Titanium vs Aluminum Camping Cook Pots: How to Choose

titanium vs Aluminum Cook Pots: How to Choose

Titanium camping cook pots are better than aluminum cook pots if your top priority is saving weight. They are stronger than aluminum pots, corrosion-resistant, and cool quite quickly so you can heat food up in one and then use it as a cup or bowl. However, titanium pots tend to heat unevenly, making it easy to burn any food that you cook in them. This makes them best for boiling water to rehydrate freeze-dried or dehydrated camping meals instead of more complex cooking.

Aluminum camping cook pots are less expensive than titanium cook pots and only slightly heavier in smaller sizes. They’re better for simmering and cooking food because they heat evenly and hold onto heat longer than titanium cookpots.

Most aluminum backpacking cook pots are made with anodized aluminum which is a process that makes aluminum more durable and corrosion-resistant. The anodization process converts the aluminum surface into a durable anodic oxide finish, which has a very flat and dark gray appearance. This anodic oxide finish is not applied to the surface like paint or plating but is fully integrated with the underlying aluminum substrate, so it cannot chip or peel.

If you’re a backpacker and you’re interested in buying a low-volume anodized aluminum cook pot that’s less than 1000 ml (1 liter) in volume, they can be hard to find. That end of the market is flooded with titanium pots, which actually makes sense because most ultralight backpackers don’t care about cooking meals and boil water instead. Anodized aluminum cookware is much more prevalent in higher capacity cookware, over 1000 ml (1 liter) in volume, and in multi-pot cooksets, where the emphasis is on simmering and cooking more complex meals for families and larger groups of people.

If you’re a winter backpacker or camper and want to melt snow, we also recommend using an anodized aluminum pot over a  titanium one because aluminum heats more evenly. If you use a powerful stove for snow-melting, there’s a very real danger that you’ll burn snow in a titanium pot or even hole it, because the heat is concentrated in one spot above the stove rather than being spread more evenly throughout the bottom and sidewalls.

Comparison of Titanium and Anodized Aluminum Camping Cook Pots

Make / ModelMaterialVolumeWeight
Toaks Light Titanium 550ml PotTitanium550 ml2.6 oz / 72.6g
Primus Trek 0.6L PotAnodized Aluminum600 ml4.9 oz / 139g
Toaks Light Titanium 650ml PotTitanium650 ml2.8 oz / 80g
Snow Peak Titanium Trek 700 MugTitanium700 ml4.8 oz / 136g
Toaks Titanium 750ml PotTitanium750 ml3.6 oz / 102g
MSR Titan KettleTitanium850 ml4.2 oz / 119g
Toaks Titanium 900ml PotTitanium900 ml4.0 oz / 113g
Evernew Pasta Pot (Medium)Titanium1000 ml4.1 oz / 116g
GSI 1.1L Halulite BoilerAnodized Aluminum1100 ml8.6 oz / 244g
Primus Trek 1L PotAnodized Aluminum1000 ml9.5 oz / 269g
Sea-to-Summit Alpha PotAnodized Aluminum1200 ml6.6 oz / 187g
MSR Trail Lite PotAnodized Aluminum1300 ml7.2 oz / 204g
Toaks 1350 PotTitanium1350 ml5.2 oz / 147g
MSR Trail Lite 2L PotAnodized Aluminum2000 ml8.6 oz / 244g
MSR Big Titan 2L Kettle Titanium2000 ml6.0 oz / 170g

Net net. Titanium cook pots are good if you only need to boil water to rehydrate a backpacking meal pouch or a freezer bag meal. If you want to cook something a little bit more complex, like a one-pot meal, an anodized aluminum pot is better because it spreads the heat and avoids burning your food. That said, your choice of anodized aluminum pots in small sizes will be limited.

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25 comments

  1. For solo cooking when I will be simmering, not just boiling water, I use a Trangia 800 ml aluminum pot. It’s not anodized, but lightweight (3.2 oz claimed weight) and works well.

    Currently $11.49 on Campsaver.com, but backordered. Amazon lists it as out of stock. Hopefully this item will become available again soon, as there are few similar alternatives.

  2. It took some practice, but I have perfected my no-drain Annie’s Mac and Cheese with tuna cooked on a Toaks 650 ml pot with a BRS stove. I eat a lot of those, sometimes switching the tuna out with chicken. I’ve also cooked Ramen Bombs with this setup, if you can call that cooking.

    • Same. Back before I went to cold soaking, I had an old Peak1 canister stove that would simmer. I cooked in my titanium pots all the time. I had to watch them, and I stirred frequently, but I’m not inclined to walk away from a lit stove regardless.

      Alas, that stove finally died after a few decades. I don’t miss the canisters, but I do miss being able to make tuna noodle casserole & beef stew.

  3. Primus litech trek kettle for me. 1 litre and fits in the optimus clip on windshield. Fits a gas cylinder and stove inside.

  4. Great job of pointing out the differences and uses of Ti vs Al. For years I used a CGI ano-Al pot for cooking as freeze dry was too expensive. Eventually I webt to Ti pots and boiling water. But on quick weekend trips its nice to have a real cooking pot for real food! Have both Al and Ti pots in your kit.

  5. I have been eyeing fry bake anodized beauties for awhile: https://frybake.com
    Currently have my hands full with a GSI anodized Minimalist , Snowpeak titanium 600 cup / also deep dish, Coleman Peak One 5 pc S/S set, 6″ carbon steel pan & a stainless military cantene cup w/ butterfly handles (boils water when set next to an open fire faster than any other pot)

  6. I have an old GSI Bugaboo nonstick set which came with three pots and lids which double as frying pans. The smallest size is great for 1-2 people. I used to use these all Summer when I was a camp nurse and had kids with me. I still use the small set. I have no idea the weight of the smallest set but not noticeably heavy, very durable and a nice size. Sturdy enough to use over a low camp fire. No handle but includes a pot gripper. I pack other stuff in to use the space when packing. The new solo version comes with a bowl and cup but is larger. These are aluminum with a no stick finish. too bad they made the solo so much bigger.

  7. Not to knock the commercial sources, but don’t discount stainless steel pots. Careful scrutinizing at the local Salvation Army Thrift Store will yield lots of suitably sized, thin wall, usefully shaped stainless pots. Their weights compare to titanium at pennies to the dollar. :>)

  8. AHA! one of my favorite gripe topics, along with the elitist fallacy of frameless backpacks.

    I use a 3 cup anodized Open Country pot & lid for all my backpack trips in every season. Its size perfect for solo camping AND IT HEATS QUICKLY AND EVENLY, UNLIKE TITANIUM. Plus the cost is reasonable, again, UNLIKE TITANIUM.

    To save fuel and avoid hot spots aluminum is the best material. But it should be anodized to keep aluminum out of food. That is very important.

    As well a cook pot should be wider than it is high to be the most heat efficient shape. That’s just physics.
    Additionally I’ve found a 3 cup pot is about the maximum size for use with ESBIT fuel tablets and my Trail Designs Sidewinder Caldera Cone stove, which was made to fit my 3 cup pot. (Yeah, the keen of eye will say, “You dislike Ti for cooking but you have a Ti stove.” True, because it is also a woodturning STOVE and must be Ti for tha intense heat the Inferno insert creates.)

    Nested inside my 3 cup pot is ->Zip Loc plastic bowl -> plastic measuring/drinking cup
    And yes, I use a (now extinct) long handled Lexan spoon. So no Ti utensils either B/C they don’t make sense to me for the intended uses.
    END OF RANT

  9. Surprised that nothing from Vargo made the list. I see a lot of Bots out in the backcountry

    • After months of trying to find one second-hand, I purchased a Bot. I’m primarily a cold-soaker, and with a few trips under my belt I’ve decided to sell mine. I cold-soak, but I carry an alcohol stove & a bit of fuel on the off chance I really need to boil water. While the Bot will work as a cold-soak vessel, it’s not great. (I found it more difficult to clean than a peanut butter jar, and once it’s been used to soak a meal I didn’t want to use it to carry water.) If I cooked more I’d probably love it, but I’ve gone back to a 550 ml Toaks cup & a peanut butter jar.

  10. Actually, Philip Aluminum is lighter than titanium. AL has an atomic weight of about 27. Ti has an atomic weight of 47.5 or so. Ti is considerably heavier than Al given the same thickness and size. For an example, I use a 1qt Al pot that weighs 3.5oz including a lid. After many years of searching, I have NEVER found anything lighter for that volume. It costs about $7 these days. I believe it is Stanco, but I have had it for almost 20 years. Yes, dents and dings are just part of it. I installed a bail handle about 10 years ago. Just a piece of wire through a couple holes. I think it weighed about 6 or 7gm.

    Ti is about 1/3 stronger than Al. So, it is possible to make a thin Ti pot close to the same weight. But 2/3 of the weight is still more than Al’s weight.

    Yes, Aluminum cooks better, with even heat, and better conductivity from any heat source (boils water better, ie with slightly less heat.) Ti burns easily. Since I generally cook suppers, Al is my choice.

    The myth of Al causing Alzheimer’s, I hope, has been thoroughly dispelled. They used some aluminum equipment in the study and the results were discredited within a short period of time of the initial report.

  11. Had a Primus Alutech 1L pot for years. Hard-anodised aluminium and cooked all sorts in it using gas, meths all with no problem…
    Could do with a smaller version which I think used to be the Alutech 0.5l. However, think this product line ihas now been replaced with the Essential Trek Pot (anodised alu) and the Trek Pot (hard-anodised alu)?

  12. for $15 stanley makes a product called the adventure cook set, which is simply a 20oz/591ml stainless steel cook pot, with a lid and two plastic cups…ditch the plastic cups, which weigh 6oz, and you have 7oz cook pot and lid… stainless steel is far superior to both aluminum and titanium afa heat distribution. You also don’t have the health concerns that come from cooking with aluminum.

    • Miscalculated… it’s a 680ml pot that holds a total capacity of 24oz… 20oz pertains to the highest volume mark on the cup.

  13. 680 is grams lol… forget it. I’m metrically impaired.

  14. Hey Philip,
    I’m not having any luck finding a 2ish liter anodized aluminum pot for melting snow that will nest my MSR Universal. Would you know of one?
    Thanks

  15. montbell usually has many anodized aluminum cookware options above and below 1 liter, looks like they are changing lineup now, most are in closeout. Also some titanium.

  16. Oilcamp anodized aluminum space saver mug
    750 ml
    3.8 oz (110 grams)
    buy the titanium lid as extra on site
    $15 to $19

    Been using this for years as my lightweight cook kits
    great big handles that do not get hot

    Great price

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