Well it had to happen sooner or later; you come on BPL and you start diddling alcohol stoves. I'm no exception and the infection happened fairly quickly. My immune system was weakened by weeks of blowing my paychecks at REI. And so it went, that I decided to order a Trail Designs Caldera Cone after seriously evaluating so many options. I won't rehash what has been said about the system before so I'll just try to keep this to my particular "why" and more importantly, share some pics of this apparently new design even I didn't know I was getting.
Everything can be said about efficiency and all that. I could have made my own over the course of the next couple weeks but decided I just wanted to get something solid, well tested, and to frankly support people who have blazed a trail ahead of me and started a business. Support local american businesses, blah blah blah, flag waving, go vote, etc etc. Anyhow, here's the real motivating factors:
- Ti Tri because I really like the idea of being able to burn wood. I know a lot of people have the same dream and never use it, but WTF here's to hopin'.
- Ti Tri, because it's lighter and I need something to offset my luxury items like 4 more squared of toilet paper, lest I make my dog carry it.
- ULC because even after being told by Rand it wasn't as efficient, I simply read too many glowing reviews.
- The "Fissure" system was out of the question because apparently the Stoic 700ml pot has handles that are too tall and the notch would be too deep
- The "Fissure" was also out even if I wanted to use my Snow Peak 1400 Trek. Same reason. Moral: when you're buying cookware look for handles that are as long but vertically as short as possible (i.e. looks more like a pot handle than a mug handle)
- I wanted something that I could safely nest inside my pot since volume is constrained in my current pack setup.
And so like many before me I plunked down my <strike>hard</strike> earned money and ordered what I thought would be a regular ULC after much discussion with Rand (who is totally awesome and will entertain annoying people such as myself who have far too many Lazynet questions). A few days later (today in fact) it arrived.
OMG IS IT NON-DENOMINATIONAL-DECEMBER-GIFTING-HOLIDAY ALREADY?!
I was surprised to see not one but two cones. Being the thinking man that I am, a learned scholar if I will (and I will), I put everything together and was still a bit confused. Why would there be holes for Ti stakes so high on the cone? Wouldn't the pot sit too high for alcohol burning? Does it sit down in the cone to the rim of the pot? That seems too low....
Come to find out this is the new, as Rand tentatively named it for the purposes of email, "Fusion" system his partner has recently invented. It's somewhere between a full size cone of a Fissure and the stubby cone of the original ULC. He hadn't actually seen it in action but told me to rub my three brain cells together and work it out (in much kinder terms!).
AH HAH! THE STAKES GO THROUGH BOTTOM HOLES!!!
So yeah, as you can see from the pics the Ti stakes go through the bottom holes and support both the pot (which doesn't sit down to the rim) and also the cones on top of each other. Clever girl....
Anyhow. Pictures because I'm tired of typing and really besides that, it's the sick little piece of lightweight goodness I was expecting. I boiled 2 cups of water in it on the stove in 4m 45s and in the time it took me to fetch a glove to grab the pot handle it had burned out. All told, perfect conditions with cold tap water and 15ml of fuel. I should point out that the cones, stove (on it's side), ground cover, esbit tabs, and gram cracker fit into the pot. I can't fit the standard fuel bottle but no worries since I might leave the esbits at home and find a 2oz bottle for shooter trips (ships with a 4oz). I think I'm going to love this little thing.