Backpacking Camping Dishes Basics

A good set of camping dishes come in handy while backpacking. And it’s easy to find something that is compact, lightweight and inexpensive. Below we’ll go over some of your options to give you a better idea of what to look for.


You’ll typically find backpacking camping dishes are made from plastic, stainless steel, titanium and aluminum.

Plastic is nice because it is so light and can be very compact. Plastic is less durable than metal and obviously cannot be heated on the fire, but this isn’t an issue for us.

One set of plastic cookware is of particular interest. It’s made by Fozzils and is basically a plastic origami dish set. It is extremely light and becomes a flat, flexible sheet of plastic that packs way nicely when you’re finished using it.

Stainless steel is very durable and cleans really easy. Dishes made of this material are going to be a bit heavier though. However, the extra weight only matters if you’re really counting ounces in maintaining a certain pack weight.

Titanium is probably the most durable and light of the options. However, it is also the most expensive. But titanium will definitely last you through years of backpacking if treated right. So, while the initial cost is going to be at least three times more than another material, it will pay for itself because of how long it can last.

Aluminum is also a lightweight and inexpensive option. However, some avoid it because it is less durable than comparable stainless steel dishes. Another reason some avoid it is because of health concerns about aluminum leeching into foods.

Additional Tips

  • Some people like to go with a dish that can double as a bowl and a plate.
  • Another option is to choose a bowl that can double as a cup.
  • Look for dishes that can nest inside your pot. Some brands provide cooksets that include everything you’ll need and are designed to nest inside your pot. For more information on these, visit our backpacking cookset page.

  • As opposed to buying a separate plate, some backpacking pots are designed with lids that can double as a plate.
  • Remember, unless you really want them, you don’t need that many dishes. We like to use dishes that are multi-purpose to save on space and weight.

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