Zebra Billy Pot Review.
I must admit, I have wanted a Zebra Billy tin for ages. However, my trusty Kookaburra Billy tin has been great and going strong, so I really didn’t have a good reason to get the Zebra pot. Still, I was keen on testing the billy, and the kids needed one for their camping kit, so it was a good enough reason to buy it, try it and do a Zebra Billy pot review.
The Zebra pot has been popular brand with bushcraft and outdoors-men for many years now. And for good reason, as it is solid piece of cooking equipment.
The Zebra Billy pot is available in 10 cm, 12cm, 14 cm, and 16 cm sizes.
I chose the 12 cm (4.7″) model as it would be a good size for boiling and purifying some water for me. Yet, still small enough for cooking some, soups or meals and eating the meal straight from the billy tin. (Saving cleaning and carrying equipment.)
For hotter climates the 14cm (5.51″) model might be a better choice for the capacity of boiling more water. However the weight versus the volume is always a compromise for hiking, backpack hunting and fishing trips in remote places, etc.
Because of the heavy weight, the 16 cm (6.29”) would probably be better suited for car camping or a group of campers, or more long term wilderness living.
The Zebra Billy Can out of the box.
Out of the box, the pot comes with a nesting dish. The container can also be used for a small separate pan. The nesting bowl can also be used to place inside the billy pot while cooking and can steam some food like greens, at the same time.
Because of the extra weight, the nesting dish or container personally won’t be in my backpack. However the extra dish is a good additional option and could be handy for car camping.
The billy dimensions.
For size comparison, the Zebra Billy pot is pictured here with a 1litre army water bottle, Mora knife, Kookaburra Billy (Back right.) and army kidney cups canteen.
The lid has a flat / sunken handle on the lid and this makes it easy to pack. However, the sunken handle makes it harder to take the lid off and stir the contents of the pot. Or check on the food cooking, while it is on a heat source.
The advantage of the sunken lid handle is that packs flatter for hiking.
The lid fits reasonably well, but would come lose if the pot was knocked over, (For cooking the plastic side clips would be off.) losing all the water or food. The benefit is though when boiling, water the pressure is released from the looser lid.
The lid can also be turned upside down when cooking and still keeping the food hot and other food items may be kept warm on top of the lid.
The Zebra Billy is made in Thailand and is a quality polished stainless steel.
The volume test.
On the packaging the 12cm (4.7″) model, apparently it holds 1.4 liters. (47.33 ounces.)
To test it out, I poured 1 liter (33.81 ounces.) of water. The level reached to about 3cm or roughly 1 1/4” from the top of the pot.
Pouring 1200ml (About 40.57 ounces.) of water put the level to about 1cm from the top.
Filled to the brim, the Zebra pot held 1325ml (About 44.80 ounces.) of water. (I did spill a tiny bit pouring it back into the measuring cup to measure the volume, but very little.).
I assume for the packaging and marketing material for the billy tin, it was measured with the concave volume of the lid or rounded up.
Billy tin weight.
On my un-calibrated digital scales, with the nesting bowl included, the billy weighed 539 grams. (19.01 ounces.) The Zebra Billy tin weighed 429 grams (15.13 ounces.) without the nesting dish. (Image to the right.)
Pot bail handle.
The bail is solid and flat, not like a flimsy wire bail. The bail because of the construction folds down, but not flat with the pot as say a flexible wire bail.
A notch in the bail helps center the pot while hanging it from a pot holder or crane.
Bushcraft and camping.
I used the billy several times on tripods, pot cranes, etc., over the fire. Also directly on the fire and coals as well.
When boiling water and cooking soups the pot didn’t seem to get any deformities from the heat of being direct on the fire. (The cheaper made tin billy’s can deform with the extreme heat.)
Like most Billy pots, the Zebra Billy got soot over it. So I normally place the bush pot in a ditty bag or dry bag so the dirt doesn’t get on my other equipment in my backpack.
While carrying the Zebra bush pot, it obviously has empty space in it. So the pot is ideal for carrying food inside, like oats, pasta or dehydrated food and or a brew kit.
Another option is to make most of the dead space and use it as a container for bushcraft or survival kit in it. (Mors Kochanski has a good video on YouTube on using the billy pot to hold bushcraft and wilderness gear.)
I tested the capacity of the Zebra with a few outdoor items, like my fire lighting pouch. I also tried putting the Grabber Outdoors Space Blanket in the tin, but it didn’t fit in the 12cm model. The Helikon poncho, with a bit of effort and pressing the air out will just fit into the pot.
As well as for cooking stews, I have also used the billy for cooking , crawfish (yabbies or crayfish.) freshwater and saltwater mussels, scorpions and wood grubs. Also for a foraging container for edible plants, as a makeshift shovel for digging for water and boiling up some pine needle tea.
The drawbacks of the Zebra Billy Pot.
The negatives of the pot are the plastic clips that help secure the lid. The plastic side clips have to be removed before placing the billy on the fire. (Some newer models apparently have metal clips.)
The clips hold the lid on, but only securely when the bail handle is vertical, locking the plastic into place on the bail.
Heavier weight of the pot is a disadvantage for the lightweight hiker, however, the durability might offset the weight factor for some. Such as, the solid construction of the pot would hopefully survive if left on the fire for a while with no water in it. While lighter weight pots may not.
No pour spout, butterfly handles and measuring marks, can also be negatives of the pot for some.
(For those who want a pour spout and butterfly handles, the Pathfinder Stainless Bush Pot or the Mors Camp Pot might be worth checking out. The Mors pot is made by Four Dog stove and Mors Kochanski helped designed it. The Mors Pot and the Pathfinder Bush Pot are on my wish list. Hopefully I can do a review of them in the future.)
I do like the butterfly (Bat wing.) handles, so I can hold the pot easier and eat from the pot. So that was one disadvantage of the pot for me.
Summary – Zebra Billy Pot Review.
The Zebra Billy is an ideal container for helping with basic bushcraft and survival skills, like simply boiling water to purify it. For having a cup tea or coffee on the trail when hiking, or cooking a hot stew when camping, the Zebra pot does this well.
Obviously the Zebra bush pot is not as light as a titanium pot, but the Zebra is a simple design. Apart from a few drawbacks like the plastic clips and weight for some, the Zebra Billy tin is solid and bombproof.
Because of the Zebra Billy pot’s tough design, this billy could be in someone’s hiking, bushcraft or camping kit for many, many years.