Different Types of Camping Cookware

Cook potThere are many different types of camping cookware. They come in different shapes and sizes and they’re made from lots of different materials. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, choosing the right cookware can be a little overwhelming. Here’s a quick look at the different cookware materials, and some of the different types of cookware to help you get started.

First, are the different cookware materials.

Cast iron is very heavy, yet extremely durable. If you keep a cast iron pan dry and properly oiled, it can last for generations. Cast iron cookware is usually easy to clean, but you must clean immediately after use. Although cast iron pans take a while to heat up, they retain heat well and distribute heat evenly.

Titanium is the lightest cookware option, but that comes at a price. Literally. Titanium is the most expensive option for camping cookware. Unlike cast iron, titanium heats up very quickly and cools quickly. Unfortunately, titanium cookware can be overheated, and it doesn’t distribute heat evenly. If a pan doesn’t heat evenly, you might develop hot spots. This isn’t much of an issue boiling water, but can create problems when cooking food.

Aluminum is super cheap and pretty lightweight. Aluminum pans are good conductors of heat, but the biggest downside is that aluminum is not very durable. It burns, bends, and breaks fairly easily. Aluminum cookware shouldn’t be used to cook acidic foods (like tomatoes or citrus fruits), as aluminum reacts to acids.

Anodized aluminum is hard to beat. It’s durable, lightweight, reasonably priced, easy to clean, and heats evenly. Unlike regular aluminum, anodized aluminum cookware is non-reactive, which means you don’t have to be careful about what foods you cook. There are virtually no downsides to anodized aluminum. If you want a workhorse cook set that you don’t have to fret over, anodized aluminum is the way to go.

Stainless steel  is more expensive than aluminum but also more durable. Stainless steel cookware doesn’t do the greatest job at heat distribution, and it’s heavier than other lightweight cookware options.

In addition to different cookware materials, there are many different types of outdoor cookware. There are more basic types of cookware like small cook pots for boiling water and skillets for general cooking, but there are also more specialized types of cookware for outdoor gourmets like woks, dutch ovens, and giant stock pots for big groups.

So how do you choose the right type of cookware and the right material? It all depends on your budget, habits, and the type of camp cooking that you do.

A big cast iron dutch oven is fine if you’re car camping, but it’s not really practical for backpacking. Backpackers will typically opt for things like self-contained cooking systems, space saver pots and pans, or mess kits. Self-contained cook sets typically come with a large pot that can contain the stove and fuel. They will sometimes include a dish or a small fry pan.

Also an ultralight backpacker that gets out every weekend will probably be more willing to shell out big bucks for a titanium cook set, than a car camper who gets out 6 times a year. That casual camper will be able to get by with a heavier, more affordable option like a cast iron skillet.

Have any questions? Leave us a comment or stop by the store to check out our selection of camp cookware!

One Comment

  1. […] your cookware and how it will work with your stove. Different types of cookware perform differently. For example, titanium doesn’t distribute heat evenly, and a stove with a focused burner will […]

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