Camp Cookware Buying Guide
You are planning a camping trip and, as part of that trip, you require camp-friendly cookware. Perhaps this is your first time camping; perhaps you are a seasoned veteran. Maybe you have purchased camp cookware before; maybe you have camped many times but never allowed yourself the luxury of cooking with proper cookware. It doesn’t matter where you fall on this spectrum, this buying guide has been written with your needs in mind.
Personally, I believe that it is important to research any investment and make that investment based on solid logic. I find that this is especially important when it comes to camp-related goods. “Why?” you ask. When you go camping you have to rely on the things you bring with you. Foraging for food and creating your own pots and pans from surrounding materials aren’t always options and, for that matter, aren’t always safe options. Therefore, in order to make the most of your experience, you will want to purchase a camp cookware set you can rely on to meet your needs.
The first thing I always tell people when they ask what cookware they should purchase is – figure out your needs.
What Are Your Needs?
I cannot sit here and tell you that you should choose this cookware set or that cookware set. I cannot tell you that one will make you happier than the other. Of course, I will always recommend that you steer clear of anything with a bad reputation and that you should lean toward options which other people have tried and tested and deemed acceptable or, at the very least, safe.
I cannot sit here and tell you what to do, because I am not you. You have your own needs. The way that you camp, whether you backpack or camp in one place, the number of people you intend to feed, the heat source you intend to use, and even your overall health may all affect your decision.
If You Are Planning to Backpack
This is one of the most important questions you should consider when purchasing cookware for your camping trip. If you are planning to take this cookware with you as you go backpacking, it is extremely important that it be lightweight. I suggest finding something that can weigh in under the one to two pound mark. If you have ever gone backpacking before, you know that it is important to keep your pack as light as possible to avoid hurting your body or slowing your hiking pace. Something aluminum will be your best option. Stainless steel is heavier than aluminum, but still manages to be your second-best option, above heavy cast-iron.
Another thing you should consider when purchasing cookware for your backpacking trip is its size. To put it simply, the more compact the better. In fact, like some of the tea pots we examined in a different section of this website, you can purchase a pot which is perfectly-sized for a small portable burner and fuel canister.
Try to keep the number of cooking instruments as low as possible to allow other objects to take up the extra space and weight allowances in your backpack. If you really want to keep things as light as possible, try working with only one cookware piece. If you asked me to suggest any one piece of cookware, I would choose a pot. A pot will allow you to rehydrate dehydrated meals, create soups, and even brew tea – it is your most versatile option. If you are already planning to bring a tea pot and bowl, you may want to consider using that for your rehydrating and brewing needs. This would open you up for bringing a frying pan instead.
If you want to purchase an entire set and plan to bring it on your backpacking trip I suggest making sure that each piece easily nests inside of another to save space. You can also choose to purchase a set for your stationary camping trip and only bring singular pieces with you on your backpacking trips.
If You Are Car Camping
Car camping, also known as stationary camping or camping in place, does not require you to lug your belongings around on your back. Since you will be using a vehicle for most of the heavy lifting, you can entertain a larger variety of cookware options. You really won’t be limited to a specific number of pieces or a particular weight, so you can move forward without having to keep those things in mind. That being said, you may not want to purchase a 20-piece set built for a modern kitchen – try to think more about versatility than quantity.
What Size and Type of Meals Will You Prepare?
Knowing how many people you plan to feed and what you plan to feed them is extremely important. Buying only a small pot, for example, when planning to feed bacon and eggs to fifteen people really isn’t a smart decision. Of course, you already knew that, right?