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Gear Review: MSR Titan Kettle


 
   

Specifications
Capacity: 28 fluid ounces
Dimensions: 5 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 4 ounces

Introduction
Let me start by saying that I have somewhat of an addiction to cooking sets. I like all different kinds and recognize that certain styles are better for certain applications. There was a time when I would take a different cook set everytime I went backpacking. That being said I had to choose my favorite when moving into the RV in order to save room. This forced me to evaluate seriously the pros and cons of all of my cook sets.

I really like the pour spout on kettles. The problem I have with traditional mess kits is that they do not pour well. This makes it difficult when trying to add liquid from a full pot into a small cup. The problem with a kettle is that the sloped angle that constricts the top opening makes it difficult to clean the kettle if you were to use it as pot to make oatmeal or cook some sort of mashed potatoes, beans, etc...

Previously my favorite cook set was the snow peak trek series cook sets. I have everyone from size 600 all the way to 1400.I also have the stainless steel MSR stowaway pot in two sizes and the GSI stainless steel kettle. Now while I enjoy all of these for different reasons the one that I chose to keep with me on our travels was the MSR Titan kettle.

Features
At first glance this may look like your typical pot and lid set, but there is a bit more to it. the lid has a decent pressure fit that keeps it on during your pour. The subtle pour spout works very well, and the handle on the lid can be propped up keeping it cool to the touch. I've used it directly on coals as well as my camp stove in order to melt snow during the winter. All in all it's done everything I've asked of it and it has served me well. However, there are compromises that need to be made if choosing this cook set.

There are a couple options that you do not have with this kettle. You do not have a frypan, although I almost never used the ones on my Snow Peak Trek pots anyway. It only comes in one size which will boil just enough water for a dehydrated meal and a cup of tea (about 3 cups). This is sufficient for most of my purposes although when camping with my wife it was nice to make two meals at once with my Snow Peak Trek 1400 (4 cups), though it took significantly more space when it comes to packing.

pour spoutNow, the selling point that made me decide to get rid of all of my other cooking pots; the pour spout. One of the frustrations I have while making meals with normal cooking pots is when it comes time to pour the water into the cup or dehydrated meal bag. When trying to pour from a full pot of water with no pour spout you need to commit and essentially dump rather than pour the water into your cup or meal. It's something that seems unnecessarily awkward and has become a bit of a peeve of mine. With the MSR Titan you can use it as a pot to cook your oatmeal or mashed potatoes or eggs or whatever you need, but also you can easily and accurately pour water from the spout without any worries of spilling - regardless of your dexterity level.

Now let's get down to the pros and cons.

Pros

  • easily packable
  • good capacity for one person (2 cups for meal 1 cup for beverage)
  • can be used as kettle or pot
  • pours easily
  • extremely light
  • lid handle can  stand up away from the heat

Cons

  • not large enough for two people (requires separate boil for other person)
  • does not have frypan
  • does not have measurement markings
  • only comes in one size

Conclusion
There are so many good cook sets out there that it is difficult to choose but the MSR Titan is certainly one of the best. While I still miss my other cook sets this one meets all my needs and I am satisfied with using it as my only cookware for the backcountry. Not everybody is so particular about their cookware and will be satisfied with the standard mess kits, but if you're looking for something a little bit more specialized/specific this may be for you.

It would be nice to see another size or two, especially if they nested, and maybe some measurement stamps. Maybe a 'two person' version or something so you could boil enough water for two people in one go. While I don't often use the 'fry pan' feature on these cooksets I have in the past and not having that options is a limitation, i.e. harder to cook a fish in a deep small diameter pot than a shallow fry pan. Those are the reasons it did not make 5 stars even though it is my favorite based on the compromises offered by the different cooksets out there. In short, it's features more than outweigh these minor shortcomings if your style of backpack dining is solo cooked meals/beverages. It is still in my pack as this is being written.

Take care,
bigwhitefish.com

May 11th, 2015

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