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How to choose camping cookware?

October 05, 2021

how to choose camping cookware

In this post, we'll explore some of the best options when it comes to choosing cookware for camping!

One of the biggest challenges of camping is buying the best camping cookware for the trip. Refueling after a tiring day on the trail is vital. And if you want to eat fresh meals, you will definitely need some camping cookware sets. But with all the options available, how do you know if you should buy hard-anodized aluminum as opposed to stainless steel? What material is best for cooking in the outdoors? What camping cookware sets have most, if not all of the amenities that you will need for cooking in the outdoor?

Related: How to extend the life of your outdoor gear?

As you can see there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before you head out to the stores. So, to help you out, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to buying the best camping cookware. This article provides you with all the information you need about different types of materials used in camping cookware sets, how they stand up against one another and which ones work best for certain situations.

By the way – are you thinking about camping solo but not sure if that is a good idea? Let me help you! Learn a few tips and enjoy your solo camping adventure!

Here you will learn essential tips on how to buy the best camping cookware.

Cookware Materials

how to choose camping cookware

Photo by Angga Kurniawan on Unsplash

Camping cookware is made of different materials, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

1) Aluminum

Aluminum cookware is very affordable, good conductors of heat, and lightweight. Unlike stainless steel, aluminum distributes heat evenly and it can reduce cooking time. However, aluminum dents easily, and if non-coated, it can be corroded away by acidic and/or alkaline food, causing serious health issues. Aluminum cookware sets are less durable compared to stainless steel.

2) Stainless steel

Stainless steel cookware is more expensive, not consistently good conductors of heat and heavier than aluminum. On the good side, they are much tougher than aluminum and they don’t dent easily.

3) Titanium

These are the most expensive, toughest, and the most lightweight of all cookware. However, they don’t cook as evenly as stainless steel – and you know what this means if you compare them with aluminum.

4) Enamel

Enamel made cookware are good conductors of heat, lightweight, and shallow. They reduce the time required to cook thin slices of vegetables and meat but are quite fragile.

5) Non-stick coatings

These are only available in certain cookware sets and materials. The main benefit is that your food doesn’t stick on the surface of the ware, but it scratches quite easily. These items are easy to clean.

6) Plastic Utensils

Plastic is lightweight, affordable, and an ideal choice for food utensils and containers. But be cautious because some plastics retain the smell of food. Heat resistant plastic has come a long way in the past few decades, and it’s being used more and more in our kitchen, to make camp cookware, but as we said, campsite cooking involves a lot of uncontrolled heating than home cooking which will melt down the plastic. In addition to that, plastic can retain the smoke and taste of food.

7) Hard-anodized Aluminum

Hard anodizing results in a thicker coating than ordinary anodizing (up to 300% thicker). Hard anodized aluminum is harder than both ordinary and anodized aluminum. It’s usually mixed with non-stick coating, and it might need careful maintenance. Hard-anodized aluminum is best used to cook with fresh ingredients.

Factors to consider when buying camping cookware

how to choose camping cookware

Photo by Stefan Widua on Unsplash

In addition to selecting the right cookware material for your needs, you will need to consider some or all of the following factors:

– Weight

Like is the case with all other items you wish to pack in your camping bag, weight is a vital consideration factor when buying camping cookware. If you wish to go ultra-light, opt for titanium sets, but if you wish to use your cookware set for other purposes (not just boiling water), consider buying non-stick aluminum pots. These sets are often great for frying.

– Clean up and care

Certain types of cookware are more difficult to care for and clean than others – especially plastic which can absorb the smell of food. An aluminum pan and pot with non-stick coating is easy to clean, but you will need to be cautious to avoid scratching it.

– Group size

You need to consider the number of people you will be cooking for. For example, if you are going alone, consider getting small-size cookware, but if you will be cooking for more than 3, buy bigger items. Some sets come with a wide range of pans and pots; some even include bowls, plates, and cups.

– Handle vs. Grabber

Most cooking items include a grabber or a handle. Pot grabbers are handy items for a cooking set because they can be used to hold different pots. However, you will need to keep them in hand while cooking, and it’s quite easy to lose your hold and spill the meal – which isn’t the case with a handle.

how to choose camping cookware

Photo by Premkumar Masilamani on Unsplash

Extra things to remember:

  • Cookware life in the jungle is tougher than in homes, and you should do everything possible to minimize failure. Ideally, stick with single material models so that panhandles are not bolted on, or have permanent joints.
  • There is little control in the amount as well as the direction of heat when cooking in the jungle. Therefore, keep away from buying anything with a plastic handle. Plastic handles are often molded around fragile bits of wire that aren’t strong enough to lift full cookware once the plastic starts melting.

Recommended Camping Cookware


how to choose camping cookware

Photo by ali elliott on Unsplash

So there you have it! These are the key things to keep in mind when you are buying camping cookware for your upcoming trip. Whether you’re a new camper or a veteran, knowing these tips will definitely help you choose the best camping cookware. And don’t be put off by the volume of technical things mentioned on our list. Having a general idea about all of it is enough. Last of all, don’t forget to get a lid so that you don’t have “spiders” falling into your food.

We hope this blog post has helped! Now get out there and enjoy nature!

Did we leave anything out that you might consider when buying camping cookware? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue.

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