G.I. mess kits - aluminum or stainless?

Discussion in 'Cooking & Water Purification' started by Douglas Thor, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Douglas Thor

    Douglas Thor Banned Member Banned

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    Besides the metal, what is the difference between aluminum and stainless mess kits?
    Im assuming i should be more careful with heat using the aluminum one?
     
  2. Grizzix

    Grizzix Guide Bushclass I

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    WOO HOO! I'm looking for answers to this one too. I'm in the market but don't know which market to be in. :D
     
  3. SluggySlugworth

    SluggySlugworth Scout

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    I believe most people would agree on stainless, as its more durable and some people believe that aluminum leeches toxic chemicals into your food/water causing cancer and what not. The only benefits I can think of for aluminum is that its lighter.
     
  4. Grizzix

    Grizzix Guide Bushclass I

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    How significant is the weight difference?
     
  5. wildernesswikiup14

    wildernesswikiup14 Guide Bushclass I

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    i got the stainless and I've never had an aluminum one but this one is a quality piece. and it weighs nothing weight wise.
     
  6. SluggySlugworth

    SluggySlugworth Scout

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    I can't even ballpark it, as I only own stainless. However, for the ultralight backpackers, every ounce counts.
     
  7. Grizzix

    Grizzix Guide Bushclass I

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    Ultralight I'm not. I like the feel of a beefy, weighty pack on my back when I hike and camp. I guess Stainless would be fine.
     
  8. Spork

    Spork Supporter Supporter

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    I don't think an aluminum messkit would be genuine issue...unless it is a very early version meat can with the flat lid. The M-1942 was always made from stainless steel as far as I know.

    Be wary of any description that includes "style" or "type". The new aluminum ones for sale are likely made by Rothco.
     
  9. Douglas Thor

    Douglas Thor Banned Member Banned

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    The aluminum one is 9 ounces
    The stainless steel one is 14 ounces

    The aluminum one i already dented up by accident. It feels really cheap.
    The stainless one feels solid as a rock.

    They're both the same size.

    The leeching of the aluminum one and possibly melting of it if i get it too close to the fire, is the main concern i have. I think i may just assemble a small survival kit into it and toss it in my truck. Then use the stainless one for camping....
     
  10. santaman2000

    santaman2000 Guide

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    Yeah I've never seen an aluminum G.I. mess kit; Not a U.S. one anyway.
    Weight diff between alum & SS is significant though. It's just that with something the size of a mess kit even double really wouldn't be much.

    I've got the steel U.S.G.I. mess kit and the B.S.A. aluminum one. I like 'em both.
     
  11. Douglas Thor

    Douglas Thor Banned Member Banned

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    Rothco is where i got the stainless one. http://www.rothco.com/showpics/index2.cfm/item/169
    It doesn't actually say GI on it.
    The aluminum one i got from walmart (lol)
     
  12. 11b inf

    11b inf Scout

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    G.I. mess kit

    Spork is right-on in that info, pre-ww2 G.I. messkits were alum..was'nt till after the war started that JOE got messgear/canteens made of stainless metal..if the G.I. type messkit is made new in alumminum its a knock-off..by the way i'm starting to see knock -off messkits in stainless steel as well...buyer beware..buy the genuine G.I. items..they won't let you down..vince g. 11B Inf:38:....
     
  13. Douglas Thor

    Douglas Thor Banned Member Banned

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    Here's the cheapy aluminum one. After taking this picture, i dented it all up trying to get it reassembled back into itself. I'm just going to toss it in my truck for emergencies.
    I just don't trust the aluminum

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Spork

    Spork Supporter Supporter

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    OK, I see now...both of those are Scout pattern mess kits, not G.I.

    If you want a quality aluminum mess kit, get a vintage one manufactured in the U.S. or an Open Country brand (still USA made). They are not made of tissue thin aluminum. Open Country is the same company that makes the Mors pot.
     
  15. DancesWithaTrout

    DancesWithaTrout Guest

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    I have both the Swedish Military Cooksets in aluminum and SS, I really like the SS better, seems not to bend out of shape for the stove part. The SS also cooks better very noticably. Alum will take on soot eaiser and is harder to get soot off of the alum.

    Sorry, I do not own a USGI set....just the canteen cup and cup stove .....
     
  16. Gryphonblade

    Gryphonblade Guide

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    This is one of my USGI kits:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I really like these. The pants-leg bag I keep it in weighs about the same it feels! Good to cook in, plate hooks the to pan handle solidly, cleans easy, very robust and cheap enough if you look around a little. Only camp pan I like better is my iron pan.

    I have two of these: this 1966 and a 1944. This '66 is for my son when he hits Scout age. I need another for my other son, but I've got a few years for that.
     
  17. Douglas Thor

    Douglas Thor Banned Member Banned

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    Yeah i like those too.. I actually like the scout kits better though for my personal need. I don't usually camp alone so i need to make a larger meal.
    I can hang the pot over the fire to boil water or soup, and use my esbit stove to cook something with the fry pan. Then when im done, the entire thing (including esbit) packs up inside itself.
     
  18. santaman2000

    santaman2000 Guide

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    Cheap for now anyway. From what I'm told they're no longer being issued. If that's true it means a glut on the surplus market right now but it will dry up over time.
     
  19. TMedina

    TMedina Tracker

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    With MREs, I'm pretty sure individual mess kits will be a thing of the past.

    -Trevor
     
  20. sypher96792

    sypher96792 Tracker

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    im waiting for the o.k. from my wife to let me pick up a s/s food container from a natural food store,it's designed to hold a decent size lunch but im thinking i could probably cook with it too,other than that i have a s/s cook kit from peak 1,i like it,it works,so good to go for me! now the difference between aluminum and stainless id aluminum is very temperamental with temperature,it's either really hot or it's cold,through my experience,the s/s more forgiving in that area,takes a little longer to cook with but the heat is evenly distributed..i hope that helps
     
  21. SkyPainter

    SkyPainter Supporter Supporter

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    ====> I will have to check mine when I get home. I still have and occasionally use, the one I originally brought back from 'Nam in 1967. I think it is SS. Still has a small dent where a Claymore pellet hit it one night. Thought about buffing it out, but it gives it character.

    My kid brought it to school with some of my other military gear for a project, but I had to remove the knife and fork (spoon only allowed in the school!). She took some original webbing, belt, fanny pack, First Aid Pouch and canteens/cups, too. Was a big hit when they found out they were the real deal! She got an A!
     
  22. Scoutmaster

    Scoutmaster Tracker

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    I own half a dozen GI messkits, the aluminium ones are WW2 dated and I don't use them, unless I display them with my WW2 GI gear.
    The stainless steel ones are dated between the 50s and the 80s, but you're right, they stopped manufacturing messkits several years ago.
    However, they must have made quite a lot of them so there shouldn't be a shortage of surplus messkits anytime soon.

    In the field I use my 80s dated messkit and it works really well for me.

    If you're looking into buying a surplus GI messkit, check the folding handle for manufacturer data and NSN number. As far as I know the sub-standard Asian knockoffs don't have this detail plus they are made out of significantly thinner steel and thus are similar in weight to the older aluminium version.
     
  23. tonyclark

    tonyclark Scout

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    I have a US ss mess kit 1945 date, and two 1982 date.
    Two US ss canteens 1944 date
    Plastic US canteen 1966 date
     
  24. jason uk

    jason uk Tracker

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    here in the uk i use my us ss mess kit weekly as i love the frying pan and plate combo
    i use it to fry sausage and beans then my other half eats from the plate and i get the pan great piece of kit thanks usa
     
  25. hanzo

    hanzo Scout

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    Hey Sypher,

    I saw a stainless one at Don Quixote with a latching cover for abot 10 bucks if I recall correctly.
     
  26. Seeker1968

    Seeker1968 Scout

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    Some think that aluminum may contribute to alzheimer disease.

    I prefer to stay away from cooking with aluminum for this reason. It may not be conclusive, but I would like to be able to wipe my own arse when I get old!
     
  27. EdD270

    EdD270 Guide Bushclass I

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    The aluminum is much lighter, and will heat more evenly preventing food being burned on one part and underdone on the other. Food don't stick to it as badly, either, making it easier to clean up.
    Stainless is much more durable, and has no potential for leaching bad mojo into your food, if that's a concern for you.
    BTW, the GI mess kit is just that, something to eat out of. It's not really intended for doing any cooking, you'll want to get a good 1- or 1 1/2-qt. pot for that.
     
  28. GKiT

    GKiT Supporter Supporter

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    I never liked the divided top plate on the US mess kits. The older ones (I think ww1) had a single open plate lid and the same fry pan bottom. I think they were aluminum. A plate can come in handy when preping/cooking/eating on the ground and I always felt like the divider gets in the way. I don't mind a few peas in my potatoes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011
  29. Greebe

    Greebe Scout

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    My mess kit is just my cook pot. I figure that after I cook what I am going to eat, why get something else dirty, just eat out of what you cooked in. This saves you some weight, space, and time as well. But hey this is just me. I'm simple like that.:cool:
     

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