Rating: 4 / 5
Last spring, I decided that my alcohol setup was too heavy for my trips under 4 weeks. I had tried Esbit a few times and was disappointed: didn't boil water, stunk, put residue on the pot. But, for the weight (and I liked the idea of not carrying liquid that could leak), I decided that I would give it another try on my Colorado Trail trip. I must say, I somehow bought the perfect combination of items for my cookset and I am SOOO happy with it. My whole set: pot, stove, windscreen and stuff sack weigh in at under 2.9 oz (82 g)!
Here's my kit:
- Firelite Esbit Wing Stove
- Homemade aluminum windscreen
- Firelite SUL 550 pot
- Z-Packs cuben fiber stuff sack
- Coglans 1/2oz. fuel tablets
THE POT: I can bring enough water to a boil to cook a whole box of mac and cheese on 1/4 oz. of fuel- I think the smaller pot and the windscreen are key here. Because the water does not come to a rolling boil, A) You can fill the pot to to the brim (yes, a whole box of mac and cheese) and B) If you fill it to the brim, you will have to use 1/2 oz. fuel OR be patient and let it sit for about 10-15 min to cook in the hot water.
THE WINDSCREEN: I made a little screen out of an oven liner. I made it just short enough to fit inside the pot for transport. It makes all the difference in cook time and efficiency.
THE FUEL: The Coglans fuel tablets are only 1/4 oz. and I only use 1-1.5 tablet for each meal. That means that if I am out for 7 days, cooking only at night, you will only need 3 oz. of fuel, keeping my whole system under 6 oz! They also do not stink as much as Esbit.
THE STOVE: My only complaint with this setup is easily remedied. The 550 ml pot (3.75" diameter) DOES NOT SIT WELL ON THIS STOVE!! It is precisely the perfect diameter to rest partly on the lower part of the stand and partly on the top of one of the arms, making it unbalanced. I went to the hardware store and bought a triangle metal file and filed the arms a little and now it fits perfectly.
One thing I should also add is that one is thru-hiking a trail longer than 3-4 weeks, this might not be a big enough pot, and if a bigger pot is used, you might want to use an alcohol setup or a cone to make sure the water gets to a boil.
Bottom line: I think that the 550 pot and the wing stove are perfect together (after modification), and if you change either one out, you might consider a whole new system.