Sunday, 17 January 2010
MYOG. Sub 200g Cooking System
Last year I bought a large, approx 1.0L keg shaped beer can from the US with the intention of using it as a cooking pot, I also got some small 330ml keg shaped cans which I thought I could use to make a lighweight mug. I tried both but found there were a variety of issues that I wasn't keen on. Recently I thought about trying again and started using the 1.0L can with my cone type windshield but as there wasn't a suitable rim on the can to rest on the top of the cone I had to carry an additional pot stand.
I started messing around with the cans again to see if I could overcome the problems that I had before. One problem was that when I tried to use the 330ml can as a mug it was too hot to hold as the thin wall didn't insulate well enough. I got around that problem by making a short cosy from alu bubble wrap, it's primary function is to prevent my hand from getting burned but as I can remove it and fold it up it'll fit inside the can for packing, this allows me to store it inside the large can.
Another problem was a means of lifting the large pot off the burner without getting my hand burned, I had tried the usual method of wrapping the pot with kevlar wick but this added too much weight, in fact once the wick was added the pot weighed almost as much as my 550ml titanium pot. I managed to solve that problem indirectly.
The cone type windshield is really efficient but it isn't without compromises, it'll only work with one size of pot and when rolled for packing it's too tall to fit into the pot so it needs to be packed in it's own container which adds both weight and bulk. As I needed a different method of supporting the beer can I compromised on the efficiency of the windshield by making it shorter so that it would fit into the pot and using a titanium tent peg pushed throught the windshield to support the pot. An added benefit of using the tent peg is that it effectively locks the cone which makes the cone more ridgid or at least simplifies the method of locking the cone in position. I was then able to store the windshield inside the large pot together with the small pot.
Terra Nova Ti Skewer to Support Pot
Skewer through Cone locking it in position. Cut Outs in Cosy to grab Pot
Of course the pots are pretty fragile but using a plastic food container made the whole excercise pointless as far as weight was concerned. I thought about storing the pots in the envelope shaped alu bubblewrap cozy that I use when rehydrating a meal but while it worked it was a bit bulky and only provided a single layer of protection. I decided to make 2 cylinder shaped cosies, one to fit the large pot and another to go over the top, this provides more protection but the entire set still fits into an Alpkit Apollo A5 stuff sack. Using 2 cosies solved the problem of holding a pot filled with boiling water, what I do is lift the pot off the stove using a silicone wrist band around the top of the pot, place the pot into the smaller cosy and I can hold it easily without getting burned, I then pour the boiling water into the ziplock bag containg my meal, place the meal into the large cosy and then place the pot & cosy inside the larger one to keep it warm.
To pack everything away I remove the insulation from the mug and place it inside together with my lighter, then place the small can in the larger one, the cone windshield is then rolled and placed into the large pot over/around the small pot then I place the lid on the large pot and put the small cosy over the pot. The stove and measuring cup go into the large cosy and the pot goes inside. I store my spoon, the tent peg and permanent match between the outer and inner cozy and it all goes into the stuff sack.
The entire system consists of;
1 x 1.0L Pot & Lid
1 x Cozy for 1.0L Pot
1 x 330ml Mug & Lid (Lid Optional)
1 x Cozy for 330ml Mug
1 x Cone Windshield
1 x Ti Skewer
1 x Lighter
1 x Permanent Match
1 x Large Plastic Spoon
1 x Meths Burner
1 x Fuel Measuring Cup (Optional)
1 x Outer Cosy/Protective Cover
1 x Alpkit Apollo A5 Stuffsack
Total Weight - 190g approx
Everything Packed, Spoon, Skewer & Match slipped between Inner and Outer Cosy, Tab makes it easier to remove Pot
The Burner and Measure go in the Bottom of the Larger Cosy, Pot/Cosy stores Base down
Mug, Lid, Cosy, Lighter & Windshield Store in Pot
I'm pretty sure I can get the weight down a bit more, I think thin closed cell foam (3-5mm) is lighter than alu bubble wrap and would insulate better. The cozy for the pot is primarily to make it easy to hold rather than for insulation so I could probably cut holes around the bottom 1/3, against that I'd need to line the base with alufoil to stop the pot from melting the foam. I also think I'll make a wire bail/lifter for the pot rather than use the silicone band. One thing I noticed was that when using Duct tape you need to be careful not to add too much weight, I ended up using it cut in half (width) which is enough to make the joins. This was really a 1st attempt but there are other things I could change which might make it lighter or make it more useable, it's always easier to see where changes can be made once the 1st attempt has been made.