This is an ultralight system often turned to for thru-hikers and backpackers who are concerned with cutting ounces. This is a compact set of cookware that you'll hardly notice is inside your pack, if you can get past the rattling. This is a cook set that is perfect for the dedicated hiker looking to assemble a customized, ultralight kitchen kit. To do it justice, pair it with the lightest stove you have the patience for and a just-add-water menu. For more elaborate cooking, just the smaller pot of the Top Pick MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set is worth considering as well in that environment. It is slightly heavier, but you get far more performance than the weight increase might suggest. For proper multi-pot meals, the Editors Choice GSI Pinnacle Camper set gets you going with a frying pan and insulated mugs, in addition to full-size pots. In the end, though, nothing comes close to the ultra-light weight of the Snow Peak. As part of a carefully curated ultralight backpacking set, the MSR Trail Mini Duo also deserves your attention. The MSR is slightly heavier than the Snow Peak but is otherwise better. The MSR takes our Top Pick award for ultralight backpacking.
Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Crazy light, compact
Cons: Only really boils water, rattles while packed, too small to pack many other items inside
Manufacturer: Snow Peak
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact cookset is a four piece set that is designed for ultralight backpackers on the go. Cast from super light titanium, this set comes with a 1-liter pot, a .8 liter pot, a 6" lid/frypan and a 5.3" lid/frypan. These pieces come in a mesh bag, and can also be purchased as a three-piece set that comes without the smaller lid. For ultralight backpacking, lightening your kitchen kit makes a big difference.
Generally, those products that are tailored to a niche don't score well overall; the Snow Peak is no exception. It only beats two other products, overall. However, it isn't even close to any of the others concerning weight. For human powered pursuits, weight is king.
When it comes to backpacking specific cookware, they're rarely made with cooking fresh ingredients in mind and instead focus on lightweight materials that tend to conduct heat poorly. Both this set and the MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set performed horribly when it came to our scrambled egg test; this is a function of the materials used. First, the steel of the MSR and the titanium of the Snow Peak are poorer conductors than the aluminum the rest of our tested products are made of. Since the metal doesn't conduct and distribute the focused heat of a camping stove, the eggs in our standardized test cooked unevenly with a difficult cleanup. Next, the Titanium Multi Compact has no nonstick coating. It is simply bare titanium.
Essentially, every other product we tested cooks better than the Snow Peak. It functioned poorly in the egg test and the boiling water test. As noted above, though, you don't choose this for performance. On an ultralight backpacking trip, you eat for fuel and want to carry as little as possible. On a budget, but with similar goals, check out the Best Buy G4Free 4 Piece Cooking Set. This is by far the least expensive product we tested. Even stripped down to one pot, it is heavier than the Snow Peak, but that compromise may be worth the many dollars of savings.
If you want a cook set with more features, at a reasonable price and weight, the MalloMe 10 Piece Mess Kit is worth your consideration too. All of these are small cooksets. They are appropriate for a solo hiker, or a pair with light and straightforward appetites. For more elaborate cooking and larger groups, our Editors' Choice GSI Pinnacle Camper set offers cooking performance that, in trained hands, can approximate the performance of your home kitchen in many ways. You'll mistake none of the food prepared in the Snow Peak kit for "home cooked".
The titanium cookware from Snow Peak is the most compact set we tested by quite a bit, which is why it's popular among thru-hikers and anyone else concerned with lightest and fastest ascents possible. This set weighs less than a pound, 10.6 ounces to be exact, and measures a little over six inches in diameter by four inches tall; therefore, making it highly packable inside your pack. Strip it to a single pot, and it is even lighter. In an ultralight cooking system, even a team of two or three won't need more than the primary pot of the Snow Peak.
However, it lost a point in this category due to the overall shape. Unfortunately, we are only able to either fit a small fuel canister or the MSR PocketRocket 2 stove along with the Snow Peak Titanium Spork inside the system; plus, the pots rattled around rather annoyingly while in the pack. We recommend adding a folded paper towel between the pieces to reduce rattle and help with cleanup. We prefer, for ultralight backpacking, a pot set like the MSR Trail Mini Duo. The Trail Mini holds an 8 oz fuel canister and a small stove inside it.
The G4Free Outdoor set, our Best Buy award winner, fits together well without rattling, and we could pack an entire cooking system inside it, including a small propane canister, the MicroRocket, two sporks and a few bags of tea. The G4Free system is more of an oblong design, which our reviewers found was easier to fit around the contents of a pack.
Titanium is your lightest weight option without compromising strength; it's about 45 percent lighter than steel and stronger than aluminum. To learn more about materials used in camping cookware, check out our Buying Advice article.
We did not experience any issues with durability during our testing period; however, the way the handles are constructed on the lids creates stress at a weak point in the system. If anything were to happen, we feel it would happen with the way the handles flip up and down as opposed to wrapping around the cookware, like the G4Free Outdoor set or the Winterial Camping Cookware Set.
Even without a coating or anodizing, the titanium construction resists corrosion while not breaking down in any way. Titanium is inherently a stable material. Aluminum takes a non-stick coating well, which helps with cooking performance. However, the coating of even the best products in our test, like the co-Editors' Choice award-winning GSI Pinnacle Camper and Primus PrimeTech 2.3 will wear off with use. The performance of the bare metal products like the Snow Peak, the Top Pick Stanley Adventure Series, and the MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set is not sophisticated, but it won't ever change. These are all the most durable products we tested. Next are the anodized products like the Best Buy Winterial 11 Piece Camping Set and the MSR Trail Mini followed by the coated products mentioned above.
This set weighs in at an astonishing 11.6 ounces, or about three-quarters of a pound, and is the lightest cookware we tested in this review. While this is the highest scoring cookware set in this category, our reviewers felt that almost every other category was compromised for lightweight. In this ultralight niche, you are making a no-holds-barred choice to optimize efficiency. Treat your dining as fuel, keeping it light and simple, and the weight of the Snow Peak set will be no issue. The MSR Trail Mini Duo is only a little bit heavier than the Snow Peak and includes more user-friendly features. The MSR also packs away better.
Ease of Use
This set earns a 3 out of 10 for use because we felt that the pieces within this set weren't instrumental during backpacking applications. Snow Peak also makes a three-piece set that cuts out the small lid included in this set. However, both of the lids are difficult to use as an optional skillet; based on the results from our scrambled egg test, we're not sure you would want to use them for anything besides lids. If you're looking for a great backpacking set of cookware that can optionally be used for one or two people, the G4Free Outdoor set has lids that double as bowls.
The good news is that, and this is a common refrain, you won't be choosing this product for its ease of use. You choose it for "ease of carrying" and you match your menu and the rest of your cooking kit to this simple foundation. Simple meals and stoves are easy and light. You don't need the snap-on/snap-off handles of the MSR Ceramic 2-Pot Set. You don't need the insulated mugs of the GSI Pinnacle Backpacker. All you need to do is to make hot water and pour it over your prepared food. Then sit back, stretch your legs for the next 30 mile day, and rest with a full belly.
There are no extra features to speak of included with the Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact kit. For this sort of ultralight backcountry feeding, even the second, smaller pot is largely unnecessary. One could handily prepare and consume simple freeze-dried style meals with the large pot and lid, a tiny propane or alcohol stove, and a spoon for each camper. Prepare the food in, and eat it from, the freeze-dried bags. This is the simplest, lightest backcountry kitchen system.
If eating only "just add water" sorts of food isn't appealing to you, the Snow Peak and attendant ultralight accessories probably aren't your best choice. If you want to cook "real" food, upgrade to a more feature rich set like the Editors' Choice GSI Pinnacle Camper, which includes two pots, a frying pan, and four cup/bowl sets. If you'd prefer to assemble your own set of accessories to complement "real" cookware, the other Editors' Choice Primus PrimeTech 2.3L pot Set forms the foundation of a genuinely gourmet cooking system.
If you're more concerned with shedding ounces within your pack and less concerned about making extensive meals in the backcountry, this is an excellent set of cookware to consider.
This set is expensive but not the best performer in our tests. For the same price, you can purchase the high scoring MSR Quick 2 System, which has more components and is more versatile for preparing "actual" food. However, if you are dead set on ultralight packing, the durable and ultra-light titanium construction of the Snow Peak will last you a long time and stay relevant.
Titanium is an extremely lightweight, yet expensive, material that does not conduct heat well. Therefore, this set is a great option for backpacking where you will be making meals mostly by boiling water. If you're planning a light and fast mission, this set is a great option.
— Jediah Porter