Saturday, 29 January 2011

Cooking Sets, Coleman and MSR

Most of my cooking pots are mug type as I really only ever boil water, the most often used would be the Alpkit Mytimug at 750ml or an identical but shorter 550ml pot from Tibetan Titanium. I also have a Heinie pot and a Tibetan Titanium 900ml pot but sold off some cookests last year including a wider Snowpeak Compact cookset. It was only when we had snow before and during Christmas that I unearthed my MSR Whisperlite International petrol stove but I discovered that none of my cooking pots suited it very well being too tall and narrow for stability, too small to carry the Whisperlite and not the most efficient shape for melting snow.

As I wanted something to use specifically with the Whisperlite I started to look at what was available. I looked at quite a few sets from a variety of differenr companies including Blacks, Vango, Hi Gear etc, the Hi Gear Trail 4 looked like a versatile option) and also looked at the more expensive brands including Primus, Optimus MSR and Evernew. What I found was that the majority of those that were of sufficient diameter came as part of a 2-3 person set and most came with a frypan lid which I didn't really want. I ruled out the Evernew pots as they seemed similar to the Snowpeak set I had and I always found the Snowpeak to be too slippery, I alos ruled out pots that had 2 part fold out handles. In the end I decided on the MSR Quick 1 pot, identical to the Quick 1 System but without the mug. The MSR pot looked like it would hold the Whisperlite and had a basic lid but with a handle similar to the one on the MSR Reactor pot.

The MSR Quick 1 pot is nicely made, it's quite light (186g) being titanium and the lid fitted well but while the handle felt secure I didn't like the way it stuck out from the pot even when folded. The pot capacity is 1300ml and has volume markings stamped down the side and the lid while being similar in style to the Reactor pot is metal rather than Lexan. The Whisperlite fitted but only just and while I resigned myself to using it I wasn't entirely happy with it.

Shortly after I'd got it I found the Coleman Exponent 1 cookset while browsing ebay. It came as a 2 pot set, the smaller pot being similar in size to the MSR Quick 1 with the larger pot being just a litte bit wider. The set only came with one lid which was flat rather than a frying pan type and the pot lifter was a Trangia style one. The set was listed at £20 so I ordered one.

The Coleman pots are aluminium with a hard anodised finish and a non-stick coating and both pots have stamped volume markings, the smaller pot having a marked maximum of 1200ml and the larger a marked maximum of 1500ml. In addition both pots have deep grooves on the base to stop them from slipping around on the stove. The lid sits securely on both pots and has a silicone pad around the lifter/knob on the lid to help keep it cool, the lifter being metal. The lifter folds flat but is made in such a way that it stays in the raised position when folded up. The pot grab/handle is similar to the ones supplied with Trangia stoves but is plastic coated where it grabs the pot to stop it scratching the non stick coating, one clever touch is that the lifter comes with a cloth pouch for storage but it also doubles as a cleaning cloth. The cookset also comes with a mesh stuff sack. The downside of course is that it's quite heavy, more than suggested by quite a bit. The listed weight is 425g the actual weight being 571g which is a really poor showing by Coleman, that said considering I'm intending using it with a petrol stove which isn't all that light once the fuel bottle is added I'm not overly concerned about the weight, as I won't be using the smaller pot it'll effectively weigh 395g, the weight of the individual parts is as follows.

1.5ml Pot - 200g
1.2ml Pot - 173g
Lid - 100g
Pot Grab/Lifter - 59g
Pouch for above - 14g
Stuff Sack - 22g

The downside now is trying to decide which one to use, although the weight isn't a primary concern the MSR pot is half the weight while the Colman set up is otherwise more suitable.


  1. The MSR Quick 1 has a nice lid if you ever need to drain something. I'm looking for a pot with a similar lid, but this one is maybe a little too big (something like 0.7 l or 0.8 l would be enough). Luckily I don't really need a new pot, so maybe I'll just wait until such a pot comes my way... :)

    The Coleman set really has a competitive price!

  2. The Quick 1 is a nice pot, the finish is pretty basic compared to the Coleman but both are equally well made while being completely different. Cooking pots are a bit like everything else, you imagine it'll be easy to get what you want until you start looking :-)

  3. Hi Richard,
    If you don’t mind me asking. Why do you need such a big pot? You say you only boil water so i presume that you use freeze dried grub or similar plus a brew.
    My Evernew Titanium 600 does both Sheila and myself with relative ease. Obviously one of us has to wait a few minutes for the extra water to boil, and thats usually me by the way, but it is only a few minutes.
    I couldn’t envisage me using one thats 1L or more.

  4. Strictly speaking I don't need the capacity for cooking but I need a pot that size to carry the stove. Other than that a wide pot is better for melting snow and sits lower so is more stable, also I think it's better to at least melt (but not boil) 1.0l of water in one go, transfer half to a bottle for later and bring the remainder to a boil.

    That's my thinking anway :-)

  5. Ok the mist is clearing. I understand now, the stove dictates your pot. Yes its better to put the stove inside and you can fill what ever space you have left over with other small items.
    Cheers Richard.

    oh and ally is better than Titanium for heat transfer too. Melts snow faster.

  6. Somebody has a cook pot fetish ;)