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What's your favorite cooking setup for one?
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S Long

Locale: Wasatch
What's your favorite cooking setup for one? on 08/05/2011 19:19:17 MDT Print View

I guess I should rephrase this as, what's your favorite setup for boiling water for boil in a bag type meals? Currently I use a Trail Designs Caldera Keg-F. I like it, it works well, and it's reasonably light. However, it bugs me that I need the caddy to protect the can and the cone that came with it is starting to not work so well anymore (nothing a more durable titanium cone wouldn't fix). I am starting to look around at other options and was wondering what people used and liked (or didn't like) about their setups. Efficiency is a big consideration, although boil times aren't as big a consideration for me (I am willing to wait for a hot meal. What else is there to do?). The new 850 Ti Microtus from Titanium Goat looks promising.

Edited by Izeloz on 08/05/2011 19:20:24 MDT.

john chong
(johnch) - F
keg H on 08/05/2011 19:33:04 MDT Print View

I have the heineken version, and it's a lot more durable. I'm just using a 3gram cuben fiber stuffsack from zpacks to hold it all in place. It also prevents esbit gunk to get all over my gear.

a b
Caldera Keg H vs. Mini Trangia 28 on 08/05/2011 19:33:52 MDT Print View

Alcohol Stoves:
I used a Caldera Keg H (The Heinekin can model with the aluminum cone) for 1,200 miles. I eventually had issues with the channel of the aluminum cone getting bent way out of shape.
I switched back to my tried and true Mini-Trangia 28 for the remaining 1,465 miles.
What i can say about efficiency:
I tended to use 1 ounce to heat 2 cups of water with the Caldera Keg H. The water would reach a boil (depending on altitude) and still have some of the fuel left. The caldera keg was nearly immune to the effect of wind.
My trangia would use a little over an ounce to boil my 2 cups. I could extiguish it and screw the lid back on at any time which might have yielded fuel savings over the course of the hike because of this feature despite it's reduced efficiency.
The Trangia was a miserable fuel hog in any kind of wind. I had to surround it with gear to block the breeze otherwise it would burn itself dry in minutes without heating my water.
The huge benefit of the Trangia over the Caldera therefore was it's ability to store fuel (save fuel) and near indestructability.
The negatives were it's weight and sensitivity to wind.
The Caldera cone is superbly fuel efficient, immune to wind, and wicked light.
Negative is the delicate design over the long haul. Though I must be honest.. I am brutal on gear and the caldera cone is still intact and useable.. just a little beatup after 1,200 miles.

Edited by Ice-axe on 08/05/2011 19:35:33 MDT.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Re: What's your favorite cooking setup for one? on 08/05/2011 19:54:00 MDT Print View

I guess I have 3 setups that I will go back and forth on...technically I have a good number more, but that begins sounds like a lets just call it 3.

-caldera cone with 550 ti pot (one with handles)
-home made V8 can side burner with foil windscreen and heiny pot
-ti wing esbit stove, trapper mug, foil windscreen, and homemade tin lid

As far as pure function it is darn hard to compete with the caldera. Especially in wind this stove just works great. It is more efficient on fuel than any I have used. It is stable, it is easy to light, etc. You have it that the downfall it that darn cone. I have not explored the side winder version, mainly because I dont want a bigger pot. I don't put my cone in the caddy I just roll it up and toss it in a side pocket of my pack. Its bent up but it still works fine.

So why the others.... the homemade V8 + heiny pot is one light setup. I also like using gear I have made, but I will concede the the caldera is more efficient and easier to use.

As far as the esbit stove this has more of an experiment lately with interesting results. I have found that I do prefer using a tab instead of carrying a fuel bottle. The .5 oz tab have enough fuel to be 1.5+ cups of water everytime. The ti wing weighs next to nothing. If a pinch I have shaved off the edge of a tab, used to to start a fire, and had enough for fuel for my meal. It is a rather simple and elegant system.

I do have a GVP Caldera F w/esbit that I haven't used yet. My main concern is the fosters can not using the caddy. I refuse to use the caddy, it weighs too much. You post confirms that the Fosters can can get pretty banged up.

I also have a SP Litemax canister stove with a 750 Backcountry Ti mug. That I let others use. I have never used it myself, but I have to admit it is easy and fast. I just dont like the canisters. Big, heavy, bad for the environment.

So not sure if that helps. But that is what I use.


Edited by jshortt on 08/05/2011 19:58:11 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Fav on 08/05/2011 20:04:12 MDT Print View

After quite a bit of experimentation, here is my favorite solo cooking setup:

850ml Ti pot w handles + Caldera Cone ULC + Zelph Starlite Stove

The setup is simple, light and very functional. There's not lots of parts, it's stable and it packs very well. The ULC cone is key, because you can pack it in your pot and probably still fit a mug inside the pot too if you carry one. Elegant simplicity.

An 850ml ti pot + Caldera Cone ULC would be a good setup, but I think the Starlyte stove (which has a built in pot support) takes it to the next level because you can ditch those pesky stakes which I never find to be multi-use because I like to cook while my shelter is setup. By opting for the Zelph Starlyte stove over the Trail Designs 12-10 stove you get a number of advantages:

1) The stove has a built in pot support, so you can leave out the 2 stakes needed to support the pot (saving weight)
2) You also get a simpler setup (2 less pieces) when you don't need the stakes
3) Lighter 14g versus 15g for the 12-10)
4) Easier to light in the winter with the wicking material
5) Spill proof
6) The Starlyte is very short (1.8" to top of pot support) so you pot will be lower (more stability) and the cone will come up higher on the pot (increased efficiency). These gains in theoretical efficiency from a taller cone are likely offset by the fact that the Starlyte isn't designed for the cone environment. I haven't put this setup to too much use yet, but it seems like it might benefit from a little more airflow (enlarging the cone's holes), mostly because it's fairly slow. Fuel economy has been solid.

JAMIE: Why don't you switch to the caldera cone ULC? It's better than the sidewinder (less wasted space) and it fits small pots. The smallest ones are the Snowpeak 450, Evernew 640ml and lots of 700-900ml pots.

Edited by dandydan on 08/05/2011 20:14:03 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: What's your favorite cooking setup for one? on 08/05/2011 20:30:14 MDT Print View

Fourdog bushcooker LT, solo size @ 2.5 oz and evernew ultralite Small pasta pot 0.7L @ 3.5 oz

Stove fits in pot and pot is my mug. Add ti spork @ .6 oz.

Total kitchen kit is 6.6 oz and takes up 0.7L.

Colin Parkinson

Locale: Ontario Canada
Cooking Set up on 08/05/2011 20:33:15 MDT Print View

A alcohol stove YACC
A good aluminum duct windscreen and
a MSR titanium kettle.

All parts fit inside the pot, huge space saver.

NO foldable tabs or protective containers needed.

All for 8 oz.

solo fbc on 08/05/2011 20:33:24 MDT Print View

snowpeak 600 ti pot = 2.70z
heavy foil lid made from pie tin bottom =0.07 oz
hardware cloth pot stand= 0.22 oz
tealight with slight extension lip = .04 oz
soft aluminum sheet windscreen =0.4 oz

total = 3.43 oz including rubber band to hold lid on.

boils 2 cups on ~0.6 oz.

lighter = .4oz
bubble mailing envelope lined with mylar (space blanket) cozy = 0.65 oz
spork = .2 oz

total cook kit = 4.68 oz

everything fits in the snowpeak , except spork goes in cozy and is rolled up.
If cut handle off of spork it could go into pot too.

Edited by livingontheroad on 08/05/2011 20:41:10 MDT.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Re: Fav on 08/05/2011 21:32:10 MDT Print View

Dan, You do have me thinking. I have a SP 450 and a tibetan 700 that would work for the ULC cone. I've been after less items these days which is way I have been avoiding the extra stakes, etc needed for the ULC. But I need to check out the zelph starlyte. It might be the answer.

While I am coming clean, I also have a four dog LT1. I have to admit I just need to advance my fire skill so I dont need to use esbit with it. I found it really hard to keep the tiny fire going strong with twigs.


josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
lately on 08/05/2011 21:47:14 MDT Print View

lately for me i've been leaving the stove at home and just bringing my pot. cooking on a little campfire :D

Don Meredith
(donmeredith) - F

Locale: SouthEast
What's your favorite cooking setup for one? on 08/06/2011 05:28:24 MDT Print View

My favorite setup is my Caldera Cone / Trapper Mug combo. The cone is a fissure design so it fits inside the mug with the stove. Simple, quiet & efficient. Perfect!


Don Meredith

Light Pack Blog

Edited by donmeredith on 08/06/2011 05:29:44 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: What's your favorite cooking setup for one? on 08/06/2011 05:34:43 MDT Print View

57 g 400 ml mug/plastic cover
04 g foil lid
91 g butane stove/container
04 g spoon

156 g total

(28 g = 1 oz)

Edited by jshann on 08/06/2011 15:16:07 MDT.

Chris Muthig
(cmuthig) - M

Locale: Georgia
Re: What's your favorite cooking setup for one? on 08/06/2011 06:07:44 MDT Print View

For money reasons the only set up I have is a MYOG set up of a simple cut sprite can used like a Super Cat stove and a Heiny pot. I love this simple set up. It takes me about 1 oz of alcohol to get 2 cups to boil. The stove absolutely is not perfect though. It isn't very reliable. If I stop being too cheap, I think that I would prefer using either a Gram Weenie Pro or just the Gram Weenie. These seem like great additions to a heiny pot, but I haven't had a chance to test them. I really like my set up as it is now though because for some reason I have a talent for leaving pots at campsites when I pack up, and this is cheap and simple enough to replace without feeling bad about it.

I also have a woodstove made from a design I saw on the forum made up of a fosters can and a soup can. After using that I can say that the heiny can is much more durable than the fosters in my bit of experience. I'm really not sure how long that fosters can is going to last me. The heiny pot just goes into a silnylon stuff sack and gets stuffed into my pack without any problems so far.

Keith Craigs
(KeithCraigs) - F
here goes: on 08/06/2011 06:14:56 MDT Print View

I've been using this for about 3 years, and I can't imagine anything working better for me -

evernew Ti .9L pot - I'm willing to sacrifice weight for the plastic coated handles
homemade jet alcohol stove - simple, easy to use and make and boils water fast enough
homemade windscreen / pot holder - made from aluminum flashing, pot is inset and supported by Ti tent pegs

I keep the windscreen rolled up and capped with the ends of 2 cut-down waterbottles (one of which has a few wraps of duct tape), my alcohol bottle and tent pegs are in the middle (keeps the pegs from snagging). The whole thing is tied together with my bear hanging rope.

I keep anything I don't want crushed (crackers, cereal...) in the pot - stove and lighter are somewhere else in my pack.

weight is about 10 ounces not including fuel or lighter - but this does include rope, duct tape and tent pegs (6)

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: Fav on 08/06/2011 07:39:04 MDT Print View

QUOTE: While I am coming clean, I also have a four dog LT1. I have to admit I just need to advance my fire skill so I dont need to use esbit with it. I found it really hard to keep the tiny fire going strong with twigs.


Here's what I do with the Fourdog Lt1. I carry a couple of vaseline soaked cotton balls and if the wood is wet, I'll tear off a chunk as a fire starter. I also make a several feather sticks with my knife to use as fuel. I've found that these will get going due to the feather shavings but stay going longer due to them being finger size. I throw these feather sticks in along with the tiny twigs.

Of course, there's always gasoline :-O

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
caldera keg -F on 08/06/2011 08:17:19 MDT Print View

I've been using the caldera keg-F. I may be in the minority here, but I really like the caddy. Yes it is heavy in comparison to the 7g esbit stove, but I find it to be quite useful as a bowl and also just to keep my "kitchen" nice and tidy as I can keep everything stored in the other end of the caddy and not have my stuff sprawled out on the ground.
I used to have a 550 tri-ti with inferno insert and I also really liked that setup, I started with alcohol but eventually moved to wood burning and that stove was great. Of course, the caddy is needed on that setup as well to protect the cone. I have an evernew wide 900 pot that I plan on getting a sidewinder setup for to try out that system. The problem is I like the keg so much, it seems I never get around to buying a new setup. The keg is simple, efficient, light and just plain works for me. I'm sure Rand and the boys and TD would make a cone out of titanium that would last much longer that the standard aluminum one.

just my $0.02

Antti Tirilä
(atirila) - M

Locale: Fennoscandia
Re: What's your favorite cooking setup for one? on 08/06/2011 11:41:47 MDT Print View

I like my woodstove, like Michael. Four Dog Stove Bushcooker LT1 + Esbit 750ml titanium pot + aluminum myog windscreen. Total 200g (~7oz). Plus some sort of stuff sack.

I'm using this stove with Esbit and wood. I take 1-2 Esbit tabs per day (depending on conditions) and just use wood the rest of the way.

A couple of images in Flickr:

Edited by atirila on 08/06/2011 11:43:27 MDT.

Joseph Reeves

Locale: Southeast Alaska
fire and a 750 on 08/06/2011 12:14:56 MDT Print View

when it comes to solo cooking I just use a fire and the Snowpeak 750.


For two, we move up to a fire pot.


Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"What's your favorite cooking setup for one?" on 08/06/2011 14:20:36 MDT Print View

One of my ti-pots placed inside a small fire (Ti-Tri, hobo, campfire, etc.)

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
"What's your favorite cooking setup for one?" on 08/07/2011 19:45:38 MDT Print View

A Snowpeak 600 Ti mug,lid made from bottom of French's Fried Onions can with plastic thumbtack pushed thru lid as "handle", Caldera Cone, Esbit, Gram Cracker esbit holder, Mini-Bic lighter, lexan spoon. To carry: roll up Caldera Cone & insert upside down into SP mug. Put esbit, lighter, spoon, Gram Cracker into cone. Adjust cone until lid will fit tightly on "top" (actually bottom of cone). Place entire assembly in mesh bag that came with SP 600 mug so that it cinches around lid. Carries beautifully in side pocket of pack.

Justin Reigle
(jreigle) - F

Locale: SF Bay area
Re: What's your favorite cooking setup for one? on 08/08/2011 13:38:06 MDT Print View

Basic Ti wing esbit stove (like the wetfire stove) - 13g/.46oz
450ml mug - 55g/1.96 oz
Foil for windscreen and lid - 5g/.17oz

Total weight: 73g / 2.6oz

You can also turn this into an alcohol burner with the addition of an aluminum tealight holder @ 4 grams + fuel container.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Cat Stove on 08/08/2011 13:55:23 MDT Print View

I use a cat stove and a Heine pot. I protect my pot from the inside instead of from the outside. Just use a fuel bottle that fits fairly snugly inside the Heine pot and it can't be crushed. I have just enough room to fit the stove, windscreen, and lighter(barely) inside my can. There just isn't enough room left for the can to crush.

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
I'm w/ Eugene on this one on 08/08/2011 18:45:50 MDT Print View

BPL 1100

I know, this is a two person set-up but you get the idea...UL ti and good ol' fashion warmth. Gotta love it.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
favorite on 08/08/2011 19:19:23 MDT Print View

my lightest is a ti wing esbit stove, diy ti windscreen and a 450 SP mug

my favorite however is a 4 Dog LT1 w/ a 600 SP mug, can burn esbit or wood (usually wood)-the LT1 nests perfectly in the 600 and is still a pretty light combo

Hal Potts
(halpotts) - F

Locale: Middle Tennessee
What's your favorite cooking setup for one? on 08/08/2011 21:20:03 MDT Print View

I'm also a big fan of the Caldera Keg F. It is amazing in the wind, very fuel efficient, and super light. I didn't like the idea of the caddy either until one day it dawned on me that I could use the caddy for both a cup and a bowl and carry less stuff. Seems obvious in retrospect. It is fragile and I see how you could accidentally step on it and have a problem. In the beginning I tried using one without the caddy thinking I would save a few ounces, but ended up eventually mashing up the cone inside my backpack and had to buy another one. Now I always use the caddy and have had no problems since.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
CC Sidewinder wood burner ti stove on 08/08/2011 22:14:35 MDT Print View

My Caldera Cone ti Sidewinder in ESBIT mode or Inferno wood burning mode. It fits inside my matching 3 cup hard anodized aluminum pot or in my pack's side pocket.

This CC version is very efficient for burning wood due to its double wall Inferno conversion. In areas where wood burning is prohibited I use the even lighter ESBIT Gram Cracker setup. I've found it to be at least 40% more efficient than my previous Vargo Tri Ti ESBIT stove & windscreen in terms of fuel consumption.

seth mcalister
(sethmcalister) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Zelph Stoves on 08/09/2011 12:02:36 MDT Print View

I purchased a Zelph stove at the beginning of the summer - the Venom Super Stove. Very disappointed. Have not been able to achieve a boil with 2 ozs of alchol in near perfect conditions.

I recently changed to a Batchstovez 1.0 and using just under 1 oz (miscalculated) I was at a near boil in about 8 minutes. It's a kit that comes with the ziploc container, windscreen, heat shield and a KFC plastic spoon. The ziploc container comes with the large bottom and the top that screws on to protect the stove.

I ditched the bottom, cut down the top part for measuring. Total, including my ziploc baggie cozy I'm at about 5.7 ozs. If i make my own windscreen/heatshield it'll drop to about 5.2 ozs. This is with the mesh storage sack that I'm currently using and an empty fuel bottle that weighs .6 ozs.

Much happier with this stove thus far.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Zelph Stoves on 08/09/2011 12:38:36 MDT Print View

Seth, something sounds wrong about the Venom performance. What were you using for fuel?


Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Zelph on 08/09/2011 13:19:32 MDT Print View

I've been using a similar Zelph stove called the "Super Stove" for quite some time and have found it to be the most efficient alcohol stove I've ever used and I have had a few.

The Zelph burns a little slower than the others and I think that may be part of the reason it is so efficient.

But if it isn't behind a wind screen and/or the lid is not on your pot, your results would be less than ideal.

I usually use something like 3/4 oz to make a 1 liter meal.

I like the slower cook time as it allows me to cook more foods without scorching. It works better in the cold than most stoves and doesn't spill burning alcohol when accidentally knocked over

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Zelph on 08/09/2011 13:24:17 MDT Print View

Some of that will be different depending on the diameter of the cook pot.


Noel Tavan
(akatsuki_the_devil) - MLife
boiler werks on 08/09/2011 13:43:25 MDT Print View

I am using the backcountry boiler (9oz) with a msr titan mug. Works great!

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Zelph on 08/09/2011 15:53:03 MDT Print View

As Bob said "depending on the diameter of the cook pot"

I agree and I use a short wide pot. I find that a lot of energy gets wasted with with most alky stoves and tall skinny pots.
A high percentage of the heat goes up the side of a skinny pot instead of being focused on the bottom.

Edited by brooklynkayak on 08/09/2011 15:56:32 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Zelph on 08/09/2011 16:05:06 MDT Print View

Steven, which short wide pot do you use?

I have large wide pots, tall skinny pots, medium pots, tiny pots, and teakettles.


Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Short Wide and Zelph on 08/09/2011 16:37:58 MDT Print View

My pot is the Montbell Titanium Cooker #2, but I use a thick foil lid instead of the one that it came with
Click here for details

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
Re: Short Wide and Zelph on 08/09/2011 17:02:00 MDT Print View

i use the old style heiny pot, (thank you thank you thank you Konrad) and the Zelph cobalt blue soloist, or the zelph super stove.
in perfect conditions, no wind and temps above 55°, 2 cups boil at 7 minutes time.

i wonder if your Voodoo stove is a fluke in mal-performance? i'm using yellow HEET.

iirc, mini bic, small cloth, gsi spork, pot/lid/wilson topper, windscreen, stove and empty fuel container is 5.4 oz.

Joe Newton
Zelph super stove on 08/09/2011 17:53:59 MDT Print View

I have used the zelph super stove with a variety of pots ranging from heiny pots up to Kmart grease pot size and have had excellent results with it. I have burned both yellow Heet and denatured alcohols with good result. The stove does best if the wind screen is a bit back from the stove. I have found that the stove is much more efficient if it burns slowly and does not overheat and flare up.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Zelph super stove on 08/09/2011 18:01:53 MDT Print View

"wind screen is a bit back from the stove"

I like to have enough space there to be able to fit my fingers into. Any more, and there is a loss of too much heat. Any less, and it is too tight for the stove to breathe. Maybe 0.4-0.5"


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Pot shape AND material on 08/10/2011 13:57:59 MDT Print View

Yep, we all know shorter, wider pots are more efficient than taller, narrow pots.

What many don't know is that, size for size, shape for shape, aluminum pots heat faster and more evenly on the bottom than ti pots.

Thus > wide aluminum pot (hard anodized or non-stick) are the most efficient.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Pot shape AND material on 08/10/2011 14:42:30 MDT Print View

Eric, put your aluminum pot into a hot wood fire for a while, and then let's talk about it. If you never use a wood fire, then it makes sense.


seth mcalister
(sethmcalister) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
zelph super stove on 08/16/2011 06:01:08 MDT Print View

I'm using a heine pot and denatured alcohol. Conditions should be perfect as I tested in my cellar w/o wind. I had purchased two of them, gave one to a friend of mine thru-hiking the AT. He got rid of his because he said it took over 10 minutes to boil, if he could get it to boil. He was using a gsi pot and denatured. Maybe you guys are right in saying it's a bad batch, but I can't see how it could be?