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Trail Designs Caldera Stove

in Stoves - Alcohol

Average Rating
4.88 / 5 (24 reviews)

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Mitchell Keil
( mitchellkeil )

Deep in the OC
Trail Designs Caldera Stove on 03/27/2007 15:23:49 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Side View of Caldera Stove kit and AGG 3 Cup Pot combo

Executive Summary: Of all the alcohol stoves I have used this unit has performed the best. I have used it in moderate temperatures and at 19 degrees and have been impressed by its ease of use, quick starting, and quick boil times.

The Stats:
Caldera Stove (Funnel Windscreen and soda can alcohol burner) = 2.0 oz
AGG 3 Cup Anodized pot and lid = 3.8 oz
Total Weight = 5.8 oz
Burner holds maximum of 2 oz of fuel
Cost = $35.00 from
(currently on back order)

I ordered this kit from AGG about 6 months ago. Weights were as advertized and the build quality is excellent. TD uses a much thicker aluminum sheet metal for the Cone windscreen than I have encountered in other screens or stove designs. As you can see from the picture, there are oblong vents cut in the base of the Cone and part way down from the rim at the top. In addition, there is a cutout on one side of the cone that allows you to use a pot grip to grab the AGG pot and remove it from the cone/windscreen. The Cone/Windscreen and the pot are meant to funciton as one unit. TD designed the cone to fit this specific pot and no other. It is a very snug fit and even after multple uses that fit has not changed. Once set into the opening at the top of the cone, the two form a complete system that drains every BTU the specially designed burner generates to heat the water. This burner is double walled and made from a regular soda can. It has much larger holes along the bottom than I am used to in other burners and should be described as an an open burner because you pour the fuel into the central opening and the flame comes from here as well. There are no side jets. The burner is welded to a primer cup. I rarely used the primer cup, using it mostly in very cold conditions.
The Cone when unfolded has 3 tabs on one end and 3 slots on the other with a raised ridge indentation running the full width of the cone matched by a corresponding indentation on the other side. The Tabs fit in the slots and the identations match up so that it forms a locking mechanism to secure the two ends. Once fitted together and with the pot inserted, this stove is the most stable system I have ever encountered in a stove, alcohol or otherwise.
Setting up the system takes but a few moments. Pouring 1oz into the center of burner and touching a match to it, the alcohol immediately lights. Placing the pot into the opening (where it sits about 1.5 inches from the top of the burner) with 16oz of water in it, it takes 4 minutes and 30 seconds to bring the water to 212 degrees. The burner continues to keep the water boiling for another 6 minutes. This was under what I would call ideal conditions: 55 degrees temp, no wind and very cool water. I found that the range of time to boil is affected by the outside air temp and the temp of the fuel. Under the worst conditions: 19 degrees with little wind and very cold water, the stove took about 5.5 minutes to boil 2 cups of water and kept it boiling for another 3 minutes. I did not warm up the fuel in my down jacket or use the primer cup in this case.

A word about wind. The construction and structure of this system virtually gaurantees that the Caldera Cone stove creates the best conditions to boil water regardless of the wind. Under most wind conditions that hikers encounter when setting up their stoves and given that most of us would look for the most sheltered position to use a stove, this stove preforms like a champ. I never felt that the wind was robbing me of BTUs.

Other observations:
Although there is not ability to adjust the heat output as there is with the Thermojet kit, I found that I could heat up already prepared rice and beans and other meals that required some heat control fairly well. It did require adding a bit of water to the pot and constant stirring which is suprisingly easy to do with the cutout for a gripper to secure the pot.

Because the pot fits so snuggly within the cone, it is particularly important to hold the cone while removing the pot from the cone. You can do this by placing a fingertip or some other item into one of the lower vents. I found that although the cone is hot to the touch almost everywhere, the lower vents are not too hot to touch.

You can roll the cone tightly and store it inside a nalgene bottle as suggested by TD(not a good idea), or you can lay it flat and store it inside a folded sleeping pad (I have done this with success). I have a lexan cup with vertical sides about 4 inches tall that works well to hold the cone and the fuel bottle I use. Any of these methods means that you will be packing the pot, grip and matches separately from the cone/windscreen and fuel.

Final Comments:
This is the best Alcohol Stove Kit I have ever used. It boils water fast under most conditions and even under poor conditions it still has acceptable boil times. It is extremely well constructed and should give many years of use. It is not particularly delicate in this regard. It is fairly economical in using fuel and allows for long boil times. The stability of the design is outstanding.

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Brett .
( Brett1234 )

Woudn't cook over alcohol without it. on 03/28/2007 03:27:27 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Using a Caldera cone is a convenient way to integrate a pot holder with a windscreen when using an alcohol burner. Now that I have these, I doubt I will ever cook over alcohol without it again.

Previous to getting my caldera cones, heating water with alcohol was inconvenient and wasteful for me. There were too many components, and too much heat loss with my amateurish windscreens. None of the common windscreen designes using mesh, wires, bicycle spokes, tent stakes, etc appealed to my asthetics. Setup and takedown was also not comparable to the convenience of my jetboil; the industry standard in 'human factors engineering' for stoves, IMO.

Now that I own a caldera, I can actually consider using alcohol again. I have only three stove components, my pot, the caldera cone, and an alcohol burner of my choice. Not a bunch of fragile screens, holders, wire mesh supports, grips, etc..

Regarding choice of burner, my first choice is to reach for my Trangia because of its bombproof durability, but if you are more careful than I; the TD included stove is probably just as efficient, and much lighter.

Setup with the Caldera literally takes seconds, just like with a Jetboil. You curve the stove, insert the tabs, light your burner, then drop the Caldera and pot on top. 5 minutes later 600ml of water is boiling. It is probably obvious by looking at it, but the design of the cone traps the hot air as it chimneys up the bottom and sides of the pot, transferring more heat to that pot than an open-top windscreen could do.

I am sort of ashamed to admit this, but another reason I like the Caldera is that it doesn't look like I made it from kitchen aluminum foil and old beer cans. I know, MYOG gurus would get upset at that comment, but I mean no offense. With the pot in place and steam rising out, it looks like a well engineered and precicely manufactured industrial product- which it is, just made in small quantities.

I bought Caldera cones sized for the Snowpeak 600 and 1400ml pots. At that time there was no cone for my SP 900ml, but word is they will soon offer one. That would be the optimum size for preparing water for one meal and one drink for a solo hiker, or two meals for a couple. I intend on buying the 900ml version as soon as it is ready. They might have a cone for your favorite pot, email them to find out.

Bottom line.. The Caldera cone makes alcohol cooking convenient, efficient, and dare I say, attractive. I doubt I will ever use an alcohol stove without a cone again. T.D. has models for many popular cup/pots, and seem to be working on more as I write this.

edit: people have commented about the difficulty of storage, and found various ways to roll and secure this stove. Best storage method I found is to open it flat and slide it in the hydration sleeve, or next to the sit pad/internal frame. takes up almost no volume this way and adds to the virtual frame capability; maybe 10 cubic inches volume this way?

Trail Designs has a new type of tabbed closure for the cones, as shown in a picture below. The older design was more prone to breakage in my experience; whereas the new design is sealed for the entire length of the cone. This new design does not require any spring tension to keep the cone closed, and seems more secure.

Just received the new Caldera Cookset which integrates several items,
a 3 (600ml) pot and lid,
Caldera Cone and alcohol stove for that pot,
a 4 cup (800ml) cup and lid,
pot handle,
fuel bottle,
cozys for pot, cup, and their lids,
nylon stack to store it all.

These components nest together in a compact form factor which protects the caldera cone from damage. The cone, handle, stove, and fuel bottle all fit in the 4 cup ziplock screwtop container.

Quality of construction is really excellent. The lid fits the pot, cozys are snug but come off easily, and the stove shows no warping or poor construction as found on say, a Brasslite Turbo.
Total weight of everything in the photos, minus wrapping, is 325 grams. A lighter fuel bottle could be substituted for the one provided.

I did a quick test of the setup by boiling 500ml of cold water for ramen. Conditions were indoors, on a stove top for safety. The water boiled in 4 minutes 15 seconds, at which time I removed the pot and put it, and the ramen, in the cozy to cook. The stove continued to burn for 3:30 more, indicating I could have used 20ml of fuel instead of the 30ml I started with.
After 5 minutes in the cozy the ramen was ready to eat, but still too hot to do so (about 95'C!)

The 4 cup screwtop container provided in the kit can be used for boil in a bag meals, leaving the pot free for a second course/person. Assuming you carry bulk food in a ziplock, pour one meals worth into the cup, add boiling water from the pot, and return the pot to the stove to heat more water for another meal or beverage.
In this way, this set can be used to prepare meals and drinks for two; just add two styrofoam cups for the drinks.

I now have a few cones fitting my Snowpeak pots and AGG pot; I really would not cook outdoors without a cone around my pot for the added efficiency it provides.
Using a screwtop container, or even a plastic cup (all cones come with one or the other from AGG), pretty much solves the storage problem.

Edit: some pictures were enlarged, some were shrunk when uploaded, not sure why..
as shipped, with 16oz beverage container for reference
most components, some are still in the cup
cone, handle, fuel bottle, stove, and a mini-bic all fit in the cup
cup contents

Edited by Brett1234 on 07/03/2007 23:53:42 MDT.

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John Adams
( scsjohn )

Great product and great CS on 03/28/2007 13:24:24 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I really like this stove and stand/windscreen combo. It works well together and will heat water quickly (for an alcohol stove). I ordered one for my Snow Peak 700 and it fit it perfectly.

The folks at Trail Designs are super fast at responding to questions.

The only complaint I have with the system is stowing it and placing it in the pack. Unless you have a bear canister, the caldera is difficult to pack. And unless you are very careful, it suffers being packed tightly in your pack.

I like the design of the stove and stand, just wish I could pack it better.

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James Loy
( jimbluz - M )

Pacific NW
Trail Designs Caldera Cone on 03/31/2007 16:50:04 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I purchased one of these for my Snowpeak Mini-Solo pot and while I am much impressed with the performance, I am still looking for a good solution to carrying the cone. Suggestions appreciated. I am waiting till they resume production so I can get one for my Antigravity Gear 3-cup pot as this will shorten the length of the cone considerably. They are also planning to make a cone to fit the MSR Kettle. I tried a White Box stove inside the cone but do not recommend it due to the intense heat inside the cone. I'm pretty happy with the Trail Designs stove anyway, and it also comes with a priming pan. I have found the company very responsive to questions. I give it a 4 due to the storage aspects of the cone.

Uppdate, October 2007: After using the Caldera Cone system for the Antigravity Gear 3-cup pot, I am now fully converted. I used the system in a brisk wind coming across a lake (elevation approx 3,000') with no problems or loss of efficiency whatsoever. I also used it in the Canadian Rockies at approx 6500 feet with temperatures in the low to mid 20s. Again, no loss of efficiency at all. A solid performer. Although I also have the cone system for the MSR Kettle and the Firelite 550, I much prefer the AGG 3-cup combination because of the shorter cone and ease of storage. I place the bottom of the cone inside the pot, put the stove, matches, 4oz fuel, spoon,etc inside the cone, and cover with a small piece of MSR mini towel, and then a Snowpeak 16oz pot/mug over the top. The pot lid goes into a small stuffsack and the rest on top. I have found this system, though not as compact as others, to be more efficient and far more windproof than others I have tried.

Edited by jimbluz on 10/03/2007 11:04:27 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
MSR Mug priced at: $11.96 - $14.99
MSR Spoon priced at: $4.21 - $4.95
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John Carter
( jcarter1 )

Pacific Northwest
Caldera Stove storage option on 04/01/2007 02:00:04 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I give the Caldera Cone a 5 for it's simplicity and wind resistance. It provides the best compromise between lighter weight but wind-prone alcohol systems and heavier but more wind resistant canister stoves.

In addition, I thought I would share my storage method, since this seems to be the primary area of criticism. Granted, my setup probably only works with the Snow Peak 600, as the other mugs might be too wide for this to work:

Caldera Cone

At the bottom of the mug is the stove, and the fuel bottle is tucked inside the cone in a zip lock bag to catch leaks. The aluminum wrapped around the side is the ground protector. The homemade lid goes on the bottom of the mug. To protect both the cone and items in my backpack, I drape my 0.3oz dish towel (for drying my mug) over the cone, and insert everything into a 0.1oz produce bag to contain and further protect the items:

Caldera Cone 2

Its only slighly taller than my Heineken beer can setup, and it fits suprisingly well into my backpack (the tapered cone conforms to the taper in my backpack in the space that I store the setup. And with the stove inside and the fuel bottle on top of this, there is very little air space inside (i.e. it does not take up unnecessary volume in my pack as you might expect on first glance; what you see inside the produce bag is every component of my cooking system).

Total weight for mug, stove, cone, fuel bottle, ziplock bag, butane lighter, lid, dish cloth and produce bag: 6.8oz. Yes, there are lighter options out there. But none that are as wind resistant for the weight and that feature the durability of a titanium mug.

Edited by jcarter1 on 04/01/2007 02:04:51 MDT.

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Duane Hall
( PKH - M )

Nova Scotia
Caldera Cone Storage on 06/11/2007 13:40:47 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

As with the previous reviewer, 5/5 for efficiency, simplicity and ease of use. It is an absolute delight not to have to fiddle with flimsy windscreens. I have the cone fitted for the .9 litre Vargo pot, and I had worked out my own fairly complex packing technique using yoghurt and Koolaid containers. Then I took the excellent advice of Trail Designs' Rand Lindsly. That is: there is a Zip Lock twist top container that fits the .9 litre Vargo cone as if it was designed for that purpose only. Sweet. All in all, a fine piece of kit that actually has me enjoying using alchol as my prime camping fuel.



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Brian James
( bjamesd )

South Coast of BC
The gold standard for stove systems on 06/12/2007 14:52:12 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

This stove has all the darling features that make alcohol such a desirable backpacking fuel, and it fixes the glaring flaws. With this system on the market, Alcohol stoves are officially no longer a compromise unless it's far below freezing or you need to simmer.

It's failproof. It's silent. From packed to eating, it's got all the speed you need.

But unlike other alcohol stoves, it is nearly impossible to tip over! And unlike almost any other stove on the market, it is effectively windproof. Any place that's sheltered enough to stop for a meal is sheltered enough that this little baby won't even know there's a wind.

Now that I have a Caldera Cone, even my Primus Multifuel feels jerry-rigged. If you get this unit, you will never again be able to tolerate smoothing out some a crinkly aluminum-foil windscreen and/or carefully constructing a delicate "Jenga" game with tent pegs and bent titanium rod that has your dinner balancing at the top. Nor will you have patience for a windscreen that flutters in the breeze because it's not connected to anything else.

This is one of the most stable stoves on the market without question. It's in the absolute top tier category of windproofness; you could call it a complete Trangia system that weighs 2 ounces. (But it's far more efficient than a Trangia.)

Unless you need to simmer for some reason, or melt snow, this thing is your stove. Buy one and then try to go back to your old system!

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Jason Smith
( JasonS )

Great Stove System on 06/12/2007 14:57:41 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

I love my caldera cone for my Evernew .9 pot. It is extemely stable, I don't need to worry about tipping it over. I don't need to worry about the wind. One earlier review mentioned its lack of simmer. However, it is easy to make a ring out of titanium wind screen. Place it above the jets. Get the stove going. The knock it down with your spork when you want to start it simmering. Also, for storage I wrap it around the alcohol bottle they provide and then place an elastic band around it.

I gave it a 4 out of 5 to encourage them coming out with a titanium version.

Edited by JasonS on 06/12/2007 14:59:54 MDT.

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David White
( davidw )

Caldera Cone -- now for BPL FireLite 500 on 06/25/2007 20:15:46 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Specifications (weight on a scale with 1/10 oz accuracy):

Stove 0.6oz
Caldera Cone 1.0oz
Fuel Bottle and Cup 1.0oz
QuikTrip cup 0.6oz (not included, see notes below)
BPL Cookpot and lid 2.8oz (not included, purchased from

Total system weight excluding fuel and igniter: 6.0oz


I’ve been asking the folks at Trail Designs for a FireLite 500 version of there well-liked Caldera Cone periodically for several months. Well, they finally got around to crafting such a model and were gracious enough to send me the very first one. The system is now available at Antigravity Gear ( This review is based on tests at home. A full field trial will have to wait until things cool down a little (heat and humidity are oppressive in the Midwest right now).

The stove is fairly typical of other high quality alcohol stoves but has been tuned for optimum performance with the Caldera Cone. The large center hole makes filling it very easy. The attached primer plate can be used in colder weather to help pre-heat the main fuel supply. It wasn’t necessary to use the primer plate in my tests. While other stoves may work with the Cone, for the time being I plan to keep using the Trail Designs stove.

A fuel bottle and measuring cup are also provided. The bottle holds up to 9 ounces of fuel. It includes a removable reducer (I call it a “squirter top”) which lets you squeeze a measured amount of alcohol into the measuring cup or stove. The reducer is a friction fit into the bottle. The fit is fairly tight and at first I was concerned about how to repeatedly remove it without damaging the thin lip. Trail Designs’ Rand Lindsly suggested using a paper clip or small screw inserted in the center hole to facilitate remove. Problem solved. The measuring cup is similar to the ones found on some cough syrup bottles with measuring marks in milliliters and ounces. It’s very useful in getting the right amount of fuel into the stove. The cup is made of very lightweight material and might be easily damaged. However it fits easily into the cookpot which should protect it, so I’m not really concerned about damage and I welcome the weight savings. The biggest concern about the fuel bottle for me is the size. At a 9 ounce capacity, it has enough capacity for 18 meals. As a weekend hiker, that’s way too much wasted space. In fairness, if Trail Designs had included a more moderate sized bottle, the long distance folks would be complaining about the anemic fuel capacity. Sometimes the manufacturer just can’t win.

The heart of the system is of course the Caldera Cone itself. It’s a very ingenious design incorporating both a very high efficiency windscreen and an extremely stable pot support. The construction quality is first rate with no raged edges. The recently updated attaching ridges are simple, effective, and rugged. Be sure, however, to read the instructions to ensure you’re attaching them correctly. The cookpot fits precisely and snugly into the Cone. Although it’s easy to insert the pot into the cone, the fit is snug enough that if you lift the pot, the cone comes along for the ride. The instructions state that over time the fit will loosen so that the cone stays on the ground. I don’t think it really matters in either case. The relatively wide base of the cone makes for the most stable pot support I’ve every experienced.

To test the system, I boiled 1-1/2 cups of cold tap water (the practical capacity of the FireLite 500 cookpot). I did this in my garage at room temperature with no wind. The instructions called for 15ml of alcohol to boil 2 cups of water. I used the full 15ml in my test. After 4:20 the water came to a very rapid boil to the point that it pushed the lid of the cookpot off (mine is an earlier model of the FireLite with a poorly fitting lid). Shortly after that time, the stove burned out. I found this performance more than adequate and efficient.

One of the most voiced concerns about the Caldera Cone system is how to safely store it. I discovered that a modified 32 ounce QuikTrip frozen drink cup is perfectly sized to hold and protect the cone and can be inserted inside the FireLite cookpot (see photos).

Caldera Cone inside QuickTrip cup Caldera Cone inside QuickTrip cup Entire system in stuff sack

I rolled up the cone and inserted it into the QuikTrip cup. I then drew a line on the cup where the edge of the cone was and used shears to shorten the cup to that height. The shortened cup fits perfectly into the FireLite cookpot with a slight friction fit. The cup can also hold your lighter, the fuel measuring cup and the alcohol stove. As a secondary use, the QuikTrip cup has markings to allow its use as a measuring cup for water (the 1/4 marking is equivalent to 1 cup) and of course it can be used as a drinking cup. As the Caldera Cones are designed for specific cookpots, the QuikTrip cup may not work for all models – but the concept seems solid. Of course if you’re taking a sleeping pad anyway, you can simply roll the cone into it with no worries.


In my own backpacking experience I’ve transitioned from white case, to canister stoves, to alcohol, to Esbit solid fuel stoves. Now I find that I’m going happily back to alcohol fuel based on the merits of the Caldera Cone system. Although slightly heavier than my Esbit system, it offers several advantages that I believe are worth the small weight penalty. Additional field testing is still needed; but for now I’m a very happy convert.

+ Excellent construction and durability compared to other alcohol stove solutions
+ Easy to set up with no small pieces to be lost
+ Very efficient use of fuel
+ Extremely stable cooking platform, even on uneven surfaces
+ Promises to excel in windy conditions (untested as yet)

- Higher initial cost than most alcohol solutions
- Slightly heavier than some of the very lightest solutions
- Only works for the cookpot it was designed for (not really a problem; you just need to be aware of it)
- Storage in your backpack has been problematic for some (but see my QuikTrip cup solution described above)

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Sven Klingemann
( svenklingemann )
Just a great stove on 11/05/2007 08:04:30 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The Caldera stove is truly wonderful. I have paired it with the Firelite 500 mug and it performs really well. Boiling times are much shorter compared to the MSR pocker rocket I have and if you know how much fuel to take you will also have significant savings in weight. People have commented on the packing issues wuth regards to the cone; I bought the Caldera kitchen package and would say that the plastic storage container/measuring cup is well worth the extra weight for the ease of storing the cone as well as a fuel bottle, matches and other items in it. Without it the cone would certainly bend. Overall, I would not go back to a non-alcohol stove!

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
MSR Fuel Bottle priced at: $8.00 - $19.95
MSR Mug priced at: $11.96 - $14.99
mitchell stille
( sugarbear )

Upper Midwest
Amazing system + storage solution on 03/08/2008 21:50:17 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I will eco the sentiments of most everyone by saying that this is an amazing solo cooking solution. I paired my MSR Titan Kettle with the appropriate version and I suddenly had an incredibly light kitchen that performs almost as well as my Jetboil (although the Jetboil simmers better) but that comes in at almost a pound less and performs better in cold weather.

That being said I was at a loss on how to store my windscreen. Then I grabbed a 1 liter Aquafina bottle and cut the top off. Shazaam! I had the solution to my carrying dilemma. I have been using this system for 6+ mo's and it works great. I usually put something insides the windscreen to give it a little more resiliency (a pair of socks, bandanna, etc.) Plus, i was able to mark measurements on the Aquafina bottle so I can always add the correct amount of liquid.

If anyone has a better/cheaper/more versatile suggestion for carrying your windscreen please let me know.

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James Lantz
( jameslantz )

North Georgia
Packing solution for Snowpeak 600 on 03/09/2008 19:00:52 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I agree with the previous posts about the merits of the Caldera Cone. So much lighter than my Primus Technotrail II! I simply roll up the cone & place it in my Snowpeak 600 Ti mug. Then, place the stove, alcohol bottle, & spork inside the cone. I then cover the whole thing with the mesh cinch bag than comes with the Snowpeak 600 mug & it fits perfectly. The cinch end of the bag goes toward the bottom of the Ti mug & will barely cinch around the bottom of the Ti mug. The closed end of the cinch bag keeps the stove accessories in place.

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Elliott Wolin
( ewolin )

Hampton Roads, Virginia
Some performance info w/MSR Titan kettle 0.85 liter on 05/03/2008 20:51:48 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Ti-Tri just arrived. Made some measurements on my patio, mild weather (60's), no wind. I used cool tap water.

I boiled 1, 2, and 3 cups of water in an MSR Titan kettle. Rolling boil times 4, 7.25, and 10.25 mins.

Put in 10 ml, 19 ml, and 30 ml denatured alcohol. Burn times 5.25, 9.75, and 15.75 mins.


burn time(min) = 0.53 * (alcohol in ml) - 0.1

boil time(min) = 3.13 * (water in cups) + 0.92

This gives, in round numbers:

(ml alcohol to boil) = 6 * (number of cups of water) + 2

Thus for example, two cups of water requires 6*2 + 2 = 14 ml alcohol.

More of course will be needed for colder or windier conditions. I don't know if this will hold for other pots, but it should be close for ones similar to the MSR Titan (0.85 liter).

Final note: I seem to have needed longer times to get to a rolling boil than others have reported...perhaps my water was colder?

Edited by ewolin on 05/03/2008 21:11:58 MDT.

Price comparison from GearBuyer: MSR Titan Kettle priced at: $47.98 - $60.00
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Michael Davis
( mad777 )

South Florida
Revolutionary! on 07/05/2008 07:29:00 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

While I've always loved the lightweight factor of cooking with alcohol stoves, they consistantly detracted from the overall enjoyment of the outdoors. Fiddling with rickety pot stands, warped fly-away windscreens, etc. made backcountry cooking a miserable chore.

Now however, the Caldera Cone has made dinner time in the woods a pleasure! Yes, it's efficient and all that, as pointed out in other reviews, but I would use it exclusively even if it weren't, just for the ease of use. There simply are no issues with stablility, or wind when using this stove. Just light it and forget it, and let your mind enjoy the outdoors.

I've given this stove a rating of 5 but it's "ease of use" rating is a 10!

I use it with my 0.9 L Vargo ti pot.

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Mark Hurd
( markhurd - M )

South Texas
Caldera Keg- Best Alcohol Stove Setup on 11/06/2008 17:10:26 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I am reviewing the Caldera Keg, but much of this also applies to the Caldera Cone for the 1.3L Evernew pot which I also own.

Easy To Set Up- unroll the cone and slip the dovetails together then insert the Keg in the small end of the cone can opening up. Done. The can is crimped at the 2 cup mark so it is easy to pour in 2 cups to the line.

Efficient- I usually use about 15 ml (1/2 oz) of denatured ethanol (90%) to boil 2 cups (500 ml) of 60 F (15.5 C) water- slightly more or less depending on conditions.

Fast- Roughly 6-7 minutes to boil that 2 cups (500 ml) of 60 F (15.5 C) water. (The narrow tall keg heats slower than a pot with a wide bottom. My Evernew takes a little over 4 minutes to boil under the same conditions)

Light- The whole kitchen- pot (keg), cone (windscreen and pot stand), stove, lid, wire pot grabber, and stuff sack weigh less than 3 oz (84 gms). That is everything!

Stability- Darn hard to tip over. Other than kicking it, you can be confident that you won't lose your dinner by bumping the pot.

Wind Tolerant- The cone is an exceptional wind screen. Wind is just not a problem except in the most extreme cases.

Fiddle Factor- None- Just set it up and leave it alone. No messing with the windscreen or nursing the stove, or worry about tipping, In fact, the cone acts like an insulator around the keg and even several minutes after the stove goes out the water is still plenty hot for most purposes. Also, I can not overstate the convenience of the set and go aspect of this stove.

Problems- This is a light weight set up and the keg is not as strong as a Ti pot so it must be handled accordingly. TrailDesigns has included a plastic container to protect the system, but I have been using mine with nothing but a silnylon stuff sack for well over 50 camping nights without any problem. Even one minor dent to the keg was easily fixed with my thumb. The rolled up cone does not fit completely into the keg, because it needs a certain height for maximum efficiency. But I have found rolling it up and inserting the cone small end first into the keg then inverting the stove and putting it into the part of the cone sticking out makes for a very compact and robust package. So with modest care this set up will last.

Rating 5/5 My go to stove setup for solo camping. Light, efficient, stable, fast, wind tolerant, set and go- What is not to like?

P.S. TrailDesigns folks are also great to talk to and very responsive.

Edited by markhurd on 11/06/2008 17:13:33 MST.

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George Matthews
( gmatthews - M )
BPL Trappers Mug Caldera Cone on 12/21/2008 13:14:30 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

Really nice system. All you need is the Mug. I usually boil 1.5 cups of water using about 3/4 oz (12 drams) or a bit less of denatured alcohol depending on the water's coldness.

A secondary benefit is that on a chilly morning, the heat rising from the cone serves as a hand warmer while you're heating your water.

Edited by gmatthews on 12/21/2008 13:15:31 MST.

Jay Wilkerson
( Creachen )

East Bay
Simple and easy to use!!! on 02/19/2009 14:15:45 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

The Caldera stove system is so simple and easy to use-this is a No Brainer people. It boils a cup and 1/2 of water quickly, the Caldera is very stable with no fiddle factor at all. If it is cold at night or morning you can warm your hands with it, you can use either alcohol or a esbit tab as fuel. The only down side is its pack volume-odd shape. You need to pack it with the plastic container it comes or pack it in a Snow Peak 600. Over all a very good cook system. (HIGH FIVE)

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Dylan Carlson
( Dylan_Carlson )
Fuel miser on 10/01/2009 17:57:10 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

Everything is a compromise, and all alcohol stoves have their downsides.

I used my Caldera Cone with the Snow Peak Mini Solo pot.

It didn't cook any faster than my friends' alcohol stoves, but it used significantly less fuel - that really adds up over a several day trip. It saved more than enough fuel to make up for the cone's weight. And it was super sturdy in addition.

My only gripes:
- expensive for what it is
- included caldera caddy is effin' heavy (threw it away.)
- cone itself grew stress cracks toward the end of my CDT thru-hike. requires replacement now.

Brian UL

New England
The last word in stoves? Maybe on 11/28/2009 04:07:58 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

After using both the Caldera cone and Ti-Tri stove for quite a while and watched as Trail designs keeps improving and addressing customers concerns Ive come to this conclusion...
the Caldera cone and Ti-Tri systems makes all other alcohol, esbit, and wood stoves all but obsolete. This is just my opinion but I say that because while all other alcohol/ wood stove designs try to make small improvements in efficiency this system addressed and solved the main practical REAL problem that all stoves face- wind.
You can put the cone in a full on wind and as long as the wind isn't unreasonably strong, i.e. strong enough to knock the pot over or push it around, it will cook. While even a canister stove in similar conditions will have a hard time staying lit and the heat will be carried away faster than it can be used and forget using an alcohol stove in those conditions. Yes, all stoves use a wind screen to try to address the wind but they are poor solutions. Other wind screens are light because people want to keep weight down therefore the wind screens themselves are easily blown around by the wind and you end up using them as breeze screens out of the wind. The Caldera cone design uses the weight of the pot and its contents to hold it in place and it has a solid wide base making it safer and more stable than any stove I can think of. the screen also captures and directs the heat directly where it needs to be- on the pot. Traditional wind screens don't do that anywhere near as well. I highly doubt anyone will come up with a better design anytime soon.
Thank you.

Adam Frizzell
( adamf )

For me, it's perfect on 12/21/2009 11:37:19 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

My Caldera Cone is a new addition to my kit, and I'm impressed with it every time I use it. I have used it with both the supplied alcohol stove as well as the GramCracker esbit stove. My version is for the BPL FireLite 550 with no handles. It's not the most compact stove/windscreen combo out there, but you can really notice the difference in efficiency and boil times. Easily my favorite stove, hand down.

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