Gear · Hiking · Hiking Gear · Trail Cooking

Time Tested Backpacking Kitchen Gear

There was a time when I flittered from stove to stove, always searching for the newest. I had a new cookset every spring. And I reviewed a lot back then, often having been sent kit after kit to try out – and to review (hopefully). I had Rubbermaid bins of gear stacked up. When we moved 3 years ago I purged a lot of it, and gave it to a local Scout Troop. By then I had removed Trailcooking from many PR lists, so I would receive less pitches to review gear (crazy I know…but it gets overwhelming at times). What I had found is I was always going back to my preferred choices. And here is the thing: Those preferred choices are what I still use when I am cooking on the trail. And more so? They are still manufactured and sold to this day. And some of these I have had for a very long time, well over a decade. That says a lot. And the real secret? None of these choices are what I would classify as “Super Expensive”. Buy well, buy once. And still have money left to buy food to cook in them…..

Cooking Pots:

MSR 1.3 liter pot. Outside of it now having a plastic lid, it hasn’t changed much. It is a utilitarian pot, thin, light, has a lid to drain water and stands up to time. It is hard anodized aluminum.

My go to for a 2 liter pot is the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle pot. It has changed a bit over the years, but is still the same rugged multi person pot of choice for us. The lid is now nylon and not hard plastic. The set is sold in 2 sizes, go for the Small. It is also sold on Amazon. It used to come in a kit with bowls and cups for backpackers, but isn’t in stock. This could be related to China shipping issues, or it could be GSI. However, as the 3 pot set, all parts are equally usable.

The fry pan can come in handy. And with sets, you can always leave parts behind as needed, to lower pack weight. Or fry up a steak. Either way.


Snowpeak GigaPower Stove. I have used so many stoves over the years. From alcohol to liquid fuel, canister stoves have always been my choice due to their ease of use, stability and no fiddling needed to use. I want to be able to light it and get my pot going. The Giga is a master in its class. It fits folded up in the palm of your hand, and can take both the small and large fuel canisters. I use small canisters for water boiling, the larger and wider canisters when cooking on larger pots. It can boil water fast, opened up, or slowly simmer food. And it is affordable. It might not look fancy, but it is my gold standard.

Canister Stand:

The MSR Universal Canister Stand has been a helpful piece of gear since I picked it up on a whim long ago. It gives your fuel canister a wider stance, leading to stability while cooking. The MSR website is out of stock of them, but Amazon has them in stock. When you are on unstable ground, and especially using a small canister with a large pot, it is worth having one along.


To-Go Bamboo utensils.

I have had these for a very, very long time. I bought them when they had just come out, at an REI that is no longer open. It was an impulse buy, I thought I’d get them for travel but instead they replaced the plastic spoons I had long carried in my cook it. Bamboo works great in all types of cooking pots. The fork and spoon work well for both that and eating. And knock the chopsticks. I use them to toss pasta if stir frying, and for keeping pasta not sticking while boiling. Easy to use, easy to clean…..and they are looking like new even over 12 years later.

They make child sized ones as well, I am a firm believer everyone should have their own set and carry it in their pack.

To fun cooking, and to long lasting cooking gear for the trail!


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