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caldera ti tri sidewinder inferno vs firefly
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chris markley
(motorapido) - F
caldera ti tri sidewinder inferno vs firefly on 04/25/2012 13:56:30 MDT Print View

Anybody have some good, objective comparisons between the two? Firefly is 2.2 oz. Caldera ti tri sidewinder inferno is 2.15 oz. Now, how about an objective comparison of efficiency and subjective comparisons, too. I suppose I should just by a Firefly and do the test myself, but I'm wondering if anybody else has done a shootout yet.

Devon Cloud

Locale: Southwest
Apples and oranges on 04/25/2012 22:33:46 MDT Print View

Please take this as just my observations as I have not had any experience with either (but I just did a lot of homework and purchased a firefly, it's in the mail).
That caldera setup is mainly a gas stove you can retrofit for a wood burn, where the firefly is a wood burning stove you can retrofit to work with gas. Sort of polar opposites. My main issue is the volume it takes up. For very little extra weight, you get a tremendous amount of volume savIngs. Ya you can put it all in your pot, but if I don't have to pack my pot full of stove parts I can fill it with something else. A flat envelope to me beats a 1 liter volume loss and is worth the 3/10th of an ounce weight gain. Taking into consideration the weight of alcohol, you are not saving any weight at all and are in fact heavier than the weight of the firefly in wood burning mode (the use most people will utilize if they buy the firefly).

The pros: it looks to be a great wind shield and the design looks like it is very fuel efficient.

Cons: it does not look like it is tough enough to use it a lot for wood burns. It also looks like it lacks enough air holes for a clean burn which would mean a messy cleanup and a lot of smoke but you really can't know that answer for sure til you try it. The whole kit is expensive. Lastly, (and this is just my personal preference) I would rather have a wood burning stove first before a gas stove as I would rather not carry fuel in my pack.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Apples and oranges on 04/25/2012 22:41:07 MDT Print View

"That caldera setup is mainly a gas stove you can retrofit for a wood burn"

Devon, I had quite a laugh over your comment. Either you were joking or else you didn't have a clue about the Ti-Tri Caldera.

The Sidewinder is one of the most compact of the Caldera designs.


Edited by --B.G.-- on 04/25/2012 22:45:56 MDT.

G Watson

Locale: Uk
Huh. ? on 04/25/2012 23:29:20 MDT Print View

Devon, there's so much wrong with your post i wouldn't even know where to begin.
I'd never put people down for joining in but you really should go do some more research if that's your real conclusion and not a prank post. :)

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Comparisons: on 04/26/2012 00:22:59 MDT Print View

(Which I have not personally handled)

1. As I see the You Tube demo the Firefly stove is NOT a "gassifier" stove like the Bushfuddy and the CC Sidewinder (with optional Inferno insert).
Therefore it is not as efficient in wood fuel combustion.

2. Also the Firefly stove sits the pot on TOP of the stove, losing heat to the atmosphere and being subject to more heat loss in windy conditions.

3. The Firfly's main advantage is its flat packing design. If packing is of prime importance above all other considerations then the Firefly is a good choice.

If not see below.

(Which I own)

1. The Sidewinder W/ Inferno insert IS a gassifier type stove with better combustion and less fuel use than non-gassifier wood stoves.

2. Even in woodburning mode the Sidewinder's mating pot sits down in the outer stove a bit for far greater heat efficiency, especially in windy conditions as the flames are totally protected.

3. The Sidewinder can burn ESBIT more efficiently than anything I have purchased or fabricated - and believe me I have tinkered a lot on better ESBIT stoves, starting in the '80s. Plus the Sidewinder's included alky stove works well at all altitudes, unlike some others.

Packing the Sidewinder >

I carry my Sidewinder & Inferno stove in a side pocket in its two supplied Tyvek sheaths and not in the mating pot because I keep a plastic bowl and cup in the pot.
The stove takes up VERY little space. ESBIT or Firelite tabs ride alongside in their packets.

Yes, the CC Sidewinder with the Inferno woodburning option is a bit pricey but you must pay for the use of sheet titanium, necessary to withstand the high heat of a gassifier woodburning stove. Plus the excellent design and quality also figure into the price.

In my experience there is simply no better woodburning backpacking stove than Caldera Cone's offerings, whether made for large, medium or small pots.

chris markley
(motorapido) - F
Eric, great info on Caldera on 04/26/2012 07:11:39 MDT Print View

Eric provides some excellent information. Let's not jump on Devon, however. Everybody's ideas and opinions are welcome and appreciated.

I roll up my sidewinder cone & inferno insert, hold the roll together with a rubber band, and put it inside my cookpot. I also put the mesh screen in there, plus a spoon, an emergency firesteel and a ziplock of cotton balls smooshed with vaseline. It all packs very easily. I pop the pot in a cuben fiber stuff bag and slip the two titanium stakes in there, too. Regardless of which stove I would use, I would still have the volume of my pot, so I don't see any volume advantage to the firefly.

I hadn't realized that the firefly wasn't a gassifier by design, so I suppose the efficiency loss is a negative. Also, the couple times that I've used the alcohol burner with the caldera (when day hiking with friends who are big babies and get annoyed by a wee bit of wood smoke), I have been wonderfully impressed with that alcohol burner's efficiency in the caldera. I had formerly been a Vargo Triad titanium alcohol stove user, but got sick of fiddling around with a flimsy aluminum foil windscreen, carrying the alcohol weight, etc. I'm amazed at how well the alcohol burner designed to work with the caldera performs. Wow. Amazing.

I still might buy the firefly, just because I like to try stuff.

But can anybody think of a reason why for me, as the owner of a caldera cone sidewinder with inferno insert, to buy the firefly, other than to satisfy my obsessive GAS (gear aquisition syndrome)? Remember, I'm ONLY interested in woodburning, so all I want to do is compare these two stoves on their woodburning virtues.

Thanks again, Eric, and Devon, too. All comments appreciated.

Devon Cloud

Locale: Southwest
touchy! it's just camping gear! on 04/26/2012 07:54:22 MDT Print View

Everyone seems to be very attached to their version of what the best stove is and perhaps that is what caused the frustration with my post (sorry, did not mean to offend anyone) however I think your frustration may have made you mis-read my post. First and foremost (as the title of my post suggests) the designs are extremely different.

Everyone touched on the efficiency of the burn of the Caldera... I stated that as that looked like it's best Pro in the design so we are on the same page. I also stated that it looked VERY fuel efficient and wind blocked. I am assuming you all thought I meant those to be a Pro for firefly? perhaps I could have made that more clear but thought I did.

@ Bob... you must have just not read my post and am a bit offended by your tone. I did state it is made for artificial fuels before it is made for wood burning. It is. We know this as the wood burning portion of this devise costs an extra $45.00 on the website and not part of the basic product you purchase, that is where I got my thoughts concerning that it is an alcohol (or esbit) burner BEFORE it is a wood burner. It MAY BE the most efficient of the caldera designs... my post did not touch on that and the question was not which of the caldera designs was the most efficient, it was concerning the caldera ti tri vs the firefly!

The firefly is exactly the opposite of the caldera in the fact that it is a wood burning stove before it is an alcohol or an esbit burner (you have to purchase the alcohol stove and hte esbit burner attachments seperate rather thant the wood portion of the stove) which is why (along with the volume savings in my pack) is my choice. I really don't see how my post is much different from your posts with the exception of I prefer the firefly. Again, APPLES AND ORANGES.

I also stated I am making those conclusions based on just observation. Take it for what it is worth. Perhaps I should have added that this being the case I don't mind losing the efficiency of the design of the firefly because it's fuel source is abundantly available and not one that I have to pack in and it would have made my thoughts clearer for you.

I think we all agree that considering the packing volume of the stoves the firefly has the advantage.

You don't have to agree with me, it was just my opinion and no, it was not meant as a joke and I am guessing someone thought I may have some alternative motive..perhaps trying to market the firefly? This is not the case...My first thread on this forum was my love for the emberlit TI ultralight... I bought the firefly because of it's similarities to that design at half the weight (just a few days ago I might add). I should be on page two of this forum if you want to see for yourself (not that I should have to defend myself, it appears half the people on this site are selling gear they have made and consider it to be the best).

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Sidewinder on 04/26/2012 08:31:03 MDT Print View

I know nothing about the Firefly but know a bit about the Caldera Ti-Tri systems.

Because most of my hiking has been done in areas with burn restrictions I have never wanted to play with found-fuel cooking systems. But since I moved to Minnesota (where there are no restrictions) full time last August I decided to give myself a project for this year of using wood. I bought a Sidewinder system with the Inferno and have to say that the few trips I got in last fall with it worked very well.

I am recovering from a bad ankle injury but will have the Sidewinder back out this summer to finish getting enough use/data to review it later this year.

But to answer some questions, it is quite compact. Everything goes inside the pot so there is no extra gear taking up room. Here is a picture of everything packed in the Open Country pot I use. The pot-lifter is inside the rolled up Caldera and Inferno cones. The Esbit tab is always carried just in case things are too wet.

Sidewinder packed

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
more on 04/26/2012 08:43:59 MDT Print View

Another thing that I have been pleasantly surprised with is how little fuel it takes to get my water boiling with. I find that I constantly gather too much.

I have even played with simmering with it to cook things that take longer and need to be in a pot, not just a freezer bag. In those cases I clean the soot off the pot at the same time as I clean the inside. Here is a shot of it in action.sidwinder cooking

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
"caldera ti tri sidewinder inferno vs firefly" on 04/26/2012 09:42:02 MDT Print View

Don't be put off by Bob. Stick around long enough and you will see he is like that to just about everyone. I suspect one of the issues with your post was use of the word "gas" rather than alcohol/esbit. I do think you'd find the sidewinder system pretty darn good for wood burning if you tried one. Anyway, no big deal. Blow it off and grow thicker skin. Some folks do not pull their punches here.

I covered this in the other firefly thread, but what is the PRACTICAL benefit from the efficiency of a double wall wood gassifier vs a single wall wood stove? 3 sticks vs 5? Does it really make a difference when using found fuel? I will concede that there could be a time when dry wood is so scarce that it COULD make a difference, but then one would probably use your backup fuel anyway (assuming you planned ahead for this possibility).

The reason to buy the firefly is 1) cuz it's fun to play with new stoves, 2) I personally think packing flat IS worth while and 3) the flexport allows you to slowly feed in longer sticks for a more consistent burn...which is not always important if you are just boiling water, but could make simmering and other cooking a bit more convenient.

All options have tradeoffs.

Edited by BER on 04/26/2012 09:49:06 MDT.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Cons on 04/26/2012 10:35:15 MDT Print View

Don't worry about the negative comments Devon. People on here are very opinionated, myself included, as you are about to see. :) But for the most part people have decided on the gear they like the best by trying different gear and determining what works best for them. You admit that you haven't used either and then made some incorrect assumptions so that didn't help. (Also, saying gas when you meant alcohol didn't help.) I have not used a firefly but it looks like a cool stove. And that fact that it packs flat is important to you means you have made the right choice for you. But as to the CC:

"We know this as the wood burning portion of this devise costs an extra $45.00 on the website and not part of the basic product you purchase, that is where I got my thoughts concerning that it is an alcohol (or esbit) burner BEFORE it is a wood burner."

I have no idea how to tell if a CC is what kind of stove first. I guess that's debatable. But it comes ready to use alky, esbit, and wood. You do not have to purchase the Inferno option to burn wood.

"Cons: it does not look like it is tough enough to use it a lot for wood burns. "

It's plenty tough. I've used mine extensively and it's showing no signs of wear at all. I plan on having it a long time.

"It also looks like it lacks enough air holes for a clean burn which would mean a messy cleanup and a lot of smoke"

I haven't used mine without the Inferno but with the Inferno all you are left with is ash, which is very nice and worth the additional cost of the Inferno for me. I'd have to call that as clean a burn as you can get.

"The whole kit is expensive."

That one is true. So is a lot of gear. But it was worth it to me. YMMV.

"Lastly, (and this is just my personal preference) I would rather have a wood burning stove first before a gas stove as I would rather not carry fuel in my pack."

Me too. That's why I have the CC Ti-Tri. I primarily burn wood when I use it. I do usually carry an esbit tab and the gram cracker stove (which weighs 3g), in case it's raining and I don't feel like using wood. But I sure don't have to carry fuel to use it.

@Brian "the flexport allows you to slowly feed in longer sticks for a more consistent burn.."

I'm not sure what the flexport is. I've seen the video and he's feeding twigs from multiple spots. How does the flexport differ from the Ti-Tri (or other wood stoves for that matter) in how you feed wood into the stove?

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Cons on 04/26/2012 10:40:00 MDT Print View

Randy this is a flexport

Edited by annapurna on 04/26/2012 10:41:35 MDT.

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
"caldera ti tri sidewinder inferno vs firefly" on 04/26/2012 10:41:20 MDT Print View

Other ways to compare common wood burners:

Firefly with flexport and notched ti floor:
Cost: $86 (includes shipping in US)
Weight: 2.4oz
(plus the debatable need for a windscreen, packs flat) (Note: the Firely alone without flexport and with standard floor costs $62 and weighs 2.15-2.3oz)

Emberlit EL-mini
Cost: $50 ($55 with shipping in US)
Weight: 4.1oz
(plus debatable need for windscreen, packs flat) (Note: my Ti windscreen weighs 25g/0.9oz and fits inside my pot along the wall taking up no space)

Ti-Tri Sidewinder w/inferno insert and Ti floor:
Cost: $129
Weight: (varies per specified pot, but ranges from 2.5oz-3.7oz)
(No need for additional wind screen. Optimized to one pot size, but could be used with smaller pots. Some flat parts, some rolled, takes up at least some of your pot's internal space when packed.)

Bushbuddy Ultra
Cost $133.82 (US currency)
Weight: 5.1oz
(currently out of stock on BB site, and still debatable need for windscreen, definitely takes up all of a 0.9L pots internal space.)

Note weights and cost is taken directly from each vendor's web site. This is only comparing the stoves as wood burners, not with alcohol or esbit.

The flexport allows you to feed longer pieces of wood in from the side rather than lift the pot to add fuel. In wood burning mode, there is a gap on the Tri-Ti that could conceivably be used the same way. I have not seen people do that with the Tri-Ti when I have been with them, but admittedly my own use with this set up is very limited. the emberlit has a side opening similar to the flexport, but is not made to be closed off like the firefly flexport.

Edited for additional thoughts and reply to Randy.

Edited by BER on 04/26/2012 11:06:43 MDT.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
TT on 04/26/2012 11:50:47 MDT Print View

Thanks Anna.


That is how I feed the Ti-Tri but I don't do the long stick thing. I watched the video and I personally just don't see the advantage of using long sticks like that. Feeding twigs through the fuel/flex port instead of from above, yes. But putting long sticks in and moving them in as they burn seems more trouble than just adding more twigs. You're still tending the fire just as much. Maybe more as you then have to (or at least should) make sure you burn those sticks all the way down even if you are finished with heating water. I see that as a negative. What's the positive with that technique? It's easy enough to gather the small amount of twigs you need.

The only time I use longer pieces is if I want to have a small ambiance fire after I'm done cooking with the Ti-Tri, I remove the pot and then use longer pieces angled in vertically to reduce the amount of tending a bit. But not for heating water.

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
"caldera ti tri sidewinder inferno vs firefly" on 04/26/2012 12:42:46 MDT Print View


I don't know that it makes any real difference Randy. The selling point from Emberlit is that this makes for a more even (continuous) burn rather than the high flame-burn down-add wood-high flame cycle that top burners might have. Truthfully, when I had the BB ultra, I just sort of continuously pushed small sticks in. Larger diameter sticks may burn longer. Again, not sure it makes a big difference in practical terms.

FWIW, I'm waiting to hear back from Rand to see if he has something that will work with my pot. I am interested in trying the sidewider/inferno, but don't want to have to buy yet another new pot.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: touchy! it's just camping gear! on 04/26/2012 12:52:17 MDT Print View

"@ Bob... you must have just not read my post and am a bit offended by your tone. I did state it is made for artificial fuels before it is made for wood burning."

Devon, I did read your original post. You must be joking with us or else you are just flat-out wrong.

The Sidewinder is not a gas stove, despite your comments.

Yes, I have seen a couple of Sidewinders rigged up that way for gas, but it surely was not intended for that. Besides, go to the Trail Designs web site and find their guidelines for using it that way. You won't find it.

Now you got it right about the Sidewinder being primarily for alcohol or Esbit.

However, your original post was simply wrong, incorrect, or misinformed. Sorry.


Devon Cloud

Locale: Southwest
@ Bob on 04/26/2012 13:06:21 MDT Print View

Bob, excuse me for at first saying "gas" as a generic term different types of un-natural types of fuel. Now that I have your terminology down a bit better and can better write a post as to no say something that makes you write things that are on the jackass-side of the rude spectrum (still not quite sure why you would do that in the first place but who am I to judge).

You have now read my second post, perhaps you can now understand where I was coming from and realize I was not quite as off as you thought? Perhaps you can elaborate on what you do not agree with?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: @ Bob on 04/26/2012 13:19:59 MDT Print View

"Bob, excuse me for at first saying "gas" as a generic term different types of un-natural types of fuel."

Wow. That is certainly a stretch of the language. What country are you from?

The problem is that you probably don't want to mislead readers that way. They would be struggling with your weird use of terms. Some of the experienced readers managed to figure out what you really meant.


Devon Cloud

Locale: Southwest
understood on 04/26/2012 13:24:16 MDT Print View

Got it... but still do not understand the condescending tone of your posts or why you would not just have offered to enlighten me on my mistake instead. I will will refrain from making that "language" mistake twice as to not offend you anymore.

Was your only complaint about my thoughts on this subject my poor choice in words or was there more you had to say?

Edited by devoncloud on 04/26/2012 13:26:05 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: understood on 04/26/2012 13:49:38 MDT Print View

Devon, in today's culture, people don't seem to learn things in a traditional way. Instead, they just do a Google search when they need information. As a result, lots of people get to BPL by way of Google. They don't know what subtle meaning was in some post. They don't know who is likely to be correct and who is likely to be incorrect. They just look for a few key words and run with it.

Apparently you used the term "gas" with a weird intention. In the context of backpacker stoves, most people would think of butane blend or propane. Ultralightweight backpackers would exclude the propane and think of butane blend. Sometimes Coleman fuel (sometimes called white gas) is used, but that is just slang for white gasoline, which is a liquid. Sidewinder stoves really are not intended for any of these gas fuels, and somebody is going to get the wrong idea and maybe blow themselves up.

I fully understand that some fuels change state from solid or liquid to gaseous just at the instant of burning, but that is a unique definition. Generally I think that we refer to a fuel's normal stable state when we refer to it as solid, liquid, or gas. I still struggle with Esbit fuel being called a gas.

I think it is good that you corrected yourself once it was called to your attention.