Wednesday, 1 July 2009

New Cooking System

I managed to shave a few more grams by changing my cooking system again. I had been using an Alpkit Mitymug mk2 which looks identical to the Tibetan titanium 700ml mug and is marginally lighter than the mk1 version which is similar to the Vargo ti-lite mug. I used it as my cooking pot and carried a 450ml Tibetan ti mug. I'd toyed with the idea a while back of simply using the 450ml mug as I rarely need to boil more than 500ml of water at a time but in the end I decided against it.

My next experiment was using a 330ml Heinie can as a mug and to complement it I ordered a 24oz Heinie can from Tinny at MBD to use as a pot. I found that when using the 330ml can as a mug it was too hot to hold even if it hadn't been used on the stove so I ordered some wick from Tinny to wrap both pot and mug. It has to be said that the Heinie can are nowhere near as robust as the titanium pots and once you wrap then with wick much of the weight advantage is lost.

I had been browsing a few e-shops and on Ultralight Outdoor Gear I found a Tibetan ti 550ml version of the Mitymug and on ebay 'Treklite' were selling a mug to match, a Tibetan ti 375ml. I ordered both and used them when I took the Hike-Lite tent out for a trial and everything is fine. I always liked a metal mug as it gave me an extra option for cooking even if a plastic mug would probably be lighter however the next change to my system means I can't actually use the 375ml mug so maybe a plastic cup will be fine............ if I can get one that fits the 550ml pot.

The item in question is similar to the Caldera Cone. A guy on Outdoors magic, Captain Paranoia, came up with a program/script that allows you to print a template matched to your own pot/burner combination and also allows you to decide how many vents you want and what size you want them. All you need to do is download 2 programs off the net (GSview & Ghostscript) to use the template file. The template supplied suits a Mitymug but by opening the file in something like wordpad you can change the parameters, Pot height/diameter, burner height, distance between burner and pot etc. Once done the file is saved with the suffix .ps and it then opens automatically using the downloaded programs. Then all you do is print off the template, tape it to a sheet of aluminium foil and cut it out. I used 0.20mm alufoil but you could use heavier or lighter.

I haven't tried it out in the field but have tested it outside and it seems to work fine, I'm pretty confidant that efficiency is improved but regardless it combine windshield and potstand in one unit and improves stability. Obviously it only works with one size of pot so I can't use the 375ml mug on it. Storage is a slight problem although the Capt Paranoia suggests using 2 x 500ml meths bottles cut to fit inside each other as a caddy. I'm not sure if I'll use that method, I'm going to simply roll it inside my Closed Cell sleeping mat which seems to work fine.

My cooking system now comprises;

Tibetan ti 550ml pot & lid - 88g
Tibetan ti 375ml Mug - 57g
EK Alcohol Burner & Measuring Cup - 23g
Cone Windshield/Potstand - 27g

Total (inc Stuff Sack) 214g

My Cutlery comprises a GSI Long Spoon at 12g and a plastic disposable teaspoon at 2g so my complete cooking System weighs in at 228g. If I wanted to include a woodstove an Ultralight version of the EK750 based on ones built for a customer in Sweden adds an additional 89g.

For the record the 2 Heinie pots wrapped with wick and including lids weigh 104g, only about 40g difference, not as tough as the titanium set but still an option if I'm really desperate but I'd need to make another cone to suit.


  1. captain paranoia1 July 2009 at 12:43

    Looks nicely made, Mac. Glad to see you figured the script out in the end. I sent you a MyTiMug version to start with, as that was closest to what you were using, and you seemed to be having trouble with modifying the script, which is supplied as a .ps file...

    I'd also point out that the script supports a two-piece split design to allow the finished Clone to fit into a pan, along the lines of the Caldera Fissure. You might like to give that a go.

    You might also think about using Thermawrap or neoprene to insulate the 330ml Heiny mug; may be lighter than the wick?

  2. I'll certainly try the 2 piece design, now that I know what I'm doing (thanks to your patience) there'll be no end of experiments ;-)

    I had thought about the mug, it doesn't need a flame proof wrap now that I won't be using it directly on the burner, I can't go for too thick material though as it mightn't fit into the 24oz pot. Also on the 24oz pot I can shorten the wrap and double it for a short section to create a step allowing it to hang from the cone. Alternatively I could punch 4 holes to allow me to slide 2 Vargo nails through as a pot stand.

    I'm pleased with it and hopefully others will give it a go.

  3. Thanks for the 375ml mug tip - perfect partner to my MyTiMug and a third the weight of my other half's current twinwall stainless mug...
    And, well, more Ti... {grin}

  4. Rob you can get a 450ml version that still fits into a Mytimug. Treklite on ebay usually have them. Reliable seller, I've bought a few bits and pieces from them.

  5. I use a plastic mug, you can find one for 50g or less if you look.
    For packing, I do the following:
    - roll caldera cone into a smaller cone and secure with elastic band
    - push suitably sized plastic bottle of meths inside the cone
    - wrap the cone in a small microfibre cloth (useful for holding hot things, as well as mopping etc) or similar
    - stuff the result into the mug
    - poke a spork between the mug and the cone to secure it.
    The result is quite compact and quite easy to pack in a rucksack. The stove itself I put inside the Ti pot, together with lighting kit, a few sachets of soup, whatever will fill the space..

  6. Good stuff Jerry, I'll look into it.

  7. Interesting post this one. Looks like you've been trying to achieve the same thing as me - getting a stove, mug, wind-screen, etc, all to fit into a single pot.

    I'm almost there, well to be honest I am there (home-made wind-screen, SuperCat stove, Foldacup) but it's not quite perfect. What I'd really like is a two piece Ti-Tri Caldera that would fit into my Titan Kettle with enough room for a Titan mug! We can but dream.

  8. It constantly evolves though doesn't it, every set up I've had has been perfect....... for the 1st couple of hours, then you start refining and it'd so it goes.

    I read somewhere, I think it was in the book 'Hunting Warbirds' where some aircraft designer from way back was quoted as saying that things have reached the peak of development "not when there's nothing left to add but when there's nothing left to take away"

    I think you could apply that maxim to cooksets.