Looking to buy camping cookware? Then read our guide to camp stoves! We look at a range of camping styles from on foot to by car, in the wild to campsite and solo to family camping.
Whether you’ve scaled a mountain solo, or got the family campsite set up (mostly solo) you’re going to build up an appetite. Sometimes there will be a convenient cafe, pub or chippie. But half the fun of camping is cooking in the great outdoors.
How to buy camping cookware
You’ve been active all day and are looking forward to getting back to camp for a good hearty meal. So, you need the right gear to whip up something tasty.
The type of camping cookware you buy depends on the type of adventure you’re embarking on. You don’t want to be packing an all-in-one pan/burner combination if you plan on serving up a ‘Full English’ for the family.
Likewise, an array of pots, pans, utensils and burners are hardly sensible if you’re travelling light on a solo trek. After all you’ll probably be surviving on freeze dried packet meals!
Of course the best option is to cook over a fire. However this is not always practical or possible. So this article is a guide to camp stoves.
Guide to camp stoves
First determine where you’re camping, is there easy car access? What you’ll be doing, will you be trekking with all your gear? And finally who is going with you, do you need to cook for a group of just yourself?
Then you can make a judgement on what to take. Use the below guide to camp stoves for different circumstances to help you decide.
Solo camping cookware
When solo camping it’s unlikely you’ll be camped next to your car. More chance that you’ll be trekking point to point with all your gear, or heading to your favourite wild camping spot.
So when going solo, the most important consideration is the size and weight of your stove. After all, it’s you and you alone that’ll be carrying it on your shoulders.
And, since you’re on your own, it’s likely that you plan to travel further, faster and along more treacherous paths than you might in a group. So staying light and agile on your feet is a must.
For these kinds of adventures, all-in-one cooking systems are ideal. Brands such as Jetboil incorporate gas canister, tripod and flask in a lightweight, compact design.
They’ll easily fit into your rucksack and they won’t weigh you down. Plus although small in size, some all-in-one systems are far from lacking on the technical front.
Buy camping cookware with an advanced burner unit and a detachable insulated cooking vessel for optimum efficiency and ease of use. You won’t be whipping up a gourmet meal with it, but for heating water, soups and Wayfayrer packet food, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better on the market.
If you like a bit more variety in your food, an all-in-one system is perhaps not ideal. Instead get yourself a simple standalone burner unit and some lightweight aluminium pans or mess tins that pack within themselves to save space.
Family camping cookware
At the opposite end of this guide to camp stoves is family camping! Weight and size tend not to be so much of an issue as you’ll usually be camped next to your car.
You’ve packed in the kids, their mates and the dog, but leave some room for a high quality camping stove. Plus chuck in a few culinary luxuries (you’ll need them if you’re to feed all those mouths!)
One of the best low cost products on the market is the Campingaz Camping Chef Cooking Stove. Featuring two ring burners and an underside grill, it’s easy to whip up toast, bacon, eggs, beans – all the hearty brekkie fare you can think of!
Also having the added option of a grill means you can serve up something slightly healthier if you’re so inclined. After all, you might not want a stomach full of sausage and beans if you’re heading up Scafell Pike.
Not sure which camping stove to buy? Then check out this list of the best portable propane burners. There are plenty of high quality options to choose from.
For longer family camping trips many people take a barbeque. This could either be a gas one for convenience, or an old school charcoal BBQ. Avoid disposable barbeques if you can, they are bad for the environment and poor to cook on.
In terms of pots and pans, you ought to be looking for sets made from hard wearing, abrasion and impact-resistant materials such as titanium. Titanium cookware is often Teflon coated and therefore 100% non-stick, which makes washing up easier.
Camping cookware for the inbetweeners
Of course many camping trips fall somewhere in between these two scenarios. You don’t have space in the car or shoulder strength for carrying bulky, heavyweight equipment.
But at the same time you don’t particularly like the idea of living off tins of All Day Breakfast. Happily you won’t have to make compromises, because there’s a good deal of camping cookware that occupies the middle ground.
These days you can pick up a cheap single or double burner from a supermarket. But for quality, performance and convenience, look no further than the Coleman Fold-n-Go. A foldable double burner that takes up less room in your backpack than many single burners.
For general camping, the correct choice of pot/pan material is not as imperative. You can’t go wrong with aluminium, titanium or stainless steel, since all three have their merits.
However, stainless steel is strong enough to survive intensive use, which is ideal if you’re a dedicated camper. Yet with greater strength comes greater weight, which is not so ideal when you’re trekking with your gear.
Aluminium is lighter but prone to knocks, dents and scrapes, while titanium gives you the best of both worlds, often with a non-stick coating to boot. But you’ll pay slightly more for a set of titanium pans.
We hope you found this guide to camp stoves useful and you now know how to buy camping cookware. For meal inspiration check out our article about camping food for trekking holidays.