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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cook Sets > MSR BlackLite Classic Cookset > Owner Review by David Wyman

MSR BlackLite Classic Cookset
October 6, 2008


NAME: David Wyman
AGE: 30
LOCATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
HEIGHT: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.40 kg)

While I've been camping for years, I've only been backpacking for a short time. As a fairly new backpacker, I'm still trying to find the right equipment so I alternate between my tent and hammock. I do quite a number of short trips in the Pennsylvania (PA) state parks (Raccoon Creek and Ohiopyle mostly) and longer trips are usually up in the Allegheny National Forest. My dog almost always comes along on the longer hikes, and my wife and toddler join me on the shorter ones.


Manufacturers Image of BlackLite Cookset
MSR's Image of MSR BlackLite Classic Cookset (from

Manufacturer: MSR - Mountain Safety Research
Year of Manufacture: Unknown - Purchased in 2005
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US $44.95
Listed Weight: 18 oz (512 g)<sic>
Measured Weight: 18 oz (510 g)


This cookset comes with six items: one 1.5 l (51 fl oz) pot, a 2 l (68 fl oz) pot, a lid that is designed to fit either pot, a small Packtowl, a PanHandler (pot lifter), and a stuff sack. The 1.5 l pot nests inside the 2 l pot with the Packtowl between them to protect the non-stick finish. The PanHandler can be placed inside the pots and, with the lid on, the whole set fits inside the mesh stuff sack.

The pots are made of aluminum, have a black exterior to help with heat absorption, and the insides are coated with a non-stick coating. With the included Packtowl separating them, the smaller pot fits snuggly inside the larger pot with little room to spare which keeps them from rattling around while hiking. When used with the larger pot, the lid fits well and has a small, wire handle that folds down when not in use. When used with the smaller pot, the lid is placed on it upside down which renders the wire handle useless. That is one of my chief complaints about the cookset.

The included Packtowl is fairly small and fits nicely between the two pots when packed. It can be used to grab the wire handle when cooking to protect my fingers and it is useful for scrubbing out the pots after cooking. It would have been nice to have a second Packtowl in order to protect the inside of the smaller pot if anything, such as the pot lifter, is packed inside. The pot lifter works well but, unless wrapped in another cloth/towel, can't be packed inside the cookset as it will scratch the interior of the smaller pot.

The mesh stuff sack is sufficient to store the cookset. The pots fit nicely inside it and, when cinched tightly, it does prevent the pot lid from separating from the pots and keeps everything together. Unfortunately, it doesn't cinch down completely and leaves just enough room for the lid to rattle which can be a bit annoying if the cookset isn't packed tightly in the backpack.


This cookset has been used quite often over the last three years on trips ranging in length from weekend car camping trips to 3 or 4 day hiking trips. Trips have taken it to several PA state parks, including Ohiopyle, Raccoon Creek, and Morraine. Several of the multi-day trips have included portions of the North Country Trail in the Allegheny National Forest. For all of the hikes, weather was always fairly warm, between 50 F (10 C) and 80 F (27 C), sunny, and mostly rain-free.

On car camping trips, the cookset sees heavy use feeding me, my wife, and (recently) my son. It has been used to cook portions of every meal and has worked well with everything from soups to rice dishes to scrambled eggs. The smaller pot has only been used with my Snow Peak backpacking stove. It is small enough that it easily balances on the stove's arms and, when using the lid, heats quickly. The only complaint about the small pot is that the lid must be used upside down if a good seal is desired and this renders the fold-down wire handle unusable. The only way to remove the lid is to grab the edge (possibly using the Packtowl to insulate the fingers) or using the pot lifter which can scratch the finish on the lid (though that is purely an aesthetic issue and does not noticeably affect performance.)

The larger pot is only brought on car camping trips and has been used on my Coleman camp stove as well as over wood fires. Unless there is a very stable and level surface, it is a bit too large to be used on the Snow Peak stove. This pot has also been used to cook a wide range of foods and the non-stick coating works fairly well. After cooking, it is used to boil water for cleaning the other pot and any utensils.

The included Packtowl comes in handy when lifting the lid while cooking and works very well at scrubbing the pots and utensils while cleaning up. It dries fairly quickly and fits nicely in between the two pots when they are stored.

The PanHandler (pot lifter) works well on both pots without scratching the non-stick coating though it does have a tendency to scratch the lid if it used to lift it while cooking. This doesn't seem to affect the performance of the cookset. My chief complaint with the pot lifter is that it must be wrapped in a separate towel if it will be stored inside the pots. Unfortunately, no second towel is provided and must be obtained separately.

The non-stick coating works as advertised, at least while it lasts. It doesn't seem to matter how carefully the pots are handled as the non-stick coating seems to scratch fairly easily. The large pot hasn't been handled very well (my son likes to play with it) and has picked up several scratches. This is partially my fault as I could have taken better care of it. On the other hand, the smaller pot has been very carefully taken care of and still has managed to pick up a few scratches to the non-stick coating. So far, none of these scratches have caused too much trouble. Everything still cooks well but cleaning the pot takes a bit more work. I'm watching closely to see if any of the coating begins to flake off on its own, but no flaking has been noticed yet.

On longer backpacking trips, the larger pot stays at home and the Packtowl protects the inside of the smaller pot from the pot lifter and the Snow Peak stove which I pack inside. The lid is placed on and everything is packed in the stuff sack to help protect the finish. A rubber band is then wrapped around it to help control the rattling. The small pot works very well with my stove and cooks my one-pot meals as well as the titanium mug that I also carry. The extra room is nice as I don't have to watch for boil-over like I do with the mug.


  • Smaller pot works very well with my Snow Peak stove.
  • Larger pot holds quite a bit and works over both my camp stove and an open fire.
  • Packs small and is light weight.


  • Fold-down handle on the lid is useless when used with the smaller pot.
  • Lack of a second Packtowl to protect the inside of the smaller pot.
  • A little expensive.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

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