10 Best Camping Mess Kits For Yummy Meals

By Emma
best camping mess kit

After 9+ hours of research, we concluded that the Gold Armour 17 Pieces Camping Cookware is the best camping mess kit.

Even though you’re camping away from your home kitchen, you can still prepare and eat quality meals. 

The key is to select the right mess kit to suit your needs. There’s plenty of options out there, and we’re here to walk you through the best ones.

Our top choice is the Gold Armour 17 Pieces Camping Cookware mess kit.

Whereas some mess kits offer everything, they still miss key items here or there. In contrast, this kit provides you with everything you need…and more! 

You get all the basics, like a pot, pan, and bowls and cutlery for two. But then this mess kit also adds a camping stove and a fire starter. 

What’s really impressive is that the camping stove is a quality component which has received positive feedback for its performance. 

And you’re getting this entire bundle for a price that accommodates even the most thrifty budgets.

Best Camping Mess Kits — Top Recommendations

Best camping mess kits for backpackers

Best camping mess kits for car campers

Best dinnerware mess kits 

If you want to learn more about how we selected these products or how to get the best camping mess kit, check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide.

Gold Armour 17 Pieces Camping Cookware

  • Dishware size (35%) – 6/10, some say they’re a little small; may be best for 1 person
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 7/10, hardy anodized aluminum but would have liked to see metal bowls too
  • Ease of cleanup (20%) – 8/10
  • Weight & Portability (15%) – 8/10, 6.6” in diameter but can be hung off your pack
  • Company history and reputation (10%) – 7/10

Best for: A single backpacker or camper looking for a true all-inclusive mess kit at an unbeatable price; $

When we say all-inclusive, we really mean it! The Gold Armour 17 Pieces Camping Cookware mess kit packs more punch than some of the larger kits on our list. 

It’s got the basics covered with a 1L pot and frying pan. Then add in the 2 plastic dishes, soup spoon, and rice ladle to serve with. 

Top that off with a foldable fork, spoon, knife, and spork. After dinner, clean everything off with the loofah sponge.

Finally, pack everything into its 6.6 x 3.8” case and hang from your backpack with the included carabiner.

But there’s still more to come! 

The Gold Armour mess kit adds a camp stove and even throws in a fire starter. Truly, the only thing missing from this setup is the fuel canister.

If you have any doubts about a free camp stove being chincy or unreliable, there’s no need.

Don’t take my word for it though – there are plenty of satisfied campers praising the stove for its ease of use and functionality. 

One user said that they had no ignition issues whatsoever, despite the high winds.

All that said, the Gold Armour mess kit isn’t without its flaws.

Several people agreed that the bowls were too small. The 1L pot isn’t the largest either, especially for 2. 

For these reasons, it might be better to save this kit for a single hiker rather than for a camping couple. 

Even so, you’re still getting an awful lot of kit for your cash. And let me tell you, the price is honestly unbeatable, putting even the most budget-conscious camper at ease. For all these reasons, we think this is a high value mess kit that’s proved its worth in the field.

Pros:

  • Everything is included, even the extras; camp stove and fire starter
  • Camp stove receives positive feedback; confirmed performance
  • You get everything for an incredibly cheap cost

Cons:

  • The bowls and smaller pot/pan means this kit is probably more appropriate for 1 camper instead of the advertised 2

MalloMe Camping Mess Kit

  • Dishware size (35%) – 6/10, pots and pans are a good size but the bowls are small
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 7/10
  • Ease of cleanup (20%) – 7/10, 
  • Weight & Portability (15%) – 8/10, 1lb weight yet includes a lot of parts
  • Company history and reputation (10%) – 6/10

Best for: a hiker looking for a budget-friendly option that offers just about everything for a surprisingly light weight; $

For a do-it-all budget option, you can’t go wrong with the MalloMe Camping Mess Kit. This mess kit is a wildly popular choice with campers, and for good reason.

With 10 pieces included, this is definitely an all-in-one bundle that manages to be lightweight. The 7.8” pot is 4.6” deep, which is plenty for cooking soups or rehydrating a meal. 

The 1.7” frying pan also makes perfect pancakes and oatmeal a breeze. Add in the wooden spatula, serving ladle, and spork for an extra home-kitchen feel. 

Meanwhile, the entire kit weighs a mere 1lb. Normally, you’d expect dinnerware or cookware-only options to weigh in this low.

Now, although you get 2 bowls, campers mentioned that they were really, really small: 4.5” in diameter with a 1.5” depth. They’re better suited to dishing up meals for the kiddos rather than 2 full size adult portions. 

For that reason, we’d recommend the MalloMe Mess Kit for either 1 adult hiker or a camper with young children.

Not to worry: if you’re a single hiker, a lot of users simply ate straight out of the pot or pan, leaving the bowls behind altogether.

Pros:

  • 10 piece set makes for a do-everything mess kit
  • 1lb weight, yet includes many pieces
  • Sturdy aluminum build
  • Friendly price tag

Cons:

  • Serving bowls are likely too small for 2 adult portions; use for kids or eat out of the pot

MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set

  • Dishware size (35%) – 9/10, great size for serving 2
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 8/10
  • Ease of cleanup (20%) – 8/10, 
  • Weight & Portability (15%) – 8/10, 1.75 pounds feasible for car campers and backpackers alike
  • Company history and reputation (10%) – 9/10, very reputable brand

Best for: single or double campers ready to invest in a high-quality, high-performance mess kit; $$

The MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set is perfect for hungry camping couples

This 7-piece mess kit is all-inclusive except for utensils. It comes with 2 plates deep enough to function as bowls, 2 mugs, and 1 pot and 1 pan. 

Oh, and it fits all that in a 5” tall, 1 pound, 12 ounce package.

We were impressed with the non-stick, 2.5L (5” deep) pot. It’s big enough to allow for cooking double portions and feeding the advertised 2 people. Now you won’t have to starve while you painstakingly wait for your partner to cook 1 portion at a time.

Campers have also confirmed that the deep dishes live up to their name: they’re deep enough to be used as soup bowls. 

One camper told the story of taking this kit along for an extended stay in the African bush. His lavish praise cited the ease of cleaning, even cooking, and all-around impressiveness of the MSR Quick 2 System.

Now, to the drawbacks — all this performance comes at a price.

Another weird choice is that there’s 2 pots…but only 1 handle. So cooking on 2 stoves at once will be difficult.

Pros:

  • Lightweight: 1 pound, 12 ounces
  • All inclusive except utensils
  • Insulated mugs retain temperature 
  • 2 deep dishes hold up to heat without warping
  • Pots and pan reported to be stable even when filled to their 2.5L and 1.5L capacities

Cons:

  • More expensive than other options
  • Only 1 handle for 2 pots; could make cooking 2 things at once a little tough

GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless 1-Person Mess Kit

  • Dishware size (35%) – 7/10
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 8/10, stainless steel is quite tough
  • Ease of cleanup (20%) – 7/10, 
  • Weight & Portability (15%) – 8/10, impressively light for stainless steel
  • Company history and reputation (10%) – 7/10

Best for: a beginner or casual hiker looking for a basic mess kit on a shoestring budget; $

If you just want a simple, 1-person mess kit that won’t destroy your wallet, then the GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless 1-Person Mess Kit could be a good fit.

This kit is definitely minimalist. It’s stripped out all the unnecessary to bring you the basics in a 6.7” package. 

In doing so, you get a mess kit constructed of stainless steel at an impressively light weight of 1 pound 1 ounce.

Users have also praised the hassle-free cleanup

Since there’s no non-stick finish to potentially damage, you can scrub without worry. And you won’t be scrubbing too hard anyway, since there aren’t any complaints about vigorous effort.

On the downside, campers have reported issues with hotspots in the pot and pan. This means that cooking requires a dedicated eye. If you don’t keep watch, you could scorch your food. 

Additionally, we would have liked to see the included plastic mug be made of stainless steel. This would have offered better insulation. 

As it stands, the plastic build means your drink won’t stay hot for too long...so slurp up!

Pros:

  • Good budget-friendly entry to the camping world for newbies
  • Lightweight at 1 pound 1 ounce, great for backpackers
  • Stainless steel is built to last; durable and hardy

Cons:

  • Plastic cup doesn’t insulate that well
  • Pans have some issues with hot spots

BeGrit Backpacking Camping Cookware

  • Dishware size (35%) – 7/10
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 8/10
  • Ease of cleanup (20%) – 7/10
  • Weight & Portability (15%) – 9/10, 1.5lbs for entire stainless steel set
  • Company history and reputation (10%) – 7/10

Best for: a space-constrained hiker looking for an ultra-portable, minimal mess kit; $

For the hiker who needs to stuff a mess kit into an already-full pack, consider the BeGrit Backpacking Camping Cookware.

This mess kit uses a unique trick to really save on space. The cookware/dinnerware utilizes tall mugs instead of bulky, wide pots.

Standing at a miniscule 5” tall, this entire mess kit takes up virtually no room in a backpack. It can practically be shoved into a deep pants pocket!

And yet, it doesn’t skimp out on feeding capacity.

With the main kettle holding up to 34oz and the second mug handling 24oz, you have plenty of room to prepare ramen or rehydrate a meal.

Plus, you get a 10oz cup that can be used for additional cooking of smaller items or just as drinkware.

Now, is this going to be gourmet cooking? Probably not, especially considering the unconventional shape. 

But we feel it’s a necessary trade off for a mess kit that’s incredibly portable and covers the basics.

And if you truly feel you’re missing out on larger cookware, you could always choose the 8 piece set instead.

Pros:

  • Small and narrow with 5” height 
  • 1.5lbs is do-able for a backpacker 
  • Feeding capacity is reasonable, given the 34, 24, and 10oz capacities
  • Can upgrade to a larger set if desired

Cons:

  • Due to its vertical shape, it might be tough to cook things that require you to not “crowd the pan”

Stanley Base Camp Cook Set for 4

  • Dishware size (35%) – 7/10, Pot is oversized, dishes are undersized
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 8/10
  • Ease of cleanup (20%) – 8/10, 
  • Weight & Portability (15%) – 6/10, 5lbs 9oz, for car campers only
  • Company history and reputation (10%) – 8/10

Best for: a car camping family of 4 looking for large, high-capacity cookware; $$

For car campers who may be less-than-impressed with smaller pots and pans, allow me to direct you to the Stanley Base Camp Cook Set for 4. 

Featuring a whopping 10.7” x 6.3” pot with a 3.5L capacity, this is more than enough capacity to whip up the advertised 4 servings.

For reference, I just measured my primary cooking pot in my home kitchen. It’s .7” shorter in diameter than the Stanley pot! And mind you – this is a pot that easily handles 4-6 servings. 

Campers praise the cookware for the even heat distribution, noting its lack of hotspots. But because the entire set is stainless steel, there’s no non-stick coating. 

As much as everyone enjoys the cookware, the dinnerware is where things get a bit dicey.

The 6” plates are small and somewhat inconvenient. It can get annoying trying to eat that large serving off a plate the size of a saucer.

For that reason, a lot of users suggest swapping the plates (and possibly the 22oz bowls) for a larger, dedicated set of camping dinnerware.

Pros:

  • Extremely large 10.7” x 6.3” 3.5L pot; great for dishing up large portions
  • Reported to have even heat distribution; no hot spots
  • Sturdy build
  • Includes added accessories; dish drying rack, folding serving spoon and spatula, and silicone oven mitt

Cons:

  • 6” plates are annoying to deal with; nearly unanimous reports suggest just using different dishware
  • Heavier weight – 5lbs 9oz
  • No cups included; strange choice for a comprehensive dinner set

Odoland 16pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit 

  • Dishware size (35%) – 6/10, undersized 6.22” bowls
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 7/10
  • Ease of cleanup (20%) – 7/10, 
  • Weight & Portability (15%) – 7/10, 3.3lbs is manageable
  • Company history and reputation (10%) – 6/10, not that well known

Best for: 1 or 2 morning coffee or tea lovers who want the ability to prepare food while also boiling water; $

If you’re looking for all in one plus a little extra, you’re in luck. The Odoland 16pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit might be the mess kit for you.

This 16 piece kit includes dishware for 2, a pot, pan, stove, and yes, a tea kettle

Some campers might feel it’s a little redundant to have a dedicated kettle – after all, that’s what the pots are for, right?

But picture this: cooking your oatmeal in the pot, bacon and eggs in the pan, and boiling water for a piping hot cup of coffee…..yum. 

Oh yeah, and speaking of hot stuff, you’re also getting a mini stove as well. Mind you, this doesn’t include the fuel. You have to buy that yourself.

The stove itself has received some mixed feedback. Some users have had perfect success with it, while others have run into some issues. 

Either way, it can be quite convenient if you’re just getting into outdoor camping. Since it came bundled with your kit, you don’t need to buy an extra stove.

Another common concern was the included utensils. 

While the metal – not plastic – construction is appreciated, campers noted that they were flimsy and didn’t want to remain locked in place.

Pros:

  • Includes a dedicated .08L tea kettle; make breakfast and your morning cup at once!
  • Comes with a stove; saves you the inconvenience of purchasing a separate one
  • Cups come with silicone drink cozies so you don’t burn your hands

Cons:

  • Bowls are small at 6.22” inches
  • Some reports say that the kit is tough to re-pack
  • Utensils kind of flimsy; swap for better ones

KingCamp 25/17/8 Pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit

  • Dishware size (35%) – 7/10, bowls are 4.5 x 1.5” yet hold a lot of food
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 7/10
  • Ease of cleanup (20%) – 8/10, non-stick anodized aluminum bottoms
  • Weight & Portability (15%) – 7/10
  • Company history and reputation (10%) – 7/10

Best for: an ambitious camp cook who needs a lot of cookware for simultaneous meal prep; $

If you want to cook a lot of things at once, then have a look at the KingCamp 25/17/8 Pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit.

It’s the only 17 piece kit on our list that provides three pots. Not to mention the 7.8 x 1.9” frying pan as well!

The main pot is 7.5 x 5.5”, which is decently comparable to a small pasta pot in my home kitchen. The second measures 6.7 x 4.3”, and the smallest pot is 5.9 x 3.4”.

All this cookware provides you with ample opportunity to multitask. Feel free to boil water, prep some ramen, and cook up some veggies all at once.

And if you don’t need all this cookware, the KingCamp is a modular system. 

You can choose between the larger 25 piece option if you need even more capacity. Or downsize to the 8 piece set for a more compact choice.

Moving on to the dinnerware, I was pleasantly surprised that campers have reported overall satisfaction. I thought the dishes were quite small at 4.5 x 1.5”.

Yet users said that in spite of this, the bowls held comfortably-sized portions that satisfied all.

Pros:

  • 17 piece kit can be upgraded or downsized based on need
  • You get 3 pots and a fry pan rather than just 1 single pot; great for simultaneous cooking
  • Decent weight of 3.39lbs, packs to a manageable 8×6”
  • Anodized aluminum, non-stick bottom for easy cleanup
  • Small bowls hold surprising amount of food

Cons:

  • Utensils were reported to be flimsy; bring your own

Sea to Summit DeltaLight Camp Set 2.2

  • Dishware size (35%) – 8/10
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 7/10
  • Ease of cleanup (20%) – 9/10, 
  • Weight & Portability (15%) – 9/10, 14.4 ounces great for ultralight hikers
  • Company history and reputation (10%) – 8/10

Best for: hikers seeking a lightweight, basic dishware mess kit for 2 people; $

If you already have your cooking system but need something on which to eat your meal, check out the Sea to Summit DeltaLight Camp Set 2.2.

The 2.2 is a step up from its popular Sea to Summit sibling, which feeds only 1. But as its name implies, the 2.2 feeds 2 people. Now you can go hiking with a pal and provide the dishware for both.

Perhaps you’re asking, “carrying for 2? Isn’t that heavy?” Nope! At 14.4 ounces, you’ll barely feel this mess kit in your pack.

And this light weight doesn’t sacrifice dish size. The 2 bowls are 7” in diameter and 2” deep – plenty big enough to double as a plate. 

Users are happy with the size, especially since most mess kits tend to have dishware on the smaller side.

We also love how the Sea to Summit DeltaLight 2.2 comes with 2 sets of utensils. And no, it’s not just a spork. It’s actually 3 distinct utensils: forks, knives, and spoons. 

Finally, everyone says this set is super easy to clean. Of course, since it’s made of polypropylene, this is to be expected. This lets you spend more time enjoying your trip rather than doing the dishes.

Pros:

  • Large 7” bowls easily double as plates
  • Easy cleanup
  • Fun 2-color palette makes for easy identification
  • Includes full utensils: forks, knives, and spoons

Cons:

  • Utensils aren’t the toughest ever; they can flex a bit more than desired

Barbeqa Mess Kit 4 Person Dinnerware Set

  • Dishware size (35%) – 9/10, very large plates and cups feel like eating at home
  • Build quality and durability (20%) – 7/10
  • Ease of cleanup (20%) – 8/10, 
  • Weight & Portability (15%) – 7/10
  • Company history and reputation (10%) – 6/10, not very well known

Best for: small picnicking or car camping groups up to 4 looking to reduce waste of paper dinnerware; $

At first glance, it looks like it belongs at the local Toys R’ Us. But don’t be fooled by appearances; the Barbeqa Mess Kit 4 Person Dinnerware Set mess kit is more functional than it looks.

Numerous Boy and Girl Scout leaders praise this kit as a great substitute for all those tossed paper plates. 

They mention that the dinnerware held up to heavy and hot foods with zero bending or warping.

Plus, this mess kit feels like a slice of your own home kitchen. Featuring 16 pieces, it comes with 4 of everything: 4 bowls, mugs, plates, and utensils. 

Speaking of your kitchen, the dinnerware in this set is probably similar in size to the dishes you use at home! 

With 9.5” plates, 6.5” bowls, and 16oz cups, there are definitely no complaints about undersized items here.

Pros:

  • Sturdy, easy to clean dinnerware for 4 and reported to hold up under weight and heat
  • Great replacement for paper dinnerware
  • Bright colors appeal to the little ones while also making everything easy to locate
  • Large sizes; 9.5” plates, 6.5” bowls, 16oz cups
  • 2lbs; manageable weight for picnics and car camping

Cons:

  • Not the best insulated
  • Some people expressed concern with the utensil design: knife is integrated into fork prongs and could cut mouth

How to Choose the Best Camping Mess Kit

It doesn’t get much better than devouring a warm meal at the end of a long day.

A suitable mess kit for your camping trip will be one that’s easy to use, contains all necessary components, and feeds the desired amount of people. 

Despite the numerous options on the market, it’s not that tough to make your choice once you know what you’re looking for. So let’s dive in together!

Trip Type

If you’re setting out on an extended backcountry foray, chances are you won’t want the weight of a massive mess kit

Instead, you might opt for the ultralight Sea to Summit DeltaLight Camp Set 2.2 which weighs a mere 14.4oz. Of course, your need to choose a light tent too. Check out the ultimate guide to tent weight.

But if you’re going on a family camping trip, your needs may differ. For instance, you will need a lot more utensils and dinnerware. 

You may even require large cooking pots and extra pans to prepare meals. 

In this case, the Stanley Base Camp Cook Set for 4, featuring a massive 5 liter pot, might be better suited to your trip.

Size and Weight

Backpackers should look for mess kits weighing around a half a pound to a pound and a half. There’s really no need to get much heavier than this. 

Meanwhile, an ideal weight for a car camping mess kit is usually around 2 – 3lbs. This weight can increase or decrease depending on what the kit is made with. 

Feeding Capacity

Think about how many people you want your mess kit to feed. Are you backpacking with another buddy? The MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set feeds 2 and will likely be an appropriate choice.

Are you putting together a family car camping trip? In that case, you’ll want a mess kit that can feed 4 or more people like the KingCamp 25/17/8 Pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit

Mess Kit Type

There are generally three categories for mess kits.

The first is the all-inclusive kit, like the MalloMe Camping Mess Kit. These kits typically include at least one pot, pan, bowl/plate, and utensils. 

But keep in mind that not every all-inclusive kit actually includes a utensil. 

Next, we have cooking mess kits. The BeGrit Backpacking Camping Cookware is a unique example, utilizing several different sized mugs to save packed space. 

Cooking mess kits provide you with pots and pans to cook your food over your camp stove. 

Finally, there are dinnerware mess kits for those who only need a way to eat their food. Take the Barbeqa Mess Kit 4 Person Dinnerware Set, which offers four utensils, cups, bowls, and plates. 

Dinnerware sets are nice because you don’t need to pay for items you may already have.

Materials

Stainless steel is a popular choice for car camping mess kits. It’s super durable and long-lasting, but also weighs more. 

Thus, you usually won’t see stainless steel for a backpacking mess kit.

Instead, lighter weight mess kits tend to be made out of anodized aluminum. 

This is a favored material for its balance between effectiveness, price, and weight. 

And because they aren’t as heavy as stainless steel, they’re ideal for toting over long distances.

Aluminum often features a non-stick coating. While this is awesome for a quick cleanup, the downside is that it can scratch easily. 

You’ll also see polypropylene (a kind of plastic) kits here and there, especially for dinnerware-only sets. 

Extra Goodies

Some mess kits go above and beyond, including things you might not even think you need.

A few mess kits on our list, such as the KingCamp 25/17/8 Pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit, provide you with a handy scrubbing pad. 

This makes cleanup a breeze! Now you don’t need to use your valuable toilet paper as a dishrag. (Wait, was that just me…?)

Another nifty addition is a dish-drying rack, offered by the Stanley Base Camp Cook Set for 4. This brings a touch of your home kitchen to your outdoors kitchen.

The Gold Armour 17 Pieces Camping Cookware gets really crazy: they give you a camp stove and a fire starter! 

Finally, if you can’t live without your cuppa’ something hot, the Odoland 16pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit throws in a 27oz tea kettle. 

Final Verdict

As you can see, there are plenty of options for preparing and eating delicious meals outdoors.

We picked the Gold Armour 17 Pieces Camping Cookware mess kit as our top choice.

Truly, this is an all-in-one kit, even adding extras like a camping stove and a fire starter. All of its components (including the free stove) have been highly praised.

This is even more surprising considering the incredibly budget-friendly price.

Taking all this into account, we think that the Gold Armour mess kit is the best cooking solution for most any camper.

AUTHOR

My name is Emma, and I’m a city dweller who jumps on every opportunity to get out and enjoy nature! I’ve gone on a number of car camping and backpacking trips over the past few years. I created this site to inspire others to get outside and to make the process easier for you.