Steel Military Mess Kits

Discussion in 'Blue Granite Bushcraft' started by hicountry, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. hicountry

    hicountry Blue Granite Bushcraft Vendor

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    _FSC5513.jpg _FSC5541.jpg _FSC5531.jpg _FSC5496.jpg _FSC5529.jpg _FSC5542.jpg _FSC5542.jpg _FSC5499.jpg _FSC5520.jpg _FSC5529.jpg _FSC5542.jpg _FSC5499.jpg _FSC5520.jpg _FSC5520.jpg Steel Military Mess Kits

    A lot of guys like military surplus messkits, I'm one of them.
    I especially like stainless steel.
    The clamshell USGI issue messkits are still great pieces of kit, I still use mine,
    they are cheap and easy to use.

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    The date stamped on my kit has personal meaning to me,
    the year my father landed in Normandy, 1944.

    I trashed a few of these,
    for some reason they were destroyed on hot campfires and wood fuel stoves.
    Maybe the primitive stainless steel alloy had some low quality ingredients,
    I'll never know why, no huge loss.
    The one I have been using until now has worked without any issues.

    I found these in two small shops in Europe: French army and Dutch army

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    French Army modern issue

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    The current military issue French "gamelle inox" is similar to the USGI kit.

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    The stainless steel "inox" is much heavier gauge than the USGI kit,
    although the overall size is a bit smaller, the side walls are higher, and liquid capacity is identical to the USGI.
    It is lined with thick Teflon, there is no divider on the lid, which is a big drawback on the USGI set.

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    I removed the Teflon coating with a wire wheel, wet-dry sandpaper, scotchbrite and Ajax.
    Now it is bare steel, the way I prefer.
    It is well suited for actual cooking on an open flame, the heavier steel will take the abuse.



    Dutch Army

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    These stainless steel mess kits have been hard to locate as well, US surplus shops run out quickly,
    I found this one in the UK: www.surplusandoutdoors.com
    they also have the aluminum equivalent for less money.
    They say they have a decent supply, shipping is not great but not too terrible for the value of the kit.

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    Two nesting pans make the complete set, no lids.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017 at 11:19 AM
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  2. hicountry

    hicountry Blue Granite Bushcraft Vendor

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    The welds or rivets at the handle are really sturdy

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    USGI

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    French army

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    Dutch army

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    USGI compared to French army

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    USGI compared to Dutch army

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    MSR

    Comparison chart :
    For added comparison I added the MSR mid-size kit.

    USGI weight 15oz. capacity 28oz. side wall height 1.5" price $10-25
    French weight 18oz. capacity 28oz side wall height 1.8" price $32.00
    Dutch weight 18oz. capacity 1 liter and 1.2 liter side wall height 2.15" price $16.75
    MSR weight 12oz capacity 28oz. side wall height 2.4" price $20.


    These are great messkits for not too much hassle factor.
    I carry mine filled with cooking tools and food items.
    I'll do a field test soon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
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  3. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    Nice review, here's another for comparison purposes: French Army surplus (old style) $9.75 3 pc. kit, 5x6.5 inches, sidewall depths 1 1/4, 1 1/2 and 2 inches. Heavy duty aluminum 20 oz. weight with D ring attachment point. Ran over one with my JD lawn tractor by mistake and didn't hurt it a bit.
     
  4. hicountry

    hicountry Blue Granite Bushcraft Vendor

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    Those are great sets.
    I'm not as anti-aluminum as some guys,
    but I like the steel version as a personal preference.

    The USGI messkit was made for the chow line, even though everybody cooked with them anyway.
    I've used and abused mine.

    I like the heavy duty european sets made for actual cooking,
    Looks like yours has had lots of love !
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
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  5. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    My French Army kits only get used for static campground type camping with the family and grand kids as they are overkill and to heavy for my solo woods bumming needs for which my so called mess kit is just a 1.1L Mores pot, plastic Frisbee plate, folding Swede Army rubber drink cup, small Pandino cast steel fry pan, spoon and on site green sticks/stones for all other cooking needs.
     
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  6. hicountry

    hicountry Blue Granite Bushcraft Vendor

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    At 20oz the 3-piece kit wouldn't be in the ultralight category for sure.
    Sounds like your solo kit is dialed in -- nice !

    Most folks who use mil surplus gear are not ultra lighters.
    As I fill mine with useful cooking items and tools it gets even heavier -- OK for my needs.

    I prefer steel and durable non-plastic items in my kit, even on the longer treks.
    I try to save weight in other gear categories to cut down on overall base weight.

    Maybe a titanium version of a military mess kit could be made by Heavy Cover or other Ti manufacturer.
    The space saving squarish shape and nesting design are desirable features IMHO.
    Round shapes tend to need more room in the pack.
     
  7. Prof

    Prof Guide Bushclass II

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    This is a really good comparison of several "mess kits." I have a usgi one I have used for several years, and I like it a lot. The others look very good as well, with a similar concept of combining a skillet and plate.
     
  8. The Stumpy One

    The Stumpy One Guide

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    I have decided I must get my hands on one of those newer French steel messkits. DeBuyer makes first class cookware, in fact I have a load of their Lyonnaise frying pans in my kitchen.

    The link supplied doesn't have a method for ordering them, so maybe they are out of stock? Does anyone know another source?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
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  9. hicountry

    hicountry Blue Granite Bushcraft Vendor

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    I have a few more on the way.
    I'll send you one when they arrive.
    Unless you want the one that has the teflon coating removed.
    It's available now, I can always do another one later for myself.
     
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  10. The Stumpy One

    The Stumpy One Guide

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    Thank you!! :) :

    PM sent!
     
  11. hicountry

    hicountry Blue Granite Bushcraft Vendor

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    Stripped French Army "de Buyer" messkit outbound.
    Enjoy a solid piece of mil surplus, brother,
    it's actually brand new, unissued.
     
  12. Virgil Grey

    Virgil Grey Tracker

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    I believe the Dutch army is actually Belgian "ABL" army.

    Are you sure they are stainless? I have one with the original canvas cover and brown metal buttons and it feels a whole lot like aluminum to me.. It's light.

    The French make a heavy duty aluminum one very similar in style at Keepshooting.com
     
  13. Virgil Grey

    Virgil Grey Tracker

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    Double checked, mine says ABL 1974 on the back.

    Looking at it closely now and the texture.. I think you might be right! It could be a beautifully made light weight stainless.

    Whoops, wait a second. Mine only has 4 rivets where the handle meets and yours has 6. Mine is probably different and aluminum :(

    But man the brushed finish looks identical!
     
  14. hicountry

    hicountry Blue Granite Bushcraft Vendor

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    They're steel.
    Several euro armies make these, with very slight variations.
    I've seen the aluminum ones as well.
    The difference is in the weight for sure.
    Mine are available for sale as well :cool:
     

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