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Olicamp Hard Anodized XTS Aluminum Pot with Heat Exchanger

Olicamp XTS Anodized Aluminum Pot with Heat Exchanger
Olicamp XTS Anodized Aluminum Pot with Heat Exchanger, 100 Mile Wilderness

The Olicamp XTS Anodized Aluminum pot has built-in heat exchange fins that reduce the amount of fuel required to boil a pot of water by about 40%. The pot, which has a 1 liter capacity, is large enough that you can fit a 250 gram gas canister inside it including a screw-on canister stove, making a nice compact and storable package. Plus the Olicamp XTS Aluminum Pot costs under $30 on Amazon. That is a steal, making this an excellent value for beginner backpackers and more experienced ones!

Large gas canister and Soto Stove fit neatly into the Olicamp XTS Pot.
Large gas canister and Soto Stove fit neatly into the Olicamp XTS Pot.

Heat exchange fins are built into the bottom of the pot that retain stove heat improving fuel efficiency, up to 40%, according to the manufacturer. I don’t have the means to test that, but anecdotally my Soto OD-1R canister stove boils 3/4 of a liter of water noticeably faster in this pot than in the titanium Evernew pasta pot I’ve been using for the past two years. Once hot, the Olicamp pot holds its heat for an amazingly long time, keeping food and drinks warm far longer. Great if you cook with dehydrated ingredients and don’t want to lug around a freezer bag cooking cozy.

Heat Exchanger Fins at Base of Pot
Heat Exchange Fins at Base of Pot

If there’s any downside to this, it’s when you want to eat and run after breakfast and you can’t, because your tea is still too hot. On my last trip, I sometimes added cold water to my morning tea to bring the temperature down low enough so that I could gulp it down and break camp.

Best Used with Canister Stoves

From a cooking perspective, this pot is very easy to simmer a meal in and unlike a JetBoil, food will not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. My friend Martin experienced this repeatedly using a JetBoil Sol Titanium on a 7 day trip we took together. The way I see it, using this Olicamp pot with a canister stove like the Soto OD-1R gives you the best of both worlds: a very fast boil with the ability to cook and simmer 1 pot meals, all stored in a nice compact package that is close in size to a Jetboil.

Metric volume markers inside pot
Metric volume markers inside pot

In addition to metric volume gradations – 1/4 liter, 1/2 liter, 3/4 lite, and 1 liter ( 1 liter = 1 quart), the Olicamp XTS Pot has long fold out insulated handles making it easy to hold when hot, without extra thermal insulation like a bandanna. The insulation is also set back on the handles, making it harder to burn off if you get it close to a flame. The handles fold flush against the pot and don’t snag on other items when stored in your pack.

The handles also make it possible to use the pot as a cup or bowl, obviating the need to carry separate ones in addition to the pot. For example, when I want to drink some Gatorade powder or Cytomax electrolyte replacement, I mix the powder with cold water and drink it directly from the pot. That way I don’t gunk up any of my water bottles. I also drink my morning tea directly from the pot and eat all of my meals from it.

A self contained pot, stoves, canister combination
A self-contained pot, stoves, canister combination

The top lid on the Olicamp is made of a soft plastic. I wish it was metal because it would stay cleaner and not get nicked up. It also does not stay on the pot when packed so I use a few rubber bands to keep the pot and its canister/stove contents secure inside. The lid has a small vent cut into it (not shown) that helps vent steam and prevent boil overs. That’s a nice touch.

Weight-wise, the Olicamp aluminum pot weighs in at 7.7 ounces. That’s about 3 ounces more than the titanium pot I have been using, so it is a heavier option for short trips where you are unlikely to make up the difference in fuel savings. On longer trips lasting a week or more however, you should be able to make up the weight difference on the basis of more fuel efficiency or go for a longer period of time on one 250g fuel canister without a resupply.

This latter scenario is important to me, since I take 1-2 week backpacking trips at least once a year and would rather use an isobutane gas canister than an alcohol stove, despite the fact that denatured alcohol fuel is far easier to come by in small towns and abroad. I like fast hot water.

Looking ahead, I plan on backpacking across Scotland again next year, a 2 week trip, and plan on using my new Olicamp Aluminum pot on that trip with a single 250g gas canister for the entire 200 mile hike. I expect my friend Martin will do the same since he insisted that I order the same pot for him from Amazon before returning to the UK! He plans on dumping his Jetboil so he can cook in this pot and not just boil water.

Olicamp XTS Aluminum Pot on Mt Adams, August 2012
Olicamp XTS Aluminum Pot on Mt Adams, White Mountains

Poor Choice for Alcohol Stove Cooking

The Olicamp XTS pot is not a good choice if you use an alcohol stove because flames jetting up the side of the pot will burn and melt the plastic lid and handle insulation and because the heat exchanger has a tendency to smother the fire, limiting the amount of oxygen available to it. If you still insist on using an alcohol stove, the best ones to use with this pot are stoves that have a built-in stand, like the Brasslite Turbo, which ensure that the stove gets a proper amount of oxygen.

Conclusion

To sum up, I love this Olicamp Hard Anodized XTS Aluminum Pot with built-in Heat Exchanger fins and it’s now part of my go-to backpacking gear list. Coupled with a canister stove, this pot makes an excellent cooking system, and at $26.96, it’s hard to beat in terms of value or performance.

Disclosure: Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) bought this cooking pot with his own funds. 

Written 2012. Updated 2015.

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35 comments

  1. Very interesting, thanks for posting. I’ve already sent the link to a friend of mine.

  2. does it weight 7.7 oz on your scale? the link at amazon you provided lists it at 6.7 oz.

    nice piece of kit tho, thanks for the review.

  3. I’ve had the jetboil pcs since go with the aluminium cup and no problems.I’ve bought the sol Ti only to get the improved burner.The Ti warns about cooking in the titanium cup.I also carry a 1.5 ltr jetboil aluminium non stick pot to avoid cleaning my porridge out the cup before making my coffee/tea.Don’t be too hasty Martin about dumping the compact jetboil.You can get a 1 litre aluminium cup to fit your Ti if you don’t want the weight? of the pot,which gives me also a secure carry for small polybags of measured chocolate ,oatmeal, squeezy jam and honey tubes etc.

  4. Philip- after every trip I wash my pot/mug in the dishwasher, can this be done with a pot/mug with a heat exchanger?

    And would you recommend this setup for a beginner? I’m thinking of “Lisa”.

    • Absolutely – the fins are protected by a base ring so they’re not exposed and fragile. In terms of toughness, I’ve scoured my pot with tiny stones and it doesn’t even scratch. Lisa would do well with this pot.

  5. What about an MBD M2-SB?

    • I can’t find a video of the stove in action so I can’t say. If flames shoot up the side, then I’d say no because the top lid and the handle insulation will burn.

  6. Does this fit on the folding optimus crux?

  7. This looks like a great option for scouts as well. Do you think it will work with one of their faves, the pocket rocket?

  8. Pretty cool heat exchanger especially for camping. It’s economical and earth friendly. A definite must recommend.

  9. I use my Olicamp XTS with an alcohol stove with great results. You are correct that a side burning stove will not work. But I use a home made Easy Capillary Hoop Stove that can boil 2 cups of water in less than 4 minutes using 13 mL of alcohol. I use a pot stand made of hardware cloth and a wind screen made of Al flashing. Other center burning stoves, such as a Zelph Starlyte work well too, but are less powerful. The combination of a high powered center burning alcohol stove with the heat exchangers of the XTS make for a combination of both power and efficiency that is not found an most alcohol systems. I’m looking to get a canister stove that I can also use to give me more flexibility.

  10. Alcohol Stove will work. You need to keep the pot bottom to burner distance usually at the apex of the flame, 2-3+ inches otherwise the HX fins disrupt the burn. Like Todd above I found the best combo was the Tetkoba easy capillary hoop stove. 2 Cup boil in 3:15. I can get a starlyte to boil in under 5 minutes. Use a tight windscreen with good bottom vents and do not cover the HX vents at the top. This creates a tremendous draft through the HX fins and quick boil times.

  11. Here’s another tip for this pot. The handles can be easily taken on and off without damaging the pot or the handles. So you could use the pot without the handles if you want, and save an oz of wt (sorry, but I don’t have the weight of the handles handy). Or you swap them out for your own DIY lighter weight ones. I made some out of clothes hanger wire. With a pair of pliers it only took a few minutes. Because the heat exchanger keeps most all the heat at the bottom of the pot, and with the handles mounted at least half way up the side of the stove and sticking out, the handles do not get hot at all and the insulation is not necessary. These results are with and alcohol stove and wind screen. Can’t say if it would work when using a canister stove.

  12. do you have any thoughts on how this might work with a solid fuel tab (esbit)?

  13. This post implies that the Soto OD-1RX can simmer. Is that true? Does it to it well, or just sort of? Nothing on their website suggests simmering.

  14. O goody, it look’s like I have to get another pot. I already have every alcohol. solid fuel,

    and canister stove. I really like the MSR titanium kettle that holds a bigger canister

    cartridge. I do 3 boils of 16 ozs. a day for cooking and showering (another subject). I

    do like the idea of stretching every last ounce of gas from a canister cartridge and

    carrying just what I need. I even sleep with my canister to get the efficiency up during

    cold mornings even with insults of being a bum lay.

  15. How many boils are you guys getting for a canister or fuel?

  16. anyone look into a titanium or aluminum lid for this pot

    • I am now using a DIY lid made from a disposable aluminum pizza pan or pie pan. I buy the kind that has a dimpled texture. This makes it stiff compared to flat foil. I just cut a circle with a scissors a little larger than the pot and crimp the edges down around the pot. I made a handle in the middle with a paper clip. Punch a vent hole with a pencil. I have done boil tests with and without the lid and it comes out almost the same. I think the need for a lid to decrease boiling time is overstated so I’ve stopped using it when cooking/boiling, but will use the lid when I put the pot with food in the cozy. It also helps to keep gear I store inside the pot in place when hiking, although I have a Reflectix lid for my cozy so I’m not sure I really need another one.

      I also cut a circle of the pie pan just small enough to store flat on the bottom of the pot. This goes under to the alcohol stove and pot stand/wind screen as a heat reflecting base to protect the ground/table.

      I also lighten the pot a bit by making DIY handles our of clothes hanger wire to replace the relatively heavy handles it comes with. The rubber grips on the handles are not necessary as the handles don’t even get warm when I’m cooking.

      I also use a thin bungee to keep the lid on when it’s packed. This is a little lighter than the net bag that comes with the pot. I now use the pot net bag as my tent “grarage”. It hangs from a mitten clip on the roof of my tent and I store stuff I don’t want to get crushed or lost in the tent overnight (stuff from pockets, eyeglasses, watch, etc..)

      http://i5.walmartimages.com/dfw/dce07b8c-1206/k2-_e0abb70d-b010-4810-b5a0-59b8341539f9.v1.jpg

    • Check out Four Dog Stoves. They have a metal lid (titanium I think) for $16

  17. I have the Alpkit-branded version of this pot called a Brew Pot. I use it with a remote Alpkit Koro Ti remote stove which is very efficient indeed even without a windshield – 2 cups in 3.5 minutes). I’ve also found it sits directly on an Evernew Ti alcohol burner boiling 2 cups in about 6 minutes with a foil wrap around shield.

  18. You mentioned the lack of a metal lid. Check out https://www.minibulldesign.com/ProductCart/pc/home.asp for custom made Ti lids. I have his lid for the Snow Peak 450 and 1400 and they have proved very useful on the trail.

  19. I should add – I use a Ti lid for the Brew Pot taken from my Alpkit 900ml Ti pot – fits inside the rim perfectly. So, when using the Evernew alcohol burner, there is no chance of the silicon lid melting. The Evernew sits neatly inside the fins lifting the pot just 2cms of the ground.

  20. If you have flames coming up the side far enough to melt the lid, then you have a seriously inefficient system. I use this with a diy eCHS alcohol stove and there is very little heat coming up the side of the pot. The heat exchangers captures most of it. This is how to boil 2 cups of water in 4 minutes with <15 mL of alcohol. I have also measured the boil time with and without a lid and there really isn't much difference. I think a lid is not as important as most people think. I've started using a circle cut from a dollar store windscreen. It's a thin sheet of styrofoam with a mylar coating.

  21. This is great! Thanks for the suggestion!

  22. Does the bottom of this pot also act as a good wind barrier? I have the Soto stove wind master, so I have a bit of wind protection already. I was just thinking maybe I would have even more if I paired that stove with this pot. thanks.

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