A Minimalist's Dream
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...
The Best I have found
Here are a couple of tips for the Titan Kettle.
Easiest way to make 1/2/3 cup markers is to invert your spoon and rest it on the bottom of the Kettle. Pour in one cup water, make a mark on spoon...same for 2 and 3 cups. After finishing, you might want to engrave your spoon with a permanent mark for the different levels. On a titanium, lexan or aluminum spoon a dremel tool works great. On a wooden spoon, a knife mark will do fine.
You can also remove the handles and invert them so that the larger part is at the top. MUCH better grip on the handles, particularly when kettle is full.
Silicon tubing makes fine handle covers and will not melt when exposed to flame. Look for it in hobby stores where they sell model gas airplanes. It is used for fuel hose. I forget the proper diameter for the Kettle handles, but you want it just a little larger than the handle itself. You just "wiggle" it over the end to the holding areas of the handles. The handles will not sit perfectly flat against the kettle, but it will be close.
Some have complained that the lid fits too tight. It is suppose to be snug ! If you will insert your spoon end into the spout and rotate it a bit it will force the lid to open easily. Give it a try. The end of the spoon can also be used to slide the Titan lid loop into an upright postion.
I use my Kettle with an alcohol stove and a cadera cone made specifically to fit the kettle. A GREAT setup for a lightweight cooking kit !!
Durable and Packable!
I got this little kettle for my ultralight pack, when I'm using an alcohol stove and eating primarily dehydrated foods.
It's made of titanium so it's very tough, can take a good scrubbing when cleaning, and imparts no metallic taste to your food. My alcohol stove (a Vargas titanium product) fits perfectly inside as well as the windscreen (recycled an old MSR whisterlite windscreen) and the tin-can pot-rest I made.
Only downside is the handles--all of them. The handle on the lid is OK, but you need to be gentle with it as any little nudge will knock it down flat. The lid handle has red insulation on it, but the side pot handles are just bare metal. Makes no sense to me. The kettle I got also has the handles mounted the reverse as what shows on the pictures.
I use a simple aluminum pot gripper for my other titanium cookware, so I use it on this one too. I leave the lid popped off a little (it fits very snugly when put all the way on) so I can check the contents and so I can remove the lid and use my pot grippers to do whatever I need to do. I haven't gotten around to it yet, but I've been contemplating just cutting off the handles, especially since I also use a pot cozy (necessary to keep your water hot longer if you're using alcohol stoves with titanium cookware!).
This is a very good product, I only gave it four stars due to the minor quality issues regarding the handles. I can deal with the lid handle, but I absolutely hate the side handles!
Can't go into the field without it
This little stove is the best cookware I've ever owned in the field. Its so light and the perfect size for ramen,soups, or cooking a breakfast for one. It is also extremely durable. Once I was in a hurry packing and had this pot at the bottom of my bag with about 35 pounds of rocks on top of it. The only damage it had was a very small dent in the side, which is pretty good since the bag was being constantly moved and thrashed. And it's so light and compact that it's easy to take and pack away anywhere ( I put my MSR stove that was bundled with it inside to save space).
The few problems I have with this pot is it stains easily, black smoky color, and some type of bluish tint inside, but this does not have any effect on the food. Also the lid is pretty tight. Which isn't so much a con, it's just when I cook I like to lift the lid and see what's happening, and it's a little difficult with this pot. All in all it's a great buy, especially for ultra-light hiking and camping.
Muy Super Rad
I bought this little kettle after I received a Pocket Rocket stove for a birthday gift. I use the kettle with the PR as a light-weight, minimal cooking solution. The handles DO get hot, but that has been my only issue. I use a little makeshift "pot holder" that I fold and stuff into the PR case that also prevents the stove from rattling. Compared to the Jet Boil, it's lighter and I actually like packing two smaller items (stove and kettle containing fuel canister) as opposed to the bigger Jet Boil unit. The Jet Boil is a great product, just not the one I have in my pack. People have complained about the lack of measure lines... Either make a mark yourself on the outside, or measure a cup of water ahead time so you know how much it "looks like" in the pot. It doesn't have to be perfect for a freeze dried meal. Pricey, but I got the PR as a gift so I didn't mind. Amazingly light and right!!!
Lightweight & Wide
I wanted a lightweight pot to cook single meals when thru-hiking. While I had used a Jet Boil in the past and enjoy using it despite the additional weight and trouble of a gas canister, the pot was not wide enough and too deep to stir comfortably without getting steam burns. So I went to an alcohol stove with the MRS tea kettle pot because it was wider and not as deep. It cooks fast and cools fast. I managed to burn some potatoes on the bottom that left a persistent black stain, but it's slowly coming off. I can store my whole cook system inside: aluminum wind break, lighter, alcohol stove, and spork (with the long handle hanging out of the spout rim).
My one complaint is that the handles are short when you have an open flame, so I use my bandana as a pot holder for all my meals.
Never Leaves My Pack
After searching high and low for the "perfect" solo backpacking pot I finally gave this one a try. For the size to weight ratio it can't be beat. The only other one that came close was the REI/Evernew Pasta Pot at 1L however the lid on that piece was flimsy, bent and never stayed on. With this pot, the lid stays nice and tight so I can store all of my cooking gear inside it and it won't come out in my pack At 4oz, it's one of the lightest on the market as well. I use this with an alcohol or woodburning stove and an MSR folding spoon and my total cook it is ~6oz! It's durable after numerous trips and shows almost no signs of wear. You won't regret getting one.
A few tricks for the MSR kettle
As a solo minimalist, I really like this puppy! It has enough useful capacity (3cups/750ml) for me, myself and I. The handles do get a bit hot, but are easily handled with the pliers of my ever-present multi-tool. A few tricks I picked up: Note that there are three rows of three indentations on the inside of the kettle (where the rivets connect to the handle). These rivets are strategically placed at the one, two and three cup levels. I've also found out that an 8 oz. MSR ISOPRO cannister fits perfectly and rattle free inside the kettle with room to throw in a couple of other small items.
It's not absolutely PERFECT but it's pretty close. Since there is no 4.5 rating, I give this little gem a 5.
This is definitely a keeper
Titanium equipment is super-light, but also expensive. This is one piece of Ti cookware that's worth it. This is best suited for cooking about 2 cups (maybe 2 1/2 cups) or less, which is a good size for ramen noodles, oatmeal, rice, spaghetti (break the noodles in half!), etc., for 1-2 persons -- which also means you can use it as a single pot, and then leave the rest of the pots and pans at home. It's also perfectly sized for using with alcohol or "soda can" stoves.
Tip: You'll need pack a pot clamp or lifter with you when using this - the thin wire handles will get too hot to grab with your bare hands.
i carry a big backpack, with a whole lot of things inside of it. some things i love, some things i don't. i have used the .85L Titan tea for almost four years, and it has gained a permanent place in my backpack, and in my heart. as i write this review, i imagine losing or breaking my MSR titan tea kettle, and it saddens me to the very marrow of my bones. over the years, it has boiled water for me, simmered dinner for me, kept my tea warm for me. it has been used over alcohol, gas and woodburning stoves, and still looks brand new. totally worth the money, duuuude