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Old 05-04-10, 08:43 AM   #1
Zero_Enigma
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Camping: Aluminum or Stainless Steel mess kit?

So I found out that Can.T has on sale thier mess kits. I've been wanting for years to get a mess kit but this year I'm aiming for a personal short or light touring on bicycle.

I need help from those more experienced in backpacking/camping or bicycle touring. I'm looking for a cheap camping set and I may be touring with another person but consider it a solo touring for now.

http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows...ccessories.jsp

I need to know which is better aluminum or stainless steel? The pro/cons? Health benefits? Any food reactions? etc etc etc!!?

Thank you kindly.

That sale is on till Thursday (or if you call your local Can.T to hold it for you if you can't make it some may honor you the price on Friday).
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Old 05-04-10, 08:43 AM   #2
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I may cancel carrying a stove and use avaliable wood so I am curious how the frying pans can hold up to the heat? Now I know if I had an adjustable heat stove then those fancy non stick pans would make cleaning and life easier but on open fires you don't know the heat temp and could easily go over the ~210C range unless you happen to carry a temp gun with you for some reason.

It has been many many moons since I did camping in scouts. I can't remember fully what was used for cooking gear. I do remember one time time clearly cooking on a coleman dual burner stove while some guy was handcuffed to an axe and shoved into the CYBO locked up in there. WTFF he got handcuffed to the axe I have no frigging idea. IIRC that was one of my first camping trips in scouts. Also no idea why the guy was locked in the CYBO. I think it was something to do with using excessive profanity as I fainty remmeber someone having soap in their mouth.

Annnnnywaaays what's the call on this?


Aluminum set $9.74 / Reg. $12.99

http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows....jsp?locale=en

and

Stainless set. $26.24 / Reg. $34.99

http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows....jsp?locale=en

and

Enamel set $26.24 / Reg. $34.99

http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows....jsp?locale=en


Keep in mind I plan on putting this into my AWOL bag later. How does enamel hold up to cleaning and use and weight?
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Old 05-04-10, 08:55 AM   #3
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I find that the aluminum cooks quicker and is lighter. Some worry about aluminum effecting their food. Stainless steel is a good way to go if that is a concern of yours.
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Old 05-04-10, 08:58 AM   #4
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carbon fiber or titanium, get with the new age. (somebody had to say it) seriously check out MEC on-line http://www.mec.ca/Main/home.jsp?bmFo...13&search.y=14
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Old 05-04-10, 09:42 AM   #5
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CF? Really?
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Old 05-04-10, 10:05 AM   #6
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Some people claim aluminum is bad for you but I can't remember why....
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Old 05-04-10, 10:12 AM   #7
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^^^^Something about ingesting aluminum and its likelihood of leading to Alzheimer's
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Old 05-04-10, 10:16 AM   #8
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Go with a good brand aluminium set, but make sure it is hard anodized. A good no stick surface coating is also very helpful. I would normally recommend titanium, but it's pretty expensive.
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Old 05-04-10, 11:49 AM   #9
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Depending on where you are planning on touring, I would really consider getting a multifuel stove. A lot of places in North America as the weather warms up will have open flame restrictions due to the risk of forest fires. This is even at designated campsites. Do your homework and research before hand about the areas that you are planning on touring.

A multifuel stove is useful in that you can use a lot of different types of fuel and can get them almost anywhere.

Personally I would go with stainless. Just what I like to use.
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Old 05-04-10, 01:27 PM   #10
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Pop Can stove, or the like. Very light. Read about the fuels you can and can't use. You can get fuels anywhere but don't use petroleum products, such as gas, bad things happen.

Pot - Heineken 24oz beer keg can, cut the top off with a safety can opener. Use the top as a lid and the bottom as the pot. They are coated with something inside to keep the beer fresh so general speculation is it's safe if you don't overheat the pot and burn the stuff off the bottom/sides. People have been doing that for years. I think I've seen people wrap the pot with with fiberglass drywall tape if they don't have the fiberglass wick that you'll see in some links I'll post later. The wick/tape is used basically as a permanent pot glove so you can pick it up with boiled water in it without burning yourself.

If you want titanium get something like the Snow Peak 700. More expensive but a nice buy.

For containers, get a 4 cup zip lock twist n lock container (has a screw on lid) and a 1 or 2 cup ziplock twist n lock container. (I think it's the 1 cup)

Take one of the lids and cut the center out of it with a sharp knife, or lathe if you have one kicking around. This turns the lid into a ring. Put the 1 cup container through the ring and screw the ring to the 4 cup container. Your pot, stove, fork, windscreen, lighter, fuel and misc parts will all fit inside your newly made container. When you're cooking / eating you can use the 4 cup and 1 cup containers to mix your food in and eat out of. Here is a video of Tinny from MiniBull Designs making one so you can see what I mean. Take a look around his product page, might give you some ideas on things to make yourself.

His stoves are so cheap, light and quaility workmanship that if you can't make your own it's not a big deal to buy one for 12 bucks. I've never bought one of his products because I enjoy making things myself, but I am tempted to order his bios #4 out of curiosity, as well as the Atomic / mini Atomic.

Some stoves are better suited to small diameter pots, such as the beer can pot. The wick type stoves tend to work better, or ones that jet inwards.

Where as a regular pop can stove may work better with a wider pot bottom since they are jetted out the side, usually. But it will still work, though it might be slower.

If you don't want anything like that then I'd suggest looking around for a grease pot. Here is a link to what it is. Again, people have used these for years and love them! From 6-10 dollars. Good price.

Regardless of what you choose you may not want to eat out of a pot or a thin dish. If this is the case then look for the rectangular zip-lock dishes with lids. They are soft, light and easy to pack with gear you want to keep dry when you're not eating. Cheap too.

Last edited by a1rabbit; 05-04-10 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 05-04-10, 01:27 PM   #11
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When I was a kid, the cooking stuff was all aluminum. If cooking on a wood fire, the outsides seem to get blacker than stainless steel would. Stainless will be a bit heavier. You should note that the pots/pans in the stainless set you linked to are a bit larger than the aluminum ones. That extra size could make cooking easier.
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Old 05-04-10, 03:20 PM   #12
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CF will explode
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Old 05-04-10, 04:34 PM   #13
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I'd go for hard-anodised aluminium or titanium if you are feeling rich. I haven't tried my ti pot yet so I can't confirm that it will actually cook as well as an aluminium pot. Stainless steel is nice to cook with but is heavier.
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Old 05-04-10, 05:36 PM   #14
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if you're going to go with AL, make sure you get the kind that has been enameled (that blue-dotted stuff) - otherwise, go stainless. AL will rot your brain, AND it looks gross after a few uses. Stainless cleans better - the blue enamel stuff cleans up nice, and you can get an entire kit (pot/pan/plate/utensil) that fits into a handy pack. TI can get brittle & shatter.
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Old 05-04-10, 06:02 PM   #15
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Stainless Steel, it may be a tad bit heavier but it'll last a lifetime.
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Old 05-04-10, 07:14 PM   #16
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I'd go with stainless too. All cookware scratches with use, but aluminum really scratches more easily and those scratches hold food residue- therefore harder to clean. IMO, it's worth the extra weight (which isn't much) to go stainless.
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Old 05-04-10, 07:22 PM   #17
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Titanium has horrible thermal-conductivity and doesn't work well for cookware. Flatware, cups and plates are fine.

Stainless is easier to clean and stays scratch-free, especially if you're using metal cooking tools.

Aluminium is lighter, has great thermal-conductivity for even heating. But the black soot marks on the outside is really, really hard to remove. Even anodized aluminium isn't as tough as stainless.
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Old 05-04-10, 07:43 PM   #18
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I'd go with stainless, but it doesn't really matter - it's from Canadian Tire, so I doubt it would last the summer.
(Disclosure: 3 of my siblings work there.)
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Old 05-04-10, 08:58 PM   #19
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I'd go with stainless, but it doesn't really matter - it's from Canadian Tire, so I doubt it would last the summer. (Disclosure: 3 of my siblings work there.)
high grade stainless is going to last forever.
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Old 05-04-10, 09:24 PM   #20
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At $27 for the entire set, I highly doubt this is "high-grade" 18/10 stainless.
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Old 05-04-10, 09:42 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Titanium has horrible thermal-conductivity and doesn't work well for cookware. Flatware, cups and plates are fine.

Stainless is easier to clean and stays scratch-free, especially if you're using metal cooking tools.

Aluminium is lighter, has great thermal-conductivity for even heating. But the black soot marks on the outside is really, really hard to remove. Even anodized aluminium isn't as tough as stainless.
In the context of the OP's question: Ti is king, and soot marks are preferred.

But Danno brings up a good point about cooking with Ti: It's easy to scorch food. So depending on what you cook and how well you can control the heat from your stove (or fire) would dictate what material is best. I have seen cheap AL pots melt in a hot fire, but I can cook just about anything in my old non-stick AL potset (similar to this one from MSR). I also have a stainless steel set that's fine for boil-only cooking.

I have been eying up a Ti pot for backpacking...

Last edited by StupidlyBrave; 05-04-10 at 09:48 PM. Reason: link added
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Old 05-05-10, 01:56 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StupidlyBrave View Post
In the context of the OP's question: Ti is king, and soot marks are preferred.

But Danno brings up a good point about cooking with Ti: It's easy to scorch food. So depending on what you cook and how well you can control the heat from your stove (or fire) would dictate what material is best. I have seen cheap AL pots melt in a hot fire, but I can cook just about anything in my old non-stick AL potset (similar to this one from MSR). I also have a stainless steel set that's fine for boil-only cooking.

I have been eying up a Ti pot for backpacking...
I must admit that I've been using the old non-nonstick aluminium potset from my Trangia cooker.

I've just got a Vargo ti 1.3l billy now.

I've also lightened my cookset by buying a Evernew ti alcohol stove and a light pot stand as well.

I haven't tried the pot yet, but the I've, at least, halved the weight of my cookset.

I think I will end up with an hard anodised aluminium pot for cooking lentils, currys or things that I want to simmer and the ti pot for boiling water for the rice/pasta/couscous.

If you want to fry things it is better to have a slightly heavier and bigger frypan though.
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Old 05-05-10, 06:55 AM   #23
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Quote:
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In the context of the OP's question: Ti is king, and soot marks are preferred.

But Danno brings up a good point about cooking with Ti: It's easy to scorch food. So depending on what you cook and how well you can control the heat from your stove (or fire) would dictate what material is best. I have seen cheap AL pots melt in a hot fire, but I can cook just about anything in my old non-stick AL potset (similar to this one from MSR). I also have a stainless steel set that's fine for boil-only cooking.
I have that set. It's non-stick is also non-durable...unlike other MSR products. But it does cook and clean up well. It also packs down nicely. When I get a new set, it'll be stainless.
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Old 05-05-10, 08:13 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
At $27 for the entire set, I highly doubt this is "high-grade" 18/10 stainless.
I'm sure there are other stores both in the real world and on line that the OP can find a quality stainless steel set.
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Old 05-05-10, 09:03 AM   #25
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Put liquid dishwashing detergent on the bottoms of the pans if you cook over an open fire if you want an easy way to cleanup the soot.
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