A single titanium or aluminum pot are fine for a solo hiker backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. Avoid stainless steel pots because they are too heavy. Generally, most hikers carry a medium-sized pot. However, you might be able to get by with a small pot if you only want to eat a single packet of Ramen or a single backpacking meal and then supplement with other snack foods.

Here are some examples of pots that thru-hikers have used, but go to the outfitter and check them out yourself to see what you would like. To help you decide on a titanium versus aluminum pot, here are some pros and cons of each one.

Titanium Pot

Pros: A titanium pot is lightweight and doesn’t react with foodstuff.
Cons: Titanium pots are usually more expensive. They usually don’t have a nonstick coating.

MSR Titan Kettle (Titanium)
Price = $60, Weight = 4.2 oz, Capacity = .85 liter
Website = <Cascade Designs>

Aluminum Pot

Pros: An aluminum pot is lightweight and usually has a nonstick coating. It’s less expensive than titanium pots.
Cons: Aluminum pots are a little heavier than titanium pots of the same size.

MSR Base 2 Pot Set (Aluminum)
Price = $55, Weight = 1 lb .2 oz for both pots
Capacity = 1.5 liter/2.5 liter
Website = <Cascade Designs>

Other tips about pots

  • Use your pot to store your stove, spork, and fuel canister. Place a small and thin camp towel around these items to keep them from making clanking sounds when hiking.
  • Once you get your stove and pot, practice cooking actual trail food with it.
  • If you buy a pot with a nonstick coating, be careful not to scratch the coating with your spork.
  • To prevent food from sticking to your pot, add a little water to the bottom and keep the flame on a lower setting.
  • Most pots come with a lid and with a collapsible handle or a clamp. Put the lid on your pot while cooking. The lid will help reduce cooking time and save you valuable fuel.
  • Measure and pour 1 cup of water into your new pot so that you can eyeball what 1 cup looks like in your pot without having to carry a measuring cup. Do it because it’s a sad thing when you add too much water to your hot chocolate.
  • When you’re on the trail, clean your pot with water and your fingers. Toss the dirty water over a large area so that you don’t attract animals. Some shelters have areas where you can toss your water over a grated pit of rocks. Be sure to clean up and pack out the food bits.

Disclaimer: These are suggestions that worked for some thru-hikers. It’s always important to test each piece of equipment in various conditions before you start your hike. Read the instruction manuals and understand your equipment.