Cookware: Titanium vs Aluminum

What kind of cookware do you use?

  • Titanium

    Votes: 5 55.6%
  • Aluminum (including Hard Anodized Alloy)

    Votes: 4 44.4%
  • Stainless Steel

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Cookware isn't worth the weight

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Ready For More
Jul 23, 2013
I'm assuming that most of you backcountry visitors who do any kind of cooking or boiling are using some form of cookware made out of titanium or aluminum. I've done a bit of research into some other backpacking forums out there, particularly lightweight backpacking as well as some other scientific and not so scientific sites into the pros, cons, and risk factors on health of cooking with each. Here's what I was able to come up with...

  • Super Strong & Durable
  • Ultra Light
  • Edges and integrated handles are quick to cool, making this a great advantage for mugs used to boil and drink from
  • Least likely to react with foods and potentially leach toxic metal

  • Most Expensive
  • Less efficient with heat distribution - prone to hot spots and scorching when cooking or simmering food
  • Prone to food being stickier and harder to clean

  • Less expensive
  • Ultra Light
  • Good heat distribution - less likely to form hot spots to scorch food
  • Less sticky, easier to cook with and clean

  • Edges and handles remain hot long after cooking/boiling, requiring separate pot handle or other protection from heat
  • Reacts with foods & beverages, particularly acidic food, thus a very minimal amount of leaching into food*
  • Less Durable*

*In light of the last two cons listed above, many aluminum options out there (e.g. GSI Halulite products) are now specially treated in a process called hard anodization which reinforces the aluminum surface making it much stronger and enabling such products to be about as thin, strong, and light weight as titanium. More importantly though, this process makes it resistant to reacting with foods and virtually impossible to leach anything back into the food, making it a much safer choice than standard aluminum. Thus, the differences between HAA (hard anodized aluminum) and titanium are much more negligible.

I will also acknowledge that some others out there may use stainless steel. It's biggest drawback is that it is significantly heavier to carry into the backcountry than titanium or aluminum.

In light of all of the info I've come across, if anyone out there is making a decision between products made of either material or contemplating a switch from one to the other, this would be my two cents of advice...

If you're not short on cash, will generally only be heating up and boiling water and not actually heating up or cooking food, want the pot to double as a mug you can heat and drink from with no other accessories and/or you are careful about every gram of weight you're willing to carry, then a titanium setup will likely be the better choice.

If you are on a smaller budget still wanting something comparable to titanium, plan to actually cook and simmer food, and/or want something that can heat water slightly faster and save you a slight amount of fuel then you will more likely enjoy a hard anodized aluminum alloy cookware set.

To those using stainless steel, my advice would be to start saving up to upgrade to one of the above options if you'd like to reduce your pack weight a good bit.

Edit: Thought this was worthy of a, poll has been added.
Last edited:

John Goering

Sep 30, 2014
I cooked with aluminum for 4 decades-works just fine. The last decade, it has been Ti. I have not noted any real difference as to sticking food at low simmer. They both suck, no-stick or not. The Ti handles do indeed stay cooler and even the stubby ones on my Evernew pot do not require anything other than bare hands to pour boiling water. The main advantage of Ti is that it is way less susceptible to dents and other abuse.
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