Good for you.
While less-savvy outdoor adventurers may not bother doing research about the best camping utensils, you know that these little tools matter.
Naturally, you want to find utensils that will meet your needs — which isn’t always easy, considering there are dozens of different products on the market.
So this article will give you a no-BS guide to the top 10 utensils for backpacking and camping that are available today — and how to pick the right one for your situation.
(side note: if you’re backpacking, you should also consider whether or not you REALLY need to bring a utensil at all. We’ll touch on that topic a little later)
Let’s start off with a quick look at the top products on the market and then dive deeper into the pros and cons of each one.
Best Camping Utensils
Polished bowl makes the spork easier to clean and more sanitary
Folding handle can be locked to prevent accidental closure
Spoon – fork – knife combination
Polished bowl for easier cleaning and improved hygiene
Strong spatula and knife design
Convenient carrying case to stay organized
Fork, knife, spoon, bottle opener
Tactical Spoon Fork and Serrated Knife All In One
Fork, spoon, knife, bottle opener
Spoon, fork, spatula set
Tips for Choosing the Best Camping Utensils
How Many in Your Party?
When I go out camping on my own, I only have to worry about feeding myself. That means I can carry just one, simple titanium spork. My meals are simple, meant to be lightweight and hassle-free.
However, when it’s time to go camping with tons of friends or the family you need to think a bit further. Maybe you’ll be cooking burgers, or making large pots of food. In that case, you’ll need bigger utensils or serving utensils. Of course, you wouldn’t carry those types of utensils if you’re out by yourself.
One big factor to keep in mind when choosing camping utensils or backpacking utensils is the number of people you’ll be traveling with.
Ask yourself if you’ll be:
These factors all require distinctly different utensils depending on your answers.
What Types of Meals Will You Cook?
I mentioned this a little bit in the section above. The number of people in your group can change the types of meals you might cook.
For instance, you might cook a large pot of pasta when camping with a group. You might want a straining serving spoon. Maybe you want to cook some personal pizzas using pitas and tomato paste. You’ll definitely want a knife for that!
It’s important to frame your meal planning based on your resources.
Generally keeping food prep simplified is a good idea for camping. It’s not as easy to lay out a cutting board, prepare ingredients, saute, dice, and prepare food in the woods as it is in the comfort of your kitchen workspace.
The Best Backpacking Utensils?
Backpacking utensils, even more than camping utensils, must be compact, lightweight, and functional. In fact, some would even argue that there’s no need for utensils at all. (You’ve got two hands, don’t you?)
I personally like to use a single long handle titanium or aluminum spork. They’re just as light and much more durable than plastic utensils. For just fractions of an ounce of weight, you can have a single backpacking utensil that makes your life easier, mess-free, and more hygienic on the trail.
Here’s an example of my personal favorite backpacking utensil, and the only one I carry with me on the trail when solo backpacking.
Consider Freezer Bag Cooking
Before we fly off the handle and purchase a full set of gourmet ultralight camping utensils, let’s consider a simplified method of camp cooking. Freezer bag cooking makes food preparation easy while backpacking. The overarching concept is to be able to create meals by simply adding boiling water to a bag full pre-rationed ingredients.
Using this method allows for surprisingly delicious and wholesome meals without tons of expensive backpacking utensils. Here’s what you’ll need to be successful at freezer bag cooking:
That’s right, the only utensil you need is one long handled spork or spoon to be successful at freezer bag cooking!
For more information on how to create freezer bag cooking recipes for backpacking, rely on our favorite book.
Backpacking With Groups
If you enjoy making more advanced meals or hiking with groups you may want more advanced utensils. We covered most of this earlier in the “How Many in Your Party?” section. However, it’s worth noting a few differences when it comes to backpacking utensils.
Choosing Utensil Materials
Seems like a no-brainer, right? I mean how much difference can there be between utensils of different material types? I’m here to tell you, there’s a big difference and it matters.
Let’s go over the common materials you can choose from:
Of course, it is possible to buy a poorly made titanium utensil that breaks. It’s also possible to purchase a plastic camping utensil that works great for years to come.
I’ve seen popular plastic backpacking sporks, reinforced with popsicle sticks and tape, that still snap in half under normal use conditions. After a few experiences of being left fork-less at the least opportune times I’ve switched permanently to using aluminum and titanium backpacking utensils.
Our Picks: 10 Best Camping Utensils
I’ve been using a titanium long handle spork for years but have always had a few complaints. The TOAKS version of my favorite backpacking and camping utensil addresses all the issues and improves on this must-have camping utensil design.
- Long handle is best for reaching into deep bowls, jars, and bags
- 0.65 ounces
- Polished bowl makes the spork easier to clean and more sanitary
These long handle backpacking sporks are best for freezer bag cooking, where you have to reach down into the bag. I’ve even been known to use the handle as a knife for cutting cheese, spreading butter, etc. It’s plenty strong (but not sharpened).
The only small drawback is that it has a relatively small bowl compared to some.
TOAKS is making some great camping and backpacking utensils, and they’re doing them right. This folding titanium knife is durable, lightweight, and affordable.
- 0.5 ounces
- 4.25″ long when folded, 7″ long open
- Serrated blade
- Folding handle can be locked to prevent accidental closure
Overall this is a great compact, lightweight butter knife style utensil. It’s perfect for butter, peanut butter, cheese cutting, and most simple hiking and camping meal preparation.
It beats combination fork/knifes for spreading ingredients because there’s more surface area to hold and smear with. Using a combination knife can be really hard to use as a proper butter knife.
Keep in mind that this is meant to be a butter knife, not a razor-sharp woodsman’s knife. Keep its use restricted to the kitchen.
Because multi-function backpacking utensils are great to consider, this knife/fork/spoon combo is a top choice. The titanium material is a bit heavier than other plastic options, but the increase in durability and rigidity is a winner!
- 0.7 ounces
- Spoon – fork – knife combination
- Much more durable than plastic combination utensils
While you could buy this utensil in a plastic version which is a bit lighter, users complain about the utensil flexing and breaking when made from plastic. This titanium version is just a bit heavier (plastic equivalents run about 0.3 ounces lighter) but fixes the flexibility and breaking problems of other models.
Forks are so rarely used for camping and backpacking that you won’t find another fork listed in our reviews. If you want a fork, this is your stop!
This is a great option if you need all three utensils in the lightest, most compact form possible.
If you’re not a fan of having a fork and knife for a handle, you might enjoy this folding spork with a more traditional handle. This spoon is lightweight enough that you’ll forget it’s around and it’s been improved from earlier models.
- 0.6 ounces
- 6.5″ long when open, 3.75″ long closed
- Spork design
- Polished bowl for easier cleaning and improved hygiene
With the updated polished bowl, I think this folding fork takes the top-prize for best camping spork. If you’re going to be doing a lot of freezer bag cooking, however, I still recommend the long handle spork.
Like all the TOAKS folding camping utensils, this spork can be locked so there are no surprise collapses of the handle.
As reluctant as I am to recommend plastic utensils, I had to admit defeat after finding nothing but raving positive feedback from happy users of the Guyout utensil set.
- 5 utensils in one package
- Nesting design to save space
- Strong spatula and knife design
One major drawback of most camping utensil sets is a lack of spatula. Being able to flip hash browns, burgers, or other flat foods is must-have for more advanced recipes. With the Guyout Designs set, you can do that.
I love the spatula + knife combo that could even serve as a crude food shovel for ravenous eaters. If you want a camping utensil set that’s lightweight, compact, and versatile this one is for you!
When you’re going out camping with your car or RV, size and weight don’t matter quite so much. This 8-piece metal camping utensil set has just about everything you could need for any campfire meal!
- Strong metal components
- Convenient carrying case to stay organized
- Multi-function items
With this set, you’ll have enough utensils to cook any camping meal without having to compromise. It includes:
- Bottle opener/corkscrew
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
It’s too bulky and heavy for backpacking though, so keep this one for camping at established campsites where you don’t have to carry gear.
Some things never change. That’s the case with this stainless steel camping utensil set. It’s lightweight, compact, and functional.
- 2.8 ounces
- Fork, knife, spoon, bottle opener
- Nesting design for organization
By stacking all three utensils together you can lock them in place. This makes them organized, compact, and easy to find when you need them. The stainless steel design means they’re durable and if they happen to bend, you can just bend them back into shape.
I’ve seen these last decades and still work great!
Despite the silly name, this plastic spork/knife combo unite is actually surprisingly functional. It’s lightweight and packs multiple utensils into one small package.
- 2.4 ounces
- 2.5″ serrated plastic knife
- 6.8″ long spork when assembled
I’ve always been impressed with the quality of components from Ka-Bar. This plastic spork/knife combo nests inside itself where the sharp serrated knife is kept protected so it won’t cut you or your bag.
While it’s not as light as some of the titanium options on our list, it’s still quite lightweight. This is a great option for those who prefer the “tactical” aesthetic and users have great feedback about the quality and sharpness of the knife.
Note: knife for use on food items only.
While not ideal for everyone, the pocket knife-style folding utensil design has its place. The utensils fold into a durable handle that’s easy to keep track of, always at hand, and ready to cut, scoop, or open bottles.
- Fork, spoon, knife, bottle opener
- 5 ounces
- Includes carrying case
The multitool design is appealing to many for its practicality, compact design, and ease of use. Keeping all your utensils in one easy to locate package means they’re always there when you need them.
I like that they’re made from durable stainless steel, but that also means the set comes in at a relatively heavy 5 ounces (compared to 0.5 ounces or less for some of the titanium models we reviewed earlier).
An ideal camping utensil set for the kids!
Jetboil backpacking stoves have become so ubiquitous in the last 6 years that I had to include this backpacking utensil set from Jetboil. If you own a Jetboil stove system, this utensil set is made to fit right inside.
- 8.5″ when in use, 5″ when retracted
- Durable nylon construction
- Spoon, fork, spatula set
- Only 1.3 ounces for the full set
I like that they opted to include a spatula instead of a knife. Most backpackers and campers carry a dedicated knife anyways that can be used for food. With the spatula in this set, you get more cooking meal options!
Each utensil retracts into its own handle down to about 5″ long. These will fit in a Jetboil stove but you won’t have room for a fuel can or other large objects.
While the nylon is unlikely to melt, a lightweight titanium option would be nice for some added durability.
Remember that the ideal camping utensil set may be different than the ideal backpacking utensil set. Before you make a final decision, revisit our “how to choose” section and consider several of the most important decision factors.
For hikers lightweight, compact backpacking utensils are a priority. Meals should be simple, easy to prepare, and easy to eat with lightweight utensils. Leave the fancy frying pan and ladle at home in favor of backpacking utensils that won’t weight down your pack.
When we go camping the menu might include pancakes, hot dogs, and burgers. It’s time to take along some larger and more functional cooking utensils. Traveling by car or RV means you can afford to carry a heavier, larger set of utensils without a problem. Of course, it always pays off to keep your packing list simple and small when possible – there’s enough to remember when packing for a camping trip! Keep your cooking utensils simple and organized.
There’s a set of backpacking and camping utensils on our list for everyone’s needs. I did my best to make sure that our list represents not only the best but a variety of available backpacking utensils and camping utensils. If you have a favorite set of utensils or a question about how to pick out utensils just leave us a comment! We love to hear your thoughts.