Best Camping Flatware that Don’t Need Fire

During short trips, you can limit yourself to a simple menu, dishes that can be prepared without fuss and using a basic set of dishes. You may only need a cup and spoon. Fans of camping, car tourism and family vacations, on the other hand, are more demanding and take more all kinds of camping utensils and cutlery. Finally, tourists who go on a long hike in a large group use combinations of simple, light, but at the same time varied dishes. So how to understand all the richness of choice and assemble a set that is optimal for your tasks? We understand the world of tourist dishes and share our experience.

Set or apart?

You can buy all the necessary items of tourist utensils as a set or separately:

  • Sets of kitchen utensils. Many manufacturers offer ready-made travel utensils. They are distinguished by a wide variety – among them the optimal solution can be found for lovers of comfortable camping and connoisseurs of functional ultralight equipment. In addition to pots, large sets of dishes can include bowls, mugs, cutlery and even dishwashing sponges. These kits are perfect for beginners in tourism who have not yet acquired many items of equipment, as well as for family hikes and camping trips. Another advantage of ready-made travel utensils is their compactness in packaging. Collecting several cups and mugs separately in a backpack is still flour. To avoid this, manufacturers use rather ingenious solutions. For example, MSR thermo mugs are similar in cross-section to a triangle, so you can safely place several pieces at once in a round saucepan or bowl. And some sets of dishes are folded like a nesting doll.
  • Buying dishes separately, you have the opportunity to assemble the set that is most optimal for your needs. However, this is not the best way to save weight and bulk in your backpack. Also, this approach requires the tourist to have sufficient experience to clearly understand how and in what situations a particular piece of tableware will be used.

Key factors that influence the choice of travel tableware

  • Number of persons. Everything is simple here – the more a person goes on a hike or camping, the larger the volume of dishes used. The main pot / pot for cooking hot food is selected at the rate of 500 ml of volume for each eater. It is desirable that this pot can be used to pack most of the other utensils or burner, gas and cutlery.
  • Menu. Oddly enough, the choice of cookware also depends on your camping diet. A tall, thin-walled titanium or aluminum pot is suitable for simple boiling of water. But for the preparation of complex, by the standards of tourism, dishes, for example, milk porridges, stews, omelets, it is better to use dishes with a non-stick coating, the walls of which are heated evenly. Also, the number of dishes used depends on the menu. For the preparation of sublimates, one pot is enough, and sometimes a mug for boiling water. Complex dishes will require additional mixing and cooking containers.
  • Weight. The lighter the dishes, the lighter the backpack. A lightweight backpack significantly saves your energy on the route, you go further and faster.
  • Price. It is important to strike a balance between the money spent, durability, weight and ergonomics of the utensils you buy. Fortunately, the modern variety of assortments and a wide range of prices make this task much easier.
  • Durability. Durable and reliable cookware will not only not let you down on a hike, but also save you money in the long run.

With the exception of volume, all of the above qualities of travel ware are largely determined by the materials from which they are made. Therefore, let us dwell on them in more detail.

Tourist Tableware Materials

Aluminum Travel Cookware

Pros
  • Lightweight, cheap, conducts heat very well, due to which its walls quickly warm up, reducing fuel consumption. Aluminum dissipates heat relatively well over the surface of the cookware, which reduces the risk of food scorching and simplifies the cooking process.
Cons
  • It is relatively easy to scratch and wrinkle. Aluminum can react with food acids, which leads to the formation of an oxide film on the walls of the dishes. Because of this feature, anodized aluminum cookware is most commonly used in tourism.

Anodized aluminum cookware

Pros
  • Tourist tableware made of anodized aluminum is much more durable – it is less scratched and does not oxidize.
Cons
  • Crumples relatively easily. The anodized coating itself requires rather careful handling – it is better not to scrape off the burnt porridge with a metal spoon.

Stainless steel tourist cookware

Pros
  • Steel travel cookware is significantly stronger and more durable than aluminum. It is not afraid of scratches and is very unpretentious in maintenance – the bottom of a steel saucepan or pot can be simply wiped off with sand and rinsed with water.
Cons
  • Tourist utensils made of steel are heavier and more expensive than aluminum. In addition, its thermal conductivity is noticeably lower, which leads to slightly higher fuel consumption. Also, heating occurs more locally, which can lead to burning of food.

Titanium travel tableware

Pros
  • The most durable travel tableware with the lowest weight. It is chosen by hikers, climbers, as well as all outdoor enthusiasts who want to reduce the weight of their equipment. Titanium is corrosion resistant and resistant to scratches and deformation. Thanks to the very thin walls, titanium cookware heats up very quickly, reducing fuel consumption when boiling water.
Cons
  • Titanium tourist dishes are more expensive than all other types. The thermal conductivity of titanium is lower than that of steel and aluminum, and therefore the risk of food burning is very high. This makes it very difficult to cook complex dishes in a titanium pot.

Plastic / Silicone Travel Cookware

Pros
  • Lightweight, usually cheap, easy to clean, folding models are very compact. Plastic and silicone allow manufacturers to experiment with the shape and color of their dishes. Plastic is also used to make sealed food containers, flasks and bottles, and cutlery.
Cons
  • Pure plastic utensils cannot be used for cooking on the burner. Also, plastic can absorb food odors and keep them for a long time. The walls of such dishes are relatively poorly washed from fat.

Cast iron

Pros
  • Cast iron cookware is ideal for baking or cooking over a fire.
Cons
  • Cast iron cookware for tourism is too heavy. Not for walking, for sure. In addition, it requires proper care and is adapted for cooking over a fire or charcoal. Therefore, it is rarely used in the modern outdoor industry.

Non-stick coating

It is used in metal dishes, most often in aluminum.

Pros
  • Such dishes can be cleaned by literally waving a rag. Also, the non-stick coating makes it easier to prepare some dishes.
Cons
  • The non-stick coating is quite delicate and is relatively easy to scratch with metal cutlery. This feature makes the dishes more demanding to care for and slightly less durable.
  • This is basic information about materials. However, taking into account all their advantages and disadvantages, manufacturers of tableware for tourism produce all kinds of products with a combination of materials. So to say in general terms that this is good, but it will not work out badly. Each case is different.

Tips for choosing travel tableware

By using the lid while cooking, you save time and fuel. Some sets of cookware provide a lid for each container, while others may have one universal lid for different sizes of cookware. Often, covers can perform several functions at once, in addition to the main one. For example, MSR pots have holes to drain the water if you’ve cooked pasta or vegetables. In pursuit of maximum functionality, manufacturers of travel ware often assign the role of bowls and pans to the lids.

Handles. An important element. A cheap design is fraught with finger burns or early breakage, so pay attention to the reliability and ergonomics of the handles when buying. In tourist dishes, the handles of pots and mugs tend to lighten as much as possible. The simplest option is a bent bar of thick wire, which can be removable or fixed. Sets of pots are often equipped with a universal removable handle or a claw-claw. The main thing is not to forget it in the parking lot and not to lose it during transportation. Tourist tableware with folding handles is very convenient to use. It is the most compact in packaging, and due to its remoteness and the minimum point of contact with a hot surface, folding handles when unfolded heat up much less, which reduces the risk of scalding your hands.

Cutlery. While road trip and camping enthusiasts can afford to use ordinary cutlery, for the real tourist it is a luxury. Most often, you can do with just one spoon, preferably light and compact. Also popular are the so-called “spoon-forks”, which combine two cutlery in one. In some cases, the outer edge of the “catcher” prong is sharpened, resulting in a table knife, which is convenient for breaking large pieces in a plate.

Cutlery. While road trip and camping enthusiasts can afford to use ordinary cutlery, for the real tourist it is a luxury. Most often, you can do with just one spoon, preferably light and compact. Also popular are the so-called “spoon-forks”, which combine two cutlery in one. In some cases, the outer edge of the “catcher” prong is sharpened, resulting in a table knife, which is convenient for breaking large pieces in a plate.

But for those who do not waste time on trifles and are going to please themselves and their companions with culinary delights on a trip, manufacturers offer the whole range of necessary kitchen utensils, naturally in a lightweight version. It can be frying spatulas, whisks, measuring spoons, cutting boards and much more.

Accessories. If you plan to cook food, and not just dissolve it with water, then you will also need containers for spices. You can, of course, use a matchbox or a plastic egg for children’s sweets, but specially designed containers will reliably protect salt and spices not only from unexpected spills, but also from moisture.

Thermo mug. A mug of hot tea or coffee can be a real gift during a hike, charging you with energy and good mood. The thermo mug has double walls, thanks to which it keeps your drink hot for a long time, and at the same time does not burn your lips and palms.

Pressure cooker. It sounds strange, but for tourists a pressure cooker can be even more useful than in a home kitchen. Especially for mountain tourists. In high altitude conditions, food preparation becomes much more difficult. The pressure cooker saves you not only cooking time, but also invaluable fuel.

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