I'm thinking about lightening my load with a titanium cookset from MSR. But, when I'm camping where fires are allowed, I like to save fuel and cook on the fire. Can titanium take the heat? Is there any reason why I shouldn't use a titanium pot on an open fire? Karen Portland, Oregon
Titan Mini Cookset
The problem you're going to run into is that a fire will inevitably coat the pots with a sooty black residue, which is very hard to get off yet will transfer easily to the inside of your pack and anything that touches it. One solution: Rub the outside of the pots with liquid soap. That will form a film on the metal for any soot to adhere to, which can then be scrubbed off fairly easily with a brass dish pad or something similar.
The larger question is whether you ought to be cooking over a fire. I'm not too uptight on this issue; no one enjoys a good campfire more than Yours Gearly. But certainly, one needs to be prudent in selecting when to have a campfire, given the limited availability of downed wood and the potential for setting a forest fire. And, of course, campfires are strictly prohibited in most wilderness areas, so the locations where you can have one are increasingly limited. But as you promise me you do this where fires are allowed, I say take care with the flames and enjoy your titanium cookset!
Read handy stove-care tips, dissect the inside of liquid-fuel and canister stoves, and get outfitted for all manner of camping extravaganzas in Outside's 2004 Buyer's Guide .