Reviews You Can Rely On

MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set Review

Super durable, basic two pot set; for basic camping pasta dinners and just-add-water breakfasts, this product excels and will serve for decades
MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set
Photo: MSR
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $50 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Super duper durable, simple design, good price
Cons:  Poor heat conductor, uneven cooking, long boil time, no skillet included
Manufacturer:   MSR
By Amber King & Jediah Porter  ⋅  Nov 27, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 16
  • Cooking Performance - 25% 4
  • Packability - 20% 8
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Features - 10% 4

Our Verdict

If you're looking for a set of cookware that can take a beating and keep on ticking, the MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set is an excellent option. This "classic" set is made of sturdy stainless steel, which is scratch-resistant and durable. If you've been camping and backpacking for a while, you probably have a set of these pots in your gear bin, and they are most likely still in good shape! However, this set is not the best performer when it comes to cooking, as it has hot spots and needs to be managed while cooking. While it's not the top performer in our review, it's still a good one if you love stainless steel and prefer a durable set. Its one of our recommendations if you seek a durable cookware set, where cooking performance isn't the most important consideration. It comes at a good price too.

Compare to Similar Products

 
MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set
Awards  Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award  
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$79.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$39.99 at Amazon$19.95 at REI$29.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
65
71
69
68
59
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Super duper durable, simple design, good priceDurable, excellent frying pan for discerning cooks, great lid, great value for the setGreat starter set, stable handles, some versatile piecesSuper durable, simple design, inexpensive, great for meats, fast boiling timeDurable, inexpensive, fast boiling time, simple
Cons Poor heat conductor, uneven cooking, long boil time, no skillet includedHeavy, no non-stick coatingSmall bowls, unnecessary accessoriesLimited cooking options, hot spots while cookingPoor lid and handle construction, hot spots while cooking, tiny serving plate
Bottom Line Super durable, basic two pot set; for basic camping pasta dinners and just-add-water breakfasts, this product excels and will serve for decadesA high value car camping set, optimized for performance and compact carry, at a high weightA budget, one stop shop for basic camping menusA super durable stainless steel cook set designed for the solo travellerA durable camping set for solo use while backpacking
Rating Categories MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set Stanley Adventure B... Winterial 11 Piece Set GSI Outdoors Glacie... Snow Peak Personal...
Cooking Performance (25%)
4.0
9.0
7.0
4.0
4.0
Packability (20%)
8.0
4.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Durability (15%)
8.0
10.0
6.0
9.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
8.0
4.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
7.0
6.0
5.0
8.0
5.0
Features (10%)
4.0
10.0
7.0
5.0
5.0
Specs MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set Stanley Adventure B... Winterial 11 Piece Set GSI Outdoors Glacie... Snow Peak Personal...
Measured Weight 1.3 lbs 4.8 lbs 1.8 lbs 1.0 lbs 1.3 lbs
Material Stainless Steel Stainless Steel; pot and pan bottoms have additional layers Hard-anodized Aluminum Stainless Steel Stainless Steel
Components 2L pot, 1.5L pot, lid, pot grabber 3.5L pot, vented lid, 7" 3ply frying pan, cutting board, spatula with extending handle, serving spoon with extending handle, [4] 6in plates, [4] 22oz bowls, [4] sporks, dish drying rack, heat resistant trivet, locking bungee 1.9L pot, 6.5" frypan, lid, kettle, ladle, 2 bowls, spatula, scrubbing pad, hot pad 1L pot, 1 folding handle frypan, bowl, 1 cup, 1 stuff sack 2 pots, 1 lid, 1 plate, 1 bowl, 1 pan
Avg Boil Time (mins) 3.85 4.12 3.5 3.05 3.05
3L Pot? (>2.4L) 0 1 0 0 0
2L Pot? (1.5-2.4L) 2 0 1 0 0
1L Pot? (.5-1.4L) 0 0 0 1 2
Frying Pan? 1 1 1 1 1
Frying Pan Lid? No No No No No
Packed Size 8 x 4.4 in 11 x 6 x 11 in 6.75 x 3.5 in 6.7 x 6.6 x 3.5 in 5.9 x 3.2 in
Weight of pot closest to 1.5L, with lid and handle 0.8 lbs 1.9 lbs 0.6 lbs 0.74 lbs 0.5 lbs
Cooking Surfaces Uncoated Stainless Steel Non-stick Teflon coating on each piece 18/8 Stainless steel Stainless Steel

Our Analysis and Test Results

The MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set is one of the stainless steel cookware sets in our fleet. The set as a whole weighs just a bit over a pound and measures eight inches by a little over four inches when packed together. It includes a 1.5 and 2 liter pot, a lid that may also double as a plate, a pot grabber, and it neatly packs into its bag. There are other products far better suited to elaborate cooking, but there is nothing that will last longer.

Performance Comparison


The workhorse MSR Alpine Cookset in action. For years of use, in all...
The workhorse MSR Alpine Cookset in action. For years of use, in all environments, in preparing simple camp meals, the Alpine Cookset is great.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Cooking Performance


We performed two objective tests to determine our scores in this category, plus anecdotal evidence from "real-time" use. In establishing the time to boil two cups of water and how well it cooked a scrambled egg, mixed with information from cooking countless meals in the wild, we generated a score that approximates cooking performance. Given our introduction, you won't be surprised to learn that this set scored low in this category.

This cookware was difficult to prepare bacon in due to the uneven...
This cookware was difficult to prepare bacon in due to the uneven conductivity of heat.
Photo: Gentrye Houghton

Because stainless steel is a poor heat conductor, this cookware even...
Because stainless steel is a poor heat conductor, this cookware even burns bacon easily.
Photo: Gentrye Houghton

During our egg tests, we learned that the stainless steel tends to be sticky and doesn't do a great job. Stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat, and it is rather apparent when cooking an egg to see the hot spot created while on a narrow camp stove burner.

Not only is this cookware slow to boil, but it also conducts heat...
Not only is this cookware slow to boil, but it also conducts heat unevenly as you can see with this scrambled egg mixture.
Photo: Gentrye Houghton

The results of our scrambled egg test. Hot spots are created that...
The results of our scrambled egg test. Hot spots are created that easily burn eggs, which sticks to the uncoated stainless steel. However, since stainless steel is scratch resistant, you can use steel wool during cleaning.
Photo: Gentrye Houghton

Packability


This set's packed measurements aren't that big, nor is it that small. It's a good option if you want to take it out backpacking or simply car camping. We love that the pots nest together, and because of its durable steel construction, you can stuff this set full of any items you like without concern of scratching!

Both sets of the MSR cookware we tested have similar packable...
Both sets of the MSR cookware we tested have similar packable dimensions and vary by half a pound in weight. This stainless steel set (left) is lighter than the hard anodized aluminum set (right).
Photo: Gentrye Houghton

Durability


Although the stainless steel pots scored low in cooking performance, it is rugged. One great thing about cooking with stainless steel is that it is extremely scratch-resistant, so you don't have to second guess yourself when grabbing the steel wool during cleaning. Our reviewers needed to do this after the scrambled egg test. Even if you do manage to scratch the steel, performance will not change. The surface is the same as what's "underneath". Scrape and scrub away. Steel wool, sand - whatever you choose to scrub with won't affect the performance. No coatings here…only solid metal.

Stainless steel is durable and scratch resistant, so this cookware...
Stainless steel is durable and scratch resistant, so this cookware is ideal for anyone who is rather hard on their pots and pans.
Photo: Gentrye Houghton

Weight


Overall this set weighs in at 1.3 pounds. The overall weight tells part of the story. If you'll be carrying just one pot, lid, and handle for a simple cooking mission, the Alpine 2 is quite heavy. In short, the MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set is not a lightweight choice, and there are lighter options out there with a better weight to use ratio.

Ease of Use


Although the weight and packable size of this set are roughly comparable to many of the models we tested, these pots scored lower than average in this category because of its limited versatility. This set does not include a true skillet (the lid can be pressed into such service, but it doesn't work that well), which our reviewers missed while car camping, but some found unimportant while backpacking. This cookware comes with a pliers-style pot grabber, instead of an attachable handle. We prefer handles that are a little more securely attached to the pot. Our reviewers found this problematic while cooking with both pots at the same time; the system is a little less secure than an attached handle.

These pot grabbers are pretty secure, but require that you actively...
These pot grabbers are pretty secure, but require that you actively grip the hand while you are using them. Plus, it is difficult to multi-task during cooking with only a single pot grabber per set.
Photo: Gentrye

Features


There are essentially no extra features to speak of with the MSR Alpine set. You get two simple pots and a universal fit lid. For truly comprehensive cooking and dining, you will need to add a frying pan, cutlery, bowls, cups, and a cutting board. No kit we tested is truly comprehensive, but many add at least some of these features.

Value


This set does have a high value, especially when you examine price vs. overall score and the price per year of service. Since stainless steel pots are going to take a beating and keep on ticking, this set should last a long time. Those that will find value in it will be seeking a durable cook set. Guides and avid outdoors people that need their camp cookware to last.

Even though it doesn't boil water quickly or cook evenly, it is very...
Even though it doesn't boil water quickly or cook evenly, it is very durable. If durable and a good price is what you seek, this may be one to consider. We also love the easy to use potholders that'll have this lasting for years.
Photo: Gentrye Houghton

Conclusion


If you're in the market for a camping cookware set that could potentially last a lifetime and aren't looking to cook gourmet meals in the backcountry, then this is a great set to consider.

Amber King & Jediah Porter