- Jun 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm #1290745
Like many, I love Titanium ;) I also enjoy bushcraft type outdoors activities.
It is often quoted that Titanium has poor heat spreading properties (which it does) compared to Stainless Steel &, especially, Aluminum. I was just thinking though: If you're cooking over coals you've got heat over 100% of the base of your pot/pan. Thus, the heat spreading characteristics of your pot/pan shouldn't really matter.
I want to get an MSR Stowaway 1100ml (stainless), the Open Country 4 Quart Pot (uncoated aluminum) I already have, and something like a Snow Peak Trek 1400 (titanium) and compare how well they do/don't burn food when cooked over coals where the heat is evenly distributed.
Does anyone have experience with this having, perhaps, run their own test already? Perhaps you've just got more experience with various type of materials.
SeanJun 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm #1884415Mike BozmanSpectator
Although I have not tried a test to see how well various metals transfer heat I would agree that all camping pots are so thin that in the greater scheme of things it is probably insignificant. I would be hesitant to use a thin aluminum pot directly on coals as the melting point of aluminum alloys are quite low. It is not the parts of the pot that are in contact with a liquid or food that would concern me but the parts that would not be in contact with anything. Thin walled pots can easily glow red in conditions like that. Aluminum will melt before it gets that hot. My ti pot handles the heat of a fire well and has plenty of discoloration from 2 weeks ago when my hiking buddy left the fuel bottle at home!Jun 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm #1884429USA Duane HallBPL Member
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Seems to me, if any kind of metal pot is directly on coals, anything in the pot is going to burn or at least stick, except water. Do you mean placed over coals instead? In my early days until fires were banned here in CA in the Desolation Wilderness, that's all I cooked on was a wood fire, never enough of a gourmet to need to cook over coals though.
DuaneJun 5, 2012 at 9:52 pm #1884464Yuri RBPL Member
MSR Alpine stowaway pots are not nearly as thin as the titanium or some of the aluminum ones, so when cooking over coals – i would probably prefer one. In fact I have one, but never tried it directly on the coals or over the coals.
I also have a similarly sized titanium MSR pot, but unfortunately have no time for such tests…Jun 6, 2012 at 6:08 am #1884515
Thanks for the feedback.
I have put my Snow Peak Trek 700 Titanium on my Snow Peak LiteMax Stove and really cracked it up. Parts of the mug (and the fingers on the stove) turned cherry red but it doesn't appear to have caused any deformation or weaknesses. It does have that cool titanium rainbow pattern now. Thus, I'm not worried about it melting.
According to Wikipedia
Titanium's melting point is 3034*F.
Aluminium's (not an alloy) melting point is 1220.58*F
Iron's (main component of steel, but not an alloy and not steel) melting point is 2800*F
This website (http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/melting-temperature-metals-d_860.html) give's a certain form of Stainless Steel's melting point to be 2750*F
This website (http://aluminium.matter.org.uk/aluselect/01_applications.asp) says that 1050A & 1200 Aluminium are useful for "Kitchenware" and that 3003, 3103 Aluminium are useful for "cooking utensils" & "bakery moulds".
According to various websites the melting points for these Alloys are:
Aluminium's melting point is roughly 40% of Stainless Steel's and roughly 30% that of Titanium. Camp fires can easily range up past 1200*F. This makes a good argument against Aluminium for a dedicated camp fire cooking pot.
This narrows field down (for me) to Heavy Stainless Steel or Highly Conductive Titanium.
Since I want the titanium & the stainless is fairly cheap. I'll probably just get both. I think an MSR Stowaway will be my Stainless choice. I need to decide on a Titanium choice.
I like the pot/frypan combo of the Snow Peak Trek 900 & Trek 1400. Does anyone have a titanium Pot/Pan combo they really like?
SeanJun 6, 2012 at 7:59 am #1884537USA Duane HallBPL Member
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
In that case, watch out for the UL Police. :)
DuaneJun 6, 2012 at 8:46 am #1884547David DrakeBPL Member
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
Another thread on the same topic: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=62224
FWIW, I don't recall ever reading a post where someone wrote, "I tried cooking on coals in an aluminum pot and it melted." Just speculation about what *might* happen.Jun 6, 2012 at 8:47 am #1884548
Thanks for the link David!
I'll check it out.
SeanJun 6, 2012 at 9:09 am #1884552j lanMember
Really? Can someone show me one example or thread of a persons AL pot/pan melting? Science is not always a good thing.Jun 6, 2012 at 9:12 am #1884556Nathan WattsBPL Member
I'm thinking most foods would burn long before your pot melts. We're talking about cooking here right?Jun 6, 2012 at 9:25 am #1884559
Yes. The only caveat is that I want to be able to cook "food" not just water ;P
I want to have a pot/pan combo that I can cook fish, or small game in/on. I already have a system for boiling water for Mountain House meals. This is to augment that. As a result I could, easily, enter into that situation where there is not a liter of water in the pot acting as a heatsink.
Thus, I'm slightly more concerned about melting the pot then with traditional water boiling tasks.
SeanJun 6, 2012 at 10:04 am #1884568James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Sean, I have used aluminum pots for over 40 years. Sometimes over an open fire, but none have ever melted on me. You need a GOOD campfire and a low sitting pan for that to happen.
Anyway, I bought a Trek 1400 and sold it after 4 or 5 tries with it. The lid is on backwards. Any steam that condenses spills *out* of the pot. The fry pan was almost useless. Titanium has a way of excarbating a sort of poor situation. The hot spots, were very specific and not mitigated at all by the pan. I also burned 2 stews in it when I turned it down and let it sit for dumplings to cook. I do the same exact thing with the aluminum pot. The ti pot was 1.4L, the aluminum was about the same diameter (within a quarter inch) but had a 1.8L capacity…taller. the Trek set was considerabbly heavier than the aluminum pot and lid. I use aluminum foil for cooking fish in. (Burning it clean, then sifting out the alumium bits, later.) Sorry, I cannot recommend the Trek 1400. Your choice of course.Jun 6, 2012 at 10:06 am #1884570
Thanks for the info James. I want to like the Trek 1400 (I like my Trek 700 as a mug / water boiler) but perhaps I'll head your advice and save myself the $60 :)
EDIT: Hmm, I just noticed they make the Trek 1400 in Aluminium. Can you expound upon your issues with the Trek 1400 from a design standpoint (not a material standpoint).
SeanJun 6, 2012 at 10:56 am #1884585Hiking MaltoBPL Member
While the temperatures you quoted for the melting point of the various metals were likely correct, you are ignoring the one factor the will keep an al pot from melting on a fire, heat transfer. To see this in extreme put a paper cup of water onto or next to a fire. It will burn down to the water level but you can boil water in it. Same principle keeps the al from melting. Now if you put an empty al on coals you may get meltingJun 6, 2012 at 10:58 am #1884586
As a previous comment mentioned, I want to be able to cook "food" not just water. In some instances I expect there to be a pot that approaches empty on the fire compared to one filled with water.
For that reason I am trying to stay cognisant of the melting points.
SeanJun 6, 2012 at 11:16 am #1884590Nathan WattsBPL Member
"As a previous comment mentioned, I want to be able to cook "food" not just water."
How long does your food take to cook when sitting right in a charcoal fire? My point about this being for cooking is that you're not leaving the pot in the fire (empty or not) for very long while cooking. At least I would hope you aren't. A charcoal fire will be hot enough to melt any of the metals you mentioned given time. If the pot is absorbing enough heat to melt it where the food is not in contact with it, then my guess would be that it would be transferring so much heat to the food in the area where it is contacting it that the food would burn up or vaporize.
An example of this is that your stovetop at home is definitely hot enough to melt an aluminum pot, yet how often do you have to be concerned about the pot when you're cooking. You don't. And not because the stove can't melt the pot, but because in the act of cooking you never leave it on there long enough to cause damageJun 6, 2012 at 11:36 am #1884596Charles PSpectator
Those melting points are over 1000 degrees, you won't be cooking in that heat, you can't cook in that. I use aluminum pots to cook over coals all the time. But I usually push some coals out of the main fire and use those, you have the heat you need and you can control it a little bit more. Like cooking at home you want to be able to control your source. All that said, aluminum will work better cooking like this, better heat transfer.Jun 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm #1884609Theron RohrBPL Member
@theronrLocale: Los Angeles, California
To put what Nathan said another way if the fire can melt your pot in 5 minutes it will first turn your fish into charcoal in 2. So your immediate problem will be to not burn your food. Solving that problem will mean you never reach the point where melting your pot is a concern.Jun 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm #1884611James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
I didn't know they also made it in aluminum. Anyway…
The top, which doubles as a fry pan, is on backwards. But given I didn't know about the aluminum set, that may have been changed…it should be. Water runs down the sides when boiling water. Same for soups, stews. With the wife along, I need the frying pan or equivalent at the same time as I am cooking, say…instant potatoes.
Nope, the lid is being used to cook the trout. No lid for the pan. Anyway, even with two cups, it tends to be awkward. I have found that a piece of aluminum foil works as well for cooking, because of the hot spots, but this may be because of the material. Make a pouch, add a little water and seal it. After it puffs up and steams for a couple minutes, it's done. You need to carry foil anyway to use as a lid while you cook a steak or trout in the frying pan. It is actually too small for two people to cook and share share a fish, I needed to cut it in two. For two people,I needed to do this twice so we both had food (three times, actually.) Awkward.(I found that the lid from an aluminum pot(I think it was from the K-Mart Grease pan) actually fit on the Trek.I carried the extra lid and some aluminum foil the last time I used it, dropping the lid/frying pan.) Anyway, it was a bit bulky and heavy for the size and utility I got out of it… The handles don't work that well. They get hot easily being lower on the pan, especially over a wood fire. A bail handle was much easier, but, again, this is your choice. I just use a stick to lift the aluminum pot off the fire.
Anyway, The Trek is OK as pots and pans go, but typical of combo stuff, it seems like it does nothing *exceptionally* well. Your choice, as always.Jun 6, 2012 at 12:41 pm #1884618
Perhaps I'll start looking into a separate pan & pot. Adds weight but perhaps it will work better. That will be good too because I can't seem to find anything decent in the combo world!
SeanJun 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm #1884740Mike BozmanSpectator
Yes we are talking about cooking but no matter what you are cooking there will always be some part of the pot that is not in contact with the contents of the pot. These spots can become very hot in a fire.Jun 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm #1884747zorobabel frankensteinBPL Member
But it's Al and it transfers the heat to your food.
As long as you watch your food and fire (like you should) it will not melt.
If you leave it on the coals and go swimming, it might melt once the food is carbon.
As an aside, I haven't tried it, but I heard you can boil vodka in a plastic bag…
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