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AntiGravityGear Mama’s Kitchen Deluxe Set Alcohol Stove REVIEW

Product performance review of the AntiGravityGear Mama’s Kitchen Deluxe Set Alcohol Stove, a lightweight alcohol stove for backpacking.

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by Jay Ham | 2005-03-22 03:00:00-07

Overview

AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set - 1
The AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set alcohol stove comes complete with Tin Man stove, windscreen, two pots with cozies, small bowl with cozy, pot gripper, measuring cup, and washing kit.

The AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set alcohol stove is a complete cook set, with components designed to work effectively with one another. The system includes 3-cup and 2-quart cookpots, two appropriately sized pot cozies, pot gripper, Tin Man alcohol burner, windscreen, bowl/measuring cup, soap, and pot scrubber. The only items missing from this set are alcohol fuel and a bottle to put it in. The burner is lightweight (0.4 ounce for the burner/pot stand) and super easy to prime and use. I liked the pot cozies, which extended fuel supplies by allowing food to continue to cook long after removing the pot from the stove. My only complaint - the pot stand is the top of the burner and only 2.0 inches in diameter. This is unstable, particularly for larger pots, and reduces efficient heating to the center of the pot.

Specifications

• Stove ID

Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set with non-stick cookpots

• Stove Type

Closed jet (once the cookpot is placed on top)

• Components, Dimensions, and Weight

Component/accessory Dimensions: height x diameter (in) Dimensions: height x diameter (mm) Backpacking Light measured weight oz (g) Manufacturer claimed weight oz (g)
Tin Man burner 1.6 x 2.6 41 x 65 0.4 (11.3) 0.4 (11.3)
Windscreen 2.5 x 7.1 64 x 180 0.8 (22.7) 0.8 (22.7)
2-quart pot with lid 2.7 x 5.4 69 x 138 6.0 (170.1) 5.9 (167.3)
2-quart pot cozy 3.9 x 5.7 98 x 145 1.3 (36.9) 1.4 (39.7)
3-cup pot with lid 4.3 x 6.1 110 x 156 4.0 (113.4) 3.8 (107.7)
3-cup pot cozy 5.5 x 6.5 140 x 164 1.0 (28.3) 1.0 (28.3)
Pot clamp handle 4.9 long 125 long 1.3 (36.9) 1.4 (39.7)
Bowl/cup and cozy 2.5 x 4.3 63 x 110 1.0 (28.3) 0.5 (14.2)
Fanatic Fringe UL soap 0.4 x 1.4 10 x 35 0.3 (8.5) -
Measuring cup 1.4 x 1.8 35 x 45 0.1 (2.8) -
Pot scrubby 3.0 x 2.0 75 x 50 0.1 (2.8) -

• MSRP

$55.95 Manufacturer's suggested retail price for the Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set, non-stick version. The hard anodized version is $66.95. Refer to the manufacturer's web site for pricing on other sets and individual items, which are plentiful.

• Manufacturer Contact Information

AntiGravityGear

Usable Features

AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set - 2
The Tin Man burner is unique in that the jets are on the side and a cookpot sits directly on top of the burner. Shown here heating the smaller 3-cup pot included in the AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set. Note the center portion of the pot does not receive direct heat from the stove flame.

Design - The AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen alcohol stove Deluxe Set is similar to other cook sets with the exception of the Tin Man alcohol burner and the included pot cozies. The Tin Man burner is made from the bottoms of soda cans, is very compact, and fits easily in most cookpots. The burner has an inner chamber that is filled through a small slit in the inner chamber wall when fuel is added to the open cavity in the top of the burner. A cookpot effectively seals the burner's top opening, so it performs as a closed jet burner rather than an open jet burner. During priming, the alcohol is heated to boiling and pressure builds up in the inner chamber. This pressure forces alcohol vapor out of the side flame ports and it burns as it emerges.

The pot cozies are designed to tightly fit the AntiGravityGear cookpots. They are made from a material that resembles bubble wrap covered in Mylar and are extremely lightweight and excellent at retaining heat. They are neither compressible nor foldable, and when used become the largest packed volume of the set, with everything else nested inside.

 

Weight - The Tin Man burner/pot stand combination is the lightest burner and pot stand in our review suite at 0.4 ounces. The 2-quart (6.0 ounces) and 3-cup (4.0 ounces) aluminum pots included with the Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set are lightweight, on a par with some titanium pots in fact, and much less expensive. The pots do not have integrated handles however, and require a pot clamp. The provided pot clamp weighs 1.3 ounces and is heavier than the MSR LiteLifter ( 1.0 ounce) and home made pot clamps. Fuel savings may cancel out the weight of the pot cozies (1.0 and 1.3 ounces) depending on your cooking style and trip length. See our performance review of the cozies here.

Flame Control - There are no mechanisms to control the flame on the Tin Man burner. If the food is getting too hot, either open up the windscreen to cool things off with wind, or remove the pot from the stove.

Pot Support - The Tin Man alcohol burner serves double duty as both burner and pot support. At only 2 inches wide, the support is not very stable and instability increases with pot diameter. The burner has the flame jets located on the side to prevent the pot from snuffing out the flame. With good site selection and care, even a 3-quart pot can be balanced upon the stove. However, we would like to see a more stable platform.

Wind Protection - A stiff aluminum windscreen is included with the AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen alcohol stove Deluxe Set. Measuring 2.5 inches high, the windscreen can be slightly rolled up to fit in either the 3-cup or 2-quart pot. The windscreen does a good job of blocking wind. It does not have vent cut outs and sticks can be used under the edges of the windscreen to increase airflow when wind is minimal.

Ease of Use

 

Setup - The cook set is very easy to set up. There are no fuel lines or canisters to connect. Simply set the burner on the ground, add fuel, and it's ready to light. The pot sits directly on top of the burner, and placing the windscreen around the pot completes the task.

Fueling - Filling the burner is easy - just pour fuel into the large center cavity. The large opening also makes it possible to use wider mouth fuel bottles like plastic soda bottles (alcohol stove fuel does not react with plastic).

Priming and Ignition - The Tin Man burner does not require external priming. All too often alcohol stoves require priming fuel to be poured around the outside of the stove, a process that consumes extra fuel and can be hazardous. Nearly all of my near mishaps with cooking in the backcountry have occurred with alcohol stoves that required priming. After filling the large center cavity of the Tin Man, a single match is usually enough to ignite it. As the alcohol begins to boil, alcohol vapor is forced out of the side ports where it is burned.

Flame Adjustment - The Tin Man burner lacks any means to adjust the flame. Essentially there are two settings: off and full output. In windy weather, opening the windscreen may reduce heat output to some extent, but this cannot be relied upon.

Cold Weather Ergonomics - With no moving parts, the AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set is fairly easy to use while wearing winter gloves. The large cavity of the burner is easy to fill and spillage is minimal. Burning alcohol is nearly invisible in daylight, so special care is needed to check to see if the stove is still burning so that bulky winter wear is not melted or caught on fire.

 

Cooking Systems - The Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set comes as a complete cooking system with a windscreen, pot gripper, Tin Man burner, insulated cup, pot scrubby, soap, two pots (3-cup and 2-quart), and pot cozies.

 

Cooking Performance

Capacity - The Tin Man burner produces enough heat for one or two backpackers. I tested the Tin Man at elevations from 8,000 feet to above 11,000 feet and temperatures from below freezing to 90 °F. Under all conditions, the stove ignited and cooked with negligible change in performance.

Versatility - Due to the lack of adjustability of the Tin Man stove, it does not score well in terms of versatility. This stove is excellent at boiling water but lacks the control needed for culinary tasks such as baking and simmering.

Wind Effects - The AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set has good wind resistance because of its solid sided windscreen. I used the cook set in winds approaching 30 mph with no major problems.

Cold Effects - I field-tested the stove at temperatures below freezing by placing the burner and fuel in a freezer overnight. There was no difficulty lighting the burner, but it did take longer to get the alcohol up to the boiling point

Heating Efficiency

 

Under our controlled and consistent testing conditions, the AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set Tin Man alcohol stove did not perform as well as other alcohol stoves. Boil times were longer because we had to wait for the burner to reach operating temperature before we could place a pot on top - otherwise the pot would snuff out the burner - and because the pot sits directly on top of the burner and that portion of the pot bottom does not get direct heat from the flame.

See performance results for all the stoves we tested in Performance Comparison Testing of Lightweight Alcohol Stoves.

Table 1: Boil Time and Fuel Consumption for Optimal and Windy Conditions
  Optimum Conditions Boil Time for 1 pint of water (minutes:seconds) Optimum Conditions Fuel Consumption (g) Windy Conditions Boil Time for 1 pint of water (minutes:seconds) Windy Conditions Fuel Consumption (g)
AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set Tin Man 7:02 21.5 9:12 38.9
Average of All Stoves Reviewed 6:09 15.7 8:20 32.8

Durability

Packability - Made from aluminum soda cans, the AntiGravityGear Tin Man burner and windscreen pack well into the smallest of cookpots. There are relatively few parts for this alcohol stove, reducing the chance of leaving a key component behind. The 3-cup and 2-quart pots nest perfectly inside one another with the cozy on the smaller pot. And, everything fits inside the larger two-quart pot cozy.

Durability - Although the design of the Tin Man burner is very strong, it is obvious the aluminum used in soda cans is rather flimsy. Dings and dents may occur, but real damage to the usability will require a severe impact such as stepping on the stove while in camp. Keep it stowed in the pot or in another safe location when not in use and it should last for many years. One concern is the pot cozies, which could suffer damage from other items in the pack. They cannot be folded and stowed inside the pot and are best stowed around the pot. So, care must be taken to ensure the cook set is stowed in the pack against other soft items.

Maintenance - Due to the clean burning attributes of alcohol fuel, it is unlikely any maintenance will be necessary for the AntiGravityGear Tin Man burner. Wiping out the interior with a rag occasionally is about all that is required. The best means to lengthen its life is to avoid dropping debris into the center chamber. Since debris easily sticks to the wet bottom of a cookpot, this may prove difficult to do in actual field conditions. A simple wipe from a bandana is the trick. As mentioned above, the pot cozy is susceptible to damage due to the very light materials used in its construction. A small piece of repair tape is included with the set to fix any minor leaks. If it gets shredded, a replacement can be purchased for a reasonable price (starting at $8.00).

Value

The AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen Deluxe alcohol stove Set costs $55.95, not bad if you need the whole set. A solo titanium pot, the Tin Man stove, windscreen, and appropriately sized pot cozy costs about the same. Since carrying a single pot is the norm for ultralight backpacking, we consider this set a good, not great value. AntiGravityGear offers many other options including other cook sets, individual pots, cozies, Tin Man burners, and other cooking accessories. For the solo ultralight backpacker, the 3-cup Solo Deluxe Set is a great value at $31.50 (non-stick pot, 8.6 ounces total weight). We also find their very useful pot cozies an excellent value when purchased either with the set or alone.

Tips and Tricks

The most useful tip for using the AntiGravityGear Mama's Kitchen Deluxe Set is to replace the included windscreen with one of your own design. I recommend that you make a different windscreen for each cookpot so it fits with a minimal amount of gap at the top (about 1/2 inch), and extends an inch or so up the side of the pot. Air intakes are needed along the bottom to maximize the stove's efficiency. A very light and foldable windscreen can be fashioned out of an oven liner by cutting two strips and connecting them together with a simple fold.

Recommendations for Improvement

The Tin Man burner design eliminates the need for a pot stand but it is very unstable. I recommend improving the pot support and stability either by increasing the diameter of the stove or including another option for supporting the pot. Of these two suggestions, I would prefer the latter. Adding a lightweight pot stand would raise the pot above the stove and allow the flame to directly heat the bottom of the pot, improving stability and cooking performance at the same time.


Citation

"AntiGravityGear Mama’s Kitchen Deluxe Set Alcohol Stove REVIEW," by Jay Ham. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/antigravitygear_alcohol_stove_review.html, 2005-03-22 03:00:00-07.

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