When the end of the week is approaching, do you start to dream about disappearing to a place by a lake or at the top of a mountain? Are you already picturing yourself packing your backpack in anticipation or disconnecting from the hustle and bustle, even if it is just a couple of days?
If you often feel the need to escape, you’re not alone. We humans have been sleeping under the stars for centuries. More and more people are rediscovering the joys of hiking and camping. The best thing about living off the grid for a few days is that it is a getaway that is within reach of even the smallest of budgets. All you need is the barest essentials like a tent, sleeping bag and a hiking backpack to stash everything in.
Part of the charm of camping is cooking over an open fire. Grilling meat is good, but not always practical because you need a grill which isn’t convenient to carry on top of several pounds of raw meat. Cooking something in a small pot or pan is a lot more convenient and you can really get creative with your meals. That doesn’t mean you have to drag half your kitchen across the country. You can buy yourself a little mess kit that is perfect for camping out. A mess kit contains basic cookware and tableware and the best mess kits, like the ones we are featuring, have everything you need in a neatly packed bundle ready for your next weekend away.
The Best Mess Kits
The thing you’ll really love about this mess set from MalloMe is that everything packs neatly into one convenient package. This makes it simple and easy to take with you anywhere. It comes with everything you need. A nice small pot and matching frying pan, with an interchangeable lid, basic cooking utensils and tableware. When you’re done it all stores away into a compact package in the convenient carry bag that comes with the set. It also includes a tiny burner so you can get your meals cooked quickly and conveniently. MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit is the ideal mess kit for campers who like to keep it simple. If you plan on going on a camping trip, check out our guide to the best large camping tents.
Lightweight and compact
Great for hiking and camping
Storage bag included
Put your outdoor culinary skills to the test next time you go camping with this great camping cookware mess kit. This 16 piece set has everything you need to make amazing meals when you are roughing it. The pieces are made from FDA approved anodized aluminum which is safe and it comes with its own mini camping stove so you can stop and get cooking whenever your tummy rumbles. Everything stores neatly in a small, easy to carry bundle and with Bisgear 12-17Pcs Camping Cookware Spork Set you’ll have everything you need for a real gourmet experience in the wild.
High quality FDA approved anodized aluminum
All cutlery pieces fold for easy storage
Mini stove with Piezo ignition
Space saving and easy to carry
Great gift for family and friends
- Weight1.6 pounds
Camping is easy with this 8 piece plastic mess kit. It has everything you need to make life in the outdoors super easy. Light My Fire 8-Piece BPA-Free Meal Kit 2.0 has all the tableware and cutlery you need to enjoy your meals in style. The compact design makes it easy to secure all the contents in the versatile plate and lit and the harness keeps everything tightly and neatly secure so the contents won’t scatter all over your backpack. It comes with a neat little cup that expands when you need it, and collapse again when you’re done for easy storage. Choose from a variety of fun colors making it ideal for families. Get a set for each camper in a different color. This kit is also dishwasher and microwave safe so you can use it for backyard BBQs as well. One more camping necessity is a sleeping bag so check out our selection.
8-piece designer mess kit for stowing and serving food
Contents store compactly inside bowl and lid
Cup expands to drink and collapses to carry
Spork original all-in-one utensil
Cutting board also works as a strainer
BPA-free Dishwasher and microwave safe
- BrandLight My Fire
- ModelS-MK2 Red
- Weight15 ounces
Roughing it has never been easier thanks to this complete mess kit from Gold Armour. Gold Armour 10-17Pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit comes complete with cookware, tableware and cutlery and even a small camping stove and fire starter for the hiker on the go. The cookware is non-stick and easy to keep clean so you can focus on fun outdoors instead of boring chores. Enjoy this set by the beach or a river and if you like fishing you can cook anything you catch with delicious side dishes as well. This set is built to last for many years of great outdoor cooking.
High quality and built to last
FDA approved anodized aluminum pot and frying pan
Non-stick and easy to clean
Great gift idea for family and friends
- BrandGold Armour
With this AmazonBasics camping cookware set you can treat yourself to real gourmet camping food and serve it with style. This is an individual set for one that includes pots, pans and tableware. The handles are foldable making storage and transport simple and efficient. The cookware is made from anodized aluminum which is durable and easy to clean with the sponge that is included with the set and the entire set nests neatly together to be placed into the little carry bag that contains it all in one tidy bundle. Don’t forget to also bring a good cooler for camping.
Outdoor camping cookware set with covered pot and fry pan
Convenient tableware included
Lightweight anodized-aluminum construction
Designed for one person
Space-saving foldable handles
Includes cleaning sponge and travel bag
- Weight 1.33 pounds
This neat little MalloMe hiking mess kit takes the hassle out of packing for your next hiking trip because everything you need to cook quick, simple meals is included in the set. It is lightweight, yet durable enough for camping in the rough and the heat resistant handles fold away when it’s time to pack up and go. It comes with cooking utensils and a foldable fork. Once packed it is a neat little unit that comes with its own carry bag making it ideal for all of your outdoor adventures.
Compact and convenient to carry
Lightweight and durable
Heat resistant, foldable handles
Comes with foldable fork and utensils
Sturdy Nylon Carry Bag included
This is the ultimate cookware set for a romantic weekend getaway. Terra Hiker Camping Cookware includes a pot, pan and kettle for the perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner. This cookware conducts heat extremely well so you can boil water for coffee or tea in mere minutes making it ideal when you need a hot drink on a cold morning. The handles are heat resistant so you won’t burn your fingers and all the cookware is non-stick for easy cleaning with the cute loofah sponge that comes with this set. When you’re done, everything stacks neatly in the pot for compact, convenient transport.
High performance cookware
Non-stick pots and pans
Compact & Portable
Great for Outdoor Kitchen and camping
- BrandTerra Hiker
- Weight1.34 pounds
Getting away from it all is a necessity from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you want to go alone. A large group can be fun, if not also a little overwhelming so smaller groups are often preferable. It’s usually enough to invite one friend or special someone. You’ll still get the peace and tranquility, but you’ll have someone to share it with. When you do venture out, this Ultralight backpacking mess kit is the perfect camping companion to put together great meals for two. With MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set you get two deep dish plates that are perfect for hearty meals and even soups. Plus two insulated mugs for hot beverages. The cookware is light, yet sturdy enough to cook three course meals if you want to really impress your travel buddy and it all comes together in a neat little nest when you’re ready to pack up and move on.
Two-person backpacking Cookset
Lightweight and compact
Polypropylene deep-dish plates
All components nest within the 2.5L pot for easy packing
- Weight1.76 pounds
For the solo hiker who doesn’t need a whole lot of gear, this is the best backpacking mess kit. Its mini size makes it a barely noticeable weight in your backpack, yet it still has everything you need to cook delicious meals on the go. The pot and frying pan are made from high quality anodized aluminum that is easy to keep clean and everything nests neatly into the pot when you’re done. This is a really neat and tidy little get for the independent person who loves to travel. REDCAMP 9/12/13/18/23 PCS Camping Cookware Mess Kit in this range also comes with more pieces if you find yourself travelling with a companion.
Lightweight mini size for individuals
Small size takes up very little space
High quality anodized aluminum pot and frying pan
Non-stick and easy to clean
Handy storage bag included
- Weight1 pounds
AnimalMiracle have come up with this complete lightweight mess kit for the serious hiker. It comes with all the cookware and utensils you need for the ultimate in culinary camping experience. It is compact and portable for those trips where you want to move from one place to another and the high quality pots and pans will make outdoor cooking a breeze. The cookware distributes heat quickly and evenly for quick and easy meals and the camping stove means you can cook anywhere. AnimaMiracle 14/15 Pcs Camping Cookware Set is a great take anywhere mess kit that is also easy to use at home when you don’t want to be confined indoors.
High-Quality Camping Cookware set
Compact and portable
Great for any outdoor activity
Excellent, even heat distribution
- Weight1.4 pounds
Mess Kit Buying Guide And FAQ
Features To Look For In Mess Kits
Cooking Set Up – When you’re camping out you don’t want a lot of gear to fuss around with so the cooking set up needs to be simple. All you really need is a small pot to boil water or prepare soups, stews or sauces, and a pan to fry up simple food like bacon or sausages. Of course, if you camp near water, fish might also be on the menu. Some of the mess kits in our selection also include a small camping stove which makes them very convenient when you’re hiking on open roads
Use – Once you buy your first mess kit you’ll come to realize how convenient and useful they really are. The kits in our selection are great for any location you want to cook outdoors and that includes boats and backyards as well as forests and mountain trails. They are useful for cooking light, healthy meals when you’re on the move and many of them also include plates and cutlery so you can cook, serve and eat your meals with one simple mess kit.
Weight – If you find yourself frequently trekking on wilderness trails or open roads, you’ll come to appreciate any hiking gear that won’t weigh you down. That’s why when it comes to weight, the mess kits in our selection are made from durable, lightweight materials. A stainless steel mess kit will definitely last you a lifetime, but this metal is quite heavy so it may not be a wise choice for hikers.
Materials – Hiking and camping can be rough so you definitely need a metal mess kit purely for the durability. That doesn’t mean you need a kit that is bulky or heavy. The mess kits in our selection feature pots and pans made from lightweight materials such as anodized aluminum which is every bit as sturdy as it is light. Other components in the kits may be made of food grade plastics that are easy to store and use for food storage and eating.
Efficiency – After a long day hiking, the last thing you want is to spend hours cooking your dinner. You want cookware that heats up quickly and distributes heat evenly so you can get your cooking out of the way in a short amount of time and then sit back and enjoy the food you’ve made. Packing your mess kit up also needs to be done efficiently so the kits in our selection have been designed to pack together with ease so you can be on your way again in a flash.
Number of Pieces – Some mess kits come with a multitude of various bits and pieces. If you are a hiker then less is definitely more. On paper, the kits with a lot of pieces may look appealing but you need to consider how many of these pieces you actually need. Consider the type of food you plan on cooking and what you need to eat with. Anything more than that may become excess baggage. The number of pieces in the kit will also depend on how many people will be accompanying you on your travels. If you intend on driving to your destination than this may not be an issue, but if you are hiking and carrying all of your gear with you, then you should only take the absolute essentials.
Portability – Many of the mess kits in our selection can be packed in nest like fashion into the largest pot. This means it will take up a minimum of space in your backpack making it very portable. When you are hiking or camping, this compact convenience is a must. Not only does it make it easy to get to your cooking essentials, it also makes the entire mess kit portable and hassle free.
Accessories – Hiking is one activity where too many accessories can be a bit of a hindrance. The best mess kit is one that has a couple of pieces of cookware, a deep dish plate and a couple of pieces of cutlery. One or two cooking utensils are also needed and a mug for hot drinks or water. It is also handy to have a small camping stove as you may not be able to build a campfire everywhere you go. Other than that, additional accessories are usually not necessary.
Durability – One thing you expect from a mess kit is that it will last for many hiking and camping trips. A cheap kit may look fine, but these are usually made from flimsy materials so you end up replacing them pretty quickly. A good quality mess kit need not be expensive, but it needs to be last. After all, camping is very rarely an activity where you find yourself on even terrain and your mess kit may get dropped or knocked over on twigs and rocks. You need something durable that can withstand a little rough treatment.
Mess Kit FAQ
Q: What is a Mess Kit and why do I need one?
A: A mess kit a set of cookware, cutlery and plates that has been specifically designed for camping and backpacking. Originally, these kits were used by military personnel while out in the field or on a tour of duty.
You may ask yourself if you actually need a mess kit. It really depends on how often you go camping or hiking. If you like to hike to your camping locations or just hike on trails or open roads, then you most likely need a mess kit simply for the convenience of having all of your cooking needs in one convenient bundle.
Q: What does a standard Mess Kit contain?
A: The most basic mess kit contains just a few standard essentials like a pot and a frying pan with a lid that fits on both, a small camping stove, a few simple utensils, a deep dish plate, mug and cutlery. Most also come with a cleaning sponge and a nylon carry bag to store it all in. Most of the items are foldable and generally fit neatly in the largest item which is usually the pot.
Q: What are the usual sizes of skillets and pots included in a Camping Mess Kit?
A: The sizes of skillets and pots in a camping mess kit are generally smaller than normal kitchen ware. They can range from around 5 to 7 inches in diameter and the handles are usually foldable for easier storage.
Q: Why buying a Mess Kit is better than making your own Mess Kit?
A: You may think it would be easier and more economical to put together your own mess kit. Economically, maybe but it won’t be easier. Buying a complete mess kit is easy because all the thought of what you need has already gone into it. More importantly, most complete mess kits have been designed so that all the items can be stored in the pot so that it makes one neat bundle making them easier to carry with you.
Q: How do I clean my Mess Kit?
A: Many mess kits come with their own little sponge and this is the best thing to clean your mess kit with. Avoid taking ordinary cloths with you on long trips. Food gets stuck on them and they take a long time to dry. Boiling water in your pots and pans makes it easier to get food remnants off but you can also use the cold ashes from your fire or sand to remove caked on food particles. Once clean, make sure everything is completely dry before you pack it up again.