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Essential Tools for Cooking and Eating in the Backcountry

Whether we’re headed out for a weekend trip or a thru-hike, these items always make our packing list.


12 miles into a grueling hike, there are only two things on your mind: finding a great campsite, and eating a warm, satisfying meal. On an expedition, a hot meal can be an incredible morale booster. On shorter hikes, it can simply provide the energy you need to push through and crest that final summit. Regardless of the purpose that your backcountry meal is serving, a proper set of wilderness-ready kitchen tools can make cooking in the wild not only easier, but more enjoyable as well. See our list below for essentials that are in our packs whether we’re hiking 12 miles or 200.

MSR Whisperlite Universal
MSR’s Whisperlite is lightweight enough that it won’t weigh you down, but still robust enough to handle countless expeditions. $97

MSR Superfuel
While the Whisperlite can burn just about anything, it runs best on Superfuel. $13

MSR 20-Ounce Fuel Bottle
All that fuel has to go somewhere. $16

Gerber Freescape Folding Knife
The Freescape is a versatile camp knife that is partially serrated to tackle any backcountry cooking task. $33

Sea to Summit Alpha Light Utensils
They’re made from hard anodized aluminum, so you’ll never struggle with a bent utensil again. $19

GSI Outdoors Halulite 1.8 Liter Boiler
Boil some water, add ramen, voila. The perfect minimalist piece of cookware. $35

Snow Peak Anodized Aluminum Cooker 1500
If you crave a little bit more versatility and don’t mind taking the weight penalty, the Cooker 1500 is a great choice — fry pan, pot and lid, all in one. $66

Steripen Freedom
Though boiling your water kills almost all of the harmful critters swimming around, better safe than sorry. $50

Sea to Summit X-Plate
The brother of the GP100-winning X-Pot, the X-Plate gives you everything you want in a plate without monopolizing any space in your bag. $20

Backpacker’s Pantry Bear Cannister
If you’re headed into bear country, you’ll need to carry one of these with you. $59

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