Editor's note: At the time of writing, the Clikstand T-2 stand sold for $75. The manufacturer has since dropped that price to $60. Corrections have been noted throughout the article, and BPL regrets the error.
Alcohol stoves have long been a standard of contemporary ultralight backpackers. Their virtues are well documented. They can be somewhat to extraordinarily lightweight, typically have no moving parts to break, clog, or otherwise misfire, fuel is cheap and easy to purchase, they are silent while operating, and so forth. Aside from cold temperatures, the case for the utility of alcohol stoves need not be made. What might need some justification is an alcohol stove system that costs $127 (*at time of writing, but $112 currently) and doesn’t even include a pot. Considering the popularity of alcohol stoves for ultralight backpackers was built upon the backs of tuna can stoves, which were in essence free, there better be good reason for such a tony unit.
In the case of the Clikstand T-2, there may be reasons to consider dropping that kind of coin on a stove with no moving parts. First, consider that this is the same design which, way back in 2005, was one of the best stoves Will Rietveld tested. The T-2 is virtually identical, with the virtues unchanged: excellent stability, easy to use, compact, and excellent wind protection. The T-2 however, goes to 11. It is, you guessed it, made 100% of titanium and thus lighter and better in every way. The Clikstand T-2 stacks up with leading edge alcohol stove systems fairly well in boil time and weight and boasts unrivaled versatility. The wide range of possible uses may not appeal to all users, however.
The Clikstand is indeed a system and must be evaluated as such. I tested what Clikstand calls their Sierra Titanium combo, which consists of an Evernew titanium alcohol burner, ti Clikstand pot stand, ti foil windscreen, and burner adapter. The ti burner is Evernew’s lightweight version of the classic Trangia burner, a time-tested and powerful design. The Clikstand itself is the centerpiece of the system, and consists of a triangular, four-piece stand which snaps together with authority. It cradles the burner an optimum distance from the pot, serves as a stable, broad based pot stand, provides a rest for the foil windscreen, and serves as the second layer of defense against the wind. The whole thing is quick and easy to assemble or disassemble and fits together well as a unit.
Calling the windscreen "foil" is a bit of a misnomer, as the ti is quite sturdy. The windscreen has a few bends built into it that allow it to hook together at two different widths, to best suit different pots. It then rests on hooks built into the stand. The burner adapter is a pentagonal bit of wire intended to give the Evernew burner better purchase inside the stand. The burner is only just wide enough to sit inside the stand, though my sample was stable enough, and I never found the adapter necessary. The whole thing goes together emphatically and inspires confidence.
Comparison and Assessment
How then does the Clikstand system perform compared to other alcohol stoves? There are an enormous number of stoves available, but at the moment the clear favorite in terms of boil time and wind resistance is the Trail Designs Caldera Cone. The Caldera Cone is by nature built around a given pot, so, to provide as generalizable a comparison as possible, I researched data on the ubiquitous Evernew 1.3 liter ti pot (model ECA 253). Averages from a dozen user tests found in various places online came out to around 4 minutes 30 seconds to boil 16 fluid ounces of lukewarm tap water with a Caldera Cone alcohol setup and the Evernew pot, in “normal” conditions (not too cold, not very windy). My own average with the Clikstand T-2, using the same pot and similar back porch conditions, came out to about 5 minutes 30 seconds over half a dozen trials. That’s as scientific as I care to get, but the consistency of the numbers lend them apparent validity.
Interestingly, things changed quite drastically when I used my new-model BackpackingLight Firelite 900 ml pot, with its 4.375-inch diameter, much narrower than the Evernew’s 5.91 inches. Boil times with the skinnier pot, under the same conditions noted above and with the same volume of water, were consistently 2 minutes slower, again across half a dozen trials. I can think of no other conclusion but that the Clikstand stronger favors the broader heating surface provided by a wider pot. Not a stunning conclusion, but with this stove a demand perhaps particularly stark. Examining the Clikstand’s dimensions further explicate this state of affairs. The diameter of the stand is 4.2 inches. To get the rounded edges of the Firelite 900 to sit comfortably, I followed Clikstand’s instructions and bent the three prongs slightly inwards. This did nothing to fill the large gap between the pot and the windscreen, a gap through which much heat evidently escaped. The Evernew, on the other hand, just barely fits into the wider of the windscreen’s two settings, trapping heat admirably and maximizing efficiency.
The Clikstand boils water a bit slower than a Caldera Cone, or a lot, if you have a narrower pot. It’s a bit heavier, depending on the model, though in terms of stability we can assume the Clikstand equal if not superior to the largest Caldera, and thus weight is a wash (see complete comparison chart, below). So why would you spend all that money? It’s not top shelf efficient, but still pretty fast boiling for an alcohol stove. It can be used with a variety of pots, unlike the Caldera system, which bends the cost curve towards the Clikstand depending on your culinary predilections. It’s also ti, and sturdy ti at that, while the aluminum Calderas have had mixed durability over the long haul. Lastly, the ready heat and outstanding stability make it perhaps the premier alcohol stove to use with a frying pan. Fancy some fried trout on your next backpack? Done. Sautéed veggies with your ramen? Easy. Bacon and eggs? If you want to carry the eggs, no problem. The Clikstand is hot enough to cook them any way you like, and stable enough to keep them out of the dirt.
In summary, the Clikstand T-2 is a durable, functional, easy to use, and expensive alcohol stove system best suited to those who use a variety of larger cookware. As a bonus, it works well with a frying pan.
|Clikstand T-2||Caldera Cone|
|Weight oz / g||Burner: 1.1 / 30
Windscreen: 0.7 / 20
Stand: 1.8 / 50
|Burner: 0.6 / 16
Cone: 1.0-2.8 / 28-78
|Boil times (16 oz H20, "normal" conditions,
1.3L Evernew pot, multiple trials averaged)
|Cost (USD)||Burner: 46
(*at time of writing, but 60 currently)
|All components: 35|
Disclosure: The manufacturer provided this product to the author and/or Backpacking Light at no charge, and it is owned by the author/BPL. The author/Backpacking Light has no obligation to the manufacturer to review this product under the terms of this agreement.