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Why buy the Caldera Cone?
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Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Why buy the Caldera Cone? on 03/13/2008 16:52:33 MDT Print View

I've seen loads of stuff about the Caldera Cone but never bothered to read anything much about it. Is the whole selling point of the CC that it increases fuel efficiency? I use a Ti-Wing stove and MSR Titan (Firelite 550 hopefully soon) and love it. I haven't done much Esbit cooking at cold temps though. Is this where the CC comes into play?

So... sell me this system. Why should I increase my pack weight and add more "stuff" into my kit?

Andrew King
(drewboy) - F

Locale: Arizona
Caldera cone on 03/13/2008 17:28:50 MDT Print View

I'll tell you some of the things I like about it. Fuel efficiency is great, ~0.5oz fuel will boil 16oz water in <5 minutes. I'm getting boils just about as fast as my jetboil hiking companions. The wind screen combined with pot stand is great - you won't find better performance in the wind. And due to the way the mug sits inside the cone, you have a really stable setup that won't easily tip over. A bit bulky to pack, but the weight of the combined system is only a couple of ounces. If you are going solo on a short weekend trip though, an esbit tab with the BPL titanium stand and small mug is hard to beat for packed size and weight - if the issues above are not as important for you.

Edited by drewboy on 03/13/2008 17:31:04 MDT.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Why buy the Caldera Cone? on 03/13/2008 17:48:42 MDT Print View

The caldera cone is to alcohol stoves as the BushBuddy is to an open fire.

Efficiency is the main selling point for most: it consumes lots less fuel without weighing more. (This makes it fast, too.)

Wind resistance is next: it stops the wind like nobody's business. It doesn't even know that it's windy out.

It's incredibly stable; probably the single most stable stove of any type or fuel on the market.

And then there's simplicity... you don't have to make a balancing act or a jenga game with beer cans and flashing and hardwear cloth and liquids, and then hope nobody bumps it.

If you get the titanium version, it's seriously multi-purpose: it can burn wood as well, making it very versatile.

Once you try one, you'll never go back to any other system. The ease-of-use may even spoil you for canister stoves!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Why buy the Caldera Cone? on 03/13/2008 17:52:59 MDT Print View

"Once you try one, you'll never go back to any other system. The ease-of-use may even spoil you for canister stoves!"

That about sums it up for me. I have also dicovered that I can use my FeatherFire snuffer cap and fuel retriever with the 12-10 stove, which means I now only use EXACTLY as much fuel as I need, everytime. I can overfill the stove as much as I want since I know I can recover the excess.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Re: Why buy the Caldera Cone? on 03/13/2008 18:17:53 MDT Print View

I don't know... Much like Ryan, I'm interested in the caldera cones, but not entirely sold. I'm sure they're great. But I'm still loyal to my Clikstand. ;)

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Why buy the Caldera Cone? on 03/13/2008 18:26:55 MDT Print View

I have a Clikstand too, and what a neat piece of kit that is.

They serve totally different needs though: the Clikstand is heavy heavy heavy and burns a ton of fuel. It can also simmer and hold different pots. And it's heavy and burns a ton of fuel. :)

The Caldera is truly superultralight, and it sips fuel like no other alcohol system. It uses so little fuel that it's competitive with Canister systems!

It is, however, a light-and-forget stove. It has one setting: on. I work out how much fuel my recipes need; i.e. hot coffee is usually 3/4 of a fluid ounce whereas pasta that needs to boil for 10 minutes can be up to 2 fluid ounces depending on the pot and water volume. (Don't judge those numbers on efficiency -- the water I use is often just above freezing and sometimes the air temperature is too.. which is a very different scenario from 65* Appalachian mountain water on a 50* morning!)

I also steam bake in it, and I'm working up the guts to try dry-baking. Again there is zero fiddle-factor: just pour, light, and wait. No reorienting windscreens, no looking for flat ground, no messing around with tent pegs and hardware cloth.

Too bad you can't try one out...

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Caldera Cone on 03/13/2008 19:04:11 MDT Print View

I own easily a dozen alcohol fuels stoves, some esbit stoves, a couple canister stoves and such and 99% of the time I carry the caldera. Even car camping I usually bring it instead of the jet boil due to the ease of use.

When compared to other alcohol stoves it's the least finicky or tipsy. The cone makes for a almost tip proof base for your pot. After knocking one over once I learned I never wanted to do that again.

The efficency is great but it did mean I had to learn to use 3/4 to 1/2 the fuel.

If you get the kit, the stove tuned for the CC which comes with a built in primer disc which after using the one from antigravity gear I'm sold on primer discs to speed up boil times and increase reliability.

The other hype is pretty much all true. The only downside is packability concerns. If you use the cup that comes with it, all is well but I still worry about it in a sinylon bag.

Overall, I highly recommend it.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Anybody use it for solid fuel? on 03/13/2008 19:08:11 MDT Print View

I'm a solid fuel user, and am wondering if the comment "This is for alchohol stoves what the bushbuddy is to open fires" applies equally to solid fuel.

NOTE: All I do (for now) is heat up water for bag meals.

Oh yeah... I feel you on the "balancing act" thing, hoping nobody will tip over my pot! "Get away! Don't breathe! You'll knock it over!"

Edited by splproductions on 03/13/2008 19:08:55 MDT.

Timothy Roper
(lazybones) - F

Locale: Alabama
Anybody use it for solid fuel? on 03/13/2008 20:56:44 MDT Print View

I recently switched from alcohol to Esbit with my cone. As far as I'm concerned, it's just as convenient with Esbit as it is with alcohol. As stated above, the cone is stable, it handles wind better than any other setup I've used and it's truly a fire and forget setup. Light it and walk off. That's what I like most, no fiddling with it or standing guard over it. Light it and go about your business. Come back in 5 or 10 minutes and you're good to go.

The only drawback is the size and you have to be careful packing it.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Caldera Cond & JetBoil pots on 03/13/2008 22:39:06 MDT Print View

I love my 1.5 L. JetBoil pot's efficiency (I have no J.B. stove) and I wonder - is there is a way to get the Caldera Cone to fit just outside the 1.5 L.JB's corrugated "Flux Ring"?

If so I'd buy it in a heartbeat as I'm now a ESBIT/FireLite fuel tab user. And a Ti Caldera Cone seems about as efficient as it gets.

BTW, how does the Caldera Cone (using wood) compare to the Brush Buddy? i.e. eficiency, ease of use, safety.


Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Anybody use it for solid fuel? on 03/13/2008 22:50:25 MDT Print View

I just ordered one for solid fuel use with a Snow Peak 700 Ti mug. They have a new Gram Cracker solid fuel holder that basically weighs nothing. According to Trail Designs it will boil 2 cups of water on less than one 14g tab (some say about 1/2 tab).

So, I will have a sub-6oz setup (complete) that takes less than 1/2oz of fuel per boil. I am taking one pound off my base weight by leaving my Jetboil home, with no significant loss of function or increase in complexity. I think this just might be what it's all about!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Custom" Caldera Cones?? on 03/13/2008 23:06:57 MDT Print View

After looking at the C. C.'s website I see they now offer an improved C.C. complete with the ESBIT/FireLite fuel tag "Graham Cracker" fuel tab holder.

But what is the "custom" part of the design? Will they make a C.C. to fit my 1.5 L. JetBoil pot?


Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Caldera Cond & JetBoil pots on 03/13/2008 23:09:04 MDT Print View

Somewhere in the recent past there was a thread about how to lay out your own cone. You might experiment by making a cone to fit the JB pot. You should, however, make the cone to fit under the pot rim so as to enclose the sides of the pot within the cone. Otherwise your pot will be radiating heat away from the water you're trying to heat.

Edited by redleader on 03/13/2008 23:10:11 MDT.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Caldera Cond & JetBoil pots on 03/13/2008 23:31:34 MDT Print View

The thing about using JetBoil or Primus ETA style pots is that the weight gain has to be equaled by fuel savings.

So if your JetBoil cup weighs 5 ounces more than a titanium mug, you have to save 5 ounces of fuel for it to be worthwhile.

For example: If the Jetboil cup used 1/3rd less fuel but weighed 5 ounces more, you would have to be using 15 ounces of fuel in the non-jetboil-cup system to even break even! (Jetboil cup system = 11oz+10oz fuel, non-Jetboil-cup system = 6oz+15oz fuel for the same amount of water boiled.)

When was the last time you carried 15 ounces (=21 fluid ounces) of alcohol on a trip? In a Caldera, that's like 42 pints of water boiled to get to the point where you're saving fuel.

Further, I suspect that the Caldera cone is already so incredibly efficient that there wouldn't be much advantage to using a Jetboil pot. I don't think it could become 30% *more* efficient than it is right now. Maybe, possibly, 10%... but can you measure .45oz of alcohol instead of .5?

(30% more efficient would mean that you could boil a pint using .35 fluid ounces of fuel, which is pretty unlikely.)

The problem here is the same problem with using an actual JetBoil Stove or Primus ETA stove: most people don't actually calculate the total weight carried. They just assume that "more efficient" means "lighter."

But those are just my theories.

Edited by bjamesd on 03/14/2008 00:18:08 MDT.

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Caldera Cond & JetBoil pots on 03/14/2008 04:34:38 MDT Print View

Your definition of "efficient" should be expanded to "fuel efficient". Not to nitpick, but sometimes the Jetboil's efficiency can be measured in time. Most folks only use them for leisure, but mine earns its keep at work too. When I'm pressed for time on a job site, I can heat up a pot of soup or make hot tea right on the hood of my truck while talking on the Nextel. Will a Caldera Cone allow you to walk and cook at the same time? It isn't the safest thing to do, but it's very efficient with respect to time when you can walk from building to building on a campus, while talking on the radio to other contractors/coworkers and getting my yerba mate fix. I've found myself willing to ignore the weight for the ability to multitask.

Edited by back2basics on 03/14/2008 04:37:11 MDT.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Caldera for Jetboil on 03/14/2008 07:31:41 MDT Print View

I doubt that a caldera cone would be much more fuel efficient with a jetboil flux ring pot. I'm sure they could make a caldera no probs for it, but I doubt youll see much extra efficiency.

The flux ring increases surface area of the pot, which increases heat transfer to the water. But, using the CC kind of does the same, by trapping heat onto the sides of the pot for much longer.

I dont have a CC, but I've noticed that very little heat transfers to the side of the jetboil, via the outside at least. What does seems to be emanating, is more likely from the water on the inside through the neoprene.

This would make the CC kind of redundant, except of course for its stability and ability to block wind (which is the downfall of the Jetboil-making it about the same efficiency as a normal canister stove).

I figure that if the caldera emanates little heat from the outside of the cone near the top, then most of it is probably transfering to the water in the pot. Someone with a CC can probably tell us if this is happening. This would in turn make the jetboild pot pretty redundant.

With only slight improvements potentially possible on fuel consumption, the considerable extra weight of the Jetboil pot wouldnt really be worth it, until someone makes a much lighter Ti version. BMW?

Another consideration is that a CC probably won't get fast enough airflow for using a canister stove-not without significant extra air intake holes, so it wouldnt burn as efficiently as it would in open air.

In terms of making the CC more efficient, I am thinking more along the lines of adding a thin layer of neoprene to the outside of the cone near the top....?

Sorry, this was an essay that may have covered some points made already.

Edited by oysters on 03/14/2008 07:34:51 MDT.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Re: Caldera for Jetboil on 03/14/2008 08:04:07 MDT Print View

Ditto on the comments about Cone + Jetboil, or even ETA pots. Likely not enough payoff to justify the weight of the flux ring. Adams comments about heat transfer are spot on.

As far as Esbit with CC? Works. Period.

Realize though, if you want to play with esbit, I believe a wing stove may work with your jetboil.

Ti CC vs Bushbuddy? Flexibility. BB is the penultimate wood burning stove. However, Ti CC has it beat for anything else. Alcohol? TT. Esbit? TT. Simmering? TT (no, seriously, someone around here uses one of those). Olive Oil or Wax Candles? TT (at least when one of us figures out how to get it to burn... and we will). Canister Stove? TT, sort of (really more of a windbreak).

Carol Corbridge
(ccorbridge) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Zip Stove on 03/14/2008 10:06:10 MDT Print View

I use a Sierra Zip Stove. I was just about convinced to try the CC as a lighter alternative. But I did the math for (2) people for (6) days. Figuring (4) 14 gram esbits per day.

Vargo .9 L 4.0 oz
Caldera Cone 1.2 oz
Gram Cracker 0.2 oz
(24) Esbit 11.8 oz
Total 17.2 oz

Litech Kettle 5.5 oz
Titanium Zip 10.4 oz includes battery (0.5)
Total 15.9 oz

Plus I have unlimited fuel. It can be harder to find dry fuel in wet weather. But, I've always managed.

Just another option to consider.

Edited by ccorbridge on 03/14/2008 10:11:55 MDT.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Zip Stove vs Caldera on 03/14/2008 11:32:41 MDT Print View

If you go with the Ti Caldera... (note, I'm using numbers from the Tri-Ti with some modifications)

Pot with lid 3.4oz
Caldera cone 1.8oz
-Alcohol stove .6oz
-Fuel bottle (8fl/oz) 1oz
-Esbit set up .4oz (old)
+Gram Cracker 0.2 oz
Ti stakes for wood .6oz
-Storage bag and cup .9oz
+(12) Esbit 5.9 oz*
3.4 + 1.8 + 0.2 + 0.6 + 5.9 = 11.9 - 2/3 the weight of your zip set-up. Plus, you have the benefit of Esbit as an alternate should it be rainy... actually... an esbit tab will get even wet wood lit...

*(need less Esbit as you can use the Tri-Ti with wood and save the Esbit for rain or 'I just don't feel like gathering wood)

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Re: Caldera Cond & JetBoil pots on 03/14/2008 12:11:45 MDT Print View

"Your definition of "efficient" should be expanded to "fuel efficient"." - Christopher Holden

That's what I meant. Excuse my imprecise language.

I didn't mean to imply that Jetboils/ETAPowers are not useful in the outdoors! Just that they weigh more in total, despite their fuel efficiency.

I have an old Trangia system. With the gas burner, it's wickedly fast and windproof, and ultra-simple to deploy in any weather. Even with alcohol it's sweet; for a silent brewup early in the morning in a campground it can't be beat. It's my go-to stove for canoeing and car camping; it's truly awesome! I would love to replace it with an ETAPower MF, which I think is probably also the best snow-melting machine on the market.

I just meant that a Caldera cone for a jetboil mug probably wouldn't be an improvement in the weight department.