Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cook Systems

The snow is slowly melting and Spring is here. Granted, this is a Maine Spring, which means we're supposed to get a great deal of snow this evening. Soon enough, though, I expect the weather to warm... and out into the woods we shall go.

Some friends and I are planning a weekend hang (hammock camping) to test out some hammocks I've built - this will be the perfect opportunity to test out some of the Cook Systems that I've put together over the Winter.

My Standard Solo Set:
1. GSI Soloist Cook Pot and Bowl/Mug
2. GSI Telescoping Foon
3. Starlyte Alcohol Stove
4. DIY Windscreen and Pot Stand

This is probably the one I would take on most trips. It's very versatile, lightweight, and small. The Lid works both for the pot and the bowl, it has a built in strainer. The stuff sack is a water bag, and can be used as a camp sink to wash everything. The pot is made from "Halulite", a proprietary alloy that is as light as Titanium, but transfers heat better and more evenly.

Here is everything taken out, except the windscreen is still coiled up in the bowl.

Everything packed in the pot.

All packed up and ready to go. The whole system fits in the pot for transport.

Kmart Grease Pot Setup:
1. Kmart Grease Pot
2. Pot Gripper
3. Windscreen (not pictured)
4. ABS alcohol burner (w/ Supercat backup)

This is the best way to go if you're on a budget. The Aluminum Grease Pot sells for about $6.00. You can make both stoves for another $3.00 and a cheap pot gripper may run you $3.00. Add $1.00 for the windscreen for a Grand Total: $13.00. Pretty good for an entire cook system. The ABS burner slides right into a Supercat stove (not needed, but weighs so little that I consider it worth having as a backup stove). You can keep the strainer accessory with the pot or toss it for more weight savings. You'll notice I replaced the lid's handle - not so much for the weight but so that it would pack better.

Pot, strainer top, lid, ABS burner, Supercat, pot gripper.
Everything fits nicely into the pot for transport.

Wood Burner Set:
1. DIY Bushbuddy
2. Stainless Steel Cook Pot ("Sugar" cannister from Target)
3. Windscreen (not pictured)
4. Supercat (not pictured)

I like this pot for wood fire because Stainless Steel cleans easily. This pot can hold a lot, so it may be best suited for small groups (I do need to add a wire handle so I can move it safely when it's hot). The lid can be used for heating a cup or two of water for drinks. I like to keep a very light alcohol stove (fits in the wood stove for transport) as a backup for when the weather is nasty wet and dry wood is going to be hard to come by. The DIY Bushbuddy goes into a nylon stuff sack then into the cook pot for travel in order to keep the pot clean. Some tinfoil can be placed around the bottom of the pot to keep the soot off.

Minimalist Solo:
1. GSI Glacier Mug
2. Caldera Cone
3. Mini-Starlyte Alcohol Stove

This setup is a little too minimalist for me to use on a regular basis, but is still large enough to do freezer bag dinners, single servings of most meals, and hot drinks. The Glacier Mug is sized so that a Nalgene fits into it, so it can pack very small. The Starlyte is a tiny stove and the Caldera Cone can lay flat in the pack against the back panel, or coil around a water bottle.

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