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The time came… I needed to replace the cook set in my emergency gear with something a bit more suitable for my family. When I first started prepping I was in a relationship but we didn’t have kids. Now we are married with two kids and two dogs. So the compact little cookware set that had been sitting in my bag for years just wasn’t sufficient anymore. Plus, the coating on that set had started wearing off even though I’d never even actually used it — it had ONLY been in my emergency preps. To me that was a major fail.
I’ve covered some basics in the choosing cookware article, but suffice to say here that I wanted to avoid aluminum and I wanted something that could withstand abuse. I also needed the capacity to cook for a family. When browsing in a local store I found the Stanley Adventure Prep + Cook Set. It was compact but made of stainless steel so had the durability I wanted. We have other Stanley products and have been really happy with them so it seemed so perfect… if it wasn’t for the fact we have kids now. Then we debated — do we just buy a couple of these so we have multiple pots and dishes enough for four people? That seemed like the best option until I was price checking on Amazon and realized that — ta da — the Base Camp Cook Set 4x existed. The list price is $80.00 but Amazon had it (at least, when I purchased) for $69.99. It has a 3.7Qt / 3.5L pot and enough plates, bowls, and sporks for four people so it screamed ‘perfect fit.’ Conveniently enough, hubby readily agreed.
Unboxing the Set
I don’t think it fully registered for me the size of this set when I ordered it. I don’t know if I was expecting bigger or smaller, but it definitely was a vague detail in my mind. The Amazon listing didn’t mention the specs of the set when nested together (by the way, per Stanley, those dimensions are 11.06L x 6.10W x 10.90H in) but I was certainly aware it would be heavier than my old aluminum set and was okay with that.
In case you’re curious, the entire set weighs 5 lbs 6 oz. Actually, some product information says the product is 5 lbs 6 oz but the product box says 4.66 lbs. For the sake of accuracy I broke out my kitchen scale which tells me that this set is approximately 4 lbs 11 ounces, making the box correct. Is that still quite heavy for something you may potentially have to carry with all your other gear? Yes. If our family was smaller I wouldn’t be using it because of the fact. Since there are four of us I think it’s the right combo and quantity of gear to make the weight worth it.
The first thing I did after pulling it from the box was do a shake test. How much shifting around will it do and noise will it make when jostled in your pack? Surprisingly, it was quite minimal. With my old set I crammed some other stuff in the set when nested to prevent extra noise but with this set I don’t think that’ll be necessary.
There is a bungee cord which holds the lid firmly in place on the pan. The lid, by the way, has holes which can easily allow it to double as a strainer. When you open it up, the next piece you encounter is the frying pan — 7.25in diameter, 32 oz capacity, with 3 ply (stainless, aluminum, stainless) bottom to help distribute heat evenly. When I unfolded the handle and let it pop in place that was the second pleasant surprise because the handle is extremely sturdy. Usually when I look at cookware sets in the outdoors stores I always get annoyed by the flimsy little fold out handles that seem like a burn waiting to happen.
Nestled under the frying pan were the serving spoon and spatula which have handles that click on or remove for storage. Then four bowls (22 oz/650 mL capacity) and four plates (6 in diameter). According to the box, the utensils are nylon and the tableware are made of polypropelyne. Under the plates you find the circular cutting board, made of polypropelyne as well. Then four sporks, a silicone trivet, and the little drying rack which is a raised circle with slots the plates and bowls can rest in to help them stand.
Overall, everything in this set feels quite sturdy. I do almost all my cooking with stainless steel anyway and the pot and frying pan, while made for taking camping, feel every bit as quality as the what I’m used to using now (just slightly smaller in size). I plan to throw a couple kitchen towels into my pack but having the heat resistant silicone trivet in there is a helpful touch that helps me avoid extra bulk. It is a bit more weight than I’d like to have to carry around, as I touched on before, but I think that’s inevitable when prepping for so many people. Even if I bought a piece from here and a piece from there to try to make up a custom cookware set for us, I think the total weight would have been as bad or worse and then it wouldn’t have nestled together as efficiently as this set does.
I hate that it took me this long to upgrade sets but sometimes when you’re prepping on a budget there just has to be prioritizing going on. I’m happy with this purchase though and it was money well spent. You can find more information on this set (and others) on the Stanley website by clicking here or find it on Amazon here.