Monday, August 02, 2010

My Review of MSR Titan Tea Kettle

Originally submitted at REI

If you could carry only one pot on your next technical adventure this would be purist's choice.

A Minimalist's Dream

By thelosthiker from Central Kentucky on 8/2/2010


5out of 5

Pros: Durable, Lightweight, Compact, Easy To Clean, Stable

Cons: Pricey

Best Uses: Hiking, High Altitude, Backpacking, Car Camping

Describe Yourself: Professional/Guide

What Is Your Gear Style: Minimalist

Not too long ago, I was all about carrying a big cookset along with a big liquid fuel stove. It was basically enough to cook just about anything for a good size group. The problem? I hardly ever camp with more than one or two people, and usually if there are more, they have their own stove and cookset. That being said, I opted to significantly downsize my setup. Enter the MSR Titan Kettle...

I had a Blacklite Classic cookset from MSR, but it had a few issues. It was aluminum, which (the bottom)warped over high heat. It didn't really affect the overall performance, it was just annoying. It was nonstick, which was great but began flaking off and I usually only boil water so it wasn't really necessary for me. It was huge, way too big for anything I personally needed it for. I decided to sell it and buy the lonely little Titan Kettle. It was expensive for one piece of cookware, but it came highly recommended and I knew that the titanium was significantly tougher, so it would last for a very long while.

I mostly use my stove and kettle setup for adding boiling water to my dehydrated or freeze-dried food, so the Titan works perfect for me. It's just big enough to hold a few cups of water to heat up or boil for coffee, breakfast, or dinner for my wife and I while out on the trail or in camp. Three cups is about all it can handle (safely, without water pouring out, maybe 3/4" or so from the top), so there isn't any fuel or heat wasted on heating up dead space.

I now use the thru-hikers choice for a stove, a homemade pop-can stove (search for penny stove) that runs off of denatured alcohol or HEET, along with a custom pot/kettle support made out of two bicycle spokes and some aluminum tubing. It's the perfect size for the Titan Kettle and the stove is able to heat two cups of water to boiling in around 4 minutes (give or take 30 seconds or so depending on the ambient temperature). The best part is the stove, stand, fuel, and lighter all pack neatly away inside the kettle and I don't have to worry about scratching any of the nonstick off the inside(and consuming any errant flecks of nonstick later on). The lid kind of snaps on and stays put like it should, and it has a little pour spout to keep spillage and heat loss to a minimum.

I haven't had any issues with warping the bottom even when using this kettle with a higher output gas stove like a MSR Pocket Rocket or even the super high-output Dragonfly. The only thing is it's prone to getting a little dirty on the outside from soot and normal handling, but with a little cleaning it's fine. There's no coating to worry about coming off when you clean it, so if it bothers you, by all means, scrub it clean and buff it back up.

I've packed the Titan around in my pack and used it for a little over two years now and had zero issues with it. No dents, dings, warping, etc. It does what it was built for, and it does it very well. It's tough as nails and will probably outlast all of us.

The only thing that MSR could really do to improve the Titan Kettle, would be to make the handles a bit longer. The handles can get a bit hot when cooking since they're so close to the actual body of the kettle. That can be remedied by using gloves or a bandana, but it's a bit annoying. I may try to bend up some new longer handles out of some bicycle spokes.

The bottom line, to me it's worth the investment. It's a no frills kettle that does what it should and nothing more, nothing less. It's perfect for the minimalist and the best part is it fits perfectly into a Crown Royal bag for storage! (Not really to protect it, it doesn't need it, it just cuts down on the clanking against other stuff)

The funny part is I've never used it to brew tea...


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