I saw no thread dedicated exclusively to the amazingness that is the Kmart grease pot. So here one is.
Ode to you almighty Kmart grease pot.
Please post your tips and mods inspired by it's holiness here.
I'll start you off.
While titanium is cool and Heineken and Foster can pots are uber light the Kmart grease pot weighing in at approximately 2.47oz and costing about $6 sets the market for all pots in the wide bottom soloist class. And by 'sets the market' I mean it's the cheapest darn thing ever.
It weighs only 2.47 ounces (pot only) by my scale. It's hard to beat that at any price, but even if you do find some sexy titanium that beats it you'll want to pick up one of these anyway if just to play with.
If nothing else the Kmart pot is perfect for use on the wood fire when you don't want to dirty the bottom of your oh so pretty expensive pots costing ten times as much.
If any piece of gear in the world is the one item every UL backpacker should own at least one of it is the kmart grease pot.
== Cons? What Cons? ==
I won't debate the wide bottom pot vs. tall narrow pot right now I'll just say that in it's class the kmart pot has few if any real negatives.
That Kmart pot doesn't have a Teflon coating and is not indestructible but what ultralight pot is? It can be said to push the limit of just how light and thin walled an aluminum pot of this class can be.
I've already mentioned it's not made of titanium and hence is no status symbol but many people would argue aluminum is a positive. (Again, aluminum vs. titanium is another topic with at least one major thread on backpacking light dedicated to it. Feel free to google it.)
The last thing some might hold against it is the lid that says "grease" and the replaceable oversize knob, but I don't see that as a negative at all... because there's no reason to even carry the lid let alone replace knob. (read on)
== the ScreenLid! ==
I had this "Aha!" moment the other day when I had all my pots out on the table and was doing some boil tests.
The Kmart pot comes with a screen whose purpose I assume it was to screen out solid bits from any grease poured in it.
This screen has many excellent uses but many UL purists will argue against carrying it.
I however, in one brilliant UL eureka moment realized the following:
The screen is lighter then the original lid to the pot and way more useful.
Instead of ditching the screen, why not ditch the heavy lid that says "grease" and instead use the screen as the lid.
A screen as a lid you say!?
That won't work. It has holes in it silly.
But... oh, it will.
In order to make the screen into a lid put a layer or two of aluminum foil flat over the top of the pot, then gently press the screen into the pot.
(I can see the light bulbs going off in heads all over the land. Please direct your praise to the comments below. :)
Hence forth this lid shall be referred to as "ScreenLid!"
(Yes the ! is necessary to denote the Aha!-ness of it if you don't believe me look it up on Yahoo!(tm). :)
Now then... the good part.
== Why ScreenLid!? ==
1) ScreenLid! is lighter, weighing only approximately 1oz as opposed to much heavier "grease" lid at a whopping 1.2oz. Thus the entire pot weighs approximately 3.5 oz with lid.
2) ScreenLid! is multi-useful! Oh boy is it multi-useful! It may in fact be the multi-usefulest lid of any pot ever. (continue to find out how!)
3) keep stuff warm in ScreenLid!
It's just a great place to set stuff you want to keep warm.
4) use a traditional metal pot grabber with ScreenLid!
This is not only way more convenient then having to choose between your pot grabber or lid, but you're less likely to spill stuff while moving the pot with the lid on.
(Again.... please direct the applause to the the comments.)
But that's not all
5) You can use a traditional cloth pot grabber with ScreenLid!
Yes, a cloth pot grabber with a wide bottom pot. How crazy is that?
(that's a rhetorical question btw, but if you care to answer it again I direct you to the comments)
Because ScreenLid! is recessed into the top of the pot exposing a half inch or so of rim and keeping boiling water from leaping up to the rim of the pot you can throw a cloth pot grabber over it and you won't actually burn your god given opposable thumb off in hot water.
No burnt thumb.
No pot grabber cloth covered in scalding water.
Best of all no big heavy pot grabber.
That said I do recommend turning off / down, or even blowing out your stove first, but this works.
I must point out it has a nice rolled lip on the outside of the pot giving a pretty good grip but if using your doctorate in quantum physics to determine the proper mega thumb grip feel free to explain it in the comments below.
Once you have this nice grip you can then ease the kmart pot into a Reflectix cozy for easy handling.
(again, please direct due adulation to comments below)
As a professional in the sport of UL hot pot grabbing I consider this to be quite original and a major coup.
As mentioned I this post is already to long with bad witticisms to get into the small diameter / big diameter pot debate however I would say that this technique at the very least eases if not completely erases one of the major strikes against large bottom pots.
Still I suppose you will want to practice vigorously before you leave that heavy metal pot grabber at home.
6) make coffee with ScreenLid!
Yeah, the screen should make an excellent coffee filter. Just drape an appropriate sized filter, napkin or paper town over it, put in grounds and pour hot water over. Should be pretty self explanatory and work reasonably well. If you find out otherwise leave a comment.
7) steam stuff with ScreenLid!
Simply put the aluminum foil on top and you can not only steam but cook something in the boiling water in the bottom of the pot!
8) ScreenLid as a strainer?
Again... brilliant original idea here.
9) use ScreenLid to bake!?
Muffins and cakes oh my!
I must admit I haven't tried this yet myself, but it occurred to me that the ScreenLid might make a pretty darn good oven. The idea has been inspired by Tinny at Mini Bull Designs recent oven pots. Should work, if you try it let me know.
10) a mod or the original lid
if you do for some reason want to carry the original GreaseLid(tm) do yourself a favor and remove BigStupidKnob(tm). I replaced mine with a piece of leather shoelace and it worked brilliantly (as all things I touch) right up until I realized I don't even need to carry it which just so happened to be five minutes later.
10) Reflectix cozy for the kmart pot
Probably the most under-rated thing you should do for any pot you use is make a reflectix cozy for it.
The reason is simple. A pot cozy not only insulates your pot after you take it off the stove and it can save you fuel by allowing your food (i.e. noodles, rice, dehydrated food) to finish cooking off the stove.
Most importantly of all it allows your hot pot to be used more like a bowl to eat of without burning your precious hands. Simple, effective, brilliant. Reflectix gods gift to the lowly pot.
== Mods!? ==
(calling cottage makers, modders and MYOG'ers)
So ends the actual sane advantages of ScreenLid.
I hope others will chime in with their own ideas negative or positive as well as post some ideas and even some well documented modifications and additions to their kmart grease pot kit.
I myself have two ideas for MYOG specialists that are worth checking out.
These may require a high degree of specialized aptitude but I have no doubt that there are many capable of them.
The kmart grease pot is so close to being the ultimate "luxury" ultralight kitchen the two may be worth taking further.
# a bowl for the kmart grease pot
# a frying pan for the kmart grease pot
8) bowl for the Kmart grease pot
The grease pot kit could use a food grade plastic bowl that fits snugly inside or around the pot and can handle boiling water.
Perhaps Ziploc or Rubbermaid make one the right size.
Although not absolutely necessary to most this would speed cooking of multi-course meals by allowing the main course to finish cooking in another bowl while the second course is then started. Thus both courses end up cooked at relatively the same time.
I figure some MYOG'er or some enterprising cottage industry maker (i.e. trail designs) might be able to make one.
As for my skills I think eventually I may end up finding something that works but you never know though.
9) Frying Pan??
While one could probably do some rudimentary frying, i.e. bacon right in the Kmart pot for more extravagant frying some might like a better pan.
That said I have seen some pretty remarkable frying pans. The latest to catch my eye is the One Egg Wonder from Walmart (see Tinny from Mini Bull design's YouTube feed.)
The key to a good UL frying pan is relatively low sides, an ability to handle uneven heat (though using it on top of the pot with a little water in it *might* work) and above all a good non-stick bottom that can handle quite a bit of uneven heat and abuse.
Similar to the bowl the frying pan needs to fit the kit fairly decently. Most likely outside the pot.
I have yet to see pick up a One Egg Wonder to see if it might work, and indeed it may. If so... then all it would need is for the handle to be replaced. I'm not about to rush to the Walmart though, so if you try this let me know how it works please.
== in summary ==
As far as I'm concerned this kit is "already there". There are no further needs I can think of that I haven't already mentioned.
Please jump in if you have any ideas.