Why You Should Use Metal Dishes for Camping

By Dr. Manasa Mantravadi



Time to Read: 8 min

When we venture into the great outdoors, we’re reminded of nature's beauty and fragility. Camping offers a unique opportunity to connect with the environment, but it also challenges us to consider the impact of our choices on the planet. One simple yet powerful decision is selecting the right materials for our camping gear, particularly when it comes to choosing dishes. Metal dishes are a clear choice for the eco-conscious camper, blending durability with sustainability.

Metal dishes are not just a practical choice. They are a statement of care for the environment. Choosing metal over disposable alternatives, like plastic or paper, significantly reduces waste, helping preserve the pristine nature we set out to enjoy. Making this choice aligns with a broader movement towards sustainable living, reflecting a commitment to protecting our planet for future generations of adventurers.

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

Want to know more? Check out our story and our products

Choosing Metal Dishes: A Sustainable Choice for Camping

As we pack our bags for a journey into the wilderness, it's important to pause and consider the environmental footprint of our camping gear. In considering eco-friendly options, metal dishes are a smart choice when it comes to sustainability and practicality, offering a compelling alternative to their disposable counterparts.

Durability That Lasts

Metal dishes are renowned for their robustness. They can withstand the rigors of outdoor adventures without succumbing to damage. Unlike plastic or paper dishes, which are prone to breakage and wear, metal options promise longevity. Their resilience makes them indispensable for campers but also makes certain they remain a faithful companion on many expeditions. This means you will need to make fewer replacements over time and no longer worry about stopping at the store to pick up disposable options.

A Stand Against Plastic Pollution

The environmental toll of single-use plastic dishes is staggering. Every year, our oceans bear the brunt of approximately 8 million tons of plastic waste, with disposable eating utensils contributing significantly to this blight. These plastics linger for centuries, inflicting irreversible harm on marine ecosystems and wildlife. Campers can drastically reduce their contribution to this global issue by choosing to bring along metal dishes on their adventures, paving the way for a cleaner, healthier planet.

Health and Safety Benefits

Metal dishes have the added advantage of being free from harmful chemicals often found in plastics, which can leach into food under heat. This makes them a safer choice for enjoying those campfire-cooked meals, making sure your outdoor dining experience is as safe as it is enjoyable.

Cleaning Made Simple

The convenience of metal dishes extends to their upkeep. Their smooth surfaces are effortlessly cleaned, requiring nothing more than a quick rinse. This simplicity is particularly advantageous in the outdoors, where resources are limited, allowing more time to be spent enjoying nature.

Versatile and Ready for Any Meal

Metal dishes are unmatched in their adaptability. They're equally suited for serving a chilled salad or for cooking directly over a campfire. This versatility makes certain that they cater to every culinary need, from the simplest snacks to the most elaborate campsite feasts.

Choosing metal dishes when camping reflects the values of eco-consciousness, safety, and practicality. It's a choice that not only makes your camping experience more enjoyable but also contributes positively to our planet's well-being. While there are many benefits to using metal dishes, it's clear they are an essential piece of gear for anyone looking to make their outdoor adventures more sustainable.

stainless steel dishes with tent

How to Select the Perfect Metal Dishes for Your Camping Adventures

Choosing the right metal dishes for camping is about finding the balance between functionality, sustainability, and convenience. With many options available, knowing what features make metal dishes a smart choice for your outdoor meals is important. Here’s a guide to picking the best metal dishes to enhance your camping experience while staying true to eco-friendly practices.

Material Matters

When it comes to metal dishes, stainless steel stands out for its durability and resistance to rust and corrosion. Look for high-quality stainless steel dishes that can withstand the heat of a campfire without warping or tarnishing. These dishes are not only long-lasting but also safe for cooking and eating, free from harmful chemicals.

Size and Weight

Consider the size and weight of the dishes, keeping in mind the nature of your camping trips. If you’re backpacking, lightweight and compact dishes are ideal. For car camping, you might opt for slightly larger options that offer more versatility for different types of meals. Remember, the goal is to balance practicality with the ease of transport.

Ease of Cleaning

While metal dishes are generally easy to clean, some designs might have nooks and crannies that trap food particles. Choose dishes with smooth surfaces and rounded edges for hassle-free cleaning, making sure they can be quickly rinsed and wiped down, even when water resources are limited.


Space is often at a premium when camping, so selecting dishes that stack neatly together can save valuable pack space. Stackable designs are not only easier to pack but also simplify storage in your camp kitchen, keeping your gear organized and accessible.


Versatile metal dishes that can be used for cooking offer the most bang for your buck. Consider dishes that can go directly on the grill or over an open flame, allowing you to minimize the amount of cookware you need to bring. This aspect is particularly great for efficient packing and cooking in the great outdoors.

Investing in the right metal dishes for your camping trips can significantly improve your outdoor dining experience. By focusing on durability, practicality, and environmental impact, you can choose dishes that will serve you well on countless adventures, all while respecting the natural world we love to explore.

Mealtime Essentials for Camping

The Eco-Conscious Camper’s Choice: Embracing Metal Dishes

In the heart of every camping adventure lies a profound connection with nature and a responsibility to protect it. As eco-conscious campers, our choices—from the gear we carry to the footprints we leave behind—reflect the commitment we have to preserving the natural world. Metal dishes, with their blend of durability, sustainability, and versatility, stand out as a signal of this commitment, offering a practical solution that aligns with our environmental values.

The move towards using metal dishes for camping is more than just a preference for the type of cookware we use. It marks a shift towards sustainable practices that minimize our impact on the environment. By choosing reusable metal over disposable alternatives, we actively reduce waste and conserve resources, contributing to a cleaner, greener planet.

Even if you don’t enjoy camping, having metal plates, cutlery, bowls, or containers on hand and in the car is not a bad idea. This prevents the need for single-use cutlery during family road trips, after-school activities, and practices.

As we look forward to our future adventures, we should stay mindful in choosing gear that reflects our respect for the natural world. Metal dishes symbolize our commitment to an eco-conscious lifestyle. By embracing these sustainable options, we contribute to a legacy of conservation, ensuring that the beauty and wonder of nature remain accessible for generations of campers to come.

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

More Mealtime Essentials

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

Leave a comment