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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.
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Price:  $50 List | $48.22 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 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
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46
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 13
  • Cooking Performance - 25% 4
  • Packability - 20% 3
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5
  • Features - 10% 3

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.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Super duper durable, simple design, good priceSturdy construction and efficiency-oriented heat exchanger ring, locking universal pot gripperEnvironmental and health-friendly ceramic construction, lightweight and versatile overall constructionDurable, excellent frying pan for discerning cooks, great lidGreat starter set, stable handles, some versatile pieces
Cons Poor heat conductor, uneven cooking, long boil time, no skillet includedHeavy, especially for a kit that requires addition of other features, heat exchanger ring is a little messyFragile coating and pots dent easily, no features beyond two basic potsHeavy, no non-stick coatingSmall bowls, unnecessary accessories
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 decades.A few attributes make this efficiency-oriented cook set an excellent foundation for the practical, hearty-cooking, enthusiastic user.For gourmet and health-conscious campers, this set will form the foundation of a kit that will prepare the best meals possible outside for 3-4 people.A car camping cook set, optimized for performance and compact carry, at a high weight.A budget, one stop shop for basic camping menus.
Rating Categories MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set Primus PrimeTech 2.3L Pot Set MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set Stanley Adventure Base Camp 11 Piece Camping Set
Cooking Performance (25%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Packability (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
4
10
0
7
Durability (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
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6
10
0
10
10
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6
Weight (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
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4
10
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9
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
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5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
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6
10
0
5
Features (10%)
10
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3
10
0
4
10
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3
10
0
10
10
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7
Specs MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set Primus PrimeTech... MSR Ceramic 2-Pot... Stanley Adventure... 11 Piece Camping Set
Measured Weight 1.3 lbs 1.6 lbs 1 lbs 4.8 lbs 1.8 lbs
Material Stainless Steel Aluminum Hard-anodized Aluminum Stainless Steel. Pot and pan bottoms have additional layers. Hard-anodized Aluminum
Components 2L pot, 1.5L pot, lid, pot grabber 2 2.3L pots, 1 lid, pot tongs, padded/insulated storage bag 2L pot, 1.5L pot, strainer lid, 2 plates, 2 mugs, handle 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
Avg Boil Time (mins) 3.85 3.12 3.58 4.12 3.5
3L Pot? (>2.4L) 0 0 0 1 0
2L Pot? (1.5-2.4L) 2 2 1 0 1
1L Pot? (.5-1.4L) 0 0 0 0 0
Frying Pan? 1 0 0 1 1
Frying Pan Lid? No N/a N/a No No
Packed Size (inches) 8 x 4.4 in 7.9 x 5.3 in 5.3 x 7.8 in 11 x 6 x 11 in 6.75 x 3.5 in
Weight of pot closest to 1.5L, with lid and handle 0.8 lbs 0.9 lbs 0.5 lbs 1.9 lbs 0.6 lbs
Cooking Surfaces Uncoated Non-stick Teflon like coating One (1.5L) non-stick pot, One (2.5L) uncoated pot Stainless-steel Non-stick Teflon coating on each piece

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

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 conductivity of heat.
This cookware was difficult to prepare bacon in due to the uneven conductivity of heat.

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

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

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.
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.

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 dimensions and vary by half a pound in weight. This stainless steel set (left) is lighter than the hard anodized aluminum set (right).
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).

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

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 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.
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.

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 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.
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.

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