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Caldera Cone System
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Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Caldera Cone System" on 03/19/2010 20:42:05 MDT Print View

Sorry, didn't realize my redundancy in my last post, everyone beat me to it and Gordon summed it up :)

Gordon Smith
(swearingen) - MLife

Locale: Portland, Oregon
Re: thanks! on 03/19/2010 20:43:00 MDT Print View

>>The other night, i had some kitchen science of my own...with esbit. It was a terrible idea. My apartment is pretty small, and the esbit odors made that even clearer.<<

Which is why I gave up on it. I like the idea of Esbit, I just don't like the reality of it. So I'm off the wagon and back to my beloved alcohol. Glurg.


Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: thanks! on 03/19/2010 20:50:30 MDT Print View

When I started last weeks Keg-F and Keg-H test - in the kitchen - the Keg-H was new. And as the paint started to cook off I knew I was in trouble....

Everything quickly moved to the garage, the doors and windows were opened, and box fan set into motion.

I got away with it, but just barely.

Edited by greg23 on 03/19/2010 20:51:07 MDT.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
results to compare with on 03/25/2010 23:28:21 MDT Print View

Okay, so i ran a couple bench top tests in my own house. Water was 75 degrees (room temp for me). Elevation is around 200 feet. Using a Caldera full size aluminum cone, for a SP 600. I used a lexan lid that was clear, so i never had to lift the lid to check if the water was boiling or not. My results after attempting to boil 2 cups of water, with the following amounts of alc.

1/2 ounce alc - Tried 3 times, never boiled. Flame always extinguished around 5mins 30 secs. TrailDesigns claims that 1/2 an ounce should be able to boil 2 cups of water. A kitchen test is probably going to be the most optimal conditions anyones going to get. Not gonna lie, was a lil flustered at this. So shocked, i had to test it 3 times. I'll post a video of this if needed. Anyone out there able to get their sp600 setup to boil 2 cups with 1/2 ounce of alc? Could I have a defective cone?

5/8 ounce- Was having trouble with my timer, so no recorded time, however the stove extinguished right as the water was in the very very very early stages of boiling. I wouldn't trust a boil with this amount of alc, considering that my water will almost never be 75 degrees (water comes from my hydration system, which is usually chilled), nor will conditions ever be as optimal outside

3/4 ounce. - Rolling Boil at 6 mins, stove finally extinguished at 7:34

So in all honesty, I would have preferred the ULC version that stores in the SP600. The weight savings, due to fuel efficiency, I get (which is barely anything) with the full size cone, vs your compact cone, are so negligible, and so easily offset by the weight of the extra caddy that I have to carry to store my cone.

However, was your cone custom built? I don't see them selling the ULC for the sp600. Also, looks like only titanium ULC cones at the moment.

My theory on the .5 ounce advertised boil efficiency, is that this depends largely on what pot you are using. I bet if i had a cone system for an MSR titan kettle (which is wider than my sp600) then maybe I can achieve a 2 cup boil with .5 ounce. Also, my other theory is that if i were using .75 ounces of alc, and were able to extinguish the flame right after the water started boiling, then maybe there might be .25 ounces left unused in the stove. Getting those .25 ounces back into the bottle is another story, and not worth my effort in my opinion

Edited by Konrad1013 on 03/25/2010 23:51:53 MDT.

Johnny Gish
(jtgish) - F

Locale: Coppell, Texas
esbit results from 3/23 on 03/25/2010 23:42:23 MDT Print View

i had a rolling boil at 7min 57sec and a total burn time of 16:37. water temp was approx. 65 degrees, air temp was 48 degrees.

Gordon Smith
(swearingen) - MLife

Locale: Portland, Oregon
Re: results to compare with on 03/25/2010 23:45:04 MDT Print View

>>However, was your cone custom built? I don't see them selling the ULC for the sp600. Also, looks like only titanium ULC cones at the moment. <<

Hi Konrad,
Yes, my Ti SP600 ULC was custom built. If you're interested in one I'm sure Rand would be happy to fix you up. And yes, I agree, your Titan Kettle could easily be more efficient. Pot aspect ratio plays a significant role. I don't think the SP600 is an optimal shape, but I'm quite fond of it nonetheless.


Edited by swearingen on 03/25/2010 23:48:19 MDT.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Re: Re: results to compare with on 03/25/2010 23:57:05 MDT Print View

Hey Gordon, this is really just OCD of me, but im curious to know if you could weigh your caldera setup (everything but the sp600, stove, and the lid). So i guess it would be the cone, 2 stakes, and windscreen. Im curious to know how it compares to the fullsize's weight. Thanks

Edited by Konrad1013 on 03/25/2010 23:57:47 MDT.

Christian Schilling

Locale: Frankfurt / St. Louis
Caldera Cone or ULC cone: our experiences during a recent trip on 03/26/2010 08:01:36 MDT Print View

During our recent trip hill walking the mountains of Tramuntana in Mallorca we put our Caldera Cone system (tall original version for the MSR Kettle) through a good test. Our experiences with it might benefit others who are thinking about purchasing a Calder Cone system and which one of those available.

The conditions in those mountains were often rather harsh, with strong winds, low temperatures of air and water and us impatiently in the need of some hot food and brew after a long day of walking in the cold. The terrain we set up camp were also often not ideal, not always a stable, level ground because of stones and what not and steady gusts of wind hitting at us most of the time.

One other unexpected challenge was the kind of denatured alcohol we were able to find locally: it was the kind that almost did not burn. It took forever to light and burned badly. We had to use 30ml instead of the usual 15ml to get 500ml of water to boil and that was under ideal conditions. This meant with winds and cold water we sometimes didn't even reach a boil before the flame went out. Luckily though it was still hot enough to hydrate our food in a cozy.

With the Caldera Cone this all was hardly a problem though. Once we got the fuel lit, the water would get hot, the cone would always guarantee a stable stand for our pot. As we were wild camping and hauling our water from wells or mountain streams along the way, losing 500ml of water due to pushing your pot over would have been very frustrating to say the least.
In our opinion the Caldera Cone is a highly reliable piece of kit and was our most favorite piece of gear on that trip.

Regarding the ULC Caldera I was reading the comments and opinions before that the ULC was a little less efficient than the tall version but that was actually neglectable concerning the amount of fuel saved / brought compared to the packsize and weight savings of the setup itself.
So, although I was also very interested in the ULC version for those very reasons, I am now thinking that the results probably wouldn't have been very satisfying in Mallorca and am unsure if the ULC would have been up to it there. The tall Caldera Cone wraps around the pot and traps most of the heat inside. That's not a new revelation, but for me it means that it is not just a bit quicker or more fuel efficient then something else: it means this system still works when others don't.

For normal walks I am sure the ULC fits the bill nicely and I am still tempted because you can pack everything up in your pot. But for more 'extreme' conditions I will stick to the original one.
Of course had we taken a Caldera TriTri we could have used wood which there was plenty of around. So maybe thats what we should be getting. . . ;)

Gordon Smith
(swearingen) - MLife

Locale: Portland, Oregon
Re: Re: Re: results to compare with on 03/26/2010 10:06:30 MDT Print View

Hi Konrad,

Cone + potscreen: 1.25 oz

Stakes: .375 oz

Total: 1.625 oz

Curious, what is the weight for your full size SP600 cone?

As for the ULC, I'll be doing a bikepack trip in a couple of weeks. I think I'll just leave the potscreen at home. I'll report back.


Edited by swearingen on 03/26/2010 10:08:42 MDT.

John Drollette
(tradja) - F

Locale: Central Oregon
Caldera on 03/26/2010 12:10:15 MDT Print View

A local buddy that is more into the forums than I am showed me the Caldera on a trip last summer. I was ready to be impressed, but starting a minute or so later, my vintage Pepsi-G boiled a larger quantity of water in a 3L Ti pot faster than the mini-pot on his Caldera (same starting water temp, cool ambient temp). The Caldera might be more efficient, but it was not noticably so in our admittedly informal and multivariable test.

The rolled windscreen seemed bulky and vulnerable too, but I did not pack or carry it.

Still, given that my wife and I want to boil a usable amount of water in a reasonable amount of time in the real world, frequently in a thru-hike setting, I have not yet seen the advantage (to us) of the Caldera.

Edited by tradja on 03/26/2010 12:10:50 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Caldera on 03/26/2010 13:02:19 MDT Print View

To me the biggest advantage to the cone is using your stove in windy conditions. Last year I took my Snow Peak Giga stove and a kep cone set-up to do some comparison testing... just for my own knowledge, not to post any kind of a report.

I had a lot of wind on that trip. Struggled contantly with the SP, with and without their heavy 2 oz wind screen. Even tried using my sleeping pad to block the wind. The cone worked beautifully. To be honest I like the convenience, boiling time, and adjustability of the SP better. Deserts tend to get windy in the afternoons, and I now always bring my cone. For mountian hiking, I switch back and forth. There are some disadvantages to each. In a way, I don't like the cone for various reasons, but it is the stove I use the most.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
SP600 w/ Caldera on 03/26/2010 13:41:32 MDT Print View

The SP600 w/ Caldera is my favorite system. The SP600 is still pretty small and the right size for most of my meals. I haven't done any testing, but 2+ cups of water consistently starts to steam and bubble on about 3/4 oz of Heet. A couple of weeks ago I needed to purify water (batteries died on my Steripen) and an oz of Heet brought 2 cups to a boil and kept it boiling long enough for me to feel good drinking it :)

I like the "fire it up and forget" aspect of the Caldera.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: results to compare with on 03/26/2010 14:37:30 MDT Print View

Hey Gordon, thanks for running the numbers. For comparison. The cone on a full size weighs 1.3 oz
The Caddy weighs 2.8
I think these are the numbers that we would be concerned about, since the SP 600, and the stove itself should weigh the same between both our systems.

However, as mentioned, I can use half the caddy, and nest it with my sp600, and still store the cone and everything. So instead of hauling 2.8 ounces of caddy, I can take half, and save 1.2 ounces (the side that nests into the sp600, is the heavier side of the 2)

So the lightest I can take my system down to is 1.3 oz cone + 1.6 oz half caddy = 2.9 oz total.

Comparing that with 1.625 oz off your cone setup. I'm around 1.275 ounces heavier. It would take more test to determine when my efficiency would trump the added weight, but for shorter trips, I think your system is superior (outside of very harsh weather, as discussed by many of the other posters)

Interesting stuff

Edited by Konrad1013 on 03/26/2010 14:38:02 MDT.

Dont Wantto
(longhiker) - F
Caldera Cone questions on 05/07/2010 22:02:54 MDT Print View

1. What's the latest with the Carbon Monoxide situation with the Caldera Cone? I looked at the Tech Report test from years ago .. but can't tell if something has changed since or if people are just fine with it, esp. used outside.

2. Can the Caldera Cone be used with a canister stove + a pocket rocket? Is there any way I effectively increase its height, so it serves as a pot stand + windshield on trips when I take the canister stove instead?

3. I have a Snow Peak 1400.. if I order the Caldera Cone for that and decide in a few months to get a lighter small pot (say like the Snow Peak 600 or the Walmart Grease Pot) , would I be able to use the cone with those?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Caldera Cone questions on 05/07/2010 22:35:40 MDT Print View

Dont, let me take a wild guess at this. I think it might be possible to rig a Pocket Rocket to work with a Caldera Cone. The risky part is that the Pocket Rocket does not have a remote canister. That means that the butane canister will be right down there at the bottom, all contained within the cone of the Caldera, so you take a good chance at getting enough heat on it to explode the canister. Now, what _can_ you do? I think it might be possible to rig enough of a heat shield out of aluminum foil to help protect the canister. You might have to open up the Caldera to let heat out, and that would screw up some things. I was also trying to think of a way of elevating the Caldera up above the ground so as to reduce the amount of heat hitting the canister. It would be a lot safer if you used a remote canister stove instead of the Pocket Rocket. Then you could have the canister outside the Caldera. Probably there is a way to use the Caldera as a simple wind shield without making it too risky.

Paul Siegel

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Caldera Cone questions on 05/07/2010 23:05:58 MDT Print View

1. No idea. But if you're outside it shouldn't be a problem.

2. The aluminum will melt, plain and simple. If you can't put a wood fire under a normal Caldera Cone you certainly can't put a blowtorch like the pocket rocket under there. Maybe the Ti version would be a better choice for raising up like Bob suggests below.

3. You'd need a cone for each pot, they don't size down.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Caldera Cone questions on 05/07/2010 23:14:15 MDT Print View

Yes, and I am going snowcamping in a few hours, so maybe by Monday I will know. I am thinking optimistically that I can find wood, even though there is ten feet of snow on the ground. If wood, then I would do all of the primary snow melting and water boiling with the Ti-Tri Caldera. If I can't find wood, then I will have a backup stove, and that is a Pocket Rocket.

An idea just struck. I have a titanium insert for the Ti-Tri Caldera to help it with wood. Normally, that insert is used inverted. If it use it non-inverted, it could be part of a heat shield for the butane canister. Then, if necessary, I can settle the canister on cold snow.

I'm busy packing now. Talk to me in a few days.


Joseph Ainsworth
(jainsworth123) - F

Locale: Greater LA area
thread resurrection from the dead on 03/12/2011 10:43:54 MST Print View

I figured I would bump this thread rather than create a new one.
I can not begin to say how awesome the guys at trail designs are. I sent off an email at 11pm last night (friday) and had a response within 15 minutes, and from the guys who actually make our products to boot. Rand helped me find exactly what I was looking for (even though it was a slightly custom job), and I had an order from within an hour. Try doing that with just about any other company. I would say these guys are probably the best Cottage Gear manufacturer I've dealt with to date (and I've dealt with a few). Every time I think of going to a different stove, I just remember things like this and I always come back.
Not to mention how much fun they are to play with :). I can tell you right now that there's no other stove that would have me up that late on a friday fooling around with it.

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Rand on 03/12/2011 16:59:43 MST Print View

Yep, Rand and the boys are great to deal with. Waiting for the Evernew 1.3 ultralight pots come in, then I'm going to order a Sidewinder Cone, and the aforementioned pot. Its a slightly larger pot than what I need, but will allow me to stow the cone,alcohol stove, and stakes inside the pot. A wider pot is also much more efficient when using the alcohol stove as well, as most of of the flame is contained on the bottom surface of the pot. I also like to to a single 24+oz boil, 12oz for a meal, and 12oz for my coffee.