This article rounds up all the tall-and-narrow lightweight cook pots on the market today within the 550-700ml range, i.e. those suitable for single person cooking when that person is happy with such minimal capacity.
Why a Narrow Pot?
When I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2014 I used a 900ml Evernew ECA252 (see my brief post-hike review low down on the Gear Review page) which is a classic pot and one of the more popular ones on the trail. A ‘wide’ pot (meaning it is wider than it is tall) it measures 135mm x 65mm and indeed holds an absolute maximum of 900ml. It allowed me to store a 100ml gas canister (upside down), a Soto Windmaster stove and a foldable spork inside it. The width of the pot balanced well on the stove’s triple-pronged support and the wide burner was put to efficient use on the wide base. All was good.
But by the time I had hiked 275 miles to Hot Springs, North Carolina I had begun to feel a smaller solution would be equally functional but, well, smaller. The wide pot took up a good chunk of the width in my pack so I could never reach past it to get something underneath, it always had out be taken out first. I know, #FirstWorldProblem. The stove and canister rattled around a little in the pot because there was a lot of excess space and I had a slight concern it might damage the stove, not that it ever did. But mostly I came to realise that I never needed to boil 900ml of water. Or even 800. In fact, 700 gave me enough for a dehydrated meal (300-400) and a drink or miso soup (300) and I even realised I would have been happy to boil just the meal’s water and get that rehydrating in its bag and then spend another 90 seconds boiling water for a hot drink or soup. It only takes an extra gram or two of gas to do two boils.
In addition the amount of weight used by a wide pot’s lid is rather disproportionate to its relatively minor utility. For example my wide Evernew ECA 252 weighs 81g for the pot but a further 30g for the lid, 37% of the pot’s weight and 27% of the product’s weight overall!
So I had this idea of switching to a smaller capacity ‘narrow’ pot (one taller than it is wide) which was still wide enough to store the canister in with the stove on top. No wasted space and a smaller pack volume.
However my idea was seeded on stony ground as the otherwise excellent Bluff Mountain outfitters in Hot Springs had no such pot on sale. And after Hot Springs I had bigger concerns to worry about so only now am I revisiting this subject.
So what size does such a pot have to be? Well, there’s a pretty standard diameter (width) measurement available of about 95mm (3.75″ in old money). This is because a small gas canister (3.5oz / 100g) is about 90mm in diameter (since 2013 when MSR joined everyone else and stopped being awkward) and it makes sense to store them in the pot. Alcohol, Esbit or wood-burning stove users are not so restricted but pots outside of this range are rare for this reason. There is an entire category of more narrow containers available though – namely mugs – though but I won’t be looking at those as it is a whole other market.
When it comes to height there are more options though many manufacturers cater for canister-storing customers. A small canister is about 70mm in height – add on the height of storing the stove on top and you get to the typical height offered of about 100-120mm. This is where a non-canister-using hiker has more choice though since they can go down lower and use pots with, say, only 80mm of height.
Since the stove has has to be stored on top of a canister (the canister can sometimes be more usefully stored upside down) in a narrow pot the height of the stove when folded, perhaps bagged, and placed in the pot is important and obviously varies from stove to stove. My Soto Windmaster stove happens to be exactly 90mm in length when folded so can lie horizontally and is 50mm high when lying down like this. In fact it can sit to the side of the jutting-out canister valve where the canister slopes down so only needs a net of about 30mm. Therefore the total internal pot height needs to be about 100mm. My crazy-tiny BRS-3000 T Bumblee stove on the other hand (comprehensively reviewed here on BPL by Roger Caffin, though a subscription is required) is only 30mm in height lying down and therefore needs much less space, i.e. a pot height of no more than 95mm, maybe even 90mm.
It is important that your stove works well with your pot, for example it is stable when resting on the supports and is not so narrow that the flames lick up the side wasting fuel and causing a fire hazard. One advantage of a narrow pot is that it is safer to use when nearly full. The boiling water in a wide pot when 95% full will only be just below the brim while a narrow pot will have that little bit more space, plus a nearly-full narrow pot will be easier to control when picked up.
Having accepted that a wide pot’s lid does not pull its weight one starts to wonder if even a narrow pot’s lid is worth its weight in titanium. The typical weight for the first-party lids of the pots listed in this article is about 20g. Sure, a lid keeps the heat in and the pressure slightly elevated to reduce boil times, but it isn’t the most useful 20g in your pack. What to do? Well, some people like to create their own lids with 3-4 sheets of aluminium foil, a fragile but featherweight option.
I would highlight a US cottage manufacturer of aftermarket lids made from carbon fiber which I think delivers a simple and robust solution if one wants to spends the extra money and simply get a solid product: Ruta Locura. Their #2 lid is suitable for all the pots in this article between 93-100mm and costs $18 plus about $3.60 postage in the US or $8.10 to the UK. And instead of a typical 20g for titanium lids these are a mere 8g. They aren’t always in stock but I have emailed the owner before and received excellent communication so you will always know where you stand.
All the pots listed have handles but some are insulated and some are not. Pots without insulated handles are suitable for use in a camp fire as any flames hitting the handles will not melt the silicon insulation. You will then need a pot gripper (a dedicated clamp or just a piece of material like a bandana) to move such a pot once it gets hot. Insulated handles are suited to use on top of a stove and may be used barehanded. If necessary insulation can be added to bare handles yourself, such as wrapping insulation tape around them or heat-shrinking silicon tubing; there’s several guides available online. Remember this will add a couple of grams to the listed weight so be sure to compare apples with apples. Conversely you can easily cut off silicon tubing if you don’t want it, save a couple grams and open it up to camp fire use.
Similarly, some pots do not come with useful volume markings on the side. However this shouldn’t stop you buying it as adding your own markings is easy enough (again, there are several methods possible beyond scratching, just Google around) or just mark your spoon.
All the pots listed here happen to be made from titanium but this was not a criterion for inclusion. There are some pots made of other materials (mainly aluminium) that would satisfy all other requisite criteria but no aluminium pots were found to compete with the weight of the titanium models and so didn’t make the list.
The table below presents all (yes, ALL) the lightweight pots on the market today with a capacity of 550ml – 700ml, an internal diameter in the 94-105mm range and an internal height of 80-120mm. There are a few more direct from China listed on Ebay but this article concentrates only on those available from known manufacturers and retailers.
To be clear, only those pots with a diameter of at least 92mm and a height of at least 100mm are potentially able to store a small gas canister plus a stove on top, depending on your stove’s exact dimensions. You may choose of course to just take a smaller pot and store your stove elsewhere. Alcohol and other fuel stove users can select from any of the pots listed.
Height and diameter measurements stated are internal for two reasons. 1, the outside diameter measurement can vary from pot to pot when ridges, lips, handle hardware and such like are all variable. And 2, the actual liquid capacity of a cooking pot is only defined by the internal volume of the pot and this is the next critical specification to be considered.
The standard industry method is to list maximum capacity, usually meaning a liquid capacity up to the level of the ‘lid ridge’ where the lid rests inside, or the very brim if the lid fits outside the pot. Since the lid may then rise as much as 2cm above this level, the total height of the product as a whole is greater than the spec listed. The thickness of the pot’s metal plus any extra ridges, handle hardware and the like will mean the ‘width’ is also somewhat larger than listed.
The Calculated Capacity column shows the result of calculating the maximum expected internal capacity using the standard cylinder volume calculation of (R-squared * Height * Pi) where R is the radius (half the diameter). For example a pot of 9.5cm diameter and 10cm height would be (4.75 * 4.75 * 10 * 3.1416 = 708.8ml). It is only an estimate because pots will not be perfect cylinders but is a good check to see if manufacturers are not being overly optimistic with their stated capacities and allow us to see where one product may be more or less generous in reality than another. Actually filling the pot with this maximum volume of water is not recommended as it would be hard to move the pot safely. Also the exact capacity is dictated by the internal dimensions which are rarely available; in theory a 95mm wide pot using 0.3mm titanium would have a net diameter of 94.4mm.
You may find it interesting to know that, for a 95mm diameter pot, each centimetre of height provides 71ml of volume, while 100ml of volume would require 1.41cm of height. I found it interesting anyway.
Where known the lid and pot body weight are given separately, so you can compare products more accurately and see the effect of changing to a lighter lid. All weights stated are taken from multiple sources where possible with the most credence given to sources where the weight is actually measured (such as blog review or YouTube video) rather than just accepting the manufacturer or retailer listing. When the lid weight was not found I have put an estimate, marked as such with an asterisk.
Insulated Handles / Markings
Listed Capacity (ml)
Calculated Capacity (ml)
Total Weight (g)
Pot Weight (g)
Lid Weight (g)
|AlpKit My Ti Mug||N / N||9.9||9.5||650||701||98||79||19||30|
|Evernew ECA264||Y / Y||10.8||9.4||640||749||96||72||24||50|
|Evernew EBY-270R||Y / Y||10.9||9.9||760||923||69||69||N/A||50|
|Evernew ECA521||Y / Y||11.5||10.4||700||815||95||75||20||60|
|Ruta Locura 550ml Pot||N / N||8.3||9.5||550||588||64||56||8||47|
|Snowpeak 600 Single Wall||N / N||10.3||9.0||600||655||88||88||N/A||35|
|Snowpeak Trek 700||N / Y||11.3||9.5||700||801||127||92||35||45|
|Toaks 550ml Pot||N / N||8.0||9.5||550||567||90||70||20||30|
|Toaks Ti 600ml Pot||Y / N||9.0||9.5||600||638||109||89||20*||30|
|Toaks LIGHT 650ml Pot||N / Y||9.5||9.5||650||665||80||62||18||37|
|Zpacks 550ml Mug||N / N||8.1||9.8||550||611||74||54||20||49|
|Zerogram BPLer 600||Y / Y||9.2||9.4||600||625||88||60||28||35|
Snowpeak 600 Single Wall: For canister users this is a case of “use at your own risk”. It was included despite having a narrow internal diameter of 90mm tapering down to 88mm at the bottom because it is reportedly possible to squeeze a small gas canister inside, albeit tightly and not all the way down and be wary of any dings as even a small one can make it hard to remove the canister. A small enough stove will fit at the bottom under the canister. As it comes without a lid – it’s marketed as a drinking cup – you will have to source an aftermarket lid to be able to boil water.
Best Pot for Gas Canister Stoves
If the new Toaks LIGHT 650ml pot had been another 5mm higher and sported capacity markings* it would have walked off with this ‘award’. But at 95mm height it won’t store some stoves in addition to the canister. If it works for your setup though this is definitely one to have on your shortlist. Keep an eye on Toaks as they confirmed to me they have their own 0.3mm titanium manufacturing partner now so more products in the ‘LIGHT’ range may be forthcoming.
* Update Aug 2017: Toaks have added capacity markings now.
The safest choice is the Evernew ECA264, aka the Ti Ultralight Deep Pot. Listed as both a 600ml and 640ml pot some retailers state it is a 650 pot and this is borne out by the theoretical capacity being well over 700ml and in reality it will hold 600-650 comfortably and 700ml will reach 5mm from the very top. This, plus insulated handles and neat markings, makes the 72g pot body weight easy to accept and the only problem is with the heavy tall lid, designed to allow TWO small gas canisters to fit inside when inverted, albeit with no extra space left over. Ultralighters can switch it for a lighter replacement, such as carbon fiber, which would get the total weight down to 80g. An expensive solution but the best around at the moment if you want to boil 650ml.
There’s definitely a gap in the market for the perfect canister-storing pot though – 95mm diameter, 100m height, insulated handles (it’s easier to cut them off than add them), light flat lid, 0.3mm titanium. Should be about 63g for the pot, 12g for the lid.
Best Pot for Non-Gas Stoves
The LiteTrail 550 used to rule the roost (and it had insulated handles too) but it is no longer available so the field is clear for the new kids in town.
The Rura Locura 550 ticks all the ultralight boxes, utilises a standard set of dimensions, and is cheaper and even lighter than the Zpacks, something rarely achieved. A great choice.
The new Zpacks 550ml Titanium Mug is an equally good choice. Slightly wider than usual at nearly 10cm across it can provide its class-leading capacity using only an 8.1cm height making it safer and more stable than any other pot. You should still be able to use a Ruta Locura lid to make a grand total of 62g (2.2oz) or just stick with the standard 20g lid for a 74g (2.6oz) total. Zpacks even offer an Esbit stand perfectly crafted to fit the mug, which is a win if that’s your cup of tea.
The new 650ml pot from AlpKit is an impressive debut high-end ultralight pot and the price is hard to beat. For UK hikers especially this is a bargain at just £20.
The Toaks LIGHT 650 is the best value option in the US, at just $37 for a 0.3mm titanium pot from a respected name in the outdoors industry. I measured it as 61.6g for the pot and 17.6g for the lid. But also take a look at newcomer ZeroGram’s offering with near-identical specs.