What is the Difference between Titanium and Aluminum Camping Cook Pots?

Difference between titanium and aluminum camping cook pots

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. GSI, a major aluminum cook pot manufacturer, calls their anodized aluminum by the trademark “Halulite”, but it’s really just anodized aluminum.

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, you’ll find that they’re 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.

Comparison of Titanium and Anodized Aluminum Camping Cook Pots

Make / ModelMaterialVolumeWeightPrice  
Evernew Ti UL Mug Pot 500mlTitanium500 ml2.6 oz$56
Toaks Light Titanium 550ml PotTitanium550 ml2.6 oz$30
Primus Trek 0.6L PotAnodized Aluminum600 ml4.9 oz$40
Toaks Light Titanium 650ml PotTitanium650 ml2.8 oz$37
Snow Peak Titanium Trek 700 MugTitanium700 ml4.8 oz$45
Toaks Titanium 750ml PotTitanium750 ml3.6 oz$35
Toaks Titanium 900ml PotTitanium900 ml4.0 oz$45
Evernew Pasta Pot (Medium)Titanium1000 ml4.1 oz$99
Soto New River Cook PotAnodized Aluminum1000 ml4.2 oz$33
GSI 1.1L Halulite BoilerAnodized Aluminum1100 ml8.6 oz$32
Primus Trek 1L PotAnodized Aluminum1000 ml9.5 oz$50bc
Sea-to-Summit Alpha PotAnodized Aluminum1200 ml6.6 oz$40
MSR Trail Lite PotAnodized Aluminum1300 ml7.2 oz$30
MSR Trail Lite PotAnodized Aluminum2000 ml8.6 oz$35

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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18 comments

  1. Do you have a recommendation on alum vs. titanium and volume for winter (melting snow for water)? I was thinking 2L would be good, and saw the MSR Trail Lite pot on your list, but don’t know if you have something different in mind for winter.

    • Excellent question. I’m not really that satisfied with that MSR pot (no volume markings on the inside). I originally got it for snow melting in winter, but I’m probably not going to use it and look for an anodized aluminum equivalent instead. Burnt snow just tastes awful.

    • I like my Chock Full of Nuts 900 ml 2.8 oz coffee can pot. Pair it with a cat food can and you can steam fresh veggies! But…it can get rusty…
      Seriously, as always, great info. Thank you Philip.

    • 2 liter MSR blacklite with the copper heat exchanger and a gas or kerosene stove (kerosene stinks but it’s much safer if you want to or have to cook in a tent)
      Also jet boil Sumo paired with a flash burner and the 8oz purple primus wintergaz is awesome for day plus/ overnight trips.

  2. Fun fact: titanium pots are lighter even though Ti has a higher atomic weight. How can that be?

  3. You can also buy aluminum pots with heat exchanger fins (example: https://www.amazon.com/Olicamp-Hard-Anodized-XTS-1-Litre/dp/B007OJKI2U) that is not available for titanium. For shorter trips, the extra weight of the pot versus fuel saved is not worth it but I think the breakeven is 3-4 days if you have warm liquids for breakfast and a hot dinner.

  4. The Soto Amicus Cookset Combo costs less than $10 more (if that) than the stove by itself and comes with 500 mL and 1 L anodized aluminum pots. They’re not the best pots – I would prefer if they had volume markings on the inside and came with a lid – but it’s perfect for starting out.

  5. Congratulations! Very nice post…I I’ve thought that the difference between titanium and aluminum, was only the weight.

  6. Any concerns about using a non anodized aluminum pot?

    • About as much as using deodorant with “aluminum in it”. As in no (not that internet meme again),

      • My niece, a former science journalist lured into academia, is publishing a book on the history of sweat. Apparently there was some truly toxic stuff applied to armpits before the FDA was established.

      • So,if I understand correctly, OK to use aluminum, skip the deodorant. Got it.

    • Aluminum is very common (ingredient in baking powder). The amount in your food and water is probably a lot more than trace amounts you get from your backpacking pot, especially if you are just boiling water. I’m not worried.

    • Just don’t scrub the pot shiny bright your food will taste horrible once it turns dull grey it seals itself off and cooks just fine

  7. Thin wall stainless steel salad dishes and dog bowls are a cheap alternative to titanium and aluminum. I have a 1 liter flat bottom bowl, with a lid made from aluminum roof flashing, and a removable handle made from 1/16″ aluminum, that weighs 5 oz. Some complete pop can kitchens I’ve made, including windscreen/pot stand, and stainless bowl with lid, have weighed in at 3 1/2 oz. I’ve never paid more than $1 for a bowl at a second hand store.

  8. Suggestion:
    OPEN COUNTRY 3 cup pot & lid

    This aluminum pot is anodized inside and its “wider-than-tall” ratio is perfect for conserving fuel, as proven in t pot height to width tests.

    Also it is one of the pot sizes available for Trail Designs Sidewinder titanium cone cook stove. I found the to be THE most efficient alcohol or ESBIT stove for solo cooking – when used with this mating pot. This stove is made of titanium so it can use wood with its Inferno insert that makes ie a “gassier” wood stove.

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