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Titanium vs. Aluminum
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Chris Abbotts
(cabbotts) - F

Locale: Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Titanium vs. Aluminum on 04/22/2008 11:14:37 MDT Print View

Here's the deal...I am searching for a new pot to complete my set-up. I am on a tight budget after purchasing quite a bit of other stuff.

I have settled on the Snow Peak 900. But the problem is aluminum or titanium. 3 more ounces for 25 extra dollars. I can get the aluminum for 20.

Will the aluminum be strong enough? I understand the weight difference, but my only concern is strength for those few ounces at this point.

What are everyone's thoughts? I can wait until I have the cash to fork out (no pun intended) the extra money for the titanium.

James Loy
(jimbluz) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Titanium vs Aluminum on 04/22/2008 11:26:43 MDT Print View

I'm sure you will get a number of "scientific" responses to this question, but it may come down to price, weight and personal preference. I have a variety of titanium pots (yes, I admit it, too many). I have one aluminum pot, the Antigravity 3-cup. As for what I carry the most, it's the AGG aluminum pot and my matched Caldera Cone. I've had no problems with lack of strength. Look carefully at the titanium pots - some are so thin you have to be careful not to damage them while others (MSR Kettle, Snowpeak Mini-Solo)seem rather strong. I've been told aluminum distributes heat better than titanium but have not tried to confirm this. Another factor, which would you rather lose? Keep watching, you'll get many good responses to this question.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Titanium vs. Aluminum on 04/22/2008 11:31:53 MDT Print View

Aluminum is plenty strong, unless you step on the pot. The only reason I have a Ti pot (Evernew 0.9 Liter) is:

a) It has a wide base which works very well with my homemade red bull alcohol stove.

b) It has built in handles. You won't appreciate this that much until you have a pot without handles and forget the pot lifter.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
SP Aluminum is a WASTE on 04/22/2008 12:08:17 MDT Print View

Might I suggest that, if you're looking at Aluminum, GSI Outdoors is probably a better manufacturer than Snow Peak? SP doesn't even do HA (Hard Anodizing) of their Aluminum...

Seriously, paying for the Snow Peak name on an aluminum pot simply doesn't make a lick of sense to me. Many people are fans of the IMUSA pots (Non HA) that you can snag at hispanic stores as well... even lighter and rumor has it plenty durable.

Other than GSI, if you want HA (which, if you're going to spend more than the IMUSA you really do) you can also look at the pots that Antigravity Gear or Brasslite sells (both sell HA pots).

PS - Please note I am a huge fan of Ti... but if I were budget constrained I'd definitely by HA as it give you a better 'bang for the buck' in terms of lightweight... esp if you're only using alcohol or esbit... whereas Ti can be passed on to your grandkid (at least if you're not buying the craziest thinness ones)

Edited by jdmitch on 04/22/2008 13:52:36 MDT.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Titanium vs Aluminum on 04/22/2008 17:56:10 MDT Print View

Choose whichever is lighter...neither pot is going to withstand a hard blow. I wouldn't pay extra for more weight (if I understand correctly), that is against everything I believe in. :)

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Re: Titanium vs. Aluminum on 04/22/2008 18:31:13 MDT Print View


I have used the same aluminum pot for the last 36 years! Believe me, it has seen some rough use, but has held up fine. I picked it up at REI before I could even spell titanium, let alone new what it was. That said I now have and use some Ti pots, but I keep coming back to the aluminum.

Happy Trails,


Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Titanium vs. Aluminum on 04/22/2008 19:20:52 MDT Print View

Definitely go with aluminium.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Titanium vs. Aluminum on 04/22/2008 19:24:01 MDT Print View

Anyone have experience dry-baking in aluminum?

I'm considering Ti for that specific option - it won't melt.

Chris Abbotts
(cabbotts) - F

Locale: Upper Peninsula, Michigan
I'm leaning towards AGG on 04/22/2008 21:29:59 MDT Print View

Thanks for the help everyone.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
What about saving another $19.00? on 04/22/2008 21:56:37 MDT Print View

Slip down to your local thrift store and snag an aluminium cake baking tin. It should be somewhere between 50 cents and a dollar.

It probably won't be HA, and if you can, avoid the non stick, teflon coated variety. If you're really lucky, you may get one of the old orange anodised versions, but they tend to sell fast.

The only problem with using this as an introduction to properly lightweight aluminium pots is that you may find yourself still using it in five or even 15 years time. They're tough enough.


Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Re: Titanium vs. Aluminum on 04/23/2008 07:23:54 MDT Print View

"Anyone have experience dry-baking in aluminum?

I'm considering Ti for that specific option - it won't melt."

As long as you're not using a blow-torch of a stove (aka canister stove), there are a few people who have expressed success in this. Notable is Tinny's dry-baking with rocks and a KMart Grease Pot.

However, you're right, you're not going to be able to melt Ti in the field... period.

Edited by jdmitch on 04/23/2008 07:27:07 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
I prefer HAA on 04/23/2008 08:57:12 MDT Print View

I have had Ti...and I went back to HAA. Why? It costs less and works just fine. I still have for instance Ti cups that I can use on a stove, but overall, most of my pans/pots are HAA.
The cost is where you save - a Ti pot can be $50-100. A HAA one can be bought from say $15 to 50, depending on styles and what comes with it.
In the end I still use my simple HAA tea kettle that cost me $17 the most!

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Re: Titanium vs Aluminum on 04/23/2008 13:10:13 MDT Print View

“Choose whichever is lighter”

I’ve used the AGG pot several times:
3.8oz w/ lid plus 1.2oz handle = 5.0oz

I’ve used the Titan Kettle several times
4.2oz with handle

Both have about the same volume. Both boil 2c of h2o in 5.5 minutes w/ my alcy stove (mechanic mike style).

Here’s what I appreciate about the Titan Kettle:
1. lid stays on tighter. Thus I do not need a stuff sack for my kitchen/stove items when I toss it in the backpack.
2. Integrated handle; one less thing to worry about/find. This requires less coordination when lifting pot off flame and pouring into hot-chocolate cup.
3. since it’s slightly taller, I can store a taller wind screen in the pot (more efficiency)
4. and it is slightly lighter than the AGG setup.

But here’s what I like about the AGG pot:
1. When my friends need a pot, this is what I loan out.
2. Wider pot let’s me use my white box stove.


Edited by BarryP on 04/23/2008 13:11:07 MDT.

Jem Coady
(vaughan8) - F
aluminium v titanium on 05/31/2009 16:39:56 MDT Print View

Aluminium conducts heat better than titanium. Therefore uses less fuel, but also burns your lips if you use it as a drinking vessel....
(I've compared alu & titanium vessels on different stoves: this is the one constant)
If I'm taking one all purpose pot it's titanium, so I can use it as a mug. If I can take several, I'll use aluminium for cooking: more efficient use of fuel, better heat spread for frying.
Hope that helps.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Titanium vs. Aluminum on 05/31/2009 16:59:17 MDT Print View

"Aluminium conducts heat better than titanium. Therefore uses less fuel"
That is only true if the thickness of the two pots is the same. Usually, however, Ti pots are thinner so the difference is minimised or reversed. With the extra thin walls of the Tibetan/FireLight pots your water will boil faster than in most aluminium pots.
I wouldn't use Ti for cooking, but is great for boiling (and maybe dry baking)
Any coated pot should not be used to dry bake with . The coating deteriorates rapidly if exposed to heat without some moisture on the base (food or liquids).
This applies to those Teflon coated pots some use at home.

Rand Lindsly
(randlindsly) - MLife

Locale: Yosemite
Re: Titanium vs. Aluminum on 05/31/2009 17:36:06 MDT Print View

"That is only true if the thickness of the two pots is the same. Usually, however, Ti pots are thinner so the difference is minimised or reversed. With the extra thin walls of the Tibetan/FireLight pots your water will boil faster than in most aluminium pots."

Hummm.....well....probably not. The coefficient of thermal conductivity for titanium is 21.9W/m per degree C.....and aluminum is 237W/meter per degree Centigrade. Soooo....assuming a similar surface area and temperature differential, Fourier's Law shows the aluminum pot would need to be about 11 times thicker to have the same resistance as the titanium pot.....and I suspect that "most aluminum pots" are not 11 times thicker. Could be wrong.....but I doubt it. (assume Roger will check my math! :) In general, I think it is safe to assume that aluminum will transmit the stove's heat to your water better.

Now, the argument that should be made is the reverse of the one being made here.....not how quickly does it heat up....because aluminum wins that.....but how quickly does aluminum cool off your food and what are the costs there? In other words, if the real advantage of aluminum is that it transmits heat quickly.....then it will just as quickly transmit the heat OUT of your pot. (this is why it burns your is transmitting heat out quickly to your lips) So, the cost of cozys should be factored into the weight savings of the aluminum pot.


Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Titanium vs. Aluminum on 05/31/2009 19:06:03 MDT Print View

"...not how quickly does it heat up....because aluminum wins that.....but how quickly does aluminum cool off your food..."

Boy do I love good science, and the ability to apply it in all directions.

I knew that $$$ Ti pot could be justified by more than weight and bling.

Thank you Rand.

Edited by greg23 on 05/31/2009 19:07:58 MDT.

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: Titanium vs. Aluminum on 05/31/2009 19:14:07 MDT Print View

My testing on Titanium vs Aluminum vs Stainless steel pots has shown that Titanium is the best performer followed by Stainless steel and Aluminum the worst but basically there very little difference between the three.

My thoughts are that there is a bit more into pot efficiency than material conductivity and thickness as thermal conductivity is usually negated by the thinness of backpacking pot materials, things like emissivity of the pot material is also an important factor on pot performance.

But the most important factor on pot performance is how high the flame setting your stove burner is set too.


Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Titanium vs. Aluminum on 05/31/2009 23:06:52 MDT Print View

"Buy what you want" has seldom been more true than when selecting cookpots, in so far as the effect the material has on how much fuel you'll use. I've tried and tried to demonstrate that aluminum or titanium has an advantage and cannot verify a measurable difference. I've gone so far as to compare similarly shaped titanium and aluminum pots where the aluminum pot had a heat exchanger base, and still could not discern a difference in the amount of fuel it takes to bring water to boil. Of course there's a difference, however small, but I'm forced to conclude that it simply doesn't comprise a meaningful factor when compared to the more important variables, i.e., burner and windscreen design. Put another way, pot dimensions and lid design have an effect on efficiency, pot material doesn't.

And don't get me started on painting the things black :-)

My experience has been that aluminum is somewhat better for "cooking" than titanium because the heat spreads evenly across the pot bottom, reducing hot spots and burning. This makes both browning and simmering easier, as well as cleanup. For boiling water there's not a shred of difference. Ti pots and cups are easier to handle and drink out of because the sides and rims stay relatively cool while aluminum cookware heats evenly and fully, i.e., hot! Finally, I've never dented a Ti pot and pretty much all my Al pots have acquired dents, bends and the like. Ti's strength is quite remarkable, especially considering how thin they make the cookware. While some aluminum alloys are quite a bit stronger than others, they all dent and distort.



Edited by halfturbo on 05/31/2009 23:57:38 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Titanium vs. Aluminum on 05/31/2009 23:26:04 MDT Print View

Get whichever you can afford. The weight difference is not significant.

Like Mark, I have a Sigg Tourist nesting set that is probably older than you. :)

I also have two Gaz Globetrotters, which were awesome in their day. Still have a 1/2 dozen of the obsolete cannisters.

I am sure Mark and Roger C are familar with the Globetrotters.