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Old 06-02-09, 01:35 PM   #1
linux_author
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Lightweight cookset reviews w/pics

As promised, this is a wrap-up of several different cooksets I use when cycling.
Sometimes it's nice to have a fresh cup of coffee or soup, or have a
hot meal during an outing. Experienced hands are encouraged to join
in with tips, tricks, or traps for gear used to fix meals on wheels.

I'll start with a light approach, then progress to heavier gear.
I have included a rough weight for each cook set, taken with my gear
scale.

The cookset equipment covered here is:

Coleman Exponent Solo (large pot/pan)
GSI nFORM Pinnacle Soloist Ultralight Non Stick cookset
Coleman Exponent Solo (small pot/pan)
Vargo Titanium 'Ti-lite' Mug

The stoves used in this post are:

homebrew semi-pressurized aluminum sideburner
Trangia Spirit burner
Optimus Crux Lite stove
SVEA 123R

These cooksets and stoves are combined according to 'nesting'
ability, with an aim towards consolidating items needed to cook
in a single package. Two components shared across all sets
are folding Titanium sporks, such as the $8 folder from
Brasslite and brass lantern lighters, about $4, found at
nearly all 'box-mart' stores. Note that a spare flint
is also located inside the larger knurled knob:



First up is the lightest cookset I use. Handy on longer rides, it
easily fits into the Nashbar rack/pack I have on each of my
bikes. The cookset consists of the Vargo Titanium 'Ti-lite' Mug,
which is actually a pot with a lid sporting five drain holes:



A small alcohol stove, windscreen, lighter, 4-oz Nalgene fuel
bottle (enough for four to six meals), spork, napkin, and
coffee, tea, and sugar packets fit neatly inside.

I detailed how to make the stove in this earlier thread:

homebrew alcohol stove

This is the lightest of the cook sets detailed here, coming in
at .9-lb.

Alcohol cooking is the 'greenest' of fuel methods outlined
in this missive, and the most inexpensive. You can find
fuel at your local home improvement store, such as the SLX
brand of denatured alcohol, at nearly any gas station
in the yellow Heet bottles, or use 'Everclear' from your
liquor store.

Cooking is accomplished by placing the priming pan, stove,
and windscreen, then priming the stove and placing the pot
on top - about 3 mins for 8 oz or 4 mins for 16 oz water
to boiling, depending on ambient temps. The windscreen may
be constructed out of double-folded, hand-punched heavy
duty aluminum foil, or cut from the flat bottom panel of
a turkey pan from your supermarket:



One drawback to using just a single pot is that you can
burn the beejeebees out of your fingers and your lips by
handling a hot pot. Use a bike glove to handle bare
metals pot handles off the stove.
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Old 06-02-09, 01:38 PM   #2
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I also carry a very nice little cup from Optimus, $2.95 online, that includes
a small 20ml measure for coffee or shooters:



Next is the smaller, inner pot/pan cookset from Coleman's
Exponent cookset, about $20 online or $25 locally:



Note that I have covered the wire handles with black
silicon tubing, and use a portion of old tire tube as a band.
The tubing, slid onto the wire, protects my fingers against
heat from cooking.

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Old 06-02-09, 01:39 PM   #3
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As with the Vargo, a homebrew alcohol stove fits inside:



Cooking times are similar to the Vargo setup. This setup
comes in at 1.21-lbs, due to the dual aluminum pots.

If you're going out for a short ride and a single
hot beverage or meal, you can use the Trangia Spirit
burner, as it is the only commercial alcohol stove that
can store fuel inside. These stoves may be found online
(US$13 or so) or sometimes as military surplus gear.
You will need to provide a windscreen and pot support
when using a Trangia. I fashioned both out of thin
aluminum sheet metal, holed, and notched, along with
two titanium tent pegs for support:



Another advantage of alcohol stove cooking is that it is
silent, unlike the other stoves in this posting, the
SVEA 123R and the next stove, the Optimus Crux Lite,
which make noise when in use.

The Crux uses iso/butane canisters, good for about
an hour in the 4 oz size. The stove screws onto the
top of standard fuel canisters and does not need a
windscreen in light wind conditions.

I use my Crux lite with a small MSR canister. Both fit
inside The GSI cookset, whose vented lid is used during
cooking, and then as a 'sippy cup' lid for the handy
neoprene-insulated bowl. A Lexan spork that compacts
is also provided:

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Old 06-02-09, 01:40 PM   #4
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Fuel canisters run about $5 for 220 grams - more
expensive than alcohol and 'white gas,' and not very
'green' as canisters must be discarded and cannot be
refilled. However, the high cost is offset by rapid
setup and ease of use:



The GSI Soloist Ultralight cook set w/canister and stove
comes in at 1.47-lbs.

My heaviest cycling cookset uses the large Coleman pot
and pan, along with the SVEA 123R gas stove. A neoprene
sock provides scratch protection, and the stove fits
neatly inside the cookset.



The 123R is a classic brass stove and the last
commercially available stove of its kind in the U.S.
The 123R provides about an hour's cook time and comes
with its own windscreen, maintenance tool, and tiny
cookpot:



This stove will handle just about any weather condition,
and uses standard naptha fuel found in many stores under
the Coleman brand. This fuel will store for many years
without worry, unlike regular gasoline, and provides
lots of cooking - even when purchased by the quart.

The tradeoff here is weight, as this setup, without spork
or coffee, comes in at 2.21-lbs - the heaviest in this
review.

So which cookset is best? I think its the one that you
put together yourself from trial and error and use the
most. Everyone has different needs at different times.
I personally enjoy the quiet of an alcohol stove when
I make a quick cup of coffee or boil water for a
Cup-o-Noodles on a cycling break.

You don't have to spend a lot for a good lightweight
cookset, and you can save money by making your own
gear and fixing your own meals and hot beverages on
your outings. BTW, most of my cooking when I do make
larger meals is done in the 'freezerbag' method, made
much easier now that Glad has introduced its line of
'Simply Cooking' microwave steaming bags. Simply load
your bag with dried food inside your fabric cozy before
the outing, then fill with boiling water, seal inside
the cozy, and let the heat do the cooking.

So there you have it, a wrap up of my cycling cooksets,
from light to heavy for my meals on wheels. Hope this
helps others here on BF!
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Old 06-02-09, 04:56 PM   #5
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Cool setup. I see you have company. I too have lizards come into the house and cool off on the tile.
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Old 06-03-09, 02:27 PM   #6
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I"ve got the GSI Soloist. Pretty happy with it so far. I just wish it were a tad bigger to accomodate my MSR Pocket Rocket. The MSR PR does come in a hard plastic case, so it's not a huge deal.
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Old 06-03-09, 07:54 PM   #7
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that optimus is just too clean!
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Old 06-07-09, 04:57 PM   #8
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Mini Trangia

I used the Mini Trangia on a 3 week ride down the Oregon and northern California (the only long ride I have been able to talk my wife into).

It is slow, but time isn't that important. As stated, alcohol burners are silent - as compared to the blast furnace noise of the Svea 123 and Optimus 8R. Fuel is easily available as it will even burn the lower concentrated isopropyl alcohol in a pinch (some smoke and lower heat as a result though). Also, if you are using airlines at start/end, *technically*, it is illegal to transport a white gas stove once it has had fuel in it - even if empty (likely you won’t have issues, but ...).

Now for a backpacking trip where carrying everything on day 1 (i.e. no restocking), white gas has higher energy density (more heat/time per pound of fuel), so is lighter choice.

I have used a Bluet propane/butane stove also (backpacking) - but finding cartridges en route is a pain, and the cartridges are a ecological failure...

As for home brew - I did that as an activity for a Boy Scout group I led - the kids loved it and enjoyed using them on the next backpacking trip. They are ultra light (ours were made using aluminum cans and vermiculite), and work OK, but the Trangia is better, and much more tolerant of wind.

So, my choice is the Trangia.
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Old 06-08-09, 04:48 AM   #9
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Hi,
Has anyone used the Gramweenies kitchen KIT--complete for $47? The Mini Bull total stove and cookset weighs in at 211 grams w/o fuel. If you have, what is your cooking experience, good and bad?

http://minibulldesign.com/mbdstore/i...products_id=50
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Old 06-08-09, 06:39 AM   #10
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I've found that no single system suits me exactly, so I've combined a couple. The core is a one person
cookware set from Antigravity gear. This has a good neoprene cover and pot cozy set up. I use a the stove and fry pan from a Trangia mini set. I like alcohol stoves and prefer the Trangia for it's ruggedness and control.



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Old 06-08-09, 07:08 AM   #11
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MSR Simmerlite white gas stove with Aluminium pot. This is my favorite combo. Titanium is marginally lighter cookware but less conductive. So it saves you little or nothing in regards to weight but empties your pocket book and uses more fuel.
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