Mar 25, 2008 at 11:49 pm #1227988
@ryanLocale: Northern Rockies
Companion forum thread to:Mar 26, 2008 at 7:41 am #1425666
I have been using a Caldera Cone system for a while now, and love it. I just purchased my second one, which is a 2 qt titanium model, with a alum. AGG pot. I used it on a winter trip for 2 people a few weeks ago, and it worked great. I, regrettably, brought enough alcohol, and esbit to use the stove without wood for the whole trip. I ended up using a wood fire for almost every boil. Next time out I'm going to bring only enough esbit to start fires in the event of wet wood sources.
I have found wood cooking to be quite simple, and enjoyable. As mentioned, it does provide a much more primitive feel.
I try to save weight where ever I can, but when I see some people talking about an alcohol stove that weighs 2 grams less than another, I find it kind ridiculous, when they will be carrying 8oz of fuel anyway. As long as there is a source of wood, The Caldera Cone seems to be the best stove/windscreen for the weight.Mar 27, 2008 at 10:30 am #1425822
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Well written article and the bits of humor appreciated! One thing I find myself doing when winter camping here in the PNW is to find a rather large tree with a large, roomy tree-well beneath and cook there. Using a base made of a slab of bark from a dead and down tree, the stove is stable and in a natural wind shelter…works great!Mar 27, 2008 at 5:27 pm #1425881
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
Using a Caldera Cone as a wood burner did not work for me. The heat melted the joint making it very difficult to slide open and also the heat weakened one of the sides making it almost paper thin. I set the stove over a titanium plate which I thought might help result with less fire burn left on the ground. That did not happen either. I had quite a furnace going that got he water boiling in no time. Another drawback to using the Caldera or other bottom less stoves is the burn mark it leaves on the ground The ground also needs to be thoroughly dosed to prevent a fire hazard which means one has to collect extra water just for that purpose. Not a problem with a lot of snow around, however. Meanwhile I am back to the Bush Buddy. When dry tinder is scarce, I use the cotton ball in valseline mehtod igniting it with a spark maker.Mar 27, 2008 at 7:59 pm #1425906
@richard295Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
The aluminum Caldera is not designed to use wood. I assume you had problems using a wood fire in the aluminum Caldera and not the titanium Caldera. Is this correct?Mar 28, 2008 at 6:43 am #1425936
"The aluminum Caldera is not designed to use wood. I assume you had problems using a wood fire in the aluminum Caldera and not the titanium Caldera. Is this correct?"
Gah… this is why we need a gear-wiki… I bet this is the 100th time I've heard reference to someone either using the Al Cone on wood or at least asking about it.Mar 28, 2008 at 8:46 am #1425948
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I think a wiki would be a great idea. I have thought that it would be great if the BPL overviews became wiki entries so they could be updated and stay relevant. Forgoing that, I have been hoping one of the existing backpacking waterholes would add one rather than having yet another place to look.
The reason I maintain my personal web pages is to have a place to collect the things I learn and organize things topically rather than by the date things are discovered (forum posts or blog). I have periodically thought about dumping my outdoor pages into a wiki and throwing it open for others to edit. I haven't done it because I have mixed too much opinion with objective facts. As a thought experiment I copied my shelter recommendations page into wikispaces and the started to remove the personal editorization. It took me around 2 minutes to realize that would take a huge amount of time to remove "mark" from those pages. Just count the number of "I"s and "you"s. I decided personal and factual was just too closely mixed to quickly undo.
Once I have finished up some other projects (not related to light weight backpacking) I am planning on pouring in objective data related to the outdoors into http://www.freebase.com/ which has wiki like capabilities as well as providing a way to store and search rich meta data. For example, you would be able to say show me a shelter that weights less than X, has Y footprint, reports of it being using in at least Z mph winds. Alas, that is most likely not going to even start for a few months.
Back to the original topic… people knowing not to using the caldera windscreen as part of a firebox system… this is the sort of thing I have tried to keep track of. My stove recommendations section warns people not to do a wood fire in Caldera under "alky stove" and in the section of "wood stove" I once again warn about aluminum noting that steel and titanium are the appropriate materials.Mar 28, 2008 at 11:22 am #1425973
Somewhat unrelated, but I've really liked the info you've collected at your site for a while, Mark.Mar 28, 2008 at 12:39 pm #1425985
Thanks for jumping in and helping to clarify the proper fuels for the Caldera. At the risk of beating this horse again, wood or petroleum based fires inside the Caldera Cone will damage it and could be dangerous. This warning is provided in the literature and now on the website.
On the other hand, the Ti-Tri works fine with wood fires and has not shown any heat related issues over all the testing we, or Kevin, or BPL have done.
Thanks again for all your support!
Rand :)Mar 29, 2008 at 7:20 am #1426070
The soaping of the pot works really well if you keep applying and cleaning off the soap. By removing the sooty soap after each use you end up with just a small amount of soot that can be transfered to your gear. This is a common practice for pots used in the BWCAW where fire grates are provided.Mar 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm #1426242
@dbannerLocale: Pacific North West
You're right. An aluminum Caldera Cone will not support a wood fire–nor was it intended to. The cone that Kevin was using in the article is the Trail Designed titanium cone with a titanium floor plate to protect the ground from the fire.
We used prototypes of these cones during with Wilderness Trekking III course and they worked great. Trail Designs has made to improvements to the cone's design based upon our feedback. These are a great way to avoid some of the concerns people have with open fires in the wilderness.Apr 1, 2008 at 9:16 am #1426523
Thanks Monty–Just make sure you camp away from dead "widow maker" trees–they are most likely to fall when laden with snow and buffeted by the winds of winter.Apr 1, 2008 at 9:17 am #1426524
Aluminum is not made for wood burning–it can't take the heat. All the stoves for wood are made of titanium.Apr 2, 2008 at 3:49 am #1426671
My wife and I are just back from a week-long trip in the mountains here in Oz. It was meant to be an early autumn trip (in Australia), but we had sub-zero conditions most nights with winds up to 50 mph. No snow, fortunately, but no forest cover and no wind-shelter either. Ice on Mt Jagungal. No trees some nights as well: we were out on the High Plains. Boy we were glad of our double-skin winter tent and our liquid-feed canister stove inside the vestibule of the tent. However, in a heavy pine forest with little wind I can see some possibilities.
However, I have to take strong exception to the claim of needing 5 oz (140 g) of fuel per person per day. That's 280 g for 2 people per day! I cannot believe that!
I normally budget 30 g per day for the two of us (my wife and I) in summer and 50 g per day in winter. OK, add a bit more if you expect to have to melt all your water from very cold snow – maybe 80 g per day for 2 people.
Technical background: to boil two cups of water (0.5 litres) takes me about 8 g of canister gas in summer. Double that if you have to start with cold snow to get boiling water. So 80 g will allow you to BOIL 2.5 litres from snow at -20 C. 40 g will let you boil 1.25 litres for cooking and another 40 g will let you melt another 2.5 litres for drinking etc.
RogerApr 2, 2008 at 1:20 pm #1426770
Thanks for your experiences and comments Roger. I thought the 5oz pppd (per person per day) was a bit high of an estimate as well. It is what is quoted. It probably is most accurate for those melting all water from snow, having hot dinners (perhaps requiring actual cooking) and hot breakfasts/coffee in the morning with a winter safety factor built in.
In a Sierra winter you generally need to get all of your water from melting snow. I melt all of my water for dinner and the next day at night which generally comes to 5L per person but would boil only 1-1.5L per person for dinner. (I leave camp with 3L for drinking in the day so I don't have to stop. I force myself to drink a liter in camp before I leave and use a liter plus for cooking and drinking at night.) I personally eat cold breakfasts. With this conservative usage you get pretty close to 100g of fuel pppd. Add the weight savings up over a 7-10 day trip and they are still substantial.Apr 2, 2008 at 8:50 pm #1426842
> I thought the 5oz pppd (per person per day) was a bit high of an estimate as well. It is what is quoted.
You know, after I posted my comment and mentioned the 5 oz figure to my wife, we both wondered whether the figure relates to alcohol use with a poorly-designed alky stove without a good windshield. That I could almost believe.
> I melt all of my water for dinner and the next day at night which generally comes to 5L per person but would boil only 1-1.5L per person for dinner.
I agree about melting water at night, but we would probably have some left over from 5 L per day for the TWO of us. Yeah, as some have noted before, we don't drink as much as some, especially in the cold. Our last trip (last week) had sub-zero nights, and I think we ran on under 5 L per day for the two of us.
Over 6 days of fairly hard walking we used a not-quite-new 230 g canister of gas while experimenting with a new winter stove.Apr 5, 2008 at 12:34 am #1427232
Do the concerns about using an aluminum Caldera with a wood fire carry over to also cause any concern for using an aluminum pot with a wood fire?
I assume not, since folks apparently use aluminum pots with wood-fired titanium Calderas with apparently no problem reported — as in the AGG 3 cup and 2 quart pots which are aluminum, or any other aluminum pot.
But, given the clear opinion of experts that the aluminum Calderas do not hold up to wood fires, it occurs to me that adverse effects might also arise if an aluminum pot is used with a wood fire — whether with a titanium caldera, bush buddy, zip, or other wood fire stove.
JRSApr 5, 2008 at 3:03 am #1427234
Aluminium pots are quite OK on a wood flame – provided they are full of water ! ! ! The water in a pot limits how hot the pot gets, but the Caldera Cone has no water of course.
Generations of walkers have used Al pots and frypans over a wood fire without problems, although there have been a few melted ones when the water ran out. :-)Dec 3, 2008 at 7:20 pm #1461969
@tkoutdoorLocale: Pacific Northwest
I'm told that one can boil water in a styrofoam cup, but that's just for show as it doesn't leave enough structure in the cup to be useful. The aluminum pot then will do fine with water in it as the water keeps the aluminum from reaching temperatures where it would be combustible. It's the same principle as the styrofoam cup. The cup will burn away down to a thin layer that is protected by the water temp.Dec 3, 2008 at 10:03 pm #1462006
Styrofoam? Dunno about that one!
But I have done it with a brown paper bag over a wood fire.Dec 4, 2008 at 1:34 pm #1462120
@tkoutdoorLocale: Pacific Northwest
"Styrofoam? Dunno about that one!
But I have done it with a brown paper bag over a wood fire."
I know… It makes me want to try it myself just to be able to use the right example. It seems more likely that it's a paper cup, but I'll say styrofoam for now… :-)Apr 28, 2010 at 10:06 pm #1603409
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I'm about to purchase the Caldera Cone Tri Ti stove & base
(& then make my own "sub base" to prevent the stove sinking into compacted snow).
I think the Caldera Cone Tri ti stove is the most efficient way to go for winter camping – when natural wood fuel is available.
Tri Ti advantages:
1. little fuel weight except for ESBIT/FireLite tabs to help start fires
2. most efficient windscreen/woodstove available
(i.e the BushBuddy woodstove may be a hair more efficient at combustion but loses that edge even with an added windscreen.)
3. very packable stove when broken down
4. titanium construction is very durable
5. flying sparks are kept to a minimum, protecting nylon gear
6. only minimum wood fuel is needed due to the efficient designApr 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm #1603627
I would add the comment that it's much harder to insulate the TriTi from snow than the BushBuddy and my impression is that it needs somewhat more fuel–not sure about this last item.
If you are using this dedicated for wood have Russ add a second layer of holes on the bottom and more holes on the top. This significantly helps airflow and thus combustion. A "standard" TriTi is optomized for Esbit and emphasizes windscreen over ventilation. Otherwise the wood will just smolder and smoke.May 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm #1605469
Just for another data point on fuel usage, this is from a recently completed 8-day trip in the Sierra. We found running water 2 nights out of 7. Average fuel usage: 3.57 ounces by weight of white gas per day, or just under 1.8 oz per person. Hot breakfasts and dinners. I have found from experience that I do fine with 1 liter per person per week – have never used that up completely in fact.May 3, 2010 at 5:05 pm #1605487
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Ask me in a week. I'm going snowcamping this weekend, assuming that the weather holds.
In general, if I need to place any kind of stove on snow, it is going to melt down unless I build a wood/snow platform. That is generally one square foot of green tree branch with hard snow packed over and around it. Then I place a piece of 6"x6" Masonite over that. Then I put the stove or metal baseplate on that. In the case of my new Ti-Tri Caldera, that would be the standard titanium circle that is covered by expendable aluminum foil.
There is a chance that there will be zero wood available, so I am taking a butane stove with fuel as a backup. That's what I get for going up near timberline.
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