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Should I go for simply an alcohol stove or a Caldera Cone?
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Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Should I go for simply an alcohol stove or a Caldera Cone? on 10/08/2007 13:04:40 MDT Print View

Hey All,

So I wanna get an alcohol stove to play with and I'm considering either a plain old stove such as tinman's pepsi stove, or a caldera cone system.

Which would you all recommend? Would a pepsi can stove work better in the caldera than the stove the caldera comes with? If I was to only use an alcohol stove which stove would you all recommend?

Second, if the caldera cone doesn't have a slot for the handle (It doesn't right?) than what do you all use to pick up the system? A bandana or the like?

Thanks for any input!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Alcohol stoves.... on 10/08/2007 13:14:01 MDT Print View

You will need a wind screen of some sort-- that is guaranteed. I've made my own from aluminum flashing and tent stakes or gutter spikes. With a little experimentation, you can make a wind screen that will work with your pop can stove and use Esbit fuel on a cat food can flipped upside down. All you need are some heavy duty scissors or tin snips and a paper punch. The MYOG forum will have lots of info there.

If you want to buy something ready made, the Caldera rigs are very efficient and light.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
What Are Your Criteria? on 10/08/2007 13:20:58 MDT Print View

To me, the Caldera system is to alcohol stoves what the JetBoil is to canister stoves. Neither is simple, light or compact. However, both burn very efficiently.

But if you want a kitchen set up that is truly light and compact, get a FireLite 550 pot and buy (or make) an alky stove and windscreen that can fit nicely inside (along with a BIC lighter, plus 2-3 oz. of fuel).

Edited by ben2world on 10/08/2007 13:53:42 MDT.

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
alcohol stoves on 10/08/2007 13:51:51 MDT Print View

I'm just adding my own CO2 to both Dale and Ben's advice. Unless you want to embrace MYOG and invest a lot of time testing and tweaking (personally a love/hate relationship), go with a Caldera Cone; it's highly efficient and simple enough but heavier, cumbersome, and designed specifically to each pot's dimensions. From what I've heard, you won't get better results by switching its stove.

If you decide to investigate your own alky cooking setup, check out these links, search the forum, and test away.

Zen Stove (very useful templates and specific directions)

Sgt Rock

From my own experience:
Side-burners heat quickly but NEED a wide base pot.
Cat can are simple, reliable, but inefficient.
The open jet top burner is my favorite thus far.
I still haven't settled the windscreen design, good luck there.


Edited by uberkatzen on 10/08/2007 13:52:21 MDT.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Both work... on 10/08/2007 13:56:49 MDT Print View

I have used a SUpercat successfully for some time.

I also recently bought a "seconds" version (minor dent) of the Caldera and it's performance is impressive - not to mention reliable. The only negative I have w/the Caldera is its bigger packed size, but that isn't a deal breaker.

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Alky stove or Caldera Cone? on 10/08/2007 15:05:40 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the insight! So I guess it's clear that the caldera cone is the "easiest" in terms of I can buy it and be done, but I hate the size of it. I really want a kitchen that nests in my pot. I'm crazy about organization and I would love to simply have my pot fit tucked into my bag. I suppose the cone could be fit into a stuff sack easy enough, but well,ehh...

I do like the idea of a caldera cone though for efficiency. It would also be nice to just buy it and go. I love tinkering, but my new job/life will barely allow for it. How do you all store your cone? Is it a problem at all?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Not True on 10/08/2007 15:18:31 MDT Print View

Caldera is indeed easy -- in the sense of 'buy and just use' -- but there are so many other choices out there as well. Two examples:


But seriously, before you buy anything, read up on the Zen stove link that Michael provided above. Also, stoves perform optimally when paired with the right size/type of pots! What pot will you be using with your alky stove?

Edited by ben2world on 10/08/2007 17:19:56 MDT.

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
system vs stove on 10/08/2007 15:41:38 MDT Print View

Ultimately, be it the Caldera, MYOG, or MBD, Brasslite, Whitebox, etc, you'll get your water boiled. But I predict, in the end, you won't have just one stove in your gear closet.

almost forgot, you can't join the alcohol stove club until you find a Lil' Nipper.

Edited by uberkatzen on 10/08/2007 16:30:02 MDT.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Alcohol Stoves on 10/08/2007 15:49:41 MDT Print View

I bought a Go-Torch stove this year from Gossamer. It has a windscreen, stand and heat shield that the stove sits on. I used it this summer and cooked for 2 with no problems. I was in mainly mild conditions and highest cooking altitude was 12,000 ft. or so. I like the fact that it all fits inside my titanium mug.

I do not have any experience with the Caldera Cone.

Up to this point my experience was with cannister stoves. I do like cannister stoves for their simplicity and reliability, however, I hated carting around an empty cannister that still weighs a lot. I use 8 oz water bottles to store my alcohol. When it's empty the weight is neglible. If I am hiking with a friend we can each carry what we need to spread the load.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
One easy way out on 10/08/2007 17:33:28 MDT Print View

My solution was to buy one of the Brasslite Turbo II F stoves and one of their ~600ml Ti pots. I made my own windscreen from aluminum flashing, which took about 15 minutes and not much engineering. I made a cut-out for the handle and I hold it together with paper clips. If you use a handle-less pot, and/or use a pot lifter you can forgo the handle cut-out. I've tried a bunch of the pop can stoves and the Brasslite smoked 'em and it's adjustable to boot. The windscreen wraps around the outside of the pot and the stove drops inside with a mini Bic lighter. I toss that and a 4oz fuel bottle in a gallon ziplock with my spork and a plastic mug and my kitchen is complete, with room for more--- like coffee, tea, sugar, etc. That sits near the top of my pack for a quick trailside cuppa.

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
More on alky vs Caldera on 10/08/2007 17:47:43 MDT Print View

Well as for the lil' nippers, I have you to thank, Michael, for bringing me into the club..

I was reading the Zen stoves site before I started this thread. It's really what got me thinking more about it.

I will have to check those other options. Thanks a bunch for the references Benjamin and for all the advice to all the others!

Edited by arichardson6 on 10/08/2007 17:53:01 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
alcohol stove or a Caldera Cone- both. on 10/08/2007 20:44:31 MDT Print View

It is unlikely that another stove would work as efficiently in the Caldera Cone system since the current stove was optimized for the cone height and thermodynamics.

Yes, the Cones have cutouts for the handles of the pot. Since most heat is trapped inside the cone, the handles stay cooler.

I suggest you make your own stove from a few soda cans, and also buy one of the Caldera systems. Like Ben said, it is like a Jetboil for alcohol cooking. Not as light as an aluminum foil screen and wire mesh pot holder, but much more stable and wind resistant than the foil/mesh combos I tried.

Some of the new cones are also available in Titanium so they can be used with wood, esbit, and alcohol. Not sure which sizes come in that material, I got my Ti cone for my SnowPeak Trek 900; a very useful size for one person, and big enough for two in a pinch.

Roger, sorry to not include this link until this edit; the Ti cones are here;

Edited by Brett1234 on 10/09/2007 08:19:55 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
re titanium cones??? on 10/09/2007 04:17:04 MDT Print View

Hi Brett

> Some of the new cones are also available in Titanium
The pots come in titanium, yes. But I have not seen any Cones in titanium yet. Are you sure?

Thomas Knighton
(Tomcat1066) - F

Locale: Southwest GA
Re: re titanium cones??? on 10/09/2007 04:23:49 MDT Print View


I know this was directed to Brett, but I was just looking at them ;)

Titanium Goat sells them.


Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Re: Re: re titanium cones??? on 10/09/2007 11:57:42 MDT Print View

Yup, they make 'em in Titanium.

It sound like Brett might have gotten one of their prototype models by wheeling and dealing if he got one for his SP900. The Tri-Ti kit uses the same pot as the BL .9 (Brasslite).

I've got the kit... it's quite cool.... er... hot... er... nice...

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Dale, Have you tried the Pepsi can? on 10/09/2007 17:26:16 MDT Print View

Would you say it's a general fact that brasslite are known for performing better than a popcan stove? Any downsides that are specific to the brasslite?

How about a brasslite vs minibull discussion...They both seem like great stoves..


Edited by arichardson6 on 10/09/2007 17:40:02 MDT.

Josh Leavitt
(Joshleavitt) - F

Locale: Ruta Locura
re titanium cones ??? on 10/09/2007 22:06:25 MDT Print View


In response to your email, and question on this forum, yes the cones are titanium. It does not explicitly state it anywhere on the web page, only implied in the name of the product. I'll have the web guy add some verbage about the pot and cone being titanium.


Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
Packafeather stove on 10/10/2007 08:26:33 MDT Print View

Caldera cones can also be used with their esbit stove set up and as a wood burning stove by running two tent pegs trough the top holes and resting the pot on top of them. If you think you have seen all the alcohol stoves look at for a simmering system.

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
Caldera Cone multi-fuel? on 10/10/2007 10:30:28 MDT Print View

To be specific, least someone have disappointing results, the Caldera Ti-Tri is the multi-fuel setup using esbit, alky or wood. NOT the aluminum Caldera Cone.

The FeatherFire seems to use the same simmer design principals as the Brasslite. Anyone with FeatherFire or Brasslite experience: do you notice a strong smell of unburned fuel escaping when you adjust for simmer?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Be More Specific... on 10/10/2007 11:01:13 MDT Print View


No one is going to tell you that Brasslite beats MiniBull (all models) in all fronts -- or vice versa.

As I mentioned above, different stoves work optimally with different pots. I asked you what pot you plan to use but you didn't answer. Also, what type of cooking do you plan to do? For one or for two? For example, if you plan to just boil water, a simmering ring is a waste of time, weight, and expense.

Edited by ben2world on 10/10/2007 11:09:49 MDT.