When it comes to backpacking cookware from there are primarily three options. Titanium, aluminum, and stainless steel are the three top choices.
Titanium – titanium offers the best strength to weight ratio. The downside of titanium is that it can be quite expensive. Titanium is arguably the best all-around option, if you can afford it.

Aluminum – aluminum is cheap, is a great heat conductor and is the lightest material making it popular with the ultralight crowd. It is on the weak side and can be easily bent. Aluminum is also known to deform over high heat, so its not always ideal for cooking over an open campfire. Some people also worry that aluminum will leech into food and can be toxic. Most problems with regular aluminum cookware is fixed by an anodized layer. Anodized aluminum is stronger, prevents leeching and is still very lightweight.

Stainless Steel – stainless steel is strong but heavy. If you’re looking for a indestructible or “bomber” kit, stainless steel is the way to go. However, stainless steel is the heaviest option and the poorest heat conductor.


The pot capacity will determine how much you can cook. The capacity you want will be determined by how much you cook, what type of cooking you do and group size. A lightweight solo backpacker who just boils water for a freeze-dried meal will obviously need a much smaller pot than someone making a gourmet meal for a group of ten boy scouts.

Form Factor

Some pots are short and wide while others are tall and narrow. Short/wide pots can be more stable when sitting on top of a stove. Further they are often heat faster, because the wide base absorbs heat better. Using a wide pot allows for frying if that’s important. Tall/narrow pots usually offer better ergonomics and nest better than short pots.


Pay attention to the way the pot feels when you use it. Tall and narrow pots are popular because you can eat straight from the pot at dinner and drink hot cocoa straight from the pot at breakfast. The “things to consider” list grows especially long when considering ergonomics. Can I eat from it? Can I drink from it? Is it easy to hold? Will the handles get hot? Does it have handles or need a lifter? Do I need a long spoon/spork to reach the bottom? How easy is it to clean?

Overall there are many issues to consider and if you still need help any quality sporting goods store can help you make the right choice.