Outdoor World Direct

Camping Cookware Guide

[ 0 ] 1 November 2012 |
Be as organised as you can for your family camping meals

Civilised Camping at it’s best

The type of camping cookware you need all depends on the type of camping you wish to undertake, this handy camping cookware guide helps to explain the differences in the types of cookware available, why some of it costs more than a car, and why some of it is a little bit cheaper!

All campers share a few things in common, whether you are a first time camper, a Gold Level Duke of Edinburgh member or a wild adventure camper camping in the harshest conditions known to man. You need to eat!

Camping Cookware Checklist

Knives and Forks – supplement these with KFS (knife, fork and spoon) sets or sporks to save space and weight?

Tin Opener – most tins have ring pulls on them nowadays but there’s always one awkward tin that won’t change with the times (Branston Baked Beans). So just take a small tin opener from a supermarket in case you need one.

Bowls – you can improvise and use pan lids or use Billy Can sets- saves needing a pan and the washing up.

Plates – usually melamine or plastic plates are used for camping to save weight. China plates are simply too heavy, noisy and fragile.

Glasses  – hardened plastic glasses are the best way forward once more; they are lighter in weight and also less breakable.

Mugs – Melamine mugs have become popular for campers, just don’t forget the kettle, or the Yorkshire tea.

Melamine Sets – you can purchase all of the above in one handy melamine set, usually available in 2 or 4 piece sets. A melamine set comes with plates, mugs and bowls, perfect for the family campers with many mouths to feed.

Billy Cans are also great for adventurers, Duke Of Edinburgh Award students and lightweight campers. Billy Tins can be used as pans, bowls and allow you to use one dish for the entire cooking and eating process. You can cook in it, eat from it, then wash it up and be off on your travels in no time.

Pan Sets – available in stainless steel, titanium and aluminium. You should look to buy a pan set where the pans all fit into one another. This saves a lot of space and also saves weight.

Cookers – a downright obvious implement you will need is a cooker, whether it be a small Trangia set or a larger camping cooker with hobs and a grill.

Cooking Fuel – make sure you check which type your cooker is compatible with. Usually Butane and Propane gas is used with stoves, otherwise you can use unleaded fuel with certain stoves.

Cooking Stand / Table Top – a stable platform will be required for cooking upon, this avoid accidents which could lead to fires.

What to Buy? Plates, Mugs and Bowls

Camping cookware is designed using a few materials, you will find plates, and mugs and bowls are usually enamel, plastic or melamine.


Melamine seems to be the popular choice currently with the modern camper. Lightweight, durable, easy to clean and cost effective are the main reasons melamine has become so successful in the camping market. Also most suppliers produce them in sets now allowing you to purchase everything you need in one handy set. Ideal!

Recommended: Melamine would be my personal preference in this area because of the weight and the fact it is the next best thing to China cookware.

Constraints: Just be careful with melamine, there are different widths and qualities of melamine. For example, we stocked a cheaper melamine set once, and the quality of them was poorer, they got damaged easily in transit. The rule here is that you get what you pay for!


Plastic plates and mugs are great because they are hard to damage. Usually these types of products are all sold separately. However plastic is not as popular as it does feel a bit cheap and some people are put off by it due to the blandness of it. But, it’s camping! Not afternoon tea with the Queen. Get on with it!

Collapsible Plastic

New for 2012, we have seen a lot of collapsible plates, mugs, kettles and pots – all made from plastic. Mainly the Outwell Collaps range has been most notable for it’s great efforts to reduce pack sizes of items such as chopping boards, colanders, and other camping cookware.


Enamel is a hardwearing metal ideal for camping; Gelert and Highlander produce a mass range of enamel products. The only major issue with enamel is that it is quite easily dented.

What to Buy – Pots and Pans

Stainless Steel Camping Cooksets

The cheaper option of the three is stainless steel camping pots and pans. Stainless steel offers a scratch and abrasion resistant surface and strong pan sets ideal for family campers. The main issue with steel is that is can rust after time if not maintained properly and it is heavier than titanium and aluminium. Stainless steel is mostly ideal for the solo camper or smaller groups due to the weight of the product.

Aluminium Camping Cooksets

Aluminium is the lightweight option for the lightweight camper who wants to cut down on weight. The main concern with aluminium is that it is easily dented and the lifetime of the product is much shorter.

Titanium Camping Cooksets

Teflon coated titanium cook sets are becoming ever more popular. Non-stick coating makes the washing up much simpler, whilst prolonging the life of the pan set. Strong against abrasion, scratches and dents, a good choice for those who can afford to spend a little bit more.

Hopefully, this guide covers most questions you might ask about camping cookware. If it’s your first time camping, you may be tempted to take some older pots, pans and plates from home for your first time. Then, if you enjoy the camping trip and you wish to go more regularly, then you can invest in some proper camping cookware.

Other Notable Guides of Camping Cookware

Buying Guide for Scouts

InfoBarrel Guide

If you think we have forgotten something, you can always email us at info@outdoorworlddirect.co.uk.


Category: Camping, Camping Guides, Equipment, Expert Guides

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