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Ultralight Outfitters – Ultralight “Beercan” Cook Pot & Stove (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2005)

A lightweight integrated Esbit fuel cooking system.

Print Jump to Reader Comments

by Alan Dixon | 2005-08-12 03:00:00-06

Click here to view the Beercan stove in action (946 kb)
(note: Apple Quicktime is required to view this movie, to download please vist Apple)

It’s a stove, pot stand, windscreen, cook pot and insulted drinking cup in one integrated unit. Think of this integrated cooking system as a Jetboil with anorexia. You get much of the function of the Jetboil for 20% of the weight and 15% of the cost. Possibly the coolest and most inexpensive gizmo of the show. Every backpacker should have one.

The Ultralight “Beercan” Cook Pot & Stove (ULBCPS) uses Esbit fuel tabs. One tab boils 20 oz of water and weighs ½ oz. The whole system weighs 3.8 oz, less than many canister stoves alone.

Specifications Ultralight Outfitters – Ultralight “Beercan” Cook Pot & Stove

Weight manufacturer’s specification 3.8 oz (108 g) BPL verified weight 3.9 oz (does not include Lexan spoon that comes with kit)
Model Year2005
ElementsEsbit stove, pot stand, 25.4 oz aluminum pot (Fosters Beer Can), windscreen (doubles as insulated pot holder), also includes a Lexan spoon

Ultralight Outfitters – Ultralight “Beercan” Cook Pot & Stove Setup in cooking mode: Pot (a Foster’s beer can) sits on wire support that serves double duty to hold an Esbit tablet at the correct height below the pot. An aluminum windscreen keeps the tablet burning at top efficiency.

The Esbit stove and stainless steel potstand. It holds an Esbit tablet at the correct height below the pot and when stowed serves as a protector for the dirty pot bottom.

Windscreen wraps around pot as an insulated mug holder for a hot drink. Potstand holds the windscreen in place.


"Ultralight Outfitters – Ultralight “Beercan” Cook Pot & Stove (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2005)," by Alan Dixon. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2005-08-12 03:00:00-06.


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Ultralight Outfitters Beer Can Stove System for Esbit Fuel
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Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Ultralight Outfitters Beer Can Stove System for Esbit Fuel on 08/12/2005 12:22:44 MDT Print View

Companion thread to the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2005 Dispatch:

Ultralight Outfitters Ultralight Beer Can Esbit Stove System

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
UltraLight Outfitters Beer Can Cook pot Stove. on 08/12/2005 13:11:02 MDT Print View

I have mine on order. It should work well with my Fosters Beer Can Cook Pot cozy.

Ryan, do you think the Titanium Foil stuff you sell?? would make a lighter wind screen? I will check the SS weight with the Titanium I have when I can check the size of the windscreen that comes with this stove.

Ben Lyon
(Dynamo) - F
Re: UltraLight Outfitters Beer Can Cook pot Stove. on 08/12/2005 16:20:39 MDT Print View

In Alabama, I don't have access to the larger beer cans. Next time I am out of state, I plan to pick up a few. I was intrigued with the idea after viewing UL, cheap, easy to make, what else could you ask for?

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Weight on 08/12/2005 19:34:52 MDT Print View

Hey, does that 3.8oz weight include the beer can?

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
UltraLight Outfitters Beer Can Cook pot Stove. on 08/13/2005 00:13:33 MDT Print View

Ben, Have you looked at Wal Mart. I got my Fosters Beer Can at my local Wal Mart.

I got my can opener at Walgreens. It is the "good cook" Safe Cut and worked perfect.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Ti foil windscreens on 08/13/2005 09:06:18 MDT Print View

Is Ti foil for a windscreen a good idea?

I don't really know. Here's what I'm thinking.

Generally, Ti alloys provide two important advantages over other metals: better fatigue characteristics, and better strength-to-weight ratio. Are either of these really important to a windscreen?

1) Ti foil should be more durable than Al foil. That is you can bend it more often (i.e. cycle it, or fold & unfold it) than Al foil before it fatigues and develops cracks. I don't like to fold flat Al foil over-and-over. I try to roll, in some fashion, my Al windscreen. I try to never make sharp folds/creases in Al (foil, or otherwise) if I want it to last a long time. Now..., I haven't actually done any controlled experiments. These comments are just based upon the inherent properties of these metals/alloys.
2) For a similar thickness (or less), it should be stronger than Al foil and shouldn't rip as easily.

1) Does one really need the extra strength & durability in a non-load bearing item?
2) While Ti is twice as strong as Al, it is also ~60% heavier. I may be able to get by with a lighter weight Al foil windscreen, i.e. lighter than what a stronger Ti windscreen might weigh. So, if a thin Al foil windscreen suffices, is Ti really necessary? Perhaps, for a lengthy Thru-Hike??? Couldn't an Al (foil, or slightly thicker) windscreen be "repaired" with some duct tape on the outside if it fails during a lengthy Thru-Hike?

Bottom Line:
What are we talking about here? Besides the durability issue for a lengthy Thru-Hike, are we talking about saving a fraction of an ounce? For example, windscreens, like those used in the two Mo-Go-Gear stoves sold by Gossamer Gear, weigh 16gm and 26gm. These are of much heavier construction than heavy duty kitchen foil.

Now I'm NOT the sharpest tool in the shed, so...what am I missing here?

Edited by pj on 08/13/2005 09:23:26 MDT.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
UltraLight Outfitters Beer Can Cook pot Stove. on 08/13/2005 09:45:58 MDT Print View

When I first read about this stove I thought I read that the windscreen was made of Stainless Steel and I thought something else should be lighter. Now it seems the windscreen might be made out of Aluminum. What ever it is made out of when I get mine I will weigh the windscreen and then see if I have anything lighter. The windscreen might even be made out of that Aluminum "flashing" stuff. I agree that Aluminun foil could work fine. I have my neoprene pot cozy and can pack it all inside that when I am not using it and replace the Aluminum foil when ever I need to. It isn't like Aluminum foil is hard to find.

The stove maker states that the windscreen can become an outer liner for the cook pot when the cook pot is used to drink out of and then it turns into an insulated mug. This might be a bit of a stretch but it is a way to justify the extra weight of a heavier material.

I just have to wait till I get one and let the gram-weenie take over. I will just weigh all my alternatives and go from there.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: UltraLight Outfitters Beer Can Cook pot Stove. on 08/13/2005 09:53:28 MDT Print View

I guess, theoretically (i say "theoretically" simply b/c i don't know how thin Ti foil is made) one could get some very thin Ti foil that is thinner than Al foil, having the same strength as thicker Al foil, and weighing less than the thicker Al foil.

If this was obtainable, then for both fatigue characteristics, and a small wt. savings, the Ti foil might be worth it.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Re: UltraLight Outfitters Beer Can Cook pot Stove. on 08/14/2005 06:49:26 MDT Print View

paul wrote:

"I guess, theoretically (i say "theoretically" simply b/c i don't know how thin Ti foil is made) one could get some very thin Ti foil that is thinner than Al foil, having the same strength as thicker Al foil, and weighing less than the thicker Al foil."

Interestingly enough, that's exactly what Frank Gehry did when he built the Gugenheim in Bilbao spain :) The original plans spec'ed a stainless steel cladding... but he found it looked too harsh in the mediterranian sun... so he tried some samples of other materials and found that Titanium was much warmer and even appeared to change color in different lights (i.e. sunset). It was twice the cost of stainless but also twice the strength, so he used half the thickness and it came out even :)

I think what's really great about this stove... ingenious even... is the integration. It's like a Jetboil with anorexia... as Jordan says. The way it packs up is nice... the way the windscreen does double duty as an insulation wall... etc. The Esbit... I'm not completely sold on. I've never used it, but it seems like a good idea... lighter than alcohol... can double as an emergency firestarter... no mess no fuss to carry... etc. But I figure if I don't like it... it would be just as easy to use my MoGo gear firefly (distance from pot to burner seems about right for a firefly) or similar lightweight alcohol stove with this unit... and it would still weigh less than my current FireFly/Windscreen/Reflector/Stand/MSR Titan combo... which is not integrated at all... it's a bunch of loose parts.

The only thing I wonder about is that the windscreen seems like a pretty tight fit... small air gap... and it has no air holes in the bottom. Maybe that's because of the way esbit burns... I have no idea. Perhaps using it with an alcohol stove would require punching a few air holes???

Edited by davidlewis on 08/14/2005 07:04:45 MDT.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Light pot / heavy screen on 08/14/2005 10:32:24 MDT Print View

Here's another thought on this stove. The 3.8 oz does not include the pot. The pot would add about another 0.9 oz. This is the reverse of most setups where the pot weighs around 4 oz and the windscreen/stand weighs 1-2 oz. I think I would prefer to have a pot that is more durable as opposed to a windscreen that is more durable.

Still... the design is ingenious and I LOVE the way all the components fit together to form one unit!!! (like a JetBoil). And even with the beer can pot it would still be maybe 2 oz lighter than my current alcohol stove with MSR Titan 0.85L pot/stand/etc. But the Titan pot is a nice shape that doubles well as a bowl... for your morning cereal or the odd 'cooked in the pot' meal like Quinoa or Cous Cous. The beer can would not make a good vessel for eating out of... too tall and narrow. It's basically just for boiling water I'd say.

Edited by davidlewis on 08/14/2005 10:33:31 MDT.

Ben Lyon
(Dynamo) - F
Re: UltraLight Outfitters Beer Can Cook pot Stove. on 08/14/2005 10:43:58 MDT Print View

Bill, I haven't looked at Wal Mart, but Alabama, for some reason, doesn't allow the sale of beer in any greater then the 16 Oz. "tall boy" size. Why? I do not know.

I am going to Georgia this week on business, and will be sure to get my next cooking system before heading back. Looking forward to trying this out.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: UltraLight Outfitters Beer Can Cook pot Stove small air gap? on 08/14/2005 12:20:28 MDT Print View

I had the same initial reaction as David Lewis ... in that photo the windscreen is *WAY* too tight to allow adequate airflow for combustion.

But when I watched the quicktime demo video and learned that the photo was of the windscreen in "double wall insulated mug" mode.

The video shows that in cooking mode, the windscreen is placed outside the wire pot holder, allowing it to spring open to allow for plenty airflow.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
UltraLight Outfitters "Beer Can" Stove on 08/14/2005 14:01:59 MDT Print View

I copied this from the Ultralight Outfitters web site. I hope this answers some questions and is how it turns out.

(start") Ultralight Beercan Cook Pot & Stove

.75 Liter (25 FL. OZ.) Ultralight Cook Pot
Solid Fuel Ultralight Camp Stove
Becomes an Insulated Drinking Mug

Total weight: 3.8 oz.

The lightest weight solution for backpack cooking that really works: Simple, Sturdy, Safe, and Packs up easily.

This complete kit weighs less 4 oz. It is your stove, cook pot, windscreen, and insulated drinking mug all in one. Compare this to:

6 oz. 1.3 Liter Titanium Pot.
+3 oz. Propane stove without the heavy metal fuel cartridge.
+3 oz. Lexan cup with less than half the volume and isn't insulated.
The Cook Pot

The cook pot is made from an empty jumbo (24.5 fl. oz.) can of beer. This empty can is perfect for a backpacking cook pot!

It is large enough to make a meal for one person.
It is easy to hold so it can double as a drinking mug.

It has a non-stick coating on the inside.
It is a 100% recycled product.
It is readily available and inexpensive to buy and replace.
It weighs one ounce, which is incredibly light!
There are three things you have to be careful about in order to use a beer can as a cook pot.

You need to use a special can opener to take the top off of a beer can and not leave any sharp edges. We'll show you how to do this.
An empty beer can is somewhat fragile and will dent easily. This is why the windscreen and stove in the cook set are designed to wrap around it when it is packed up. The packed up stove is sturdy enough to travel in a backpack without a problem. And, most dents can be pressed back out without damaging the pot.
The non-stick coating inside the can will burn at high temperatures. The solution is to always have water in the pot when it is over a flame. Boiling water in the pot will not let the inside of the pot get any hotter than 212 degrees F, which doesn't damage the coating. So no frying. No putting an empty pot on the fire. No letting the rice boil dry. Using this cook pot means restricting your backpacking meals to ones that are prepared with boiling water. In practice this is what most ultralight backpackers do anyway. Our FOOD&COOKING section has recipes and tips for meals that work great for cooking in a beercan cook pot.
The Stove

The stove is a stand and fuel tray for burning solid fuel pellets. Solid fuel is the lightest weight fuel for backpacking. Solid fuel is also the safest and most reliable fuel for camping. It can't leak. You can't spill it. The stove has no jets or valves that can get damaged or plugged.

The Windscreen

The windscreen is made from stainless steel, and is pre-formed into a cylindrical shape that stands around the cook pot and stove while cooking. When the stove and windscreen are packed up for travel, the windscreen wraps around the cook pot and protects it from being dented. You never have to fold or unfold the windscreen.

The Insulated Drinking Mug

When the stove and windscreen are packed up, they create a double walled shell around the cook pot. This turns the cook pot into an insulated drinking mug that is just right for holding and warming your hand while enjoying a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. A lip guard made of silicon rubber fits around the top of the can, and makes sipping hot liquids comfortable. (end ")


The way I read this is that the 3.8oz includes the complete system minus some kind of lid:
1 - Fosters Cook Pot at 1oz - mine weighed .9oz.
1 - Wire stove/stand thing and I will guess it is made out of stainless steel wire - no weight given.
1 - One windscreen made out of stainless steel - no weight given.
1 - Lip guard made of silicon rubber that fits around the top of the can - no weight given.
Total weight (given) at 3.8oz for all of the above.

Now I can go back to my first question to Ryan. However I can't find the Titanium Foil listed on his site anymore.

How important is it to keep stainless steel as the material for the windscreen? I think the Titanium I use would be about as heavy as the stainless steel as my Ti .016" thick.

I don't think I would eat out of the Fosters cook pot since I use and like the Orikaso Flat Fold cup and bowl. They work great for me and are very easy to clean and store.

I will also try this stove with my Sterno Cook Pot as the Sterno can is almost the same size as the Fosters can. The Sterno can is .37 or .38oz. I would make a new smaller windscreen for it out of Aluminum something for more weight savings.

So now I just playing the waiting game and hope my number comes up quick.

Edited by bfornshell on 08/14/2005 14:04:27 MDT.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Weight on 08/14/2005 14:30:26 MDT Print View

Ok... so it *IS* 3.8 oz for everything. That's great. I was getting my info from the product page on this site which says:

System Package Includes:

Stainless steel pot stand
No-fold stainless steel wind screen
Silicon rubber lip-guard
Free Lexan spoon
Total weight of these components: 3.8 oz.

So this contradicts what the manufacture's site says. I will go with what the manufacture says :)

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Beer Can Stove vs. Alcohol Stove on 08/14/2005 15:12:14 MDT Print View

Ok... so being a good gram wennie... I just went into Excel and did some quick calculations to compare this solution to my current solution... taking enough fuel into account for a typical long weekend hike. Here's the breakdown assuming 5 boils (3/4 oz of alcohol to boil 2 cups). 5 boils allows for 2 hot meals plus 2 to 3 extra boils in case of screwups and/or making tea. I include a bowl with the Esbit solution since I don't think it would work well as a bowl. With my current setup, my Titan pot doubles as bowl/cup.

MSR Titan .85L pot - 4.4oz
Mogo Gear Firefly stove & dousing cup - 0.2oz
Homemade windscreen/stand - 0.8oz
Coghlans 4 oz. squirt bottle (for fuel) - 0.6oz
Mini Bic Lighter - 0.4oz
4oz of fuel - 4oz
Total: 10.4oz

-- vs --

Beer Can Stove - 3.8oz
Mini Bic Lighter - 0.4oz
Plastic Bowl from Microwave Meal - 0.5oz
5 Esbit Tabs - 2.5oz
Total: 7.1oz

Wooo Hooo!!! 3.3 oz savings!!! LOL... I need help :) Speaking of which... add a gram to the Beer Can solution for a foil lid :P

Edited by davidlewis on 08/14/2005 15:17:11 MDT.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
UltraLight Outfitters "Beer Can" Stove on 08/14/2005 16:16:55 MDT Print View

David: I would think of your weight savings as a percentage. You have come up with a way to save around 33% over the Alcohol option. That is a very high percentage, My SUL philosophy is "by what percent can I reduce the weight of a given item" and if I can do this with everything I carry, my total pack weight should be very light.

So, back to the Fosters Cook pot and this new stove. I really think a windscreen of Alumium Foil would work fine if you don't expect to drink from the cook pot. I would guess using Al Foil would reduce the weight 50% of that 3.8oz amount. The SS windscreen would help protect the Beer Can when packed but I might be able to roll my Orikaso Flat Fold things around the can and protect it with them or maybe find a large Styrofoam drink cup from a place like Dairy Queen. Also if you are not drinking out of the cook pot do you/I need the "Lip Guard"?

I am working on a set of shoulder straps for my new external frame but my brain keeps telling me to make a wire stove. I think the pack straps are about to lose the battle for my time.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: UltraLight Outfitters "Beer Can" Stove on 08/14/2005 16:26:41 MDT Print View

I agree actually Bill. To save 33% on something that is so light to start with is actually very good! Still... it's funny how we obsess about meer ounces. Then again, without that point of view... that idea of thinking about everything... every ounce... we'd all be carrying 50 pound packs. I think most people who go heavy do so to a large degree because going lighter just requires a whole lot more thought. It's easier to just throw everything in there and not worry about it.

Anyway... it's a neat little stove :) Hope I'm on 'the list'.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Orisako on 08/14/2005 16:36:13 MDT Print View

Hmm... actually, what I posted has been said, but bill made an interesting comment with the orisako that I just noticed. you actuall, should be able to use the orisako as a replacement "insulator" even if you're wanting to drink how cocoa out of it as, if the bowl will handle hot soup it will hand the heat of the water. Water that has gotten done boiling remains at 212 degrees, the pot would never be more than that.

Edited by jdmitch on 08/14/2005 16:57:45 MDT.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: One thing on the windscreen on 08/14/2005 16:58:01 MDT Print View

Good point Joshua. That's probably another reason they went with stainless... not only is it strong... to protect the fragile can... but it also doesn't hold heat the way aluminum would. Titanium may have been a good option... but perhaps cost prohibitive... at least compared to similar homemade products.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
The one thing I do like about the screen on 08/14/2005 18:54:16 MDT Print View

I noticed that someone posted as I was mentioning that using a foil screen removes the usefulness of "insulated mog" design.

Just re-mentioning that as otherwise the post seems out of place.

One thing I I realy like about the screen is that, as pre-rolled SS, it will be relatively stable in the wind.