I have had a few conversations with Rand over the past few days about the Ti-Tri and cooking efficiency in general that I think might useful:
"One of the bigger mis-conceptions about titanium is that it is extremely light. More correctly,
it is extremely light in comparison to metals that have similar structural and thermally stable
properties like steel. However, in comparison to aluminum, it is actually 60%ish heavier by
volume. Now, since it is stronger than aluminum, you can use less of it.....so....in the case of
things like pots and cones, we find that the weights are about the same. For the 550....expect
the cone to come in around 30 grams.
On a side note....aluminum has MUCH better heat transfer properties.....so as a pot material, it
will conduct the heat to your food/water 10 times easier than titanium. If you got the money,
titanium is a good way to go....but people really overlook the strengths and advantages of
Now, back to the cone. The real advantage with a titanium cone is not in the weight of the gear
over an aluminum cone. The advantage is in reducing the weight of the fuel. With a titanium cone
you have the option to burn wood.....and potentially carry less alcohol/esbit invested weight in
the infrastructure (ie, the cone)."
"Relative to the material properties and their effect on efficiency. We have noticed a VERY minor
performance improvement with the aluminum AGG 3cup pot over a similar size pot like the Evernew
0.9. This efficiency is something we have seen as an aggregate/average effect over thousands of
burns. On any given day, with any given temperature of the water/fuel/air....or any given
altitude....or any given relative humidity....or one of a hundred different variables.....this
minor efficiency can go away. My position has always been that it is the aluminum that helps that
along....my partners aren't necessarilly convinced. So, we really don't see huge
differences....not differences large enough to make any kind of recommendation to direct a
As to the material properties of the cone. Here again, the differences are minor....and I don't
know that we've really "seen" them quantitatively on the test bench. The issue here is that the
convective heat transfer effects of the stove in the cone are so large compared to the effects of
a minor change in material properties, that it gets blurred in the experimental error introduced
by temp/altitude/humidity/etc/etc. In theory.....a titanium cone will be more of an insulator
over aluminum...no doubt about it. Will you "see" that? Perhaps....perhaps not.
One other note on the pot material properties. While aluminum is a great thermal
conductor....that is a double edged sword. It is excellent at getting the heat from your stove
pumped into your water. However, it is equally efficient, after the cooking process, at
transferring the heat OUT of your food back to the atmosphere if you don't use something like a
cozy. So be careful in thinking through the pot material decision from start to finish.
Interestingly enough...this is another hidden benefit of the Caldera Cone System. If people leave
their pots sitting on their cone, or return it there after pouring out their stuff.....the cone
keeps the pot out of the wind and up off the ground.....in effect acting like a "poor man's" cozy.
Finally, one comment on pot "shape". While we see similar performance from cone to cone and pot
to pot.....comparing Caldera efficiency to non-Caldera performance....we see HUGE benefits with
the Caldera on the taller/skinnier mugs/pots. This is mainly because the surface area on the
bottom of a pot/mug is too small to really take advantage of the heat source when using a standard
stove/windscreen. Inside the cone however, we capture all that heat and pump it into the sides
giving us a distinct and measurable advantage with "mugs". Once again....tons and tons of
variables to consider."