Pots, pans and everything else

This is where once again, it pays to think about what you really intend to be doing on the boat.  There are options out there to take your cash, but most backpackers, hikers, and campers manage to make do with a pretty small number of things for cooking, and considering the storage space on a boat, as well as the negative impact on perfmrnace as boats start to get weight added to them - in general, it may be worth considering looking at what camper use in some cases, or at least minimizing weight where possible, with the goal of bring/get what you need, but no more.

For us, the ability to boil water is important, for more than one reason - coffee of course, but also for things like boiling water for pasta.  This one was actrually surprisingly difficult.  Were the Kenyon KISS butane stove dual-fuel, with an electric mode, that probably would suffice for us as we primarily need to boil things only for dinner, where more of than not we’d be at the slip.  

This is where an option like the Kettle 3, if it otherwise works for you, may be a good deal - remove the grate and drop a wok or pot on in it’s place, and you should be off and boiling water.  In our case, I really use warming racks when grilling so we went with the Catalina 2 rectangular grill, but was left sorting how to boil water.

I’ll be experimenting with removing some of the grates from the grill to see whether or not that may be a workable compromise to boil water (e.g. remove 1 or 2 of the 3 grates and put a pot in it’s place, while still having some grill area open for normal cooking), but another option would be a single burner - which can also be had in dual-mode, e.g. accepting either propane  or butane, although not so easy to find in a portable unit able to do either propane or AC power from what I’ve seen.  Replacing the existing propane-only KISS is an option, but one I’m not looking to do right now.  

We may decide to use the standalone burner inside the cabin solely for boiling mixed vegetables, or perhaps to sit on the grill’s extended tray. We already had it so ours is butane only, but buying one today, there are lots of options including some super-lightweight MSR type rocket stoves and others. Note on safety that none of these have the adjusting holders to allow for the tilting and rolling of a boat, so exercise caution if using, and at least buy one with ‘stops’ to reduce the risk of a pot or pan flying off of it.

Grill Accessories

To summarize - there are tons of them.

Storage cases, covers, attachable cutting boards/trays, grill utensil kits…and that’s before we even get into cookware.

Those from the respective ‘marine’ brands aren’t particularly cheap, but thankfully they’re not like All-Clad pricing, either.

Grill utensils are pretty simple, right up until you consider available space on the boat and where/how you’ll store them. Any standard set will do in reality - a brush for cleaning, a set of tongs, spatula, and grill fork, and likely a baster, and you’re in pretty good shape. For boat use, silicon or stainless options are the best path to go down. One of the lessons learned early on grilling on my buddy’s boat and in our backyard is always go longer than you’d think, and don’t try to use your kitchen tongs, or ‘warm’ hands are the result.

I took the easy way out in this case. While I’m sure they’re a bit overpriced, I picked up the Magma set with case, PN A10-132T. I need to add a basting brush to it, along with a slotted spoon, but I liked the fact they came with a case and telescope/can extend or retract. Cheaper options exist and YMMV as always, but they at least had relatively solid reviews.

In hindsight

it might have been nice to find a set with case that included skewers, a basting brush, and perhaps some silverware, but I think we’ll work it out. Whatever set you wind up buying, I’d advise looking for 14” or longer utensils - your hands will thank you! :)

I did pick up some skewers for kabobs which comes with a basting brush and carrying case, although we’ll have to see if the basting brush is too short at 8-9”. Of course, we’re still going to need some pots, pans and miscellaneous - which we’ll also cover.

What about stirring things, and making pasta?

If you’re starting to get the picture that little things can add up, yes, yes they can.  However, the goal in our case was to really minimize the back and forth backpack full of stuff on each trip - to make life easier to jump in the car, head to the marina, and knowing we basically had what we needed, minus sunscreen and a handful of things.  So, yeah - cooking utensils to pretty much leave on the boat.  

I wound up adding a pair of utensils first, trying to limit the number to what was really needed, but then of course after ordering the first two, found a 5-in-1 version from the same brand, so the 2 - quickly became 3.  These are a bit more $ than Target or random brand, but I really like the built-in stand on them - it won’t stop you from making a mess, but it might stop them from falling on the deck while keeping the surface touching food and covered in food - from touching the boat.

Yeah - the color on the cooking utensils isn’t exactly anything anyone would intentionally choose as far as I know, but - overally, I like them.  The multi-tool is shorter than the others, and I do wish they were a bit shorter to nicely sit under the shelf in the galley, but otherwise I like the set.  They do make other variants, but I figure with the above we can pretty much do pasta, sauces, and use the multitool as a combo spoon and spatula, so we’re reasonably covered across the grill and using the burner for making eggs, boiling pasta and the like.

Pots and Pans

With the basics of what we’ll be using to cook on and make coffee with generally out of the way, well - there’s still more to sort out.

It’s a viable option to just ‘bring what you need’ whenever you plan on eating on the boat, but for me, I’d prefer to have the things we’d ‘usually’ need ready at hand, or in worst case, in a self-contained ‘go bag’ at home to just grab and know you’ve got everything you’ll need. In this case, most things will wind up staying on the boat or in the dock box.

Cookware, utensils, at least some basic plates and bowls, drink and coffee cups - all of that’s fair game and needed, and unfortunately, also a ton of crap out there to sort between what may work best for you. In general, I prefer to buy once, or to buy something with a reasonably long service life and replace on wearing it out over disposable or limited service life items whenever possible, so my personal selections will lkely reflect that a bit.


It’s well worth taking a moment what you’ll really be cooking aboard or not before jumping into this one.

We learned our lesson over the years on a few things:

  1. Non-stick cookware - doesn’t stay nonstick indefinitely 

    • We’ve tried a lot of nonstick over the years, but inevitably they all become - stick.  My favorite for a while was actually not really non-stick but a Calphalon Anodized ‘everyday pan’ but it too, gave it up over time.  

    • Ceramic and other coatings seem promising, but at least how most are made today, including some fairly expensive ones, outside of our dutch overn and heavy enamel stock pot, they still don’t last, no matter the use of only silicon or soft utensils.

  2. After spending far too much at home on increasingly expensive but inevitably deteriorating cookware, we eventually sucked it up and bought a bunch of All-Clad D5 cookware  with a single Green Pan and replace it every year or so, mainly using it for eggs.  I do like the brushed finish on the D5, but I’m not-so-convinced the layering system of All-Clad (e.g. D3 vs D5 vs Copper Core..) actually amounts to any difference in real performance.  Meanwhile, some seem to swear by their much more inexpensive Cuisinart MCP sets   Yes, the All-Clads are better, but everyone has to make their own choices..

To be clear, we did not want to buy All-Clad for the boat...

So - what are the options?  Unlike at home where we can say stainless cookware is somewhat of a luxury, on a boat, stainless is the general rule, so whatever we were going to wind up with, it was going to be stainless.

Magma, of course - makes a few different sets of stainless cookware, which conveniently nest together to store compactly. Of course, they also make a case for it for some additional $, or they can be bought individually.  

Take a look at ‘camping cookware’ for some alternatives and some cool ideas, from collapsible bowls to stainless plates and others.  I did find one cookware set that is at least generally comparable to but cheaper than the Magma nesting cookware kits, from Stansport.

Numerous options - price each out!

If going with Magma, note there are a lot options, in either 7 piece or 10 piece sets, for inductive cooktops (has an embedded steel base) or standard, and with or without non-stick surfaces.

The Magmas use a type of ceramic non-stick, and while there are some solid reviews, I just wasn’t willing to commit to another set of non-stick cookware, although I’ll likely need to supplement with at least one non-stick pan of some type.

I had planned on going with the 7pc set, but the price difference between the 7pc, which came with one handle, and the 10 piece with two handels - made up for the price difference with the price of an added handle.  And yes, they count the bungee strap as ‘one piece’ in the set.  Sigh (but everyone plays similar games..)
By comparison, the case (not included) for < $25 is a ‘bargain,’ but I wernt for it as I needed to sanely sort where I’ll be storing some of the gear onboard, and I’d prefer to keep the cookware generally covered when not in use.  (The current storage spot is under the front-most kitchenette seat, as that one, unlike the one covering the HVAC, lifts off easily enough for reasonably quick in and out storage.

In reality, that cookware set had more pieces than we need, but in this case, it still wound up being cheaper than buying the inidividual pieces. If I had found a convenient package that was price competitive, I might have considered it, but was really looking for the following:

  • Stock pot - primarily for boiling pasta

  • Colander - straining pasta and rinsing fruit and vegetables

  • 3qt sauce pan - sauce, vegetables, one pot/pan to rule them all - except for the stock pot…mostly..

  • Possible a 10” frying pan, or a cast iron pan for potatoes

  • lids for the above

  • 1 non-stick pan for eggs

  • 2 handles, because inevitably 1 won’t be enough… ;)

  • Added: I did later wind up going ahead and ordered the Magma Non-stick Omelette/Saute pan after doing some homework on their certamic non-stick.  Yes, the fact it also fits into the closed-up stacking set - certainly played into the reasoning on this one..

I doubt we’ll regret adding the single non-stock pan or the colander, as both will wind up being used, and they do stack into the Magma set, which is nice from a portability and storage perspective. Compared to the ‘full collection’ we wound up with, I expect the only pieces we likley won’t use are two of the smaller pots, but they all share a common lid, and the price difference between the 7pc and 10pc Magma sets just didn’t make sense to not go with, even if only for the second handle in the 10pc set..

Other cooking Utensils

As we’ll be doing a few different types of cooking, meaning boiling as well as pan frying and grilling, I wanted to make sure we covered the rest of the bases.  For the grill itself, this is pretty simple - the Magma utensils set, the added kabob skewers and we were pretty good other than a long basting brush to stay with the grilling kit.  

Short-handled basting brushes and hot grills are just a recipe for annoyance and some occasional pain.  I expect I’ll primarily be using the basting brush for chicken and steaks - it’s also good for butter on corn, but I usually do corn-in-husk on the grill, seasoned and with some butter, but adding additional butter if needed is easy enough coming off the grill.  

I also decided to give a grilling mat a try - I’ve never used one of these before, but thought it worth giving a shot as the combination of the infrared grill running hotter (although I do plan on removing at least one infrared plate from the grill), as well as best sorting out how to combine our second burner or using the inside stove for boiling pasta or vegetables or most things in a pot or pan, the grill mat might give us another option, from cutting down the heat a bit for chicken breasts to possibly using to do eggs if we don’t find it workable or convenient using other methods. For a relatively few $, I was willing to give it a go until we arrive at what really works best for us.

A note on the grilling mats - most of these claim they’re OK to 500*F or so, while the infrared grills can definitely go over that. The mat I went with was intentionally the highest temp mat I was able to find which was good to 600*F. I expect I’ll be cutting the mat down a bit in practice, as the grill surface is 12x18” on the Magma, while the mat itself is 13” x 16”. I might cut it into 2x 12” x 8” pieces, which would align pretty closely with the sizes of the 3 infrared plates in the grill, so I can use 1/3rd or 2/3s of the grill w/out infrared and/or with the mat(s), and the rest leave on highest temp using the infrared plate..

Plates, Bowls, Silverware and Drinkware

Let’s start with drinking...

I’m going to take this one a bit out of order. In general, we’re covered for drinks fairly easily until we get to coffee or measuring cups and such. I’m a huge fan of vacuum double walled stainless flasks like Hydroflask, which everyone and anyone is now copying in the ‘sport drink’ type sized. I’m not sure who really popularized them, as I’ve had a double-walled vacuum insulated Thermos for a long while now, but even UnderArmour is making them now, at their usual price markups… I really liked Hydroflask as I could get them in less flashy colors for when I’d go to the shooting range or matches (as in - brown, tan and dark green instead of bright neon greens, blues, etc.), but they’ve become easier to find from other manufacturers nowadays, and when I’d starting buying some for my wife for work and various trips, and looking for replacement lids, I came across Takeya  who seems to make pretty decent flask lids, so I’ve bought some of their bottles as well, including one for milk for coffee on the boat, etc.

The biggest downside on the flasks is their size for the liquid volume, as they are certainly both wider and taller when compared to the typical plastic or single layer bottles. Consider the volume you need and find a way to make the size work is about all I can say here, other than when needing very specific dimensions. The 18oz in white worked out well as a boat ‘milk bottle’ for coffee, as it’s the narrower bottle version and will fit into the boat’s frig door, while I tend to go with 32 or 40oz bottles for my normal bottle to bring with me with water or sweet tea for the boat, for car trips, and even my daily in-office drink bottle.

The Takeya lids are also pretty nice in they have a built-in swiveling handle, which is convenient for carrying, or clipping into a carabiner on my work bag or backpack, although I personally tend to add an extra cord/handle to my bottles as it lets me loop it over the e-brake in my car conveniently. I’m not a huge fan of the colors available, as the manufacturers seem to be trying to all be ‘special’ in doing multi-color cords and colors I’d never go near, but these are reasonably OK, and they work well, from GearProz.. they can be had with or without the whistle and compass, and while I generally have a carabiner or similar attached already to most of my bags, the small spring carabiner that comes with it actually is pretty OK seeming.

I also have a larger 64oz Simple Modern insulated flask  which I usually just keep filled with water and ice for car trips, or ice and sweet tea, as a refiller for our normal drinking bottles. They seem to come in up to 128oz/1 gallon sizes, and maybe I’ll pick up a bigger one at some point, but the 64oz + pair of drinking flasks for my wife and I has worked out pretty well so far. The closed lids on these have been pretty good so far, while they come with another lid in stainless I’ve just yet to find a use for, at least the way we use them.

When we’re heading out to the boat, I’ll clip the big jug onto my backpack, loop my drinking flask over my car’s e-brake, then clip it into my backpack once we’re at the marina and heading to the boat.

Other glasses, cups and mugs

We don’t drink much, and my preferred beer already comes in a handy bottle, so will sort this one at some point in the future.. ;)

One thing we don’t have covered for drinks is we really need some kind of coffee mug. I’ve used the Hydroflasks and similar for coffee previously, and they work pretty well, but unless it’s truly cold outside, in which case I’m more likely to be outside in it than my wife, we really are just looking for one reasonably-sized cup of coffee in the mornings, and not a 32-64oz jug of coffee, moreso as we have the small K-cup machine on the boat now.

My wife had bought me a Christmas present of a Yeti vacuum, double walled coffee cup - of course, in her choice of colors, white of all things ( :) ), so it seems we have a mug for one of us. :) The first time I used it at home for coffee, it definitely had a bit of metallic taste to it, so expecially considering Yeti prices, I’m hoping that was a one-off. I did use it for coffee on the boat since and don’t remember tasting it, so fingers crossed. Of course, we use 20oz glass mugs at home for coffee, and the Yeti is a 14oz mug  so will have to sort that over time, but we’’ll either get a second Yeti (maybe I will pick the color on this one?) 14oz mug, or maybe a pair of them (or Takaya if they make them..) 20oz ones as the enxt size up, if nothing else jumps out. The 14oz Yeti is pretty conveniently sized for the boat, so we’ll see.

Yeti does also make wine tumblers  but they don’t come with lids and aren’t very competitively priced, so will most likely look for Takeya or another brand to eventually get a pair of wine glasses - the lids will help just to ensure they remain clean sitting around on the boat and ready for use.

After searching for a while, it seems like both coffee mugs and wine and drink vacuum tumblers and mugs still tend towards the small side, with almost all options out there being the same size as the Yeti or smaller.

I did find one slightly larger coffee mug, in ‘normal’ color choices, 16oz, while the next bunp is to 20oz and are more like drink tumblers - which might be good for a ‘single glass for all’ but it would also be a reminder the K-cups really can’t quite manage 20oz coffees at reasonable strength. This may be the way we wind up going eventually - keep one set of ‘do it all’ versus one set each for coffee, wine and <whatever else doesn’t go into our normal carry 32oz+ flasks> but we’ll see.

Both mugs fit well behind the sink below the shelf in the galley, and both work, well - fine - they’re coffee mugs.  I haven’t done a head-to-head with infrared thermometer, but as long as they hold up, they both keep coffee warm enough long enough to drink, although this type of mug has a ‘warm’ longevity of perhaps an hour to two, while the flasks will keep much longer (a day or so), or a true double-insulated Thermos-type with insulated lid a bit longer yet.

Plates and Bowls

As we’re mostly not barbarians, no matter what my wife may say on occasion about me, between grilling meals and actually eating them, having some basics like plates and bowls is a pretty fundamental requirement, moreso as every meal is not hotdogs…

Once again, camping and RV related searches were useful. While we could use ‘normal dishes’ etc., I really prefer to tlean towards the tenet of if something might get broken, it probably will at some point, so prefer unbreakable-ish type items on the boat as much as possible. This pretty much removed the idea of bringing a china collection, while leaving plastics, silicon or metal.

As the boat does have a microwave, one we’ve used fairly often when bringing food from home to reheat, it would be nice if a ‘perfect’ solution exists, and perhaps it does in some form of silicon, while we generally prefer to avoid plastics as much as reasonably possible…so wound up on going with stainless steel, noting that we’d need to work around whenever we’d need to microwave something for the time being. Not that big of a deal, as we do keep a stock of paper plates on the boat, and usually bring Pyrex glass containers with us from home in the event we’ll be reheating, and we have a handful of collapsible silicon containers we may decide to use for backup microwave duty if needed.

There are a ton of stainless bowl and plate options out there. What were were looking for was relatively simple - a few plates, including ‘sectioned’ ones for e.g. holding vegetables, meat, sides etc., some basic plates and a couple of bowls. After far too much searching and reading of reviews, thinking I’d be picking up inidividual pieces or sets, the sanest, and cheapest path, not unlike with the Magma cookware, became buying a small number of sets, even knowing we wouldn’t be using all of them.

In this case, I did want at least a set of sectioned plates, minimum of 2 but up to 4. Check the sizes, with a ruler compared to your normal plates if need be, as many offerings out there are smaller than expected. I wound up settling on a set of 4 9.8” stainless plates from Wealers, with a small carrying case.  

Those should cover our normal grilling meal serving plates, while we still needed some bowls and such. This one also went all over looking at individual pieces, but for the money, another Wealers set, a 24pc in this case, with carrying case, made the most sense. Other options were out there, but this is what we wound up going with, thinking we’d remove some of the pieces from the set and adding the sectioned plates into it.

There’s both good news and bad news in this case. The good news is we really like this set, and also removed a full plate, dished plate and smaller bowl set from the ‘boat set,’ and occasionally use them at home. We may go even further to remove the ‘flat plates’ from the set altogether, as the dished wider short bowls could pretty easily serve as either plate or short bowl. The only bad is the sectioned plates don’t fit into the set’s case, being slightly wider in diameter.


We haven’t been cooking on the boat all that much as of yet, although that’s the plan. My wife has been bringing food and things in a ‘keep warm’ bag from home, but the point is to change that, so I wanted ‘ready to go’ things onboard.

Still in the ‘let’s see what works’ phase, but looked at the usual camping gear in the sake of compact and relatively lightweight, and wound up giving a pair of these a go to start with, to see what works for us. They’re not tiny but small enough in the case, BPA-free but not stainless, so - seems to be good enough. They’re kind of spendy for a knife, fork and spoon, but what isn’t? :( Other options from them are available, including I think a ‘spork’ type setup..

The HumanGear Go-Bites set has an embedded metal bottle opener in the knife, which works ‘OK’ but overall the set works pretty well.

I also picked up a set of stainless silverware just in case we really didn’t like the HumanGear set, but that setup works well enough..