The Vault Regulars

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Titanium Myth? Outdoor Gear.

 Outdoor gear in Titanium, a must have, because it’s lighter. I've read it, bought it and worn the tee shirt. My wallets empty.

But just a minute, is it true or have we been duped by the outdoors know alls. Did i need to spend all that cash on pots,pans,cups and cutlery. Well the answer is simple - NO. So all you folk starting out buying gear or doing the D of E this year, don’t be fooled into parting with your cash.

Here are a few examples to be going on with.


 The expensive Tibetan Titanium Spork. 17 grams. £13.50
 The not so expensive spoon from Expedition foods. 14 grams and now £1.50
My very very cheap homemade bamboo spoon. 10 grams. £0.65p
Bamboo wins comfortably on both weight and cost.

Next up cups.

Titanium Lifeventure mug. Cost £20 from Cotswold shop. 60 grams

 The well known and well used and seen everywhere in the outdoors, plastic mug. Cost £1.75 and weighs 58 grams

The Asaklitt mug from Clas Ohlson. 36 grams and cost £1.39
The Asaklitt mug wins hands down and in my opinion plastic is far better to drink from than Titanium which can burn your lips if not careful.

Pans next.
I have a couple of Titanium pans which i use depending if i am solo or with Sheila. For this comparison i have used a pan of similar capacity. i.e. 600ml.

 The Evernew 600ml pan. Less lid weighs 68 grams and costs a whopping £37.00
My stainless steel pan 600ml cost £0 and weighs 66 grams but i do have a separate lifting handle that weighs 10 grams.
This seamless Stainless Steel “pan" is a throw away item and that’s why i have costed it as £0. It came to Sheila as part of a set of Vaseline lip care (Shown below). The lid which i haven’t shown above also makes a good sized frying pan. The whole lot including the 3 lip salve cost £3.35.
So the titanium pan just scrapes in on weight but certainly not on price. The weight benefit is not worth the cost imo.

Where titanium does win and i have no problems with it at all is on windshields and gas stoves. A titanium windshield will last you a lifetime and will work perfectly after years of rolling up and abuse. Aluminium although cheap and easy to replace just doesn’t have the longevity and so titanium should be considered.

Gas stoves however just cannot compete with titanium on weight and although alloy/steel stoves are cheaper, the difference in price is not so far out that titanium is beyond our reach.
A good backpacking stove can be found now at Alpkit in titanium for £25 and weighs 45 grams. How progress has been made. You can see it here.

So, is fantastic titanium backpacking gear a bit of a myth. Well the answer has to be yes and no. Just check out those alternatives before spending all that cash.


afootinthehills said...

I agree Alan. I've got the Evernew S Pot 500 (I think that's what it's called) with cup. My titanium stove (in small case) fits nicely inside the pot so it's all very compact and I'm happy with it by and large. BUT I have never got used to drinking out of the cup for the 'burnt lips' reason you give and plan to carry my old plastic one in future. Spoons are also plastic. As you say, consider all alternatives before parting with your cash - everyone is after your money!

AlanR said...

Couldn’t have put it better myself. If i was starting out again i think i would put the money i saved by not buying titanium into a better quality rucksack.

Martin Rye said...

Titanium is A class kit. We will have no more of this heretical nonsense now Alan :)

The Asaklitt mug does look a good buy mind you.

Al said...

Interesting Alan...I've used a MSR Titan kettle and mug as a solo set for over 15 years, countless trips, and feel that if your into backpacking "for the long haul" good kit is money well spent. The main plus points for a titan mug IMHO are that it is a second pan, and importantly for me.....doesn't taste. Soup, a quick rinse then tea/coffee no problem. Strangely I've never encountered the "lip burning" (thank goodness)
I do sometimes use a lexan spoon instead of my snowpeak spork tho!!
Always good to hear another point of view

AlanR said...

Martin, Al.
The point I am aiming to get across is mainly for those at the younger end who are starting to get to grips with going lighter. My point is that it isn't necessary to spend loads of money to achieve the goal. With a bit of patience, alternative bits of kit can be found. I wouldn't dare try and convince seasoned backpackers who have unlimited funds to change. I have already bought titanium kit or else I wouldn't be able to do the comparison but I think my point is quite clear that you should check before you spend.

Al, you must be the only one I know who hasn't had near scalded lips of titanium mugs.
Martin, The Asaklitt is quite good and makes a good porridge or soup bowl too.

Al said...

I think I must be a patient kinda guy, and let my tea?coffee cool a bit! :-))
Prob comes from work when I never seem to get to drink my brew when its hot!
Wholeheartedly agree that no one "needs" titan gear tho.

Ian Wood said...

Good points well made. I have aluminium pans that are a lot lighter than any titanium ones I own, perfectly good for boiling water. I, like Al have never suffered from burnt lips either using a titanium mug even when using it as a pan straight from a stove.

AlanR said...

Maybe your more tolerant to heat Al.

AlanR said...

Thanks Ian. Most of us just boil water anyway, so is titanium really needed.
Like Al you must have high tolerance or I'm just soft.

Dawn said...

Like most folk I have a selection of pots. My main one is the Titan kettle.That was bought cheap because it had a wee dent. Titanium is possibly the latest outdoor fad. The latest must have thing. When some fancy new metal comes along, probably folk will be buying stuff made out of that, and all to save a fraction of an ounce. Nice write up Alan.

AlanR said...

Thanks Dawn. The MSR Titon kettle is a very popular choice and I understand why. A very tight budget just makes you challenge the trend.

-maria- said...

Spot on, Alan. I could do with a fraction of all the gear I have. For example I seldom use my ti pot or ti spork. Actually I should start selling some of the gear I don't usually use - not that you get that much money on the second hand market but there's little point in filling your shelves with stuff you don't use.

AlanR said...

Hi Maria. Yes, I am in the same situation. My point exactly. Its too expensive not to use it but that's exactly what I do with mine. So did I need to spend on titanium. No.

Andrew W said...

Sooooooo true, and yet the gear freak in me, did buy a Titanium Pan.
Mind you, I got it in the USA when the exchange rate was £1 = $2 and it cost me $11
Very true on stoves, although my old pocket rocket weighs next to nowt, and the Titanium Jetboil, has had some serious bad press, so happy that I have the bog standard one.
I do like the Asaklitt mug, but since I have 2 x original TGOC green mugs, plastic is best.
I do have an Alpkit Titanium mug though, but I only use that if I am taking just a stove an that only to boil the water.
Not if I am taking the pan, and not if I am taking the Jetboil.
I have to admit to a very long titanium spoon.
Mainly because I accidentally melted my plastic sporks.
But now that you mention wood spoons....Off to the £ shop..... :-)

AlanR said...

I would imagine Andrew that all the bloggers within my sphere have bought titanium.Including me. But just add up the weights and the costs of just the above examples and titanium is a myth.
On the wooden spoons, don’t buy the solid wood types they are not light but the bamboo ones can be modified to leave titanium standing. And bamboo doesn’t stain easy either.

Laura said...

Very good post Alan - a great talking point. I have been considering starting to use my original F1 stove instead of the beloved Jetboil which I think is probably too heavy. It would use more gas but that isn't necessarily a problem as long as there is a shop! I'm only boiling water! I also like the look of the Alpkit stove.........

AlanR said...

Very kind Laura. And i agree its worth talking about. The F1 is belting lightweight efficient little stove. I use mine quite a bit. If i was looking for a new stove i would now plum for the Alpkit offering. Although Sports Direct are offering a titanium stove for less than £20 and the weight is comparable.

FellBound said...

Good points Alan. I've often thought the same...and then gone and purchased something else in Titanium. Perhaps it's a subconscious status thing.

AlanR said...

Dave, there are lots of items in the outdoors kit that we get duped on and i hope this post proves the point.

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