Preparing meals on a normal setup is already challenging, never mind preparing them outdoors. But it can be rewarding once you get to enjoy those meals with your friends or family while sitting in the best camping chair you have, appreciating the breeze outside and the surrounding scenery. You just need the best camping cooking gear and the best mobile camp kitchen to help you with it.
One thing many campers overlook, however, is tableware. You may already have a good portable stove or camping grill for preparing easy camping meals, but you don’t want to be digging through your kitchen drawers at the last minute to find suitable tableware because you forgot to buy some durable, outdoor-friendly dishes and utensils before your trip.
In contrast to the meals you eat at home, good camping tableware should be super-durable, relatively lightweight, and easy to clean in the field. This is a broad category, but we’ve already sorted through it all to bring you the best dishes, utensils, and other rugged tableware for your next camping trip, from complete family sets to backpacking mess kits (and just about everything else).
If you’re looking for a simple, rugged, no-nonsense tableware set, this bundle from Stansport is the one. The kit offers everything you need for campsite meals with friends and family: Plates, bowls, mugs, spoons, forks, and knives (four of each for 24 pieces in total). The silverware is made of tough stainless steel with plastic handles, while the dishes and mugs are made of steel coated with an attractive and rustic-looking enamel that’s as easy to clean as it is durable.
The Stansport 24-piece tableware set is our top pick, but it’s a little heavy to lug around. A lightweight alternative that’s also great is this four-person set from Barbeqa, which trades metal for sturdy, BPA-free plastic. It comes with four bowls, plates, and mugs, and for utensils, you get four all-in-one sporks (with a serrated edge on one of the fork tines), which further reduce heft by combining a fork, spoon, and knife into a single handy tool.
The bundle includes a handy mesh bag for keeping everything together as well.
Having dishes and utensils to eat with is one thing, but if you want to cook something more complicated than hot dogs while camping, then you also need some tools to actually prepare the meals. The GSI Destination 24-piece kitchen set is the perfect chef’s kit to pair with one of the above tableware sets: It packs a whisk, a serving spoon, a spatula, a paring knife, a spice shaker, condiment containers, a cutting board, a scrubber, and a small towel into a handy ballistic nylon carrying case, and it even includes a 12-piece set of thick plastic eating utensils.
A simpler and lighter alternative to the GSI kitchen set is the incredibly versatile Gerber ComplEAT camp cooking tool. This four-piece, all-in-one utensil combines a spatula, a serving spoon, a serving fork, a knife, a vegetable peeler, a bottle opener, and a can opener into a handy collapsible package that can slip right into your backpack or even a pocket. The spatula can also lock up with the fork or spoon to be used as a pair of tongs.
If you don’t need something for several people, this one-person set — another winner from GSI — is perfect. The Cascadian camping tableware kit includes a plate, a bowl, a mug, and a three-piece utensil set, all made of durable and easy-to-clean BPA-free plastic. The bundle stows away in the included mesh bag when not in use. (This bag can also be utilized for hanging the utensils up to dry after you wash them if you don’t want to leave them lying out.)
Swedish company Light My Fire built its name (quite literally) on its ferro rod fire starters, but this brand also makes the best all-in-one eating utensil on the market. The Light My Fire Spork is a better design than standard sporks, giving you both a “normal” spoon and forkhead at either end of the handle, while a serrated edge on one of the fork tines serves as a knife — it’s like a bread knife, though, so it won’t slice up your mouth.
Backpackers know the importance of lightweight, multi-purpose gear, and this eight-piece tableware kit from Light My Fire is purpose-built for trekkers. It comes with three waterproof food containers, a collapsible drinking cup, a plastic Spork, and even a small cutting board that can double as a strainer when used with the large snap box. When not in use, everything (including the cup) nestles together, and a large rubber strap keeps it all secure inside your pack.
Aside from a hearty campfire dinner followed by some s’mores for dessert, there are few things more satisfying while camping than a nice relaxing cup of coffee in the morning as you watch the sunrise. The ceramic mugs you use at home are far from ideal for the campground, though, so it’s a good idea to invest in a quality
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