Pure titanium cookware is popular for ultralight backpacking, and also my personal favorite. Despite its light-weight nature, it’s virtually indestructible and highly corrosion-resistant.
As a downside, it’s quite expensive and not ideal for ‘slow cooking,’ since it can burn food.
Read on to find the best titanium backpacking cookware that efficiently takes care of your camping/hiking needs.
Titanium Backpacking Cookware: The Basics
What Is Titanium?
Titanium is one of the strongest metals on earth. Despite being super durable, the metal boasts a low weight and the highest strength to weight ratio of any metal ever discovered.
Is Titanium Safe for Cooking?
Titanium is regularly used in dental implants, and rarely, if ever causes problems. If it’s safe to install in your mouth, it’s safe to cook food in!
It also neither affects the taste nor the smell of food. Extensively used in various surgical procedures and the making of human body implants, it’s unlikely to be dangerous.
Why Consider Titanium?
Titanium cookware is sturdy and ultra-light, which makes it ideal for backpacking. It won’t add too much weight to your backpack and will resist getting banged up.
Titanium is also acid-resistant and corrosion-resistant; it forms a titanium oxide layer on exposure to oxygen that shields it from further degradation.
In case of scratching, the oxide layer will act as a healing agent, and the scratch will start to fade straight away. True, it isn’t the best material at heating food evenly. Yet it can transfer heat efficiently without using much fuel.
But back to the weight! A cast iron dutch oven is brilliant for whipping up a stew on a campfire. In fact I almost think cast iron is meant for campfires.
Try lugging a cast iron dutch oven around with you for a day though.
Then you’ll understand why I keep going on about Titanium’s strength to weight ratio!
Titanium coated cookware
When backpacking you will want pure titanium cookware as it is much lighter. However for ordinary used a titanium infused coating will bring the benefits of titanium’s strength together with the heat conductivity of aluminum. For more information see my guide to titanium pans and cookware.
11 Things to Consider When Choosing Titanium Backpacking Cookware
Pots vs. Cook Set
I generally find one pot enough; unless you have company. When taking a hike, the last thing you want is cookware filling your backpack up. Cook sets with lots of extra pots, cups, and bowls tend to be bulky and more suited to group camping.
Of course, it’s a different kettle (or pot?) of fish when nesting is involved (see below).
One meal pot pack should be enough for one person, thus no need for all the extra stuff. The pot can also act as a mug to take coffee. Bonus!
It’s always a good idea to choose the lightest pot for ease of carrying during your trips. You don’t want to add unnecessary weight to your pack.
Tip: I usually leave the lid behind when I know I won’t have any use for it.
Since these are so light, there’s real value when the manufacturer finds a way of nesting multiple pieces. That is to say when one, or more, piece(s) fit(s) completely inside another piece. This way, you get several pieces of cookware for the space of one. You may not notice the extra weight as it’s so light!
I also prefer pots that can fit my whole kitchen, stove, and fuel canister.
A good lid should fit snugly. Keep in mind that these will get hot during cooking. Covers with a knob or a tassel are notably more comfortable to lift. I love those that come with a built-in filter. That way, I can strain my noodles without needing extra stuff.
As these can get extremely hot during cooking, it’s helpful to choose pots with heat-resistant handles. Those with rubber coatings to prevent your hands from burning are likely to melt off under high heat. I prefer mugs with metal handles and use a small cloth to help with the heat.
Most cups will come with hinged handles to save on space. Ensure they can easily swing without much resistance.
Good backpacking cookware should be able to take a good beating. After all; its uses will be mainly outdoors, where the conditions can be unfavorable. Cookware that easily warps won’t be durable for your outdoor escapades.
If you are a pasta fan like me, you know the hassle of eyeballing the correct water volume. You don’t want your pasta turning into sludge or ending up super crunchy. Those little ticks on the inside of the cup save you all that trouble.
Ease of Cleaning
When you are outdoors, you don’t have the luxury of a running tap, strong detergent, or a good sponge. So, you need to choose cookware that you can clean quickly. Pots and pans that need pre-soaking are a no go!
Decent backpacking cookware should be in a position to withstand extreme temperatures. I recommend cookware that can both cook on stoves and over fires. After all, where’s the fun if you can’t cook over a fire?
Most single pots will come with enough volume for one person’s meal. Your pot size will be measured in fluid ounces (oz) or milliliters (ml). Anything above 20 oz (600 ml) should be enough for most people. If you know you need less though – go smaller and save that space!
Most single piece backpacking cookware won’t take up much space. Some backpacking cookware sets have bigger sizes and require extra space.
As a rule, I never carry anything above 33oz (1 liter) unless backpacking, and sharing cookware, with a partner. It’s just too clunky otherwise.
If you need more, then consider if you can use multiple nested pots to save space. Or, if carrying cookware for two, see if your partner can take some of your load.
Best Titanium Backpacking Cookware
As you may have realized, choosing the best backpacking cookware set can be quite the chore. So many factors to consider!
Below are some of the best products I could find. Each one brings something a little different. I have also included my personal favorite at the end.
This is arguably the best lightweight backpacking cookware. With a 25 oz (750 ml) capacity, a decent volume for one person’s meal, this pot comes at a good price without compromising quality.
What I like about this sweet pot is its versatility. You can nest a 4oz (120 ml) fuel canister inside together with an ultralight mini stove (you need to buy these apart).
With this pot, I can quickly cook light meals and also use it as a mug. The calibrations come in handy to eyeball measurements. I even use it in my regular cooking at home as a measuring jug!
The pot also comes with a lockable lid grip that makes the lid easier to handle. Just be careful with the handle. It gets scorching during cooking but cools off quickly when the heat is off.
It doesn’t have any rubber coatings either, making it perfect for cooking over a fire.
- Versatile- can work as a pot and as a mug
- Great price
- Easy to clean
- Safe to cook over an open fire
- Lockable lid grip
- Perfect capacity for one person’s meal
- Measurement gradients
- Handles can get very hot (use a cloth or bandana)
- Some users find the handles a bit flimsy
- Can discolor if overheated without liquid
- You only get the full 25oz (750ml) if filling to the brim
This 3 piece camping cookware set includes a 15oz (450ml) and 25oz (750ml pot), and a foldable spork. Other options offer an alcohol stove and windscreen. Light and well-constructed, this is the best ultralight backpacking cookware set for me.
The 25oz (750ml) pot wins in every category. Ultralight, a bail handle that cools off quickly, comes with a storage sack, boils faster, and is easy to clean.
The lid is also vented and just the right size, no binding or slipping down in the pot.
I also love the spork that comes with the set. It’s light-weight, foldable, and genuinely works both as a spoon and a fork without stabbing your lips.
Don’t use this if you need to accurately measure quantities for recipes – the calibrations are slightly off. This is probably more of a problem if using at home then when backpacking!
If you are looking for a few pieces of cookware, all nested, then this could be the set for you.
- Versatile – can function both as a pot and mug
- Functional spork
- Great price for a 3-piece set
- Perfect capacity for one in one pot
- Could work for two people with both pots
- Easy to clean
- Handles cool off quickly
- Bail handle for hanging vertically
- Measurement calibrations
- 25oz (750ml) pot actually only holds 24.5 oz (700ml)
- Inaccurate calibrations
This group-sized cooking set includes a frypan uniquely designed to nest on the pot. This means it offers everything you need for backcountry cooking.
You can use the pan separately or as a double boiler system (where you boil water in the pot and on top in the pan). This beautiful titanium piece can also function both as a mug and a pot.
If with some company, then at 47oz (1400ml) this could be the perfect pot. It’s too big if you are carrying only for yourself though!
- Perfect for large meals
- Foldable metallic handles (suited for open fire use)
- More versatile than a simple pot
- Fits an 8oz fuel canister and stove
- Quite pricey
- Reports of the pan folding under heavy weight
- No way to secure the container (use a rubber band)
This backpacking mug provides a good mid-range size option at 600ml. Easy to clean, well-constructed, superlight, and easy to read measurements, this mug is excellent for travel and camping.
As the measurements are easy to read, you can even use the cup in your everyday kitchen measurements. The lid also comes with a tassel making it easier to handle when hot.
I also like that the lip is rolled in such a way you can fit a thick baling wire up there. Compared to other titanium cups, this is a good deal for your money.
I’d hesitate to buy it though, because of the reports of it getting dented easily. Backpacking cookware will get banged about and needs to be tough.
- Easy to read measurements
- Great price
- Perfect volume for one
- Can fit a baling wire
- Easy to clean
- Fits a small fuel canister and other accessories
- The lid has a tassel
- Handles get quite hot
- Reports of it getting banged up
Timberbrother Titanium Cup (Best for Open Fire)
The first thing you will notice when you take this cup out of its box is its weight! It is incredibly light-weight yet has the desired durability. The fact that it comes in five different sizes (8, 12, 15, 20, and 30oz) (250, 375, 450, 600, 900 ml) makes it easier to select your preferred capacity. Get the one that suits you, or get several and nest them.
I also appreciate the vented lid with a handle that stays erect, making it easy to handle during cooking. The 30 oz (900ml) cup comfortably nests a 38oz (1.1l) stainless Nalgene bottle as long as you remove the lid from the container. And yes, you can cook or boil water inside this cup. Nice!
- Comes in five different sizes
- Vented lid with handle
- Calibrated volume marks inside the cup
- Perfect for open fire use
- Holds less volume than stated
- Reports of handles getting loose over time
Best Titanium Backpacking Cookware
The TOAKS Titanium Cup is by far my favorite individual backpacking mug. In addition to its perfect volume capacity, the cup also comes with a lockable lid. It can comfortably nest a 110g (4 ounces) fuel canister, as well as an ultralight mini stove.
It’s slightly let down by the flimsy handles that are prone to overheating. As long as you have something to grab the handles with, you should be fine.
Best Lightweight Backpacking Cookware Set
Looking for a functional but light-weight backpacking cookware set? The Lixada Camping Titanium Set comes with two pots and a (functional) spork. What’s more there are options for a sweet rocket stove, a stove rack, and a windscreen.
Best Two Person Backpacking Cookware
The Snow Peak Trek 1400 Backpacking and Camping Set is not cheap but offers good value. A high quality two person pot and small frying pan means you can cook for two, or even (pushing it) three people. This set is probably the most robust set and is great for a couple who backpack frequently.