Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gear Review: Zebra Billy Pots

Our friends over at Ben's Backwoods recently sent us some stainless steel bushcrafting cookware and asked for our opinion. These pots, called "Zebra Billy Pots," are popular in European bushcraft circles, and are also standard-issue gear for students attending Ray Mear's reknowned Woodlore Bushcraft School. More recently, they've begun to spread in popularity here in the States as well.

The pots are manufactured by Zebra of Thailand. They have been making stainless cookware since 1966. Unlike cheap cookware that's made in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc, the quality of the Zebra pots is very high, and more akin to gear that's made in Sweden, Germany or the US. As a mark of this quality, each individual component of the Billy Pot is stamped with Zebra's unique logo:

(click to enlarge)


Zebra 16CM Pot
Fluid Ounces: 100 oz
Diameter: 16 cm (6.3")
Individual Piece Height: Pot w/ lid 7.25" Insert 1 .5" 
Total Height: 7.25" 
Weight: 2.00 lbs
Steel: 18-10 Marine Grade Stainless Steel
Made by Zebra in Thailand
Price- $26.98

Zebra 14CM Pot
Fluid Ounces: 64 oz
Diameter: 14 cm (5.5")
Individual Piece Height: Pot w/ lid 6.25" Insert 1 .5" 
Total Height: 6.25" 
Weight:1 lb 9 oz.
Steel: 18-10 Marine Grade Stainless Steel
Made by Zebra in Thailand
Price- $24.98 (USD)

Zebra 12CM Pot
Fluid Ounces: 44 oz
Diameter: 12 cm (4.7")
Individual Piece Height: Pot w/ lid 5.5" Insert 1 .25" 
Total Height: 5.5" 
Weight:1 lb 3 oz.
Steel: 18-10 Marine Grade Stainless Steel
Made by Zebra in Thailand
Price- $21.98 (USD)


What makes the Zebra Pots so handy is their bushcraft-friendly features. The handle has a notch in the middle, to make it easy to hang on a branch over campfires.

It also comes with a removable pan that nests over the pot, which comes in handy as a plate, mixing bowl or frying pan. When used with the lid, this pan can also function as an improvised dutch oven for baking bannock bread, or for steaming vegetables when used over boiling water inside the lidded pot.

The pot itself is constructed of 18-10 Marine grade stainless, and its simple shape excels at common tasks such as boiling water, cooking stews and soups, melting snow, etc:

Melting snow in the 12CM pot for drinking water.

The middle-sized 14CM Zebra Pot has room to cook up to three ramens at once:

Heating up baked beans in the 14CM Zebra Pot.

The overall quality of the pots is superb, and they are built to withstand heavy use. Early Zebra pots came with problematic plastic lid clips, which were used to hold the lid down when the pot was not in use. The issue with these clips was that they would melt when exposed to the heat of a campfire. This plastic has been phased out in later models, and all new Zebra pots come without them.


There are many cookware choices on the market for bushcrafters, but with the combination of strong, quality construction, bushcraft-friendly features, and a very reasonable price, it's not hard to understand why Zebra Pots are so popular.

Yes, there are lighter options than the Zebra Pots, but lighter isn't always better. The advantages of carrying a heavier stainless pot include a more evenly heated cooking surface, bombproof construction, and easier cleaning.

For many bushcrafters, who typically travel shorter distances to their favorite wilderness spots, the Zebra is an excellent choice that's built to last.

5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

Zebra Billy Pots are available from Ben's Backwoods

(Campfire photos by Monica Tymcio)

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

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