Jan 26, 2010 at 5:53 pm #1254541
I saw no thread dedicated exclusively to the amazingness that is the Kmart grease pot. So here one is.
Ode to you almighty Kmart grease pot.
Please post your tips and mods inspired by it's holiness here.
I'll start you off.
While titanium is cool and Heineken and Foster can pots are uber light the Kmart grease pot weighing in at approximately 2.47oz and costing about $6 sets the market for all pots in the wide bottom soloist class. And by 'sets the market' I mean it's the cheapest darn thing ever.
It weighs only 2.47 ounces (pot only) by my scale. It's hard to beat that at any price, but even if you do find some sexy titanium that beats it you'll want to pick up one of these anyway if just to play with.
If nothing else the Kmart pot is perfect for use on the wood fire when you don't want to dirty the bottom of your oh so pretty expensive pots costing ten times as much.
If any piece of gear in the world is the one item every UL backpacker should own at least one of it is the kmart grease pot.
== Cons? What Cons? ==
I won't debate the wide bottom pot vs. tall narrow pot right now I'll just say that in it's class the kmart pot has few if any real negatives.
That Kmart pot doesn't have a Teflon coating and is not indestructible but what ultralight pot is? It can be said to push the limit of just how light and thin walled an aluminum pot of this class can be.
I've already mentioned it's not made of titanium and hence is no status symbol but many people would argue aluminum is a positive. (Again, aluminum vs. titanium is another topic with at least one major thread on backpacking light dedicated to it. Feel free to google it.)
The last thing some might hold against it is the lid that says "grease" and the replaceable oversize knob, but I don't see that as a negative at all… because there's no reason to even carry the lid let alone replace knob. (read on)
== the ScreenLid! ==
I had this "Aha!" moment the other day when I had all my pots out on the table and was doing some boil tests.
The Kmart pot comes with a screen whose purpose I assume it was to screen out solid bits from any grease poured in it.
This screen has many excellent uses but many UL purists will argue against carrying it.
I however, in one brilliant UL eureka moment realized the following:
The screen is lighter then the original lid to the pot and way more useful.
Instead of ditching the screen, why not ditch the heavy lid that says "grease" and instead use the screen as the lid.
A screen as a lid you say!?
That won't work. It has holes in it silly.
But… oh, it will.
In order to make the screen into a lid put a layer or two of aluminum foil flat over the top of the pot, then gently press the screen into the pot.
(I can see the light bulbs going off in heads all over the land. Please direct your praise to the comments below. :)
Hence forth this lid shall be referred to as "ScreenLid!"
(Yes the ! is necessary to denote the Aha!-ness of it if you don't believe me look it up on Yahoo!(tm). :)
Now then… the good part.
== Why ScreenLid!? ==
1) ScreenLid! is lighter, weighing only approximately 1oz as opposed to much heavier "grease" lid at a whopping 1.2oz. Thus the entire pot weighs approximately 3.5 oz with lid.
2) ScreenLid! is multi-useful! Oh boy is it multi-useful! It may in fact be the multi-usefulest lid of any pot ever. (continue to find out how!)
3) keep stuff warm in ScreenLid!
It's just a great place to set stuff you want to keep warm.
4) use a traditional metal pot grabber with ScreenLid!
This is not only way more convenient then having to choose between your pot grabber or lid, but you're less likely to spill stuff while moving the pot with the lid on.
(Again…. please direct the applause to the the comments.)
But that's not all
5) You can use a traditional cloth pot grabber with ScreenLid!
Yes, a cloth pot grabber with a wide bottom pot. How crazy is that?
(that's a rhetorical question btw, but if you care to answer it again I direct you to the comments)
Because ScreenLid! is recessed into the top of the pot exposing a half inch or so of rim and keeping boiling water from leaping up to the rim of the pot you can throw a cloth pot grabber over it and you won't actually burn your god given opposable thumb off in hot water.
No burnt thumb.
No pot grabber cloth covered in scalding water.
Best of all no big heavy pot grabber.
That said I do recommend turning off / down, or even blowing out your stove first, but this works.
I must point out it has a nice rolled lip on the outside of the pot giving a pretty good grip but if using your doctorate in quantum physics to determine the proper mega thumb grip feel free to explain it in the comments below.
Once you have this nice grip you can then ease the kmart pot into a Reflectix cozy for easy handling.
(again, please direct due adulation to comments below)
As a professional in the sport of UL hot pot grabbing I consider this to be quite original and a major coup.
As mentioned I this post is already to long with bad witticisms to get into the small diameter / big diameter pot debate however I would say that this technique at the very least eases if not completely erases one of the major strikes against large bottom pots.
Still I suppose you will want to practice vigorously before you leave that heavy metal pot grabber at home.
6) make coffee with ScreenLid!
Yeah, the screen should make an excellent coffee filter. Just drape an appropriate sized filter, napkin or paper town over it, put in grounds and pour hot water over. Should be pretty self explanatory and work reasonably well. If you find out otherwise leave a comment.
7) steam stuff with ScreenLid!
Simply put the aluminum foil on top and you can not only steam but cook something in the boiling water in the bottom of the pot!
8) ScreenLid as a strainer?
Again… brilliant original idea here.
9) use ScreenLid to bake!?
Muffins and cakes oh my!
I must admit I haven't tried this yet myself, but it occurred to me that the ScreenLid might make a pretty darn good oven. The idea has been inspired by Tinny at Mini Bull Designs recent oven pots. Should work, if you try it let me know.
10) a mod or the original lid
if you do for some reason want to carry the original GreaseLid(tm) do yourself a favor and remove BigStupidKnob(tm). I replaced mine with a piece of leather shoelace and it worked brilliantly (as all things I touch) right up until I realized I don't even need to carry it which just so happened to be five minutes later.
10) Reflectix cozy for the kmart pot
Probably the most under-rated thing you should do for any pot you use is make a reflectix cozy for it.
The reason is simple. A pot cozy not only insulates your pot after you take it off the stove and it can save you fuel by allowing your food (i.e. noodles, rice, dehydrated food) to finish cooking off the stove.
Most importantly of all it allows your hot pot to be used more like a bowl to eat of without burning your precious hands. Simple, effective, brilliant. Reflectix gods gift to the lowly pot.
== Mods!? ==
(calling cottage makers, modders and MYOG'ers)
So ends the actual sane advantages of ScreenLid.
I hope others will chime in with their own ideas negative or positive as well as post some ideas and even some well documented modifications and additions to their kmart grease pot kit.
I myself have two ideas for MYOG specialists that are worth checking out.
These may require a high degree of specialized aptitude but I have no doubt that there are many capable of them.
The kmart grease pot is so close to being the ultimate "luxury" ultralight kitchen the two may be worth taking further.
# a bowl for the kmart grease pot
# a frying pan for the kmart grease pot
8) bowl for the Kmart grease pot
The grease pot kit could use a food grade plastic bowl that fits snugly inside or around the pot and can handle boiling water.
Perhaps Ziploc or Rubbermaid make one the right size.
Although not absolutely necessary to most this would speed cooking of multi-course meals by allowing the main course to finish cooking in another bowl while the second course is then started. Thus both courses end up cooked at relatively the same time.
I figure some MYOG'er or some enterprising cottage industry maker (i.e. trail designs) might be able to make one.
As for my skills I think eventually I may end up finding something that works but you never know though.
9) Frying Pan??
While one could probably do some rudimentary frying, i.e. bacon right in the Kmart pot for more extravagant frying some might like a better pan.
That said I have seen some pretty remarkable frying pans. The latest to catch my eye is the One Egg Wonder from Walmart (see Tinny from Mini Bull design's YouTube feed.)
The key to a good UL frying pan is relatively low sides, an ability to handle uneven heat (though using it on top of the pot with a little water in it *might* work) and above all a good non-stick bottom that can handle quite a bit of uneven heat and abuse.
Similar to the bowl the frying pan needs to fit the kit fairly decently. Most likely outside the pot.
I have yet to see pick up a One Egg Wonder to see if it might work, and indeed it may. If so… then all it would need is for the handle to be replaced. I'm not about to rush to the Walmart though, so if you try this let me know how it works please.
== in summary ==
As far as I'm concerned this kit is "already there". There are no further needs I can think of that I haven't already mentioned.
Please jump in if you have any ideas.Jan 26, 2010 at 6:14 pm #1566577
@cadyakLocale: southwest georgia
Its already black so the soot from your wood stove wont show up.Jan 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm #1566578
@zelphLocale: www.bplite.comJan 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm #1566586
These things are famous on other forums.
Hard to find at some K-mart these days.
Badass for solar oven use also.Jan 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm #1566590
Can you explain further on the solar oven/greasepot concept?
I replaced the heavy knob in my grease pot with one of the Ω-shaped clips from the side of a binder clip. They are easy to remove by pinching together then sliding out of the clip. I then used needlenose pliers to squeeze the clip ends very tight, to the point where the ends went past each other, then twisted it into the hole. Now I can simply slide a stick through the hole to lift the lid. I do that because I pack a bunch of items in the space between the lid and the strainer (herbs, matches, scrubby, utensils) and then use the strainer as a "kitchen caddy." But I do use the strainer as a strainer sometimes also. :)Jan 26, 2010 at 8:30 pm #1566632
@sdwhiteyLocale: Smoky Mountains
hmm…mine did not come with the strainer.Jan 26, 2010 at 8:38 pm #1566635
You can make a (efficient, even if it doesn't sound like it) solar oven from cardboard and oven bags.. They make these in africa to give to people that still cook over wood fires, of which they have alot of deaths related to all sort of smoke inhalation issues. Some of the cardboard ovens have been in use for 10 years.
They have all sorts of elaborate designs, but anybody that knows about these things will tell you that card board and ovenbags will do the trick. Easy to make one that folds.
All you need is a pot painted black, which the grease pot already is, to help absorb heat inside.
Search for "solar box cooker", I'm planning on showing some I've made for camping here soon.
Useless if you're doing 20 miles a day, but if you're camping, or have some down days, these things kick ass. You can bake anything in them, and even pasteurize water (most people don't realize that you don't need to reach boiling temps for water to be safe).Jan 26, 2010 at 8:43 pm #1566639
Oh yeah, and that's just box cookers, you can make parabolic, or concentrator cookers that cook real fast and reach higher temps for more "pot" oriented cooking..
I think the reason the backpacking community hasn't been more into this type of stuff has to do with culture of "bombproof" style gear, that works under as many variables as possible.
There do seem to be some applications here to me though. Especially if you consider it in the context that many people in developing countries do put their lives in the hands of these devices on a daily basis.
Sorry, rambling.Jan 27, 2010 at 11:30 am #1566807
> That won't work. It has holes in it silly.
The holes look pretty small, though, so I reckon it would still stop a lot of heat loss.
If not, since it's recessed, you could stick in a circle of Thermawrap and make an insulated lid (seal the edges, or it'll fill with condensed steam…). And take it out if you wanted to strain water from your pasta…
Ah, you're almost there already, with your Reflectix cosy. My suggestion just means that the Reflectix/Thermawrap lid is in the sieve lid.
> The grease pot kit could use a food grade plastic bowl that fits snugly inside or around the pot and can handle boiling water.
My house is littered with plastic pots bought from pound stores that almost, but not quite, fit one of a number of the cook pots also littering my house. Sod and his Law are apparently hard at work deep within the packaging and cookpot industries, ensuring cookpot/plastic pot incompatibility…Jan 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm #1566846
Finding these grease-pots has been a problem for me in my area, (Northern Utah). I've heard a lot of good things about them and wanted to try them out. I went to K-Mart, WalMart, cheapmarts and couldn't find one so I bought another 2 qt(liter) aluminum cook pot, (I buy a new one every so many years. $10 for the last one).
I think I would prefer my little two qt. cooker, anyway, as it has a wire hanger and the recessed lid is used as a frying pan, eggs, sausage, bacon, etc. I have larger and smaller versions of the same style pot, very similar to the grease pot, and find them just as useful. I have put a smaller, 1 qt. pot with lid and wire handle inside the 2 qt-er and baked biscuts and muffins in it but I don't bake a lot except on very short trips.
The cost of a ti-pot has always been a problem for me and as a metal, being a former sheet metal mechanic making items for jet aircraft, I know how unevenly it heats. That why it's used for heat-shields etc. as on the F-16's I worked on. As a cooking pot it seems to work just fine, but I still know what a dirty metal it can be. I much more prefer the low cost and even heating/cooling properties of aluminum.
The strainer, however, seems to be a very useful item. Seems to be a great idea. We can all get the same results, I think, from a number of different materials and techniques. Great ideas.Jan 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm #1566919
@hammer-oneLocale: Walking With The Son
We keep the Stanco Greasepot in stock always. It's a great cheap utility cookpot. We don't ship them with the strainer unless someone specifically asks for it.Jan 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm #1566988
George, you should then mention that the strainer exists so the customer can decide if they want it or not.Jan 27, 2010 at 5:04 pm #1566989
drowning in spamMember
The $4 shipping is about the same as the cost of fuel to get to a K-mart/Walmart, especially if you don't find it at the first place.Jan 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm #1566994
@hammer-oneLocale: Walking With The Son
John, duly noted. I'm doing maintenance on the website tonight so I'll make the change.
Eugene, even cheaper if you order something else with it ;-)Jan 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm #1567040
@sdwhiteyLocale: Smoky Mountains
yeah, I got mine from George but I had no idea the strainers existed.Jan 28, 2010 at 1:11 am #1567108
@Kevin Beeden (captain_paranoia):
Reflectix in top of lid. Better even be a better idea then aluminum foil. I like it.
I'd leave a tab or corner sticking up so it could easily be pulled it out so you could then easily use the screen-lid as a strainer.
Not as farmiliar with sod, just murphy. Same difference I guess, but my limited research tells me this is of British origin, perhaps you're british?
That said, yes, I totally get what you mean. There needs to be a special law for "standardization of goods" or more the ability of manufactured goods to purposefully deviate from standardization. This is however opposing the forces of Chinese manufacturing which similar to Open Source seem to be restandardizing goods. The yin and yang of manufactured goods.
Also… I didn't know what you meant by "pound stores" untill I looked up sod law… that must be the british equivelent to the U.S. dollar store. I pictured gift shops in dog pounds at first. Dog bowls?? :)
Anyway, it sounds like you have checked every bowl, but if not please do.
Why second contaners rock:
One of the things I loved about my Heineken can pot was that it fit nicely in a Ziploc Twist-lock container which seemed to be the perfect width and height. (see Tinny @ Mini Bull Designs complete kits for reference) I'd boil some water, pour it into the container and then start throwing in all my favorite foods… ramen, peas, maybe some summer sausage… just make a big old stew or whatever I fancied. This worked superbly especially with a Reflectix cozy that fit very nicely under the rim of the Ziplock so it wouldn't slide or get any food in it. Such a nice setup.
On the other hand you might argue that a reflextix insulated kmart pot is much more capable and appropriately sized then a Heineken can pot for eating out of, washing, etc… therefore perhaps one doesn't need a second bowl. However (particularly for winter camping)… you're probably going to want to continue to boil water / melt snow while eating or letting your food finish cooking off the stove so a secondary bowl would be nice.Jan 28, 2010 at 1:50 am #1567112
@Johann kuester (whirlpool): What is this alternative you speak of with the recessed frying pan id? Can you post some pics?
== absurd brainstorms ==
I've been sort of brainstorming some way to make an utralight fry pan that's versatile enough and light enough to work with different pot systems
== teflon coated foil? ==
If I had an imaginary dream product it would be a material like aluminum foil that had good teflon coating on one side.
Probably an impossible product though.
== metal sheet pan? ==
Alternatively what about a sheet of some sort of metal.
Stainless steel perhaps. Just heavy enough to support the weight in it. Mostly rectangular but with rounded corners so you could bend up the sides bit to give it some extra stiffness and to ensure stuff wouldn't fall off.
THink of it like a cookie pan, but without the permanently rolled sides. You could then roll this up and it'd pack well. Plus stainless steel is at least easily cleaned if not anti-stick.
This would work well if laid in hot coals… still it would offer uneven heat dispersal and I can think of no way of improvising a handle.
== the one egg wonder again ==
The best idea still seems to me to buy something like the one egg wonder that roughly fits with whatever pot kit you're using and swapping out the heavy handle with a riveted in handle mount. i.e. the slotted type or something that might work with wood (i.e. a stick from the woods), ti stakes, or something of that nature.
== getting even heat in thin pans? ==
Another idea I've been meaning to try for heat dispersion is to use a frying pan on top of the grease pot with a little boiling water in the grease pot.
The quesiton is will this have anywhere near the heat necissary to fry something?
To this end I was thinking of putting aluminum foil inside the Kmart pot's screen-lid… and maybe seeing if i could get it hot enough to fry some bacon. I doubt it though.
This might however work if had two shallow stacked pans with only a little water inbetween (and little / no air). the water would then disperse the heat thouroughly around the upper pot. You would have to avoid the scalding steam while frying but you could be vented to one corner of the pan.
To apply this crazy idea in more practical terms one could line the inside (or outside) of their thin walled pan with aluminum foil and fill the inbetween space with water being sure to leave a vent on one corner.
== why bad ideas are good for you ==
Again, these ideas may all be just be an absurd brainstorm but if we don't list out and even try out all the bad ideas then how might we end up with any good ones?
Put another way, even bad roads can lead to good roads. You have to be willing to take them sometimes even if you know they're bad. This is the whole idea of brainstorming… no idea is bad… there are just ideas that don't warrant further discussion. Less then good ideas need not called out to be dismissed or further mentioned unless some spark of another good idea be found in them.Jan 28, 2010 at 1:52 am #1567114
@Javan Dempsey (jdempsey):
You said: "These things are famous on other forums."
May I ask what other forums?
I'm interested in mining those other discussions for ideas.Jan 28, 2010 at 9:39 am #1567207
> Not as farmiliar with sod, just murphy. Same difference I guess, but my limited research tells me this is of British origin, perhaps you're british?
Yes; my 'Locale' gives a clue ;-)
A second, lightweight, insulating container makes a lot of sense for a dehydrated food cook system, meaning that you rehydrate food in the second container & cosy whilst your cook pot is on the stove again. That's why I'm constantly searching for lightweight pots to fit inside or outside my Ti pot.
The disposable pots used for ready meals and other foodstuffs are often much lighter than 'kitchenware', but the right size and shape is proving elusive. Ideally, it would have a near-vertical wall, and a small radius edge around the base (for easy cleaning). The lid could be screw or snap fit, but, again, shouldn't have any features that make cleaning difficult by trapping food residues.
I actually proposed a custom plastic pot as a slightly tongue-in-cheek entry to Alpkit's CoLab08 competition; some enterprising person might specify a suitable pot from an injection moulding firm to suit, say, an MSR Titan. Quite why MSR (etc) don't do this, I'm not sure.
Of course, nothing comes weight free, so you make a trade-off between weight of insulated second pot and extra fuel weight for a non-cosy cooking system, and somehow factor in the extra convenience that a second pot brings.
> Another idea I've been meaning to try for heat dispersion is to use a frying pan on top of the grease pot with a little boiling water in the grease pot. The quesiton is will this have anywhere near the heat necissary to fry something?
I don't think it will either be hot enough (temperature), or transfer heat fast enough (power). Essentially, you seem to be proposing a bain-marie, which is used as a very gentle cooking method. You wouldn't get nice crispy bacon that way…
I sometimes use a generic, small, shallow, non-stick aluminium baking tin as a fry pan (it's probably a biscuit/cookie tin: 192mm diameter, 22m deep, weighs 89g). It happens to fit my (now rarely used) Trangia 27 set.Jan 28, 2010 at 11:44 am #1567260
Kevin Beeden (captain_paranoia) said:
"I sometimes use a generic, small, shallow, non-stick aluminium baking tin as a fry pan (it's probably a biscuit/cookie tin: 192mm diameter, 22m deep, weighs 89g). It happens to fit my (now rarely used) Trangia 27 set."
Perhaps this is a wise choice. Up until now I'd been looking at frying pans. It hadn't occured to me to look for non-stick baking tins or cooking pans. Indeed if I can find a rectangular one with shallow sides I may be able to fit it in my bag without any problem.
This would probably only be useable on coals though.. to big for even heat dispersion on a stove top.
Kevin also said regarding a bowl:
"Ideally, it would have a near-vertical wall, and a small radius edge around the base (for easy cleaning)."
Pretty much agree there. Would prefer 90 degree exactly though.
I hadn't mentioned I do have a collapseable sea-to-summit bowl. This does fit fairly nicely in the Kmart pot but it weighs 2.8oz which is more then the pot itself. It's well insulated and has a bottom you can cut on. It's of a decent size but I find it a hare to shallow for my needs. I much prefer something that's good and deep with a rigid side so I can easily grap abd hold it with one hand.
Well, I'm off to do two things.
1) examine all the cooking pans in my kitchen
2) examine every piece of tupperware/plasticwear in the kitchenJan 28, 2010 at 11:55 am #1567263
> Pretty much agree there. Would prefer 90 degree exactly though.
That's pretty hard to do and release from the mould.
> Well, I'm off to do two things.
Good man… ;-)Jan 28, 2010 at 6:11 pm #1567412
whiteblaze.net, the other "bpl" bplite.com, for example.. threads have been going about these greese pots for a couple of years.
Ti goat modifies these to fit on their cylindrical tent stoves if I recall correctly.
There's mention on the zen-stoves site even.Jan 29, 2010 at 7:03 am #1567562
@ Javan Dempsey (jdempsey) said:
"whiteblaze.net, the other "bpl" bplite.com, for example.. threads have been going about these greese pots for a couple of years."
Thanks, I've not really checked out either of these, but I will asap. Will let you know if I find anything interesting.
"Ti goat modifies these to fit on their cylindrical tent stoves if I recall correctly."
Awesome… didn't know that. Off to check this out.
"There's mention on the zen-stoves site even."
Sweet… exactly the sort of background I'm talking about.
Research. Research. Research. All of it good no doubt.Jan 29, 2010 at 7:16 am #1567566
@Kevin Beeden (captain_paranoia)
Re: 90 degree side pots being hard to release from molds.
I have an MSR blacklite kit. It has a bowl exactly as we're describing to a T. It has 90 degree sides, a nice rouded corner bottom, and nests beautifully inside the smaller pot in the kit.
Indeed carrying this one bowl and one pot would be my ideal kit were it not for one problem. They're to big and heavy. The pot weighs 5.4oz. The bowl 3 oz. This weighs almost as much as my entire UL woodgas stove and cook kit, lol.
Re: my two things
I had no luck finding a bowl to fit in the Kmart pot yet, nor any luck finding a bake tin that might work as a frying pan.
I think I'm going to chill on fry pan idea… it was always a long shot. Of course I'll probably still keep an eye out for the next year for something that might work everytime I go in a store, but I'm not going to make it a priority.
Thus far my kmart pot kit is still missing a bowl to claim perfection.
Meanwhile my UL Heineken can pot kit is perfect in every way with a Ziplock Twist-n-lock container. Fits my UL woodgas stove, two ti stakes, spoon, bio-soap, optional alchy stove, alum lid and prime stand and weighs in at about 10-12 oz. Still finishing some diecuts in the wood stove to drop an oz or two.
Also I need an alternative to fiberglass wick insulation on the heineken pot which is both heavy and dirt collecting. I'm thinking reflectix band around the middle of the pot wrapped in a single layer of aluminum foil
I do love how I can grab the heineken can immersed in flame from the fire with the fiberglass without burning myself. It's just so darn hevy and dirty though.
-MikeJan 29, 2010 at 1:11 pm #1567657
I put a wire bail on my heine with a hole punch and some picture hanging wire.
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