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What Size Pots?

Old 03-15-08, 06:19 AM
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What Size Pots?

Might be a strange question, but 3 of us are going touring south america next september on mountain bikes with panniers. We'll be doing lots of hiking in the national parks.

We were wondering what size cook ware to get and if anyone who has been touring before might give us some advice. I guess we'll be bringing two stoves to do our cooking and using one big pot to cook our pasta or what ever carbs we lay our hands on.

MSR have a really nice looking alpine gourmet cookset:

https://www.msrgear.com/cookware/alpgourmset.asp

This comes with a 1.5 and 2 litre pot, we're wondering if this is going to be big enough to feed us, we'll be pretty hungry.

MSR also do an alpine guide cookset with 3 2 and 1 litre pots, we're considering it as it might cook for the 3 of us better:

https://www.amazon.com/MSR-321010-Alp.../dp/B000FBWSRC

Is this over kill? will we end up donating the 3 litre pot to the locals to save us hauling it up a hill?
Any advice appreciated, thanks
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Old 03-15-08, 07:13 AM
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We are a family of four who toured the US and Mexico last year and will be taking off soon to ride from Alaska to Argentina. I spent a lot of time looking for a pot that would work for us - as you are finding out. Most of the "camping" cookwear out there is way too small - it's really geared for one or two people. I ended up finding a set at Walmart that had a 3-liter pot, a 1.5-liter pot, along with some plates and cups. We ditched the plates and cups (we preferred plastic for those), but the pots were wonderful. At first we took both pots, but we found we generally only used the big one, so ended up ditching the smaller pot too. There were some times when the big pot seemed a bit too small, but we made it work.
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Old 03-15-08, 07:17 AM
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Three of us did a 73 day tour with the Alpine Classic Cookset using only the 2 liter pot and fry pan lid and left the 1.5 liter pot home. I bought the set for $6 at goodwill in almost unused condition. We found it adequate for us and we cooked a good bit as opposed to just boiling water. It did often require putting one part of the meal in our bowls while another part cooked. Since we had hot weather for most of the trip the part held over never got too cold, but in cooler weather that might be more of an issue.

I might have carried the 1.5 liter pot too but was outvoted on that. In any case it worked out fine so if doing it over I might do the same. It should be noted that we relied on eating constantly as opposed to having huge meals most of the time. We had a large, but not huge dinner. If you are really big eaters at dinner time a 3 quart may be better, but we found the 2 quart adequate.

Obviously if taking two stoves take two pots too, but it seems like overkill to me.

Last edited by staehpj1; 03-15-08 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 03-15-08, 04:11 PM
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If I was touring in a group of three or more, I would seriously think about a lighweight, aluminium medium-sized wok. I haven't taken on on tour, so I will make that point. However, I lived without power for quite some time last year, and used a wok on my Trangia, and it worked extremely well.

With the right inserts, you can steam, as well as boil and fry. And with a lot of camp cooking, I find the best sorts of cooked meals are those that are all in together such as stews, curries, rice variations, and so on.

The bulk is a factor, I suppose, and I would like to be able to unscrew the handle easily to make it easier to stow. But with a light lid, you can also stow a lot of other cooking stuff in there, too.

I remember reading a journal or two on Neil G's site quite a long time ago about people who took largish pots (albeit not woks) with them.

Last edited by Rowan; 03-15-08 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 03-15-08, 09:16 PM
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For the four of us I use a cookset with a 1.5L and 2L pot and small fry pan. Mine are lighter, essentially a cheap version of the MSR Blacklite set. Most of the time this combo was fine, there were a few times I wished for a slightly larger pot so I'm considering getting a 3L to replace my 2L. As Staehpj1 suggests I want a bigger pot because we are big eaters and supper ends up being a large meal. I think your habits will determine which cookware will work best for you.

I will absolutely be ditching my 1.5L for a small, light kettle. My old camp teakettle would've worked so much better for the soups, tea and coffee we can't seem to live without. It also weighs a ton so I'm shopping for a good backpackers version. I just realized that if I make both of these changes I will own a lightweight version of the camping cook set we've used for 10 years!
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Old 03-15-08, 10:40 PM
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Do you cook at home ?

Have pots in your house ?

Try doing figuring out at home before buying something you don't need.
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Old 03-16-08, 11:37 AM
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We have used a 2 liter pot for dozens of days of "one pot meals for two" in the backcountry. By extension, use a 3 liter pot for 3 people.

Those stainless steel pots are great because they clean up well. However, they are heavy and steel does not conduct heat nearly as well as aluminum. That means food burned to the bottom of the pot near where the flame hits the bottom. Home cookware often has a copper or aluminum disc bonded to the bottom of the pot to distribute the heat. Especially on a big stock pot or a frying pan.

My lightweight favorite is a non-stick coated aluminum pot and lid. It cleans up fine if you soak it in warm sudsy water for ten minutes or so. I once got too aggressive scraping it with a plastic spoon and scraped off a bit of the coating. Titanium is worse at heat distribution than aluminum and/or steel. It is barely less weight than aluminum and a lot more expensive. We don't use a frying pan.

This $50 cookset has a 4 liter pot, a 3 liter pot, and a lid. I would expect the 3 lter pot and lid would weigh a bit less than a pound. https://www.rei.com/product/636949

The trend in "ultralight backpacking" is for alcohol stoves instead of white gas stoves. These setups weigh about 12 ounces less than my MSR Whisperlite stove setup. Google "ultralight backpacking" . They do a lot of tricks with the windscreen for efficiency.
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Old 03-16-08, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by anronmor

MSR also do an alpine guide cookset with 3 2 and 1 litre pots, we're considering it as it might cook for the 3 of us better:

https://www.amazon.com/MSR-321010-Alp.../dp/B000FBWSRC

Is this over kill? will we end up donating the 3 litre pot to the locals to save us hauling it up a hill?
Any advice appreciated, thanks
I'd go with the guide - you'll really need the 3l pot. Three hungry bikers can eat a lot of food, 3L is just nothing - you'd need a 2l for just yourself.

I think you'd find the frying pan and teapot in the gourmet to be less useful. Also the 3l could be used for frying. I'd leave behind the 1l at home if you want to reduce load.

BTW thats a good price in that link.

Here's an alternative - keep the 2 big (copper coated bottom,SS) pots and lid/f pan, pitch the 1l, save 20 bucks.

https://www.amazon.com/Texsport-Stain...702789&sr=1-90

If you find yourself mostly "eating out", which is not uncommon overseas, ship the cook gear home, or better yet trade it for food etc.

Last edited by seeker333; 03-16-08 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 03-16-08, 10:16 PM
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I love to cook and eat about three times as much while on tour as at home. The 4-liter pot from the MSR Blacklite Guide was the pot I used throughout the trip, but the nonstick did not hold to the metal utensils we used.

A sealable pot like the MRS Alpine Stowaway is very handy for holding leftovers for lunch.
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Old 03-17-08, 04:00 PM
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Thanks for the good advice, we'll go with the 3l and 2l pots so
Great to hear from other's who've been on the road, never quite the same as cooking at home.
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Old 03-17-08, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by anronmor
Thanks for the good advice, we'll go with the 3l and 2l pots so
Great to hear from other's who've been on the road, never quite the same as cooking at home.
As long as you don't use metal utensils, the teflon lined pans should be fine. Clean up is much easier and nylon utensils are much lighter. Scrubbing pots after a long day in the saddle is just not high on my list of things I like to do.
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