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MSR Pika Teapot – Lightweight Perfection

  • MSR Pika Teapot

    MSR Pika Teapot

MSR is widely recognized for making some of the finest backpacking and mountaineering stoves in the world. So perhaps it's this market leadership that has many climbers forgetting that MSR also manufactures some of the best outdoor cookware currently available. Take, for example, the classic MSR Alpine Pot Set. Available in a variety of sizes, this simple and ubiquitous stainless steel pot set has been the standard for climbing expeditions and camping trips for decades. I bought my first set in 1986, and we are still using the various pots today. That's a pretty solid testament to the durability and functionality of that pot set.
  • MSR Pika Teapot

MSR Pika Teapot Storage Options (click for larger image)

So when MSR recently announced that it was releasing a teapot, I was intrigued to see what they would do with this relatively simple piece of cooking kit. With the new Pika kettle, MSR diverges from the stainless-steel construction found on the classic Alpine Pot Set and instead employs hard anodized aluminum. This material choice reduces weight (when compared to stainless steel) without severely compromising durability. The hard anodizing also increases the aluminum's abrasion resistance, prevents oxidation and eliminates the chance of any chemical reactions if the teapot were to come into extended contact with acidic beverages. These benefits are notable. But for me, the primary win with the hard-anodized finish is the Pika's appearance. The dark, matte grey colour creates an air of understated sophistication not frequently encountered in outdoor cookware. I realize that some readers might think that I'm fixating too much on aesthetics, but there's no drawback with having functional gear that also looks good. Continuing with what some might call this somewhat superficial theme, MSR needs also needs to be commended for the overall proportions of the Pika – it just looks right.
It allows for controlled pouring of boiling water without the dreaded spills and dribbles associated with lesser spout designs (Bialetti Moka Pot, I'm looking at you).
  • MSR Pika Teapot

MSR Pika Teapot Pour Spout (click for larger image)

Functionally, the Pika does what it's supposed to do – hold boiling water. MSR, however, has included some savvy design elements that elevate the Pike above other teapots on the market. Take, for example, the size of the main opening and the pot's dimensions. Both are large enough to comfortably accommodate an MSR Pocket Rocket stove and some tea bags. Those with more refined tastes can fit a bag of loose tea and a small infuser. And coffee fans can easily substitute their favourite fresh ground beans and AeroPress or pour-over filters.

The handle is similarly well-conceived with a low-profile insulating cover and snug-fitting hinges. These hinges not only prevent rattling, but they also ensure the handle remains upright when boiling water. Other small yet notable details include the three small fins on the forward edge of the lid. These fins secure the lid and ensure it stays in place even when you're pouring the last drops of water. It's a surprisingly simple yet effective closure that works better than you might initially suspect. And now we come to perhaps the most important element on any teapot – the pour spout. I'm not sure what sort of fluid-dynamics research MSR has utilized, but the Pika's pour spout is perfect. It allows for controlled pouring of boiling water without the dreaded spills and dribbles associated with lesser spout designs (Bialetti Moka Pot, I'm looking at you). Seriously, this spout is perfect.
Is there anything I would change? Not much. I would prefer a rubberized lid tab as the current textured plastic is a bit too slick when your hands are wet, but that's about it. Other than that, there's nothing I would change. The Pika really is that well-conceived and executed. If you're looking for a teapot for when you're camping or even at home, the Pika should be at the top of your list.
  • MSR Pika Teapot

MSR Pika Teapot In The Field (click for larger image)

You can find out more about the MSR Pika Teapot and other great MSR products at https://www.msrgear.com.

Join the discussion of this and other climbing related stories at https://ontarioclimbing.com/forum/
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Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 35 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid-80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.