What Size Pot For Backpacking?

what size pot for backpacking

What size pot for backpacking? We spent hours reading and testing the most popular backpacking cooking pots, including those with a lot of great feedback across outdoor media and satisfied clients. Then we cooked meals outside with the top candidates. 

We have compiled a list of the finest cookpots for backpacking, including titanium pots, stainless steel cooking pots, anodized aluminum cookware, camping cookware nesting sets, and premium upgrades, budget choices. We took into account heat distribution and lightweight pots. We looked at several cookpot options and found that they work best with backpacking stoves rather than campfires. If you are searching for a backpacking stove, we have got you covered.


The first step in narrowing down our cookware options is to select the appropriate capacity. In this case, we want to choose the tiniest pot that will adequately accommodate our cooking requirements because weight increases with volume. For lightweight hikers, 600-900ml pots or mug/pot combinations are ideal for single use.

When it comes to boiling water for freeze-dried meals or freezer bag-style cooking, smaller sizes will be sufficient, but if you prefer to cook easy foods in your pot, bigger choices are recommended. 

orange plastic container on white table
what size pot for backpacking

In this range, many options will be available in the form of mugs/pot sets like Toaks 750 or MLD 850. While these choices might be somewhat large for a mug and diminutive for a pot, they may help you save weight and keep your camping kitchen basic by utilizing only one vessel, whether it is required for morning coffee or cooking food. The biggest, greatest cookpot is necessary for more complicated meals, but a smaller dedicated mug may also be useful.

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For groups of two or more, a dedicated cup for each person becomes necessary, but a single pot can still be shared if desired. It is worth increasing capacity here since we will be boiling more water at once and having a pot that can handle this amount will improve efficiency. 

Unless appetites are restricted and you intend to split single meals, you will want to go into the 1000ml/1liter + capacity range, and it is also nice to have a little space between sizes. For two people, the Evernew 1.3 liter pot has been about right for me, not only for basic meal preparation but also for a larger selection of cooking tasks, from boiling water for two freeze-dried dinners to preparing a pasta dish right in the pot or heating water for an entire Nalgene bottle.


Once you have discovered the best capacity for your pot, there are a few additional characteristics to consider in the cookware section. The shape is one of the most significant factors. If you go solo and select a pot/mug combo, your pot will most likely end up looking like a teacup. However, if you wish to use your stove more effectively, a deeper and wider design is preferable to a thin and tall form factor, which will be able to take advantage of more heat from the stove and improve your fuel efficiency on the trail.

For extra gasoline savings, a good tight-fitting lid is necessary as well as methods for “managing” your pot. Find collapsible handles, and if the handles are made of an outer insulating material (often used to lift the lid), it may be useful while adding little weight. This feature can sometimes be eliminated to save weight in ultralight cookware, but you can still handle the pot with a potholder and/or by keeping your handles upwind.

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stainless steel cooking pot with lid
what size pot for backpacking

If you will be cooking more complex meals in your pot frequently, a non-stick coating might be beneficial, but it may have health issues or concerns for some, add weight, and scratch if the proper utensils or cleaning techniques are not used. Dry baking would also be restricted. For more convenience in meal preparation, look for pots with measurement markings printed directly onto the surface to make measuring ingredients easier.

A pour spout that is built into the design is a nice bonus if you will be transferring hot water from one vessel to another. This might be the situation when heating up water for a Nalgene bottle to make a shoulder season heater, for example.

Cookware Considerations

Pot size: The biggest pot in your cook set should hold roughly 1 pint per camper or backpacker in your group.

The number of pots: The number of people at your party, as well as the type of cooking you want to do, will determine how many pots and pans you will need. If you are preparing dehydrated foods for two campers, a single pot should be enough. Larger meals and more people necessitate additional pots and pans.

Lids: Lids cut down on cooking time, save money on gas, and minimize splatter. Some cookies come with a lid for each pot, while some have a single lid that may be used on several different-sized pots. Certain lids can also act as plates, which might help you carry less.

Pot lifters or grippers: Some pots and pans are quite heavy, so make sure you have a method to carry them securely. The majority of cook sets include one gripper for all of the pots. Keep it in mind when packing your bag.

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The extras: Some cook sets come with mugs, utensils, plates, and even towels. This is useful if you are starting from the ground up or not really.

Cookware Safety Concerns

Aluminum: Some individuals are concerned about the health effects of using aluminum cookware. According to the National Institutes of Health, FDA, and the London-based Alzheimer’s Society, there are no health hazards connected with aluminum pots, pans, or skillets use.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, “There is no conclusive medical or scientific evidence of a link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease.” While it is not a health concern, cooking cauliflower or leafy greens in cookware may affect the flavor and appearance.

Nonstick coatings: When exposed to extreme heat, certain cookware coated with food-grade fluoropolymer PTFE can release hazardous fumes. Humans have been known to develop flu-like symptoms after breathing in these vapors, and they have been shown to kill household birds. When using nonstick-coated cookware (for example, while broiling food), be cautious; or use uncoated alternatives instead.

BPA: Bisphenol A (BPA) is a man-made chemical that may be harmful if ingested. REI sells cookware that has been BPA-free since food or liquid comes into intimate contact with the cookware.

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