Every backpacker, hiker, and camper should invest in a quality mess kit, as this piece of camping gear will always come in handy! Whether you want to brew a cup of warm coffee or cacao to warm up on a trail, or are making s'mores around a campfire: investing in lightweight cookware and dinnerware is always a great idea.
These days, camping mess kits are no longer bulky or space-consuming, with plenty of amazing ultralight and foldable options available that take up minimum space and won't weigh you down. And the best part? A quality mess kit is now more affordable than ever, making this essential piece of camping gear available to every outdoor enthusiast.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
- Best Money Ever Spent: The 10 pieces hiking cooking gear includes 1 aluminum non-stick pot + 1 aluminum non-stick frying pan + 1 tea kettle+ 2 stainless steel cups (4 oz) + 1 serving spoon+ 1 fork + 1...
Best Camping Mess Kit - Overview
And here’s an overview of the best camping mess kits on the market today:
To help you navigate your way towards the Best Camping Mess Kit for your personal needs, we've created this handy breakdown of some of the top-rated options on the market.
Discover our favorite products below and get inspired to upgrade your gear with one of these quality kits to always be ready for cooking, dining, or a quick picnic on the go!
This 10-piece set includes a 33.8 oz (1 liter) pot and cover and a pan for cooking, plus various accessories. The non-stick pot and pan are made of hard-anodized aluminum for maximum durability and come with ergonomic foldable handles for a comfortable, non-slip grip. Also included are a folding stainless steel spork, two high-quality plastic bowls, a wooden spatula, and a soup spoon. To help you rinse your set between uses, the manufacturer has also thrown in a soft loofah sponge to gently clean your culinary camping gear.
A comprehensive cookware kit
Not included are mugs and plates, but for most things, the bowls should be sufficient tableware. For example, you can also eat your s’mores or steak from a bowl, or drink coffee from it. And remember, you can always invest in some additional dinnerware if you want more serving options. But we reckon that this set should be sufficient for most camping occasions.
The Horizons Tec Mess Kit has outstanding customer reviews by other outdoor enthusiasts. With dozens of 5-star ratings, the set is praised for its compact sizing, lightweight appeal, and quality construction. Hikers and backpackers recommend it as a great starter pack for camping, saying the kit exceeds expectation and makes a great addition to your camping gear. With no negative reviews, it’s hard to fault the kit. If we had to name something, we would say that we’d have liked the inclusion of a mug, as for us, its one of the items we use most on hikes, camping, or backpacking.
The Urbenfit Camping Mess Kit includes 2 cooking pots, both with lids, and additional frying pan: giving you 3 options to prepare your camp food. The pots and pan are made of quality anodized aluminum, a material with excellent temperature resistance even on the highest setting of camping stoves. The cookware in the set comes with foldable handle design, making it more compact when stored.
Pans, pots, and mitts
Additional cooking accessories in the set are a soup spoon with a stainless steel handle, 3 food-grade plastic bowls, a wooden spoon, and a cleaning sponge. We also like the inclusion of a thick cotton oven mitt to keep your fingers safe during your culinary adventures. The total weight of the set is approximately 1.87 lbs (850g) when packed in the included carry bag.
Other consumers give the Urbenfit Camping Mess Kit top marks on value and functionality. According to camping enthusiasts, the set is surprisingly easy to clean, perfect for whipping up some treats during your camping trip. And it's also lightweight enough to carry round in a daypack. Again, we kind of miss the inclusion of a mug. And, another con for us: this set doesn’t include a spork, one of our favorite items of culinary camping gear. That said, with 2 pots, a pan, and 3 bowls; this set should be sufficient to prep and cook a meal for you, and your friends, making it excellent value-for-money when you consider its affordable price-tag.
Included in the 13-piece Bulin Camping Cookware Mess Kit are 2 pots with matching lids, a frying pan, and a kettle. The kit also has some of your tableware needs covered, with 4 BPA-free bowls, 2-BPA free plates, a foldable soup spoon, and a rice ladle. A sponge completes the kit, enabling quick and easy clean-up after use. Suitable for 2 to 4 people, this comprehensive set offers slightly more options than the previous products on this list, thanks to the inclusion of extra accessories. That said, we still miss the inclusion of cups. As it's slightly disappointing there's a kettle to boil water or make hot cocoa, but no mug to serve your drinks...
A reason we rate this set so highly is the usage of top-grade compounds and materials by the manufacturer. For example, the pots and pans are made of non-toxic aluminum with a special non-stick coating for easy cleaning. Another perk of this hard-anodized aluminum is that its great in heat-conducting, ensuring your cookware quickly comes up to temperature. This material is also corrosion-resistant, making it a low-maintenance choice for food prep on the go.
The Bulin Camping Cookware Mess Kit has lots of positive reviews, with consumers commenting on the set’s versatility, the inclusion of a handy little kettle to boil water, and the quality of construction and materials. On the flip side, do note that this 13-piece set is indeed more complete, but also heavier, than other mess kits on this list. When packed in its included storage bag, the total weight of the kit is approximately 3.31 pounds, so we would not classify it as ‘lightweight’. That said, you can also choose to only bring a few of the pots/utensils with you to economize on the weight added to your pack. Mixing and matches your favorite pieces from this set to customize your mess kit for the hiking or outdoor occasion...
Free return policy
Also good to know: the 13-piece Bulin Camping Cookware Mess Kit comes with a ‘30 days free return policy’ by the manufacturer. So, if you do have issues with your mess set, you’re able to arrange a refund or return without hassle.
Besides a compact kettle and 2 stainless steel cups, the Odoland Camping Mess Kit also includes an aluminum-alloy pot with lid, a frying pan, a spoon, a fork, a knife, a carabiner, and a carry sack. Both the pot and pan in the set have special anti-slip, heat-resistant handles for extra safety. These handles are also collapsible for convenient, compact storage.
Lightweight and affordable
The included carabiner is intended to help you attach the mess kit carry bag to your backpack if desired. So, if you wanted, you wouldn’t even need to space inside your pack, but can simply clip the bag to any exterior straps. The total weight of Odoland Camping Mess Kit is approximately 2 pounds, so rest assured it won’t weigh you down too much when on the go.
The Odoland Camping Mess Kit scores highly with other outdoor camping fans, who say its lightweight, easy-to-pack and perfect to prep meals and drinks for 1 or 2 people. It’s also big on affordability, and consumers confirm the included mesh bag with drawstring closure is sturdy and convenient. There are some minor con’s as well. Some customers report that this cooking set's spoon, knife, and fork can feel a bit 'flimsy'. And multiple users say the 4oz cups are on the small-side, and they would have preferred a slightly larger capacity.
That said, nearly all reviewers agree its worth the money and makes a great addition to your camping gear, hiking gear, or backpacking gear collection.
- INCREDIBLE VALUE-This two piece set (including the carry bag) is an incredible value for the money. You will get one Aluminum alloy pot,one Aluminum alloy bowls.It is perfect size for 1 youth scout or...
The Wuudi Mess Kit comes with 2 aluminum alloy pots: one small, one large. Together, they only weigh 0.5 Lbs, super lightweight and easy to carry. Even though this is listed as a 2-piece set, you’ll also get a loofah cleaning sponge and mesh carrying bag with the pots. Making it even more value-for-money.
Both canisters in the Wuudi Mess Kit feature foldable/collapsible handles, allowing for compact, storage. We also like that the larger pot in the set has measuring lines marked in both milliliter and oz on the side. It might not seem like a big deal, but this measuring guide is surprisingly functional for camping food prep.
Other outdoor enthusiasts rate this affordable set highly for its quality construction, value, and lightweight attraction - saying its perfect for prepping small meals, snacks, and a cup of coffee. Do note that the set is not recommended by campers for heavy-duty cooking or large food prep. Some consumers also report the pots do not have the same non-stick appeal as other brands, and that you might find yourself scrubbing a bit harder than usual to get them clean.
However, for the price listed, we reckon a bit of elbow grease is a fair trade-off for this cook set's affordability.
Every option on this Best Mess Kit For Camping overview is a solid, reliable, and excellent-value addition to your outdoor gear.
Each set rates highly on durability, quality, ease-of-usage, and performance; as rated by other camping and backpacking enthusiasts. Which set matches your need best, depends on how and where you plan to use the kit. If you only require the basics to brew a cup of coffee or whip up a quick soup, the Wuudi 2-Piece Mess Kit may already be sufficient. If you plan to cook bigger meals and want a more inclusive kit to prep food and serve up to 4 people, the 13-Piece Bulin Camping Cookware Mess Kit may be for you.
You honestly can't go wrong with any of these mess kits, so get inspired to upgrade your camping cooking gear and order your favorite option today!
If we had to pick a favorite from the mess kit line-up, the Odoland Camping Mess Kit would be our preferred choice. We'll admit: this is partly because the set includes a kettle and cups, two pieces of gear we use most on hikes and camping. Brewing a cup of coffee early in the morning, enjoying some much-needed caffeine before a big hike, is part of our routine. Therefore, a mess kit with these essentials ticks our box. Besides the appeal of a kettle and cups, the Odoland Camping Mess Kit is also lightweight, compact, big on affordability, and contains the needed cooking essentials and cutlery for basic camping meal prep.
Best Camping Mess Kits FAQ
What is a camping mess kit?
A camping mess kit is a set of cooking tools, utensils, and accessories, aimed to help you prep food and drinks on the go. Ideal for camping trips, hiking, and backpacking, a mess kit contains the essentials to help you prepare simple camping meals or hot drinks. Unlike your cookware at home, mess kits are designed using super-lightweight materials and clever foldable and collapsible techniques, minimizing the space and weight a kit takes up in your daypack.
What does a camping mess kit include?
Most camping cookware sets will always contain a lightweight pot and/or pan, but sets may vary greatly on the inclusion of certain accessories. Below we’ve listed the most common products found in mess kits:
- Cooking Pot (with Lid)
- Frying Pan
- Pot Handle
- Serving bowls
- Mugs / Cups
- Wooden Spoon
- Rice Ladle
- Soup Spoon
- (Foldable) Cutlery
- Non-Abrasive Cleaning Brush / Loofah Sponge
- Mesh Carrying Bag
- Carabiner (to Attach Mesh Bag to Day Pack)
The above-listed cooking tools, utensils, tableware, and accessories are most prominent in camping mess kits. However, some mess kits may also contain less-common items for camp cooking, such as:
- Cutting Board
- Strainer Lid
- Fire Starter
- Recipe Guide
How do you clean a camping mess kit?
When it comes to cleaning a camping mess kit, the amount of maintenance required also depends on the types of materials used. For example, most kits contain anodized aluminum pots and pans, a material that's easy to wipe clean with a sponge or loofah. As anodized aluminum cookware often has a non-corrosive, non-stick finish, you shouldn't have to use too much force to get rid of food residue with some warm water and soap.
Do note that though anodized aluminum pots are very durable, you should never scrub them roughly, as once you damage the non-corrosive coating, those cracks and lines might be prone to rust.
And even though some best mess kits' accessories are dishwasher-proof, we'd always advise hand-washing them. Yes, we know you probably don't even have access to a dishwasher during your backpacking or in your camp kitchen, but even if you do: a gentle clean by hand is a safer option to ensure the longevity of your kit.
As a general rule of thumb: simply wash all your mess kit gear with some (warm) water and soap, using a non-abrasive sponge or loofah. And then, once you're back at home, give the entire kit another proper clean with hot water and soap before storing it away, to ensure no harmful bacteria or residue is left on your pots, pans, and utensils.
What factors should I consider when buying a camping mess kit?
When shopping around for the best camping mess kits, various criteria will help you determine which set is the top pick for your needs. Below, we’ll list the main factors to consider when browsing for mess kit products. These should help you narrow down the options, leading to a product that ticks all the important boxes.
Cooking and meal prep is the obvious answer, but it helps to get more specific. Ask yourself what type of meals you plan to cook, for how many people you want to prep food, and what cooking utensils are essential to have in your camping meal kit?
For example, if you love whipping up a super simple rice dice, a mess kit that includes rice ladle may be ideal. If you often go backpacking with friends, a set with a larger pot and/or multiple pans enables you to also feed your hiking buddies. Or, if you love nothing more than a quick brew on the go, a mess kit that includes a compact, portable kettle could be the perfect match to light your fire.
It’s tempting to instantly choose the biggest, most-inclusive mess kit because surely this will contain everything you might need. But do take into account that the larger the kit, the more weight it will add to your daypack or backpacking gear. Sometimes less is more, so envision what the exact purpose of your kit will be before you start shopping!
Most manufacturers aim to make their mess kit products as ultralight as possible. This means they use lightweight materials such as anodized aluminum for pots and pans, silicone for pot handles, stainless steel and wood for utensils, ABS or polypropylene plastic for mugs and plates, and mesh or nylon for the carry bag.
All of the above materials are a perfectly fine choice for daily use. They are durable, easy to clean, lightweight, and will last you for many hiking and camping trips, as long as you take proper care of your tools.
That said, we’d always advise you to double-check that the materials used are also high-quality. With that, we mean that the anodized aluminum is listed as non-toxic, the ABS or polypropylene plastic is BPA-free, the Teflon-coating is authentic, the silicone is food-grade, and the nylon bag or mesh carry bag comes with a drawstring closure for secure storage.
We’ve already mentioned this factor a few times, but it’s one of the most criteria to consider when buying a mess kit for camping. If you’re an avid hiker that often tackles strenuous, hard trails, the lightest possible kit is preferable. If you’re a car or truck camper that simply wants a handy, compact kit to store in your gear pocket or backseat, weight might be less of a factor. Some kits weigh an ultralight 0.5 lbs, others might be a slightly heavier 3 to 4 lbs.
Determine the maximum weight you want to add to your daypack or outdoor gear before you go shopping. As this will help you narrow down the options and prevent disappointment when your mess kit arrives.