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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cook Sets > MSR Alpine Cookware set > Owner Review by Mike Curry

May 21, 2007


NAME: Mike Curry
EMAIL: thefishguyAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 37
LOCATION: Aberdeen, Washington
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 205 lb (93.00 kg)

I've been backpacking, climbing, ski-packing, bushwhacking, and snowshoeing throughout the mountains of Oregon and Washington for the last 25 years. I'm an all-season, all terrain, off-trail kind of guy, but these days (having small kids) most of my trips run on the shorter side of things, and tend to be in the temperate rainforest. While I've carried packs (with winter climbing gear) in excess of 70 pounds (32 kilos), the older I get the more minimalist I become.


Manufacturer: Mountain Safety Research (MSR)
Year of Manufacture: 1993
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US$49.95
Listed Weight: 26 oz (733 g)
Measured Weight: 25 oz (709 g)
MSR Alpine Classic Cookware Set


The MSR Alpine Classic Cookware set consists of nesting 1.59 qt (1.5 l) and 2.11 qt (2 l) pots, a lid, a separate pot holder, and a stuff sack. The pots and lid are constructed of stainless steel, the pot lifter of aluminum, and the stuff sack of nylon. The potholder works like a pair of pliers with jaws that operate at a 90 degree angle to the handles, clamping the pot or lid below the rim. This handle nests comfortably inside the pots with room for a small stove. The rim of the lid has steps that allow it to fit both pots. The pots are proportioned similar to a typical saucepan, only without a handle. One distinct feature of the pots is the large radius "sweep" where the sides meet the bottom, rather than an acute angle. The lid contains integral guides on opposite sides that allow a strap to be used ito hold the set together while nested.


This cook set has been used in all seasons throughout Oregon and Washington. Trips have ranged from overnight trips to those over two weeks. Temperatures have ranged from well below freezing to 100 F (38 C). I typically take only the larger of the two pots, the lid, and the handle. I have only taken both pots on one trip, where I was cooking for three. There have been a few solo trips where I took only the smaller pot, the lid, and handle. This set has seen most of its use in conjunction with an old (late 1980's) MSR Whisperlite stove, but has also been used over quite a few campfires.


The MSR Alpine Classic Cookware set has been my old standby for well over a decade now. Despite a great deal of abuse it is still perfectly serviceable. It looks pretty much the same as it did the Christmas I received it with the exceptions of some heat discoloration, minor scratches, and wear and tear on the stuff sack.

When I asked for this set that Christmas, I was looking for something extremely durable. In my 20's, I was very hard on gear and durability was my primary concern. This set has exceeded my expectations in that regard. It has been dropped on rocks, fallen in campfires, and was used as step to get a guy line a little higher in a tree, and doesn't have a single dent. The large pot has some heat discoloration on the bottom, but this has not impacted its serviceability in any way. Past use of metal utensils has left some scratches inside, but these have not seemed to impact them adversely in any way.

Although it is stainless steel and now has some scratches inside, I have never had any significant problems with cleaning. The sweep between the sides and the bottom of each pot is a rather large radius, making it easy to get at the corner where the side and base meet. I had concerns that this radius might impact stability, but the bottom is still large enough that the pots are very stable. The sweeps are actually quite helpful when trying to suspend the pot over a small campfire with rocks. It is possible to position the rocks touching the radius instead of the bottom, making it quite easy to level the pot. On those occasions where I have burned something inside one of the pots I simply scrape out what I can, add some water, and boil until everything loosens up. With only one exception (some badly burned beef stew and rice) the boiling water clean has loosened everything up within a few minutes. With the beef stew and rice debacle, I tossed the pot upside-down in my campfire, and it burned the food out in just a few minutes, and added a pretty blue patina of heat discoloration.

One feature of this set are two loops in the lid that can be used to position a strap to hold the set together rather than use the stuff sack. This might save an ounce, but the strap must be kept very tight to keep the pot from popping out. I tried this once, and the pot kept slipping out of the strap. I think the real advantage of using a strap isn't the weight reduction, but rather that it helps quiet the set somewhat, as if it isn't tightly positioned in my pack, it can slide around inside the stuff sack making a fair amount of noise. It isn't loud, but it can get annoying.

The handle included with this set is aluminum and works very well if it is positioned correctly on the pot. There have been times when I was in a hurry and didn't position the tabs just right, suddenly sending my supper into my stove, campfire, or lap. If the tabs are lined up correctly on the rim of the pot, however, it is very secure, and requires very little pressure to keep closed, even when full.

All in all, this is a very serviceable and durable cook set that I highly recommend if weight isn't a primary concern.


*Sweeping side-to-bottom radius





This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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