Oct 8, 2007 at 12:04 pm #1225356
So I wanna get an alcohol stove to play with and I'm considering either a plain old stove such as tinman's pepsi stove, or a caldera cone system.
Which would you all recommend? Would a pepsi can stove work better in the caldera than the stove the caldera comes with? If I was to only use an alcohol stove which stove would you all recommend?
Second, if the caldera cone doesn't have a slot for the handle (It doesn't right?) than what do you all use to pick up the system? A bandana or the like?
Thanks for any input!Oct 8, 2007 at 12:14 pm #1404835
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
You will need a wind screen of some sort– that is guaranteed. I've made my own from aluminum flashing and tent stakes or gutter spikes. With a little experimentation, you can make a wind screen that will work with your pop can stove and use Esbit fuel on a cat food can flipped upside down. All you need are some heavy duty scissors or tin snips and a paper punch. The MYOG forum will have lots of info there.
If you want to buy something ready made, the Caldera rigs are very efficient and light.Oct 8, 2007 at 12:20 pm #1404838
To me, the Caldera system is to alcohol stoves what the JetBoil is to canister stoves. Neither is simple, light or compact. However, both burn very efficiently.
But if you want a kitchen set up that is truly light and compact, get a FireLite 550 pot and buy (or make) an alky stove and windscreen that can fit nicely inside (along with a BIC lighter, plus 2-3 oz. of fuel).Oct 8, 2007 at 12:51 pm #1404841
I'm just adding my own CO2 to both Dale and Ben's advice. Unless you want to embrace MYOG and invest a lot of time testing and tweaking (personally a love/hate relationship), go with a Caldera Cone; it's highly efficient and simple enough but heavier, cumbersome, and designed specifically to each pot's dimensions. From what I've heard, you won't get better results by switching its stove.
If you decide to investigate your own alky cooking setup, check out these links, search the forum, and test away.
From my own experience:
Side-burners heat quickly but NEED a wide base pot.
Cat can are simple, reliable, but inefficient.
The open jet top burner is my favorite thus far.
I still haven't settled the windscreen design, good luck there.
-michaelOct 8, 2007 at 12:56 pm #1404842
todd harperBPL Member
@funnymoLocale: Sunshine State
I have used a SUpercat successfully for some time.
I also recently bought a "seconds" version (minor dent) of the Caldera and it's performance is impressive – not to mention reliable. The only negative I have w/the Caldera is its bigger packed size, but that isn't a deal breaker.Oct 8, 2007 at 2:05 pm #1404850
Thanks for all the insight! So I guess it's clear that the caldera cone is the "easiest" in terms of I can buy it and be done, but I hate the size of it. I really want a kitchen that nests in my pot. I'm crazy about organization and I would love to simply have my pot fit tucked into my bag. I suppose the cone could be fit into a stuff sack easy enough, but well,ehh…
I do like the idea of a caldera cone though for efficiency. It would also be nice to just buy it and go. I love tinkering, but my new job/life will barely allow for it. How do you all store your cone? Is it a problem at all?Oct 8, 2007 at 2:18 pm #1404852
Caldera is indeed easy — in the sense of 'buy and just use' — but there are so many other choices out there as well. Two examples:
But seriously, before you buy anything, read up on the Zen stove link that Michael provided above. Also, stoves perform optimally when paired with the right size/type of pots! What pot will you be using with your alky stove?Oct 8, 2007 at 2:41 pm #1404854
Ultimately, be it the Caldera, MYOG, or MBD, Brasslite, Whitebox, etc, you'll get your water boiled. But I predict, in the end, you won't have just one stove in your gear closet.
almost forgot, you can't join the alcohol stove club until you find a Lil' Nipper.Oct 8, 2007 at 2:49 pm #1404855
Scott BentzBPL Member
@scottbentzLocale: Southern California
I bought a Go-Torch stove this year from Gossamer. It has a windscreen, stand and heat shield that the stove sits on. I used it this summer and cooked for 2 with no problems. I was in mainly mild conditions and highest cooking altitude was 12,000 ft. or so. I like the fact that it all fits inside my titanium mug.
I do not have any experience with the Caldera Cone.
Up to this point my experience was with cannister stoves. I do like cannister stoves for their simplicity and reliability, however, I hated carting around an empty cannister that still weighs a lot. I use 8 oz water bottles to store my alcohol. When it's empty the weight is neglible. If I am hiking with a friend we can each carry what we need to spread the load.Oct 8, 2007 at 4:33 pm #1404869
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
My solution was to buy one of the Brasslite Turbo II F stoves and one of their ~600ml Ti pots. I made my own windscreen from aluminum flashing, which took about 15 minutes and not much engineering. I made a cut-out for the handle and I hold it together with paper clips. If you use a handle-less pot, and/or use a pot lifter you can forgo the handle cut-out. I've tried a bunch of the pop can stoves and the Brasslite smoked 'em and it's adjustable to boot. The windscreen wraps around the outside of the pot and the stove drops inside with a mini Bic lighter. I toss that and a 4oz fuel bottle in a gallon ziplock with my spork and a plastic mug and my kitchen is complete, with room for more— like coffee, tea, sugar, etc. That sits near the top of my pack for a quick trailside cuppa.Oct 8, 2007 at 4:47 pm #1404870
Well as for the lil' nippers, I have you to thank, Michael, for bringing me into the club..
I was reading the Zen stoves site before I started this thread. It's really what got me thinking more about it.
I will have to check those other options. Thanks a bunch for the references Benjamin and for all the advice to all the others!Oct 8, 2007 at 7:44 pm #1404883
It is unlikely that another stove would work as efficiently in the Caldera Cone system since the current stove was optimized for the cone height and thermodynamics.
Yes, the Cones have cutouts for the handles of the pot. Since most heat is trapped inside the cone, the handles stay cooler.
I suggest you make your own stove from a few soda cans, and also buy one of the Caldera systems. Like Ben said, it is like a Jetboil for alcohol cooking. Not as light as an aluminum foil screen and wire mesh pot holder, but much more stable and wind resistant than the foil/mesh combos I tried.
Some of the new cones are also available in Titanium so they can be used with wood, esbit, and alcohol. Not sure which sizes come in that material, I got my Ti cone for my SnowPeak Trek 900; a very useful size for one person, and big enough for two in a pinch.
Roger, sorry to not include this link until this edit; the Ti cones are here;
http://www.titaniumgoat.com/TiTri.htmlOct 9, 2007 at 3:17 am #1404905
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> Some of the new cones are also available in Titanium
The pots come in titanium, yes. But I have not seen any Cones in titanium yet. Are you sure?Oct 9, 2007 at 3:23 am #1404906
@tomcat1066Locale: Southwest GA
I know this was directed to Brett, but I was just looking at them ;)
Titanium Goat sells them.
TomOct 9, 2007 at 10:57 am #1404941
Yup, they make 'em in Titanium.
It sound like Brett might have gotten one of their prototype models by wheeling and dealing if he got one for his SP900. The Tri-Ti kit uses the same pot as the BL .9 (Brasslite).
I've got the kit… it's quite cool…. er… hot… er… nice…Oct 9, 2007 at 4:26 pm #1404979
Would you say it's a general fact that brasslite are known for performing better than a popcan stove? Any downsides that are specific to the brasslite?
How about a brasslite vs minibull discussion…They both seem like great stoves..
Thanks!Oct 9, 2007 at 9:06 pm #1405018
Josh LeavittBPL Member
@joshleavittLocale: Ruta Locura
In response to your email, and question on this forum, yes the cones are titanium. It does not explicitly state it anywhere on the web page, only implied in the name of the product. I'll have the web guy add some verbage about the pot and cone being titanium.
JoshOct 10, 2007 at 7:26 am #1405054
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
Caldera cones can also be used with their esbit stove set up and as a wood burning stove by running two tent pegs trough the top holes and resting the pot on top of them. If you think you have seen all the alcohol stoves look at packafeather.com for a simmering system.Oct 10, 2007 at 9:30 am #1405064
To be specific, least someone have disappointing results, the Caldera Ti-Tri is the multi-fuel setup using esbit, alky or wood. NOT the aluminum Caldera Cone.
The FeatherFire seems to use the same simmer design principals as the Brasslite. Anyone with FeatherFire or Brasslite experience: do you notice a strong smell of unburned fuel escaping when you adjust for simmer?Oct 10, 2007 at 10:01 am #1405066
No one is going to tell you that Brasslite beats MiniBull (all models) in all fronts — or vice versa.
As I mentioned above, different stoves work optimally with different pots. I asked you what pot you plan to use but you didn't answer. Also, what type of cooking do you plan to do? For one or for two? For example, if you plan to just boil water, a simmering ring is a waste of time, weight, and expense.Oct 10, 2007 at 10:24 am #1405068
Thanks for probing and prompting. I am beginning to recognize some people on the forum as being especially helpful and you are certainly one of them. I really appreciate all of the advice you offer! I'm sorry that I wasn't clearer before and I didn't answer your previous question.
I use an evernew .9 which I got because I cook for two, as of right now, all the time. My girlfriend always comes along! :) It's great!
So far we have just boiled water, but in the future we may bring some lentils or the like and then simmering would be necessary. So my pot is wide and shallow and my cooking habits are for two. In the future, when I go solo, I guess I may have to buy a different stove to accomodate a smaller pot/mug. It seems like most stoves are made to fit mugs, although I've seen a few that aren't. Many require a pot stand anyways, which I could just customize..
I hope that was more clear! Sorry for my vagueness..it's due to inexperience!
Thanks again!Oct 10, 2007 at 11:15 am #1405073
No need to apologize at all… just that folks can hopefully tailor their recommendations to your needs and wants.
For me, my solo cooking is strictly limited to boiling water to rehydrate breakfast cereals and freeze-dried dinners. In that regard, my focus is more on getting the simplest, lightest and most compact set up. Your needs are different. Since more time and fuel are required to cook for two, stove speed and efficiency become more important attributes.
I have had excellent experience with the now discontinued Brasslite Turbo F (a solo stove). Brasslite stoves are very well made and will last 'forever'. If you crave simplicity and compactness, I think you will be very happy with the Turbo II-D. OTOH, if efficiency is more important and you don't mind bulk and fidgeting — then the Caldera set up may be an excellent choice. However, my experience is limited to smaller stoves. I'm sure folks will chime in with more recommendations of stoves suitable for "larger scale" cooking.Oct 10, 2007 at 11:53 am #1405078
In my experience (disclaimers are important) the sideburner stove designs require broad bottom pots, minimum of 4.5", typically 5"+, and are fast and efficient, with no simmer options. Here's some great examples, by no means exhaustive (another disclaimer). No need to mention the Caldera again.
wide diameter pots, fast and efficient:
ThruHiker (George is a good guy and makes his designs available in the MYOG threads)
small diameter pots, simmer options:
Mini Bull Designs
I don't have any real experience with simmering. I imagine the above options could work with larger diameter pots too. Regarding cooking with a simmer, it sounds interesting, maybe even fun, it also sounds tedious in camp. And anything that needs to operate for 20 minutes seems like an opening for issues. If you want to cook lentils or rice or pasta, I'd strongly consider dehydrated lentils and pasta (DIY or Online purchases, checkout the Food threads, specifically Susan's comments), and partialy cooked, ready rice. Freezer bag cooking is fantastic: all home prep; boil water, apply; wait 8minutes; eat; lick yer spoon; roll the leftover bag, yer done!
Also, it should obvious by now that UL involves more gear, and few, if any, do-it-all components. Plus a commitment to personal testing, nothing less is truly convincing. Expect to own a few or half-dozen stoves before you settle with any two or three favorites that handle your various needs. Have fun.
-MichaelOct 10, 2007 at 12:19 pm #1405080
Indeed, I do crave simplicity and compactness, although I care more about simplicity than compactness cause my pack is large (65 l). I like compactness just cause I'm a neat freak.
When I start going out solo my cooking habits will mimic yours, so out of curiosity, what stove to you primarily use? The Turbo F? Also, I should mention that my gilfriend and I split 2 person freeze dried meals. In this case, do you think the Turbo II F would be suitable?Oct 10, 2007 at 12:24 pm #1405081
I like the idea of freezer bag cooking! I will check that out more. Thank for the tip!
Of course, I love the idea of having a few stoves to test because that it what really makes backpacking fun for me. The idea that I can always improve something!
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