Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
Backpacking Forums
---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel

the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags


Sleeping Bags


Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#201819 - 09/29/18 01:41 PM What Size Pot?
SJS Offline

Registered: 08/26/18
Posts: 29
Loc: Low Country of SC
To use only one pot for cooking/heating one freeze dried meal, for one person, what size pot would I need?

#201820 - 09/29/18 03:09 PM Re: What Size Pot? [Re: SJS]
Glenn Roberts Online   content

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1939
Loc: Southwest Ohio
You can go by one of two approaches.

First approach: How much water does the recipe/bag call for? That’s your starting point; add a little bit for the volume of the food, and a little bit to avoid boil-overs. For example, if the meal calls for 12 ounces of water, and you’ve got 3 or 4 ounces (dry volume, not weight) of ingredients, and allow another 4 ounces for boil-over, you’d need a pot with a capacity of at least 20 ounces. This method assumes you’re going to be adding the ingredients to the 12 ounces of water in the pot, and letting the meal “cook” in the pot.

Second approach: Starts the same as before: how much water do you need to prepare the meal? That’s the size pot you need, because with this method, you’re going to add the boiling water to the ingredients and let it cook in the bag, not the pot. So, if you need 12 ounces of water, you’ll need a pot of at least 12 ounces (I’d allow a few ounces for boil-over here, too - call it 16 ounces.)

One big consideration as you downsize pots is your stove. If you’re using a really small pot, make sure it will sit on the pot supports of your stove. Depending on the diameter of your pot, the supports may be too widely spaced to keep the pot above the flame like they are designed to do.

Other pot considerations: by getting a mug-shaped pot, it can double as a drinking cup or a bowl (if someone offers to split some of their food, for example.) If you use the second approach to cooking, you can put a second pot on to heat up, and drink your tea or coffee from it while you eat your meal from the bag. Cooking in the bag also means your clean up consists of drying the pot and licking your spoon (you can dunk it in the next pot of boiling water you make if you want to sterilize it.) Many of us who use this method (and nearly everyone I know does) have a kitchen that consists of a mug-shaped pot of 20 - 30 ounces and a long-handled spoon, and nothing more. Sometimes, I cheat and bring a second 12-ounce cup if I’m making oatmeal for breakfast; I make the oatmeal in the cup and tea in the pot. (Mostly, I bring along an oatmeal breakfast bar, and leave the cup at home.)

Just to give you an example of sizes, I use the MSR Titan Tea Kettle (28 ounces, I think.) Many of my friends use the new MSR Mini Solo cookset (which includes a plastic bowl), the Snowpeak Trek 700 or 900 titanium pot, or a Snowpeak solo cook set (cup and pot.) A fair number also use the MSR Windburner or one of the Jetboil stoves, all of which come with an integrated pot/mug and plastic bowl. There are a ton of other good products out there that work just as well as MSR and Snowpeak. Have fun looking.

#201823 - 09/29/18 06:14 PM Re: What Size Pot? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
SJS Offline

Registered: 08/26/18
Posts: 29
Loc: Low Country of SC
Thank you Glenn, that answers all my questions.

#201824 - 09/29/18 09:01 PM Re: What Size Pot? [Re: SJS]
Glenn Roberts Online   content

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1939
Loc: Southwest Ohio
When you decide you just can’t face another freeze-dried entree, come back ask about freezer bag cooking. It works just like freeze-dried meals (you add boiling water to the bag of ingredients), but the recipes use a lot of different ingredients. There are a number of people here who dehydrate their own ingredients and have some great-sounding recipes.

#201854 - 10/02/18 07:36 PM Re: What Size Pot? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
wandering_daisy Offline

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I have a "solo" pot that is adequate in volume, but have gone back to my smaller titanium pot (the smaller of the 3-pots in the SnoPeak set- I think about 1 liter?), simply because the weight is not much more and it is so much more useful. Try to wash your face with a solo pot- ugh. I always like my hot drink WITH my meal, so I have a very light small titanium cup. The regular pot is less "tippy" than the solo pot. No danger of accidently spilling my meal.

Also consider how you will pack the pot. My pot very nicely fits exactly over the end of my tent bag so is not at all awkward to pack. When enough food is eaten, I then pack it inside the bear can. Stove and matches fit inside the cup which fits inside the pot along with my foam cozies for my cup.

The small pot is marginally adequate for two people. I usually take the medium pot if I go with someone.

Be sure to take a lid. Boiling water without a lid wastes a lot of fuel. I have "cozies" for each pot made of old blue foam sleeping pads that have worn out. The foam is held around the pot with a rubber band. There is a round cut-out for top and bottom.

#202447 - 01/20/19 01:48 PM Re: What Size Pot? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Sharbear Offline

Registered: 07/13/18
Posts: 7
Loc: MO
Great answer, you covered so many variables.


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Cutting weight
by Sponge
01/20/21 02:50 PM
Compact Lightweight Gas Stove for a Budget Price
by walkingnatur
01/16/21 01:23 PM
Opinions on rain suit replacement or repair
by 4evrplan
01/15/21 10:16 AM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Sierra Nevada due for big, wet, cold storm series
by Rick_D
03:09 PM
Worst Sleep Ever
by Sponge
01/11/21 09:50 AM
Permanent'ish tents and condensation
by willie1280
01/07/21 08:52 AM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Question about down in a quilt
by PaHiker
01/06/21 08:35 PM
Featured Photos
David & Goliath
Also Testing
Just testing
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 69 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
philreed, wis.cur, backlight, Rosie, tom q vaxy
12966 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum

Affiliate Disclaimer: This forum is an affiliate of,, R.E.I. and others. The product links herein are linked to their sites. If you follow these links to make a purchase, we may get a small commission. This is our only source of support for these forums. Thanks.!

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum