Wednesday, 14 January 2009

But in Practice there is!!

"In theory there's no difference between theory and practice but in practice there is"

I'm not sure who said it apart from me just now but it's true.

I've been convinced that 'Performance Cookware' was the way to go and that titanium was a poor material to make cookware from due to it being a poor conductor so it was with great expectations that I ordered a Primus EtaPower 1.0L pot to use primarily with my own design woodstove and back-up MBD Blackfly #4. I've been out in the garage testing various combinations and the results are interesting to say the least (well interesting to me)

The set up was the MBD Blackfly #4 (a meths burning wick stove)my woodstove which I built specifically to accept the Blackfly #4 and 500ml of cold tap water. I'd previously tested the same with an titanium Alpkit Mitymug and it took 11.43 to achieve a rolling boil in an ambient temp of 11deg.

I had used a 20mm high potstand with the Mitymug but due to the heat exchanger on the Eta pot I used a 30mm high potstand. The ambient temp tonight was 8/9deg.

The box the Etapower pot came in states,

"Increase Stove Efficiency with 50%" and "With Primus EtaPower pots your stove becomes 50% faster and 50% more efficient"

It does say they can be used with any existing LP gas or multifuel burner on the market but doesn't mention meths burning wick stoves.

I tried it 1st with the 30mm pot stand, time to bring 500ml to a rolling boil? 14.43!! Obviously something wrong there, rather than being faster it was actually 3 minutes slower. I wanted to prove to myself that the Eta pot was in fact better so I switched to the 20mm pot stand, this time a rolling boil in 10.43, 1 minute faster than the previously tested Mitymug. Not IMO significant. I noticed that the Eta pot started to produce steam very early, as early as 3 minutes so I wondered if the lid was a poor fit. I tried again this time using a lid from a Tibetan ti 900 pot which was a much better fit. This made no practical difference (10 seconds) Still desperate to prove my theory correct I re-tested the Mitymug as it was slightly colder in the garage than the previous night (only 3 deg but I was desperate) The Mitymug time was within 15 seconds of the previous test at 11.58, totally insignificant. Finally having accepted that the EtaPower pot didn't even come close to living up to the hype with my stove I tried a further 2 pots, both part of the Gelert Ascent 2 kit, the larger 1.0L pot managed 11.54 and the smaller 500ml pot 11.03

The times were as follows,in each case the pots were filled with 500ml cold tap water, the Blackfly #4 was the source of heat.

EtaPower 1.0L = 14.43 (30mm stand)
EtaPower 1.0L = 10.43 (20mm stand)
EtaPower 1.0L = 10.33 (20mm stand, Tibetan ti lid)
Mitymug 750ml = 11.58 (20mm stand)
Gelert 1.0L = 11.54 (20mm stand)
Gelert 500ml = 11.03 (20mm stand)

What conclusions should you draw? well your own of course :-)

Based on my intended use with my stoves my conclusion is,

The EtaPower pot isn't worth the extra weight over the Mitymug or the extra cost over the Gelert Ascent 2 cookset. There's way too much steam produced by the EtaPower pot for reasons that remain unknown to me for me to want to use it in a tent. Titanium seems to work just as well as aluminium in spite of it being a poor conductor. The smallest pot you can get away with is probably the best and last but by no means least,

The Blackfly #4 is a fantastic little stove.

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