Sometimes it is the easiest things that get us excited. What other hobby (besides cooking) do we get excited when we have a new cooking container? The MSR Titan Kettle is my upgrade to a lightweight aluminum pot that was nearly perfect. The old pot lacked a handle to the lid and the pot itself and was rather shallow. After tipping the pot over a few times and fumbling with the lack of side handles, I began investigating alternatives. This is when the Titan came into view.
MSR has a reputation for building solid gear designed for everything from backpacking to mountaineering. Their equipment has a tendency to sacrifice weight savings for durability. This is not always a bad thing, for instance their Dromedary and Dromlites bags are one of my favorite products. The Titan Kettle is a solid built, multi-use pot/mug that is lightweight. Seems like MSR may have designed a winner.
Initial Impression- The first time I put my hands on the Titan Kettle I noticed just how significantly light it is. Obviously I knew titanium is light, but seeing it in person made all the difference. The smooth finish on the kettle adds to the feeling of quality. The Titan has a snug fitting that helps to keep the contents enclosed without the need for a carrying case or strap. The lid of the kettle has a small hole that allows steam to escape, signifying when your water is boiling. There is a small functional handle on the lid that has a coating that allows removal when hot. The small, but functional handle can be slid horizontal to allow it to be locked in an upright position, making it even easier to use. On the side of the Titan there are two handles that fold down for a streamline shape when packed. Turning the handles out allows for the user to grab the kettle and pour the contents easily. The base of the Titan is wide, thus making the unit very stable when full of liquid. Hard to find flaws in another well designed MSR product.
Use- In the past I have used a simple aluminum pot that weighed similarly to the kettle, but did not have the capacity. The MSR Titan fit excellently on my cat can alcohol stove. As mentioned above the wide base provided for a stable setup when positioned on my stove. The base of the Titan has a slight imprint that actually fit the cat can stove, further increasing the stability. Due to the shape of the kettle the flame that spreads out from the stove wrapped up and around. I felt that this slightly increased the efficiency of the stove. By using a tin foil windscreen I was able to further direct the heat around the MSR Titan. The lid worked well at trapping heat and it was easy to see when the water was boiling, without removing the lid. On occasion the lid handle would flop over and was hard to get back up, but this was rare. The side handles were stable when pouring and felt good in the hand, but did have a tendency to get too hot with my stove. Because the flames were encompassing the sides the handles absorbed more heat then if a burner was just located underneath. I used a bandana to grab the handles which solved the problem easily. The pour spout worked as it should and the lid remained in place while pouring. After a few trips out I have noticed that the lid is not being held in place like it had, but this is a minor annoyance. It should be noted that my stove, fuel, striker and bandana were all able to be placed inside the kettle with the lid on. Overall the design of the MSR Titan Kettle seemed to work well with my stove setup.
Final Thoughts- The MSR Titan Kettle is one of the best impulse purchases I have made. Although the price point is hard to small initially the cost per use of the item is rather low. Because of the durability the kettle should have a very long lifespan, probably outliving you. The capacity of the Titan allows for some modest backcountry meals to be made, as well as heat a substantial amount of water. The shape of the kettle provides a stable base and works well with multiple different styles of stove. If you are looking for a pot/kettle that provides low weight, volume and stability the MSR Titan Kettle is the winner.
*This item was purchased through my place of employment.