Sunday, October 7, 2012

Texsport Kangaroo Mess Kit - Review

I've owned this mess kit for a while now, it's seen its fair share of use, and it is still in great condition.  I picked this aluminum mess kit up for about $15 - it is the Texsport Kangaroo 5-piece Teflon Mess Kit.  The five pieces include: a bottom pot (1 qt), a top pan (6.5 in), a pot handle/grabber, and nested plastic bowl and mug - and it comes in a mesh cinch-top carry bag.

This is not a bad kit for the money - sure, the plastic bowl and mug are a little useless and seem like an afterthought; but the pot and pan are top notch.  The aluminum construction on the pot/pan is pretty thick, and the bottoms are ridged which make them slip resistant and disperses heat evenly.  The exterior sides of the pans are coated with a hard enamel-ware like finish, ad the interiors have a Teflon non-stick coating.  If you like to really cook (as opposed to rehydrating meals), then this set is nice.  My set has seen some abuse but still looks almost new - the enamel has not burned, scratched or chipped; and the non-stick interior has resisted scratching (although I stay away from metal utensils when cooking - tending to use my GSI plastic spatula).  This kit is heavy - weighing in at 18.5 oz, but 4.5 oz of that is just for the steel pot grabber.

The pot grabber is really my biggest gripe with this set - while it is very sturdy, it is way too heavy; and it does not grab the tabs on the pots, or release, very easily.  Upgrading the grabber/handle to an aluminum version (like GSI, Primus, or Vargo sell) would be a real improvement for routine use, and would not tend to tip the pan like the steel one does.  So, dump the mug and bowl, and replace the grabber with aluminum, and you have a real nice pot and fry pan combo with room to nest plenty of accessories inside (i.e., stove, fuel, folding cup, utensils, etc.).

The size and weight of this set is not ideal for the solo camper who primarily boils water for rehydrating meals and making oatmeal; but, if you like to slow cook (soups and stews) or fry real meals (pancakes, bannock, fish, eggs, or scrambles), then give this mess kit a look.  I like this set for two-person overnights or weekend trips where the extra weight isn't as much of an issue, and I can spare the extra fuel to cook some heartier meals.  I usually like to carry alcohol stoves, which are more difficult to regulate heat (I don't have a simmer ring for my military Trangia/Svea), but I haven't had any real issues with burning/scorching.  Although, I have found it easy to cook with this set over a simple Sterno stove - they burn for quite a while and don't really get hot enough to scorch your meal.  Cooking with this setup is about as close to car camping as I get.

If you are planning a short backpacking trip, and want to focus on cooking (and eating) as a primary activity, then try a similar setup.  One alternative that I have considered is a Mini Trangia 28-T cookset - it includes a 0.8 L aluminum pot, 6 inch non-stick fry pan lid, pot grabber, and a nested mini Trangia stove with simmer ring and windscreen/potstand. For about $30, that's quite a kit, too. 

Mini Trangia 28-T Cookset

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