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Changing my stove paradigm
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Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Changing my stove paradigm on 06/22/2012 09:23:02 MDT Print View

I'm a satisfied Caldera Cone user. However I'm going through a minimalist phase and I'm interested in experimenting with simpler systems.

I'm pretty sold on alcohol stoves, though. So among other things I'm going to be experimenting with Fancy Feast stoves, but I'm interested in other minimalist alcohol stoves.

I usually hike at 7000 - 10000 feet.

So, to get to my point: The Vargo Decagon looks interesting- it is one solid piece and very durable. I'm a sucker for titanium. Indeed, it is very "pretty." However, I have experimented with the Vargo Triad in the past and it sucked nuts- I couldn't get a boil at all. It is now a very pretty paperweight as I am too honest to sell the POS. My search of this forum seems to indicate that the Decagon has similar problems. Has the design been changed/improved at all? Is it worth trying?

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Changing my stove paradigm on 06/22/2012 10:43:59 MDT Print View

Well, I have used the Caldera cone fairly extensivly throughout the High Peaks in NY. Fiddling with stoves, I came up with a much simpler design dubbed the Mercury for the slight resemblance to the old Mercury space capsule (the one on the right.)

I Think Miquel made a couple of them. I think 19 folds. I did it with an old needle nose with dulled jaws. He did it by bending around a stake. It works as well as a 12/10 and weighs a LOT less. You do need a pot support, though... 2-3 Additional holes makes it burn hotter, but I like a slower burn for cooking. Coupled this with a piece of aluminum and a couple stakes for pot support and wind screen, and, a grease pot. Total cost was about $6. Works as well as any. The whole system weighs under ~4.5oz.


Edited by jamesdmarco on 06/22/2012 10:55:09 MDT.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Changing my stove paradigm on 06/22/2012 11:07:51 MDT Print View

My go to DNA / Ethanol burner is a aluminum bottle stove made in the design of a cat can stove.

MYOG Bottle / Cat Can Stove

I haven't tested it at any altitude but it served me well on a recent trip to the Kisatchie Wilderness.

The stove serves as its own pot stand and the can lid below it serves as a primer pan to get things rolling. It functions as a side burner and I use an Open Country 3 cup hard anodized aluminum pot with it as the flame pattern is a little wide.

Party On,


Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Changing my stove paradigm on 06/22/2012 13:06:38 MDT Print View


What is the point of the folds? Just to make the hole in the top the right size? Am I correct in saying that your Mercury is (to put it very simplistically) a top-hole design like the 12/10?


Ja, that looks similar to the Fancy Feast stove. I'll be playing around with variants of it, I'm sure.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Changing my stove paradigm on 06/22/2012 13:12:42 MDT Print View

As for the Decagon - I've read as many good things about it as I have for the Triad :(

They look cool but....

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
HUH? on 06/22/2012 15:12:05 MDT Print View

As a CC Sidewinder owner I cannot think of ANY cook system that is "simpler" yet retains all the efficiency of a CC (IN FIELD CONDITIONS).

1. Most alky stoves burn more efficiently with a Caldera Cone (but Trail Designs' alky stove is the most efficient at all altitudes). And many alky stoves burn MUCH more efficiently in a CC.

2. You need a windbreak for fuel efficiency (read fuel savings) with any stove and the CC does that the best of any I've seen.

3. The CC gives exceptional stability.

4. Caldera Cones, whether aluminum or titanium are very light.

5. With Trail Designs' nearly weightless Ti ESBIT fuel tab holder, the "Gram Cracker", you can convert Caldera cones to tablet fuel making them versatile. Personally I prefer tablet fuels, especially FireLite tablets, over alky.

So my vote remains with the Caldera Cone in its many iterations.

Edited by Danepacker on 06/22/2012 15:14:07 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Changing my stove paradigm on 06/22/2012 16:33:03 MDT Print View

"What is the point of the folds?"

Well, after experimenting with the venturi stoves I found that the folds actually allow some air to be drawn into the stove similar to the left hand stove in the pic. The one pictured has been burned about 30 times before I took the picture. It apparently works well enough to keep the sides from discoloring. I made several others that had 1-5 holes in them about two thids of the way down. 2-3 seemed about best for improving heat without overheating.

Trail Designs 12/10 is a chimney stove very similar to the older Brasslite. It is not just a top holed stove. I made several versions, some taller about the same width. Some narrower and taller, some shorter, some shorter and narrower. Adapting the simmer sleeve from the older Brasslite (from a strip of aluminum) it functions about the same with fair to good flame control. Outside air is fed into the burner from the bottom, along the sides and out the top. Brasslite used solder and an inner and outer wall. The 12/10 uses some sort of high temp adhesive to seal the bottom of the inner ring, or perhaps a smaller can. The 12/10 also uses a series of holes as air inlets. This was avoided on the Brasslite, simply using a slightly shorter inner wall.

The Mercury stove uses nothing inside. The folds form a sort-of venturi that burns with good to excelent efficiency and only weighs about 8-9 grams. The 12/10 weighs about 17g. It works in the CC fairly well at about the same efficiency.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Changing my stove paradigm on 06/28/2012 19:18:02 MDT Print View

>>> As for the Decagon - I've read as many good things about it as I have for the Triad :(

Yeah, I guess I'm passing on the Decagon. But it's just so effing PRETTY.

Heather Hohnholz
(Hawke) - M
Flat Cat Gear on 07/01/2012 06:38:36 MDT Print View

I love my Flat Cat alcohol stove, as well as its esbit configuration. Small, light, packable, stable, and efficient. What more could you want?