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Gear Guide Cookware Buying Guide, OutdoorPlaces.Com



 OutdoorPlaces.Com Cookware Buying Gear Guide


 Picking The Right Cookware


Frying Pan 

Some cookware sets will come with a frying pan.  These low sided, larger pans are useful for cooking a wide variety of products including meat, and pancakes.  If you like to fish, having a frying pan allows you to sauté that trout you caught in olive oil instead of roasting it on a fire.  Due to the increased surface area, with a lid over the top, you can boil water faster in a frying pan than a pot, especially if you are using a fire versus a small stove.  A majority of cookware sets come with a frying pan.  A good size to look for is from 7-1/2 inches to 9 inches.  Smaller is pretty functionally useless and larger will probably be too bulky.


Except for the most basic of mess kits, your cookware set should come with a pot.  Pot sizes that are common are 1 quart (liter), 1.5 quart (liter), 2 quart (liter) and 3 quart (liter).  Some sets will come with smaller and some with larger, but these are pretty standard sizes, not just in camping cookware, but in your kitchen too.  When looking for a cookware set consider sets that have a couple of different pot sizes included.  Also, the pots (as well as the frying pan) should nest into each other.  This will help save room in your backpack.  The other benefit to having multiple sized pots is you can mix and match depending on the length of your trip and the kind of cooking you will be doing.  Going on a solo hike for a weekend?  Then grab your 1.5-quart pot, put your stove in it and you are ready to go!  Planning to do some car camping with the family?  Than bring the whole set for more versatility and for cooking a couple of different things at the same time.

Measuring and/or Drinking Cup

Some cookware sets come with a plastic measure and/or drinking cup.  For the most part these are pretty useless.  The standard plastic cup that seems to come with these cookware sets only holds eight ounces, not even enough to mix a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, and the graduation of measurements, well they leave a little to be desired.  Also the thin plastic won’t keep your cold drinks cold or your warm drinks warm for a long period of time.  What is our recommendation?  Get a collapsible cup that can hold around 16 ounces,  and read on for a trick to measuring and lose the cup.


A few larger cookware sets can come with a coffeepot.  Basically a tall kettle with a lip for pouring the pot can be used for boiling water.  With instant coffee, tea, or hot chocolate you can make a large amount for the masses and keep it warm by the fire.  A kettle is helpful if you are doing car camping or walk in camping.  Going into the backcountry?  Consider using a pot to cut down on weight and bulk.


Lids are a must have with your cookware set for a number of reasons.  First, a pot with a lid will cook food faster, and boil water in a shorter period of time.  Lids also help keep out soot out of your food from the heat source you are using.  Cookware sets that have lids that serve double duty like frying pans or plates should be strongly considered.  By serving double duty they help save room in your pack and increase the versatility of your set.  A well designed cookware set might have a 2 quart pot and a seven to eight inch frying pan that serves as a lid for the 2 quart pot.  Lids should fit snug and seal the pot, aiding in faster cooking.

An ideal cookware set that could be used across the full range of camping might include a frying pan and three pots ranging in size from 1.5 quarts to 3 quarts.  Two of the pots will have lids, and the largest third pots lid serves double duty as a frying pan.  All of the pots nest into each other for easy storage.