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Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3 Review

A durable camping set for solo use while backpacking
Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $30 List
Pros:  Durable, inexpensive, fast boiling time, simple
Cons:  Poor lid and handle construction, hot spots while cooking, tiny serving plate
Manufacturer:   Snow Peak
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 11, 2020
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 16
  • Cooking Performance - 25% 4
  • Packability - 20% 7
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5
  • Features - 10% 5

Our Verdict

Seeking simplicity? The Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3 Set is ideal for the solo camper who loves a safe, durable construction that'll last them for many years. This set features two pots (one-liter capacity) and a frying pan that all fold together and nest into one small package. Best for simple backpacking trips where you'll be boiling water and making minimalist meals, its modular design allows you to take just a few things with you, leaving what you don't need at home.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $30 List$149.95 at Backcountry
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$63.97 at Amazon
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$79.95 at Amazon$80.00 at REI
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Pros Durable, inexpensive, fast boiling time, simpleComprehensive, high end materialsSturdy construction and efficiency-oriented heat exchanger ring, locking universal pot gripperEnvironmental and health-friendly ceramic construction, lightweight and versatile overall constructionDurable, excellent frying pan for discerning cooks, great lid, great value for the set
Cons Poor lid and handle construction, hot spots while cooking, tiny serving platePot handle gets hot, heavyHeavy, especially for a kit that requires addition of other features, heat exchanger ring is a little messyFragile coating and pots dent easily, no features beyond two basic potsHeavy, no non-stick coating
Bottom Line A stainless steel set ready for the hearty solo backpackerAlmost no matter what your camping kitchen needs are, this set (and sometimes a subset of what it includes) will do what you needPrimus set up this basic pot set with some attributes and features that optimize efficiency without bogging you down with finicky performance or gimmicky additionsThe ceramic construction of these pots offer a healthy alternative to TeflonA wonderful option for the frugal car camper
Rating Categories Snow Peak Personal Cooker 3 GSI Pinnacle Camper Primus PrimeTech 2.3L Pot Set MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set Stanley Adventure Base Camp
Cooking Performance (25%)
4
9
9
8
9
Packability (20%)
7
5
6
7
4
Durability (15%)
7
8
6
6
10
Weight (15%)
8
5
8
8
4
Ease Of Use (15%)
5
8
9
9
6
Features (10%)
5
10
4
3
10
Specs Snow Peak Personal... GSI Pinnacle Camper Primus PrimeTech... MSR Ceramic 2-Pot... Stanley Adventure...
Measured Weight 1.3 lbs 3.7 lbs 1.6 lbs 1 lbs 4.8 lbs
Material Stainless Steel Hard-anodized Aluminum w/Non-Stick Coating Aluminum Hard-anodized Aluminum Stainless Steel; pot and pan bottoms have additional layers
Components 2 pots, 1 lid, 1 plate, 1 bowl, 1 pan 2L pot, 8" frypan, strainer lid, 2 mugs, 2 bowls, handle 2 2.3L pots, 1 lid, pot tongs, padded/insulated storage bag 2L pot, 1.5L pot, strainer lid, 2 plates, 2 mugs, handle 3.5L pot, vented lid, 7" 3ply frying pan, cutting board, spatula with extending handle, serving spoon with extending handle, [4] 6in plates, [4] 22oz bowls, [4] sporks, dish drying rack, heat resistant trivet, locking bungee
Avg Boil Time (mins) 3.05 3.78 3.12 3.58 4.12
3L Pot? (>2.4L) 0 0 0 0 1
2L Pot? (1.5-2.4L) 0 1 2 1 0
1L Pot? (.5-1.4L) 2 0 0 0 0
Frying Pan? 1 1 0 0 1
Frying Pan Lid? No Yes N/a N/a No
Packed Size 5.9 x 3.2 in 8.5 x 4.6 in 7.9 x 5.3 in 5.3 x 7.8 in 11 x 6 x 11 in
Weight of pot closest to 1.5L, with lid and handle 0.5 lbs 1.0 lbs 0.9 lbs 0.5 lbs 1.9 lbs
Cooking Surfaces Stainless Steel Pot and frypan both have non-stick Teflon coating Non-stick Teflon like coating One (1.5L) non-stick pot, One (2.5L) uncoated pot Stainless Steel

Our Analysis and Test Results

A super simple stainless steel cooking set for the solo camper, its volume is rather small, making it great for simple meals and boiling water for a single person. The stainless steel construction is durable, but cooking performance is sub-par. Buy this if you're seeking low-priced and durable cooking set with two pots. The large pot can fit a small stove and other items like a spork, spices, and soap. The low price is alluring, though it's worth mentioning that cooking performance is mediocre. Its thinner stainless steel design is not non-stick, so if you're cooking eggs, be sure to bring additional oil. The flimsy handles bow underweight while the lids don't have a handle.

While this set is cheap, it doesn't present the best features or ease of use, and other affordable options do better. However, if you need two pots at a low price, this durable set will do just fine.

Performance Comparison


For ultralight camping trips, this set offers simple versatility...
For ultralight camping trips, this set offers simple versatility that we appreciate. It is largely featureless but works well for the solo backpacker.
Photo: Amber King

Cooking Performance


The Snow Peak is constructed of thinner stainless steel which doesn't offer the best cooking performance, but it is much safer than Teflon. It features two pots and a pan that all nest together. We've made oatmeal, eggs, and boiled water in all, with them showing decent performance. The steel is made up of a variety of metals that aren't non-stick so be sure you carry oil with you if you buy it. In our eggs tests, we noticed the egg heating up much faster towards the center, similar to oatmeal that we cooked. While our first cooking experience was awesome, after a few meals, the pan got stickier, resulting in the need to carry more oil.

We cook an egg in the stainless steel pan. With lots of oil, it...
We cook an egg in the stainless steel pan. With lots of oil, it doesn't stick, but the uncoated surface doesn't work that well without a little extra love. Be sure to pack oil if you plan on cooking sticker foods. Or stick to simple meals.
Photo: Amber King

The metal in the steel doesn't conduct heat as well as Teflon or aluminum which results in hot spots, especially when cooking on single burner stoves where the flame is concentrated to one spot. We appreciated the fast boil time (three minutes, five seconds) in the larger pot which made it easy and quick to make hydrate only meals on the trail. We appreciate that it's constructed of safe materials that won't leach into our food though.

The thinner design boils water quickly on this pocket rocket stove.
The thinner design boils water quickly on this pocket rocket stove.
Photo: Amber King

Packability


This is a small cook set taking up very little room in your pack. The two pots and pan all nest together with a small plate and carry sack to keep everything together. For solo backpacking trips, we typically only took the larger pot and pan, and put our stove inside. Instead of using the super tiny provided plate, we just used the lids and the pots themselves for eating the foods we brought.

The set is a little too small for our pocket rocket stove and a...
The set is a little too small for our pocket rocket stove and a super small canister. However, it does nest nicely.
Photo: Amber King

The space inside the large pot isn't large enough for a canister and a stove, but a stove with a variety of items like a spork and cleaning materials fits nicely. The packed dimensions are 5.9 x 3.2 in, and it's a great choice for backpacking and the like. If you're camping with two people, split the pots up and make your load even lighter. Given the small volume of both, they're only really good for boiling water or making meals that aren't bulky. Avoid making huge veggie dishes with lots of pasta if you buy these.

The whole set nested together includes two pots, one pan, and a...
The whole set nested together includes two pots, one pan, and a small plate. We like the tote bag that comes with to keep it all together.
Photo: Amber King

Durability


Stainless steel is known for its fantastic durability. Steel is made up of a variety of metals including iron, cadmium, nickel, and aluminum. When testing, we could easily use metal tools to cook with, which didn't affect performance. In terms of cooking durability, they perform well for the first few uses, but eventually, the metal becomes softer, absorbing more of the cooking material and sticking after time. Aside from that, this is one of the most durable solo-camping sets we've tested.

The stainless steel design is durable. The handles are a little thin...
The stainless steel design is durable. The handles are a little thin and flimsy though. They can easily hold the weight of one liter of water, but anything heavier and they'll bow out. The connector seems to be well constructed, but we wouldn't be surprised if it loosens over time.
Photo: Amber King

Weight


It's light! The entire set only weighs 1.3 pounds.

This set weighs 1 lb 5 ounces (1.3 lbs) with all its components...
This set weighs 1 lb 5 ounces (1.3 lbs) with all its components. Luckily you can parse it out to an even lighter weight.
Photo: Amber King

For a solo user, this is sufficient, but if you're cooking with two, make sure to carry extra fuel and oil as there isn't enough volume to make enough water to hydrate two on-the-go camping meals (only one-liter capacity), so you'll have to boil water twice. For the solo user, it's just right.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
A look at the weight (ounces) of all the different parts of this...
A look at the weight (ounces) of all the different parts of this set. The smaller pot (top left) and larger pot (top right), and the pan (here) are shown.
Photo: Amber King

Ease of Use


When cooking, this was one of the harder sets that we've used. Bare-bones in design, the lids don't have any tops or holders, and the handles on the set conduct heat very easily.

Unfortunately, the lids have no holders, making them very difficult...
Unfortunately, the lids have no holders, making them very difficult to remove when they are hot without mitts.
Photo: Amber King

As a result, both get incredibly hot; without a sleeve to grab the handles or lid, it's a harder set to use. It doesn't come with a built-in strainer on the lid, and it bows under the weight of a full pot of food. When cooking, be sure to carry oil as food does stick to the steel and will need additional cleaning work if you don't have any oil or butter on hand.

The thinner construction conducts heat quickly and the handles warm...
The thinner construction conducts heat quickly and the handles warm up fast. Unless your hands are heat-proof, be prepared to use a cloth or potholder when taking it off the burner.
Photo: Amber King

Features


Standard and simple, this set comes only with one larger pot and a smaller pot. It has a foldable pan that nests at the bottom, with a tiny plate that's a bit on the small side. The pot lids are simple in design and don't have a gusseted fit to keep heat inside the pot. This set has everything you need, but it's far from a full kitchen. It's best for the minimalist backpacker looking for a camp set that'll suffice for just him or her.

Simple and featureless. This is hardly a full kitchen, but the base...
Simple and featureless. This is hardly a full kitchen, but the base for everything you need. The bowl (seen inside the smaller pot) nests with everything else. Add a spork and you're set for lightweight adventures.
Photo: Amber King

Value


If you're a solo camper looking for a set that'll work for both backcountry travel and a minimalist car camping trip, you'll see value in this less expensive set. Its durable construction will last you for a long time. That said, there are cheaper options out there that perform better at a lower price; these options just don't come with an additional pot.

Take this set with you while camping in a minimalist way. Here we...
Take this set with you while camping in a minimalist way. Here we set up a tarp shelter on the top of a juniper-pine hill looking out into the mountains. We boil water, making tea, to further add enjoyment for the moment.
Photo: Amber King

Conclusion


The Personal Cooker is a simple, featureless stainless cooking set for the solo traveler. Its lower price is enticing, but there are other options out there that perform better with an even lower price tag. It features two pots, a frying pan, and a tiny plate, ready to go with you while you explore places far away.

Amber King