Expert Review: MSR Trail Lite Pot

This review is my honest opinion of the pot, which I purchased with my own money in June of 2020.

A pot and a pan on a cooking stove. There is something boiling in the pot.

All photos courtesy of Hunter Reed

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About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the pot, which I purchased with my own money in June of 2020.

My take

The MSR Trail Lite Pot is a great lightweight pot that makes cooking easy, whether you’re car camping or on a longer backpacking trip. Its non-stick surface makes cleaning a breeze. The pot is durable enough to be used as an everyday pot on a two-burner stove or my MSR PocketRocket Stove during backpacking trips.

A camping stove is set up on the back of a truck.

About the gear

  • Model: MSR Trail Lite Pot
  • Size: 8.6oz

About me

  • Experience: 25+ years

Test conditions

  • When I bought it: June 2020
  • Days tested: 50
  • Where I’ve used it: Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Idaho.
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: Summer, fall, spring.
  • Weather conditions I’ve used it in: Rain, wind, hail, heat, mild weather.
  • Used for: Boiling water, pasta, fried rice, soup, oatmeal.

How it performs

Ease of Use

What I was looking for

I was looking for a lightweight yet sturdy pot that was versatile enough to use on my two-burner stove for heavy daily use during my backpacking/hiking adventures. I also wanted something easy to clean because I hate doing camp dishes. Finding a pot that is good for backpacking but not too fragile is hard. Most of the backpacking pots I have used in the past are great for a season or two, but if you use them a lot, they start to get kind of ratty looking or have some issues. This one is great for backpacking because it's so light, but it's also durable enough to use as a daily pot on my two-burner stove when I live out of my truck for extended periods.

Why I chose this gear

I chose this pot mainly because it was non-stick, and I had an MSR stove that I liked, so I thought I would try their pots too. The MSR Trail Lite Pot has a detachable handle and a lid doubling as a strainer. Since I make a lot of pasta, I thought the strainer feature was awesome. The detachable handle makes it easy to pack in either a backpack or the kitchen drawer in my truck. Also, the pot was reasonably priced.

A pot and a pan on a two burner camping stove.

What I love about it

  • Durability: This pot is so durable. I used it for cooking approximately two to three meals a day for a few months straight, and it does not have burn marks, scrapes from utensils, or anything else on it.
  • Leakage: It comes with a lid covered with holes so that it doubles as a strainer. The handle also detaches and doubles as a locking mechanism for the lid. A few times, I have had pancake batter or something leftover in this pot and wanted to reuse it later. I can slap the lid and handle on and put it in the cooler, and it doesn’t leak at all, though I am careful not to tip it over because of the holes on the top.
  • Packability: It is packable due to the lid and handle. It can also fit a small IsoPro container, a bowl, and my MSR pocket rocket with the lid on and locked, making it easy to take backpacking trips or day hikes where I want to make some food at the top.
  • Ease of use: The non-stick feature is incredible. It makes it so easy to clean without me needing to scrub anything. This feature is one of the main reasons I purchased this pot, and it has not disappointed me.
  • Backpacking: This product is great for backpacking because it only weighs 8.6 oz. Other backpacking pots I have used seem a bit more fragile, and they don't last as long or cook things evenly. I think this is because backpacking pots are usually made to be lightweight to the point that they are too thin when you’re cooking, leading to burning food in some areas or uneven cooking. I have not had that issue with this pot. It seems to be a perfect balance.
  • Car Camping: This pot is an excellent option for car camping. It is durable enough to handle extra usage on a two-burner stove that gets hot.
  • Versatility: Given the durability and weight, I think this is one of the most versatile options on the market for camping pots. If I am cooking something like pancakes and don't need a pot, I will remove the handle and use this as a bowl. Since it has a locking lid, it is also "Tupperware" for leftover batter/food, and I have used this function a lot.
  • Other: I mentioned this above but the lid doubles as a strainer. It has little holes to dump the water. Thanks to this great feature, I am happy that a strainer is one less thing I need to bring in my camp kitchen box!

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Size: The size is perfect for cooking food for one other person or me, but much more than that, and it's a bit small. I don't find myself cooking for many people on camping trips too often. If I do, someone else usually has an extra pot so that I can cook two batches of pasta in two pots, for example. But if I were regularly cooking for a group of four or more, I would want something bigger.
  • Temperature Retention: Though it does a pretty good job maintaining heat and quickly boiling water/cooking food no matter the temperature outside, it is still a lighter, thinner pot than you’d be used to at home. So if you use this pot in frigid temps, your food will get cold quickly once you turn the stove off. That’s to be expected with lightweight cookware, but it's not a deal-breaker for me.
Some food in a pot and a dog.

Lost my spoon so had to use a tent stake, but the pot was a great bowl! 

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment with this pot was when I was living in my truck and in Mt. Hood National Forest. I had driven a lot that day and had a rough few days before with my pup getting into something she found at a previous camping spot. I was really tired and hungry and sick of driving. I pulled off on a dirt road and found the seriously most beautiful view of Mt. Hood, and set my stove up to make some pasta and veggies. Everything cooked so fast and my pasta was delicious. I ate it straight out of the pot while watching the sunset over Mt. Hood.

Value for the money vs. other options

When considering purchasing the MSR Trail Lite Pot, I mentioned it to a friend who camps a lot. They told me just to go to the thrift store and get a pot for the double burner camp stove instead of spending more money on this. I felt guilty when I bought it because I knew he was probably right and should have just got something inexpensive. But this pot has far exceeded my expectations, and I am so happy I purchased it. Nothing I would have found at the thrift store would be nearly as versatile because this is a car camping pot, a backpacking pot, a bowl, a storage container, and a strainer. It was well worth the price.

If this one ever needs to be replaced - although I don’t think it will be for a long time because it still looks brand new - I will get the same one again in a heartbeat. I didn’t look at other similar pot options when purchasing this one because I knew I wanted something from MSR.

Final verdict

The MSR Trail Lite Pot is a great durable pot for cooking dinner no matter what kind of camping I am doing or the stove I am using. It is durable, cooks my food evenly, and is a well-thought-out product. In addition, it’s easy to clean and can double as a bowl, strainer, or storage container, saving me room and time when packing for my camping trips!

Selling MSR on
MSR Trail Lite Pot · 1.3 L
Camping & Hiking Expert Hunter Reed
Hunter Reed
Camping & Hiking Expert
Hunter here! How can I help?
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Written By
Growing up in Utah makes it hard to not fall in love with camping and hiking! Lucky for me my parents got me out at a young age and I've been enjoying trails and campsites all across the west since I was little girl! There's just something special about making some dinner over a fire and going to sl...

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