Prepare any meal and elevate your outdoor cooking to new heights with these lightweight, compact, and durable skillets.
No time to read it all? Check out our top picks:
- Winner: Stanley Adventure All-in-One Pan Set
- Runner-up: GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Frypan
- No-brainer: JetBoil Summit Skillet
If you enjoy backpacking or camping, and I certainly do, JetBoil stoves are a blessing. These compact and lightweight stoves don’t take up much space and are easy to carry. They give you the mobility you need, without sacrificing morning coffee or hot dinner in the evening.
As any outdoor cook knows, finding a portable stove is only half the battle. You also need a skillet that’s roomy enough for any meal, small enough to fit in your backpack, and sturdy enough to withstand the use and abuse of cooking in the wilderness.
These are no forgiving criteria, that’s for sure. And as you’ve already seen, it’s not always easy to distinguish the well-made products from the well-marketed junk. To help you in your search, my team and I spent days looking for the best skillets for your JetBoil stove—so you won’t have to.
Table of Contents
- What to Look For
- Winner: Stanley Adventure All-in-One Pan Set
- Runner-Up: GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Frypan
- No-Brainer: JetBoil Summit Skillet
- Can’t Make Up Your Mind? Here’s How to Choose
What to Look For
Depth. At 8 to 10 inches in diameter, most camping skillets are intentionally small. A tall and deep skillet is more versatile than a short and shallow one; it allows you to stir and maneuver food without worrying about spillage.
Even heating. A good camping skillet should distribute the heat of your JetBoil stove as evenly as possible so that the food doesn’t burn (unless left unattended).
Since not all JetBoil stove systems have a regulator, this calls for a cooking vessel with thick bottom and walls that absorb the heat well before transferring it to your food.
Folding handle. A camping skillet with a handle that doesn’t fold takes up too much space in your backpack. It also makes packing for a multi-day hike or camp more difficult than it should be.
Durability. We prefer ceramic to non-stick coatings because they don’t outgas toxic fumes when overheated and are more resistant to scratches. And yet, nothing comes close to the sturdiness of stainless steel.
Winner: Stanley Adventure All-in-One Pan Set
There’s more than one reason why the 9-piece Stanley Adventure All-in-One Pan Set made its way to the top of our list.
For starters, it has everything—and we mean everything—you need to cook outdoors, including a frying pan, a cutting board, a folding spatula, a trivet for prepping food, and a set of plates and forks for two. (If you don’t need one or two of these, you can always leave them out when you pack up.)
The 8-inch frying pan is made out of tri-ply stainless steel with cladding that runs all the way to the sides. It provides even heat distribution, keeps your food warm for extended periods of time, and, once you’re back home and you’re eager to take a break from the break, can safely be loaded in the dishwasher.
When my wife and I are out in the wilderness, the Stanley Adventure set is what we cook in. It packs well, doesn’t burn the food, and it works with any fork, spatula, or, when there are no other options, twig. It’s built well enough to withstand years of wear and tear, and it feels like it could last forever (heck, it probably will!).
Stanley is a company that knows how to make outdoor cookware. It’s been doing it since 1913, when its founder invented the all-steel vacuum bottle. Since, the Seattle, Washington-based company has been making the favorite outdoor gear of generations upon generations of hikers and campers.
Runner-Up: GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Frypan
If you’re on the hunt for a camping skillet that will keep food from sticking, look no further than the GSI Pinnacle Frypan. This skillet, which comes in two diameters, 8 inches and 10 inches, is made out of a hard-anodized, Teflon-coated aluminum body.
The anodizing gives the body strength and prevents the aluminum from reacting with your food. The three-layer Teflon coating provides you with a slick cooking surface that even the stickiest foods will glide over, making clean-up—even when you’re outdoors—a cinch.
This convenience comes at the expense of durability and utility.
It’s important to note that Teflon coatings, and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coatings as a whole, don’t last forever. Under the heat of cooking and frequent outdoor use, the coating will wear off in a few years and you will need to replace the pan.
To make the coating last longer and maximize the lifespan of your skillet, always fry with plenty of fat or oil, and never let liquids boil dry. Whenever possible, go easy on the heat. Non-stick coatings and high heat don’t get along well; the material can outgas toxic fumes if heated past 500°F (260°C).
As long as you understand the points above and how to get the most out of a good Teflon coating, chances are you will love this frying pan. GSI Outdoors, the Spokane, Wyoming-based company that makes it, has been producing outdoor gear since its founding in 1985.
No-Brainer: JetBoil Summit Skillet
If you’re not a fan of stainless steel and don’t want to cook in a non-stick, you can also opt for the JetBoil Summit Skillet.
Contrary to what you may think, we didn’t call this pick a “no-brainer” just because the cooking system and cooking vessel are made by the same company. This skillet is made out of an aluminum body coated with ceramic, which many consider to be the best alternative to PTFE coatings.
Ceramic coatings are more heat resistant than their PTFE counterparts, and— although you should still use a silicone or wooden spatula for them—they are generally less susceptible to scratching. All in all, a good choice for a slick surface that releases bacon and eggs easily, and makes clean-up a breeze.
Like Teflon, ceramic coatings wear out over time. After 1 to 2 years, there is a good chance that cooking with this skillet will no longer feel non-stick. Unlike Teflon, you can still use the skillet even if the coating wears off; you just need to cook with lots of butter, fat or cooking oil.
The great thing about this skillet is that the folding handle doubles as a holder for a silicone spatula.
The spatula isn’t the best cooking utensil we’ve used, no doubt about it. But it serves its purpose when the only other option is to use twigs picked up off the ground. Just don’t leave it in the hot skillet, or the silicone will start to melt all too easily.
Can’t Make Up Your Mind? Here’s How to Choose
Suppose you love two—or maybe all—of our picks. How could you possibly decide which one to go for?
It’s easy, actually. If you’re looking for a set, a frying pan that will last you a lifetime, or one that you can use over a campfire just as easily as you can over your JetBoil cooking system, then go for the Stanley Adventure All-in-One Set.
The rest of the skillets we featured are all non-stick and ceramic. Choose them if you want no-frills cooking and hassle-free cleaning and keep in mind that you can’t use them over an open fire.
Ceramic and non-stick frying pans have a smooth surface that effortlessly releases even the stickiest foods. As an added benefit, clean-up is as easy as giving that surface as a good wipe down with a paper towel.
If you choose one or the other, you will ultimately have to compromise:
- The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Frypan will remain non-stick for 3-5 years, but will need to be discarded and replaced when the Teflon coating wears off;
- The JetBoil Summit Skillet will lose its non-stick properties within 1 to 2 years, but can be used as a regular pan from that point on.
Whichever of the two you choose, you can hardly go wrong. When in doubt, trust us on our best pick and stick to stainless steel.