Survival Pot – Small Cooking Pot For Camping

A small cooking pot. It’s good for survival, camping, backpacking, a bug out bag, 72 hour kit, etc..

A small survival pot will enable:

  • heat up a can of…
  • boiling water for safe drinking
  • warm up water to rehydrate a freeze dried meal
  • suspend over a fire to cook (needs a bail)
  • set in the coals to cook
  • hot coffee or tea (cowboy coffee?)
  • use storage space within, while backpacking
  • clanking together to scare away that bear!

There are some pretty nice little cook pots out there. They’re small enough to backpack or kit, camping, and will serve a variety of uses. As a side note, did you know that one of the 5 C’s of survival (Dave Canterbury) is a ‘Container’? (as in, metal pot for purifying water or cooking)

Small Cooking Pot – How Small?

How small of a survival pot? Well, that depends… Are you cooking for one person? Using it between two people? Does it need to fit in a backpack? What do you intend to primarily use it for?

Typical sizes for a “small” cooking pot appear to range as follows. Here are some approximations for several popular sizes to give you an idea of how much it will hold:

475 ml (~ 17 ounces)
775 ml (~ 27 ounces)
1.1 liter (~ 38 ounces)
1.6 liter (~ 56 ounces)

When considering the volume of the cooking pot, factor in the water AND the food (for example if rehydrating freeze dried foods, etc.). Depends on the foods that you intend to cook too.

Features of a Survival Pot

Here’s what I’m looking for in a small cooking pot.


I prefer that it has a bail. This enables a few things. Including hanging or suspending the pot over a fire. Although you could just set in on a fire grate, or directly on the coals (watch out, it might burn your food!), I like the ability to suspend it. With a bail, you can adjust the height of suspension over the fire, which in turn affects the heating of the pot.

Secondly, and obviously, the bail is ideal for carrying a pot full of water, or whatever… It’s just easier that way.

Additionally, the bail makes it easier to lift off a stove burner. Less chance to burn your fingers too.

Handles for Pouring

Some of these small cooking pots have a foldout handle for lifting, gripping, or to use in unison with the bail for tipping the contents of the pot.

Pour Spout

They don’t all have a pour spout. But it’s a very nice feature to have. Example… pouring cowboy coffee into a mug.

A Cover

I can’t imagine a cooking pot, regardless of it’s size, without a cover. It keeps ‘stuff’ out, and it allows the contents to heat up quicker.


Aluminum is very common (light weight). So is stainless steel (a bit heavier). Titanium is pricey, but pretty sweet due to it’s extreme lightweight characteristics.

Small Cooking Pots with Bail – from Pathfinder, TOAKS

Here’s a stainless steel ‘bush pot’ from Pathfinder. It has all of the features mentioned above. They make a 64 ounce, shown below ( Height 5.25″, Diameter 5 3/4″, Capacity 8 cups). They also make a 120 ounce version (15 cups).

Pathfinder 64oz Bush Pot & Lid
(their storefront on amzn)

Pathfinder 120oz Bush Pot and Lid

If you’re looking for a bit smaller and lighter weight cooking pot (you might almost call it a mug), here’s an intriguing titanium 750ml small cooking pot from TOAKS. Capacity of 3 cups. Height 4 3/8″. Diameter 4 1/2″. Weight 3.9oz.

TOAKS Titanium 750ml

Small titanium cooking pot

They also make one that’s just about 7 cups (54oz). Height 4 1/8″. Diameter 5 3/4″.

TOAKS Titanium 1600ml Pot with Bail Handle
(view on amzn)

[ Read: 5 & 10 C’s of Survivability ]

[ Read: How Long To Boil Drinking Water ]

Solo Stove Review


  1. A compact set that comes with two pots and a pan as well a simple fuel burner from Tangria (from Sweden) has been my favorite for a long time, perfect for camping trips and compact enough to pack on a bike. Look for Trangia Duossal.

    There are also a camping gas and multifuel burner accessories available.

    No affiliation, just a happy user :-)

    Got mine in Europe, but I think I’ve seen the products in US stores as well.

  2. I happen to use a couple of SS Cups that happen to fit snugly around the “fat boy” Bivvy bag, keeps them from making any noise at all, and have a Titanium ‘Spork’ wedged inside the mess.

    I use a Jetboil stove, it’s compact and easy to use, unfortunately ya have to carry fuel for it, but I only plan on using it in the GHB, so 3 days max usage. Cost is right around $100.00, but it also comes with a boil/cook container, they claim “the Flash brings two cups of water to a boil in only two minutes.” Fairly impressive to say the least.

    Flash Personal Cooking System

    I also got the Jetboil Stainless Steel Pot Support for around $12.95, well worth the added cost.

    I will admit I like the looks of those Titanium Small Cooking Pots, on my list now. Dang you Ken, you LOVE to spend my money… HAHAHAHA

    1. I have a cheap version of the stove like NRP has. Got 6 of them from amazon for less than $10 bucks each. The cheapest place I found to get the fuel was at wally world. Around $5 bucks. Like NRP said, these little stoves put out some HEAT!

    2. The Jetboil is an amazing little stove, I have used one and it performs as advertised, and also a bonus to me, it is made in my home state of NH! The only downside is the fuel canisters are not reusable. Not something I would think of for long term, but for a GHB bag, perfect.

  3. I have a number of liquid gas stoves. One of these, a WW2 surplus Coleman single burner comes nested inside of an aluminum pot. I’m told there were only about 5000 of these made before ww2 ended, and that the GIs never ditched them, they brought them home. I can see why. You have two pots, a stove, and everything you need right there. heavy yes. but these stoves were designed to burn anything flammable. Read where in Europe the GIs even used brandy in pinch. So pretty much any liquid fuel. I have backpack liquid fuel tanks than have had fuel in them for over 15 years, no leaks, riding around in the farm truck for many years. Just can’t get into the gaseous fuels like propane.

  4. I have a set of small cooking pots that nest together and fit in a backpack. I am not sure what they are. They were on sale at emergency essentials a while ago and look like the first two that were talked about in the article. I also have a flameless cooker where you put a pouch in the bottom, and in the top pot the water and meal. You latch on the cover and in 10 min or so you have your meal. It is the size of a small pot. I have yet to try either one. But I think something important besides being small and portable, would be a surface that you can clean by wiping it out or a quick rinse.

  5. – in my GHB, I have a small stainless-steel pot from Aladdin; it came with a lid, which I carry with me, and two plastic cups that will store inside, which I don’t. I also have a no-name stainless steel cup I found at Walmart, which will slip over the bottom of the pot, and the same lid will fit it as well. Add a one-liter bottle, and a titanium spork, and the entire rig is light and useful.
    I like my Esbit stove I bought while in Germany, and find it good, but not very useful. Instead, I have a ‘penny’ stove and a pint of alcohol fuel for it, because Esbit fuel is a little bit hard to find and too expensive in this country. I can come up with alcohol relatively easily, and I can replace my penny stove pretty easily if need be.
    – Papa S.

  6. I just purchased a pair of stainless steel pots from the Pathfinder store. A bit expensive but I thought I owed them from all of the tips I’ve seen and heard from Dave Canterbury. As of yet, haven’t had the opportunity to try them yet.

    Any one else got in touch with their inner hobo ? I’ve made several pots from repurposed cans, mainly quart sized. I carry one in a surplus gas mask bag that works well for the woods if you just need a quick lunch. Coupla big nails for a pot platform, driving into ground, some fire wood and you are good to go. Pro tip: make sure to clean the pot well, those bottom edges are tough to clean out. I play it safe and just boil out some water to be sure of getting everything.

    Have had experience with the Swedish Trangia alcohol stoves (remember when those Swedish pots / skillet / stove combinations were < $10 each? I wish I would have bought more of them), but mainly for water heating. For me, takes too long to actually cook on one – heating up is great. Works well for ramen types of soups.

  7. Got a few. Stainless, aluminum and aluminum. Eh…
    Single walled ss for the water container which I left in the middle kingdom and found one with mNy other things… I think ww 2. Wrapped nicely in the attic of a house.
    Left it there and only my other half knows of it.
    If all fails, meat/wateva on sticks. And water, will figure that out when the time cOmes (got the ideas and tried some)

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