Friday, August 23, 2013

My New Cookset

I was asked by a couple guys over at Hammock Forums to show my new cookset using the Olicamp XTS as a cooking pot.  I should probably note a couple things before going on.  First, a camping cookset is an ever evolving thing and the only thing that's really possible is to show you what a cookset looks like at a given moment in time.  Its kind of like those machines they use to track atomic particles.  You never see the particle at the time it exists, you just see the tracks of where it was. 

Secondly, one cookset is not useful for all conditions.  What you would use for a weekend or overnight hike will have different requirements than one you might use for a 5 day long distance hike.  Having a set or sets that are adaptable through mixing, matching, deleting or adding components depending on camping circumstances should be the goal.

Its also no secret among those with whom I camp and hike that I prefer canister stoves for a variety of reasons.  While most of the rest of hiking world is out chasing alcohol stoves in the name of being Ultra Light, I like other methods for reliability or speed of boiling, and I think that there are lighter alternatives to alcohol when weight is of prime consideration, mostly because of the weight of the fuel.  That means my choices of components is going to reflect that bias.

A Bit of History
Yes, there will be little to no Math, but there will be some History.  I put together a cookset after the Cheapo Chinese Pocket Rocket stove beat the JetBoil stove hands down in a head to head race.  The principal advantage the JetBoil had over the Cheapo was that it was a self contained system (and I love systems).  I wanted a lower cost, lower weight cooking system that could carry the stove and all other implements need to make a boil in bag meal.  Traditional methods were attempted at first:
The Country Time Lemonade bottle just wasn't going to work.  I stumbled across a 10 oz. coffee can and the diameter was large enough that the small size fuel canister fit well, and there was plenty of room for other utensils.


The coffee can and the pots that I've used with it were covered in reflectix to keep dehydrated food hot while rehydrating with boiling water.

The cookset has gone through several iterations, with two basic variations:

10 cm IMUSA cup on top.  Inside the 10 cm cup is a Country Time lemonade bottle cover to use as a bowl or coffee cup:

But I later settled on a 12 cm IMUSA cup with the reflectix wrapped coffee can inside as it took up less room in the pack:
The contents have also varied, sometimes depending on the camping situation, but generally have always included the stove, canister, and canister stand already shown along with a piece of ladies ankle length hose to make coffee in:
Just pour ground coffee in, then a couple cups of water and let it sit for a while.  Works like a champ and weighs nothing at all.
Since I'd taken the handle off the cup to make the cookset pack better, I had a pot grabber:

And at Christmas time it was found that the lid from some promotional cookies sold at Lowes fit the 12 cm IMUSA pot perfectly, I added it and a magnetic cabinet catch to use as a lid lifter

I also ditched the orange plastic box provided with the Cheapo in the name of weight savings, and decided to use sporks I was picking up at Long John Silvers for free and started using a collapsible cup I found at Wally World as a coffee cup/bowl, and a small sponge and travel sized bottle of Hand Sanitizer for clean up.
So, Here It Is

The Olicamp is heavier than the IMUSA cup, but it does allows for some small weight savings to partially make up for that.  Since it has a handle, I ditched the pot grabber and since it has a lid, I no longer need the cookie can lid and the magnetic catch either.  So here's the contents, minus the ladies hose, just cuz I fergot:
The collapsible cup fits at the bottom of the cozy that I used on the outside of the coffee can
As well as the canister and stand

and that cozy fits inside the Olicamp

Then the stove and hand sanitizer

Then the sponge, and the hosiery coffee maker get crammed into the crevices
The lid gets slapped on, and the whole thing fits inside the cozy I made for the 12 cm IMUSA cup.  Weight is just over 1 pound 5 ounces.  Heavy for the gram weenies, but just right for an overnight and actually ends up weighing less than an alcohol stove set up if you're carrying alcohol for a week:

In a couple of weeks, I'm going to be doing some testing using the Olicamp vs a Stoic Titanium pot with an alky stove and over wood using an Evernew DX stand.  There's been some concern mentioned about the lid on the Olicamp melting if flames rise, so I checked to see if the cookie can lid fit the Olicamp and it does.  The weight difference between the two is negligible:

Especially once one considers that I'll have to carry the magnetic cabinet catch to pluck it off the pot.

If you're one of the guys who put together a cookset like mine, or who I have given one to in the past, most of the components in that set will work with an Olicamp, and that's a good thing.  I think that it adds a significant degree of adaptability.

Keep in mind, this is what works for me.  I'm no Andrew Skura, I'm an old man who's been out in the woods a few times is all.  This cookset is heavy by most standards, but I consider it medium to light weight (but not ultra light) depending on the camping circumstances.

Hope this helps and gives you some ideas.

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