Metal Camping Cookware

Mary Gormandy White
outdoor campfire cooking
Outdoor Cooking Systems

There are several types of metal camping cookware available to campers today; so many, in fact, that it may be difficult to decide which kind to use. The following will outline different kinds of common outdoor cookware. After reading the advantages and disadvantages of each, you will be able to decide what will best fit your needs.

Four Types of Metal Camping Cookware

Do you usually get to your campsite by car or RV, or do you typically spend time hiking a long trail before you get to your chosen spot? If you will be walking any distance, you will want to consider the weight of the cookware you will be carrying. Look at the advantages and disadvantages of the four most common types of metal camping cookware, and then decide for yourself what will be the best.

1. Aluminum

There are several brands of aluminum cookware available. Options include:

  • Bugaboo Base Camper Cookset: Teflon coated nonstick aluminum set featuring medium and large pots with strainer lids, a frying pan and a cutting board (approximately $95.00)
  • Coleman Aluminum Camping Mess Kit: Self contained set that incudes a small fry pan, small pot, deep dish plate and aluminum cup (less than $8.00)
  • Optimus Terra Cookware: Scratch-resistant hard anodized aluminum pot and frying pan set designed to nest for easy storage (approximately $25.00)

There are a few key advantages to using aluminum camp cookware:

  • It is usually the least expensive
  • Aluminum is very lightweight
  • It conducts heat well so food is less likely to burn

There are also some disadvantages:

  • It dents easily and therefore, isn't very long lasting
  • Aluminum can react with the acids in foods
  • Foods tend to stick to an aluminum cooking surface, making it difficult to clean

Aluminum is probably a good choice if you do not camp very often or if you are new to camping and may not be ready to spend a great deal of money on a new-found pastime.

2. Stainless Steel

Options for stainless steel cookware designed for campers include:

Advantages of stainless steel cookware include:

  • It is more durable than aluminum and therefore won't dent as easily
  • It will last longer than aluminum cookware

Disadvantages include:

  • It is more expensive than aluminum
  • It is heavier to carry
  • Stainless steel doesn't conduct heat as well as other materials

3. Titanium

Titanium cookware options appropriate for campers include:

  • Backcountry.com Titanium Cookset: Self-contained set that includes a pot that holds 1300 milliliters an a three centimeter deep piece that serves double-duty as a saucepan or a lid (approximately $60.00)
  • MSR Titan Two Pot Set: Two nesting pots designed for the needs of backpackers and voted "best gear" by Alpinist Magazine (approximately $140.00)
  • Snow Peak Titanium Cookset: Three piece set that features a small and medium-size pot and a small frying pan (approximately $50.00)

The advantages of titanium cookware are:

  • Titanium is very lightweight
  • It is also very durable and will last a long time

However, the disadvantages include:

  • It is an expensive cookware material
  • Titanium doesn't seem to conduct heat as well as some other materials. You'll need to keep an eye on your food and cook over a lower heat to prevent burning.

4. Cast Iron

Many swear by cooking with cast iron cookwear. Options include:

The advantages of using cast iron for you camping cookware are:

  • It is the best material for evenly distributing heat so your food will cook evenly
  • It is very durable and can last for generations

Disadvantages include:

  • Cast iron is very heavy; you won't want to lug it around in your backpack
  • It needs to be properly seasoned and cared for in order to work optimally
  • It takes a bit longer for cast iron to heat up
  • Hot cast iron can crack if it is submerged in cold water

Choose the Best Cookware for Your Needs

There are many factors to consider when deciding what type of camping cookware best meets your needs. How many people do you typically camp with? If you and your family like to go camping together for your vacation, you will want to purchase a larger set of camping cookware; if you camp alone or with one friend, you won't have a need for so much equipment.

By focusing on your actual needs, you can avoid spending money on unnecessary items. Consider your camping habits and the advantages and disadvantages of cookware options to make the best choice for your needs.

Metal Camping Cookware