When camping, it’s usually not a good idea to bring your ceramic plates from home. The obvious reason is that they are likely to break during the trip. The less obvious reason is that they are heavy. And when you are backpacking for long stretches of time, every ounce counts. Deciding what kind of camping plates to get can be dauntless, but we’re here to help.
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- Plastic plates are lightweight and less likely to break. It’s also usually cheaper than the other choices. They can contain chemicals such as BPA that can leech into your food. Additionally, there’s a chance bits of it can transfer itself into your food. It’s more porous and more likely to harbor bacteria. Due to its low melting point, it’s harder to sanitize. If BPA is a concern, there are higher quality options that are made without it.
- Aluminum plates are also lightweight and tends to cost less than the other metal choices. Unfortunately, aluminum is softer than other materials which makes it more likely to get dented.
- Stainless steel plates are durable and harder than aluminum. Their disadvantage is that they are a bit heavier.
- Enamel plates are stainless steel plates covered in enamel. They are classy and more durable than conventional stainless steel. They are also on the heavier side and can chip with rough handling.
- Titanium has the best of both worlds. They’re lightweight and durable. The only problem is that they’re the most expensive of all of these choices.
- Bamboo is great for those who are eco-conscious. They are eco-friendly, lightweight, and durable. They are dishwasher safe and BPA-free.
- Silicone is a new challenger that has entered the foray. It’s BPA-free and has a high melting point for easier sanitation. These “plates” are also usually designed as collapsible bowls which can collapse into the shape of a plate. This makes them more versatile and space-efficient.
Plastic is great for the casual camper. It’s cheap, lightweight, and less likely to break. Unfortunately, plastic is not meant to be used forever and will show its age after a certain amount of uses. It can also be a health risk if it contains BPA.
These YU TABLEWARE Plastic Dishes have a diameter of 10 inches and come in a set of 12.
Aluminum is cheap, lightweight, safe for all types of food, doesn’t “rust” (more on that later), but is soft. It’s three times or more lighter than stainless steel. After so many uses, it will dent a lot. Another option is to go with anodized aluminum. It goes through an extra process which makes it harder and more expensive. To take a step back, aluminum does “rust,” but not in the way iron does. Aluminum rust is quite hard and even serves as a protective layering. On top of which, it’s even the same color as aluminum so you might never even notice it.
Another disadvantage with stainless steel plates is that more often than not, they are made with grade 410 stainless steel. Grade 410 stainless steel is less resistant to corrosion and rust compared to grade 304 and grade 316, but is more price efficient. This makes it less ideal for acidic food such as tomato-based recipes. For more details on the difference between different stainless steel grades, click here.
These Wealers Stainless Steel Plates have a diameter of 8.5 inches and come in a set of 4. They are made with grade 410 stainless steel so it’s best to avoid acidic food with them.
These Caveman Stainless Steel Plates have a diameter of 8.25 inches and come in a set of 4. They are made with grade 304 stainless steel which makes them safe with acidic food.
In order to address the disadvantages of grade 410 stainless steel, there is also the option to cover it in enamel. This makes it safe for all types of food. The problem is, this bumps up the price and makes it the heaviest option of these 6 materials. The enamel coating is also likely to chip with rough handling. The inner material is either made of steel or stainless steel.
This Coleman Enamel Plate has a diameter of 10.25 inches.
This GSI Enamel Plate has a diameter of 10.25 inches and a height of 0.75 inches. It weighs 9 ounces.
For the hardcore backpacker, titanium camping plates are the way to go. It’s lightweight and will last a lifetime. Its only con is its price.
This single Snow Peak Titanium Plate has a diameter of 7.5 inches.
This TOAKS Titanium Plate has a diameter of 7.5 inches as well.
The main advantage of bamboo is that it’s a highly renewable, eco-friendly resource. Bamboo is a renewable resource that can be grown without pesticides and with very little water. They are safe, non-toxic, BPA-free, dishwasher safe, reusable, and biodegradable. But as warning, bamboo is not microwave safe.
These YourModernHome Bamboo Plates come in a set of 4 and have a diameter of 8 inches.
For some reason, these WEESPROUT Bamboo Plates are directed at the toddler demographic, but they’ll work for adults as well. It comes in a set of 4 and has a diameter of 8 inches.
Silicone is great in that it’s lightweight and food safe. Its flexibility makes it versatile because it can be compacted to save space. It’s also microwave safe and heat-resistant up to 480 degrees Celsius. Since it’s constantly being opened and folded, it won’t last as long as titanium, but it is much more versatile than titanium.
These ME.FAN Collapsible Silicone Bowls have a capacity of 27 ounces and a diameter of 6.3 inches. It has a height of 2.6 inches while open and collapses down to a height of 1 inch. This listing comes with two bowls and two lids.
These Ecoart Collapsible Silicone Bowls has a capacity of 24 ounces. They also have a smaller option that only holds 11 ounces. This listing only comes with one bowl.
If you’re worried over the collapsible silicone bowl breaking from all of the opening and folding, consider getting a non-collapsible tray. This listing for Hippypotamus Silicone Plates says they are made for toddlers, but they’ll work for adults as well. It comes in set of 3 and their diameters measure at 7.5 inches.