Cascade Designs have improved the entire MSR cookware range for 2009. Lots of great stuff, from minimal titanium cups for 1 to maximal non-stick hard-anodized aluminum buckets for 4. But if I limit all the possible uses for such a huge array of products to just solo winter lightweight backpacking, the new MSR Quick 1 titanium 1,3 L pot stands out as a perfect tool.
Photo: melting snow in MSR Quick 1 pot on MSR SimmerLite (notice windscreen burn-through)
3 major parameters define the choice of cookware for backpacking:
You either choose to:
Both extremes have their pleasures, but let’s focus on the joy of movement through beautiful scenery. In this case, light is right, cook in a bag is fast.
Selecting gear for 2 or more allows you to spread common items like cooking pots between members of the group. Going solo? No cheating. One on one with nature, one on one with gear.
So, what would work best for a go light, go fast, go solo, go in the winter backpacking trip?
The ideal combination to melt snow as fast as possible in winter is:
Fire the stove, fill the pot with snow, wait, fill up again, wait, and here you go, a liter of water. No spoon-feeding the mug! Fill your bottle / insulated reservoir, fold the stove, pack the pot… Ready to go?
Ugh… That round 5 L thing is a pain to fit in the backpack! It doesn’t fold, it doesn’t compress. OK, get out the sleeping bag, put it into the pot – oh it’s still wet inside – try to jam the combo back in…
Smaller items are always easier to pack together. Moreover, soft, rectangular shapes fill up the voids of the backpack much better than hard cylinders. The solution might be to just get a bigger backpack.
But, a larger volume backpack means:
Hence, the dilemma. We need:
From my experience, for solo winter use, a pot:
So, the new 1,3 L MSR Quick 1 pot has the perfect intermediate volume for solo winter backpacking. Sure, it’s slower than the MSR Titan 2 L pot, but it also packs smaller. Smaller backpack, easier going through the snow. For 1 person, I think it’s a good compromise.
The MSR Quick 1 pot is made of titanium, the lightest and toughest material available for outdoor cookware.
However, the lid is aluminum. Unfortunately, Cascade Designs have decided that the small weight savings from using titanium for the lid would not justify the higher price to consumers. Well, I’d prefer a titanium lid whatever the price. Titanium is a better material.
The total weight is 184 g (6.49 oz) on my digital scale, which is very good for a 1,3 L pot with a lid and a handle.
Photo: MSR Quick 1 pot with unfolded handle / Used with permission from CD / Author unknown
A unique feature of the latest MSR pots, the integrated Talon handle locks the lid when folded, creating a very neat package.
Photo: MSR Quick 1 pot with folded handle / Used with permission from CD / Author unknown
Simple and elegant.
Honestly, the system looks shabby and prone to melting. Horrific images come to mind: the handle folds while pouring a kilo of boiling water…
But, in reality, the Talon system works as advertised. No movement, no leaks, no problem. And the handle does not melt. So don’t trust your eyes, trust the facts. I started with just moving cold water in and out, then boiling, then burning the whole thing. Still works, no complaints.
And the package is really nice. No need for rubber bands to hold the lid. No need to search through the pockets for a separate MSR LiteLifter handle.
Photo: MSR LiteLifter pot handle / Used with permission from CD / Author unknown
With the Quick 1 pot, everything’s there, in one place, and really compact.
Moreover, the system is glove friendly. Tested with Outdoor Research Omni gloves.
Just as you would expect from Cascade Designs, the finish is great: round edges, high tolerances.
Titanium is biocompatible with the human body. It’s even used for implants. So leeching of titanium into water is OK for your health. However, don’t chew the pot – you may damage your teeth.
I use the MSR SimmerLite white gas liquid fuel stove in winter. It always works in low temperatures without complaining. It’s also lighter and more compact than the bomber MSR XGK-EX.
Photo: MSR SimmerLite stove with fuel bottle / Used with permission from CD / Author unknown
As expected, melting the same amount of snow in a smaller 1,3 L pot takes more time than in a 2 L pot. But unlike with smaller mugs or even the 0,85 L MSR Titan Kettle, the process of adding snow remains bearable.
Before I get to the conclusions and alternatives, here’s the detailed specs of the pot:
A compact, yet still useable pot for snow melting on solo winter trips. The pot holds everything needed inside, except the fuel bottle, while remaining nicely locked. The weight is minimal even with a sturdy handle.
My current favorite for winter backpacking. A must get.
Special thanks to Tami FAIRWEATHER, Kerri DELLISANTI, Steve GRIND and Drew KEEGAN of Cascade Designs USA; Lisa WALL and Maurice GOWEN of Cascade Designs Europe; Stephan HAGENBUSCH of Eastside PR for their help with this review.
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