GSI Outdoors Glacier 1-Person Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Super durable, simple design, inexpensive, great for meats, fast boiling time
Cons: Limited cooking options, hot spots while cooking
Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This set offers high-value performance best suited for a single person while backpacking or camping. Its stainless steel design is bomber and built to inspire confidence on the trail. It's easy to use and best for the minimalist who only needs a pot and pan for their on-trail adventures.
The cooking performance of this pot and pan is decent but not anything outstanding. The stainless steel design is imperfect, with heat that generally sticks to one area of the pot and pan. The materials are thicker than other higher-value options, so it conducts better, but pales in comparison to Teflon or ceramic construction.
During our egg cooking test, the material actually does pretty well, so long as you use lots of oil. Without it, expect sticky eggs and a bit of a mess. For heating up water, it does wonderfully.
The average heat time sits around 3:45 min amongst all the pots, and this one can boil two cups of water in 3:01 min when our pocket rocket is set to its highest setting. Heat conducts quickly through the steel, which then offers quick transfer, which we appreciate.
Given the size of the pot and pan, and its cooking performance, we'd recommend it for simpler meals that you'd eat on the trail, such as oatmeal, add-water only pasta, and similar meals. It does a good job with browning meats as well, but since it has a smaller volume, you'll have a hard time fitting a ton of food inside. It's really built just for one person. You can use it for two, but budget for extra fuel as it only has a one liter water capacity.
Packable in its design, it's engineered for you to take all its major parts with you on any trip.
The one-pot has a one-liter capacity while the pan functions as a lid in addition to frying. The bowl that comes with it is a decent size for one person, but can easily be left at home if you prefer to just use the pot as your main bowl. Inside the pot, you can fit a small canister of fuel plus a stove the size of a pocket rocket stove. We managed to fit other items inside, like a ziplock full of salt and pepper, a lighter, soap, and a spork. The packable and durable nature of this set allows you to put it easily into any backpack.
The only thing it's missing is a carry sack or a means for keeping everything together, so the lid doesn't come off. We used a heavy rubber band to keep everything together.
This single set is durable enough to use metal utensils and is resistant to dents and damage. The 18/8 stainless steel design means its construction with 18% chromium and 8% nickel, similar to most stainless steel cookware. The use of these metals makes it especially resistant, while the presence of nickel helps to prevent corrosion of metals. With 8% nickel, you can expect it to perform for many years to come.
We carried this set with us on many backpacking trips, and it also took a spot in our disorganized kitchen kit while car camping. It was banged around, dropped, and smashed into the smallest part of our pack. After all of it, it still looks like new. Of the cookware options out there, this is one of the most bomber. Ceramics chip while Teflon scratches. Even though stainless steel typically doesn't have the best conducting power, which leads to sub-par cooking, it sure is durable, hence its excellent score in this category.
As a solo set, it is quite lightweight. Weighing only one pound, it hardly feels like you're carrying anything.
You can eliminate even more weight simply by leaving the little bowl at home and eating straight out of the pot. Other considerations for cooking include additional items you need to bring with you. Since it boils water relatively quickly, you don't need to worry about a bunch of extra fuel (unless you're cooking for more than one).
However, if you're going to be cooking sticker foods, be sure you factor in the weight to carry fat options like oil or butter to keep it non-stick. Remember, this is best for a single person, so you'll be carrying this weight for yourself. You can try to use it for two people, but volume is so little, you'll find yourself making water several times, which will eventually lead to more fuel consumption.
Ease of Use
This solo set has everything you need to cook food, boil water, and serve yourself while out exploring on the trail. While its construction features aren't the best of the best, it's sturdy and well thought out. It has everything you need and would expect from a high-value cooking set.
The pot handle and lid are simple to use. The handle of the pot is coated in a silicon material that is meant to protect from the heat it conducts from the pot to the handle itself.
While we prefer handles that clip in and out to avoid melting and these types of issues, this handle does okay. While boiling water and cooking up food, the handle got hot if the pot wasn't placed properly over the heat source. It's important to unfold the handle (to start) and make sure it's away from the flame; otherwise, the silicon can melt. Once we mastered that, we did notice that the handle got a little hot, but we could wait a minute after the heat source was off to pull it from the flame. The handle is sturdy and doesn't bow under the weight of a liter of water.
The pan functions as the pot top. The one issue we found with this is you can't cook with both at the same time if you need a lid for the pot. When using it as a frying pan, it's relatively small, so again, it's best for one person. We appreciate the fold-away handle that has a locking mechanism. Make sure to use this; otherwise, the handle gets flimsy under the weight of food inside the pan. Once it's locked, it's bomber and isn't going anywhere.
If cooking sticky foods, we found the material harder to clean than Teflon or Ceramic, so make sure you stash a little scrubby with you. Since it's stainless steel, you can easily clean it with abrasive materials like sand or steel wool. We appreciated this while on the trail, adding to its remarkable versatility and durability.
This set is pretty featureless. It does come with a small, personal-sized dish and cup. The cup is a simple plastic composite and does well for hot drinks. Since the dish is also made out of stainless steel, we didn't like to put super hot materials in it (like soup) as it conducts heat and is hard to hold. Typically we omitted this on the trail anyway and used the pot or pan itself as a food holder. For car camping, it's not ideal, as it's far from a full kitchen. But if you're traveling as a minimalist, it'll work in a pinch to make hot water for coffee or a small meal of veggies and meat.
This set is ultra-durable at a really low price. Of all the stainless steel sets, it offers the best functionality, making it our favorite value option for the solo traveler. Keep in mind, this set is intended for solo use. There are larger sets out there for 2-4 people; be sure to check them out if you need a high-value cooking set for many people.
The GSI Stainless Steel Cookset is designed for one person. It stands out as one of the most durable options out there with useful features that are utilitarian and thoughtful. While cooking performance isn't top-notch, it performs as intended. If you're simply boiling water and prefer the versatility of using a pot and a pan, this is a wonderful option at a great price.
— Amber King