Last Updated on 27/08/2023
What is the Best Bushcraft Pot?
In this guide to the best bushcraft pot, we share all the things we have learned about cooking and boiling water on an open fire. You will learn which metals are best for bushcraft pots long-term and the differences between the different types of material. Also, find out which of our recommended cooking pots for bushcraft is used by famous survivalist Ray Mears.
Bushcraft pots are a necessity in most environments around the world where you need to boil water to purify it. They can often save your life in a survival situation and come in handy all the time. They are ideal for carrying water back to camp, protecting food before cooking, transporting fire embers, storing your gas stove, etc…
The best bushcraft pots for survival are reliable and durable because you never know when you may come to rely upon them with your life. We like stainless steel for its durability and weight; however, titanium has our interest, and cast iron is always a pleasure to cook with.
Below is our list of recommended bushcraft pots, and then further down the page, we have a guide about what to look for. You can also compare the recommendations in this guide to those we made in our camping cookware guide.
7 Best Bushcraft Pots
Zebra Loop Handle Pot
- MATERIAL: Stainless Steel
- SIZE: 12cm, 14cm, and 16cm diameters
- VOLUME: 1.4 L, 1.9 L, and 3.1 L
- WEIGHT: 429 g, 737 g, 925 g
- INCLUDES: Billy Pot with Loop Handle, Lid, Nested Tray/Pan (optional extra)
The Zebra Loop Handle Pots are the best for bushcraft cooking and for long-term survival. It is trusted by some of the worlds leading survivalists and bushcrafters as their primary cooking pot when camping. The Zebra billy pot is one of the most durable options out there and will last a lifetime if looked after properly.
The loop handle has a notch in the middle, which is perfect for hanging on a stick over a fire or using with a campfire tripod. You can also place the pot directly onto fire embers or on a platform above the flames without ever worrying about damaging the pot. So long as you stick to the edges of the fire where it isn’t a roaring furnace, then this bushcraft pot will be with you for a long time.
Available in three different sizes, you can get a small pot for cooking that will sit inside a large pot for boiling water. I personally like the 1.9-liter option when only taking one pot bushcrafting on my own. There is even a small pan that you can use to cook in, steam vegetables, or eat from. The lid is well made so that it rarely falls off and can also be removed with a stick if it gets too hot.
VERDICT: The Zebra Stainless Steel Loop Handle Pots are our number one recommendation for any bushcrafter or camping enthusiast. They are hands down the best out there and pay for themselves in usefulness. If you want a bushcraft pot to use on a campfire but also last a long time, then look no further. We highly recommend you get yourself a Zebra Pot, they don’t cost that much, and they last forever.
The Pathfinder School 64oz Stainless Steel Bush Pot and Lid Set
- MATERIAL: 304 Stainless Steel
- SIZE: cm diameter / 5.375″
- VOLUME: 1.9 L / 64 oz
- WEIGHT: 396 g / 14 oz
- INCLUDES: Locking Bail Handle, Heavy gauge Batwing handles, Pour spout, Stainless Steel lid with “D” ring
The Pathfinder School 64oz Stainless Steel Bush Pot and Lid Set is a lightweight bushcraft pot made with high-quality steel to last a long time. You can use this directly onto fire embers or by suspending it above the flames with a sturdy handle. Unlike the Zebra Pots, the Pathfinder School Pot has a pouring spout which causes way fewer spills with early morning coffee and draining water.
You have a set of handles on the side so you can hold the pot like a pan which makes pouring easier, or you can use the large loop handle. Overall it is very easy to use, although the lid doesn’t sit as nicely as with the zebra pot. Only available in one size, which is perfect for 1 or 2 people but small when cooking for more people.
VERDICT: The Pathfinder School Bush Pot is a solid piece of kit that doesn’t weigh much and can be used on fire without worry. The spout is useful for pouring but gives the whole thing a bit of an odd shape for packing. The spout also means you don’t get a flush seal with the lid, which means ash can make its way in, and it just doesn’t stay on as tightly. Overall we would still recommend this pot if you want lightweight stainless steel.
Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Potjie African Pot With Lid
- MATERIAL: Cast Iron
- SIZE: cm diameter
- VOLUME: 7, 8, and 10 Quarts / 6.6, 7.5, and 9.4 Liters
- WEIGHT: HEAVY
- INCLUDES: Heavy Duty Loop Handle, Lid with Handle, 3 Legs
The Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Potjie African Pot With Lid is the kind of bushcraft pot you want if you are out in the middle of nowhere and never want to have to buy another cooking pot again. It is something that might spend its entire life in or next to a campfire, being used on a daily basis to make a good amount of food for a small group.
The cauldron style that has three legs means you can place it directly onto hot embers, and the rounded underbelly will disperse the heat to avoid burning anything to the bottom of the pot. You can, of course, still use the loop handle to suspend the bushcraft pot above a fire, but you will need a pretty strong tripod or pot stand.
The big benefit of cast iron, other than it lasts forever, is that it can be used in so many different ways, like a dutch oven, for instance. This means that you can bake bread or slow-cook a side of beef as if you had an oven with you. The big downside is the size and weight. This is not a bushcraft pot you can fit in a backpack or take on a hike.
VERDICT: The Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Potjie African Pot With Lid is perfectly designed for campfire cooking and is so easy to lift on and off that it makes the whole thing easier and safer. Cast iron pots are amazing for long-term bushcraft and survival, making the ideal vessel for cooking stews and soups or roasting meats, or boiling water. If you don’t mind the weight, then a cast iron bushcraft pot with legs is what you need for proper campfire cooking.
Lixada Titanium Pot Ultralight Portable Hanging Pot with Lid
- MATERIAL: Titanium
- VOLUME: 2800 ml
- WEIGHT: 302g / 10.6 oz
- INCLUDES: Bushcraft Pot with Loop Handle, Lid with loop handle, and vent holes
The Lixada Titanium Pot Ultralight Portable Hanging Pot with Lid is one of the best bushcraft pots for traveling light. The titanium construction weighs just over 300 grams and can boil up to 2.8 liters of water which makes it much lighter than any stainless steel options. Also, because it is made from titanium, it transfers heat more efficiently so it will boil water very quickly even on a single burner stove.
The design is well thought out, with the loop handle having a central notch to hang it above a fire in a balanced way. The lid is well made and slots into place easily with a small handle on top which you can fit a stick through if you want to check inside while it is still over the fire. A useful feature we have only seen on MSR cookware before is the steam vents which make a big difference when cooking and can also be used as a drainer.
What stands out the most about this bushcraft pot is its weight and quality design. It is noticeably lighter without feeling any less durable, which really helps to keep your bug-out bag weight down. On top of this, it looks great and should last a lifetime.
You can also get a smaller version of this pot that has a 1.1-liter capacity which will, in fact, fit inside this larger bushcraft pot.
VERDICT: If you want a lightweight pot for bushcraft, then this titanium hanging pot from Lixida might be your best option. It is large enough for groups but not too big to use solo if you like having a bigger, deeper cooking pan. You can cook directly on hot coals, but the heat transference is so good you can sometimes burn your food. This pot is best used hung over a fire so that you can control how hot the bottom gets.
überleben Kessel Bushcraft Pot 304 Stainless Steel
- MATERIAL: 304 Stainless Steel or Titanium
- SIZE: 6 Inch diameter
- VOLUME: 1.1 L / 37 fl.oz
- WEIGHT: Stainless Steel 11 oz / Titanium 7.3 oz
- INCLUDES: Kettle Pot with pouring spout, Rotating handle, Lid with vents, Wooden lid handle
The überleben Kessel Bushcraft Pot is a half bush kettle and half cooking pot you can get in a choice of two metals. Unlike all the other bushcraft pots in this guide, this one is not designed to be hung over a fire. Instead, this is designed to be placed over a stove, directly onto fire embers, or on a platform above a fire. We like the stainless steel version, but the other option is a titanium version which is lighter but more expensive.
The handle can be rotated 90 degrees for easy storage so that it can also be used as a mug after the water has been boiled. A wooden knob on the lid gives this little pot an awesome look and is actually better for lifting with your bare hand than most other pots that use a metal handle. You get a pouring spout and a slot in the lid with steam vents/drainage holes, which makes it easy to spot when your water has reached boiling point.
Another feature we really appreciate is the canvas storage bag which prevents black charcoal from dirtying everything in your backpack. When you are cooking on a fire, you get a build-up of black soot on the outside of your pot that is not always possible to clean without a water source. The canvas stow pouch is perfectly sized to make your bushcraft pot as compact as possible.
VERDICT: The überleben Kessel Bushcraft Pot is ideal for boiling small amounts of water for teas and coffees throughout the day. It will boil enough water for around three full cups of coffee or tea, so it is perfect for couples. Of all the survival pots in this guide, this one looks the best. Unfortunately, it cannot be hung over a fire, so it might only appeal to the regular hot drink drinkers out there.
TOAKS Titanium 2000ml Pot with Bail Handle
- MATERIAL: Titanium
- SIZE: 170 mm diameter
- VOLUME: 2 L
- WEIGHT: 258 g / 9.1 oz
- INCLUDES: Bushcraft Pot with Loop Handle, Pouring SPout, Extra side loop handles, Lid with loop handle, and vent holes
The TOAKS Titanium 2000ml Pot with Bail Handle is very similar to the Lixida Titanium Pot above with the addition of a spout and two additional side loop handles. The lid has a slightly different design to the Lixida Pot, which works well; however, we prefer how securely the Lixida Pot lid locks into place.
At under 10 ounces, this pot is incredibly lightweight and will boil 2 liters of water in around 8 minutes using a single burner gas stove. You can cook direct on hot coals; however, you need to constantly stir your food to stop it from burning and sticking to the bottom of the cooking pot. For boiling water, it is absolutely fine, though. It should be said, though, that the pot is much better for cooking when suspended over the flames using a tripod of some kind.
Titanium has the benefit of not adding any taste to water or food with no leaching of chemicals whatsoever (it’s why they use it for body implants). This particular pot has been designed in California but is manufactured in China. Chinese titanium is typically some of the highest quality in the world; however, the patches where the handles are connected to the pot do seem a little weak, with minimal welds.
VERDICT: The TOAKS Titanium 2.0 bushcraft pot is a great piece of gear to keep in any bug-out bag and can be used on fires or stoves without the worry of overheating the metal. It is very similar to the Lixida Titanium Pot, which we actually prefer, but it has a spout and some extra side handles. The side handles come in handy every now and again, and the spout is great, but we just prefer the way the lid fits on the Lixida.
Solo Stove Pot 4000 Stainless Steel Camping Pot
- MATERIAL: 304 Stainless Steel
- SIZE: 7.75 Inch diameter
- VOLUME: 4 L / 135 fl.oz
- WEIGHT: 820 g / 1 lb 13 oz
- INCLUDES: Billy Pot with Baile Loop Handle, Folding side handle, Lid with loop handle
The Solo Stove Pot 4000 Stainless Steel Camping Pot is a large bushcraft pot for campfires or using on a stove. You can boil large amounts of water or prepare a meal for a large group. If boiling water is a daily bushcraft task for you, then using a bigger pot makes sense as it will save a tonne of time in the long run.
The lid has a nice tight fit and can be locked in place to keep the contents inside secure in transport or to prevent spilling when using the pot. The sturdy stainless steel is well made and can handle being placed directly onto a fire; however, it is best used suspended using the loop handle. A strong tripod is needed when the pot is full, as 4 liters of water is enough to extinguish a fire completely.
There is a side handle that folds out when you want some extra stability, but it is the large baile loop handle that gets used the most. A handy measure gauge on the inside allows you to accurately measure ingredients when cooking or track water intake in a survival situation.
VERDICT: If you already have a small pot but want something bigger, then the Solo Stove Pot 4000 is perfect, as you can store your smaller pots inside. The larger size allows you to cater to larger groups or process more water in one go but makes it more cumbersome to transport in a backpack. The steel is well-made and will last a long time, although the side handle feels a little flimsy. Overall this is a great addition to a small stove kit or an essential bush cooking pot for larger groups.
Guide to The Best Bushcraft Pots
Here we provide a basic guide to follow when looking for a new bushcraft cooking pot. You will learn about the different types of materials and what the most important features to look for are. Here are some questions we have designed to help you find the right pot for your needs:
What Are the Best Bushcraft Pots Made From?
There is no best material when it comes to bushcraft pots and pans, but certain metals are better than others in the long term. Here is a breakdown of some of the benefits and downfalls of the different types of metal you will come across:
Stainless Steel Bushcraft Pots
Stainless Steel is arguably the best metal for bushcraft pots as it has the perfect balance between durability, weight, and value. Heat is not transferred as quickly as with titanium or aluminum, so it tends to burn less food to the bottom of the pan. Stainless steel is also very easy to clean if you soak it for a little while and handles the heat of campfires very well.
Titanium Bushcraft Pots
Titanium bushcraft pots are the most lightweight and so appeal to hikers, backpackers, or nomads who travel with all their gear on their backs. They heat water fast and efficiently but can get a little too hot when cooking food if you aren’t careful. They are just as tough as steel and are considered to be the superior metal in theory, but they do come with a heftier price tag.
Cast Iron Bushcraft Pots
Cast Iron cookware is perfect for bushcraft and survival as it will outlive you and your children if cared for even just a little bit. They are ideal for cooking directly on the fire and will keep their heat long after being removed from a fire which means hot stew for hours. You can use them as dutch ovens for roasting and baking or suspend them over a fire for boiling water and making soups etc.
Aluminum Bushcraft Pots
Aluminum cooking pots are actually not recommended for bushcraft as they are too prone to burning through if left on the fire too long or the embers are too hot. This doesn’t happen so easily with stainless steel, cast iron, and titanium, which is why aluminum pots are best used on small backpacking stoves, where the heat never gets so intense.
Copper Bushcraft Pots
You don’t see many copper pots and pans for bushcraft; however, hundreds of years ago, they would have been more common. Now we may see some stainless steel pots with a copper base which are very good, but a full copper bushcraft pot would suffer from the same issue as titanium in that it is too good of a conductor that it will burn food if not constantly stirred.
Why is Durability So Important for Bushcraft Pots?
Durability is a priority with any outdoor gear, but especially so when thinking about long-term survival and bushcraft. Your bush pot needs to be able to withstand extreme heat, often multiple times per day, without burning through the metal. If you choose a strong metal like cast iron, stainless steel, or titanium, then you can be sure your pot is durable enough for heat.
Another way your bushcraft pots need to be tough is in abrasion resistance. Pots and pans get knocked about a lot, whether it is in your bag or on the fire, and so a weak pot will dent easily. Dents aren’t that big of a deal, but they do create weak spots that can become susceptible to extreme heat over time. A bushcraft pot should be thick enough to not bend or dent without extreme force but not so thick that it weighs you down (cast iron excluded).
What Size Bushcraft Pot Do I Need?
There are two ways of deciding on a bushcraft pot size. The first way is by volume or capacity, which is sensible and gives you the best data to make a decision. Or you can look for a pot by diameter or size so that you can estimate which of your other cooking equipment will fit inside or judge how big of a steak you can fry in the bottom.
For one person, we recommend around 1.5 to 2 liters which are enough to refill water bottles and hydration reservoirs, as well as cook any kind of meal in a bag or stew. For two or three people, you can effectively double that to around 3-4 liters which are big enough to feed everyone and boil larger quantities of water.
For larger groups, you can either get a larger bushcraft pot or get two or three 4-liter pots to help spread the weight across multiple people. Think about the size of your backpacks, how many people you are with, how often you will need to boil water, and other questions like this to make a good decision on the size you go for.
Heavy Vs Lightweight Bushcraft Pots
When deciding on what type of bushcraft pot to get, you can choose two opposite ends of the spectrum. Cast iron is thick and extremely heavy, whereas titanium is ultralightweight and compact. Both heavy pots and lightweight pots have their benefits for different types of people.
If you move around a lot and carry all your gear in your backpack, then you definitely don’t want to be lugging cast iron around with you. We highly recommend stainless steel if you are just starting out, but if you really want to be as lightweight as possible, then check out the titanium bush pots.
If, on the other hand, you have a central location or base camp, then having cast iron camp cookware is probably the best option. You can leave cast iron on or next to a fire all night long without worrying about it melting. Cast Iron lasts a very long time if you use it often and clean it properly, which is what you want for bushcraft cook pots.
How Many People Are You Cooking For?
While it is good practice for everyone to have their own small bushcraft pot, if you are part of a small group, then cooking together requires a larger pot. We often think about size in terms of how much water can be boiled in one go. Ideally, you want to be able to refill everyone’s water by around 2 liters per boil if using a stove. If you are using a fire and have plenty of firewood, then boiling multiple pots of water isn’t a problem other than the time it takes.
Here is a rough size guide for bushcraft pots we think to make sense:
- 1 Person: 1.5 – 2 liter capacity
- 2 Person: 2 – 4 liter capacity
- 3 Person: 3 – 4 liter capacity
- 4 Person: 4+ liter capacity
- 5 Person: 6+ liter capacity
- 6 Person: 8+ liter capacity
- 8 Person: 10+ liter capacity
- 10 Person: 12+ liter capacity
Depth Vs Width
A bushcraft pot is typically deeper than it is wide so as to be used to boil the water first and foremost and be used for cooking as a second priority. The smaller the width and the deeper the pot, the more efficiently it can boil water and also keep the weight down when a lid and handle are involved. You can get bushcraft pans as well as pots, but they normally have two distinct roles in the bushcraft kitchen.
WIder pots make cooking easier when you need to stir and mix ingredients as they cook, and they also allow you to cook bigger hunks of meat or vegetables. When trying to balance a cooking pot on a platform, having a wide base can help. But when hanging a pot from a tripod or other mechanism, a narrow pot seems to balance better.
There is a place for both pots and pans when camping, and having one of each is a good tactic to take.
Why You NEED a Bushcraft Pot Lid
Bushcraft pot lids are essential if you want to keep ash out of your water and food as well as to keep the heat in and cook food faster or better. Water boiled in a pot without a lid will always be slower than water boiled in a bushcraft pot with a lid, and has been proven in this study. Lids that fit on bushcraft pots should lock into position well so that they can be lifted and replaced without it sliding into the fire.
Whenever you are cooking on a fire, there will be ash rising in the smoke, which easily drops into an open bushcraft pot. Whether you are boiling water or cooking up some rice, nobody wants to taste the nasty tang of charcoal and ash. Lids for bushcraft pots are the best way to keep your food and water free of ash and untainted by taste.
Do You Need Handles and Hanging Loops?
You don’t need hanging loops on a bushcraft pot to cook over a fire. You can buy or create a cooking platform for any pots and pans to sit above the fire, which allows you to get nice, even heat across the base of the pot. You can also set bushcraft pots directly onto the edge of a fire and slowly rotate the pot to heat it evenly.
The problem with cooking on the edge of a fire is that you must constantly turn the pot to heat it evenly and speed up cooking time (which is longer). We cannot count the number of times that we have spilled food and water into the fire from our pots when out bushcrafting. What we have learned is that it is best to touch your cooking pots as little as possible when they are balancing next to a fire.
The benefits of handles are that you can hang your pot above a fire so that you can control the heat when cooking. Also, you have much more control when carrying and pouring from a bushcraft pot that has handles. One last benefit is that with handles and hanging loops, it is much safer and faster to remove your pan from a hot fire.
Are Non-Stick Bushcraft Pots Any Good?
Non-stick bushcraft pots are super easy to clean and great for cooking, but in the long term, we have found that the non-stick coating starts to wear off over time. In the past, this has resulted in an entire meal being ruined as all the coating became mixed in with the food. While we don’t recommend them for bushcraft purposes (cooking on fire), they are great for camping and using on a stove.
We hope you found this guide to the best bushcraft pot helpful and that we answered all your questions. Thanks for reading.