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Camping Cookware

When you camp in the great outdoors, you need cooking equipment. Although you can bring pots and pans from the kitchen, that may not be the best choice. If it has to go into a backpack, your kitchen wear might be too heavy and bulky. And even if you are just carrying them from the car to the campsite, do you really want to risk damaging your good pots and pans while cooking outdoors?

A lot of people purchase a separate set of cookware just for camping but what to buy depends on the type of camping you do. Here are things to consider:

  • Camping cookware is made in a variety of materials from the traditional over-the-fire cast iron to the newer titanium. Each has its advantages.
    • Cast iron is extremely rugged and cooks evenly but is very heavy.
    • Aluminum is much lighter but dents/scratches easily
    • Stainless steel is tougher and more dent/scratch resistant but may not conduct heat uniformly
    • Titanium is very light and tough but is expensive
  • More important to the backpacker than others, multiple uses of an item means fewer items and less weight to carry. Look for pot/pans that can serve as mixing bowls and lids that can be used as plates. Interchangeable handles or pot lifters instead of regular handles are a good idea.
  • You can buy cookware in sets or as individual pieces. Sets can be the basic plate, cup, skillet, and pot ensemble up to the gourmet sets with coffeemakers and outdoor ovens. Advantages to buying a set are the items are made to “nest together” for compact storage (and may even include space for a camping stove) and are usually less expensive than buying individual pieces. However, the sets may not include specific types of cookware you need/want for the meals you will be preparing, so you may want to supplement the cooking set or just buy items you want individually.

Other features to consider are nonstick coatings for easier clean-up, insulated handles so you don’t burn yourself on hot handles, and lids for each pot/pan for quicker cooking and less fuel consumption.

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