Choosing suitable backpacking cookware items can certainly enhance your camping experience. You can make delicious curry rice dishes, seared steaks, morning eggs, bacon, and more at your own campsite. To have a successful camping trip, it is important to examine boiling speed, versatility, features, and more factors that go into cooking outdoors. Below are some of the best ultralight backpacking cookware items that we hope you come to love and trust.
Top 10 Best Ultralight Backpacking Cookware
1. GSI Outdoors Halulite 1.1 L Cookpot
A high-quality yet inexpensive hard-anodized aluminum backpacking cookware option is the GSI Outdoors Halulite 1.1 L Cookpot. There are several reasons to choose hard-anodized aluminum over titanium: hard-anodized aluminum is inexpensive, lightweight, and scratch-resistant, and it prevents burn spots by distributing heat evenly.
The GSI Outdoors Halulite 1.1 L Cookpot is very versatile—you can use it as a boiler, pot, bowl, or mug, according to your needs. The pot body has liquid measuring lines that are visible on the inside and outside of the pot, measured in both ounces (oz) and mL. The Halulite is a more convenient option than most other cookware because it has insulated handles that can fold away and secure the lid, unlike the TOAKS, which requires a rubber band to keep it in place.
This is the cookware for you if you are looking for something affordable, simple, efficient, secure, and strong. If you want cookware that serves more than 2 people, the Halulite pot is also available in larger sizes as 1.8 L and 3.2 L.
Sample Customer Review…The size is perfect for me while backpacking. I can boil enough water to hydrate food and for my coffee or hot chocolate at the same time. There is plenty of room to cook mac n cheese even after adding veggies and summer sausage. It is so easy to clean you won’t even need to pack a scrubber. I love how the handle doesn’t get hot and how it folds over the top to hold things together. Great pot!!Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
2. TOAKS Titanium 750ml Pot
If you are looking for something fast and light, then the 3.6-ounce TOAKS Titanium 750 mL Pot could be the only piece of cookware you’ll need. The pot maintains its small shape and size with just enough space to fit a 4-ounce fuel canister and a small stove inside. This gives you an entire set, which includes a pot, stove, and fuel, that takes up the amount of space of a typical coffee mug.
The newly designed titanium lid forms a tight seal that allows heat to stay trapped inside, which makes this one of the best pieces of cookware in terms of heat retention. However, since it is a backpacking cook pot, it still has a few limitations. One downside to the pot, in particular, is that if you have a big appetite, the volume of food you can produce at a time could be an issue. This should not be an issue for most popular backpacking foods because the pot is an adequate size for the majority.
The dimensions of the pot allow it to be just about the perfect size for a single pack of ramen. The pot can also boil enough water to rehydrate many frozen backpacking meals. Overall the titanium pot definitely has more positives going for it than negatives. With a durable design perfectly made for the ultralight backpacker, the price is very reasonable considering it is a newer titanium model.
Sample Customer Review…Certainly more fitted for lightweight backpacking and camping (with boiled water meals in mind) than outright cooking. You can fit a 4oz fuel can, MSR Pocket Rocket and some tin foil inside the pot, with the lid on AND a Sea to Summit XMug on top, and the little carrying bag holds it all together. Definitely transfers heat well but does not distort. I accidentally dropped the lid in a ripping fire, and when I retrieved it the next day, I only had to brush it off! Cooked vegetables well, and would do canned food for sure, but a little small to try cooking a lot. But that’s not why you’re looking – this thing is super lightweight and worth every penny.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
3. GSI Pinnacle Camper
The GSI Pinnacle Camper set is one of the more premium pieces of cookware. It has a credible reputation as being a high-quality product from an industry leader. Generally speaking, the individual components are tailor-made to provide a particular experience. It uses different combinations of its many features to its advantage and appears greater than the sum of its parts. With the entire kit, it offers enough volume to cook meat and hard textures while serving four people. Better yet, it only takes up about as much space as a motorcycle helmet.
All of the pots and pans are coated with Teflon’s new premium non-stick material, allowing for an increase in cooking performance. It’s surprisingly very easy to clean and quickly heats water to a boil. If you are the type of person to plan on a solo expedition, you can select the individual components to bring along, which makes it extremely versatile for any given small group.
Sample Customer Review…This set rocks. Lightweight, sturdy, and well-built. The dimensions are just right for a backpacking family of four that distribute the weight or camping responsibilities…I have used this set on my Coleman stove and on my Jet Boil Flash (with a pot stand). Works extremely well and heats fast and evenly.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
4. Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System
The Jetboil MiniMo has been known for its convenience. It’s extremely fast and quick to set up. This wide cook pot is made for much smoother cooking and eating than its predecessor known as the Jetboil Flash. Many owners of the pot also appreciate the strainer lid. It’s been said this backpacking cooking set can boil water in less than 3 minutes. While this alone is an impressive feat, it can also maintain high water heat for well over an hour.
However, one of its major setbacks is that it’s not the most versatile cookware you can buy. There isn’t any configuration that could get the stove, the support pot, and the fuel stands to sit inside the MiniMo. This is a minor trade-off for a better cooking and eating experience because of the MiniMo’s shorter and stout design. The Jetboil MiniMo is a great value if you need a compact stove that sets up in a snap and is easy to use.
Sample Customer Review…I cannot describe to you how much better the Jetboil MiniMo is compared to my old unit. Push a button and it ignites (even in high winds), control the flow at your leisure, and whatever you do, don’t blink – the darn thing boils water so fast you won’t believe it. It’s really, really awesome.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
5. Vargo Bot
Vargo has given this product the name “BOT” as a nickname for Bottle Pot. This piece of titanium is special because it can be used effectively as a pot and a bottle. The BOT comes equipped with a tight lid designed for an easy access drink on the trail. Alternatively, it also does well with cold-soaking because of its leak-proof lid. It is one of the few rare pots that allow you to cook one meal and cold-soak the next.
Once you arrive at camp, the lid doubles as a cooking lid for boiling or simmering. However, you do need to be mindful of threading the pot so it doesn’t become misaligned. The lid can also sometimes cause stickiness due to pressure changes from sealing hot food inside the pot. Make sure you use something slim like a driver’s license and slide it between the pot and the lid to break the seal. This version of the pot includes graduated measurements and foldaway handles. The size of the pot is also big enough to hold small items such as a gas cylinder, a stove, and a lighter or matches.
Sample Customer Review…I think this is the perfect size. It’s great as a large coffee or tea mug. It’s also great to make small meals or share a larger meal. I paired this with the Health Pro pots and the Toaks small wood-burning stove. The Toaks stove will fit inside but the lid won’t screw on. I just place the lid on top and both will nest inside the Health Pro pots with no problem. Perfect camping cookware system! By switching to this I saved a good amount of space and weight from my pack.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
6. Snow Peak Titanium Cookset
The Snow Peak Cookset is known for its incredible value as much as its production. Out of all the backpacking cookware you could start with, this is one of the least expensive sets. The complete set comes with two pots as well as lids, a small bowl, and a skillet. The pots are not as thin as most backpacking pots, and most notably the difference in the amount of heat retained is huge.
When the heat retention was tested in comparison to other cookware, the Snow Peaks Cooker’s pot beat the competition in a landslide, maintaining its total temperature for almost 90 minutes completely. However, it can be a few seconds slower to boil water than other pots, but the trade-off seems well worth it overall. There is a small pot and small lid included but if you don’t pack them it can shave off a few ounces of weight.
Another slight problem with this set is that the lids don’t have any kind of grip and can be difficult to remove when they get hot. You should be cautious when handling them for safety. The Snow Peak Cookset is definitely not the lightest option for backpacking cookware either. Overall, if you’re on a budget and want to invest in long-term gear that will last, it will be hard to find a better value.
Sample Customer Review…This is my all-time favorite 1-person cook kit. 2 in a pinch! Extremely light and sturdy, sort of snaps together, room for a 220 g gas canister inside. Titanium cleans very easily. Thin but very tough. The two cups/pots can be used for cooking and drinking. The handles stay cool. The third piece can be used as a small skillet or cover. I’ve had one for about fifteen years, and have tried many others.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
7. Keith Titanium Ti6300 Multifunctional Cooker
The Keith Titanium Ti6300 Multifunctional Cooker has an insert pot for steaming rice or vegetables. This outer and inner pot design allows steam to heat the food thoroughly and evenly. For an ultralight backpacking experience, you can bring just the outer pot. This product uses pure titanium for its inner pot, outer pot, lid, and handles, which gives it its ultralight and durable qualities. On top of that, the titanium material it uses is eco-friendly, biocompatible, corrosion-resistant, bacteria inhibitive, and hypoallergenic. This is the cookware for you if you are looking for a small pressure cooker-style pot made from high-quality titanium.
Sample Customer Review…If you are looking for ultralight titanium products that aren’t so thin and flimsy they can’t withstand the rigors of the outdoors, look no further than Keith Titanium. I have a decade of experience with titanium in the aerospace industry and this is high-quality titanium and manufacturing. A lot of pride and detail went into their products and I’ll be happy to purchase more in the future because I know I won’t be disappointed.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
8. MSR Big Titan Kettle
The MSR Titan Kettle is another great option as an ultralight backpacking pot with more cooking capacity while maintaining enough size to be only a tiny bit heavier than the TOAKS Titanium Pot. It is a sturdy pot with handles that give the user a solid grip built specifically for when the pot is full and hot.
One of its many unique features is that the lid comes equipped with a drip-free spout, making it easy to pour hot water without allowing any kind of mess to damage your hands. The top-lid handle is also insulated, making it extremely easy to lift the lid completely off when cooking. However, the con to this kettle is that the side handles are not able to do the same.
Another advantage of the Titan Kettle is that you can literally stick it in the fire and not worry about burning or melting the handles in any shape or form. The biggest problem with the Titan Kettle overall is its height. The kettle is slightly too short to fit a few fuel canisters. The canisters still have the ability to slide into the pot, but you can’t use the lid in some situations.
Sample Customer Review…Super light. Easy To handle. Love the top and the way it fits. My old pot did not have this and it is a great feature. Heats up quickly. I thought about the smaller size but that would have been a mistake. This size is perfect for our groups of 2-4 people. I can store the stove and my fuel canister inside the pot.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
9. Evernew Titanium Pasta Pot
Of the pots available on the market right now, the Evernew Pasta Pot is the lightest pot you can purchase with this much capacity. Its premium build allows it to be extremely lightweight, compact, and strong at the same time. Along with the pot being light as a feather, its lid comes with a built-in strainer that can be great for letting steam out and straining any kind of noodles.
Some physical features along with graduated measurements are its durable rubberized coated handles. Overall, it’s a very well-made pot and feels solid in your hand when you take it to travel. It comes out of the box complete with graduated measurements in milliliter measurements along with ounces.
It’s slightly different from some pots in its competition because the ounce measurements are marked as 10 and 15 ounces instead of the prototypical 8 and 12 ounces, which are the standard number of measurements you would use for backpacking meals. The rubber handles give the user extra grip and let you safely move the pot around when it starts to heat up. As soon as you are done cooking, the packer stove and fuel canister fit seamlessly inside the pot to be stored.
Sample Customer Review…This is the one. The pot without the lid is 3 oz., and it has insulated handles?! A Toaks titanium cup is 2.7 oz., and that’s for 450 ml. This pot weighs .03 oz. more and gives you more than double that. The lid is very well made and stays firmly on in your backpack, so you can throw away that mesh bag they send you. It also strains pasta very efficiently.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
10. Coleman Stainless Steel Mess Kit
The Coleman Stainless Steel Mess Kit is an affordable 6-piece set that comes with a mesh bag. The set contains a saucepan, a lid that can serve as a frying pan, a locking, interchangeable handle, and a BPA-free bowl and mug. You can wash the pieces in the mesh dip bag and easily pack them all up.
The pot has a large capacity, holding nearly 2 liters. It can bring water to a boil in just over three minutes and hold onto that heat for nearly an hour. But because the pot is large and made from stainless steel, it is on the heavier side and can be hard to clean with burnt food. If you are looking for a simple, well-rounded kit serving 2-3 people, this is a solid option.
Sample Customer Review…It’s worth every penny. Very light for stainless steel, takes up little to no space, cleans easily, and stores away nicely. This kit will last forever given any amount of care.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Purchasing a Backpacking Cookware
Titanium cookware is light, durable, and affordable. Consider the TOAKS Titanium series if light weight and reliability are your priorities. A downside to titanium cookware is that it does not have a non-stick coating like stainless steel does.
Anodized Aluminum cookware has high cooking performance and a scratch-resistant surface finishing. It is known to be inexpensive, lightweight, and equipped with convenient features like foldaway handles and simple lids. However, aluminum cookware is not as durable as titanium or stainless steel.
Stainless Steel heats quickly and is incredibly durable. It is easier to clean and can endure harder scrubbing. However, stainless steel cookware tends to be heavier than titanium or aluminum and does not conduct heat as well, which can lead to uneven heating.
The size of your chosen cookware should depend on how many people you intend it for. Your largest pot should hold 1 pint per person in your group. Consider bringing larger pots over smaller pots because larger pots save space and resources by reducing the number of burners needed.
Quality of Food
The quality of food largely depends on the cookware’s performance consistency. Aluminum cookware tends to conduct heat better and produce better results. On the other hand, titanium and stainless steel cookware are more likely to create hot spots and burn food.
Lids are optional for lightweight backpacking, but tight-fitting lids can help food cook faster and more evenly. You can consider cookware sets that double their pans as lids. Some lid designs have additional helpful features such as a pasta strainer or a wire tab that allows you to check on your food.
Integrated stoves tend to be more convenient and fuel-efficient at the cost of being larger and heavier, but the integrated stove system removes the need to bring separate stoves for your pots.
An optional feature to look for is a built-in windscreen. A built-in windscreen can make the cookware safer and more efficient.
Handles can make a difference in terms of convenience. Consider purchasing cookware with collapsible handles to save space.
Ease of cleaning is also a factor to consider. Stainless steel is easier to clean because it can endure hard scrubbing. You will need to be more careful with aluminum and titanium, as they can get scratched up if you use an abrasive material to remove the leftover food.
Some kinds of cookware can be set up much faster than other kinds. New designs such as the Jetboil MiniMo can boil water in less than 3 minutes and keep the water hot for more than an hour.
Different cookware items serve different needs. For example, the larger Vargo Bot may meet your size requirement, rather than the much smaller Snow Peak Personal Cooker. However, the Snow Peak Personal Cooker can perform its job more than twice as fast as the Vargo Bot, so it would be ideal for someone who likes to prepare the food as quickly as possible. Overall the perfect cookware doesn’t exist because everyone has different values in terms of size, efficiency, quality of food, and so many more factors. These are some of the best options in terms of the highest-rated ultralight backing cookware you can find on the market, and it is up to you to decide which is the right pick for you.
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Written by Michael Stewart and Ester Tsai.