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MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set Review

For gourmet and health-conscious campers, this set will form the foundation or three to four campers
MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set
Photo: MSR
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $80 List | $79.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Environmental and health-friendly ceramic construction, lightweight and versatile overall construction
Cons:  Fragile coating and pots dent easily, no features beyond two basic pots
Manufacturer:   MSR
By Amber King & Jediah Porter  ⋅  Mar 6, 2020
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 16
  • Cooking Performance - 25% 8
  • Packability - 20% 7
  • Durability - 15% 6
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9
  • Features - 10% 3

Our Verdict

The MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set stands out for its health-conscious construction. If you are a food fanatic that likes to plan your menus weeks in advance and cruise the produce section for the freshest of the fresh, this might be camping set for you. This set contains two pots that nest together with a simple pair of pliar-like potholders. The ceramic material is health-friendly while being lightweight and versatile. Its simplicity allows you to pair it with other utensils and items to make it more functional for your purpose. We love using it for both backpacking and car-camping adventures. Its non-stick ceramic coating makes gourmet cooking a real possibility on the trail.

MSR updated the Ceramic 2-Pot Set with their Fusion ceramic coating, which is PFOA and PFTE-free and designed to be tougher to withstand more abuse.

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MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $79.95 at Backcountry
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$62.96 at Amazon
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$19.95 at REI$50 List
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Pros Environmental and health-friendly ceramic construction, lightweight and versatile overall constructionSturdy construction and efficiency-oriented heat exchanger ring, locking universal pot gripperDurable, excellent frying pan for discerning cooks, great lid, great value for the setSuper durable, simple design, inexpensive, great for meats, fast boiling timeLight, simple, just the right set of features
Cons Fragile coating and pots dent easily, no features beyond two basic potsHeavy, especially for a kit that requires addition of other features, heat exchanger ring is a little messyHeavy, no non-stick coatingLimited cooking options, hot spots while cookingNot suitable for sophisticated cooking
Bottom Line For gourmet and health-conscious campers, this set will form the foundation or three to four campersEfficiency oriented, with an excellent foundation for the practical, hearty cooking, enthusiastic userA high value car camping set, optimized for performance and compact carry, at a high weightA super durable stainless steel cook set designed for the solo travellerA simple pot and basic accessories for ultralight backpacking
Rating Categories MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set Primus PrimeTech 2.... Stanley Adventure B... GSI Outdoors Glacie... MSR Trail Mini Duo
Cooking Performance (25%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
4.0
4.0
Packability (20%)
7.0
6.0
4.0
7.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
6.0
6.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
Weight (15%)
8.0
8.0
4.0
9.0
9.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
9.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Features (10%)
3.0
4.0
10.0
5.0
3.0
Specs MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set Primus PrimeTech 2.... Stanley Adventure B... GSI Outdoors Glacie... MSR Trail Mini Duo
Measured Weight 1 lbs 1.6 lbs 4.8 lbs 1.0 lbs 0.7 lbs
Material Hard-anodized Aluminum Aluminum Stainless Steel; pot and pan bottoms have additional layers Stainless Steel Hard-anodized Aluminum
Components 2L pot, 1.5L pot, strainer lid, 2 plates, 2 mugs, handle 2 2.3L pots, 1 lid, pot tongs, padded/insulated storage bag 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 1L pot, 1 folding handle frypan, bowl, 1 cup, 1 stuff sack 1.2L pot, 28 oz. bowl, lid, pot lifter, stuff sack
Avg Boil Time (mins) 3.58 3.12 4.12 3.05 4.02
3L Pot? (>2.4L) 0 0 1 0 0
2L Pot? (1.5-2.4L) 1 2 0 0 0
1L Pot? (.5-1.4L) 0 0 0 1 1
Frying Pan? 0 0 1 1 0
Frying Pan Lid? N/a N/a No No N/a
Packed Size 5.3 x 7.8 in 7.9 x 5.3 in 11 x 6 x 11 in 6.7 x 6.6 x 3.5 in 5 x 5.5 in
Weight of pot closest to 1.5L, with lid and handle 0.5 lbs 0.9 lbs 1.9 lbs 0.74 lbs 0.5lbs
Cooking Surfaces One (1.5L) non-stick pot, One (2.5L) uncoated pot Non-stick Teflon like coating Stainless Steel 18/8 Stainless steel Hard anodized

Our Analysis and Test Results

MSR takes state of the art ceramic coatings, only recently receiving extensive use in regular kitchens, and adapts the technology for backcountry use. This form, including the smart lids, clever handle, and overall construction that creates a contained package without a separate carry bag, augments the excellent materials. The result is an award-winning product that is tailor-made for the discerning, health-conscious backcountry chef.

Performance Comparison


Staying healthy is important, especially on the trail. Here, Jess...
Staying healthy is important, especially on the trail. Here, Jess and Andrea use the MSR Ceramic pot for a delicious meal high up in the desert.
Photo: Amber King

Cooking Performance


It is for its cooking performance that the Ceramic 2-Pot Set truly stands out. In fact, we had to add an entirely new consideration to our evaluation. This set boils water quickly (3 min 35 sec) and cooks evenly. Even the stickiest of food doesn't get burned on, and the performance lasts after many uses. We are impressed by its overall performance. Plus, we like it more than Teflon.


For decades now, camping cookware has been made with inert steel, titanium, and anodized aluminum, or aluminum coated with hazardous-but-easy-to-cook-with Teflon and Teflon-like materials. For lightweight camp cooking, one was forced to choose between poor cooking performance or the debatable dangers of the coatings. A few years back, ceramic coatings came to kitchen cookware, with the performance that replicates Teflon.

The non-stick surfaces work amazingly when it comes to super sticky...
The non-stick surfaces work amazingly when it comes to super sticky stuff. These eggs stick for a second but easily lift off for easy cleaning.
Photo: Amber King

It took a while, and there are still very few options available, but ceramic has now made its way to camping cookware. The MSR products are the best we have found, and the 2-Pot Set we evaluated is the best way to start your own health-conscious, gourmet-eating, camping kitchen. It is not as comprehensive as some, but these work-horse components form an excellent foundation. Sauces, stir-fries, pasta, grains, and even meats cook well. While our test didn't allow for extensive baking, our lead test editor, mountain guide, and backcountry cinnamon roll connoisseur, vouch for the competence of these pots for that sort of task.

Boiled water happens around 3:50 with pocket rocket set to high...
Boiled water happens around 3:50 with pocket rocket set to high power. While it's not the fastest boil time, you can find resolve that no nasty stuff will be leached out into your food at high heat.
Photo: Amber King

Packability


MSR makes innovative gear in a variety of categories. Their equipment is reliable and clever, without being overdone in any way. Their hallmark is gimmick-less performance. The packability of the Ceramic 2-Pot Set exemplifies this. The two included pots pack securely, quietly, and contained without using a bag, which is a nice plus.


All items pack nicely into one package. Nested, you can fit this...
All items pack nicely into one package. Nested, you can fit this easily into a backpack.
Photo: Amber King

For the most part, packability is a function of size. You can easily fit a mini-stove, lighter, and other items inside the voluminous pots. We were also able to fit a small sponge and other essential items we needed to use. Like other sets, you can parse down the size to make it more packable inside a backpack or in your kitchen kit, and we're happy with its ability to nest other items inside.

Here we fit a canister of gas and a stove inside the larger pot. The...
Here we fit a canister of gas and a stove inside the larger pot. The smaller pot will only fit the canister, but not the stove. Feel free to use just one pot if you want to eliminate weight or pack things into the volume of the pot.
Photo: Amber King

Durability


The main durability issue with backcountry cookware is the integrity of the non-stick coating, if it has one. Uniquely equipped with a ceramic non-stick coating, the MSR Ceramic is in a class of its own. While our testing this time around was not extensive enough to truly compare long-term durability, we have enough experience with this and similar products to make an assessment.


A ceramic coating lasts about the same amount of time and uses as a Teflon or Teflon-style coating. In the case of the Teflon coating, however, the chips may present concerns. Once it is damaged, it chips even faster. Ceramic will scratch and wear off, too, but doesn't present the same challenges that Teflon does when heated to a high temperature. We've deduced that the MSR Ceramic pot sets won't necessarily last longer than the Teflon coated products, but that they remain more usable through the deterioration.

The construction does scratch easily, so be sure to use utensils...
The construction does scratch easily, so be sure to use utensils that won't scratch the interior.
Photo: Amber King

In this way, we score the Ceramic 2-Pot Set higher in durability than the Teflon coated products but lower than the bare metal and anodized products. Regarding other durability variables, the MSR does fine. The metal isn't the thickest, nor is it the thinnest. It is vulnerable to warping and denting, but careful packing will manage that. The hardware is reliable and simple enough to last at least as long as the coating will.

The handle connection is super sturdy and won't melt if you keep it...
The handle connection is super sturdy and won't melt if you keep it on while cooking.
Photo: Amber King

Weight


The MSR Ceramic pots are squarely on the low end when it comes to weight. In any human-powered camping situation, weight matters a great deal. In the best comparison we could think of (comparing the main pot, lid, and gripper of all the sets, and then normalizing for volume), the Ceramic 2-Pot Set from MSR is quite light. Feel free to use it when you're trying to slim down on the pounds that you carry.


Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
A look at the weight with all of the different parts of the MSR...
A look at the weight with all of the different parts of the MSR Ceramic set. Yes, we weigh all the gear we test.
Photo: Amber King

Ease of Use


This is a simple collection of basic cookware; there is little to "figure out" and even less to fail.


Every piece is smooth, inside and out, and therefore easily cleaned to the best of your camping abilities. The one compromise that MSR has made, to cut some weight and create their proprietary packing closure system, is to use a proprietary pot handle instead of a universal pliers-style gripper.

This set comes with only one lid that securely fits onto both pots...
This set comes with only one lid that securely fits onto both pots. We appreciate this simplicity and well-thought-out design.
Photo: Amber King

In most ways, this is a serviceable trade-off, but some will certainly notice the limited compatibility of the MSR handle. It's also fairly easy to wipe out and clean after use.

It also has draining holes for when you need to strain a meal. The...
It also has draining holes for when you need to strain a meal. The pot top is rubberized so it doesn't conduct heat...perfect for any cooking situation.
Photo: Amber King

Features


Very few features are included with the Ceramic 2-Pot Set. This is a set of high-end cookware to form the skeleton of a carefully curated camping kitchen. For those attracted to this set of equipment, the process of selecting the accompanying features individually will likely be a pleasure of its own.


In order to protect the ceramic lining, and to serve as a cleaning...
In order to protect the ceramic lining, and to serve as a cleaning and drying tool, MSR includes the blue square of pack towel. This set is simple without any bells or whistles.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Value


These are not inexpensive pots. However, their value does not dramatically stand out from the others we tested. It compares to some of our top performers, and those that will find the most value in it are those that don't like Teflon but want a similar level of overall performance.

Use this awesome set either in the backcountry or in the front...
Use this awesome set either in the backcountry or in the front county. Its healthy construction is well worth the price.
Photo: Amber King

Conclusion


This is a food connoisseur's set of camping pots. They are lightweight and easy to use. If you take care of your nutrition as well as with the aesthetic side of camping food, the health and performance of the MSR Ceramic set will serve you well.

We decide to choose healthy. Here our lead tester and her best...
We decide to choose healthy. Here our lead tester and her best friend head out on a kayaking backpack trip near Prince George, British Columbia with the MSR Ceramic pot set in tow. We are ready for healthy meals while kayak camping in the Northwest of Canada!
Photo: Amber King

Amber King & Jediah Porter