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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cook Sets > MSR Titan Cup > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

MSR Titan Cup
By Raymond Estrella

June 22, 2014


NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 53
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 213 lb (96.60 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.

The Product

Manufacturer: Mountain Safety Research, Inc. (MSR) Titan cup
Web site:
Product: Titan Cup
Year manufactured: 2004
MSRP: US $39.95
Capacity listed: 0.4 L (13.5 fl oz)
Actual capacity (to brim) measured 14 fl oz (0.41 L)
Weight listed: 1.9 oz (54 g)
Actual weight: 2 oz (57 g)
Height measured: 3.3 in (84 mm)
Diameter measured: 3.2 in (81 mm)
Image at right courtesy Cascade Designs

Quick & Dirty, Nitty Gritty

The MSR Titan Cup is 2 oz (57 g) of drinking (almost) perfection. It has been a long-time hiking companion holding everything from energy drinks, hot coffee and cider to scotch and water. It is also my measuring cup after a quick modification. It could really use some permanent measuring markings though. Please read on for the details.

Product Description

The MSR Titan Cup (hereafter referred to as the Titan or cup) is a compact titanium cup aimed at the gram-counting Ultralight crowd. It is gray in color. The same as the skin on an F-18 fighter, and I like to think helps me hike as fast. (I wish.)

Markings inside

It consists of a cylindrical body made of, that's right, titanium. It has two body-hugging bent wire handles that fold to the sides to keep its svelte shape when not needed. When deployed for use they stick out from the side of the cup 1.25 in (32 mm). The handles are held on by a plate that is spot welded to the body of the cup.

Folded handles

At the top of the cup is a rolled lip to minimize the occurrence of burned lips when imbibing hot liquids and to add strength. On the bottom are a couple of stampings. One of the MSR logo and the other is of a bird with the words "Seagull Brand" above it, and "Made in Thailand" below.

Field Conditions

Hoter than hel... Sheol.

The Titan Cup has been on many trips above 14,000' (4,267 m) in the Sierra Nevada and White ranges, and has been well below sea level three times in Death Valley. It has been used on frigid 17 F (-8 C) mornings on the John Muir Trail, and on trips that saw highs to 118 F (48 C) in the Kern canyon. (The picture above is at my campsite by an old mine on that trip. I was sunburned just from the reflection off the granite on that scorcher.) I have carried it on about 3,000 miles (4800 km) of trails in the past ten years. It has seen use in just about every park and forest in the Sierra Nevada (like in the picture below) from Yosemite down to Domeland Wilderness.

I had it on many trails in other states too, most of which were in Minnesota where I reside full time now.

Kickin' back in camp. Oh yeah.


I bought this cup in 2004 as part of my weight reduction gear-overhaul that was started in 2003. I had been carrying a REI insulate mug for about 15 years, and still do in the winter. The fact that it would shave two thirds of the (cup) weight from my load was very attractive to me.

I liked it from the start. It was immediately apparent that it does convey heat to the lip much better than my REI mug or GSI Lexan cup do, regardless of the rolled lip. I am now very careful of that first sip in the morning. For cold (or more commonly, tepid) drinks it is awesome. The coldest drink ever in the Titan had to be on this trip in the Sespe Wilderness. I carried in a frozen bottle of water wrapped in my closed cell pad so I could have a refreshing Scotch & water while it was about 105 F (58 C) out. No, I did not backpack in the chair. I found it there and put it to good use. (Hi L.)

This is the life, good friends & Scotch

On one of my first trips with it I bent it a bit out of round. I have long known how strong titanium is. (My father is a Mechanical Engineer for Lockheed Martin.) I did not factor in the gauge of the metal though. It was no big deal, I was able to squeeze it back into to shape with no problem. A second crushing was a bit more severe. I spent a Halloween night on top of Mount San Gorgonio (11,500 ft/3500 m). When trying to maneuver around my tent in the rock ring I had for protection from the wind I stumbled and sat right on my cup. It smashed it. Dang my big butt… I bent it back again but this time it kept a definite crease in the side. Oh well, it still works fine and is now going strong at 10 years of age. Maybe MSR would like it for their museum? ;-)

MSR suggests that the cup can be nestled into the Titan Kettle or 2 Pot Set to help with space issues. I used to have the Kettle and now have the 2 Pot Set (see reviews), but keep my stove and fuel canister in it. Instead I keep the cup with my food supplies. I pack the cup tightly with things like my washcloth and coffee and cider packets to both take up the space inside it and give it support.

Drink of water please.

I did add two marks inside of the cup to be able to use it as a measuring cup; they can be seen in the picture above. I put them at 4 and 8 oz (118 and 237 ml) and have had to refresh them a couple of times over the years. I think that the only thing that I would do differently about this cup if I were MSR, is to give it some pressed-in indentations at common measuring units. It would not add any weight, and would greatly increase its usability in my opinion.

I have used it directly on a stove only once. It was hard to keep the flame low enough to stay in contact with the cup, and not be wasting itself blasting past the sides. The handle got very hot needless to say. (I melted my washcloth on them, doh!)

In conclusion I have to say that I really like this cup. What would make me I say I love it? Give it measuring marks, and increase the size to an even 16 oz (473 ml) at the brim. (Most freeze-dried meals take that for reconstituting.) Until then I will keep my Titan cup with me on most of my hikes. I leave with a shot of the Titan at the Backpacker's Campground at Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. It was being used just as a measuring cup for my post hike dinner. After four days on the trail I found a better use for it and my bear canister…

Best bear canister ever...!

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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