Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Swiss Mess Kit and Norwegian Mess Kit Comparison, Schweizer Essgeschirr Kochgeschirr Gamelle, Kokekar fra det Norske Forsvaret

As promised, here is the blog posting that compares the Swiss and Norwegian Mess Kits.  It will be a short one, as I've already covered both them in previous posts.  

You can take a look at the individual kits on these blog pages:



Now let's get on the with the comparison!

As I stated before, the two mess kits are basically the same, with the Swiss kit being much larger.  The Norwegian kit is closer in size to the "standard" German mess kit from WW2.

Both of the kits use the unique "two hole" system for extending the handle with a stick.

As far as I know, these are the only two countries that have used this unique handle.  

Sweden used a handle that shared the concept of being able to use a stick to extend the handle, but their approach was a bit different.  They actually added two D-rings that allowed a much better use of a stick for a handle.  The Swedish style is my personal favorite.

Swedish Mess Kit Cup with D-Rings

Swedish Mess Kit Cup with Handle Extension.

Let's take a side-by-side look at the Swiss and Norse kits.  The Swiss kit is black.  The Norwegian kit is green.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Swiss Mess Kits, Schweizer Essgeschirr Kochgeschirr Gamelle, Sigg, WW1, WW2, Post-War, Cold War

I've been organizing the bunker, and came across my stash of Swiss Mess kits.  Since I was dragging them out, I figured it was probably time to show a couple off on the blog, so here we go.

Before Swiss Link, burned down last November, I ordered up a big pile of these Swiss mess kits.  These were some of the last of the Swiss surplus kits available in the USA.  I'm glad I did, because the rest of their inventory turned into a puddle of molten aluminum during the inferno that was the "Camp Fire" in Paradise, California.  These amazing mess kits, just got even more rare............

These Swiss mess kits were some of the largest mess kits that were used after WW1.  The German model 1910 mess kits, and the Swiss mess kits, were nearly identical.  The only real differences were the lid handles and metal strap loops.  After WW1, Germany redesigned their mess kits into a smaller version.  Switzerland did not.  They kept this same, large mess kit, and issued it out from the WW1 era, through the 1990's.

The mess kits we'll be looking at today, all date in the 1980's and 1990's.   Many were made by the still famous, Swiss company Sigg, and all are stamped with the Swiss Cross.

Black seems to be the predominant post-war color of the Swiss mess kits, with green being used during the WW2 years.  I also understand that there were "Swiss Gray" colored kits produced in the 1950's to 1960's.  The only difference that I can find between the "war years" kits, and post-war kits, is the stamped dates, and paint colors.   There is one interesting difference with some of the Swiss, post-war kits, and that is the bail lugs.

The standard bail lug on nearly all of the Swiss mess kits is the "stud-lug style".  This was used since they they were first produced over 100 years age.

In some of the later, post-war kits, there was a change to the post-war "German Style Lug".

All of the mess kits in my possession that have these German lugs, seem to have been made by a company that used the stamp JE.

The German style bail lugs allow the bail to catch at about 90 degrees on one side to assist with pouring.  The stud-lugs allow the bail to rotate 360 degrees.   As to which is better, all depends on personal preference.  

As with all of these "German Style" mess kits, the lid fits on the top of the lower pot two ways: cup down, or cup up.

One very unique thing that sets these Swiss kits apart, is the distinctive handle.  The only other country to use this style handle is Norway, and I believe that Norway copied the design from the Swiss (the Norse made their mess kits in the 1950's - 1970's).  I'll do a comparison between the Swiss and Norwegian kits in my next posting.
You can see the Norwegian Mess Kit here:

The handles are designed with two holes.  These holes allow a stick to be inserted to make a handle extension for cooking over a fire, or as an insulated handle when the cup is hot.   This really gives this kit an advantage over the others when using it as a campfire cook pot.

These Swiss kits hold an amazing 2 liters of liquid!  When it comes to actually cooking over a fire, the Swiss kit is my go-to mess kit.  They are the perfect size to cook for two.

There is a single strap loop riveted to the handle.  

The official Swiss strap buckles around the kit, with a stud-fastened, secondary attached, strap-tab that allows the kit to be attached to the pack or bread bag.

Here are a couple of shots of the Swiss mess kit straps.

Let's take a closer look at the Swiss kits.   I have included a number of side-by-side comparison shots of the two style lugs.

Friday, June 21, 2019

New Swedish Mess Kit, Kåsa Cup and Fold-A-Cup, Original Aluminum Green Mess Kit with Svea Alcohol Stove and Windscreen, Kuska Cup, Wildo Company of Sweden

In my never ending quest for all things Swedish, I figured that I'd be slowing down on my discoveries and additions to the collection.  However, much to my surprise, it seems that things have picked up recently in the Swedish Mess Kit department!

I finally found an original aluminum, green, Swedish mess kit with the wind screen and alcohol stove.  These aren't hard to find, but picking one up at an affordable price these days is the challenge.

I spotted this this beauty up for sale, offered by a seller that didn't know what he had.  To him it was just an old "army surplus cook pot".  I bought it for an "old cook pot price", and smiled all the way home.

This pot is the same as my unpainted mess kits, but has the "value-added" addition of authentic Swedish Army green paint.  Now all the slots are filled in the Swedish mess kit series.

I won't go on much more about these kits, as I have covered them a number of times in previous posts.  You can read up on them here (for more blog postings, you can search the blog using "Swedish Mess Kit" in the search bar).



This particular kit is stamped and dated, ST 89, with the Three Swedish Crowns. (1989)

The windscreen is unmarked, with two additional air vent holes.  I'm not sure if that means this is a newer "reproduction" screen, or if it is another variation.  Here is a comparison of the two windscreens.

When compared to my other screens, it is identical, down to the press tool marks.  The only difference I can see is that there is an additional air vent hole on each side, under the handle slot.  The other slight difference is that the stove hole in the bottom of the unmarked screen has a sharp metal edge.  The marked screens have a slightly rounded edge.

The alcohol stove is the classic Swedish issue stove, marked and dated SVEA 64,   (1964).

In addition to the "new" mess kit, I also picked up a couple of the newly produced copies, of the original Swedish Army cups.

The original cups can be a bit pricey, so when I spotted these cups for a couple of dollars each, I couldn't pass them up. 

The large cup is a Kåsa Cup, more often called a Kuska Cup in bushcraft circles these days.  These large cups are designed to nest perfectly in the bottom of the Swedish Mess Kits.  They are BPA free, hard plastic, and fit nicely in the hand.

The smaller cup is the classic Fold-A-Cup style, collapsible cup that was also designed for and issued to the Swedish Army.  This little folding cup "folds in half", with the top half folding down into the inside of the cup.  Very ingenious!  The cup nests inside the larger cup, so if you want to carry both, it's easy to do so. This cup is also BPA free, and quite sturdy.

Now that the Swedish Army no longer uses these cups, and all of the remaining stocks have surplussed, the Wildo company has been reproducing them for the civilian market.  It is interesting to note that the Wildo company was the original manufacturer of the army cups.  In 2011 the company ownership was transferred to the founder's son and the company was renamed Wildo.  The Wildo company now produces an expanded line of camp utensils, plates, bowls and cups, all based on the originals.  Oh yes, and everything is still manufactured in Sweden!

You can check out the company and their products here:

UPDATE:  I picked up an original cup to display with the mess kits.  You can read about the cup, and see a side-by-side comparison here:

To finish things up, let's take a closer look at the new mess kit and cups.