to get a little more dinged up than it would at home. If you don’t want to risk beating up your nice kitchen cookware, a separate set of camp cookware can solve that.
Consider your heat source
Virtually all camp cookware is designed to work over a standard propane camp stove.
However, if you want to cook over a campfire as well, then you will need to select cookware without any plastic components (handles, lids, or even non-stick coating) that could melt when exposed to the high heat of a fire.
Consider your typical use case
What type of meals do you typically cook when camping? And what type of pots and pans do those meals require? How large is your typical group size? Selecting the right combinations of pots and pans is a highly subjective decision.
Our Take: With a large skillet and a pot with a lid, you can cook just about anything. This is the setup we usually use and what we think is the essential setup for the vast majority of campers.
Best Camping Skillets
In our opinion, a full-size skillet is an indispensable piece of camp cookware. Cast iron, stainless steel, and non-stick hard anodized aluminum are all great materials. When it comes to selecting a size, our thinking has always been: You can cook a small amount of food in a large skillet, but you can’t cook a large amount of food in a small skillet.
Best Cast Iron Skillet: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
We are big fans of the versatility of cast iron. It works great over a stove or campfire, is naturally non-stick, is easy to clean, and has great heat retention. Lodge makes high-quality and very affordable cast iron. We use the 10” or 12” skillets nearly every time we camp.
Best Non-Stick Skillets: GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Frypans
There are some occasions where a non-stick skillet is a must: omelets, scrambled eggs, pancakes, and delicate foods like fish. GSI’s Bugaboo fry pans are the best non-stick camping pans we’ve tried. Additionally, their handles fold in so they are easier to pack away. We’d recommend the 10” skillet for most people, although we love the square frypan, too—the design makes it so you can fry four pieces of French toast or pancakes at a time!
Best Camping Pots
Boiling pasta, steaming rice, simmering soups, whipping up a one-pot meal—there are a lot of uses for a camping pot! If you have a two-burner stove, a skillet and pot combo can get a lot done at the same time.
Best All-Around Camping Pot: Sea to Summit Sigma Pot
The Sigma Pot is a super durable, stainless steel pot with a pivoting handle that helps make it more packable. We like that the black powder coating on the base helps with heat distribution while also giving it a little texture so it doesn’t slide around on our stove.
Best Space-Saving Camping Pot: GSI Escape HS Pot
This clever pot is designed to collapse down into itself, creating a space-saving pot. When expanded, it’s very sturdy, and the anodized base helps radiate heat, making it so you can cook faster and more fuel-efficient. The biggest downside to this pot is that while the silicone material is very heat resistant and safe to use on a camp stove, you won’t be able to use this pot over a campfire.
Best Crossover for Camping and Backpacking: Sea to Summit Alpha Series
If you’re looking for just one pot that you can use for both car camping and backpacking, take a look at Sea to Summit’s Alpha Pots. These hard-anodized aluminum pots are very lightweight (the 1.2L pot is only 6.6oz) so you’ll barely notice it in your pack. However, one of the reasons these pots are so light is that they are on the thin side. This is typical of backpacking cookware, but you’ll want to keep a closer watch on this pot over a camping stove so make sure your food doesn’t scorch.
Best Camping Dutch Oven
A camping Dutch oven is one of the most versatile pieces of camp cooking equipment you can own. Sauté, steam, boil, fry, and bake – if you can imagine it, you can probably make it in a Dutch oven. Learn more about cooking with a Dutch oven.
Best Dutch Oven: Lodge Camping Dutch Oven
There are lots of camping Dutch ovens out there, but we have found the Lodge model to be our favorite. It’s also the most affordable! We own a 10” 4-quart Dutch oven and find it to be ideal for up to 4 people. If you are cooking for 4-6 people, we would recommend the 12”, 6-quart oven.
Pro Tip: Despite having attached legs, they often fit on a camp stove just fine. This allows your Dutch oven to double as a stovetop pot or skillet. We’ve owned several camp stoves over the years and our Dutch oven has worked with all of them.
Best Camping Cookware Sets
While you could piece together your cookware, the benefit of buying a complete camping cook set is that they are designed so that everything nests together to save space in your storage boxes.
Best All-in-One Camp Cook Set: GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookset
The Pinnacle Camper Cookset is a great one-and-done solution. It comes with two pots (2L and 3L), a 9” fry pan, plates & cups for four, and it all nests into a basin that can also be used as a sink. The pots and pan are non-stick, making cleanup a lot easier, too. This is a great set for families or if you frequently camp with a small group of friends.
If you don’t need the plates and cups, you can pick up a set with just the pots and frying pan and save a bit of money.
Best Stainless Steel Camping Pots and Pan: Stanley Even-Heat Camp Pro Cookset
This set from Stanley features three-ply stainless steel construction, making it function the most like the pots and pans you’d find in your home kitchen. As the name suggests, this design helps it retain and distribute heat evenly so you’re less likely to have hotspots or scorch your food as you might with thinner camp cookware. The pieces all nest together for space efficiency—we use these in our campervan for this reason! Our biggest gripe with this set is that the frying pan is only 8.5”, which is fine for small meals for two but likely undersized for families or groups.
Best Camping Griddle
Using a griddle when camping can be a great way to expand your cook surface, allowing you to make larger batches of pancakes, bacon, hamburgers, etc. While griddles can work over a 2-burner camp stove, we vastly prefer to use a griddle over a campfire. The broad heat profile ensures the whole griddle is evenly heated.
Best Campfire Griddle: Lodge Cast Iron Griddle
This reversible griddle/grill from Lodge is great for cooking over a campfire. Often the grill grates at most campgrounds are less than ideal. Just place this griddle on top and you’re ready to start cooking.
Best Camping Kettle
While not as necessary as a pot, a camping kettle can be a nice addition to your cookware kit – particularly if you are a coffee and tea drinker. We also find a kettle full of warm water to be very helpful when washing dishes at the end of the night.
Best All-Around Kettle: GSI Glacier Kettle
We have used this kettle for years. It is very durable, can be used over a camp stove or a campfire, and has a smooth pour.
Best Space-Saving Kettle: Sea to Summit X-Pot Kettle
If you’d like to have a small kettle for boiling water in the morning, but can’t justify the space, check out the X-Pot Kettle. This silicone kettle collapses down to a disc that’s less than 1½” so it will fit just about anywhere in your camp kitchen box.
Camping Cookware Extras
We’ve covered many of the camp cooking essentials above. But what about all the fun camp cooking extras?
Want to make decadent triple-decker grilled cheeses, delicious hand pies, and homemade pizza hot pockets? These are just some of the amazing campfire snacks you can make using a Pie Iron.
A combination of a Dutch oven, griddle, skillet, and wok, the Lodge Cook-It-All is incredibly versatile. It’s also really big. So if you have a large group and enjoy cooking over a campfire, this is a potential all-in-in cookware option.
The Omnia Stove Top Oven has been one of the best “upgrades” we have made to our camp kitchen setup. Unlike a Dutch oven, which requires wood embers or charcoal to bake with, the Omnia oven only needs a burner from your camp stove! The ability to quickly and easily bake cinnamon rolls, fresh bread, or a tray of nachos has significantly expanded our camp cooking abilities.
You can buy “camping” versions of cooking utensils–usually at a premium that isn’t necessary. We recommend picking up dedicated cooking utensils from a thrift store to keep in your camp box. Here’s a quick list of utensils that might be helpful:
- Tongs (metal and/or silicone)
- Spatula (metal and/or silicone)
- Serving spoon
- Wooden Spoons
- Can Opener
- Bottle Opener / Corkscrew
- Flat Metal Skewers
- Box Grater
- Cutting Board
Dial in your camp cooking game with these posts:
• Complete your camp kitchen with these essential items
• Learn the best way to wash dishes at the campground
• Find your new favorite camping breakfast, dinner, and campfire dessert!
• Here are our best tips for packing a cooler for camping