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For melting snow and whipping up big, one-pot feasts for groups, the MSR Alpinist 2 Pot is our top choice. This 2.4-liter vessel is made of hard anodized aluminum, which is both sturdy and easy to clean. “After letting the remnants of our crusted-on gumbo freeze up overnight, I scraped this pot clean using a metal spoon,” says one tester, who was also impressed with the tight-fitting aluminum strainer lid and the sturdy, fold-out handle. Bonus: It’s light for a pot this size. Bummer: price. Also available in a complete kitchen set ($90, pictured) that includes two cups and plates. $60; 10 oz.; msrgear.com
See all “essential” reviews from the 2011 Gear