Jan 2, 2013 at 2:31 am #1297584
So I'm thinking of getting a new stove. I mainly use an alcohol stove now, but I also have a small canister stove that screws to a canister and a little Esbit burner as well.
My current alcohol stove is the small Brasslite Turbo I-D. It still works okay, but the "simmer sleeve" is long since frozen in one position and the primer pan is similarly useless, which means that now it's really just a little brass cylinder. I think it's not as efficient as it used to be, especially in cold or wet weather.
I was thinking of getting a Whitebox Solo II alcohol stove. The website says a pot stand is not needed, but if the jets don't light well, it looks like one would be needed. I was wondering if any Whitebox users had some feedback on how well the stove performs, likes, dislikes, etc.
Of course there is always the allure of a Jetboil. I must say, I've been a bit envious of how fast I see Jetboil users getting their water boiled and meals cooked, especially in cold weather. Further, when adding the weight of the individual components of my curent cook system, ie stove, pot, wind screen, cozy, lighter, liquid fuel, etc, the total weight is similar to the Titanium Jetboil Sol set-up. Of course $149.00 is pretty steep.
I was wondering if any other alcohol stove users have done this exercise and decided to switch to a Jetboil or not and if so, any regrets, etc.
Thanks much for any advice/recommendations.Jan 2, 2013 at 3:58 am #1940115
@newtonLocale: Southeastern Louisiana
"The website says a pot stand is not needed, but if the jets don't light well, it looks like one would be needed."
The Whitebox stove is designed to be a "pressurized" side burner. No pot stand should be needed. Use a small primer pan under the stove with a few drops of alcohol to help get the jets going sooner. Make sure the alcohol is "boiling" in the center before you set the cook pot down on the stove and everything should work well.
What is the diameter of your cook pot? What kind of alcohol so you use for your fuel?
NewtonJan 2, 2013 at 10:30 am #1940204
I have the first generation Jetboil (i.e., a heavy 16oz). I use it when I am less concerned about weight (car camping, 1 night trips). I am a recent convert to alcohol and recently acquired the Caldera Keg-F alcohol system. Pretty sweet setup but haven't used enough to give you a bona fide review but it did make it on Will Rietveld's list of the 2012 Backpacking Light Staff Picks.Jan 2, 2013 at 11:53 am #1940223
@jdegraafLocale: Bay Area
I have a Jetboil Sumo Ti for family camping with four people and it works great, it is really nice to get the water boiled quick and food in the kids sooner. When going solo, or with one other, in cold weather I'll go with my canister stove and MSR Titan Kettle .85L, its reliable cold weather performance is good enough to justify bringing it over the MSR Whisperlight. In spring, summer, and fall I rely on alcohol or esbit systems. I have a number of Calder Cone systems including the Keg-F and I'm thoroughly impressed with it. I have a few videos showcasing some the items I've mentioned here and I'm sure there are other's on YouTube as well. Stove systems are a person choice if this is just for you, how fast do you want hot water, how much weight are you willing to carry, do you want to eat out of the pot, do you want a separate vessel for drinking, etc.?
Another Alcohol stove option
Cat Food can stove systems
I hope these help and if you have any more questions keep asking.
JamesJan 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm #1940229
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
The Caldera Cone line of stoves is VERY efficient. I use 1/3 less ESBIT solid fuel tabs than my best previous ESBIT setup.
I have the Sidewinder, which is ti to withstand teh heat of a wood fire B/C that stove has the option of the Inferno gassifier woodburner. It comes standard with Trail Designs' own alky stove which they have develooped to work well in the cone at all altitudes, unlike many other alky stoves.
I use the Inferno woodburner insert for winter camping. Makes a nice mini campfire too. Far fewer sparks are given off than with an open wood fire.Jan 3, 2013 at 12:46 am #1940451
I have both an Evernew Ti .9L and .6L pots, which are approximately 4.5 and 5 inches in diameter. I normally use HEET or denatured alcohol.
Thanks all, I'll re-look at the Caldera Cone stoves.
SusanJan 3, 2013 at 3:43 am #1940467
@newtonLocale: Southeastern Louisiana
The diameter of your cook pots shouldn't be an issue. The Whitebox Solo II is recommended for use with pots as small as 3.5" in diameter such as the MSR Titan Kettle. With your cook pots being 4.5" and 5" in diameter the Solo II flame should only touch the bottom of your pots and not waste heat up the cook pot sides.
Just make sure that your cook pot and stove are stable so that they don't tip over.
Your choice of fuel falls right in line with what is recommended on the Whitebox web site.
Your OP mentioned the simmer ring on the Brasslite stove. Do you need or want the simmer function? I do not believe that the Whitebox Solo II has a simmer function.
IME with the original Whitebox Solo stove it needed a windscreen like all alcohol stoves but it could be starved for combustion air unless there were some holes in the bottom of the windscreen to allow it to draft.
I used the base/primer pan with the edges turned up a little and a few drops of fuel to speed up the bloom of the jets. Light the center first and then light the "priming fuel" in the pan. When the jets bloom and the fuel in the center is boiling (bubbling) you can put your pot directly on the top of the stove.
NewtonJan 3, 2013 at 8:27 am #1940508
I too have been on a several-year quest for the Perfect Stove System. I think I'm getting close with the novel Caldera versions that the TD skunkworks is producing nowadays. (Kudos to Rand and his team for responding so effectively to our critiques of the original Caldera, especially regarding packed volume.) I just got a Ti Sidewinder for Christmas fitted for the short/wide 0.9L Evernew pot, and I have my suspicions that this may be The One. As-is it has one failing that keeps it from being quite Perfect, but I'm working on it, see:
If I can pull that off I think that the 0.9L Evernew will be clearly superior to the 0.6L version in that it allows a larger pot for possibly less packed volume and only trivially more weight. (Because the 0.6L will never fit the stove inside the pot alongside the Sidewinder, and thus the stove will have to be packed separately in the Tupperware container provided.) EDIT– I've been told that this is incorrect, and that a trimmed 12-10 will indeed fit inside a 0.6L Evernew pot.
Of course, as has been mentioned one's cooking system is a particularly personal choice- kind of like footgear. One person's Perfect is another's Detestable Failure. Here are my thoughts:
1. Why alcohol? Well, honestly, mostly because alcohol stoves are fun to putter with. But I do believe those arguments and analyses that contend that alcohol is lighter than canister stoves for shorter hikes in the 1-week or so range. I'm also getting into Simplicity nowadays, and it doesn't get much simpler than a puddle of burning liquid fuel. Liquid fuel that is easily acquired almost anywhere in the world, mind you, and can be packed in a repurposed soda bottle. (Clearly, though, not a great option for extreme cold-weather camping. Especially if you have to melt snow for water. I acknowledge this.) Why not Esbit? Well, I admit that I have an irrational dislike of Esbit. I can't really explain it- I just do. But, hell, the Calderas all come with an Esbit stove, too.
2. Why Caldera? Yes, a simple cat-food stove is essentially free, and folded aluminum foil works great as a a windscreen. And this option is indeed very Simple. Granted. But it also tips easily. And I was sold by the multi-fuel properties of the Ti cones, particularly woodburning, but as mentioned Esbit is an option too. Also, the cones do seem to benefit from some small increase in efficiency compared to most other systems. I'm sure that more efficient custom systems are out there, but this would require quite a bit of experimentation and fiddling on my part to put one together and I'd rather just hike. The big downside to Caldera USED to be that the cones wouldn't store inside their pots and thus needed to be packed in a separate plastic tube that consumed more pack space, but this is no longer the case with some newer pot/cone combinations.
3. Why 0.9L Evernew? This seems like the right size for my solo camping style, and in a pinch can still cook for two. (Other than dayhikes with my family I can't remember the last time I hiked in a group larger than two.) My style involves a freezer-bag main meal plus some tea or other hot drink, so 0.9L covers it nicely. The short/fat 0.9L is also, well, fat, as opposed to a tall and skinny mug-style pot which suffers in efficiency. 0.6L seems just a hair too small for me, though I know that some on this forum make do with much less. An 0.75L short/fat Evernew might be the sweet spot for a solo hiker like me who is willing to lose the easy ability to cook for two, but is unavailable.
Disclaimer- I haven't actually USED this system yet- I just got it a few days ago. But I've used the Tri-Ti version for the MLD and Vargo mugs for quite a while and it was Almost Perfect. This formed my opinion about what might be Actually Perfect for me, and hence to the 0.9L Evernew Ti Sidewinder.Jan 3, 2013 at 8:33 am #1940510
The WBS should perform well for your needs. If one or two jets don't ignite at first they will shortly after you put the pot on. It's a well made stove.Jan 3, 2013 at 9:56 am #1940527
"Disclaimer- I haven't actually USED this system yet- I just got it a few days ago. But I've used the Tri-Ti version for the MLD and Vargo mugs for quite a while and it was Almost Perfect. This formed my opinion about what might be Actually Perfect for me, and hence to the 0.9L Evernew."
Could you go a bit more into your decision between ULC vs Sidewinder?
The way I see it, the Sidewinder is more efficient, ULC weighs less. They are pretty close but simply sacrifice in different areas.
Also it's worth noting that Trail Designs has phased out the ULC and is now shipping a "Fusion" cone which is more similar to the Fissure they've had available for a while. Basically it's two cones that stack up so you can keep more of the pot inside the cone which should mean more efficiency. This somewhat negates the extra efficiency of the sidewinder at the cost of the weight and some added complexity.
I suppose the fat pot is probably much better for "real cooking" if you are into that.
The wider pot should also be more stable which seems kind of insignificant but one of my favorite things about the cones is how I can just plop it down wherever and not worry about tipping something over.Jan 3, 2013 at 10:09 am #1940530
"Could you go a bit more into your decision between ULC vs Sidewinder?"
Well, other than $80 for the Sidewinder vs $130 for the Fusion, the Sidewinder is just Simpler. Recall that I'm kind of getting into Simplicity. And as you said ULC is no longer offered.
"I suppose the fat pot is probably much better for "real cooking" if you are into that."
Well, no, that's not all. Wider pots also tend to be more efficient both in boiling time and fuel useage- the larger surface area absorbs more heat. A narrow/tall pot lets more heat escape up the sides. It's not an incredibly huge difference, but it is real. The people who use them, including Dan, admit that they are making a trade-off for packability or some other feature.
I actually don't do any "real cooking", if by "real cooking" you mean baking or simmering. I'm pretty much an add-boiling-water guy. Simplicity…Jan 3, 2013 at 11:25 am #1940542
"Well, other than $80 for the Sidewinder vs $130 for the Fusion, the Sidewinder is just Simpler. Recall that I'm kind of getting into Simplicity. And as you said ULC is no longer offered."
I think where it says $130 is a typo – I tried adding one to a cart and it comes up as $100.
Also, using the top cone from the Fusion by itself basically gives you the old ULC, if that's what you want. So for the sake of simplicity and weight you could sacrifice some efficiency in that way.
I would love to see some real world efficiency tests on these systems… Sidewinder vs ULC vs Fusion. From what I can find, a ULC setup (top cone only) will save you ~2oz vs a sidewinder setup when you consider the smaller cone and lighter pot (looking at MLD 850ml). But if it takes a full oz of alcohol to boil water vs 1/2 an oz with a sidewinder, that weight saving disappears very quickly.
Then again, people have different definitions of what constitutes a "boil", and to what extent they want their cooking water to boil… If you're just doing a pasta side, you barely even need to get bubbles to form if you have a reflectix cozy you can put the pot in afterwards.Jan 3, 2013 at 12:05 pm #1940551
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"I think where it says $130 is a typo – I tried adding one to a cart and it comes up as $100."
Most cook pots have different dimensions, so the dimensions of each model of the Caldera Sidewinder (or anything else) end up being different. That results in different prices.
–B.G.–Jan 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm #1940558
@qiwizLocale: UL gear @ QiWiz.net
If I had to get by with just one stove, it would be a Caldera Cone Ti-Tri (I have the regular ones, but Sidewinder OK too). Multifuel flexibility is key for me (alcohol, Esbit, wood/twig), and a CC setup is pretty light. For the way I like to cook/eat when solo, I would get it to fit a 900 ml squat pot (like an Evernew with handles removed) for maximum efficiency. This is the setup I use when I am unable (fire ban, above tree line) to bring my FireFly wood burner OR when I want to go SUL (for this I bring a beer can pot and Esbit UL burner or don't cook at all). I don't use the stock plastic cone caddy, but rather make a caddy out of a 16 oz aluminum beverage can that also serves as an insulated mug when placed in a reflectix cozy with a silicone wrist band at the top for my tender lips to sip on.Jan 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm #1940560
"Most cook pots have different dimensions, so the dimensions of each model of the Caldera Sidewinder (or anything else) end up being different. That results in different prices."
Adding different pots still yields the same price, though the dimensions of the cones will certainly vary (and thus also the weight).
I think it's more likely that it's just a typo on the website. If you click the "stoves" tab where it lists them all, on that list it says $100. Also, the Fissure is $130.Jan 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm #1940564
"If I had to get by with just one stove, it would be a Caldera Cone Ti-Tri"
That's quite an endorsement from a guy who makes and sells a stove that is also quite capable with alcohol/esbit!Jan 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm #1940889
@qiwizLocale: UL gear @ QiWiz.net
@hoseaphone "If I had to get by with just one stove, it would be a Caldera Cone Ti-Tri"
That's quite an endorsement from a guy who makes and sells a stove that is also quite capable with alcohol/esbit!"
I'm not dissing my FireFly, which I now use on 90% of my trips. It (with Esbit backup) is my go-to stove year round. The issue is that for long trips above tree line, which I take once or twice a year, I'm not going to be using wood at all, and I have to carry 8-10 days of fuel. In this situation, the efficiency of a CC allows me to carry less fuel for reliable cooking even in windy spots. So I still hang on to my CC stoves and bring them out for solo (900 cc pot) or duo (1300 cc pot) cooking on these trips. Before I designed the FireFly, I used a CC 100% of the time.
But who can get by with just one stove anyway? ; )Jan 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm #1942010
I started looking at the Caldra Cones and I must say that I find the website descriptions of each product confusing as to the differences between models. Not to mention the cost. Still yet, I am attracted to the idea that CCs are stable and not as tippy as just an alcohol stove.
For the CC users, how stable is this set up and is it easy enough to put in ale take out the pot from the cone without having the cone topple over on the stove, etc?
Mahalo!Jan 8, 2013 at 6:42 pm #1942023
USA Duane HallParticipant
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
I picked up the CC for a .6L Evernew pot last Spring. I've only tried this setup once while car camping, so take this with a grain of salt. With 1.5 cups of water, the CC for the .6L pot that has the same height as the one for my REI .9L pot, boiled water much faster with the .6L pot. I need to do an experiment at home with water the same temps, as my one test may not replicate water temps where bping in the Sierra, even using my cold well water from my old Coleman water jug when car camping. The CC's are not tippy, the whole pot and windscreen/pot support can be picked up as one to pour water. I then try to blow out or smother the stove to save unburned fuel. Also, over filling the 12-10 stove a little seems to help with efficiency. Once again, only a observation a few times, no actual testing. Is your Brasslite still usable? I may want to buy it off of you to add to my large stove collection.
PS: On my vacation last Summer after I left Mammoth, I was only out for 6 nights. I used about 2.5 oz. of denatured alcohol for six dinners, boiling water for 5 single serving dehydrated dinners and one ramen, one breakfast with instant oatmeal. One large dinner used over 2 cups of water, the rest 1.5 cups.Jan 11, 2013 at 1:31 am #1942779
Great feedback, thanks! I'm looking at the CCs now. I will probably hold on to my brasslite until I find something I like better. Other than discoloration and the simmer sleeve stuck in place, which i never really adjusted during use anyway, it still works fine. if I give it up, I'll just send it too you, no charge.
SusanJan 11, 2013 at 5:45 am #1942794
USA Duane HallParticipant
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
DuaneJan 11, 2013 at 3:24 pm #1942933
I agree, the Caldera Cone Comparison Chart (http://www.traildesigns.com/cone-comparison) is very confusing.
This is off the top of my head, so if anyone catches an error, please correct me…
EDIT– I went back and thieved some images from the TD website, probably in blatant copyright violation. Hopefully Rand doesn't mind, since I'm basically pimping for him. (This probably qualifies as "fair use" but if you do mind, Rand, just let me know and I'll remove them.)
All Caldera Cones are fitted to a specific pot, though many pots are close enough in dimension that they share a common cone design.
The Classic Ti-Tri Caldera Cone uses a single large cone. It is fitted to support the pot on it's lip with the top of the cone.
These cones will generally NOT fit into their pot and thus must be packed separately and take up extra room in your pack. But the large cone is ostensibly the most efficient of the various cone systems. Several creative ways of packing them exist.
The Sidewinder Ti-Tri is a single cone specifically designed so that the cone CAN be rolled and fit inside the pot sideways, but only certain pots will work- generally wide/short pots.
Specifically, the Sidewinder system is not available for thin/tall mug-type pots. Depending on the pot the supplied TD 12-10 stove might not fit inside the pot with the cone and thus need to be packed separately. For many pots this is solved simply by trimming the priming pan off of the 12-10 stove, after which it will fit (see my link above).
However, the system is more complicated in that the pot is not supported on its lip by the top of the cone- instead, two tent stakes are inserted through holes in the cone to support the pot at the correct height. Since the cone doesn't go all the way up to the pot lip it is ostensibly less efficient than a Classic Caldera Cone.
The Fissure Ti-Tri takes a full-sized Classic cone and splits it in two. These two smaller cones will fit inside the pot for which they are designed by coiling along the sidewalls. Because of the way they coil to stow in the pot the cones use up much less volume in the pot that the Sidewinder does, so you can carry more stuff in the pot (fuel, etc.)
But to use the cones they must be mated up together to create a single large cone- pop rivets on the bottom cone mate up to slots on the top cone.
The pot is then supported on the top edge of the cone, as with the Classic Cone- no tent stakes needed.
This is sort of the state-of-the-art in Caldera Cones as the cone packs inside the pot but is tall enough to retain the efficiency of the Classic Cone. This efficiency is offset by the fact that pot options are severely limited- generally to less efficient tall and skinny pots. Another drawback is that it is just a tad heavier than the Classic Cone (probably a fraction of an ounce or so).
The Fusion Ti-Tri is a combination of Sidewinder and Fissure.
It uses a split cone like the Fissure but the cones are mated together using tent stakes instead of pop rivets.
Usually, the cone does NOT reach all the way to the pot lip, so it is not as efficient as the Classic Cone or Fissure, but this system can be made for shorter pots than the Fissure (I think).
ALL of the Ti-Tri cones are made of titanium and thus can be used for wood burning. To do so the pot is suspended higher than usual on two tent stakes through holes in the cone. Wood-burning can ostensibly be made more efficient by adding an Inferno insert. Of course, they can also burn Esbit tabs, and a tiny Esbit stove is included as well as the 12-10 alcohol stove.
The Classic and Sidewinder cones are also available in aluminum rather than titanium. This is WAY cheaper but less durable and loses the wood-burning option.
The Caldera Keg systems are also (I think) only available in aluminum. They are designed to use one of several large aluminum beer cans as a pot, and the cone will fit inside the can. They are for the true gram weenies.
Rand did a LOT of R&D while developing the 12-10 stove to be sure that the stove/cone system worked well in as wide a variety of conditions as possible. The people who like to tinker with alcohol stoves can often wring higher efficiencies from a different setup in one narrow set of conditions, but it is hard to beat a 12-10 stove in a Classic Caldera Cone for use in many varied conditions.
OTOH a cat food stove and bit of foil is WAY cheaper than even the aluminum Caldera Cones- almost free, in fact. You can easily make the stove yourself, or even improvise one in the field using a can scavenged from a dumpster if you find yourself in extremis:
Really, even if they don't use one regularly any UL hiker worth their salt should know how to make a cat food stove.
But since you asked, yes, cat food stoves (and others that balance a pot on a narrow stove) aren't terribly stable. You have to take care. OTOH the Caldera Cones are wicked stable- you'd almost have to actually kick one and send it flying to tip it over.Jan 11, 2013 at 11:00 pm #1943073
"The Caldera Keg systems are also (I think) only available in aluminum."
As a standard order, yes, but titanium Keg cones are available on request.Jan 17, 2013 at 1:11 pm #1944747
This is a truly awesome review of the CC systems! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I am now much better able to understand the differences, purpose and use of tents stakes, etc.
I have a few question, which Evernew pot is in the pictures? I have a .9 L, which I use most often, and a .6L. Would the systems that are best for short, wide pots work for both and would the rolled up cones fit in either pots? or only the .9L, or neither?
Also, for the systems that have the two part cones split horizontally, if I only used the upper portion, would there be enough clearance for the stove under the pot? I'd like as few parts to pack, keep track of of assemble as possible, all while ideally fitting them in my pot.
SusanJan 29, 2013 at 8:40 pm #1948679
Sorry for the late response-
I'm not sure which pots are in the pictures. Different pots are shown.
No matter which pot you pick from the small selection, the whole point of the Sidewinder is that the cone will roll and fit in the pot. There is a Sidewinder for the 0.6L wide/short Evernew pot, so the Sidewinder would fit, but the stove would NOT fit in the pot. However, I have been told that if you trim the lip of the priming pan from the bottom of the 12-10 stove then it does fit in the 0.6L pot with the cone. I have no direct experience with the 0.6L pot, but I did trim off my priming pan so that my stove fits in my 0.9L pot.
The cones for the 0.6L and 0.9L Evernew pots are not interchangeable. The diameter of the pots is different. I suppose that you could use the 0.6L pot on the 0.9L cone, but there would be a bit of space between the cone lip and the pot, and the cone would not fit inside the pot. The 0.9L pot shoudn't fit in the assembled 0.6L cone.
You got me on the question of using just the upper of a split cone. Again, ask Rand- he's pretty approachable. I'm sure it would WORK but I'm not sure what kind of efficiency you'd get. It might lead to long boil times or high fuel usage.
If you like the idea of a collapsible titanium triple-fuel stove but want something that can handle various pots check out the Honey Stove:
It's a bit more conventional of a system- it isn't fitted to only one specific pot. Watch the video at the bottom of the page. I don't know if there is a US distributor, but the shipping from the UK is reasonable. There is also a cheaper but heavier steel version, and other similar models of different sizes. I cannot speak intelligently about fuel economy, though.
The same folks make something they call a Pocket Stove, which is very similar to the Honey Stove, and costs quite a bit less, even in titanium.
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