10 Best Backpacking Cookware Sets of 2019—Field Tested & Reviewed

Backpacking Cookware Set Score Weight Material
Top Pick: Snow Peak Multi Compact Titanium Cookset
97
11.6 oz Titanium
Best Set for Backcountry Chefs: Primus PrimeTech Stove Set 1.3L
95
1 lb 14.6 oz Anodized Aluminum
Best Stove-Included Set: GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist Complete Set
93
1 lb 6.7 oz Anodized Aluminum
MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set
92
1 lb Anodized Aluminum
Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System
92
14.6 oz Aluminum
Best Ultralight Backpacking Cookware Set: TOAKS Titanium 750mL Pot
91
3.6 oz Titanium
Best Value: Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3
89
1 lb 4.5 oz Stainless Steel
MSR Quick 2 System
87
1 lb 12 oz Anodized Aluminum
Coleman Stainless Steel Mess Kit
82
1 lb 4.2 oz Stainless Steel
MalloMe 10-Piece Camping Cookware Mess Kit
73
1 lb 12 oz Aluminum

We put 10 of the best backpacking cookware sets through the wringer over months of experiments and field testing. After all that, the Snow Peak Multi Compact Titanium Cookset came away with our Top Pick. At only 11.6 oz, it’s the perfect balance between performance, durability, and weight.

Backcountry chefs who want the ultimate cooking performance should check out the Primus PrimeTech Stove Set 1.3L. It’s heavy but we liked it for shorter backpacking trips where weight wasn’t as much of a concern.

If you’re looking for a cookware set that includes a backpacking stove, we recommend the GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist. It’s versatile and compact, and it comes with everything we needed to enjoy our meals.

For ultralight minimalists, the 3.6-oz TOAKS Titanium 750mL Pot was barely noticeable in our packs. We think it’s the best ultralight backpacking cookware set out there.

Lastly, for backpackers on a budget, the Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3 won our Best Value award.

Read on for our full reviews and recommendations on choosing the right backpacking cookware set for your needs.

The 10 cookware sets we tested.

The 10 backpacking cookware sets we tested.

Top Pick: Snow Peak Multi Compact Titanium Cookset

Snow Peak Multi Compact Cookset, TitaniumThe Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact Cookset checked all our boxes for the perfect backpacking cookware.

It’s incredibly light (11.6 oz!), feels bomb-proof, and has sufficient volume to accommodate two hungry backpackers.

There’s not much in the way of bells and whistles with this kit, but it has everything you need.

In our tests, the pot took 3 minutes and 21 seconds to boil water, putting it in the middle of the pack. The water then stayed hot for 54 minutes.

Cleaning it was simple. Even without a nonstick surface, it was easy to clean with just a splash of water.

The lids could be tricky to use, and straining out water was precarious. The handles tended to get very hot to the touch — but that’s an issue with any backpacking cookware set that doesn’t use a detachable pot gripper.

It’s not the cheapest option out there, but if you are serious about investing in high-quality lightweight backpacking gear, we think this is the best long-term value for your backpacking kit.

All four components of the Snow Peak Multi Compact Cookset.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 11.6 oz
  • Material: Titanium
  • Serves: 1-2 People
  • Max Capacity: 1 L

Best Set for Backcountry Chefs: Primus PrimeTech Stove Set 1.3L

Primus PrimeTech Stove Set 1.3LThe Primus PrimeTech 1.3L Pot was one of the heaviest, priciest, and bulkiest backpacking cooksets in our test.

So you know it must be awesome when we still found ourselves grabbing it for shorter backpacking trips.

This set comes with two pots, one a simple anodized aluminum pot and the other with a heat regulator and a nonstick ceramic coating.

The heat regulator took almost a full 30 seconds off the boil time — it had water at a rolling boil in around 2 and a half minutes, by far the fastest in our test.

The only negatives we had with the Primus were its price and bulk. There’s not much room to nestle anything inside when it’s all packed up. It’s also heavy. Even if you leave one pot at home, you’re still well over a pound and a half.

This isn’t the set to bring for long days and weight-sensitive objectives, but for base camping or serious backcountry chefs, the Primus PrimeTech is well worth the extra weight.

Cooking with the Primus PrimeTech by headlamp.

The pot gripper works well, too.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1 lb 14.6 oz
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum with Nonstick Ceramic Coating
  • Serves: 1-3 People
  • Max Capacity: 1.3 L

Best Stove-Included Set: GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist Complete Set

GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist Complete SetThe GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist Complete Set had some of the best features and extras of all the backpacking cookware we tested.

It’s a remarkably compact cook kit that contains a pot, a strainer lid, a canister stove, a windscreen, two sporks, two insulated bowls/mugs, and two non-insulated bowls.

We made use of pretty much every component and enjoyed the convenience of having ample bowls for all our food.

We wish that the bowls had been just a couple millimeters taller to allow a fuel canister to sit inside one of them. We sometimes removed one of the bowl/mug sets and replaced it with fuel to keep our cookset compact.

The integrated stove and windscreen were a puzzle to set up initially, but once we figured it out, they were easy to set up and worked well. This set was one of the fastest in our boil test, bringing water to a boil in just over 3 minutes.

The GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist stove setup.

The windscreen looks clunky, but it’s effective.

If you’re an eat-right-out-of-the-pot sort of person, the Halulite’s tall and narrow design isn’t ideal. We had a hard time getting sporks all the way to the bottom to scrape up the last few bites.

GSI Outdoors also sells the Halulite MicroDualist Set without the stove, cutting weight to 18 oz. The MicroDualist pot was actually the slowest in our boil test when used with our test stove, though.

Overall, this was easily the most versatile and well-featured backpacking cookset in our test. We recommend it for anyone who wants everything they need in one easy kit.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1 lb 6.7 oz
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Serves: 1-2 People
  • Max Capacity: 1.4 L

Best Ultralight Backpacking Cookware Set: TOAKS Titanium 750mL Pot

TOAKS Titanium 750 mL PotFor fast-and-light minimalist backpackers out there, the 3.6-ounce TOAKS Titanium 750 mL Pot might be the only piece of cookware you need.

There’s (just) enough space to fit a 4oz fuel canister and a small stove inside. You can have your entire cookset — pot, stove, and fuel — for about the size of a typical coffee mug.

The lid forms a tight seal, which led to this being one of the best pieces of cookware in our heat retention test.

As a backpacking cook pot, it has some limitations. In particular, if you have a big appetite the volume may be an issue.

However, for popular backpacking foods, we found the pot to be an adequate size. It’s just about the perfect size for a single pack of ramen. And it can boil enough water to rehydrate most freeze-dried backpacking meals.

Overall it’s hard to find anything negative to say about this cook pot. It’s reasonably priced for titanium, with a simple and durable design ideal for the ultralight backpacker.

On a side note, if you’re an ultralight backpacker interested in a DIY backpacking cookset, check out our article on how to make your own 4.76 oz ultralight backpacking cookset for just $20.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 3.6 oz
  • Material: Titanium
  • Serves: 1 Person
  • Max Capacity: 750 mL

Best Value: Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3

Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3The Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3 is an incredible value. Indeed, it’s one of the least expensive sets we tested.

It comes with two pots, two lids, a skillet, and a small bowl. The pots are noticeably thicker than most backpacking pots, and the difference in heat retention is huge.

When we measured each set’s heat retention, the Personal Cooker’s pot blew every other pot out of the water, maintaining its temperature for almost 90 minutes. It was a few seconds slower to boil water than most, but we didn’t mind the trade-off that much.

We’ve found that we rarely use the small bowl that comes with it, or the second small lid, so we cut down a few ounces by leaving those pieces at home.

A minor dislike with this set is that the lids don’t have any kind of handle or grip and are difficult to remove when hot. You’ll have to use caution when handling them.

The Personal Cooker 3 isn’t the lightest backpacking cookware set. But if you’re on a budget and want to invest in gear that will last, you’d be hard pressed to find a better value.

The Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3 set expanded.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1 lb 4.5 oz
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Serves: 1-2 People
  • Max Capacity: 1 L

Reviews of the 5 Other Backpacking Cookware Sets We Tested

MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set

MSR Ceramic 2-Pot SetAfter the Primus PrimeTech, the MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set was the best at quality cooking. Its nonstick coating worked incredibly well, was easy to clean, and never had any hot spots or issues.

It was quick to boil water, too. Though it was also one of the quickest to lose that heat.

The large pot got dinged up after a few uses. This set doesn’t come with any sort of stuff sack or cover to add any protection, and the thin aluminum seemed to take on minor dings and scrapes easier than other sets in our test.

The kit is simple, with two pots, a lid, and a pot gripper. We like the style and design of the included pot gripper. It’s easy to use and always felt secure on the pot.

Though we have a minor gripe: removing it required pushing down to pop the handle off, which can be difficult while the pot is balanced on a backpacking stove.

The unique design of the MSR pot gripper.

The Ceramic 2-Pot Set is pricey for such a simple set, but if you value premium cooking performance or need cookware with enough capacity for a group, this is a great set.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum with Nonstick Ceramic Coating
  • Serves: 1-4 People
  • Max Capacity: 2.5 L

Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System

Jetboil MiniMo Cooking SystemThe Jetboil MiniMo shines for ease of use and convenience. It’s lightning fast and intuitive to set up.

The wide cook pot made for much easier cooking and eating than the classic Jetboil Flash. We also loved the strainer lid.

It was one of only two backpacking cooksets in our test that boiled water in less than 3 minutes. What’s more, the insulated pot kept water hot for well over an hour.

The single pot can only be used as part of the Jetboil stove system, however, so it’s not the most versatile cookware.

With the Jetboil Flash, we loved how perfectly a fuel canister stacked inside with all of the other components. We couldn’t find any configuration that got the stove, a fuel canister, the pot support, and the fuel stand to nestle inside the MiniMo.

It’s a minor trade-off for the better cooking and eating experience offered by the MiniMo’s shorter and wider design.

The Jetboil MiniMo is a good value if you want a compact stove and cookware set that sets up in a snap and is easy to use.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 14.6 oz
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Serves: 1 Person
  • Max Capacity: 1 L

MSR Quick 2 System

MSR Quick 2 SystemThe MSR Quick 2 System is similar to the MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set. It lacks the nonstick ceramic coating, and it includes two bowls and two mugs to make a complete mess kit.

We loved the huge volume of the large pot and the easy-to-use strainer lid. Though we did notice more sticking and hot spots compared to the Ceramic 2-Pot set.

The combination of large plates, bowls, and mugs that nestle inside the pots make this an easy-to-use system for two backpackers.

This set was much harder to clean than its ceramic counterpart. In our Mac & Cheese test, this set was one of the hardest to get all the cheese gunk scrubbed off of.

Although it sacrificed a little performance compared to the MSR Ceramic pots, the MSR Quick 2 System was a convenient all-around set for both cooking and eating around camp.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1 lb 12 oz
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Serves: 2 Person
  • Max Capacity: 2.5 L

Coleman Stainless Steel Mess Kit

Coleman Stainless Steel Mess KitThe Coleman Stainless Steel Mess Kit is simple and straightforward.

We were surprised by how well it did in our boil test, bringing water to a boil it just over three minutes. It held onto that heat for nearly an hour, too, which was better than many of the more expensive pots.

We liked the large capacity of its pot. At nearly 2 liters, we always had plenty of room to cook up meals for a couple of hungry backpackers.

It was near the bottom in our Mac’n’Cheese test, being one of the less convenient sets to use and clean up. It’s also decently heavy, tipping the scales at 1 lb 4.2 oz.

Overall, this set is a good value with a durable skillet, a pot, and pot gripper. Still, we think the Snow Peak Personal Cooker is a better bang for your buck. But if you want a simple kit with a large capacity, this is a solid option.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1 lb 4.2 oz
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Serves: 1-2 People
  • Max Capacity: 1.9 L

MalloMe 10-Piece Camping Cookware Mess Kit

MalloMe 10-Piece Camping Cookware Mess KitThe MalloMe is a popular budget option on Amazon, so we wanted to see how it held up against top backpacking cookware sets from established brands.

While it has everything you need to get through a meal in the backcountry, it was our least favorite to use and finished at the bottom in our cooking and cleanup tests.

We could hear the metal attachments creaking and straining in the fold out handles, and it felt like we could almost snap the handles off with a little effort. Overall, we weren’t impressed with its durability.

The MalloMe kit has a lot of positive online reviews. However, as of this writing, it has a C Fakespot Review Grade. Also, a quick search for “backpacking cooking set” on Alibaba (where many brands on Amazon source their products) reveals a similar-looking set that sells for cheap. Caveat emptor.

This kit will get you through a meal, but other kits in our test were better value, more durable, and easier to use.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 1 lb 12 oz
  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Serves: 1-2 People
  • Max Capacity: 1 L

Summary

Here are the best backpacking cookware sets:

  • Snow Peak Multi Compact Cookset, Titanium
  • Primus Primetech Stove Set 2.3 L
  • GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist Complete Set
  • MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set
  • Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System
  • TOAKS Titanium 750mL Pot
  • Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3
  • MSR Quick 2 System
  • Coleman Stainless Steel Mess Kit
  • MalloMe 10-Piece Camping Cookware Mess Kit

How to Choose the Best Backpacking Cookware Set for Your Needs

Types of Backpacking Cookware Sets

Pot Sets – Most backpacking cookware is a simple pot set, with pots of varying sizes and lids that may double as skillets. Straightforward designs makes them easy to use, durable, and usually affordable.

Mess Kits – Mess kits are more involved than pot sets and typically include some basic staples for dining. They may have cups, bowls, and sporks, all designed to nest together in a compact kit.

Integrated Stove and Cookware Sets – Some cookware comes with an integrated stove system. While these sets are usually larger and heavier than other sets, they make up for it by being fuel-efficient and convenient.

Material

Titanium cookware is the ultimate in weight savings. It’s the gold standard for anyone who counts ounces. That weight savings comes with a premium price tag, but well-made titanium cookware should last a lifetime. Because titanium doesn’t conduct heat very well, you sacrifice cooking performance and may have to deal with hot spots and uneven cooking.

Aluminum is the most common material for backpacking cookware. It’s a good compromise between weight and price. It conducts heat better than either titanium or stainless steel, leading to more even cooking. If cooking performance is your top priority, anodized aluminum with a nonstick ceramic coating is the way to go. Aluminum cookware usually isn’t the most durable, though.

Stainless Steel is the workhorse of the backpacking and camping world. Durable and inexpensive, it provides good value and typically lasts forever. You pay for it in weight, though, as steel is by far the heaviest material used in backpacking cookware. Like titanium, it also doesn’t distribute heat very well and is prone to cooking unevenly.

Stove & Cookware Systems

Some people prefer an integrated stove and cookware set because all of the components are designed to work together. This can make them more fuel efficient than mix-and-match stove and cookware systems.

If you’re going with a cookware-only set, it’s worth taking some time to consider what stove and fuel you’ll be using with your cookware. For example, larger, wider pots can be difficult to balance on the narrow pot stands of some canister stoves.

Backpacking Cookware Alternatives

Here are some alternatives to the backpacking cookware sets in this guide that we’ve also tested and reviewed:

Backpacking Cookware Accessories

Flesh out your backpacking cook system with the following accessories:

How We Tested

Boil Test

We wanted to know how quickly each pot could boil water. Because the smallest pot could hold a max of 750mL, we used that amount across all pots for consistency. If the cookware had an integrated stove, we used that except where noted. Otherwise, we used a Snow Peak GigaPower Stove.

Heat Retention Test

After you use your valuable fuel to heat a meal, how long will these sets keep it hot? We tested how long 1 liter of water took to cool from boiling to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Our testing setup for the heat retention test.

Our testing setup.

*We tested the TOAKS Titanium pot with its max volume of 750mL instead of 1L.

Mac & Cheese Test

Testing with Kraft mac'n'cheese.

Delicious.

Mac & Cheese is one of our favorite cheap and easy backpacking meals. Since it involves boiling water, using the strainer lid, and cleaning crusty cheese, it was the perfect way to put these cooksets to the test. We gave each one a score based on the overall cooking experience, plus a separate score for ease of cleanup.

Field Testing

We tested these backpacking cooksets in the field on backpacking trips throughout Utah’s mountains and deserts.

Making a camp meal in the Utah wilderness.