You can buy a complete cookset or cookware items piece by piece.
Nonstick coatings (available on some metal cookware)
Aluminum: Some people ask if using aluminum cookware is unhealthful. Based on reports from the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the London-based Alzheimer's Society, no health risks are associated with the use of aluminum pots, pans or skillets. States the Alzheimer's Society: "There is no conclusive medical or scientific evidence of a link between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease." While not a health concern, cooking leafy greens or cauliflower in aluminum cookware is not recommended since it can impact the taste and appearance.
Nonstick coatings: Cookware coated with food-grade fluoropolymer PTFE can emit toxic fumes if severely overheated. Inhaling these fumes can cause flu-like symptoms in humans, and they have been known to kill pet birds. Use caution when cooking with nonstick-coated cookware (don't use when broiling food, for example) or consider using uncoated options instead.
BPA: Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic compound of potential concern on older cookware. All cookware items sold by REI are BPA-free where food or liquid contact the cookware.
Pot size: The largest pot in your cook set should hold approximately 1 pint per backpacker or camper in your party.
Number of pots: This depends on the type of cooking you plan to do and how many campers are in your party. If you plan to cook dehydrated foods for 2 backpackers, then 1 pot is sufficient. More elaborate meals and larger groups require additional pots and pans.
Lids: Lids reduce cooking time, save fuel and reduce splatter. Some cooksets feature a lid for every pot, while others have a single lid that can be used on several different-sized pots. Others can even double as frypans. Certain lids can also serve as plates, which can lighten your load.
Pot lifters or grippers: Make sure you have some way to pick up your pots and pans safely. Most cooksets include 1 gripper for all their pots. Just remember to pack it with you.
The extras: Some cooksets come complete with mugs, utensils, plates, even towels. This is convenient if you're starting from scratch or perhaps redundant if you're not.
Campers don't have to "rough it" with these appliances on hand:
Also: Bring spice containers, squeeze bottles and clean-up supplies. See the REI Expert Advice Camp Kitchen Checklist for a comprehensive list.
By Steve Tischler
Read Author Bio
Last updated: 02/19/2014
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