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Camp Cooking Equipment You Can’t Forget to Pack

posted by Boundless Outdoors January 21, 2020 0 comments


Shorter hiking trips mean you can take along energy bars and other small, eat-with-your-fingers foods. When you’re going on a longer backpacking trip, you’re going to need to cook your foods to ensure you get the right fuel for the entire trip. It’s easy to go overboard and want all the comforts of the kitchen while backpacking, but remember, we’re roughing it here ;). While each person will find their camp cooking essentials are different because of their food and cooking style; the items below are those you won’t want to forget to pack for your next backpacking trip.



A Heat Source

Just about any camping heat source – i.e. camp stove, fire –  will work, depending on where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. If you’re going on a longer trip, make sure you choose a heat source for your camp cooking that’s lightweight because you’ll need to carry it with you. If you’re going on a trip when the temperatures can get very low, choose an option that will work well in that weather. Make sure you have plenty of fuel for your heat source to cover your entire trip plus a little bit extra just in case you need it.

Stoves We LOVE from

The Best Lightweight Option:

MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove

MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove The time-tested, field approved classic:
  1. Keeping pack weight to the absolute minimum
  2. New folding pot supports pack exceptionally small
  3. Stove with case fits inside MSR Titan Mug
  4. Boils 1 liter of water in just 3.5 minutes
  5. New robust pot supports to accommodate a wider range of pot sizes
  6. Ultralight hard-shell carry case to protect cookware and contents of pack



The Best Cooking System:

Jetboil Flash Cooking System

Jetboil Flash Cooking SystemThe All-In-One Classic Boiler
  1. 1 Liter FluxRing cooking cup with insulating cozy
  2. New and improved easy on and off vessel connection
  3. New and improved lid for better fit and function
  4. New ergonomic design for easy hold and start
  5. Thermochromatic, color-change heat indicator
  6. Convenient, reliable push-button igniter
  7. Bottom cover doubles as a measuring cup and bowl


Pots and Pans

A camp cooking container that can handle heat is a must have for boiling water and cooking your food. When you’re on a longer trip, make sure you choose a lightweight pot or pan designed for camp cooking to bring with you. A small pot is perfect if you’ll be traveling alone, but you may want to choose a larger pot or pan if you’re backpacking with a group of people. Make sure you choose one that will work well with your preferred heat source and is usable for the type of food you want to bring along for your trip.

In other words, think about what you’re going to cook. Will you be using dehydrated backpacking meals and only boiling water with a pot? Or will you be making pancakes in the morning and need a pan for a more open surface? This takes time to sort through your preferences here and may vary from adventure to adventure. 

Pots and Pans We LOVE from

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Frypan

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle FrypanThis Beauty Has:

  1. Non-reactive, hard anodized surface is harder than stainless steel while heating with exceptional efficiency and uniformity
  2. Easy cleaning nonstick surface
  3. Fixed helper handle + removable primary handle
  4. Spiral-turned base grips stoves and grills securely

Sea to Summit Alpha Pot

Sea to Summit Alpha Pot Say Goodbye to Boiling Blues:
  1. Made to exacting specifications, the hard-anodized surface provides a durable, abrasion resistant and easy-to-clean cooking surface
  2. Four sizes nest inside each other for compact packing and they’re also compatible with alpha pans and the deltalight range of camp dinnerware
  3. Unique patent-pending pivot-lock stainless steel handle rotates horizontally and locks over the lid for secure, low-profile storage
  4. Handle is wrapped in silicone to provide excellent grip and heat protection
  5. Unique slot pattern built into the lid for straining liquids
  6. Base is textured for better stability on camp stoves



Utensils, Plates, and Bowls… oh my!

If you’re eating for 1, it’s totally do-able to eat right from the pot. But if you’re traveling with others, you may want to make sure everyone has a bowl, or plate to put their food in and something to eat their food with. There’s not much worse than having to eat rehydrated lasagna with your hands (except for maybe eating rehydrated babyfood peas with your hands).  Again, base what you bring on what you’ll be cooking. You may find it unnecessary to bring both a plate and a bowl in your camp cooking system. I love the plates that have steep enough sides to be a bowl if needed – and there are even some that have collapsible sides for easy packing (see X Set recommendation below). 

As for utensils, check out the small sets that include a fork, knife, and spoon or choose a set with a spatula if you’ be pan frying, depending on what you prefer. You may find the classic and versatile “spork” works for everything you need. Titanium utensils can be expensive for what they are, but they are the lightest option, easy on nonstick coating, and virtually bombproof. I’ve found that a good plastic set works great too. Sometimes (like our combo recommendation below) utensils will come with camp cooking sets as well.

Utensils, Plates, and Bowls from

“Bombproof” Utensils:

Sea to Summit Titanium Cutlery Set

Sea to Summit Titanium Cutlery Set

  1. Ultralight and durable
  2. Carabiner included

Versatile All-Purpose Utensil Set:

Jetboil Jetset Utensil Set

Jetboil Jetset Utensil Set

  1. Includes spoon, fork, and spatula
  2. Specially shaped to scour each edge and corner
  3. Made with high-temperature nylon
  4. Telescope handles store compactly in/on Jetboil cooking vessels


Versatile Multi-Size Collapsible Plate and Bowl Set:

Sea To Summit X Set 3 Piece Cookset

Sea To Summit X Set 3 Piece Cookset

  1. Three-piece set includes: X Mug, X Bowl, X Plate, and zippered pouch
  2. Collapsible, nesting design
  3. BPA-Free


Great All-In-One Set:

Sea to Summit Delta Camp Set

Sea to Summit Delta Camp Set

  1. Protex hex pattern base disperses heat
  2. BPA-free
  3. Hard wearing and cut resistant
  4. Easy hold thumb grip
  5. Measurement increments on the inside


Other Stuff: Yetis | Spice Missles | Tarps | Soap


Whether it’s coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, or bourbon in the evening: get yourself a lightweight mug with a handle so you can clip it to your pack. In my humble opinion, a good mug is a camp cooking essential. You don’t want to have to drink your bourbon out of your water bottle, do you?

YETI Rambler 14 Mug

The Yeti Tumbler 14: Click on the image to view at Moosejaw

 Insulated, with a lid to keep drinks hot/cold and to keep chipmunks out of your coffee. You may never want another mug again, seriously.


Salt, pepper, garlic…hell, go crazy, throw in some dill. A handy travel spice rack might seem like a luxury item, but your tastebuds deserve some pampering after tasting your trail-breath all day.

GSI Outdoors Spice Missile

GSI Outdoors Spice Missle: Click Image To View At Moosejaw

 You guys, this thing is tiny and hasn’t left my pack except to be refilled. It’s become my friend. On solo trips, we chat. It’s nice. Plus, it’s called the “Spice Missle”. How badass is that?





Tarp… Yeah, I said it.

Ok, so definitely not a critical item to include in your camp kitchen, but having a small tarp on hand can be incredibly beneficial if it starts to rain when you’re ready to cook and eat. We may be a bit nerdy for tarps around here, but tarps really are nifty for a lot of different reasons: they can serve as shade in the sun, shelter in the rain, a footprint for your tent, and the cheap ones also work nicely for lugging loads of logs for the fire or fish from the river. 

Instead of waiting out the storm or trying to cook in the rain, hang a tarp over the area where you’ll be cooking. Make sure the tarp is high enough to avoid any issues from the heat source but low enough that it will block the rain from your food and heat source while you’re camp cooking outside.

They also make some really nice, ultralight tarps that are pretty darn cool.

Mountainsmith Mountain Shade Tarp

Mountainsmith Mountain Shade Tarp: Click Image to View At Moosejaw

 This 100% waterproof morsel packs up into a tiny pouch, weighs next-to-nothing, and sets up simpler than Candy Land. I mean, why wouldn’t you bring it?







Listen, I’ve seen some people do some wild things to clean their dishes. Everything from wiping them out with “special leaves” to scrubbing them with charcoal from the fire. I recommend bringing a little bit of soap.


Honestly, I love Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. It’s a mild, biodegradable soap that is good for a million uses – including personal hygiene on the trail (and mopping floors at home).

You may want to bring a fast drying sponge to help scrub pots and pans if you think your meal might warrant it.

Always Adventure Accordingly

If you’re planning on taking a longer backpacking trip, choosing the right camp cooking equipment to take to minimize the weight you’ll carry is crucial. It takes time to find the right camp cooking (and eating) system for you. I’m such a nerd about this stuff, and I’ve accumulated so much gear over the years that I have different camp cooking systems for different kind of trips – which is ridiculous and unnecessary… But seriously, don’t overthink it – buy the best stuff you can afford and take great care of it. It should last a long time, if not a lifetime. 

And feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about gear!




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