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Buying guide for Best camping tableware sets

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.

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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.



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 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.


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.


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.

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.

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.


  • 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.
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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.


Q. How long does enamel-coated camping tableware last?
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?
12 ounces is considered average.

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

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