Aluminium cooking pots vs Titanium cooking pots .
Five years ago when I first started to get into lightweight bushwalking I replaced my super heavy MSR Alpine Stainless Steel pots (741.5g) with a two lighter Titanium Snow Peak pots (316.7g), this was a saving of 424.8g, after several years of faithful use, on one trip I wanted to cook a gourmet meal where I needed some slightly larger pots. I therefore went through my collection of pots, carefully weighing each one to work out which combination of two pots gave me the volume that I needed with the lightest combination, the combination that I ended up with was two cheap aluminium pots which I had purchased from my local camping shop. While the Ti pots are very tough, Ti is a very poor conductor of heat and whenever I tried to reheat a meal like a curry the food got burnt where the stove flame had contact with the bottom of the pot and was very hard to clean. After using the cheap Al pots I have never gone back to the Ti as the food does not burn in the Al pots and after several years of use the Al pots are still in good condition.
Moving on a couple of years, to complete a series of tests on pots for a BPL article, I borrowed a set of lightweight MSR Titan pots, this kit includes pots of 1l and 1.5l volume, this set retails in Australia for A$189. The two MSR Titan pots came with one lid with a total weight of 306.6 grams, this includes the pot grabber or the storage bag.
My two cheap Al pots that I normally take use, a 1.5l pot and a 1.75l pot with one lid come to total weight of 243.6 grams, and have a cost of A$24.00 (these pots have had the wire handle removed and some of the lugs that the wire handle attached to removed).
If I use some Al pots with the same volume as the Titan pots a 1l pot and a 1.5l pot with one lid the total weight is 219.6 grams, this is a saving of over 30 grams just for the pots, the two Al pots with pot grabber and storage bag from the Snow peak Ti pots, the saving is even greater at 255.2g this is a saving of 51.4 g over the 306.6g Titan pot set, the 1l pot cost A$8 and the 1.5l pot costs A$10 so this twp pot set comes to A$18 .
Now are Ti pots more efficient than Al pots, from my tests Ti pots appear to be slightly more efficient that Al pots but this is very small. As Ti is a much poorer conductor than Al, why are Ti pots not less efficient than Al pots, I am not quite sure but I do have some thoughts and it has something to do with the emissivity of the pot surfaces, the Ti pots have a darker and slightly rougher surface than the Aluminum pots.
With my Al pots, instead of the wire handles which I have removed I use a lightened pot gripper that I purchased from the same shop as the pots, gripper cost the A$7, the pot gripper that came with the MSR titan kit weighs 28.1g and my modified gripper weighs 28.5g.
Now for the big question “are Ti pots really worth the money” as far as I am concerned NO, for a given volume they are no lighter, they may or may not be a little more efficient, it is very easy to burn food in Ti pots and they cost much more.
For now I am going to stick to my cheap aluminium pots.