When it comes to the best backpacking cookware to take with you into the backcountry there are lots of choices out there. You don’t want your backpack to be too heavy but you still need something to make those warm meals at the end of the day.
The best hiking cookware should be as lightweight as possible and not too big and bulky for your needs.
I’m going to show you 10 of my favorite lightweight cookware sets and pieces of cookware (in no particular order). There are titanium cookware sets, anodized aluminum cookware sets and even a stainless steal cookware set. Which one is best?
This has been my go to piece of titanium cookware for more years than I can remember. It has been used to cooks thousands of meals, yes, thousands.
The Snow Peak Trek 900 Titanium set includes a 30 fluid ounce pot which is 900ml (just under 1 liter) and small skillet, so you can cook two different dishes, and you can cook a main and a side dish.
Or if you don’t need to use the skillet as intended, you can instead use it as a lid for the other pot, and help retain your food’s moisture. But let me be honest, the skillet lid is not the best for cooking as it is not non stick, so meals such as pancakes or eggs are difficult to cook.
They’re both made from pure Grade A Japanese titanium. Titanium is perfect for ultralight backpacking cookware, as I explain later in the buyer’s guide. It’s ultralight for one, making it far more comfortable to carry around.
Both items sport handles that fold down flat, for more compact storage. Which means more room for other handy items.
And if you wanted to keep your cookware away from other items in your backpack, say if you didn’t have enough clean water to wash them, you can take advantage of the accompanying mesh carry bag but I got rid of that in favor of a lightweight stuffsack.
And particularly reassuringly, the set comes backed by a lifetime guarantee.
Made with titanium
Includes pot & skillet
Skillet doubles as a lid
The Skillet isn’t a perfect fit as a lid
The Skillet is not so good to use for cooking food
Now, this is a cup for the minimalists thru hiker amongst you.
A day spent backpacking and hiking is thirsty work, and while water is great for keeping you hydrated, there’s nothing quite like a hot drink at the end of the in the morning or at night.
And if you would like a cup for your hot drink, this one would be a great choice, but many ultralight hikers use this to cook their small meals of pasta or rice. Just add a small amount of aluminum foil to act as a lid and you have an ultralight pot.
The size makes it a just big enough for meals and certainly something to consider when hiking solo. I do love the ultralight small size.
It’s made with titanium, which means that it will not only heat up your drink very quickly, but it will also retain its heat, meaning your drink stays hot for longer.
The handles fold down when not in use, which makes the cup or should I say lightweight backpacking pot more compact to stow away.
Superlight and small. This ultralight titanium cookware set is for the ultralight solo hiker only.
It’s a very nice size at 550 ml and is made from ultralight titanium. And with the titanium being just 0.3 mm thick, this makes it one the lightest pots of its kind on the market.
What I love the most about this one, besides the light weight, is that it comes with it’s own perfectly fitting lid. This lid features a small fold away handle that is cool to the touch, and locks safely in place.
It also features handles that fold down, for easier, more compact storage. And if all that’s not enough, it also comes with it’s very own mesh carry bag but like all the other backpacking cookwear sets in this review I prefer a more rigid stuff sack to store cooksets.
It’s set at a great price and the perfect lightweight backpacking cookware set for 1.
Now this is not just one or two pieces of cookware but an entire cooking system. It has everything you need in one small lightweight kit.
The set is composed of a large 550 ml pot, measuring 95mm x 80mm, and a stove to go under it, a folding spoon that doubles as a fork (a spork), and a windshield to stop the wind from cooling down your food as you try to cook.
The pot features its own perfectly fitting lid. This lid features a small fold away handle that is cool to the touch, and locks safely in place. And there are handy measurements inside the pot.
Better yet the entire set is made of titanium. Not only does titanium heat up and retain heat really well, but it’s also super lightweight for carry around. Moreover, it’s corrosion resistant and super durable, despite being so thin and lightweight.
The set also comes complete with its own bright orange mesh carry bag.
Just be aware this titanium cookset uses esbit stove fuel to cook with which is not for everyone. Look elsewhere if you want to use it with your gas canister stove.
Now, this particular piece of cookware has a feature that none of the other cookware pieces in our shortlist have.
If you look at the photo, you will see red handles on the pot. But this is not just an aesthetic feature.
The red handle covering on the handles will protect your hands from the pot’s heat after being on your hot camp stove. It’s a great safety feature, just don’t use it on an open fire as the red material on the handles will melt and burn.
It’s a nice large size at 12.5 cm deep and 9.5 cm in diameter, which means it’s able to hold 600 ml of food or liquid.
It’s made of titanium, which is strong, ultralight and super efficient and conducting heat.
Sure it’s expensive, which is why I think there are so few customer reviews around for it, but if you’re the kind of person who likes to put safety first, you may well decide it’s worth every penny.
What I like about this camping kettle is it’s versatility. You can use it as either a pot, a bowl, a mug, or of course a kettle.
It’s a nice, large size, able to hold up to 850 ml of liquid. It comes with its very own lid which features a small handle on top. There’s also a handle on one side. Better yet, the handle will fold down for easier, more compact storage.
I love all the backpacking pots that are this size as it is small enough for a solo hiker and just big enough for a couple. When it comes to backpacking cookware for 2 people this is the smallest size I would ever consider. But I would prefer slightly bigger for a couple.
As with all the other best titanium pots for backpacking in the review I love the weight saving and strength of this pot.
This kit includes a very lightweight camping pot and set of folding cutlery, inclusive of a spoon, a fork, and a knife. And it even comes with a sponge for cleaning up too.
What I like about this camping pot is how it also doubles as a mug. It’s a large size at 750 ml, and even has a perfectly fitting lid on top. Fantastic for keeping your food or drink nice and hot while you’re in the cold outdoors.
As for storage, the pot/mug handles can be folded away when you’re not using them, making it very compact to stow away. Plus it comes with a mesh carry bag.
The pot is made with titanium, but it is not as expensive as all the other name brands in this review.
I like the one year warranty. This is one of the best budget titanium backpacking cookware sets on the market right now.
The backpacking cookware list below is good but this list tends to favor the lightweight cooksets and ultralight backpacking cooksets.
Sea to Summit X32 Cookset – The Sea to Summit X32 Cookset is an interesting take on backpacking cooksets. The are made from collapsable silicon on the side so pack ultra small. But they are not so light.
MSR Ceramic Solo Pot – The MSR Ceramic Solo Pot is a great non-stick pot that is light and not added to the list as I am finishing up the review on this item.
MSR Ceramic 2 Pot Cookset – The MSR Ceramic 2 Pot Cookset is a great 2 person backpacking cookset. Lightweight pot set that and non-stock anodized aluminum.
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Campset – The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Campset is huge and only for the large group of about 4 people. Just too big and too much stuff for most backpackers.
So, here’s what to consider before buying your backpacking cookware.
Titanium – And Why It’s Best For Backpacking Cookware
For backpacking cookware you will need items that can both conduct heat well and also retain heat well. But at the same time it also has to be very lightweight, if not ultralight.
That’s where titanium comes in. It has both of these properties, and is actually half the weight of stainless steel. But that’s not all…
It’s also very sturdy, durable and corrosion resistant. Moreover it doesn’t leave a metallic taste in your mouth.
But there is a downside, titanium is so good at capturing heat that it can often cause food to burn to the pot as it creates hotspots.
Overall, Titanium pots are best for backpacking.
Stainless Steel Backpacking Pots
Stainless Steel has several advantages and disadvantages as hiking cookware.
Stainless Steel backpacking pots are heavy compared to the other materials but it is much more durable and has the advantage of being easier to clean. It is also the best material to use when cooking on an open fire.
Anodized Aluminum is super lightweight and makes a great material for camping cookware. It also produces an even heat which prevents hotspots that are prone to pots made from titanium. When a non stock ceramic coating is added to aluminum pots they make awesome backpacking cookware sets.
Cast Iron is great for car camping but way too heavy and not worth the effort for the backcountry. Stay away and go with something lighter.
Easy to Stow Away And Carry
When you’re backpacking or hiking you want to be able to stow all your gear in as few bags as possible. This means that items have to be packed as compactly as possible to make room for all the items you want to take.
To that end, I recommend cookware with folding handles, and cookware items that nest within one another.
And when you set out, you can store your uncooked food within the cookware to save even more space. I prefer to use an aftermarket stuff sack as I’m not a huge fan of the supplied mesh sacks that come with most pots.
Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
What Items Of Cookware Do You Actually Need?
This is a tricky question to answer, because it depends on so many factors. It depends on how many of you are backpacking together, and what you intend to cook.
On one hand, the more cookware you have, the more you can cook. But on the other hand, the more cookware you have, the heavier your backpack is going to be.
So there’s no straight answer to this, and you are free to pack cookware at your own discretion. The minimalists amongst you could well be happy enough with just one item.
What is the best cookware for backpacking?
It’s really hard to pick just one favorite out of all these candidates. But I certainly do have favorite brands. I like Snow Peak Trek, Toaks, Evernew and MSR Titan. These are good reputable brands that have been tried and tested, and have proved to live up to their name.
Having used Snow Peak for so many years it is hard for me to think of changing it for anything else. But I must admit that the range of lightweight backpacking cookware from Toak are super impressive.