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Backcountry Cooking with a Mors Pot

If you had the opportunity to glance into backpackers’ gear closets, you are likely to notice one thing: many, many cook pots. For some reason, cookware seems to accumulate just as much as knives, patches, and pouches. I would imagine that this is all the result of purchasing a cook pot, using said cook pot, and then finding that it lacks in one way or another. Next thing you know you’re off searching for the next cook pot in hopes that this one will fit all of your needs. There are countless backpacking cook pots out there in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and materials. It can be a bit overwhelming to pick the one that works best for you.

Mors PotI am most certainly part of this group with too many damn cooking pots. However, there is one I grab most often – the Mors Pot. I have found that this cook pot suits all of my needs and then some. Why, you ask? It’s simple: versatility. The Mors Pot works excellent on the camp stove, as well as over an open fire. One thing that you’ll find with many commonly available cooking systems today is they are not well suited for open fire cooking. If you’ve ever tried it, then you know that you’ll soon find that plastic parts and silicone coated handles instantly become a melted glob.

I’m sure at this point you’re wondering where the name “Mors Pot” comes from. The pot is actually named after Canadian Bushcraft and Wilderness Survival Guru, Mors Kochanski. As the story goes, Mors was given a cooking pot 40 years ago as part of a survival kit while working as an instructor at the Canadian Air Force Survival School. He had found this pot to be the perfect size for extended living in the Northern Boreal forest. Throughout the years, manufacturers of this style of pot had come and gone. It wasn’t until Mors spoke with his good friend Don Kevilus of Four Dog Stove and found out that Don was currently having these pots made by Open Country. The pot had all the features that Mors had come to love like his first one and has since been renamed the “Mors Pot”.

Mors PotThe Mors Pot is built for hard wilderness use, yet is still lightweight and packable. Made from hard anodized aluminum, the pot has a non-stick cooking surface as well as strength comparable to stainless steel. This pot has some very useful features. The pouring spout, a feature not found on many cooking pots, makes it easy when cooking and serving liquids. The folding butterfly handles make for easy handling of the pot for pouring, or when eating directly out of the pot. A locking bail handle, which stays upright, makes it easy to lift the pot off your stove or fire without burning your hand. It also has a tight-fitting lid which does two things. It keeps the contents inside the pot should it accidentally tip over and it also prevents the risk of scalding, a common camping injury. The Mors Pot is available in two sizes, 1.8L (7 cups), and 1.1L (4.6 cups). I prefer the 1.8L for the winter and the 1.1L for the summer. The larger pot in the winter is simply for melting snow and boiling water. I tend to leave the water filter at home in the winter to avoid the risk of freezing and ultimately damaging the filter element.

Mors PotThis Mors Pot excels at both on the stove and open fire cooking. Stove cooking is pretty self-explanatory, so I’m just going to  cover open fire cooking in this article. One of the great benefits to open fire cooking capabilities with your cook pot comes is in the winter time. Acquiring an adequate amount of drinking water in the cold, frozen winter can often be quite a challenge. Unless you have access to open water, you’ll need to resort to melting snow. With a butane or alcohol stove, you’ll need to carry a significant amount of fuel in order to melt snow throughout your trip. However, with your Mors Pot and an open fire, all you need to do is toss on another log and there is typically plenty more fuel where that came from. Leave the pot hanging over the fire throughout the day and you’ll have hot water ready to go whenever you need it. Here a quick tip. If you’re worried that your water will freeze inside your water bottle during the night, pour the water into your cooking pot before you go to bed. It will be in the perfect container to melt it in the morning!

Mors Pot If you have never cooked over an open fire, it will take some forethought to get it right. A good cooking fire is made before the tinder is even lit. If you just toss a bunch of sticks into a pile and light it up, you are going to have a tough time cooking anything. The key is to have a good base of coals. Coals provide an even heat and are easier to work around than open flames. The way I build a cooking fire is to start with laying down a bed of logs side by side (2-3” in diameter for a quick cooking fire, or 6”+ for an overnight or group camp fire). I then stack my kindling and tinder on top and spark it off. As the fire burns down, it will ignite the bed of larger diameter logs, and provide a good set of coals for you to cook over. If you laid them straight and even, you can set the pot right on top of the logs.

BACKCOUNTRY COOKING WITH A MORS POTA great way for you and your group to set up a cooking area is to build what is referred to as a ridge pole. A ridge pole is simply a horizontal log about 5’ above the ground, suspended by either lashing it to two trees, or just one tree and incorporating a simple bipod on one end. This is all made with natural materials found in the woods around you, minus the paracord used for lashing. With practice, this can be setup in a matter of minutes. A ridge pole, combined with a long fire, gives your group plenty of space to hang as many cooking pots as you’d like. For example you could have one for cooking, one for coffee, and one for melting snow. This means less time fiddling with camp tasks and more time hanging out with your buddies around the warm glow of the campfire.

Once you’ve got your ridge pole setup, you now can make your pot hook. My preferred method is to find a branch with a fork(preferably green so it does not break on you), and then tie your pot hook to a piece of paracord, loop it over your ridge pole, and then tie it with a taught-line hitch. This acts as a slip knot, and allows you to raise the pot up or down, thereby controlling the amount of heat while cooking over the fire.

Mors PotWith the addition of the Snowpeak titanium bowl, you can make delicious baked goods in the backcountry(this will only fit in the 1.8L Mors Pot). You can cook just about anything that will fit inside the bowl such as muffin mix, cake mix, and biscuits. Simply place the bowl sideways in the pot and then set the pot onto some coals. You can even suspend the pot with a pot hook on the side handles. Take it slow to avoid the risk of burning, and check it often. Soon you’ll be enjoying your baked goods and be the envy of your all buddies stuck munching on Cliff Bars. It is also worth mentioning that the Snowpeak titanium bowl nests right in the bottom of 1.8L pot without any wasted space.

Mors PotIn closing, the Mors Pot will make a great addition to your outdoors gear. It’s built for hard use, made right here in the USA, and is very affordable. If you haven’t done much open fire cooking while camping, I highly suggest that you give it a shot. It is yet another invaluable skill set that you can add to your ever-expanding outdoors expertise. As Mors Kochanski says, “The more you know the less you carry.” For more information on the the Mors Pot, or to order one for yourself, please visit Four Dog Stove.

Written by

Brian Gustad is a gear designer and leather craftsman by trade. He is the founder of Sagewood Gear, a company that specializes in building adventure equipment that blends the timeless look of hand stitched leather and the durability and functionality of modern fasteners and materials.

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