Best Camping Tableware Sets

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

35 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
422 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best camping tableware sets

Last Updated December 2019

For those who want to go green, having a reusable set of tableware is more eco-friendly than using paper or plastic sets that have to be burned or carried out of camping areas. A metal or hard plastic set of tableware is durable enough to be used for many years. In the long run, they’re also less expensive than buying single-use tableware.

If you use household dishes, there is always the chance they might be chipped or broken out on the trail. You’re also left with a shortage in your tableware at home. Ordinary tableware is normally heavier than camping tableware. Paper and styrofoam are not reusable — adding to their overall cost — and are impractical when camping.

Our buying guide takes you through some of the things to consider when you’re buying camping tableware, including size, materials, number of pieces, and price, so you can find the right set for your next outdoor adventure.

When you go camping, take a small bottle of cold water detergent with you for washing your dishes and utensils.

Key considerations

Plate size

Some manufacturers opt for lower overall weight by skimping on the size of the plates and bowls. A plate that’s 10 inches in diameter should be the smallest you consider; anything smaller than that won’t be able to hold all your food comfortably. This can lead to unnecessary spills and loss of food.

Bowl size

The size of bowls is closely related to the size of plates. If the set you’re interested in has 10-inch plates, it will probably have six-inch bowls. Don’t go any smaller than six inches or your bowl may not be deep enough to hold much food. Decently sized plates and bowls make camping mealtimes far more manageable.

Number of people

Some sets are for one person, others are for two people, and some are for four. How many people you’re buying for is an important consideration. If you’re providing tableware for a large number of people, you may need to purchase several four-person sets.

EXPERT TIP

Don’t carry your tableware on the outside of your backpack unless it is in an enclosed bag or container. If it is in a mesh bag, put it inside your pack where the trail dust can’t get to it.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Materials

The materials used to make the kit determine the weight and durability of the contents. Unfortunately, the more durable something is, the more it weighs.

Stainless steel: The most durable material is stainless steel. It is extremely rugged and long-lasting but it weighs more than any other material.

Enamel-coated: Plates, bowls, and cups that are enamel-coated are usually made from a very lightweight steel. The enamel coating has an excellent look and feel to it and is easy to clean. Enamel has a tendency to chip, so it’s not as durable as stainless steel.

Plastic: There are several varieties of plastic but all of them are lighter than either stainless steel or enamel-coated steel. However, they melt and/or burn if they’re accidentally dropped in the campfire. Additionally, plastic utensils have a habit of breaking after being used a few times.

Color

Steel: Brushed and stainless steel have their own unique color. If the set you get is steel, there aren’t any color choices unless the handles of the cutlery are plastic. In that case, white is the default color.

Other colors: Red, white, blue, yellow, and green are other color options. Some plastic tableware kits have a cup, bowl, and plate in each one of the colors.

Carrying bag

This is an indispensable component to any set of camping tableware. The set needs to have a carrying bag or some other kind of storage to prevent you from losing pieces. A bag or carrier designed for tableware holds it more efficiently than a random mesh bag. If the set you like doesn’t come with a carrier, take a look at the accessories we’ve listed.

Number of pieces

You can quickly determine how many people a set of tableware is intended to serve by looking at the number of pieces listed in the description. A 24-piece set has complete table settings for four people, whereas a 12-piece set is designed for two people. If you see a set with an odd number smaller than 12, it is almost always intended for one person. Other strange numbers may indicate a set that includes sporks (combination fork and spoon utensils) without knives.

EXPERT TIP

Between camping trips, store your camping dishes and utensils in a locking plastic tub to keep them from getting dusty.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Drawstring carrying bag: KUUQA 10-Piece Mesh Drawstring Bag
These bags are 13 inches by 15.5 inches and come in packages of 10. There are nine colors in each package: green, red, gray, sky blue, royal blue, rose red, orange, yellow, and two black. These are the ideal size for holding 10-inch camping plates, bowls, cups, and utensils.

Drying strap with hooks: LAMURO Campsite or Garden Supplies Storage Strap with 8 Hooks
After washing your camping dishes, you need somewhere to let them dry. Stretch this strap between two trees and hang the dishes in mesh bags from the hooks.

Storage tray: Zilpoo Flatware Plastic Tray with Lid
If your camping tableware didn’t come with its own storage carrier, you can keep the utensils in this plastic tray. The lid snaps on to keep them secure.

Flatware roll: QEES Camping Flatware Roll Bag
Another option for storing utensils is in this roll-up bag. It has 42 slots, including some large enough to accommodate chef’s knives. It has two ties to keep it securely fastened.

Camping tableware set prices

Camping tableware sets begin around $20. These are small sets for one person or just the utensils without any dishes. A few two-person sets can also be found in this price range.

From $20 to $30 is where you find most four-person sets, and some have carrying bags. Enamel-coated tableware is found in this range along with some smaller picnic baskets for two that have extra utensils and insulated areas for food.

Over $30 are large four-person insulated picnic baskets, 36-piece tableware sets, sets that include pots and pans, and tableware made from unusual materials such as bamboo.

EXPERT TIP

Always take an extra set of dishes and utensils with you when you go camping in case you lose something.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Sporks (utensils that are a combination spoon and fork) aren’t very practical. You aren’t given the convenience of a full spoon or a full fork. Knives generally aren’t included with kits that have sporks, severely limiting the kind of food you can eat with them.
  • Metal or enamel-coated tableware can become extremely hot when hot food is put in it. Use a towel or pad to keep from burning yourself when you pick them up or put them in your lap.
  • Metal and enamel-coated tableware cool down very fast when it’s cold outside, transferring heat away from your food. This can result in your food getting cold faster than you anticipated.
  • When you’re done, wash your dishes and utensils as soon as is practical. There is very little hot water available when you’re camping, and cold water doesn’t clean very well after food has dried and hardened on your tableware.

Other products we considered

We like Wealers Complete Polished Stainless Steel Messware Kit. This is a one-person kit with a carrying bag (available in blue or green) that’s rugged and durable. The stainless steel construction is food-grade quality and completely dishwasher-safe. It's lightweight (less than 15 ounces) and stackable if you get more than one set. It's a bit pricey if you have to get multiple sets for more than one person.

We also like Stansport 24-Piece White Enamel Camping Tableware Set. This double-coated enamel has traditional blue flecks in it along with a steel rim on plates, bowls, and coffee mugs. There are settings for four people and steel cutlery with white plastic handles. The set is stackable and good for camping. It weighs more than most camping sets.

Thoroughly wash your dishes and utensils with soap and hot water when you return from your camping trip. Cold water on the trail won’t get them 100% clean. You need to sterilize them with hot water to keep bacteria and mold from growing on them while they’re in storage.

FAQ

Q. How long does enamel-coated camping tableware last?
A.
If it isn’t chipped, it can last for decades. If it is chipped, the exposed steel rusts fairly quickly.

Q. How much should camping cups hold?
A.
12 ounces is considered average.

Q. Can camping tableware be washed in the dishwasher?
A.
Yes. There are a few sets that have some limitations, but most sets can be washed in the dishwasher after you get home.

The team that worked on this review
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer

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