9 Best Camping Cookware Sets of 2019
|Camping Cookware Set||Score||Max Capacity||Serves|
|Top Pick: GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper||
|3 L||4 People|
|MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set||
|2.5 L||2 People|
|GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Base Camper||
|3 L||4 People|
|Sea to Summit X-Pot||
|2.8 L||2-3 People|
|Best for Serious Chefs: Lodge Dutch Oven Combo||
|3.02 L||2-4 People|
|Best Value: Snow Peak Personal Cooker||
|1 L||1-2 People|
|Primus PrimeTech Stove Set 2.3L||
|2.3 L||1-2 People|
|MSR Alpine 2-Pot Set||
|2 L||2-4 People|
|MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit||
|0.9 L||1-2 People|
We put 9 of the best camping cookware sets to the test to determine which one is worthy of your campsite feasts. After months of rigorous testing and field use, the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper was our Top Pick and our favorite all-around set to use.
The Lodge Dutch Oven Combo was our favorite set for serious chefs due to the high-quality cooking power of the versatile cast-iron combo.
Finally, the Snow Peak Personal Cooker was our pick for Best Value. Although small for group camping, it’s high-quality, affordable, and perfect for 1-2 people.
Read on for our full reviews and recommendations, as well as tips on how to pick the right camping cookware set for your needs.
Top Pick: GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper
For groups ranging from 2-4 people, there wasn’t a more complete or better quality cookware set in our test than the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper.
With two pots, the largest of which holds 3 liters, plus a 9″ skillet, we had ample space to cook up some incredible meals for up to 4 people.
It was one of the quickest to boil water in our test, bringing 1 liter to a rolling boil in just over 3.5 minutes. The skillet was also one of our favorites.
While the Lodge Dutch Oven Combo and the MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set did a slightly better job cooking an over-easy egg, the Pinnacle’s skillet was much easier to clean up than the cast iron and easier to use as a skillet than the MSR pot.
The pots didn’t do quite as well with heat retention, but that’s not as big a priority for us as the skillet quality and the boil time.
The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle had the best features and extras of all the cookware we tested, with a full set of plates, mugs, and bowls. We love that it comes with a lid for each pot.
The simple and easy-to-use pot gripper was one of our favorites and worked effortlessly every time.
Our biggest complaint was that the plastic tab holding the lid wasn’t the most durable, and it broke off of one of the lids while we were washing it. We also thought that the bowls and mugs were a little bit awkward to use. The quality and versatility of the cookware easily won out over these concerns.
Overall, if you’re looking for a top camping cookware set that has everything you need to cook for up to 4 people, it doesn’t get any better than the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper.
- Weight: 3 lbs 10 oz
- Material: Non-stick coated, hard anodized aluminum
- Max Capacity: 3 L
- Serves: 4 People
Best for Serious Chefs: Lodge Dutch Oven Combo
There’s nothing quite like a good cast iron for when you’re serious about camp cooking. The Lodge Dutch Oven Combo proved itself to be a versatile take on cast iron cookware.
It was hands down the best in our skillet test. Though it took the longest to heat up, once it was piping hot the skillet held a consistent, even heat that left us with a perfectly cooked over-easy egg. Despite no non-stick coating, we managed to not even break the yolk.
Naturally, cast iron is about as durable as it gets. This was the only cookware in our test that could go right on the fire.
It’s not perfect, though. For campfire cooking, we prefer dutch ovens with legs to allow you to place coals underneath without directly touching the iron. This gives more even heat and eliminates hot spots, which we struggled with while trying to cook directly on coals with the Lodge Dutch Oven Combo.
We were also disappointed by the pre-seasoning. Despite baking in another coat of seasoning soon after we got the cast iron set, we still found rust to be more of an issue than with other Lodge cast-iron cookware we’ve used. Be prepared to re-season this set and to give it a little TLC to prevent rust.
Still, a good cast iron is a staple around the campsite, and the Lodge Dutch Oven Combo offered a versatile take that we found ourselves grabbing often.
- Weight: 13 lbs 8 oz
- Material: Cast Iron
- Max Capacity: 3.02 L
- Serves: 2-4 People
Best Value: Snow Peak Personal Cooker
We loved the Snow Peak Personal Cooker for solo camping or simple 2-person meals. It’s small, with a max capacity of only 1 liter, but it would be hard to find a better bang for your buck.
The stainless steel pots are much thicker and more durable than we expected. In fact, they blew every other pot away when it came to heat retention, keeping a liter of water warm for almost an hour and a half.
The thin stainless steel skillet was the set’s biggest weakness. It was one of the worst in our skillet test, making a difficult-to-clean mess of an egg.
We also had a hard time removing the lids while cooking. There’s no handle on them and no way to grasp them with a pot gripper, so we typically resorted to carefully nudging them off with a stick.
Those are minor complaints, though. This was one of the most affordable sets in our test, and we’re impressed with the value you get for your money.
- Weight: 20.5 oz
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Max Capacity: 1 L
- Serves: 1-2 People
Reviews of the 6 Other Camping Cookware Sets We Tested
The MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set is simple, with two pots, a pot gripper, and a lid. What it lacks in features it makes up for by being well-made and versatile.
We loved that, at a max capacity of 2.5 liters, it’s large enough to cook up meals around camp while remaining light enough to justify bringing backpacking.
The ceramic non-stick coating worked exceptionally well. This was the easiest cookset in our test to clean.
Although it doesn’t come with a skillet, its pot was one of only two in the test that could cook a perfect over-easy egg without breaking the yolk.
The included pot gripper was stable and easy to use, although we did find that removing it required pushing down, which could tip the pot over if you weren’t careful.
This is an excellent set that gives you a lot of versatility and one of the best non-stick surfaces we’ve ever used on camping cookware.
- Weight: 1 lb
- Material: Aluminum coated with nonstick ceramic
- Max Capacity: 2.5 L
- Serves: 2-4 People
If you want a more budget-friendly, no-frills version of the GSI Pinnacle (our top pick), we highly recommend the Bugaboo Base Camper.
The Bugaboo uses more affordable materials on its pots and pan to keep the price down. The lids and pot gripper are identical.
As far as performance goes, there was virtually no difference between the Bugaboo and Pinnacle in our tests.
While the Pinnacle Camper comes in only one size, GSI Outdoors offers the Bugaboo Base Camper in three sizes. (We tested the medium version.)
Although the pots were the same size as the Pinnacle, the skillet was only 8″. We found it a little small — we had to cut our bacon strips in half to get them to fit. Not the worst thing in the world, but we prefer a more generous skillet.
Overall, we recommend this as a more budget-friendly alternative to the Pinnacle.
- Weight: 2 lbs 10 oz
- Material: Nonstick coated aluminum
- Max Capacity: 3 L
- Serves: 3+ People
The Sea to Summit X-Pot is an intriguing concept. Primarily made of silicone but with a hard anodized aluminum base to conduct heat, the pot compresses down to barely half an inch thick.
It’s a cool piece of gear perfect for space-conscious campers and backpackers who are serious about cookware.
How did it hold up in our tests, though?
It was more or less in the middle of the pack as far as cooking ability and heat retention.
Keeping any open flame away from the silicone sides takes some care, and it led to a drop in boil time as we couldn’t simply blast our stove on high like we did with other cookware.
The silicone handles can get extremely hot if you don’t remember to fold them up while you’re cooking.
For convenience and ease of use, we generally preferred more traditional pots over this one. It required a lot more attention and care during use and didn’t perform quite as well.
Still, if space is at a premium, or if you want something that can double as a large group backpacking pot, this is a cleverly designed and quality cook pot.
- Weight: 11.5 oz
- Material: BPA-Free heat-resistant Silicone; hard anodized aluminum base
- Max Capacity: 2.8 L
- Serves: 2-4 People
The Primus PrimeTech was unique in our test in that it was its own self-contained stove, with two pots that could also be used on a traditional camping stove.
The nonstick coating inside of one of the pots did an excellent job at cooking an egg. The pot also was one of the fastest in our test to boil water.
While the gap in its lid may have led to more heat loss, we loved how easy it made it to grab the pot with the gripper without having to touch the lid.
Overall, this cookware set is excellent quality and versatile enough to be used car camping or in the backcountry. Especially if you like the built-in stove, it’s a solid addition to a camp setup.
- Weight: 1 lb 15 oz
- Material: Anodized aluminum with nonstick ceramic coating
- Max Capacity: 2.3 L
- Serves: 1-3 People
The MSR Apline 2-Pot Set was by far the simplest no-frills camping cookware in our test. It has two straightforward stainless steel pots and one lid that can double as a skillet.
This set also included the MSR Panhandler Pot Lifter, our favorite pot gripper.
Performance-wise, we were impressed with the pots. They were the fastest to boil water and held onto that heat for nearly an hour. The set’s lid can double as a skillet, but like most thin stainless steel skillets, it was prone to hot spots, sticking, and uneven cooking.
We didn’t like that there was no way to grip the pot while the lid was on. It may not sound like a big deal to have to remove the lid, move the pot, and then put the lid back on, but it gets fairly annoying when you find yourself doing it multiple times over the course of cooking a meal.
Considering that you only get two simple stainless steel pots, one lid, and one pot gripper, you don’t get a ton for your money. The value of this set comes in the fact that it will almost certainly last forever.
If that’s what you’re looking for — a no frills, simple, and durable camping cook set — then the MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set is a solid choice.
- Weight: 1 lb 10 oz
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Max Capacity: 2 L
- Serves: 2-4 People
The MalloMe is a popular budget option, and we wanted to see how it held up.
While it has everything you need to get you through a camp meal, it was our least favorite cookware to use.
It did fairly well at heat retention but had the worst skillet in our test. The skillet had multiple hot spots and burns while cooking an egg, and the results weren’t appetizing.
The pot was second to last in our boil test, taking nearly 5 minutes to boil a liter of water.
Gripping the low plastic top of the lid brings your fingers just millimeters from the metal. When this set was heated up, we had a hard time removing the lid without burning our fingertips.
We weren’t impressed with the extras that come with the set, either. The bowls were ridiculously tiny to actually eat from. The ladle came in handy a couple of times, but we could have done without it.
The Snow Peak Personal Cooker is in a comparable price range and is much more durable, easier to use, and better performing. We recommend it over the MalloMe for anyone looking for a cheap camping cookware set.
- Weight: 1 lb 12 oz
- Material: Aluminum
- Max Capacity: 0.9 L
- Serves: 1-2 People
Here are the best camping cookware sets:
- GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper
- MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set
- GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Base Camper
- Sea to Summit X-Pot
- Lodge Dutch Oven Combo
- Snow Peak Personal Cooker
- Primus PrimeTech Stove Set 2.3L
- MSR Alpine 2-Pot Set
- MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit
How to Choose the Best Camping Cookware Set for Your Needs
Types of Camping Cookware
Mess Kits – Mess kits have not only pots and pans, but also dinnerware, mugs, and other extras that you need to eat your meal. For someone who wants the ultimate convenience of all their camp kitchenware nestled into one set, these are perfect.
If you want to read more mess kit reviews, check out our guide to the best mess kits for camping and backpacking.
Group Cook Sets – These sets feature larger pots and pans suitable for group cooking and base camping. They tend to be simpler than mess-kit style cookware, focusing solely on providing you with the pots and pans you need to prepare food. You might have to buy camping mugs, dishes, and utensils separately.
Individual Cook Sets – These small-capacity sets work well for one or two people. They’re often small and light enough to double as backpacking cookware and are a great choice for anyone who does a lot of solo camping or cooks simple meals.
Anodized Aluminum is ideal for cooking, as it conducts and distributes heat well, leading to less burning and fewer hotspots. It strikes a good balance between affordability, performance, and durability, making it the most common material for camping cookware.
Stainless Steel is the most durable and affordable of all the materials used in camping cookware. It doesn’t spread heat as evenly as aluminum and is prone to hot spots, which means it’s not always the best performing when cooking.
Silicone is a relatively new material used to make dinnerware and some cookware. The main benefits are its light weight and ability to compress. In cookware, it’s combined with a metal base to allow heat conduction, but it requires extra care to keep silicone away from open flame.
Teflon or Ceramic Coatings are common in camping cookware. Teflon nonstick coating has been popular in kitchen cookware for a while and can make cooking and clean-up a breeze. Ceramic coatings offer the same benefits. Since Teflon sometimes gets a bad rap health-wise, many turn to ceramic nonstick coatings as a more health-friendly option.
How much cooking volume do you need for your camping trips? Do you typically cook for 1 or 2 people over a small stove, or are you whipping up group feasts for all your friends?
The maximum capacity of the set’s largest pot can serve as a guide to how well-suited it is to your needs. Consider also how its pieces work together (or don’t) to allow you to cook a complex meal.
For example, some cook sets have two pots but only one lid, limiting your ability to effectively cook in both pots at once. Some cook sets have a lid that doubles as a skillet, further limiting the ability to cook multiple items at once.
How We Tested
We wanted to know how long each pot took to boil 1 liter of water over high heat.
We measured how long it took 1 liter of water in each pot to cool from boiling down to 140 degrees.
Eggs are notoriously tricky to cook well. They stick and burn easily and make a perfect test for each skillet’s ability to cook over a flame. Using an MSR Pocket Rocket stove on its low to medium setting, we placed a quarter-sized drop of vegetable oil in each skillet and did our best to cook the perfect egg.
We ranked the camping cookware sets with skillets based on the amount of sticking and burning, plus the quality of the cooked egg, where 10/10 was the best score.
We used each of these cookware sets on our camping trips throughout Utah’s deserts and mountains. We also used them in our home kitchen as much as possible to test them out under various conditions and cooking a wide variety of meals.