Camping Cookware, Cook Kits and Pots

Aluminum pot with wire bail and lid.

Camping cook kits generally have nesting pots and pans. Pots designed for use on campstoves or camp fires will generally have wire bails rather than handles so that they will store compactly.

Characteristics of Good Camping Cookware

Exposure of pots to open flame means that handles household cooking pots made from synthetic materials may melt.

Camping Cooksets

The basic rule of thumb in selecting a cookset is that the largest pot in the set should have sufficient volume to contain 1 pint for each member of your party. How many pots and pans to take depends on the complexity of your cooking. It is generally smart to keep it simple.

If boiling water will be freqently needed for freeze dried meals then a tea kettle may be a good investment since it is more efficient and easier to pour.


Light weight and generally the least expensive alternative. It scratches and dents fairly easily
Stainless steel
More expensive than aluminum it is also more durable and easy to clean. Probably your best compromise
Titanium is rather expensive. Very light and much harder than aluminum.
Cast Iron
Very heavy, will rust if not cared for properly. Cooks very evenly.
Enameled steel
Generally inexpensive. Will rust if the enamel finish is chipped off.

My Car Camping Kit

M-1942 Mountain Cook Set

Sometimes refered to as a ranger cook kit. It was developed during World War II for use by mountain troops and patrol units which would be away from formal mess facilities for an extended period of time. The M1942 Cook Set was issued with a single burner stove at a rate on one per fire team(about 3-4 men). The kit consists of two aluminum pots, one of which nests inside the other and a stainless steel lid which doubles as a frying pan. Both pots have wire bails and a usable capacity of about 2 1/2 quarts. As issued, the cookset weighs about 21 ounces, is 8 inches in diameter and 4 1/2 inches tall.

It is large enough that I can fit a couple of extra bowls, measuring cup, pot lifter and set of measuring spoons inside. I also generally bring a frying pan and teakettle.

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