Editor's Note: This article was opened to the public on July 22, 2010. To subscribe and see Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010 articles as they are published, click here.
We discovered two new ultralight multi-fuel (alcohol/Esbit/wood) cooking systems from Evernew and Trail Designs. The systems are quite different, as detailed below.
At the Evernew booth we were shown a prototype of their new titanium multi-fuel cooking system. It will be available in spring 2010 in four different configurations, as shown in the photos. Note: this system is brand new and has received very little testing. We have no information on how well it works. Following intensive testing, the final design could be significantly different and prices could change.
Titanium alcohol stove. This is the burner only (1.2 oz, $45). It looks a lot like a Trangia stove and has rather large holes. Note that there are holes at two levels; the smaller holes in the upper rim are barely visible.
Titanium stove and pot stand (left, 2.7 oz, $55); the 500 ml pot is included in the photo for scale and is not included in the price. The pot stand is constructed of titanium strips with holes in them to increase air circulation. It's cross-shaped when assembled and placed on top of the burner.
Minimalist Set (5.6 oz, $130). This is a complete system consisting of the burner, pot stand/windscreen, turbo plate, and 500 ml pot with lid. The turbo plate is for winter use; it increases pressure to create a larger flame (which also uses more fuel). The 500 ml cook pot included may be too small for many hikers; I personally prefer a cook pot around 850-900 milliliters.
Wood Burning Stove Set (3 oz, $47). The price does not include the 500 ml cook pot shown, which we included in the photo for scale. In this configuration, the turbo plate is used as a grate in the bottom to hold the wood while it burns, and a pot of any size can be placed on top of the windscreen. Because of its very small size, this wood burning stove will require tiny pieces of wood and a lot of feeding.
Trail Designs Ti-Tri Titanium Stove System
This system is essentially a Caldera Cone system made of titanium sheet so it can also burn wood. The Caldera Cone used needs to be specific to the cook pot used. For cooking with alcohol, the Trail Designs 12-10 burner is placed on the ground and the pot is supported at its top lip by the cone, so the pot is enclosed by the cone. The same configuration is used for cooking with Esbit tabs, using a simple holder included with the system. For cooking with wood, two titanium tent stakes are passed through holes near the top of the cone, and the pot is supported by these stakes.
Trail Designs Ti-Tri Titanium Stove System for a MSR 0.85 liter titanium cook pot.
The Ti-Tri system costs $80 and includes a titanium Caldera Cone for the user's cook pot, two titanium stakes, fuel bottle kit, 12-10 stove, and the Gram Cracker. Trail Designs offers an optional titanium floor (0.9 oz, $15) to place under the cone to protect the ground in wood burning mode. The Ti-Tri setup for burning wood using an MSR 0.85 liter pot weighs 5.4 ounces (Caldera Cone, titanium floor, two titanium stakes, caddy).
When using this system, wood is fed through the hole under the pot. There are vents at the bottom of the cone for combustion air to flow in and vents at the top for smoke to flow out. In my opinion, the Trail Designs Ti-Tri is a more realistic size for cooking with wood fuel; it will handle larger pieces of wood and generate more BTUs.
I have been using the Trail Designs alcohol stove since it was introduced and really love it. Trail Designs has advanced the alcohol stove to the convenience and reliability level of a canister stove; the only thing it lacks is flame control. The new Ti-Tri system seems to be the best of two worlds: cook with wood when possible, and carry an alcohol burner (0.5) and a little alcohol to use as a backup when it's raining. Some alcohol can also be used to start the fire when using it as a wood stove.