Over the years, I’ve noticed many experienced outdoors people tend to gravitate towards certain types of gear, clothing or systems.
When the Mrs. and I went to the Great Sand Dunes several years ago over Thanksgiving weekend, my a past partner made the observation (after a stroll in the campground) that the few parties there, presumably experienced winter campers, all seemed to have a set up like ours: Plastic totes well-organized, a similar kitchen set up and gear arranged in a similar fashion.
Likewise, when backpacking, I’ve noticed people who hike off-trail and/or more than just three-season conditions on well-marked trails seem to gravitate towards similar all-purpose gear: A 100 weight fleece is an item that crops up in many gear kits along with the modular mitten system.
Not that every person has the same gear or same preferences, but it is not unusual to see the same simple items or systems show up frequently among people who have spent some time outside in similar conditions.
There is no manual telling someone to use this gear or system, it just comes out of experience.
So, it is no surprise, that when I assisted Andrew Skurka on the winter trips he used to run, he was a proponent of the old standby of group trips in winter: The Open Country Four Quart pot. Also known as a billy pot or kettle, this simple mainstay is inexpensive, light for its size and works.
Why such a big pot? Because in winter you need to melt a lot of snow. Small pots are not efficient for a group. Even when it is not winter, heating up a lot of water for multiple people (say 3-4 people) works better in a pot this size.
And, beyond group backpacking, I have found this pot to work well for our car camping kit. Fits a nice niche that sometimes a 2 qt pot doesn’t quite fit.
The non-stick black version goes for less than $20. I like the black version as it absorbs just a bit more heat versus the non-black version. Probably does not make THAT much of a difference, but every bit helps in the winter.
As an addition, a pot grip may want to be purchased for decanting water into smaller pots or water bottles.
Overall: Light for its size, inexpensive and it works. The Open Country Four Quart pot is excellent for group backpacking esp during the winter. Also, throw it in the car camping kit..works well there, too.
Disclosure: This item was purchased with my own funds