It seems to be impossible to get my cook kit just right. I keep buying pots and stoves trying to find the perfect combination, but finally seem to be settling on three setups. In this post I introduce the pots. Future posts will look at the stoves and fuel, and how the pots, stoves, fuel and nick-nacks package up.
First off I need to set the scene.
- My trips: 3 season, 2 to 4 day local walks and long distance routes in Australia and abroad. I don’t seek out snow but am equipped for conditions down to around -5C.
- My cooking style is simple; not freezer bag, but not gourmet. Hot drinks and packet soup, one pot, home dehydrated dinners that may take a bit of simmering.
- My wants are: light, simple, flexible, robust, easy to use, compact, stable – yes, I want it all! For reference my base weight varies from 3 to 5 kg depending on the trip.
- I usually walk solo but my partner may join me on easier trips.
While the image above shows four pots, there others in the arsenal. From L to R:
- 550ml Ti mug from Ti Goat with carbon fibre lid. 92mm (dia) x 70mm (h), 71g including lid 9g modified with reflexit section added as part of the cozie and handle. I have also added silicon tube to the handles. Actual capacity 540ml. I like the tight fit of the lid and squat shape. Not big enough to cook pasta spirals but ok for couscous based meals.
- 700ml Evernew Pasta pot (ECA521). 90mm (dia) x 115mm (h), 92g inc lid 17g. Actual capacity 750ml. I like the snap on lid, pouring spout and capacity markings. Would prefer a slightly squatter shape.
- 850ml MSR Titan kettle. 112mm (dia) x 90mm (h), 126g inc lid 36g. Actual capacity 870ml. I have added silicaon tube to the handles. I like the squat shape, pouring spout and tight fitting lid. Dislike the lid weight (29% of the total) and lack of capacity markings (I have crudely added my own).
- 900ml Evernew pot with frying pan lid (ECA265). 110mm (dia) x 132mm (h), 124g including frying pan lid 30mm (d), 40g. Actual capacity 1,025ml + 320ml for the frypan. So far I haven’t use the frypan but I plan to try making pikelets in it.
I measured the capacity of each pot by putting it on my scales, taring the scales, then filling the pot to the absolute brim with water and reading the weight. I rounded down to 5g and assumed 1g of water = 1 ml. The usable capacity is of course somewhat less.
Size measurements are internal diameter at the base and total height. I was surprised to find that all these pots taper slightly (3-5mm). Remember that the actual size will be a little larger after allowing for the lip and handle.
I use the 550ml mug when trying to go ultra light on overnight trips. I feel it isn’t quite big enough for my more general requirements but copes well when I do couscous or rice based meals but I do like my pasta. Unfortunately pasta spirals are space hogs so I need a larger pot.
When choosing pasta I use wholemeal pasta and always look at the suggested cooking time. I find the wholemeal spirals are meant to take 8 minutes but by putting them in cold water and bringing it to the boil they only need to be placed in a pot cosy or simmered for a couple more minutes to be fully cooked.
The MSR was my first pot and it has seen the majority of use. It has handled my requirements well but I would like it to be a little lighter if cooking for one or a little larger if cooking for 2. I am pleasantly surprised to find both Evernew pots bigger than their stated capacities as part of my dilemma is being able to cope with cooking for 2 on occasions and the MSR would struggle. The 900ml Evernew should handle this task acceptably. The Evernew Pasta pot looks like it will handle my solo cooking requirements and saves 34g or 27% of the MSR weight. I do have a few concerns about its stability though.
In the next installment I will introduce the stoves.