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

MSR Titan Kettle
By Raymond Estrella
July 04, 2006


NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 48
LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.

The Product

Titan kettle

Manufacturer: Mountain Safety Research, Inc. (MSR)
Web site:
Product: Titan Kettle
Year manufactured: 2004
MSRP: $39.95 (US)
Capacity listed: 0.85 L (28.7 fl oz)
Actual capacity (to brim) measured 29 fl oz (0.86 L)
Weight listed: 4.2 oz (119 g)
Actual weight: 4.4 oz (125 g)
Weight of pot without lid 3.1 oz (88 g)
Height measured: 3.5 in (89 mm)
Diameter measured: 4.6 in (117 mm)

Product Description

The Titan Kettle is a compact titanium pot aimed at the gram-counting Ultra-Light crowd. It is gray in color. The same as the skin on a fighter jet, and like Maverick in Top Gun, it helps me fulfill my “need for speed” down the hiking trails.

The company says this about it. “Versatile enough to be a pot, mug or bowl, this lightweight and strong titanium kettle complements the Titan Cookset perfectly. Team with Titan Titanium Spoon for a bare-minimum "solo" cookware kit.” (I team with a MealGear Spork for an even better solo rig. Review coming.)

It consists of a cylindrical body made of, that’s right, titanium. It has two 2.5 in (64 mm) tall, body-hugging bent wire handles that fold to the sides to make it more compact when packed. When deployed for use they stick out from the side of the cup 1.7 in (43 mm). The handles are held on by a plate that is spot welded to the body of the cup in nine places.

At the top of the kettle’s body is a rolled lip for structural integrity and to minimize the occurrence of burned lips when partaking of hot liquids. On the bottom are a couple of stampings. One of the MSR logo and the other of a flying bird with the words “Seagull Brand” above it, and “Made in Thailand” below. (I am guessing this means that it is manufactured for MSR by the above mentioned.)

A stamp-formed pour spout extends a little ways from the body to facilitate pouring liquids. (I can see the die marks left from the press.) The bottom of the kettle has been indented in the center. The resulting raised edge strengthens it, helping keep it from being squashed in my pack.

The 1.3 oz (37 g) lid snaps on tightly to the body. It has a 1 in (25 mm) high wire handle that is plastic coated to ward off burned fingers. A little notch in the spot welded plate that attaches it to the lid allows it to stay in the upright position when slid back into it, as can be seen in the photo above. A small hole has been punched in the lid to allow steam to escape without blowing the lid off. Stampings of the MSR logo and “Titan Titanium” are on the lid also.


Field Conditions

This pot 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 twice 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. I have carried it on about 700 miles (1127 km) of trails in the past two years. It has seen use in every park and forest in the Sierra Nevada from Yosemite down to Domeland.

Further south it has seen action in San Jacinto State park and both State and National Wilderness areas.


I own four different backpacking cook sets. I used to be into making pretty fancy meals on the trail, and have four-piece sets in stainless steel, coated aluminum and titanium. But since I bought this little kettle (swallowing hard a few times at the price tag) I hardly ever take any of the other cookware. In fact I liked it so much that a few months later I bought the company’s Titan Cup also. (See review.)

It is the perfect size for me. When filled, it will boil enough water for a cup of coffee and the largest freeze-dried meal. Its diameter exactly fits the pot supports of my Optimus Crux stove (the one I use most often with it, see review) as can be seen below.

with stove

I did add four marks inside of the cup with a permanent marker to be able to use it as a measuring cup; they can be seen in the second picture. I put them at 1 cup (three small or two large oatmeal packets), 1.5 cups (Mountain House Pro-Paks), 2 cups (Richmoor Natural High and Mountain House standard 2 serving size), and 2.5 cups (Backpacker’s Pantry meals). That is 0.24, 0.35, 0.47 and 0.59 liters for my metric friends. As can be seen I only use it to boil water for freeze-dried meals and drinks. I do not cook food inside the Titan. I think that the only thing that I would do differently about this pot 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 only used it as my mug for one trip. I did not like using that big a cup. I know I have been told I have a big mouth, but not big enough to keep coffee from splashing past when trying to drink from the Titan kettle. Hence the purchase of the matching cup.

I love how tight the lid stays on. I can pour the entire contents out into my food bag or cup without worrying about the lid popping off mid-pour with disastrous results. (Ow, ow, ow, ow…my fingers.)

An interesting example of the popularity of the Titan Kettle occurred in the Domeland Wilderness where I met a group of seven backpackers from the forums. It was my first time meeting any of these people. At dinner the first night we gathered at a great set of flat rocks to use as our common kitchen. Low and behold four of us had Titan Kettles. (They must be doing something right!)

In conclusion I will reiterate that this is and will remain my favorite and most used piece of cookware. If they ever add the measuring marks it will even make it better. Here is a picture of it on the John Muir Trail.


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

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