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Best Backpacking Cooking Gear

Best Backpacking Cooking Gear

Camping season is upon us where we live in Ontario. The snow is gone and the weather is getting warmer. We are preparing ourselves and planning our next camping trip. This means that we also need to think about what we need to pack for our trip.

It is not just camping that we can do here in Canada, but portaging. This involves backpacking and carrying a canoe to get across bodies of water to a campsite. It is a mix of hiking, backpacking, and canoeing. This means that you need to pack as light as possible, but bring enough to sustain yourself for as long as you will be gone. Enter the proper backpacking cooking gear that you need to bring with you on these trips.

Best Backpacking Cooking Gear

Portable Cooking Equipment

When planning your next backpacking, hiking, camping, and/or portaging trip, you need to consider the size of what you are carrying. It needs to be small and as light as possible. Though it needs to carry everything you would need for as long as you will be gone.

Cooking equipment is one of those things that are a necessity. It is also one of those things that can really take up space and add weight to your backpack. Finding the right gear is incredibly important.

You will be looking for something that is portable and lightweight. Something that does not need electricity to run because there just is not any electricity in the wilderness. You are also looking for something that will work for you.

Mess Kit

We would love to cook on cast iron all day when we are camping. Unfortunately backpacking does not provide us the luxury of carrying around a heavy cast iron pan. All of our other gear is heavy enough.

That is why we pack an aluminum mess kit. This is a kit filled with various cooking tools and utensils that are portable and will fit in nicely with the rest of your lightweight belongings.

You will want something that you are not going to spend a lot of money on with an aluminum cooking equipment that will be used to cook over a campfire. These will get beaten and missed during your hiking or camping. They will potentially get left behind and forgotten about. At this price point, you wont even bat an eye.

So if you are one to enjoy cooking on a campfire and you want something lightweight and portable, we would suggest this mess kit.

This kit is lightweight and it packs together easily for simple storage and transport. It is the perfect thing to pack if you are wanting to cook over a fire with something, but not willing to lug around heavy cast iron pans.

This kit includes:

  • 8 oz. cup
  • 7 inch frying pan
  • 16 oz. pot with lid
  • Deep dish plate

Portable Cooking Kit

We love cooking over a campfire. It is one of our favorite things to do. However, carrying around all of the pots and pans can take up a lot of space. It is also a lot of effort to make a campfire whenever you need to cook something to eat.

In addition to that, sometimes you are not able to make a campfire. Whether it is because of the weather or because the summer has been to dry and campfires are banned, you need to have another plan. This is why we have a portable cooking kit with us that will allow us to eat whenever and wherever.

It also takes up almost no space and includes everything you need.

This portable cooking kit weighs a little over one pound and has everything you would possible need to cook in a portable little package. The only other thing you would need to purchase would be a small propane canister that the portable stove will screw on to.

This kit includes:

  • Stainless steel spork and knife
  • Mini stove with ignition
  • Aluminum pot
  • Aluminum pan
  • Pan cover
  • Two bowls
  • Soup spoon
  • Rice ladle
  • Sponge
  • Carabiner
  • Nylon bag

Food to Prepare

If you are needing to carry things for a long period of time you likely do not want to be lugging massive quantities that are going to add weight to your backpack. You want to pack as light as possible. Typically for a camping trip you may be able to get away with packing a cooler full of food that you would be able to keep cool for a day or two.

However, when you are backpacking you do not have that luxury. There is no space for a cooler on a backpacking, hiking, or portaging trip. You already have a pack full of clothes, equipment, a tent, and cooking gear. You do not need food that is really going to weigh you down.

Though it is an option, you likely do not want to pack a significant amount of canned food because cans are heavy and so is the liquid inside the cans. Keeping unnecessary water weight down as much as possible will help your back. It is good to have water with you at all times, but when it comes to cooking you want to be able to find a water source to use for your cooking instead of carrying your water with you everywhere.

So, what lightweight options do we have for your food that you can prepare while camping.

  • Instant Noodles

  • These are perfect for any camping trip. Lightweight and portable. Simply boil some water and add them to your noodles and you have a perfect snack to keep you going.

  • Beef Jerky

  • Looking for a source of meat or protein? Beef jerky takes all of the water out of the meat which means no water weight that you are carrying around and you have all the taste and protein from the meat to keep you going without spoiling.

  • Snacks

  • Snacks are always good to have on hand. Things like trail mix or protein bars are great to have in your backpack at all times in order to keep you going without having to stop and boil some water to get some extra fuel into your system.

  • Freeze Dried Meals

  • If you want some meals that are easy to carry, filling, and require little to no preparation time. Then these are the meals that you want. Most require just simple boiling water and pouring it on top. Plus they still taste good and will not spoil during your trip.


Being prepared for your next backpacking, hiking, camping, or portaging trip has never been easier. We have you covered with what you need for your food.

Now if you are also looking for a way to have a coffee anywhere you go, we wrote a post about the best travel coffee maker. We also have a post for the best water filter bottles so you do not need to pack any water which will really weigh you down.

Something else you may want to pick up before you start your camping trip is a container to pick up some water. This can be beneficial if you require water for your food, for drinking water, for your coffee, and for putting out the campfire when you are done. It is also nice to have if your campsite is a little bit far from a water source.

You do not want to be carrying around a giant pot in order to be able to get water to your campsite. A portable container is the best option for you and your backpacking trip.


What do you cook when you are camping? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below.


Have a comment or something to add to this article? Leave a comment below or send us a response by contacting us.

Happy travels!

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