Are you searching for the best mess kit?
Whether you are backpacking, camping, hiking, or preparing your bug out bag, a quality mess kit is one of my favorite tools. I’ve reviewed the top models available and after reading this article you will know my recommendations.
Check out the quick list below for links to customer reviews and prices for my best mess kit picks, or read on for the full review:
- MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit
- Gold Armour 10-17Pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit
- gear4U Mess Kit
- Coleman Mess Kit Aluminum 5-Pc.
- New Generation Mess Kit
Selecting the Best Mess Kit
There are a lot of mess kits available on the market, but that doesn’t mean that they are all filled with the high-quality components that you should expect. I think that by comparing the number of included items, the weight, the material used in construction, and the additional utensils included, you can easily find the right mess kit for you.
Start with your budget, as this will play a huge role in what mess kit you can afford. Once you have narrowed down your budget, then you will find it much easier to locate the right mess kit for you. I recommend that you then consider how many pieces you are looking for, as different people will have different needs.
Some people only need a mess kit that will heat up a little food, while others want to be able to cook for more than one person. Now is also the time to consider the material of the cookware as well as any additional items that are included, such as a compass, a lighter, and even a carry bag.
Remember that the additional items shouldn’t be the end all be all of your choosing a mess kit, as you can often add them on your own at a later time, but some of them, such as a camp stove, will make cooking outdoors a lot easier.
You also need to take into consideration what type of food you are most likely to be cooking so that you can choose a kit that has the right cookware for you. Some people prefer to eat soup when out in the woods or to heat up cans of beans, and they will need pots instead of pans. If you are going to be cooking eggs, sausage, or frying potatoes, then you will not only need pans but also plates for people to eat off of.
Benefits of a Quality Mess Kit
The main obvious advantage of a quality mess kit is that it will make it possible for you to cook food when you are out in the woods. It doesn’t matter if you are camping with the family or are faced with a grid down situation, you need to be able to cook or reheat food in order to survive.
A great mess kit goes above and beyond simply providing the cookware that you will need to heat up your food. When you choose a high-quality mess kit, then you will receive not only the cookware that you need, but also other small items, such as a lighter.
What to Look For
The first thing that you need to look for when shopping is a mess kit that has all of the main components that you need to cook. This means that you must find one with pots and pans, and I recommend choosing one that has cooking and eating utensils, as well.
Beyond that, I recommend choosing one with a small camp stove, if possible. While it is very uncommon to be in a situation where you can’t start a campfire, this does occur from time to time, especially in a grid down situation where you were not able to plan for the weather. When this happens, you need to be able to start a fire right away so that you can heat up your food.
I also like mess kits that have lids, as they will reduce how much heat you lose when you are cooking and allow you to cook faster and much more efficiently. They also keep your cooking area cleaner by reducing splatter from your food. While there are many kits that come with lids, some don’t, so keep your eyes out for this additional component.
Also try to decide if you are interested in a mess kit that has pot grabbers or handles. Handles tend to take up more room, but they tend to be sturdier. Grabbers, on the other hand, can work on more than one piece of cookware and are much smaller and lighter to pack.
Getting the Most Out of Your Mess Kit
I strongly recommend that you open your mess kit upon receipt to make sure that you have all of the parts that were supposed to ship. The last thing that you want to deal with is opening the kit during an emergency, only to find out that something is missing or doesn’t work.
Opening your kit early also gives you a chance to allow it to off-gas, if necessary. While many kits do not need to off-gas, this is important for some kits and will reduce the fumes and chemicals around your food when you cook.
Best Mess Kits
I spend a lot of time backpacking, hiking, and camping. I’ve gone through too many mess kits to count. Getting a quality set is well worth it. I keep a set in my backpacking gear and my bug out bag. You can find kits made of everything from plastic to steel and titanium. I’ve reviewed the top models on quality of construction, durability, and ease of use.
MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit
Not only will you get the cookware that you need to heat up your food in an emergency situation or while camping, but this kit comes with other great accessories, including a waterproof lighter and a paracord bracelet with a compass. Together, all of the components of this kit help you stay safe and healthy when you are out in the woods and are high-quality enough to last through multiple uses.
- Incredibly light and strong
- Pot holds 1 liter of water
- Pans nestle into each other for easy storage
- Includes lighter, paracord bracelet, and stove
- Pots easily wash out
- Includes nylon carrying bag
- Knob on lid is not very secure
- Lid doesn’t fit securely on the pot
Gold Armour Camping Cookware Mess Kit
This meal kit is packed with all of the components that you need to cook a great meal out in the woods. The camp stove is very tough and durable, which means that you can easily heat up any meal on the go. Additionally, all of the pots and parts can easily be cleaned to reduce the chance of disease or vermin.
- Non-stick pans are easy to clean
- Includes nylon carry bag
- Bowls and soup spoon are BPA free
- Includes carabiner and loofah sponge
- Lower weight is perfect for putting in your backpack without adding too much weight
- Lighter doesn’t last very long
- Small cookware is difficult to cook a meal in
gear4U BPA Free Mess Kit
This folding mess kit is a great option for taking into the woods, not only because of how light it is, but also because it fits neatly in your bag. All of the parts fit together neatly so that you can stack everything together, which means that none of the smaller pieces will get lost in your bag.
- Free ebook helps owners cook great meals
- Weighs only 1.28 pounds
- Pieces are all compact and fit together neatly
- Tritan Spork is a knife, fork, and spoon combo utensil
- Cookware is made from non-toxic anodized aluminum
- Metal tends to rust when washed and allowed to air dry
- Sponge is not hardy enough to wash off cooked-on food
Coleman Mess Kit Aluminum 5 Piece
Even though this is one of the most basic mess kits that you can buy, it does have everything that you need to heat food up over a fire and to have a meal. You will want to invest in eating utensils as well as a lighter and any other accessories to round it out, but it’s affordable enough to add more pieces without breaking the bank.
- Pieces nest for easy transport
- 5-piece kit is lightweight and doesn’t take up a lot of room
- Durable enough to be used on very hot fires
- Very cost-effective option
- No clanging or loud noises when stored correctly together
- Food tends to stick to the surface
New Generation Mess Kit
This mess kit is great for when you need to cook for 2 people, but you are worried about bringing along too much gear, as everything nests easily for storage and folds so that it doesn’t take up a lot of room. The attractive handles are designed to prevent you from being burned when using the kit and make it easy to lift and move your food without risk of being burned.
- 100% resistant to corrosion and scraping
- Great for 2 people
- Nests compactly and fits in included carrying bag
- Foldable cover hooks and handles are scald-proof
- Won’t warp even over high temperatures
- Food sometimes sticks
- Needs to off-gas before use
For more gear guides and tips check out these articles:
- Best Tactical Backpack
- Best Survival Food Kits
- Best Survival Kit
- Best Military Watch
- Best Camping Tarp
- Best Bushcraft Knife
- Best Camping Machete
- Best Camping Shovel
- Best Tactical Boots
- Best Range Bag
I think that the MalloMe Camping Cookware Kit is the best option on this list. Not only are the pieces of cookware high-quality and built to be reliable for years to come, but it comes with plenty of other pieces without breaking the bank. You’ll love the lighter, utensils, carry bag, and stove as well as how easily everything nests together for storage. The pots are easy to wash out, and the included dishes are small, but make it easy to share a meal with another person when in the woods. It has everything that you need to enjoy a hot meal outdoors, which is why I like it so much.
Fred is the Ready Zeal owner and editor. He has been passionately pursuing all things emergency preparation since working alongside his grandfather as a boy growing up in the Midwest. When not working on the family homestead he can be found brewing coffee and reading a good book or backpacking in the wilderness. Contact Fred at [email protected]