Packing List - Cookware

We can break stoves down into three categories; Liquid Fuel Stoves, Canister Stoves, and Alternate Fuel Stoves. REI has a nice article discussing the pro and cons of these types at How to Choose a Backpacking Stove. For years I favored my old Coleman duel fuel (liquid) stove. Inexpensive, reliable, and heavy. And a major problem when traveling by plane, where you're prohibited from carrying anything that has been used to hold fuel. This is an issue with any liquid fuel stove with a reusable fuel bottle (like the MSR Whisperlite). So I've added several canister stoves to my pack list; MSR, Primus, Snow Peak, and Olicamp. While cycling in Europe, I had no problem finding canisters with the screw-on (Lindal) type fitting, which are sold here in the US. The days of the "puncture" style canisters are gone in Western Europe.

Only one of my canister stoves has an igniter, and even then, I always carry two boxes of cheap waterproof matches. Coghlan's work well; only a few matches were defective, and the box has held up to dozens of strikes. On the other hand, the box on the Coleman matches quickly deteriorated, which kinda defeats the purpose of the matches. I also throw in a box of stormproof matches (water and wind-proof) for bad weather days. The UCO Stormproof matches are tiny torches that hold up to real inclement weather. Make sure to grind them out when you're finished using them. True to form, they will stay lit until the very end.

A frustrating aspect of canister stoves is that most manufacturers want you to only use their fuel canisters. MSR stoves want MSR canisters, Snow Peak wants theirs. But out on the road that may not be an option. Does it matter? Probably not. I've mixed brands with little to no problems. I've tested several of my stoves with the Coleman canister since that's what Wal-Mart carries, and if I'm in any small town in the US, more than likely they'll have a Wal-Mart. It's not great - it's butane, not isobutane (which works better in cold weather) - but it'll do in a pinch. Always test the fitting when mixing canisters/stoves to check for leaks. Check out Buying the Right Kind of Canister from And another great article from MSR to review, Stoves 101: How Much Fuel Should I Carry?


Select a cook set based on how many meals you plan on cooking, and how many campers. And even if you don't plan on cooking campsite meals, it's nice to have gear ready for morning coffee or evening hot cocoa. Some cookware will include sporks, such as the GSI Halulite and Pinnacle (which I own). I prefer a more sturdy, large spork that handles stirring thick meals, such as the Light My Fire spork. Some cyclists swear by their one trusty titanium spork. Just don't forget to bring something. For cooking ideas, check out my book Grocery Store Packed Panniers at Amazon.

If you cook, you gotta clean. A small, plastic mesh scrub pad works well and doesn't mildew. Same with a small microfiber/antimicrobial camp towel for drying. As mentioned in other sections, I only carry one bottle of biodegradable soap for all my cleaning needs. Just easier that way.


GearLab compares and contrasts The 6 Best Camping Cookware Sets of 2023 with prices from known retailers.

What's the best pot to buy? Treeline Reviews enumerates their thoughts on the Best Backpacking Cookware Pots of 2023

From sporks to pots to freeze-dried meals; Backpacker collated a list of articles all about cookware and cooking at COOKWARE REVIEWS.

Wondering what to make of the multitude of materials used in lightweight cookware? REI provides a primer with BACKPACKING COOKWARE 101: TITANIUM VS. ALUMINUM VS. STAINLESS STEEL