Dan Durston’s quest for his ultimate cook pot system resulted in the pursuit of my own, more simplified cooking system. My version incorporated the TD sidewinder with an Evernew 600 pot. I loved it, and have used it in conjunction with Zelph’s Starlyte on every trip since.
What has emerged now is a newfound love of Esbit. Sure, I’ve used it many times before, but now…I just can’t see past it…I love it! This led me to change things a little further, so I grew more determined to improve on my own system yet again.
So, in addition to Dan's criteria set out in the earlier thread, which were:
1. Simpler than 4 pieces
2. Lights easily in deep winter (Aussie winter anyway…lol)
3. Could be lighter
4. Could pack even better
I added the following criteria (essentially, as small, efficient and functionally simple as possible):
1. Dedicated Esbit stove
2. My pot had to be my mug…anything more is superfluous
3. My mug just had to have handles, simply because grabbing it with my Buff or whatever is simply a pain in the *ss…I’m over that.
4. I needed, at most, a volume of approx. 400ml. Anything larger and the mug becomes too big in volume for my standard cuppa (250ml), plus, my MYOG dehydrated meals rarely need more than 350mls of boiling water for rehydration.
5. The mug had to have the widest base I could find – helping with the efficiency of the Esbit burn
6. It had to be in a caldera cone…nothing beats the efficiency and simplicity of a caldera cone IMHO
7. The caldera cone had to be a sidewinder-type set up…so it fit inside the mug for storage
Wow…that’s a lot of criteria!!! So…. what I came up with was the Evernew EBY265 400ml Ti Mug. With a diameter of approx. 100ml, and a height of approx. 57mm, this mug was perfect.
One thing though, it didn’t come with a lid. I contacted Josh from Ruta Locura with the dimensions, and he recommended a couple of options. My first preference was the #2 carbon fiber lid. It fits like a treat.
I was initially going to MYOG a Caldera Cone using a Youtube tutorial, but after speaking with the guys at Trail Designs, I decided to go with TD simply because they make a great cone, and whilst I could have made one, nothing beats their dovetail joining, accuracy and finish. I asked them to make the cone fit inside the mug like a sidewinder. This meant however, that I would have to use a silicone band to set the height above the stove….no problem. I still have the packaging from the TD crew, where in the corner of the packet it says “…now that’s a small cone...Enjoy!”
What I ended up with from the crew at Trail Designs was the cone, plus they kindly threw in some extras including a ground up Gram Cracker, a couple of silicone bands and a titanium ground plate. How awesome was that!? I used their ground up Ti Gram Cracker, which works a treat...simply acting like a U shape with walls that press in on the sides of the Esbit (same philosophy as their normal Gram Cracker)...works well for when I want to use full Esbit tabs.
So, what have I now got now?.... a dedicated Esbit burning mug/pot that nests inside a custom caldera cone from TD, set to the height of 1.25 inches above my MYOG Brian Green Esbit Tray stove. Happy as a pig in ____! You'll probably notice how bent the Esbit Tray Stove is, that's because it's a test run made from flashing...so it's nice and bendy. I wanted to see if I could achieve even better flame control by being able to bend the sides in more when using the narrower, 4g Esbit tabs.
I forgot to mention, just as a precaution, I purchased the Snow Peak Hot Lips (thanks David Thomas! :-)), which hooks on and wraps around this mug really well. It adds an extra 3 grams to the total weight…whatever. I also considered simply using the silicone pot ring as the lip protector...sliding it up higher before I drink....but that would just be annoying after a while.
Total weight for this mini, efficient UL cook system is 85 grams.
So far, average burn time for one cup of water is sitting at around 5 minutes, using about one third of a 14g Esbit. Although, quite frankly, now I have this set up, I don’t really care about burn times. I’ve managed to bring one cup to boil using 7g worth of Esbit…as in…starting with a new, half Esbit cut lengthways. This is a good thing, so I ordered a heap of 4g Esbit tabs the other day. That way, I can use a couple at a time, and not worry about carrying half burnt Esbit… I simply let them burn out. Alternatively, I can use 3 little blocks totalling 12g which actually works really well for when I bring 350ml to the boil for dinners.
The set up can store 3 full Esbits inside the cone, and two on the outside, plus there is room for a half light-load towel and mini-Bic lighter. Enough for a decent adventure that's for sure!
I got a bit carried away with my testing, and had the Esbit burning so huge that the flame came up through the handle cut out, and burnt through one of my silicone bands. Bummer. I may try something else here if anyone has any ideas…such as cork, or even some sort of permanent tabs type thing glued on to the outside of the pot. Anything to reduce the likelihood of burning through another band, avoiding the need for material to run through the handle portion of the mug.
Any ideas there?
Otherwise, I’m very happy.
I’m thinking of naming this stove …M.E.U.L. Mini. Efficient. Ultra-light. ☺
Edit: Mini Bic.