Camping can lasts for days at a time. As such, unless you’re hunting or fishing in the meantime, you’ll need a lot of food to last you through the days in the woods or wilderness.
Whether it’s in cans or wrapped up in a freezer, you’ll need to be able to warm it on a portable stove or over a fire. The thing is, you can’t just make a pot or pan out of wood!
Cookware sets are a necessity for most outdoor camping lovers. There are plenty of different types of cookware, so you have to decide what works best for you.
While the three main types are stainless steel, hard-anodized aluminum, and titanium, we’re going to be focusing on stainless steel for the purpose of this list.
What makes stainless steel a good choice?
While stainless steel isn’t the best at keeping a consistent temperature through its entirety or the lightest set, it is most certainly some of the most durable. These pots and pans, even though they can be completely portable and storable, will last for years and years.
They will be able to go through a generation or two of campers before they need to be replaced.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t any stainless steel sets that can’t balance out heat. Some sets create hot spots in their bottoms, leaving a few burnt areas on the cooked food, whether it’s canned or not.
It can lead to a bad time, but many stainless steel sets have heat conducting bottoms of copper or other material.
Stainless Steel vs. Hard-Anodized Aluminum and Titanium
The thing about stainless steel is its durability—tried and true. The durability is completely necessary for camping life. If you’re a constant camper, you’ll need crap that can withstand the harsh environment that is nature.
Camping involves travelling to a location, so that alone means packing around your cooking equipment each time. Simple hike can cause your cookware to clank and rattle around, causing scratches or chips to lesser cookware sets.
Hard-anodized aluminum is a great choice for those that aren’t extremely active. While they aren’t as durable as stainless steel, it is one of the best heat conductors and is lighter than the steel sets.
Not only that, but most hard-anodized cookware sets have non-stick properties. This makes your food easy to get to and the pots easy to clean. Unfortunately, they are easily damaged.
Titanium is a great choice, considering its lightness and usefulness. It doesn’t conduct heat as well as the aluminum, but it is extremely light and strong. It is more durable than aluminum, but not as much as stainless steel.
Either way, it’s a great choice if you’re going to be doing a lot of hiking or walking. It is anti-corrosive, so it’ll last a lot longer than aluminum as well.
Tips for Using the Cookware
Most portable ovens and stoves don’t have any temperature readings on them, so you’ll want to bring around a food thermometer with you. This will assist in telling you if things are going to burn or not.
If you don’t have a portable stove or oven, you can most certainly use these cookware sets on an open fire. Some firewood can be sat up to form a makeshift platform with fire in the middle, giving you the perfect wooden “stovetop”!
Magma 10 Piece Nesting Stainless Steel Cookware
This beautiful set of stainless steel cookware is one of the best on the market. Not only does it have the durability of a regular stainless steel set, it is polished to a mirror finish and comes with any pieces you may need in the wilderness. The nesting feature makes it easy to store anywhere you may need to.
- 5 qt. Saucepan
- 2 qt. Saucepan
- 3 qt. Saucepan
- 5 qt. Stock Pot
- 5” Saute/Fry Pan
- 2 Interchangable Lids
- 2 Removable Handles
- Storage Cord
GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Cookset
This lightweight set of stainless steel cookware is another “best of” selection. They are of a nesting design and can be carried in small packs, withstanding much abuse. The double-rolled rims increase its durability. The pot gripper that comes with it attaches securely. The entirety of the set weighs only 2 pounds and 5 ounces. It’s even used by many Boy Scouts!
- 5 qt. Pot
- 5 qt. Pot
- 2 Dual-Use Fry Pans
- 2 Cutting Boards
- DiamondBack Gripper
- Mesh Bag
Solo Stove 3 Pot Set
While Solo Stove has a two pot set, they also have a three pot set if two isn’t enough! The Solo Stove brand is a highly-rated set of equipment, but they can be used on any stove or heating surface. They are made with premium grade 304 stainless steel and they nest together for easy storage. It even comes with an aluminum pot gripper!
- 2L Pot
- 5L Pot
- 25L Pot
- Universal Lid/Plate
- Aluminum Pot Gripper
- Nylon Storage Bag
Docooler Outdoor Camping Cookware
This set of stainless steel cookware is sure to be a great choice for camping, picnicking, and camping. They are as durable as any steel set and have convenient cups for convenient separating if needed. The nesting design makes it great for easy storage.
- 5L/1.58 qt. Pot
- 1L/1.1 qt. Pot
- 1 Fry Pan
- 2 Lids
- 2 Cups
- Storage Bag
Texsport Stainless Steel Camping Cook Set
This high-quality stainless steel camping cook set is polished to a mirror finish. The bottoms are copper which conducts heat quickly and keeps it even throughout the pot. Each pot of the set has a convenient carrying candle for easy carrying when necessary. They are lightweight, which is rare for a stainless steel set, but don’t let that fool you—they are still quite durable.
- 6 qt. Pot which doubles as fry pan
- 3 qt. Pot
- 1 qt. Pot
- Detachable handle
- Lids for each
- Storage Bag
Stanley Adventure Two Pot Prep and Cook Set
While being a bit cheaper than most of the other sets, you can’t count this set out. While it is only two stainless steel pots, it also comes with a few various other additions to further quench your cooking needs. The stainless steel is rust proof and has a nesting system to assist with storage. While still somewhat durable, keep in mind that you get what you pay for! It’s a good temporary set, but you may want to go with a different one in the long run.
- 2 20 oz. bowls with lids
- 1 Spatula
- 1 Ladle
- 5L/1.58 qt. Pot
- 3L/2.43 qt. Pot
- Vented lids
Stansport Family Cook Set SS
While mentioned in our best cookware sets list, Stansport’s cook set deserves a place here, too. These pans have heavy duty bottoms, giving them proper, even heating for your food, which is something steel sets have a difficult time doing. The handle and lid are detachable and can be put on any of the pans. They are nesting pans as well, making them easy to store.
- 4 qt. Pan
- 3 qt. Pan
- 2 qt. Pan
- 1 qt. Pan
- 10” Fry Pan
- Universal Lid
- Universal Handle
Solo Stove 2 Pot Set
While only having two pots for this set, they are highly rated. These two stove pots are to work with the Solo Stove Campfire, but can be used on most heat sources. The handles fold around the pots, so it makes for easy storage and it doesn’t take up too much space. The lids are lockable, but are easily lifted from the pots. There are also volume markings inside the pots for easy measuring.
- 3L/3.2 qt. Pot
- 5L/1.6 qt. Pot
- Stuff Sack
Stanley Mountain Compact Cook Set
While not the biggest cook set out there, Stanley brings a compact stainless steel cook set that is lightweight and easily storable. It works as a mug and a pot with a melt-resistant lid. This one-pot cook set may be all you need if you’re out camping for a short time or hiking on a trail. It even comes with a foldable spork! It packs all together in one easy-to-carry package and weighs less than a pound.
- Nesting Pot
- Vented Lid
- Folding Spork
BeGrit Backpacking Camping Cookware
While having many pieces, this set is one of the cheapest on the market, but has many good reviews behind it. Keep in mind that it may not last as long as the others, but it does come with eight pieces for the cook set. They are great for camping and outdoor activities and are easily stored due to their nesting property.
- Large Pot
- Small Pot
- Fry Pan
- 2 Reel Edge Plate
- 2 Cups
Stansport 360 Stainless Steel Mess Kit
This set from Stansport comes to us with a copper bottom for easy heat absorption and even distribution. They nest together for easy storage and are safe to use, being BPA and lead free. It’s great for any camper or hiker. It’s relatively small and cheap, but it will get the job done.
- 3 Cup Pot
- Stainless Steel Lid
- 25” Fry Pan with Handle
- Stainless Steel Plate
- Mesh Carry Bag