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11 Best Mess Kits: Your Buyer’s Guide

mess kit

123RF (kaninstudio)

A reliable mess kit is a staple piece of equipment in every backpacker’s gear locker. When traveling or trekking as light as possible, owning cooking ware that’s both lightweight and highly packable yet still fully inclusive with all the utensils, pots, and pans you need is not just a luxury — it’s a necessity.

Fortunately, there are a ton of awesome mess kit options available on the market that are exceptionally lightweight and compact, as well as some more inclusive, robust options for car camping. Our top list has tracked down some seriously righteous mess kit options for all campers that you’ll no doubt be impressed with.

Whether you’re preparing for a road trip and want to bring along a proper camp kitchen or are embarking on a backpacking trek where every ounce and square inch in your backpack is precious, we’ve got you covered with some versatile and dependable mess kit options for every context!

What Are The Best Mess Kits?

gsi outdoors mess kit Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Excellent solo camper option
  • Great set for fuel conservation
  • Minimalist, aluminum design
Price: $94.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
pinnacle backpacker gsi outdoors Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great for more intensive camp meals
  • Can stash a micro fuel canister within
  • Three layered coating on the cook ware
Price: $99.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
gsi outdoors mess kit Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Sip through lids
  • Halulite is an excellent heat conductor
  • 1.4 liter pot
Price: $165.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
stanley mess kit Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Vented nylon lid acts as a strainer
  • Mug/bowl has volumetric markings
  • 18/8 stainless steel is BPA free
Price: $25.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Scratch resistant, rustproof 18/8 Stainless Steel construction
  • Multi-layer base on frying pan creates even heating
  • Includes a prep kit for some assistance meal-making and also a dish drying rack!
Price: $90.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
GSI Outdoors Stainless Base Camper Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 3-Piece stainless steel cookware set for cooking for a group of four, or more
  • Multiple sizes available - all built with a compact nesting design (large is 9 by 9 by 6 inches)
  • Safe to use on the stove or over coals
Price: $87.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
gsi outdoors bugaboo mess kit Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Three different sizes available
  • Strainer lid
  • Teflon coated for easy clean up
Price: $89.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Impressive 1.5 total weight for the level of inclusiveness
  • Cooking components are built from solid aluminum oxide which is inherently scratch-resistant and high heat
  • Nests and packs down to just 3.5 by 6.75 inches!
Price: $39.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
mallome mess kit Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Highly affordable, budget option
  • Cleans up easily
  • Just 14 ounces
Price: $19.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
solo stove mess kit Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Suitable for cooking directly over open flame
  • Lightweight design (23 ounces) for the pot volume
  • 304 stainless steel heats controlled and evenly
Price: $64.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Primus LiTech Pot Set Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Impressively packable
  • Great for cooking pasta!
  • Hard-anodized aluminum is ultralight and durable
Price: $110.15 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Best Minimalist Solo Mess Kit: GSI Outdoors Unisex Pinnacle Soloist Cook and Eat Set

    • Superior craftsmenship makes this one of the best solo mess kit options on the market
    • Minimalist, aluminum design keeps this set exceptionally lightweight at just 10.8 ounces
    • Cooks quickly and evenly so you can maximize the life of your fuel
    • 1.1 liter pot is fairly large for solo use meaning you can make some hearty meals for yourself after those particularly long days on the trail
    • The aluminum of this set is pretty thin in order for it to achieve its lightweight - it’s built tough but be careful not to ding this one up
    • Fairly expensive for a solo kit - but you’re paying for quality
    • Complaints about the included spork

    Here’s one of the top quality mess kits available for solo use. The Pinnacle Solist Cook and Eat set from GSI Outdoors is very comparable to their Halulite Microdualist cook set, but even more lightweight and compact.

    At just 10.8 ounces this is a minimalist mess kit that won’t weigh you down. There’s nothing included here that you don’t need, it’s a minimalist mess kit that includes the essentials and the essentials only.

    A 1.1 liter non-stick hard-anodized aluminum pot, 14-ounce bowl/mug, and a Lexan lid that operates as both a pot cover and sip-through lid provide you with everything you need for camp meals without including anything excessive. The pot’s folding handle is both built durably and also secures the mess kit together when fully collapsed.

    The included stuff sack also doubles as a washbasin – it’s a mindfully designed kit overall that covers all the bases. GSI Outdoors has also included a nice quality spork with this set so all you really need in order to attain ALL the camp kitchen accessories is a camping or hiking knife.

    A small fuel canister can fit inside this kit when fully nested which is always appreciated. Some camping reviews also insist a pocket rocket stove can fit within this set as well – but it depends on the size of the unit you’re using. If you have a separate place to stash your fuel, you can fit some additional camp cutlery or perhaps a compact fire-making kit within the Pinnacle set.

    For the serious solo backpacker who has a passion for top-notch gear, the Pinnacle cook set is no doubt worth checking out.

    VideoVideo related to best minimalist solo mess kit: gsi outdoors unisex pinnacle soloist cook and eat set2018-10-16T13:19:24-04:00
  2. 2. Best Inclusive Cook Set for Backpacking Pairs: GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Backpacker, Nesting Cook Set

    • Awesome array of cooking ware for preparing some pretty involved meals while in the backcountry
    • Excellent, highly inclusive design for backpacking pairs that doesn’t exceed and unreasonable weight or packable size
    • Even when fully nested there’s space to stash a micro fuel canister or ultralight stove
    • Three layered coating on the cooking ware makes this unit exceptionally durable — this is one tough mess kit
    • There’s no cutlery included - check out GSI Outdoor’s Kitchen Set to fill in the blanks of your camp kitchen
    • There’s more here than you NEED for a back country mess kit - but it’s a matter of preference
    • Fairly expensive option

    Here’s a killer mess kit for backpacking or camping pairs that has everything you need and more without exceeding an unreasonable size or weight.

    The Pinnacle Backpacker Cook Set is an awesome option for solo or two person use that allows you to cook with some creative freedom without crossing the cumbersome, “not-so-packable” threshold.

    GSI Outdoors describes this set as being fully equipped for two “gourmet backpackers”. There’s definitely more compact, lighter mess kits available that have everything you need, but this set is certainly more pleasurable and easier to cook with than most highly packable units. It’s always nice to have a little extra pan space and pot volume if your backpack allows for it – this is one of the best-designed units for achieving exactly that!

    This set includes a non-stick Teflon coated two-liter pot with a nylon strainer lid, an eight-inch pan, two insulated mugs, two bowls, two sip through lids and a collapsible pot handle. Everything nests beautifully into the waterproof, welded stuff sack which also doubles as a sink for washing everything after meals.

    It’s a pretty dam ingenious design – but that’s to be expected from GSI Outdoors. There’s even space to store an ultralight camp stove or eight-ounce fuel canister within this unit when packed up because the cups/mugs only occupy about half the pot volume – sweet!

    Both the bowls and mugs are 14 ounces and are both compatible with the included lids so if you want to trim a little weight you can leave one of the sets behind. The coating on the pot and pan is three-layered and designed to provide even heat distribution. It both minimizes hot spots while cooking and also adds some serious durability to the cook set overall — this unit can take a serious beating.

    Another gem of a camping companion From GSI Outdoors.

  3. 3. Best Minimalist Mess Kit for Backpacking Pairs: GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist Camp Cook Set

    • At just 5.6 by 5.5 by 5.9 inches and only 1 pound, this is a highly portable unit that won’t break the back or pack
    • Halulite is an excellent conductor of heat that even out performs titanium — this set will save you some fuel further reducing your pack weight
    • The two sip through lids fit both the mugs and bowls
    • 1.4 liter pot is the perfect size for backpacking pairs
    • Not recommended for cooking over an open flame
    • A bit on the expensive end of packable mess kits, but you still get more than you pay for with this one
    • Will struggle to use this kit efficiently with more than two campers

    Here’s another top quality mess kit from GSI Outdoors you’ll definitely want to consider. This set is also designed for backpacking pairs like the Pinnacle Backpacker set but is a bit more minimalist and significantly more lightweight.

    The Halulite Microdualist Camp Cook Set is an all-inclusive, yet highly compact and lightweight (one pound) unit that performs with flying colors in the field.

    You and your hiking buddy or significant other can pack just one mess kit between the two of you at almost half the weight of the Pinnacle Backpacker Set. If you’re embarking on some serious treks where pack space and weight is absolutely crucial, this is the set you should be considering from GSI Outdoors.

    The 1.4-liter pot is an ideal size for shared meals – not too big not too small. There are two 14-ounce bowls and two 14-ounce insulated mugs as well as two sip through lids that fit both units. The pot lid is perforated in order to act as a strainer which definitely adds some versatility to what you can effectively cook with this set.

    The handle is built solid and collapses on top of the pot when everything is fully nested to keep this kit snug and secure. There are also two sporks included rather than one like some other “two person” mess kits so you and your pal can enjoy your meal at the same time.

    I think this cook set is a really nice balance between minimalist and fully inclusive – everything you NEED is here with just a few added items rather than including an excessive array of utensils and cooking ware. With a bit of practice and forethought, you’ll learn to cook some pretty righteous meals with what this set has to offer.

    The material employed in the design of the pot is Halulite – it’s an alloy from GSI Outdoors that conducts heat more effectively and evenly than even titanium! This means you can save on fuel, further reducing your pack weight if backpacking. It’s the superior material and mindful, compact design that you’re paying for with this one. Another excellent choice from GSI Outdoors perfect for camping pairs

  4. 4. Best Packable Stanley Mess Kit: Stanley Mountain Compact Cook Set

    • Vented nylon lid acts as a strainer and can also be used a sip lid
    • 18/8 stainless steel is BPA free, fire safe and super durable
    • Mug/bowl has volumetric markings for precise measurements
    • Can fit a standard fuel canister or ultralight camp stove into this unit when collapsed enhancing it’s packability stats!
    • Very reasonably priced for the quality of all the included pieces
    • Pretty minimalist kit - everything you NEED is here but if you prefer to have a bit more of a camp kitchen then consider purchasing an additional camp kitchen set
    • Some complaints about the integrity of the plastic lid around high heat
    • Not great for group use

    The Stanley Mountain Compact Cook Set is ideal for minimalist camp cooks who don’t require much to make a meal.

    Stanley is a classic go-to outfitter for quality camping gear. This cook set is a solid choice for a lot of camping/backing scenarios, and it comes at a very reasonable price.

    The 24 ounce, 18/8 stainless steel pot is perfect for heating canned foods or for dicing up and sauteing veggies. It’s BPA free and resistant to rust and heavy wear and tear, so you’ll own this one for years and years of camping.

    You really don’t need much more than this – it’s a great sized unit for solo meals or for boiling water for two. The melt-resistant, nylon lid is vented and operates as a strainer for the pot so you can even cook portions of pasta with ease. You can also drink through the lid when using the mug/bowl in order to keep beverages hotter longer as well as keep insects out.

    The included mug/bowl nests into the pot and has volumetric markings so you can make precise measurements when necessary. There’s a folding spork included with this set so you’re covered on cutlery as well.

    Don’t forget to check out this righteous 24 piece kitchen set from GSI Outdoors if you want to add some additional cutlery and kitchen essentials to your backpacking gear – it’s an awesome purchase that includes everything you might want to enhance your camp kitchen.

    The Stanley Mountain Compact Cook Set can even fit an ultralight stove, standard sized fuel canister or can of food when packed down which saves you some much needed space.

    It’s a simple, yet all inclusive mess kit that you’ll learn to make due with – definitely an awesome buy from Stanley you’ll own for years of regular camping and backcountry use.

  5. 5. Stanley Adventure Base Camp Cook Set

    • Scratch resistant, rustproof 18/8 Stainless Steel construction
    • 21-piece set includes a 3.7 qt pot, frying pan, cooking utensils, and serving plates/bowls and cutlery for four people
    • Includes a prep kit for some assistance meal-making and also a dish drying rack!
    • Multi-layer base on frying pan creates even heating
    • Silicone trivet protects table surfaces
    • Heavy duty construction feels more like actual pots and pans you use at home!
    • BPA and Teflon free
    • Fairly expensive option
    • Not impressively lightwieight or compact if you're seeking a backpacking mess kit
    • Some campers might not be interested in paying for a drying rack or Silicone trivet - it's a matter of preference

    The Stanley Adventure Base Camp Cook Set is a wonderfully inclusive mess kit option with some added cutlery and handy camp kitchen items that’s suitable for groups of up to four.

    This set is built with scratch-resistant, rustproof 18/8 stainless steel with a multi-layer base on the frying pan to ensure even and controlled heating. There is a 3.7qt pot, a frying pan, and a strainer lid included, as well as bowls and plates and camp cutlery for four. A dish drying rack and prep kit are also included for some assistance meal-making and cleaning up.

    Even a silicone trivet is included here to protect table surfaces if that’s of any importance to you (we doubt scratching up the ragged campground picnic table is an issue, but hey, ya never know!).

    This is a fairly heavy duty set that’s not meant to operate as an ultralight option. The higher weight to the pot and pan ensure that these components have a nice feel while you’re cooking rather than a featherlight design. While super lightweight mess kits serve their purpose, they are not nearly as satisfying to cook on, so car campers will be wise to spring for a more robust option.

    Stanley has built this kit to be Teflon and BPA free, so it’s suitable for health-conscious campers trying to avoid any potential nasty chemicals.

    All things considered, this is an excellent value and overall quality mess kit option with nearly full-inclusiveness when it comes to all your camp-kitchen essentials. 


  6. 6. GSI Outdoors Stainless Base Camper Cook Set

    • 3-Piece stainless steel cookware set for cooking for a group of four, or more
    • Multiple sizes available - all built with a compact nesting design (large is 9 by 9 by 6 inches)
    • Both sets include 2 pots, 2 strainer lids, a frying pan and a stuff sack (of varying sizes)
    • 18/8 Stainless steel provides even, controlled heat
    • Safe to use on the stove or over coals
    • Teflon free
    • Lifetime guarantee
    • Not recommended for use directly over the camp fire
    • Heavy, more cumbersome option is not all that suitable for backpacking applications
    • Stainless steel is not non-stick, so you will need to cook with some oil!

    The GSI Outdoors Stainless Base Camper Cook Set is a wonderful option for car campers seeking a high quality mess kit design that’s a pleasure to cook with, while still retaining an impressive total weight and packed size.

    If you’re not concerned about owning a particularly minimalist or ultralight set, then this kit should absolutely be on your radar. The 18/8 stainless steel construction enables super even, controlled heating and is suitable for use over coals or your camp stove. It’s unfortunately not a non-stick cook set, but therefore avoids using any potentially harmful coatings like Teflon – just bring a touch of oil and you’re all set!

    The Stainless Base Camper is available in two sizes, the medium coming in at  8.4 by 8.4 by 5.7 inches and 2.8 pounds, while the large size measures 9 by 9 by 5.9 inches and weighs 3.7 pounds. Camping pairs seeking a higher quality, close to luxury cook set will be fine with the medium sizing, but groups larger than two should spring for the large kit.

    Both sets include two pots, two corresponding strainer lids, a frying pan, and a stuff sack. It’s a relatively simple kit that lacks serving dishes and camp cutlery, but the size and craftsmanship of all of the components are easy to tell apart from cheaper, lower quality kits.

    While the higher price point might seem unnecessary at first, foodies who love a proper camp meal will be impressed with this set when it comes to both the cooking process and end results – no doubt a solid option for car campers that you’ll be tempted to use in the kitchen at home!  

  7. 7. Best Packable Cook Set for Car Camping: GSI Outdoors – Bugaboo Base Camper Mess Kit

    • Comes in three different sizes so you can choose the set that’s just right for your needs
    • Strainer lids are a simple but awesome feature for all sorts of cooking applications
    • Teflon coated pots and frying pan heat and cook evenly and scrub clean with ease
    • Collapsible handle design is unique and effectively reduces this kit’s bulk
    • Don’t over expose the lid to high heat - there’s customer complaints about the material melting
    • Definitely not one of the most lightweight options listed here for use backpacking, but still highly compact and packable
    • A bit on the expensive end - but you’re paying for top notch quality with this one

    Here’s a top-notch car camping or light backpacking cook set from GSI Outdoors that 

    The Bugaboo Base Camper Nesting Cook Set is not meant for more intensive backpacking treks – this is a fairly heavy cook set compared to a lot of other options on the market. This set is however impressively compact and collapses quite nicely. For RV use or for car camping, this is an excellent choice you’ll learn to love to cook with.

    Don’t rule it out as a backpacking set if you’re a strong hiker or if your hiking backpack is otherwise fairly lightweight – it’s heavier than it is cumbersome. If you’re hiking with a lightweight sleeping bag, backpacking sleeping pad, and a highly packable rain jacket to name a few crucial items, then your backpack might have plenty of space/weight capacity for this unit.

    The cool thing about the Bugaboo Base Camper set is that it’s offered in three different sizes. The small weighs two pounds seven ounces, the medium weighs two pounds ten ounces and the large set weighs in at three pounds four ounces. The large set is recommended for family use while the small set is ideal for the solo camper.

    All three sets include two pots, two nylon strainer lids, a frying pan, cutting board, and a stuff sack. There’s also a highly reviewed folding pot handle included that secures to the exterior brackets of the cooking ware.

    There’s no cutlery included here, so you might want to consider purchasing GSI’s lightweight and highly packable 24 piece destination kitchen set for a truly complete camp kitchen.

    The pots and pan are coated in Teflon Classic to be exceptionally non-stick and easily cleanable. A lot of cuisine fanatics prefer not to cook on Teflon, but this set is designed for hassle-free cooking – eggs are no problem to clean up with this set which is always appreciated.

    This unit is very highly reviewed for heating and cooking evenly – you get what you pay for with this one. A quality mess kit for the serious camp cook, the Bugaboo Base Camper set is the real deal.

  8. 8. Winterial 10 Piece Camping Cookware and Pot Set

    • Cooking components are built from solid aluminum oxide which is inherently scratch-resistant and high heat
    • Impressive 1.5 total weight for the level of inclusiveness
    • Nests and packs down to just 3.5 by 6.75 inches!
    • Includes a serving ladle, 2 serving bowls, a spatula and cleaning sponge in addition to the pot, pan and kettle
    • Non-stick teflon coating for easy cleaning and durability
    • Excellent price point considering the inclusiveness here
    • Small size is not ideal for use cooking over an open fire
    • Some health-conscious campers might prefer an option without any Teflon
    • Small diameter of the pot and pan are more suited for backpacking pairs than car campign groups

    The Winterial 10 Piece Camping Cookware and Pot Set is an impressively inclusive and lightweight cook set geared towards backpacking pairs that’s offered at a downright awesome price point for those shopping on a budget!

    This kit includes a serving ladle, two serving bowls, a spatula, and a cleaning sponge in addition to the aluminum oxide pot, pan, and kettle. Just about everything you need for prepping, cooking, and enjoying your meals is here – just add a bit of cutlery and you’re in business! 

    The aluminum oxide construction makes this cook set ultralight, coming in at just 1.5 pounds total despite the addition of the kettle! The material is inherently scratch-resistant and enables high heat cooking, but not the most durable when it comes to long lifespan. The smaller size of the cooking components also makes them less than ideal for cooking directly over an open fire.

    Having a kettle included within your mess kit is underrated considering more than half of what you’re realistically using your camp stove for is simply boiling water. Winterial has recognized this fact and equipped this kit with a 1 Qt kettle for your convenience without bumping up the weight very much at all.

    There is a Teflon non-stick coating on this set – a pro or a con depending on who you are. Having a non-stick cook set is definitely handy when embarking on backpacking trips with limited pack space and therefore room to bring along oil, but then again the health consequences of Teflon are pretty well established. It’s a matter of preference really, but it’s difficult to have it both ways without spending the big bucks!

    Backpacking duos and campers who appreciate ultralight gear alike will find a friend in this excellent value cook set from Winterial. Without a doubt an excellent go-to for budget buyers and light-footed nomads!

  9. 9. Best Value All Inclusive Mess Kit: Mallome 10 Piece Camping Cookware Mess Kit

    • Highly affordable, budget option
    • Heats fast and evenly for fuel conservation
    • Highly collapsible and lightweight at just 14 ounces - solid choice for backpacking use
    • Cleans up nicely
    • Includes 2 BPA free bowls and a spork for serving meals
    • Sharp color schematic for a cool overall aesthetic
    • Need to be mindful of the plastic components when cooking directly over an open flame
    • Long term durability of this kit doesn't compare to higher end brands
    • Not ideal for larger group use

    This budget mess kit by MallowMe is well reviewed and praised by camp cooks and hikers alike. For the cost, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value set.

    Made of anodized aluminum, this mess kit conducts heat quickly and washes clean with ease. It’s an ideal size for the solo backpacker or camper, but could still no doubt operate well for camping pairs.

    The pieces included are a one-liter nonstick pot and cover, a nonstick pan, two BPA free bowls, and a BPA free soup spoon, a folding stainless steel spork, a wooden spoon spatula, and a cleaning sponge. Everything’s there! There’s also a nylon travel drawstring pouch included for transport.

    At less than one pound, this is a highly inclusive set for the weight! Customer reviews insist all the pieces to this kit other than the cleaning sponge are of great quality (some users did favorably review the loofa) – and that’s easily replaced!

    The BPA free bowls are a great portion size for camp meals and the included soup spoon and spork are up to par with what’s included with a lot of far more expensive mess kits. The pot and pan handles are built sturdy (don’t overlook this detail – it’s important!) and the set overall is pretty dam tough – you should own this one for years of camping if you’re not too hard on it.

    What I like most about this kit is it provides you with everything you need and more – if you’re even more minimalist than this simply pull the items out you don’t have a need for! On a final and less practical note, this mess kit has a tough aesthetic to it with the green on black color scheme.

    It’s an impressively collapsible, easily washable and exceptionally lightweight mess kit that comes at a more than reasonable price. Certainly not the most advanced option on the market, but this is a solid option for cooking and eating camp meals at an excellent price – MallowMe is absolutely one of the go-to’s for this style mess kit.

    If you prefer to cook on stainless steel than check out this equally inclusive and comparably priced mess kit from iGopeaks – it’s another great value option.

  10. 10. Best Wood Fire Capable Mess Kit: Solo Stove 3 Pot Set

    • Compatible with Solo Stove’s wood burning stoves, and great for cooking over an open fire
    • Light weight (23 ounces) for the amount of pot volume you get with this set and all the pieces nest together nicely (4.2 inches by 7.7 inches)
    • Camp cooks rave about the cooking quality of the 304 stainless steel used to craft this set
    • Pick just the pot(s) you need if you want to trim some weight and use this set for backpacking
    • No camp cutlery or camp mugs included - you’ll have to make some additional purchases to have a fully equipped kitchen
    • Although this is a relatively lightweight set - there’s definitely lighter options for backpacking use
    • Packs fairly cumbersome

    Here’s a simple, but high-quality stainless steel pot set from Solo Stove that could be perfect for your compact, camp kitchen needs. This a three pot set with a lid/plate, so there’s no camp mugs or cutlery included with this purchase.

    We’ve included it here because of this set’s superior cooking ability – the food grade 304 stainless steel used to craft these pots is beloved by camp cooks for its heat transmission, durability, easy cleanup, and light weight.

    This set will work great on a camp stove or over an open fire – Solo Stove recommends pairing this set with any of their wood burning stove kits for optimum performance, but any old fire will do if you rather save the pack weight and just utilize what mother nature has to offer! Great for making large, multi-ingredient meals when you want to really do it up, Solo Stove allows you to make some serious camp cuisine with this set!

    There’s a two-liter, one and a half liter, and one and one quarter liter pot included in this set that all nest together nicely. It’s a great array of pots for cooking larger camp meals for bigger groups, but if you’re a solo backpacker or camping as a pair then you might only require one or two of the pots and save on weight.

    All three units and the lid/plate add up to 23 ounces, so it’s not a terribly heavy set even if you choose to take all three pots. There’s also an aluminum pot gripper included with the set for effectively handling the cooking ware when cooking.

    Everything collapses into the included nylon stuff sack with ease so you’re ready to hit the trail! A high-quality camp cook set at a more than reasonable price point that packs great and cooks even better – definitely a solid buy from Solo Stove!

  11. 11. Best Minimalist Pot Set: Primus LiTech Pot Set

    • Impressively packable at just five inches high and five inches in diameter when nested together
    • Hard-anodized aluminum is ultralight and durable (just 15.1 ounces)
    • Great for cooking pasta!
    • Transparent lid with integrated colander
    • Nonstick coating for easy cleaning and cooking
    • Cooks for one to three people
    • Includes a pot gripper and storage bag
    • This set will require a camp cutlery and accessory set to operate as a full mess kit
    • High price to pay for a three piece set without any cutlery - but the quality is certainly there.
    • Aesthetic is boring if you care about that sort of thing!

    The Litech Pot Set by Primus is a minimalist, yet advanced cook set option for hikers and on the go campers.

    This set simply includes two 1.3-liter nesting pots, a transparent lid with an integrated colander and a pot handle. There is no camp cutlery or other cooking ware included, but you can do a lot with this set if you’re creative!

    The two hard-anodized litech pots are built exceptionally well for rapid and even heat transmission as well as rock solid durability. They furthermore nest together brilliantly, so this whole kit packs exceptionally compact for the amount of cooking ‘volume’ it provides.

    The colander that’s integrated into the included pot lid makes this a particularly great choice for straining pasta, and of course all sorts of other meals. Having a transparent pot lid is furthermore, super underrated – it’s a beautiful thing to be able to keep a close eye on your meal as it cooks.

    A simple, yet impressively versatile and easy to cook with option from Primus that you won’t be disappointed with – the Litech Pot Set is no doubt a winner! 


Camp Stoves

Perhaps the only thing more personal than your mess kit when it comes to camp cooking is your stove. Most cook sets are intended to be paired with a gas-burning camp stove rather than for use cooking directly over an open fire, so owning a reliable, high-heat unit is crucial for camp-kitchen success.

There is an absolute plethora of options on the market when it comes to gas-powered cooking systems ranging from pocket-sized micro-stoves to full-on two-burner stand-up propane units.

Here are a few of our favorites from each category for those seeking a reliable camp stove to pair with their new mess kit.

Car Camping Stoves:

Backpacking Camp Stoves:

Car Camping Mess Kits

Do your campouts typically remain close to your vehicle and therefore don't have a dependence on ultralight gear? If so, you'll be wise to check out our top picks for car camping mess kits.

Both generally speaking and simply put, mess kit designs that don't anticipate covering a lot of trail miles are more intensive, and a greater pleasure to cook with. When your pots and pans do not need to be so weight and space-conscious they can look and operate more closely to what you use at home.

A few of our favorite mess kits for car camping applications include:

Backpacking Mess Kits

Seeking an ultralight mess kit option that packs particularly compact for use on extended backpacking trips and long treks?

Shaving ounces is essential on more intensive hikes and your mess kit is certainly one gear category that you can lose some significant weight (and volume) with by choosing a mindful option. 

Although these mess kits are inherently minimalist in their design, the top options still perform with flying colors and will make you feel like you're cooking and eating in your own kitchen!

Our top picks for backpacking mess kits for those looking to own an ultralight, ultra-packable cook set include:

Camping Utensils

Not all mess kits include camping utensils for prepping and enjoying your meal, so consider purchasing a set that's specific to your needs.

Whether you're seeking some ultralight essentials for dinner time and breakfast on bare-bones backpacking trips or a full utensil set for car camping, there is a full spectrum of awesome options to choose from.

Some of our favorite camping utensils and utensil kits for a variety of applications from coffee to lunch time include:

Campfire Cooking

Do you consider yourself to be more of a classic cowboy camper than a modern outdoorsman or woman? If you answered yes then chances are you appreciate cooking directly over a campfire

While some mess kits are campfire-approved, there are lots of alternatives to cooking with a mess kit if you prefer the roar of an open fire to a gas stove.

A few of our favorite alternative systems for campfire cooking directly on or with an open fire include:

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