Whether you're spending this summer testing out your trail legs on your first multi-night backpacking trips or you're a seasoned trekker who is familiar with bunking down in the alpine, one thing's for certain – less is more. Except when it comes to your appetite after a day of hiking with everything you need for survival firmly strapped to your back.

Backpacking food often gets a bad rap, though. The focus is on weight and portability rather than recreating the kind of meals you see on the Food Channel. But it doesn't have to be all freeze-dried camping meals and dressed up instant ramen. With a few well-chosen pieces of backpacking cooking gear, you can really look forward to meal time, without sacrificing too much room in your pack.

These are 10 of our favorite pieces of outdoor cooking equipment for backpackers.

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Backpacking Cooking Gear

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Morsel Spork is a smart take on an old utensil from a company in Portland, Oregon © courtesy of Morsel Spork / Lonely Planet

1) Morsel Spork
Skip bulky, awkward multi-tool-style backpacking cutlery for this smart spork, which blends elements of forks, spoons, knives and even spatulas thanks to a rubber edge that makes scraping a snap. Morsel Sporks are easy to handle even with gloves on, and are plenty durable enough to float around in your pack. Morsel Spork X-Large, 1 ounce, $12.95; Amazon.

2) Platypus Water Filtration System
There are a lot of options for filtering water in the backcountry, from tablets to manual pumps to UV light, but one of the simplest is this gravity-fed system that forces water through a cartridge filter, removing 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, including giardia, cryptosporidium, E. coli, salmonella and cholera, and into a second reservoir from which it's safe to drink, cook, and wash up. Platypus systems come in a variety of sizes, from those appropriate for solo treks to small groups. Platypus GravityWorks Water Filtration System, 4.0 liter, $109.95; Amazon.

3) Sea to Summit Collapsable Cookset 
Even classic ultra-light cooksets made from aluminum or titanium that are designed to nest can be hard to squeeze into a full pack. Enter Sea to Summit's BPA-free cookset. Each silicone piece flattens down onto its aluminum base as well as nests together, taking up as little room as possible in your bag in addition to not weighing you down. Even the larger sets for groups or couples don't weight more than a football. Sea to Summit X-Set 31, 21.4 oz, $109.95; REI.

4) Loksak Storage Bag
Safely store food, leftovers, trash, cigarette butts, first-aid supplies and more in these tough, odor-proof bags. They're leak proof, air tight, and block scents well enough that you won't attract bears or other curious critters with your sandwich crusts or orange peels. LOKSAK - OPSAK Storage Bag, 28x20 inches, $21.49; Amazon.

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GoToobs have become very popular with campers for everything from toiletries to cooking ingredients © courtesy of humangear / Lonely Planet

5) humangear GoToob travel bottles 
When it comes to dressing up classic backpacking foods, condiments are king. But you don't have to lug a whole bottle of Sriracha or barbecue sauce into the backcountry. These GoToobs by humangear are food safe, easily squeezable, and won't drip or spill – perfect for bringing just the right amount of olive oil, salad dressing, ketchup, or biodegradable soap for cleaning up. humangear GoToob, 2.06 ounces, set of three, $14.99; Amazon.

6) Hario V60 Plastic Dripper
It's hard to beat a simple, lightweight pour-over system if you want a good cup of joe in the backcountry while avoiding the free-floating grounds of cowboy coffee. Hario's plastic dripper clocks in at just 2.88 ounces, making it a featherweight luxury. Hario Plastic Coffee Dripper, Size 02, $9.75; Amazon.

7) GSI Outdoors MicroLite Vacuum Bottle
Many serious backpackers and thru-hikers will get so focused on shaving down weight they'll whittle their toothbrushes and cut their pack straps. So finding a thermos that will keep tea and coffee hot the whole day on the trail without adding too many ounces is a tricky balance – one that GSI nails with this steel flask that can hold 33 oz of liquid and keep it hot for up to 18 hours. GSI Outdoors Microlite Vacuum Bottle, 13 ounces, $34.95; Amazon.

A Primus PrimeTech pot set sits on a Primus stove in the sand at Second Beach in Washington state
Lightweight but generously sized, this versatile cookset makes it easy to cook meals for several © Meghan O'Dea / Lonely Planet

8) Primus PrimeTech Pot Set
There's a reason this is such a classic backpacking cookset. It's made by Primus, who have long been leaders in quality camp stoves, and has a simple, efficient design that can take a beating. Unlike silicone cooksets, you aren't limited to foods cooked in water with these aluminum pots, which can also be used to sauté. Primus PrimeTech Pot Set, 2.3L, 2.05 pounds, $73.79; Amazon.

9) Snowpeak LiteMax Stove 
There are plenty of solid backpacking stoves to choose from, but the Snowpeak LiteMax regularly elbows the competition back a few paces with it's reduced weight, fuel efficiency, temperature control, and simple, intuitive design. Snowpeak LiteMax Stove, 1.9 ounces, $59.95; REI.

10) Sea to Summit Collapsable Sink
Everyone likes to stay so fresh and so clean, clean even on the trail – or, perhaps that should be especially on the trail. From soaking dirty cooking gear or marinating veggies to cleaning your bod or even a little backcountry laundry, this collapsable sink comes in handy for all sorts of functions, but weighs less than a billiard ball. Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink, 3.5-6.6 oz, $19.95-$29.95; REI.

You may also like: The best cooking gear for car campers
The expert's ultimate backpacking bucket list 
Thru-hikes to squeeze into a busy travel schedule

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