Best Camping Mess Kits of 2023

Whether you’re embarking on a car camping expedition or gearing up for an extended week of backpacking deep into the wilderness, having the appropriate cooking tools for outdoor cuisine is absolutely crucial. In the great outdoors, without the right supplies, preparing and enjoying meals can quickly become a daunting and unpredictable endeavor. Moreover, after a day of physically demanding trekking through the trails, the last thing you want to fret over is whether your campsite is adequately equipped with the essential cooking tools needed to whip up a satisfying dinner.

Coming from a background in California, where I spent a significant amount of time engaged in camping, hiking, and backpacking activities, I realized that, despite my professional experience as a former chef, I often found myself lacking the proper food storage containers, utensils, and cookware required to prepare meals at the campsite. However, upon making friends who shared my passion for outdoor adventures, I swiftly grasped the significance of compact and highly portable camping mess kits. These kits are meticulously curated to encompass all the necessary components for campsite cooking, sparing you the unnecessary bulk of items you won’t use. All you truly require is the finest camping cookware tailored to your needs.

Today, whether I’m expertly cooking over an open flame or setting up a camp stove on the nearest available stump, I make sure I’m armed with the correct gear to craft a delicious outdoor feast. Through extensive testing of numerous mess kits, I’ve gained valuable insights into what is truly essential and what merely contributes unnecessary weight to my backpack. In this guide, I present to you the finest mess kits, meticulously selected for campers who share my passion for outdoor cooking.

Best Camping Mess Kits Of 2023 1


Factors to Consider

If you plan to bring your mess kit along when backpacking or hiking, prioritizing lightweight materials is essential. Titanium and aluminum are the top choices for cookware due to their low weight. However, if weight isn’t a critical factor for you, stainless steel cookware is a great option, as it offers consistent heat distribution and versatility for various cooking techniques.

When it comes to dinnerware, flatware, and utensils, considering that you’ll be using them to consume hot, cooked meals, it’s crucial to select materials that are BPA-free and made from safe plastics or polypropylene. While stainless steel bowls and plates are resistant to odors and stains, they tend to be heavier. If you’re in search of lightweight yet durable options for plates, bowls, mugs, and utensils, polypropylene is your optimal choice.


For dinnerware and utensils, opt for BPA-free plastic or polypropylene materials for safe consumption of hot meals. Polypropylene is a lightweight and durable choice for plates, bowls, mugs, and utensils, especially when weight is a concern.
Portability Portability is crucial, so select a kit that nests together efficiently and locks securely if you’re traveling long distances or have limited space in your pack.
Design Consider the kit’s design, whether it’s all-inclusive, eating-only, or cooking-only. Look for versatility, stackability, and food-safe, quality materials. A well-designed mess kit should have multi-use pieces and be easy to transport, with bonus points for features like ergonomic handles, measurement markings, and non-slip bottoms.
Care To prolong the life of your mess kit, handle its components with care. Outdoor cooking and dining can cause wear and tear, but most mess kits are designed to withstand it. Remember to hand-wash and dry your kit after each use and pack it securely for extended gear life.

Best Camping Mess Kits

Best Price

GSI Outdoors, Pinnacle Dualist II Camping Cook Set

4.7 (328 ratings) $159.95
The Pinnacle Camper is a complete solution for cooking and eating while camping and backpacking; Its compact, nesting design can be configured for 2 or 4 people
Lightweight and compact design for easy portability.
Even heat distribution for consistent cooking results.
Rapid heating thanks to the Teflon coating.
Smart lid design with perforations and silicone seals.
Well-organized kit with additional space for utensils and accessories.
While the lightweight design is great for portability, it may not be as durable as heavier cook sets.
The Teflon coating, while efficient, may require extra care to avoid scratching.

This compact and highly efficient kit is thoughtfully equipped with all the essential features you need to simplify what can otherwise be a challenging task, making it as convenient as cooking in your own kitchen, if not even more so. The cookware pieces are ingeniously designed with bottoms that ensure the even distribution of heat, and the specialized Teflon coating ensures rapid heating, outperforming other nonstick options. This not only significantly boosts fuel efficiency but also guarantees a quick meal after a long and exhausting day of hiking. The lids are considerately perforated on one side to facilitate easy straining and incorporate silicone seals to effectively retain moisture.

The odor-resistant polypropylene plates and bowls effortlessly fit within the setup, alongside a foldable handle for the cookware, leaving ample space for folding utensils, lighters, or any other small accessories you may need. This all-in-one mess kit truly shines in terms of its versatility, and from our perspective, it represents an excellent investment for the peace of mind and convenience it brings. With this kit, you’ll have all the essential cooking tools readily at your fingertips, making your outdoor cooking experiences even more enjoyable and hassle-free.

Best Price

GSI Outdoors, Pinnacle Dualist II Camping Cook Set

4.6 (79 ratings) $79.95
Unique bowl and mug solution with low center of gravity and Sip-It lid virtually eliminate spills while the insulating sleeve keeps drinks hot; Clever folding foon design compacts to just 3.7' long and extends and locks to become a 6.1' fork-spoon hybrid
Compact and lightweight for easy transport.
Even heat distribution eliminates hotspots.
Specialized Teflon coating for rapid heating and fuel efficiency.
Smart lid design with perforations and silicone seals.
Well-organized kit with space for utensils and accessories.
While it excels in portability, the lightweight design may sacrifice some durability.
The Teflon coating, while efficient, may require gentle care to prevent scratching.

In addition to its remarkable lightweight design, this kit offers an exceptional level of compactness, rendering it an ideal choice for inclusion in your backpack. With some clever rearrangement, it can even accommodate a small 8-ounce fuel canister, optimizing the use of available space. What sets this two-person set apart is its refusal to compromise on essential components, holding its own against bulkier alternatives. The centerpiece of the kit is the 1.8-liter nonstick pot, meticulously crafted from hard-anodized aluminum. This pot not only boasts a convenient straining lid but also excels in the critical aspects of heat retention and even distribution.

In our testing, we observed that the mugs had a slightly unconventional shape, but what they lacked in traditional aesthetics, they made up for in versatility. These mugs can effortlessly transform into bowls, expanding their utility to serve four individuals instead of the usual two. Moreover, they come equipped with insulation to maintain the optimal temperature of your food or beverage for an extended duration while ensuring your hands stay comfortably cool. The entire ensemble is neatly contained within a purpose-designed storage bag that pulls double duty as a portable sink or water bucket. This dual functionality streamlines the cleanup process and simplifies the task of transporting water, adding to the overall convenience and efficiency of this exceptional kit.

Best Price

Odoland 15pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit

4.6 (626 ratings) $33.99
The Best Money You Ever Spent - The 15pcs camping cookware set includes 1 x L pot, 1 x S pot, 1 x fry pan, 2 x 230ml stainless steel cups with silicone protectors, 2 x 16cm stainless steel plates, 2 x forks, 2 x knives, 2 x spoons with 2 storage bags, 1 x cleaning cloth and 1 x carrying bag. This lightweight camp cookware set is a great choice for hiking, backpacking, camping or any other activity.
Comprehensive set with everything you need for outdoor cooking.
Compact and space-saving design for easy portability.
Durable construction built to withstand outdoor conditions.
Efficient heating and nonstick coating for convenient cooking and cleanup.
Versatile cookware for various cooking styles.
The extensive set may be bulkier than some minimalist campers prefer.
The included utensils could be more robust for heavy-duty use.

An ideal choice, particularly tailored for outdoor novices or those mindful of a budget, this 2.75-pound kit emerges as a comprehensive solution, brimming with three distinct nonstick, lightweight, aluminum cooking vessels. What sets this kit apart is its inclusion of a frying pan, a feature not commonly found in most mess kits. Each pot in the ensemble comes thoughtfully equipped with thermally insulated handles, and the ingenious addition of a foldable spoon serves a dual purpose, also acting as a practical lid lifter to enable safe checks on boiling water.

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While not all the components nest within each other in a perfectly silent fit, once the kit is fully assembled, it transforms into a compact and robust package, measuring roughly 8 x 6 inches. The stainless steel cups and plates exhibit an impressive resistance to retaining odors or stains and promise extended durability, ensuring they stand the test of time. During our testing, we observed that the folding utensils, although a tad delicate, still effectively carry out their intended tasks. Notably, the set’s stackable design leaves some spaces in between, creating room to accommodate various personal items, such as lighters, napkins, or even a compact camping stove, adding an extra layer of versatility to this exceptional kit.

Best Price

UCO 6-Piece Camping Mess Kit with Bowl

4.7 (2976 ratings) $20.90
Made for backpacking, scouting, and on-the-go meals, this camping cooking set includes a plate, bowl, cup, 2-piece Switch Spork camping utensil set, and a tether
Simple and practical design for straightforward outdoor dining.
Compact and lightweight, perfect for backpackers.
Essential components, including a 3-in-1 spork.
Durable and BPA-free materials for long-lasting use.
Easy storage and transport with nesting components.
Limited in terms of versatility and extras compared to more comprehensive kits.
The tether holding the components together may require occasional adjustments.

When venturing into the world of backpacking, two of the most paramount considerations are the weight and size of the gear you choose to carry. In this context, the UCO Mess Kit shines brightly, as it remarkably weighs in at a mere 0.8 pounds, making it one of the lightest options available. Furthermore, when you snap all its components together, it elegantly condenses into a compact unit measuring just three inches in width. These attributes alone set it apart as a top choice for backpackers seeking both convenience and efficiency in their gear.

The design of this kit is nothing short of ingenious. Its top/plate and bottom/bowl securely seal together, thanks to the presence of a silicone gasket, creating a reliable containment system for a collapsible cup. Additionally, clever tether straps on the exterior of the kit serve a dual purpose: they keep your utensils neatly in place, and they also provide a practical means for hang-drying all five pieces after you’ve given them a thorough wash.

During our comprehensive testing, we were particularly impressed by the rounded corners of the kit’s components. These thoughtful contours made the task of scooping up the last delicious morsels of any meal remarkably effortless. Such a feature proves invaluable when you find yourself hurriedly consuming a hearty bowl of morning oatmeal before embarking on a day of trail exploration. Moreover, with just the cup nestled inside, there’s ample extra space for accommodating those little spare odds and ends that can prove unexpectedly useful during your outdoor adventures.

Beyond its traditional use as a mess kit, this versatile ensemble excels as a container for meal preparation or mise en place as you embark on your culinary adventures in the great outdoors. And as a delightful bonus detail, the included cutlery is ingeniously designed to slide together, creating an extended utensil ideal for cooking or scooping into dehydrated meal bags. This added versatility elevates the kit to a whole new level of functionality, making it an indispensable companion for backpackers seeking both lightweight convenience and culinary creativity on the trail.

Best Price

Sea to Summit Alpha Lightweight Aluminum Nesting Camping Cookware Set

4.3 (33 ratings) $59.95
Alpha Set camp kitchen cook sets feature space-saving, lightweight designs versatile enough for solo adventurers or up to four campers
Exceptional design for both functionality and aesthetics.
Lightweight aluminum construction for durability without added weight.
Efficient heat distribution for gourmet cooking results.
Smart nesting design for space optimization and organization.
High-quality materials, including a nonstick surface and heat-resistant handles.
The premium quality of this cookware set may come with a higher price tag compared to budget options.
While it's lightweight, it may not be the most compact choice for ultralight backpackers.

Designed with practicality in mind, this cookware set is a straightforward, all-inclusive solution perfectly tailored for solo campers. It comprises a 1.2-liter anodized aluminum pot, a generously-sized bowl, and a mug complete with a koozie and a snug-fitting lid. Notably, the pot features a locking handle, allowing all the components to be securely nested inside it for effortless transportation. Remarkably, the entire kit weighs less than a pound, making it an excellent choice for solo backpackers looking to minimize their load.

The pot’s interior is thoughtfully designed to be non-abrasive, ensuring easy cleaning and rapid heating. Both the bowl and cup are constructed from BPA-free, glass-reinforced polypropylene, rendering them highly durable, capable of withstanding extensive use, and adaptable to a wide range of temperatures. The cup’s lid and koozie serve as protective measures for your hands, but it’s worth noting that both the corresponding lid and koozie must be fully removed in order to secure the kit. This no-frills cookware set combines practicality, efficiency, and durability, making it an excellent choice for the solo camper seeking simplicity and functionality.

Best Price

Stanley Adventure The Nesting Two Cup Cookset

4.7 (32262 ratings) $89.57
Manufactured using 18/8 stainless steel this cooking set is strong, scratch proof and rustproof No maintenance other than washing is required, making this cookware easy-to-use and reliable for every trip
Efficient and space-saving design for easy transport.
Durable stainless steel construction built to last.
Versatile components that can be used for drinking, eating, or cooking.
User-friendly folding handles for ease of use.
Compact and lightweight, ideal for backpackers and minimalists.
Limited in terms of cooking capacity and versatility compared to larger cooksets.
May not include additional features like lids or utensils.

This robust kit, hailing from the esteemed Stanley brand adored by editors, is a comprehensive package containing a generously sized boiling pot, a handy folding spatula, and a practical drying rack. Held together by a resilient bungee cord and featuring a clear stacking diagram etched on the lid, all the components seamlessly nestle together, resulting in a highly portable, albeit somewhat weighty, kit. Notably, the two cookware pieces in this kit are crafted from stainless steel and boast thick bottoms with aluminum cores, ensuring even heat distribution without any bothersome hot spots or unsightly discoloration.

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In addition to the essential cookware, this kit generously equips your base camp with an array of conveniences, including four sturdy BPA-free plates and bowls, a versatile trivet that doubles as a pot holder, a practical cutting board, a dependable drying rack, and a set of foldable utensils, featuring both a spatula and a spoon. We believe that this Stanley Cookset truly shines as an excellent choice for car camping expeditions, where the need for extensive portability is less pressing, given the proximity of your vehicle to the campsite table. What’s more, it boasts a design that resembles the cookware found in our home kitchens, earning it extra points for aesthetics along with its practicality.

Best Price

Light My Fire Camping Mess Kit

4.3 (237 ratings) $26.00
The lightweight and space-saving all-in-one compact picnic set for outdoor adventures and urban activities. Stackable camping dining set with elastic harness to keep the camping bowls and plates together and closed. Ideal as a lunchbox in the office and on the go - or when going camping and hiking. With the small containers you can bring a salad separated from the main meal or a handful of nuts and seeds. This set includes a Lunchbox cutlery and foldable cup.
Minimalistic and functional design for straightforward outdoor dining.
Compact and lightweight, ideal for minimalists and backpackers.
Essential components, including a spork, for basic dining needs.
Durable and BPA-free materials for safe outdoor use.
Easy to clean, saving you time and effort.
Limited in terms of versatility compared to more extensive mess kits.
May not include additional features like insulated handles or nonstick surfaces.

This remarkably lightweight mess kit is a versatile choice not only for camping but also for seamless use on day trips and enjoyable picnics in the park. Available in a variety of charming colors, it serves a dual purpose as a bento box. Alongside its lidded plate and bowl, this kit impressively includes two airtight containers and a collapsible cup, allowing you to pack a diverse and satisfying meal without the concern of ingredients mingling or space running out in your picnic basket.

After you’ve savored your snacks, simply stack all the empty components together and secure the entire set with the provided harness for an effortlessly compact carry. Each unit included in this kit is crafted from environmentally-friendly bioplastic and incorporates recycled materials, effectively reducing the kit’s carbon footprint and allowing you to relish the outdoors without any eco-concerns. What’s more, this mess kit is dishwasher- and microwave-safe, making it equally suitable for packing lunches or serving as food storage containers at home. Its multifunctionality, eco-conscious design, and user-friendly features make it a stellar choice for a wide range of culinary adventures, both in the great outdoors and in your everyday life.

Best Price

GSI OutdoorsGSI Outdoors

4.5 (190 ratings) $89.95
This 3-piece stainless steel cookware set is ideal for cooking for a group of four, or more! Includes: 3 L Pot, 2 L Pot, 2 Strainer Lids, 8' Fry Pan, Stuff Sack
Hardy stainless steel construction makes this GSI kit a great option for cooking on top of nearly any fuel source.
There is no dinnerware or flatware included in this set.

This trio of premium-grade stainless steel pots and pans boasts rust-proof durability and versatile cooking capabilities, suitable for use over an open fire, hot coals, or a portable camping stove. While this cookware may be thinner than the stainless steel pots and pans found in your home kitchen, it surprises with its remarkable resilience. The fry pan, in particular, stands out with its sturdy, heat-protected handle, ensuring it won’t buckle or fold as you expertly flip bacon and eggs. Additionally, the inclusion of heatproof pot holders in the lids proves to be quite handy, simplifying the process of straining liquids while cooking in the great outdoors.

One of the standout features of this set is its stackable and interlocking design, facilitating effortless transport without the usual clattering noise associated with some other kits during transit. For those who place a high premium on enjoying well-prepared meals while exploring the outdoors, this cookware set will undoubtedly exceed expectations. Remarkably, despite its impressive durability and functionality, the entire set weighs in at under three pounds, making it a superb choice for those who value quality, lightweight cookware for their outdoor culinary adventures.

In conclusion, choosing the best camping mess kit is essential for outdoor enthusiasts seeking convenient and efficient meal preparation in the wilderness. These kits are designed to streamline cooking and dining experiences during camping trips. We’ve highlighted top options, but the ideal kit depends on factors like your camping style, group size, and personal preferences.

Consider weight, durability, and the number of components when making your selection. Some kits are better suited for car camping, while others are designed for lightweight backpacking.

By prioritizing functionality and quality, you can find the perfect mess kit to enhance your outdoor cooking adventures. So, happy camping and enjoy your meals in the great outdoors!

Head of Sales for Hospitality Supplies at
I'm Kelly Atkinson, with a passion for dissecting the world of home goods. My reviews stem from thorough testing and a love for sharing detailed insights. Each piece I write offers a glimpse into my explorative journey, aiming to guide readers to informed choices with authenticity and precision, making every review a blend of exploration and expertise.
Production Manager of The Dinner Dude Division at |
I'm Mark Zoch, a culinary expert, Production Manager at Hana Hotel Travel Company, and the proud founder of "The Dinner Dude." My journey, shaped by personal and familial health struggles, has also led me to become a renowned health coach in Houston, where I'm dedicated to transforming lives through tailored nutrition and wellness programs.
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