The Stanley Adventure Base Camp has designed, integrated, and is selling a set of cookware that basically matches the performance and function of your home pot and pan while nesting it all together with functional but small plates, bowls, and sporks. This kit is fully loaded for any camping trip and has everything you need. It features an ultra-durable stainless steel design with average cooking performance. Surprisingly, the skillet offers some of the best meat-browning performances we've ever seen. Given that this set it heavy, its best for those seeking a full camping set, and earns a Best Buy Award for its great price and durability that'll last you a lifetime.Editor's Note: This review of the Stanley Adventure Base Camp was updated on November 4, 2022, to include sections that take a closer look at value and offer suggestions for directly comparable cookware sets.
Stanley Adventure Base Camp Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Durable, excellent frying pan for discerning cooks, great lid, great value for the set
Cons: Heavy, no non-stick coating
Compare to Similar Products
Stanley Adventure Base Camp
|Price||$62.96 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
$94.95 at REI
|$59.89 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
$24.95 at REI
|$51.95 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Durable, excellent frying pan for discerning cooks, great lid, great value for the set||Super fast water boiling, very nonstick, dishes and silverware for two, mindfully designed||Environmental and health-friendly ceramic construction, lightweight and versatile overall construction||Super durable, simple design, inexpensive, great for meats, fast boiling time||Light, simple, just the right set of features|
|Cons||Heavy, no non-stick coating||No frying pan, not ideal for larger groups||Fragile coating and pots dent easily, no features beyond two basic pots||Limited cooking options, hot spots while cooking||Not suitable for sophisticated cooking|
|Bottom Line||A high value camping set, optimized for performance and compact carry, at a high weight||A top-tier backpacking set that heats efficiently and offers enough room for a stove and a fuel canister to fit inside||For gourmet and health-conscious campers, this set will form the foundation or three to four campers||A super durable stainless steel cook set designed for the solo traveller||A simple pot and basic accessories for ultralight backpacking|
|Rating Categories||Stanley Adventure B...||GSI Outdoors Pinnac...||MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set||GSI Outdoors Glacie...||MSR Trail Mini Duo|
|Cooking Performance (35%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Stanley Adventure B...||GSI Outdoors Pinnac...||MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set||GSI Outdoors Glacie...||MSR Trail Mini Duo|
|Measured Weight||4.8 lbs||1.4 lbs||1 lbs||1.0 lbs||0.7 lbs|
|Material||Stainless Steel; pot and pan bottoms have additional layers||Hard-anodized Aluminum w/Non-Stick Coating||Hard-anodized Aluminum||Stainless Steel||Hard-anodized Aluminum|
|Components||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||1.8 L Pot, Strainer Lid, 2 20 fl. oz. Mugs w/ Insulated Sleeves, 2 20 fl. oz. Bowls, 2 Sip-It Tops, 2 Folding Foons, Welded Sink||2L pot, 1.5L pot, strainer lid, 2 plates, 2 mugs, handle||1L pot, 1 folding handle frypan, bowl, 1 cup, 1 stuff sack||1.2L pot, 28 oz. bowl, lid, pot lifter, stuff sack|
|Avg Boil Time (mins)||4.12||1.3||3.58||3.05||4.02|
|3L Pot? (>2.4L)||1||0||0||0||0|
|2L Pot? (1.5-2.4L)||0||1||1||0||0|
|1L Pot? (.5-1.4L)||0||0||0||1||1|
|Frying Pan Lid?||No||N/a||N/a||No||N/a|
|Packed Size||11 x 6 x 11 in||5.9 x 6.4 x 5.9 in||5.3 x 7.8 in||6.7 x 6.6 x 3.5 in||5 x 5.5 in|
|Weight of Pot Closest to 1.5L (With Lid and Handle)||1.9 lbs||0.7 lbs||0.5 lbs||0.74 lbs||0.5lbs|
|Cooking Surfaces||Stainless Steel||Hard-Anodized, Non-Stick Coating||One Non-Stick Pot (1.5L), One Uncoated Pot (2.5L)||18/8 Stainless Steel||Hard Anodized|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Stanley makes a great, fully-nesting, and nearly-comprehensive camping cook set. All you need to add is a knife for chopping and drinking vessels of your choice. It excels in durability, cooking performance, included features, and value. It suffers a little, given the above, when it comes to weight, portability, and cooking performance. Cooking performance, though, will depend on your diet. This earns a Best Buy Award for its stellar price and amazing durability that'll last through the decades.
All cooking surfaces of the various parts of the Base Camp are stainless steel. For cooking performance, steel has its pros and cons. In the main pot, and with a camping stove, the material doesn't matter a whole ton. Steel doesn't disperse heat as well as aluminum does. On a small-burner backpacking stove, the steel bottom of the main pot risks scorching. However, in its element, on a wider-burner camping stove (and with sautéing and simmering done on the frying pan, see below), the main pot of the Stanley cooked pasta and rice and reheated soups just fine for us.
The frying pan of the Base Camp deserves special mention. The internal cooking surface is bare stainless steel. Whether in your home kitchen or on the go, frying pan cooking surfaces all have their pros and cons. Stainless steel isn't as non-stick as Teflon or seasoned cast iron. However, there is no better way to pan-sear a steak than in stainless steel, and the cooking performance of this surface will remain constant for your whole life and beyond. The real advantage of this frying pan is in its "3-layer" base construction.
Stanley doesn't elaborate on what exactly the three layers are. The inner and outer are stainless steel, somehow bonded together. We can deduce that the inner layer is copper. Copper-cored stainless steel frying pans are a home kitchen staple, and of great value for sensitive cooking. Whether the core is copper or not, this pan cooks very similarly to a copper-cored home frying pan, which is a good thing. The thick, 3-layer construction spreads heat evenly across the pan, dampening the temperature regulation swings of your camp stove and wind effects.
For sautéing vegetables and browning meat, this pan is excellent. Great chefs have figured out how to cook easy-release eggs in a stainless steel pan, but we aren't that good. We have yet to, whether at home with kitchen equipment or on the road with the Stanley, nail the sequence that makes for non-stick stainless eggs. In short, our failed scrambled egg test isn't the pan's fault. It is difficult, but not impossible, to cook non-stick eggs in a frying pan of this sort. Outside of eggs and other super-sensitive foods, the 3-layer Stanley frying pan, with a tight-fitting lid, will serve you very, very well.
For attentive foodies, the Stanley cook set better approximates high-end home kitchen equipment than anything else we tested. If your culinary skill, though leans more toward the practical, you will be challenged at times with the full stainless construction.
You don't choose the Base Camp for ultimate packability. A set like this, of course, is way, way better than a collection of your home kitchen equipment.
It all nests together and seals with a tight bungee lid keeper. The parts sit tightly enough together, with enough of the plastic parts separating metal parts (provided you pack it in the right order.
Thankfully there are packing instructions etched into the inside of the lid (brilliant) that eliminates rattling, even in the back of a jostling Jeep.
Stanley comes to the camp cooking market from the sturdy insulated drink container business. Rugged is part of the deal. If you've been seeking a set that you won't need to buy again in the next ten years, this is the one.
The Base Camp Cook Set, in full stainless steel construction, is very durable. The cooking performance is tough to nail down, but the good news is that the performance will remain constant for its entire lifespan. No maintenance other than washing is required, and you can scrub with steel wool or sand or anything else. The plastic parts are rigid enough to work but soft enough to deflect damage without cracking. In our testing, we weren't able to break or crack any of the plastic parts with rigorous effort. The cooking surfaces of the Stanley pot and pan are quite robust and durable. Expect it to last for many, many years.
We speak highly of many attributes of the Stanley, but weight is not an attribute where the Stanley excels. This is too heavy for human-powered adventures, for a single person to carry. If you have a large group, you can parse out the different parts to each camper to get it into a base camp in the backcountry.
The large size, stainless construction, and three-layer frying pan construction add up to a weighty package. Its heavy weight makes it best for camping missions. While you could probably borrow a few components for a lightweight mission, even the pots themselves are quite heavy.
Ease of Use
With nearly full-size components and a carefully designed integration, the Stanley is quite easy to use. We like that the frying pan handle locks, that the one lid is easily interchanged between the pot and pan, and that the dual handles on the main pot are rigid, symmetrical, and positive to grip. The lid serves as a pasta strainer. The "drying rack" is an interesting addition that, at first, seems a little gimmicky. When, however, you are trying to air dry slippery little plastic plates, having something to stand them on does indeed help.
The use of the Stanley set is entirely different from that of others we test. The other products we tested seem to be designed with some sort of weight compromise in mind. With that weight, compromise comes usability disadvantages. Hinged or removable handles are inherently less useful than the rigid ones on the main pot of the Stanley. Overall, this is a well-crafted set that is quite easy to use.
Many features come with this set. The "4x" qualifier suggests that this is designed for four people to cook and eat with. However, depending on the diet of your group, you can probably cook for a few more bodies if the meals aren't bulky, requiring the need for a lot of volume in each pot.
The frying pan capacity is a little small for most four-person camping meals; otherwise, it seems like an appropriate estimation. There are four bowls, four plates, and four sporks. The two-part spatula and serving spoon work almost as well as the versions you use at home.
Should You Buy the Stanley Adventure Base Camp?
This set is ideal for the camper that doesn't mind some extra weight to save a fairly substantial chunk of change compared to the top-tier sets. This set is geared toward base camping. We wouldn't recommend packing the Stanley Adventure Base Camp on your back, but if you're camping by car, boat, or mule, this set is perfect for four people.
What Other Camping Cookware Should You Consider?
If weight is a concern, the GSI Pinnacle Camper offers a similar amount of cookware and dishes, but it is much lighter than the Stanley Adventure Base Camp. For those that are in the market for a smaller set for couples or for backpacking trips, the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Dualist HS is ultra-light and offers top-notch cooking performance.
— Amber King & Jediah Porter
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More