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Mini Caldera Cone awesomenessness
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jason quick

Locale: A tent in my backyard - Melbourne
Mini Caldera Cone awesomenessness on 01/31/2013 01:44:21 MST Print View

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!”

Mini CC rolled up for size comparison

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) 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 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.

Cook system overall weight

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!

Full capacity storage

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.

Size (or lack thereof) of the overall set up

Mug 'in use'

Cone set up.

I’m thinking of naming this stove …M.E.U.L. Mini. Efficient. Ultra-light. ☺
Edit: Mini Bic.

Edited by jase on 01/31/2013 01:53:30 MST.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Mini Caldera Cone awesomeness on 01/31/2013 01:51:40 MST Print View


John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Mini Caldera Cone awesomenessness on 01/31/2013 02:18:33 MST Print View

Nice Jason!!!

Any ideas there?

Just one...

You can send it my way :)

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Mini Caldera Cone awesomeness on 01/31/2013 06:21:29 MST Print View

Looks like a ULC
Nice, tidy kit.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Mini Caldera Cone awesomenessness on 01/31/2013 09:54:57 MST Print View

This is great. I love a compact cook setup. The custom Caldera cone and carbon fiber lid look pretty sweet too.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Mini CC on 01/31/2013 13:40:19 MST Print View

Wow that's an awesome (cute?) little setup for it's intended purpose.

Please tell me more about the silicone band burning. I've never had trouble with mine, but my distance from the stove to the band is also quite a bit higher (~3.5"). Did the band quickly burn through? Or was it a slow process where you have time to save it?

Edited by dandydan on 01/31/2013 13:41:41 MST.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
photo comparison on 01/31/2013 14:41:05 MST Print View

Jason, would mind posting a picture of your 400 and .6 side by side? Thanks.

jason quick

Locale: A tent in my backyard - Melbourne
Cute Caldera on 01/31/2013 22:01:11 MST Print View

I'd call it cute too.
As for the silicone band burning, was kinda my fault. I was using a full esbit, and let it rip. I also don't think I had the stove centred properly either. The flame came up through the cut-out for the handle. I was a little distracted and let it go instead of attending to it straight away. It burned through about half, and still held its elasticity. It snapped on the next burn. I've since put my second band on, with no issues at all. I just got cocky with my testing. BTW, the distance from stove to band is about 23/4"

@John Kays
Sure, below are photos of my Evernew 600 agains the smaller Evernew 400 mug.
Evernew 400ml mug nested in Evernew 600ml short wide

Side by side comparison Evernew 400 v Evernew 600

Side by side comparison Evernew 400 v Evernew 600 standing height

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
YEP! on 01/31/2013 22:25:10 MST Print View


Welcome to the Caldera Cone fan club. I too use a Sidewinder and a 3 cup aluminum pot (& plastic cup).

I love ESBIT with a CC Sidewinder. With the "Gram Cracker" ESBIT holder and the cone I now use about 30% less fuel than with my previous best ESBIT setup. And believe me, I've experimented with ESBIT for almost two decades. That Gram Cracker holder keeps the ESBIT sides from burning thus controlling the flame for a bit longer burn time. But Brian's ESBIT tray to contain the liquid is genius! I'm gonna make one.

With the optional Inferno wood burning gassifier stove I can winter camp without being forced to carry a load of white gas bottles and my heavy MSR Dragonfly stove.
Plus after dinner I still have a cheery but contained campfire.

** P. S. I'm now making a better ESBIT holder from Brian Green's Blog pattern. It works like the Gram Cracker but saves (and burns) the liquid residue for a longer burn time (reportedly 15 minutes) and no residue dripping onto the aluminum or Ti baseplate under the holder. Still MORE fuel savings!

Edited by Danepacker on 06/01/2013 22:16:01 MDT.

Monika Vajda
(kitemo) - MLife
M.E.U.L.- esbit stove + starlyte =? on 04/05/2013 10:58:40 MDT Print View

you have 2 superb cooksets, thank you for showing them.
i wonder if this pot/cone would work in alcohol mode?
would starlyte (caldera modified) fit inside your evernew eby 265?
could you post some pictures in this mode?

Marc Kokosky
(mak52580) - F

Locale: Washington, DC Area
Re: M.E.U.L.- esbit stove + starlyte =? on 05/10/2013 03:31:33 MDT Print View

+1. I'd also be interested if this could take the Starlyte modified.

Pierre Lambion

Locale: France
cup capacity enough on the trail? on 05/29/2013 08:22:27 MDT Print View


Very sweet setup indeed.

How much can you fill the 400ml cup without spilling boiling water out?

I currently use a 700ml mug and consider switching to a small wide & low cup for heating water plus a light bowl (like the GSI plastic one)to rehydrate and eat.

Expected benefits:
- a touch lighter
- can heat more water while re-hydrating and eating
- cup more efficient to heat than tall mug
- bowl gentler on fingers with hot food and easier to clean than tall mug

But this is only living room thinking and am concerned a 400ml cup might just be too small for practical use.

Thaddaeus Wharton
(Thadjw) - MLife
Awesome caldera setup. A question... on 05/29/2013 08:43:13 MDT Print View

What is a simple list of all articles used? And would you even use a mini plastic canister from caldera to keep it enclosed and debris free in your bag or does it all stow perfectly? Thx!

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Awesome caldera setup. A question... on 05/29/2013 09:10:21 MDT Print View

After seeing this thread I've put together a nearly identical setup.

All of the items fit within the Evernew pot with the carbon fiber lid from Ruta Locura. I've found that a small rubber band keeps the lid from slipping off.

1. Evernew 400ml Companion Cup (EBY265) (1.77oz)
2. Trail Designs Ti Sidewinder - Custom Size (0.62oz w/ Rubber Band to keep its form)
3. Esbit tray - design from Brian Green
4. Esbit Tabs (I can fit 4 full tabs in the cavity of the sidewinder cone for a total of 8 boils.
5. Snow Peak Hot Lips
6. Mini Bic
7. Carbon Fiber lid from Ruta Locura (0.25oz)
8. Towel (Can't tell but looks like a cut down Lightload towel maybe?) I use a reusable Branwy type.

[Edit] - Added some weights. My total setup with Pot, Sidewinder, Beer Band, Esbit Tray (made from aluminum flashing), Carbon Fiber Lid, Snow Peak Hotlips, Mini Bic, and small rubber band to keep the lid on weighs in at 3.25oz

Edited by cobberman on 06/01/2013 18:09:44 MDT.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Awesome caldera setup. A question... on 06/01/2013 16:46:22 MDT Print View

Looks like this little system is gaining some popularity. Trail Designs now has a setup for us "Fringe" hikers wanting a 400ml pot.

Evernew 400ml Sidewinder Bundle

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Re: Awesome caldera setup. A question... on 06/01/2013 16:52:51 MDT Print View

YoYo Eric,

I know you have the same gram scale that I have...

Could you let me know what the weight of the stove and the sidewinder are (by themselves).

(update: looks like I would need to know the weight of the band too, as its required. might as well let me know the weight of the lid too, I suppose. lol)

I would never use it in wood mode so I just care about the pot and sidewinder.

I use the BGET too.

Thanks mate!

+John Abela

Edited by JohnAbela on 06/01/2013 16:55:41 MDT.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Awesome caldera setup. A question... on 06/01/2013 18:12:54 MDT Print View


I've updated my post above with weights. Let me know if you need it totally itemized :P.

FYI, my cone does not have the four hole punches for use in wood mode with stakes. Perhaps they've made some refinements.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Re: Re: Re: Awesome caldera setup. A question... on 06/01/2013 23:52:48 MDT Print View

You rock dude, thanks!!

So, thoughts on it over the Zelph/Suluk setup you got??

Drew Jay

Locale: Central Coast
Lightened on 06/02/2013 01:53:41 MDT Print View

I like it. Why not punch two holes for a ti stake though, you'd save the weight of the band. You could mock it up in heavy paper first to refine placement.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Lightened on 06/02/2013 09:29:15 MDT Print View

@Drew, The stakes (two of them) are intended for wood burning or alcohol mode. Being that I'm using it with Esbit I don't need the holes. I could add them myself or send it in for the modification if I change my mind.

@John, I am liking the Caldera setup more. The handles are a big benefit as well as the stability of the pot with the wider cone base. It is easier to clean the Esbit soot off of the Evernew base and the mug can double for tea or coffee; something that I didn't feel the Zelph 2-cup pot could do. Now for the negatives, I finally found a great spoon for the Zelph pot, a MSR holding spoon, but it is too long to fit in the Evernew. I end up stashing the spoon in my food bag instead. The Evernew does not have indicators for 1/2, 1/3 cup etc. These would be nice and I'm contemplating scoring the inside of the cup for my typical freeze dried meal water requirements.

EDIT: 07 APRIL 2015 | I've since purchased a new 400ml Companion Cup which does include indicators for 1/2, 1/3 cup measurements.

All in all I really like the Caldera setup. It is my first product from Trail Designs and it already has me looking at a larger setup (600ml?) for trips with my wife or father.

Edited by cobberman on 04/07/2015 09:10:18 MDT.