Being the resident camp cook is one of life’s great pleasures.
The primitive know-how. The tending to the campfire coals with a long stick. The alcohol straight from the bottle. How can you not love a good camp meal?
The best ones, of course, are cheffed by the prepared. And while there is certainly no “best gear” when it comes to camp cookware, we can at least key you into a few must-have items. Whether you’re packing up for the weekend or the week, stowing it all in a backpack or tillering a fully loaded RV, we’ve got you covered.
Oh, and first and foremost? A man must know his campfire builds. As for your cooking tools, take stock of our favorites below. Happy camping.
MSR Flex 3 System | $130
Easily one of our favorite all-in-one camp cookware systems. It has everything an intrepid adventurer needs to feed a group of three, and efficiently packs into itself. Included: two pots, three dishes, three stainless steel mugs and a pot handle. All high-quality and up to the test. Solo backpackers should see the Quick Solo System, while couples only need the Quick 2 System.
Lodge Camp 4 QT Dutch Oven | $50
No campsite is complete without a proper Dutch oven. For stews. For one-pot breakfasts. For kettle corn. Lodge’s cast iron camp Dutch ovens are the standard, and there’s really no reason you should consider anything else. A four-quarter is big enough to feed 2-4 campers. Anything bigger is for a large crowd.
Opinel No 8 Outdoor Survival Knife | $39
With so many knife options, it’s hard to go wrong out there. Our pick takes us to Opinel’s Outdoor Survival line, which features its classic No 8 pocket knife with its thicker blade, partially serrated edge and non-slip handle.
Barebones Canyon Lantern | $79
Headlamps can only do so much. You’ll also want a lantern. The Canyon Lantern from Barebones has a vintage look and features a rechargeable battery capable of four hours of shine at its highest setting. Two settings: focused light and ambient light.
Stanley Adventure Percolator | $40
There is no camping without camp coffee. We like the rugged simplicity of Stanley’s french press percolator. Comes with less parts than, say, an Aeropress, and the silicone handle is removable so you can go straight on the fire. Stainless steel won’t rust. You can also use it to boil water for washing dishes.
Snowpeak Cutlery | From $12
Quality cutlery is a godsend in the wild, and, like a lot of the gear here, can be heirloom-worthy if you buy right the first time. Along with a collection of cook sets that come highly recommended, we’re big fans of Snowpeak’s titanium cutlery (more lightweight than steel) and collapsible steel cooking tools (space-saving and tough).