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Cooking pot recommendations?

Old 12-28-10, 02:26 PM
  #1  
irpheus
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Cooking pot recommendations?

Hello,

I'm looking into cooking pots as I need 2 pots for touring. Requirements are each about 1 liter, packs small, wide & less tall, lightweight, durable, easy to clean, food doesn't stick to the pot even when (over)heated, the pots don't emit any unhealthy substances (excludes e.g. aluminum), cooks well and they are manufactured in an environmentally & humanly friendly way.

Do such pots exist?

Suggestions are appreciated ...

Greetings,

Jesper
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Old 12-28-10, 03:17 PM
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Got extra SS pots MSR brand .. FS .. selling the ones already made,
is environmentally advantageous
over creating the demand to make More ..
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Old 12-28-10, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by irpheus View Post
Hello,

I'm looking into cooking pots as I need 2 pots for touring. Requirements are each about 1 liter, packs small, wide & less tall, lightweight, durable, easy to clean, food doesn't stick to the pot even when (over)heated, the pots don't emit any unhealthy substances (excludes e.g. aluminum), cooks well and they are manufactured in an environmentally & humanly friendly way.

Do such pots exist?

Suggestions are appreciated ...

Greetings,

Jesper
I don't think you can have all of that exactly. The closest thing might be durable non-stick aluminum pots. If overheated too much, the non-stick coating will be damaged. If you are careful with them, they can last for years; but the non-stick coatings sooner or later start to chip, scratch, or delaminate, in most people's experience. If you were extremely gentle you could probably make them last quite a few years. REI sells some decent ones.

Many companies try to claim that their non-stick coating is the latest and greatest, revolutionary, third, fourth, or fifth generation (or some such thing), and is different and far more durable. But this has been going on for many years, and (according to the owner of a cookware shop who has watched all this for decades) is marketing hyperbole rather than accurate description.

Titanium is harder to dent (you have to be more careful with aluminum, unless it is fairly thick); but it is not such a good heat conductor, and the environmental friendliness isn't there.

Last edited by Niles H.; 12-28-10 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 12-28-10, 05:03 PM
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Stainless Steel MSR and use sand to scrub them clean. The alternate choice would be hard anodized aluminum. However any pot that is overheated is going to have issues.

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Old 12-28-10, 05:24 PM
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I got some carborundum impregnated scotch brite pads ,
they do a good job of taking off burnt on stuff.
Hardware store , here it's in the Marine supply shop, 8.5x11" sheet size,
like sandpaper
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Old 12-28-10, 06:16 PM
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Aluminum isn't an issue, only aluminum with non-stick coatings. Aluminum pots are the only way to go. Heat transfer is terrible with SS and ti pots, which is the reason stuff burns and sticks to them so badly. Use aluminum, and try not tor fry anything. It's pretty easy to fry eggs and cook potatoes as long as you don't insist on browning anything. All you'll need is a tiny bit of soap and a Scotchbrite sponge. There are many good pots. I don't know about manufacture. I always assume everything like that is made in China. Then you just have to judge whether your support for Chinese labor is a good or a bad thing.

I haven't bought a camping cook pot in 40 years, so if you do buy something, try to buy something that will last that long. At least then you amortize the damage you do.
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Old 12-28-10, 06:23 PM
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+1 , aluminum is light and it works, you just have to think while you are cooking. That means not getting distracted!
R&J
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Old 12-28-10, 06:38 PM
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I've got an MSR Alpine cookset with a heat exchanger that has taken quite a bit of abuse over the years. The heat exchanger and a Whisperlite will fit inside the pots.

Steel pots for camping/backpacking/etc., like the MSR pots, are usually constructed of thinner metal than the stainless steel pots in your kitchen, and most white gas stoves tend to focus a lot of heat in a small area. So burning food and having it stick to your pot is always going to be easy to do. Maybe you could look for a copper clad stainless steel pot?

Last edited by markf; 12-28-10 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 12-28-10, 08:50 PM
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I had a good experience with GSI gear from RIE, but their pot is kind of tall and less wide, works well for pasta though. The sack that it comes in can also be used as a sink as it is water tight.

Also take a look at the MSR stowaway pots.
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Old 12-29-10, 05:59 AM
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I'm a fan of the hard anodized aluminum cookwear. It's not as non-stick as teflon, but it's not too delicate either. It's much better than plain aluminum. A blue 3M scrubber sponge works well to clean and will not scratch the surface. BTW, the blue scrubber sponges are perfect for cleaning cast iron without removing the seasoning (not relevant to this thread, but useful info)
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Old 12-29-10, 06:36 AM
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When it comes to cookware nothing is perfect. It is either heavy or doesn't cook as well as it could. The compromise for me has been to use a stainless MSR Alpine cookset. It has a 2 liter pot and a 1,5 liter one but I only carry the two liter one and the fry pan lid. I figure it was an environmentally friendly choice since I bought it used at Good Will.

FWIW, I find the single 2 liter pot is nice for anywhere from solo to three people. It was the only pot the three of us carried for the TA, worked well when there was two of us in the Sierras, and is fine when I am solo. It is just the right size to nest both stoves (Pocket Rocket and pop can stove), wind screen, some utensils, a fuel canister, and a few other kitchen items.

If you really need two pots I'd go with a nesting set.

All that said if buying new I think I personally would buy a hard anodized aluminum 2 liter pan with a fry pan lid. The thing is that my MSR Alpine has kind of become an old friend by now, so I will probably just continue to use it.
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Old 12-29-10, 09:52 AM
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In a previous thread on this subject, NeilGunton had purchased, used, and recommended this set:
https://www.texsport.net/cast-iron-co...ok-p-1134.html
And on sale for $20.

Looks good to me.
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Old 12-29-10, 09:57 AM
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If i have some really stuck on stuff I'll boil a small amount of water to help loosen it up. Yeah you could call it a waste of fuel, but in only takes 2-3 minutes to boil a half inch of water.
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Old 12-30-10, 12:25 AM
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My wo primary pots are a Sigg all-stainless with the outside in stove-black, and a Trangia Duosal (aluminium coating on the outside of stainless inner). They nestle, with the Sigg slightly larger, and in turn nestle inside a standard Trangia set with Duosal lid/frying pan. I have let the residue from methylated spirits blacken the outside of the Trangia pot.

The issue of food sticking to the bottom is more to do with excessive heat and impatience on the part of the cooker. The advantage of stainless is that it can in fact be cleaned with sand or gravel or steel wool or other variants, without significantly damaging the surface. I spent six months cooking most of my evening meals with a Trangia and the only really sticky food was rice. Frying meat? Well, that's a whole different story, although if used initially for a stew, the simmering process does well to reduce the damage.

zoltani's method of using hot water works well. A well-honed thumb or index finger nail does well to get the harder stuff off, and a wipe clean with several face tissues or paper towels leaves it all set for the next meal.
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Old 12-30-10, 12:50 AM
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with access to a sandblasting cabinet , I prepared the outside of some stainless steel pots,
then painted them with black paint intended to paint the cast iron exhaust header-pipes
of automobile engines.
its like like soot that won't come off..
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Old 12-30-10, 02:35 AM
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I used this set. https://www.kovea.com/product_view.ph...000000&pno=432

I take the large pot and large fry pan with me when I used my Primus Omnifuel and usually am cooking for more than one. I use the smaller pot and fry pan when I travel solo and use my trangia alcohol stove. Both sets are really light and even though stuff sticks to them, it doesnt stick as bad as my Snow Peak stainless steal set. They are also very easy to clean and will probably outlast me. Kovea is a Korean brand and are often contracted out to produce products for MSR and other companies who slap their brand names on them and call it theirs. I am not sure where you could source them in the States but I am sure its possible. The set cost me 37,000 won or about $32.

Edit: I just read the post about the pot set that Niel Gunton uses and these look really similar in size, construction, and material. I think the only difference is that the Kovea set uses the fry pan as a lid instead of a seperate piece which may save some weight and is my preference. If you look in the pictures you can see that the fry pan and pots have interlocking lips that make them virtually airtight when using them as a lid.

Last edited by zeppinger; 12-30-10 at 02:43 AM.
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Old 01-02-11, 12:20 PM
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if you're concerned about getting something that was manufactured ethically pick up something used. probably will save you some money too.
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Old 01-03-11, 06:51 AM
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Hi All,

& thanks for your replies.

They make me consider what my needs are and what I've come up with - as the ideal stove & pots for me - is an alcohol stove combined with 2 smaller lightweight copper pots either covered with a durable & healthy non-stick coating, or a thin layer of stainless steel. I guess a realistic possibility is aluminum pots with a durable & healthy coating that also prevents the contents of the pots from reacting with the aluminum underneath the coating.

Health and the ability to cook a good dinner is of value to me - will check out your suggestions in more depth.

Again, thanks for reading & replying,

Jesper
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Old 01-03-11, 07:22 AM
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Trangia pots are good. They used to make titanium and SS but reverted to Alu and use a hard anodized version.
They clean up pretty well with a plastic abrasive cloth, I never had an issue with stuff sticking. Trangia recommend adding a little fine sand for more abrasion but beware that you dont get larger bit that gouge the surface
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Old 01-03-11, 08:31 AM
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Don't know if they are environmentally & humanly friendly, but I use a GSI Soloist hard anodized alu pot. I've been using older GSI hard anodized alu pots daily at home. I don't take particular precautions and they've been holding well. I prefer them over "normal" cookware. They're easier to clean and don't have handles sticking out. If you go the SS route, I'd choose any no-name pots over MSR, which I find too expensive for no reason.
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Old 01-03-11, 09:23 AM
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I prefer a thick stainless pot and a second non-stick light weight pot. I also carry one non-stick fry pan.

I only use the thinnest pot for watery liquids like soups. The more viscous foods (rice, noodles) are made in the pot with thicker wall and the most viscous foods (spaghetti sauce) are made in the fry pan which is aluminum and has an even thicker wall for heat distribution.

I tried a lot of camping style fry pans but decided to switch to the thinnest non-camping (indoor kitchen variety) fry pan that has a removable handle, I leave the handle at home and use a camping style pot gripper. This one is thicker than the camping pans and I don't have any problems anymore with burning food onto the fry pan with this one, yet without the kitchen type handle it is quite light weight and only cost $11 USD.

Spaghetti sauce cooked in a fry pan, tasted really good with lots of mushrooms, green peppers and onions:





When it comes to pots, I used to strive for light weight, but I decided that my cooking and eating was much more enjoyable if I added a few ounces of weight for better pots. This is a thicker camping style stainless pot used for a rice meal. I think that the pot is called a MSR stowaway pot, the largest of several sizes. While I do not recomend this pot for frying, it is thick enough that I often use it to saute onions or peppers if they are going to be added to the same meal that I will make within that same pot.

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Old 01-03-11, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by irpheus View Post
I guess a realistic possibility is aluminum pots with a durable & healthy coating that also prevents the contents of the pots from reacting with the aluminum underneath the coating.
Couple of thoughts on this: The harmful component of non-stick coatings is called PFOA, but it is only produced during the manufacturing process. It is during manufacture that all the environmental damage occurs. There is no PFOE left on the pan afterwards. That said, non-stick surfaces can produce toxic gases if they are heated up to very high temperatures - above 500F (260C). This is far outside the normal conditions of cooking, you would have to boil the pot dry to start seeing that. Apparently the non-stick coating is inert in the cold state, so even if bits flake off the pan and are ingested with food, they will simply pass through your body without any harm.

So the summary seems to be that the "ethical" part of the decision is related to whether you care about the fact that harmful chemicals are produced during manufacture, and these chemicals do seem to find their way into our bodies somehow. The "health" part of the decision really comes down to not heating the pot up to more than 500F, which should be fairly easy to accomplish simply by using the pot in the way it was intended.

As far as specific pots go, I like the Texsport Black Ice "The Scouter" set:

https://www.amazon.com/Texsport-Black.../dp/B000P9F1EQ

It's nice and simple, and works well, but the jury is out on durability (it's supposed to be very durable and usable with metal utensils, but I always take that with a grain of salt). You could always leave one pot at home if you're going solo.

I am also liking the GSI Pinnacle Backpacker set:

https://www.rei.com/product/784106

The Backpacker fits together a little better than the Texsport, but they both seem to work very well. I like a set that has a nice big pot and a frying pan.

I have also used the MSR Stowaway stainless steel pots. I like the concept of stainless steel, it's very hardy and will last forever, but I am a bit of a klutz when it comes to making sure that everything is at the perfect temperature to stop food from sticking (e.g. with a stainless steel frying pan you need to make sure it's hot enough before you add the eggs, otherwise they'll stick - once it's hot enough, the eggs will float on top of the sizzling oil or butter). Stainless, in other words, requires more skill from the user, whereas non-stick is more forgiving and easy to clean up. I'm still not sure which I'll end up preferring long term, but then again on all my tours so far (in the USA) I have found that I end up sending my stove home - it's too easy to find food at cafes and diners here, and too much hassle to cook for one. If I'm with my wife then I'm more likely to cook, but by myself I'm often quite happy just eating cold food in camp, or going to a diner if I want a proper hot meal. Key thing is to be flexible.

Neil
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Old 01-03-11, 01:53 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by irpheus View Post
Hi All,

& thanks for your replies.

They make me consider what my needs are and what I've come up with - as the ideal stove & pots for me - is an alcohol stove combined with 2 smaller lightweight copper pots either covered with a durable & healthy non-stick coating, or a thin layer of stainless steel. I guess a realistic possibility is aluminum pots with a durable & healthy coating that also prevents the contents of the pots from reacting with the aluminum underneath the coating.

Health and the ability to cook a good dinner is of value to me - will check out your suggestions in more depth.

Again, thanks for reading & replying,

Jesper
Here is some additional information on hard anodizing:

Hard anodising was first developed by Russian scientists to produce a metal surface tough enough for space travel. The same technology is now used by Hawkins to make its Hard Anodised pressure cookers and cookware. Through a process of electrolysis at sub-zero temperature using a high intensity electric current, a 60 micron thick layer of aluminium oxide (Al2O3) is formed molecule by molecule as an integral part of the metal. This process produces a surface harder than steel with wonderful properties for cooking.

The Hard Anodised surface is non-toxic, non-staining and non-reactive with foods. It is thermal-efficient, heats fast and evenly and is not spoiled by high heat. It is tough and durable, will not tarnish or corrode and will stay looking new for years.


This is from https://hawkinspressurecookers.com/

They also describe their non-stick coating combined with hard anodizing:

The cooking surface of Futura Nonstick Cookware is made with a unique patented process by which high quality nonstick coating (made in Germany) is locked firmly into the tough Hard Anodised surface underneath. This means that Futura Nonstick, properly used, will last longer than ordinary nonstick.

...Futura Cookware is presented in two types of cooking surfaces – Hard Anodised and Nonstick. Some types of cooking are done better on the Hard Anodised surface and other types of cooking are done better on the Nonstick surface.

They give a two-year warranty on the non-stick, and a five-year warranty on the hard anodized. This does suggest greater durability for the hard anodized. However, it does not necessarily mean that properly cared for non-stick coatings cannot last a lifetime if well cared for. Many people use metal utensils, and otherwise treat the non-stick coating without the sort of care it needs, if it is to last.

***
To your concern about environmental friendliness -- it does seem that the recycling of pots that are being discarded is probably the most environmentally friendly approach.

Mining, transporting, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, retailing, etc. would otherwise be involved.

Then again, you wouldn't be supporting the jobs (and the people, children, families) provided for by all these processes.

There are pots that are made of stainless steel inside with aluminum outside.

If anyone knows more about how salts and other materials affect non-stick coatings (apparently the aluminum underneath can start reacting with the salts, which can result in blistering of the non-stick coating, and other problems), it would be interesting to understand this better, and how to prevent it.

There are non-stick sprays, and you can use various oils in the same way. This would be one way to render stainless steel closer to non-stick.

I've found that learning when to put the stove on super-low settings (or equivalent) helps a lot in preventing scorching and sticking, as does using some kind of pot cozy system.

A system that I like using is: doing the first part of the cooking in a pot, then finishing it in a container like these, inside a pot cozy or sleeping bag:

https://www.amazon.com/Ziploc-Twist-C...f=pd_sim_hpc_1

https://www.amazon.com/Ziploc-Twist-M.../dp/B003UEMECA

The pot can usually be cleaned easily (usually just rinsed -- which is often even easier than cleaning a non-stick pot in which the food has been cooked to the end, or comparably easy -- non-stick is not always perfectly non-stick). The containers serve as bowls, and can often be cleaned by simply shaking and swirling water around inside.

Then you can drink the water -- the whole process minimizes wastefulness.

Last edited by Niles H.; 01-03-11 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 01-03-11, 01:54 PM
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This might also be of interest:

Anodizing is one of the more environmentally-friendly metal finishing processes. With the exception of organic (aka integral color) anodizing, the by-products do not contain heavy metals, halogens or volatiles. The most common anodizing effluents, aluminium hydroxide and aluminium sulfate, are recycled for the manufacturing of alum, baking powder, cosmetics, newsprint and fertilizer or used by industrial wastewater treatment[12] systems.
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Old 01-03-11, 01:58 PM
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Hard anodizing's durability could also be explored in more depth. The manufacturers often exaggerate these sorts of things.

Anodized aluminium surfaces are harder than aluminium but have low to moderate wear resistance, although this can be improved with thickness and sealing.
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