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Help choosing a new pot/pan set

11:45 a.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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Hello, I'm finally looking to replace my old cooking set with a more modern one. My old one consists of a small frying pan and a small water boiling pot, they are very compact and weight together an awesome 7.8 oz. The only problem is that they are cheap aluminum and its really hard to clean on the field, everything that I fry gets stuck in it and takes me way too much time and effort to get it cleaned up to pack and move on.  I'm looking for a system similar to mine, something small as I will mostly use it for two people, rarely for 4, I need it to have a frying pan/skillet as me and my wife love our eggs in the morning and a nice sized boiling pan. I will use it with either a small alcohol stove or a msr pocket rocket style stove. Another thing is that I would like it to be as light as possible, I've seen some very promising kits online, none which were lighter than 2 pounds. I'm willing to go a bit up in weight for a perfect system if its more efficient in gas consumption but not more than double.

12:06 p.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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Good luck in finding a stickless fry pan that doesn't delaminate in the field.  And then you have the wonderful time of ingesting teflon---a formaldehyde product. 

There are other very good stickless teflon-like Hydrolon fry pans out there but they are not "backpacking" qualified and so the handles must be either unscrewed or cut off with a hacksaw.


green-pan-HT.jpg

This the Green Pan and I found it at a Target.  Unfortunately the heavy handle is riveted on and I had to use a hacksaw and a rivet punch to get it off.  It's becomes an excellent non-toxic fry pan but it IS HEAVY, even the smaller diameter ones.

Another option is the Hydrolon pan by Ecolution.  See---



13635217212230P.JPG

I used this pan for several trips and the handle is simple to remove cuz it just has two screws.  This one is also heavy.

I don't carry a fry pan anymore and instead have returned to my simple one pot kit with lexan spoon.  There are two pots worth checking out---both MSR---the one liter titanium and the two liter "seagull" pot.  They are hell to clean when scorched with food and forget about trying to scramble up some eggs in them or you'll be squatting next to a creek with a scrub pad for the next two hours.

I'm not into buying "cooking kits" as who needs all the stuff?  Just keep it very simple.  I know some backpackers who take out plates and ladles and grills and cutting boards (!) and bowls and drinking cups and sierra cups and butter knives and all the rest.  It's a big waste of effort, esp in the winter as everything must be cleaned and IT'S ZERO DEGREES OUTSIDE!

I like my titanium pots---the two liter is good in the winter for melting snow---and ya don't need to bring the handle as the pot lip stays cool to grip even when boiling.  And forget about the lid itself unless you're at 26,000 feet and needing snow melted frequently.  Aluminum stuff is ancient history and problematic.

When backpacking with another person, all you need is the two liter pot and an extra cup or bowl for them to eat out of.  All the cooking is done in the pot.



2:42 p.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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I find that the good modern anodized aluminum cook sets from MSR and GSI are as easy to clean as the "nonstick" teflon-coated ones, but of course no delaminating. They also do a good job of spreading the heat evenly (unlike titanium cookware) and are almost as light as Ti cooksets, but more resistant to dents. The cooksets I refer to have one or two pots and a plate/lid/skillet for each pot. I often carry just one of the pots and the lid. Since they have no handles, I have a very light potgripper. Sometimes I take in my GSI wok (the smaller one) if I plan to do "gourmet" cooking. It is also anodized aluminum and behaves like a non-stick pan.

Then again, I have been known to pack in a #8 cast iron Lodge dutch oven.

3:06 p.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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I looked at MSR website and they have this Quick Skillet and Quick 2 cook set, the set is 15.7 oz and the skillet is 5.9 oz, together thats 1lb 5.6 oz, not very light at all, but if the handle of the skillet and the pot are interchangeable, i can cut weight by only bringing one, and leaving one of the two pots behind depending on group size, still not ideal though...

4:20 p.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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I have an old Evolution 2 set.  I believe aluminum with Teflon coating.  I like them.  Two pots.  No skillet.  I've used the bigger pot as a skillet.  You need a grabber handle with them, and it probably weighs as much as the pot does.  They probably don't make them anymore, so maybe I have no business posting in this thread.

4:34 p.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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I've got the Brunton Vapor set.  2 pots one pan with handle and 2 sporks 1.05.3 Lbs. One pot and pan with handle and sporks .13.6. They dont make this one ether, but it does show up on ebay from time to time.

4:56 p.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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What about the GSI outdoors kit. fry pant tefflon coated and pans. the backpacker kit is one pot one pan.   www.REI.com has both kits.

 

 

5:28 p.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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I just found my cookset. It is now the Optimus Terra Cookset. I found it at campmor. Even has the koozy that holds it together. A very nice set and I think its what you are looking for.

5:58 p.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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I use a GSI Soloist personally. Great durability & heat transfer(maximizes fuel use.) Plus its light, and does exactly what I need to do.

Oh its also non-stick. Good durable coating.  

The spork that came with my set was garbage imo but never the less I have to say GSI makes a pretty good product.

I'm really satisfied with my set. 

A GSI Bugaboo set may be a good option($49) at 31oz and has a pan pot, blah blah blah.

http://www.gsioutdoors.com/products/pdp/bugaboo_base_camper-_small_2011/camp_cookware_cooksets/

They have higher end stuff too.

http://www.gsioutdoors.com/products/cat/camp_cookware_cooksets/



6:48 p.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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I use a primus anodized aluminum cookset. Nonstick coating. I love it. I

9:02 p.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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I went to a local store and found the the GSI Pinnacle Backpacker. It seems like a good product, it looks very durable, and even though it says it weighs 28.8 oz I wont need most of the stuff that comes with it so might be able to bring it down to 1lb.  It's right at the limit of what I'm willing to carry but its much bigger than what I had (in a good way). With that increase now my whole cooking mechanism for two people 3 day trips passed 5lbs though =/.

10:44 p.m. on December 31, 2011 (EST)
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maxx said:

With that increase now my whole cooking mechanism for two people 3 day trips passed 5lbs though =/.

 Try to still enjoy yourself, as difficult as it might be.  If not for yourself, for the backpackers of the world.  (imagine the 5 flipped over in an old font so it appears as a 3)

7:23 a.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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Good for you Maxx! I think you have a very nice set that will last you years and years. You will find that extra weight enjoyable to carry. Cooking is great. And with a good cookset its even better!

10:07 a.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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Yes, that's my expectation, I try to keep my weight light to be able to enjoy my walk, but at the same time, food is a necessity, and  while eating I like to have peace of mind that I wont have to spend water and time cleaning up for several minutes after my meal =). 

By the way, I spent a few minutes looking at the kit and it looks solid, it feels much lighter than it looks too. The pan is big enough to fry 2 maybe even 3 eggs in it, if you are daring you can bring some rice and make fried rice on the field! The weight of the pan, lid, pot and handle is 19.4 oz.  The handle itself is 2.4 oz, very heavy to be honest, I'm sure they could shave alot of weight off that thing, on top of that it's also wobbly. I might try to create a replacement or see if they have other options on their website. The carry case which doubles as a sink is 2.5 oz, I don't plan on bringing it...

2:11 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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My normal pot/mug of choice is a Snowpeak 900. I can make just about anything in the mug itself, and have successfully made everything from pancakes to filet mignons in the lid with proper use of oil etc.

Now, on trips where I am planning to really do some frying, or cooking for a group.  I bring a cheapo teflon skillet from the dollar store and I take off the handle and just use a pair of pot grabbers or my bandanna folded up. I use this setup often on my fishing trips. I have gotten 4 seasons so far out of my el cheapo skillet and it will probably give me a few more before it needs to be replaced. Best part? it cost 1$! And it's pretty light weight at 3.8oz without the handle. Granted its not the BEST frying fan, but it gets the job done. Its just thin aluminum coated with teflon.

5:09 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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Rambler, I like your thinking. Cooking is a big part of me, even solo. My cookset is heavy compaired to others but I wouldnt trade it.

9:39 p.m. on January 1, 2012 (EST)
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I have a GSI Bugaboo Backpacker set that is ok, though the aluminum on it is really cheap and too pliable. I only use that set for when I've got a bunch of people going and need more cookware.

My go-to full size set, that I use for real cooking, is an MSR Blacklite set with 2 pots to with I add one of the fry pans from the GSI set. I want to get one of the blacklite pans, though, as the hardened aluminum is much better. 

For when I am solo and wanting to go as light as possible, I use a Snow Peak 1 person Titanium cookset. It has two very small pots and a small fry pan, and is only barely suitable for one person. 

The brunton vapor cookset looks pretty good, except its pothandler is plastic. (plastic???) and it doesn't have a lid. The optimus terra set seems to be quite good, though it doesn't come with a lid either. 

10:01 p.m. on January 3, 2012 (EST)
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How is titanium for cooking? I see that its really light, and not very expensive compared to other ones, is it of good quality? And does it stick like aluminum? I know that I can bring more butter and oil to make eggs and stuff not stick so much but I don't like greasy stuff, but still, never cooked over titanium, don't know how that is like. I was looking at the snow peak 1400 and it seems good size and it has what I want

2:17 a.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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To be very honest with you, Ti kinda sucks for actual cooking. It is great for boiling water and for searing, and that is about it. It is an aquired skill to be able to 'cook' on Ti. Ti is a poor conductor(it conducts/heats up super quickly and cools off just as fast). The benefit of Ti is that it is very light, chemically non reactive, and wont rust.

Ti is 1000x stronger than steel, and so they make pots etc out of very thin Ti. If the Ti were to be the same thicness as say an alluminum pot it would be able to be cooked with much easier. It's the properties of Ti along with the thickness that is the issue.

I don't make any gourmet dishes in my snowpeak 900, but these are some of the things that I make often.

Anything that takes just boiling water including boxed meals like knorrs and zatarans, pasta etc. In the lid I can successfullly make pancakes, fry an egg, and sear a filet mignon.

I typically make my own dehydrated meals and so i just need boiling water out on the trail, so for me the snowpeak 900 works well, and i am willing to tolerate the flaws for the actual cooking i do. If I plan to be a gourmet chef for the weekend I bring my MSR alpine stainless steel set which cooks about 1000x better.

Oh, and it's tough as nails. I carry a small piece of steel wool to clean it if need be, no need to worry about scratching it etc.

8:31 a.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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Titanium is very light, can boil water, and is very strong. But thats it. If you try to simmer with a Alcohol stove you will have one very hot spot and the rest of the pot will be cold. It isnt made for cooking.

8:45 a.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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I have learned to cook fairly well using Ti, but it is very difficult not to scorch and burn food. Sausages, eggs, and bacon all cook fine in Ti. I have managed to cook pancakes as well, though that requires holding the pan and shifting the lateral and vertical placement over the flame to control the heat. 

9:32 a.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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Might just be a learning curve. ;)

9:45 a.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks alot guys! I will most likely return the Pinnacle Backpacker due to the weight and handle issue and either go for the MSR Quick 2 pot set (bringing only either of the pets depending on the trip) and the Quick Skillet, or go for a Snow Peak Trek 1400 and see how well I can cook with the skillet that comes with it (which doubles as a lid). For the worse case scenario with option 2 I can just get a different skillet, maybe the MSR one, and make a lid out of aluminum foil. Either way, I will have something much better than I have now for less than double the weight!

12:13 p.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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One of the great things about TS is that we do things differently. We can agree to disagree. There is very little "I'm right and Your wrong".  This gives everyone a better perspective on gear.

1:49 p.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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Not me. I'M RIGHT!

;)

2:17 p.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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I thought I was wrong once but I was mistaken

3:34 p.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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The other me is only right half the time... this me is always confused. 

7:07 p.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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Mike is right. 

Wait... that makes me wrong.

Mike is wrong.

Wait... that makes us a bunch of whiny idiots. 

To heck with it... WE'RE ALL RIGHT.

7:42 p.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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All right I take it back'

Im right!

10:48 p.m. on January 4, 2012 (EST)
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images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSZDmHU76vlK8TbBAekDxb

We're all right now, baby we're all right now.

9:54 a.m. on January 5, 2012 (EST)
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Face Plant!  Now their singing...  (Shakes head and looks sad)

Actually how it works is they just like to take the opposite sides of any conversation!  But it's all good and lots of fun to read!  Plus you get some good bits of info every once in awhile. :D

I personally am not a fan of Ti for any use,  it's a costly metal and their are better options in my opinion.  I like to cook food on the trail and rarely use freeze dried food.  So a fry pan is not an option for me, it's a requirement.  My fry-pan is a 8" with a folding handle (Coated Alum.) and my pot or pots are stainless steel, both are easy to clean on the inside, the outside I just leave until I get back and use some oven cleaner on.  I often cook over fires so stuff gets black on the outside.  Both work great over my white gas stove and fires.  I don't think either would work on a small Alcohol stove, to much of the heat would be used up by the pans.  I pack it all in a small cover bag that came with one of the kits I have to keep the pack clean.  Don't know what it weighs, but I am sure it's not very light. Someday I will get a lighter system, but for now it works great.

Wolfman

April 18, 2014
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