No idea where to start for that new camping mess kit? Worry not, for here we are to be of assistance. This list of the finest camping mess kits is based on our extensive research of the industry.
Before purchasing a mess kit, there are a few things you should know about them.
- Materials for a mess kit. How about stainless steel, plastic, or aluminum as a material? There are advantages and disadvantages to each material, so choose the one that best suits your camping needs.
- Check for the number of utensils you will require. There are mess kits for lone campers, as well as mess kits for groups of more than four people to cook together.
- One of the important factors to consider is the size and weight. Naturally, this is vital for hikers, but you’ll also want something that’s compact while you’re loading for your car.
So, load up your cooler and let’s have some wonderful food at the campsite.
What is a camping mess kit?
If you’re going camping, boating, or hiking, a mess kit is just culinary equipment or accessory that makes life more convenient and comfortable.
Best Mess Kits for Camping – Backpacking
UCO 6-Piece Mess Kit
- Mess kit for camping, backpacking, scouting, and meals on-the-go; includes plate, bowl, camp cup, two-piece Switch Spork utensil set, and tether for securing kit and contents
- For meal storage and transport, the bowl and plate connect with an airtight seal; collapsible camp cup stows inside kit; included tether secures spork and keeps kit contents contained
- Two-piece Switch Spork set features a dedicated fork, knife, and spoon; , or connects together to form an extra long utensil; made from durable reinforced glass nylon
- Bowl and plate have rubberized grips on the bottom to prevent slippage on tabletop while eating
- Dishwasher and microwave-safe
- Utensils: 6
- Material : Polypropylene / Thermoplastic elastomer / Glass-filled Nylon
For those on a budget who also want something practical, the UCO 6-Piece Mess Kit is the ideal camping mess kit. Dunk-Hang-Bundle design makes it ultra-durable and compact, as well as simple to clean.
This six-piece kit builds on UCO’s previous four- and five-piece kits. The two-piece extended Switch Spork, which you’ll likely use for most meals, is a new addition to this package. This kit does not come with any pots and pans.
Additionally, the UCO 6-Piece Mess Kit comes in a variety of attractive colors.
- Justifiable price
- The cup can be collapsed into a small space.
- Sturdy utensils
- Pots and pans are not included and must be bought separately
- It’s easy to spill things. Some customers mentioned that it can be difficult to hold onto the container that doubles as a dish and bowl.
Overmont Camping Mess Kit
- Utensils: 15
- Material: Aluminum
When it comes to camping mess kits, you can’t go wrong with the Overmont Camping Mess Kit if you don’t already own one. Considering the price, when it comes to utensils, pots, and pans, you’ll have it all ready for your camping dinners!
This kit is designed for up to three people, so what’s included in it? In the box, you’ll find three plastic bowls and an unbreakable aluminum cutlery set. The kettle, cooking pot, and frying pan are our favorites. Their anodized aluminum construction helps them heat up faster.
One of the set’s drawbacks has been its cleaning difficulty. In order to remove burnt food, you may have to soak your cookware in hot, soapy water for several hours. However, this Overmont mess kit is a winner in every other aspect.
- The best value for your money. Competitive price for a 15-piece set.
- Everything is included, as well as extras. So
- Difficult to clean, especially when preparing greasy food.
GSI Outdoors Glacier 1-Person Mess Kit
- FEAST IN THE FOREST: This fully loaded kit comes with everything you need for cooking on the go, featuring a 6.3 inch fry pan with a folding handle, a 1 Liter Pot, bowl, cup, and a convenient sack for easy packing.
- DURABLE DESIGN: Made from heavy-duty, clad 304 (18/8) stainless steel, this insanely durable cookset has a rust proof finish that keeps its shine and handles years of outdoor use.
- COMPACT AND CONVENIENT: Weighing only 17.4 ounces, this set can be packed down to just 6.7 in x 6.6 in x 3.5 inches, nesting together to fit in the included mesh stuff sack for easy transport to take on the go, perfect for one person.
- COOK LIKE A CHEF: Safe to use on the stove, on coals or over open flame, while providing even, controlled heat. Dishwasher safe, fully recyclable, and BPA, PFOA and Phthalate-free!
- LIFETIME PROMISE: GSI Outdoors spent over 30 years building quality, performance products and stands behind them 100%. GSI Outdoors warranties all products for the original owner against manufacturing defects for the lifetime of the product.
- Utensils: 4
- Material : Stainless steel / Silicone / Polypropylene
The GSI Outdoors Glacier mess kit is designed for solo campers and backpackers, and it’s as simple as it gets. It is made of 18/8 stainless steel and is incredibly durable.
It’s crucial to note that some consumers have claimed that the pan takes a considerable amount of time to heat up. It is quite convenient that this mess kit rolls up when it is stashed away.
Keep in mind that there is no locking mechanism to keep it all in place. It comes with a mesh bag that you can use to store it in. This mess kit from GSI Outdoors doesn’t have a lot of bling on it. You’ll need to wait for the pan to heat up before you can start cooking and eating.
- This is the perfect tent for a lone camper. As a result of its lightweight and compact design, it is ideal if you’re traveling alone.
- It takes a long time to heat up.
MSR Quick 2 System Cookset
- Two-person backpacking cookset is lightweight (1 pound 12 ounces), compact (packed size 7.75 x 5 inches), and efficient for backcountry trips
- Includes 1.5L hard-anodized non-stick aluminum pot, 2.5L hard-anodized aluminum pot, strainer lid, 2 deep dish plates, 2 insulated mugs, pot handle
- Camp cookware features a smaller non-stick coated pot for sauces and simmers, and a larger uncoated pot for boiling water and meal prep
- Polypropylene deep-dish plates can accommodate any meal, and 12.5-ounce mugs are insulated with sip-thru lids; plates and mugs are color-coded
- All cook set components nest within the 2.5L pot for easy packing; set can be adapted to size of group and length of trip
The MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set is the ideal mess kit for camping duos.
There are two non-stick pots (2.5L and 1.5L) with a strainer lid, two deep dish plates, two insulated mugs, and a removable pot handle. As a result of the set’s compact design, everything can be stored and transported in the 2.5L cooking pot.
The entire set weighs only 1 pound 12 ounces because everything is made of lightweight materials. This makes it ideal for long camping trips and backpacking. This kit is easy to store in any bag.
Here are some great daypacks for every occasion, in case you forgot!
Most suitable for: Campers who desire a multipurpose mess kit that can be utilized for large meals.
- Perfectly-fitted 7 components
- The lid can also be a strainer
- 2.5 liters pot capacity for large servings
- Lightweight aluminum pots, heat-resistant plastic plates, cups, and strainers
- Pots can also be used as bowls.
- Double-walled insulated mugs keep hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold, respectively.
- Non-removable handle for the pots
MSR 2-Person Mess Kit
- Includes 2 Insulated Mugs, 2 Deep Dish Bowls, 2 Folding Sporks, Mesh Bag
- Two color matched folding utensils
- Contained in a breathable mesh storage bag
- Utensils: 6
- Material: Polypropylene
As a two-person mess kit, the MSR 2-Person Mess Kit is perfect for you and a buddy or partner. During storage, the first thing we noted was how compact this kit is. There’s also a mesh bag that keeps everything together, including a huge 10oz cup.
As they carry around three cups of liquid, they are ideal for soups and stews. A few campers dislike plastic mugs, but that’s a matter of personal preference, not need. It’s nevertheless sturdy and can handle both cold and hot beverages.
MSR’s mess kit is a great value, especially for couples who like to camp together.
- Lightweight. A must-have camping item for backpackers.
- 10 oz mug
- Bowl is a little too small.
Sea to Summit Delta Camp Set
- Utensils : 6
- Material: Glass-reinforced Polypropylene
The Sea to Summit Delta Camp Set is a robust, lightweight mess kit that is very easy to clean. One of the most striking features is the two different color options available.
There are vivid blue and orange colors to select from. If the mess kit doesn’t work, color is merely a beautiful bonus. As a result, many campers feel that this is an excellent set of gear.
Although the handle of the pan becomes hot, it is just 10.5oz in weight, and the plate and bowl are plenty big. However, don’t expect the knife to cut through a thick steak.
Sea to Summit did a good job of designing the plate with a tall lip on it. Which makes it a whole lot better.
- Compact. In a mesh bag, it fits into a little piece.
- Dishwasher-friendly. Nice to have when getting back from a camping trip.
- Features two bright colors. You can choose between bright orange or bright blue.
- A bit on the pricey side. Rivals the price of 10 and 12-piece mess kits.
MalloMe Camping Mess Kit
- Utensils : 10
- Material : Aluminum
Lightweight and durable, with cleaning equipment included, The MalloMe provides everything you need and more. An anodized aluminum nonstick pan is included in the 10-piece set, which compresses into a circular form that fits inside a mesh bag that weighs a measly 1.6lbs.
The wooden spoon, which can be used both for cooking and cleaning, and the sponge, which is really handy, are two of our favorite things about this set. Trivial, but the handle of a spatula can be a bit cumbersome to fold away.
MalloMe Camping Mess Kit is a great option if you require pans with your mess kit.
- This is a great deal. It’s a steal to get a 10-piece aluminum set for this price.
- A cleaning sponge is included.
- Non-toxic, durable, and long-lasting anodized metal
- Too small of a size for an average mess kit.
GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Mess Kit
- Tough in any terrain: The Bugaboo Mess Kit's included pot and frypan are coated with Teflon Classic for amazing non-stick performance.
- Compact camping: The easy-packing, nesting design includes a dual-use frypan/lid, cup, and bowl. Everything you need for your next adventure.
- Can handle anything: Features the exclusive DiamondBack Gripper that locks on to exterior brackets to make cooking a breeze. While cooking over a campfire we suggest removing the handle, since it can get really hot.
- Adventure ready: The Bugaboo Mess Kit weighs only 16.7 ounces and includes a mesh bag to take everything with you.
- It's all about the outdoors: In 1985 three siblings motivated by their love for the outdoors founded the camping and backcountry cookware company GSI Outdoors. Three decades later GSI continues to bring quality cookware to outdoor lovers everywhere.
- Utensils : 4
- Material : Aluminum / Polypropylene
Its longevity and usability have been proven by campers who have used the GSI Outdoors Bugaboo mess kit for more than 20 years. Nonstick coating is applied in two layers, preventing scratches and extending the life of the pot and pan. Each of the two bowls is fashioned from high-strength plastic.
There’s a lot to like about this mess kit, including its weight. Being so light at just shy over 1lbs, it’s great for backpackers. Only a few campers have complained about the gripper on the pot handle.
Bugaboo Mess Kit is easy to clean, according to campers who have used it.
- Weighs only 1 lb.
- Large pot.
- Cutting-edge design. As a bonus, the pan also serves as the pot’s lid.
- It’s a bit of a stumbling block because of its handle. When using the pan, be cautious. It takes some getting used to the handling.
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Backpacker Cookset
- Cooking & mess kit: 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
- All in one: Includes 4 plates, 4 insulated mugs and sip-it tops and sleeves, 4 bowls, 2L pot with strainer lid, 3L pot with strainer lid, fry pan, folding handle and stuff sack/wash basin
- Non-stick cookware: The durable, anodized aluminum pots and pan are coated with Teflon Radiance non-stick technology; Spiral turned base grips stove/grill arms securely
- Durable dish set: Plates, bowls and mugs made from durable Infinity Clear Polypropylene that’ll last for many adventures to come; Color-coded for each person
- Smart design: Folding, removable handle locks securely onto exterior brackets of pots and pan; Crushproof, heat-resistant strainer lids and silicone rings won’t deform when packed
The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Backpacker Nesting Cook Set is another choice if you’re just taking two people on your vacation. With this package, you get a 2-liter pot and an 8-inch fry pan with a folding handle, as well as a waterproof stuff/sink bag.
Although there’s just one pot (while the MSR kit includes two), which is pretty much everything you’ll need to cook.
The waterproof sack stands out. As a dish rack, it doubles as a convenient grip for transporting and a place to wash your dishes comfortably.
Best for: Smaller parties (two people) that want to cook a range of cuisines can benefit from this piece.
- The waterproof stuff sack that you can use as a sink.
- Everything fits neatly into the huge pot for simple storage and transportation.
- Teflon surface for the pot and the pan for even heat distribution.
- Insulated cups allow you to enjoy hot tea or coffee even when on the road.
- The lid can also be used as a strainer.
- The pot and pan only have one handle. It can be difficult to cook with both at the same time.
Light My Fire MessKit BIO
- A CONVENIENT TRAVEL CUTLERY SET - 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.
- TIGHTLY CLOSED FOOD CONTAINERS & PRACTICAL TRAVEL CUTLERY - The three different containers in this camping plate and utensil set can be safely closed. This reusable cutlery set is ideal when preparing a picnic with your family or when preparing your lunch box meal for work. The light weight also makes this travel mess kit fit perfectly in your hiking set.
- CAMPING SET MADE OF BIO BASED PLASTICS FROM PLANTS - The picnic plate, food containers and camping cutlery in this mess kit is entirely made of plastics from plants. It is an excellent substitute to fossil fuel based mess kits. Light My Fire's tableware for camping are all made in Sweden in our own factory and the plastic material used is always bio based. The plastic is always 100% BPA free which makes the perfect mess kits for scouts and for your kids lunch box for school.
- PACKAGE CONTENT - Picnic cutlery set "MEALKIT 8 Pcs" - Including: 1 x plate / lid 16.9 Oz, 1 x bowl 30.4 Oz, 2 x airtight storage containers with lid (5.7 Oz / 10.8 Oz), 1 x Spork Light My Fire, 1 x harness, 1x cutting board, 1x foldable cup. Microwave and dishwasher safe. 100% reusable camping eating set made of bio-based plastic and is 100% BPA free. The only mess kit you'll ever need. The camping gear set is microwave and dishwasher safe.
- A TRAVEL CUTLERY KIT PRODUCED IN SWEDEN - Light My Fire is a Swedish brand that creates camping accessories that reconnect us with nature, wherever we are. No matter which product you choose, its design, color and function are just as attractive and work in the city as in the wild. All plastic parts are made from bio-based plastics - for a more sustainable future. Light My Fire produces all their camping mess kits, fire starters and cooking and eating utensils in their facility in Sweden.
- Utensils : 8
- Material: Bio-based plastics
A fantastic option for individuals who prefer eco-friendly items is the Light My Fire MessKit BIO. The set comes with a lid/plate, a bowl/plate with a deep bottom, a pack-up cup of 8 ounces, and a Light My Fire Spork Original BIO.
What we appreciate most about this mess kit is the rubber belt that helps you to keep everything together. It can be used as a lunchbox if you place food in it and then attach the rubber harness to the top of everything.
Others claimed that the lock wasn’t secure enough, although it should be good for dry foods. Light My Fire Mess Kit is a must-have if you’re concerned about the environment.
- Compact. Easy to carry.
- Multiple color variants. Hazy blue, sandy green, or rusty orange.
- Eco-friendly. Reusable, bio-based plastics.
- Quite heavy.
- The cup is not that impressive.
Coleman Stainless Steel Mess Kit
- Made of the highest quality materials
- Camping cooking supplies cookware
- Another quality Coleman product
- Utensils : 5
- Material: Stainless Steel
Coleman products are a must-have on any camping gear list. Meet the Coleman Mess Kit.
With Coleman, you’re getting a piece of gear that’s built to survive for years, if not decades. It’s not the prettiest mess kit, but it’s a tool intended to help you consume your food, so it’s not a huge issue. When cooking, it can get quite hot because of its stainless steel body.
Since it’s so durable, it’s somewhat heavy. Therefore it’s better suited for typical camping than backpacking. The Coleman Stainless Steel Mess Kit comes with a mesh bag for storing and drying after cleaning, just like most of the other mess kits on this list.
- Affordable. For the price, this five-piece set is a steal.
- Versatile. Using the locking handle, the pot can be transformed into a frying pan.
- Renowned brand all over the United States.
- Difficult to remove burnt food residue.
Camping Mess Kits Buying Guide
To make the most out of your mess kit, it’s vital to understand a few of the technical parameters. Use this advice to help you make a more educated choice.
Types of Mess Kits
Minimalist: Most of these kits are made for one person. Most of the time, they have a tiny pan, a small pot, and maybe a cup with them while cooking. A basic dinner can be prepared and eaten using just a few ingredients. Kits of this type are easy to use, compact, and reasonably inexpensive.
Cook Kits: In these, the emphasis is on the cookware, but there is still a way of eating provided. Whether it’s a pot lid that transforms into a plate or a basic plastic bowl, the possibilities are not just a few.
Eating Kits: There are certain mess kits that focus solely on eating. It’s possible that they don’t have pots and pans but instead provide plates and utensils in a variety of sizes. These are perfect for folks who already have cookware or for people who will be camping with large parties, and meals will be pre-made before they arrive at the campsite.
All-Inclusive: Everything you ever need and more is included in these mess kits, whether for cooking or eating. This type of gear is often enormous and hefty, is often made for large parties, and is more fitted for camping than backpacking.
Cooking Set Up
If you’re aiming for the perfect mess kit, it should be one that is compatible with your camp cooking set-up. Use flat-bottomed pots and pans if you’re going automobile camping.
Trekking small stoves are the ideal camp mess kit for backcountry backpacking expeditions. Campfire mess kits are necessary for cooking over an open fire.
Mess kit materials
Various materials are used to make mess kits. Each material has advantages and disadvantages that must be considered before purchasing. The following are some of the most popular ones.
1. Anodized aluminum
It’s impossible to go wrong with anodized metal when it comes to even cooking. A chunk of your food won’t burn because of its well-balanced feature.
Aluminum mess kits, like the MalloMe Camping Mess Kit, are a good compromise between weight and durability. It’s unlikely that you’ll take it on a backpacking trip, though.
2. Stainless steel
Coleman Stainless Steel Mess Kit, with its stainless steel construction, makes it a wonderful choice for first-time campers as well as seasoned campers alike.
It’s heavy, therefore it’s not a suitable alternative for backpackers. If you’re using stainless steel pots and pans, make sure they’re placed on the heat evenly to avoid hot areas.
3. Thermoplastic (Polypropylene)
When it comes to thermoplastic mess kits, weight is a major advantage. These mess kits, like the MSR 2-Person Mess Kit, are built from a material called polypropylene. It is exceptionally lightweight, making it ideal for travelers.
Years ago, durability was probably more of an issue, but the engineering of this material has improved significantly. After a few years of camping, your thermoplastic mess kit may have some severe wear, but it will still serve its job.
A few campers may wonder if this material is safe when heated. In general, polypropylene isn’t harmful.
In a mess kit, you’ll find silicone primarily in the cup. The Glacier Stainless 1-Person Mess Kit from GSI Outdoors is a perfect example of this concept in action. You’ll also find it used for kitchenware, although rarely for direct-heat pots and pans.
Number of people and utensils
Make sure your mess kit is built for the proper number of people before you buy it.
A mess kit for yourself? Looking for an entire group of friends?
You’ll need a larger set, such as the Overmont Camping Mess Kit, which has 15 parts.
For the most part, kits are designed for a single user only. To save money and for efficiency, each camper should have its own mess kit, which costs about $20 to $30 on average.
Overall size and weight
In addition, the overall weight of a mess kit will be determined by the material used.
Packability, on the other hand, is a function of the product’s design and construction.
A fantastic example of this is the Light My Fire MessKit BIO. For a morning hike, it can also be used as a lunchbox if you wish to bring a meal you prepared at the campsite with you.
In order to travel light, you’ll want a mess kit constructed of polypropylene due to its lightweight feature.
In addition to the essentials, many camping mess kits include extras that come in useful when cooking outside. Cleaning supplies, a travel bag, and nice-to-have accessories like fire starters and bottle openers are typical extras that are included. If this is your first time assembling a camp kitchen, you may find that a set with a lot of extras is more useful.
Camping mess kits provide outdoor enthusiasts a practical and easy way to prepare meals. As a result of their compact and lightweight design, these kits are easy to pack and transport. Giving credit and appreciation to any additional features that make life easier.
Accessories, multipurpose pieces, and warranties are all great and convenient features.
You’ll want to pay attention to the construction of the pieces in the mess kit you’re eyeing. You want items that are durable and safe to use. Material and coating are the first things to consider, as we’ve covered previously.
Choose non-toxic and BPA-free cookware. Food and utensils used in the kitchen should also be heat-resistant.
You can find any camping kitchen set for any budget. Buying a cheap outdoor cooking set allows you to go on adventures without spending a lot of money. There are also many possibilities if you want to invest in a very high-quality set that will last a lifetime.
Cleaning your mess kit
The bottom of your pot or pan is usually a burnt mess after you’ve completed cooking. To clean, follow these steps:
- Soak it in water for a few minutes.
- Scrape out some residue.
- Add sand to the pot.
- Dirt is an excellent abrasive. Scrub the surfaces vigorously.
- Add 2-3 drops of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, wash, and rinse thoroughly.
Downsides of an aluminum mess kit
Aluminum material is a good choice for a mess kit. But there are some drawbacks to it due to some consumer complaints. Let us start off with some of its good points. Aluminum mess kits are fantastic because they’re inexpensive and lightweight, and they do the job well.
Although they’re not cutting-edge technology, they’re a good choice for beginners or those on a budget. Aluminum is more prone to scratching than stainless steel or titanium, so be careful when cleaning. In the next section on cleaning, you’ll find further information.
When it comes to ultralight travelers or those who want the greatest technology, aluminum mess kits don’t cut it. If you are looking for a sturdy, lightweight, and highly-reliable material, titanium is your best bet. Generally, titanium or silicone-based cutlery, bowls, and plates work well.
Having said that, there’s no reason to shun aluminum if it’s right for what you have in mind! The possible toxicity of aluminum is a concern for some people.
Skillets and pot sizes
For the most part, camping cookware sets have smaller skillets and pots than a regular house skillet and stove pot. These are the most common sizes:
- 5.9 inches
- 6 inches
- 6.5 inches
With its handle not included. Measurement is from one end of the skillet to the other. Most of them are between 1.5 to 3 inches in depth. Because your mess kit is unlikely to have a pot stand, this is a necessary addition to your camping pot.
Why do I need a mess kit?
Mess kits consist of lightweight cooking and eating equipment that is intended to fit well together for convenience when transporting. Cooking and serving food is a necessity when camping, so you’ll want a mess kit that has everything you need to make and serve food.
What are the contents of a standard mess kit?
In addition to a tiny camp stove, a small pot with a lid, and a frying pan, mess kits typically include folding spoons and sporks, bowls, mugs, wooden ladles, a cleaning sponge, and a carry bag for the mess kit.
What are the usual sizes of pots included in the mess kit?
Dish sets typically come with smaller containers than those seen in a conventional household kitchen. 5.9-inch, 6-inch, or 6.5-inch pots with 1.5-to-3-inch depths are the most common sizes in mess kits. 1-3 liters is the normal capacity of these containers.
How do you clean a mess kit?
As soon as you’ve finished cooking and eating, make sure to clean up and dry your mess kit. In most mess kits, you’ll find a non-abrasive sponge to clean with. Consider using biodegradable dish soap, also.
Are mess kits safe for the dishwasher?
Dishwasher-safe mess kits are common, although some aren’t. You can confirm if the kit is safe for the dishwasher by reading the packaging because manufacturers specify it on the label most of the time.
What is the best way to pack and carry a mess kit?
The components of a mess kit are intended to fit together for easy storage and carrying. There are also packing instructions included in the product manual. The kit should be carried close to your back if you have an external frame.
On top of your backpack, you can store your gear. This will result in a more even distribution of weight throughout.
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