I recently purchased this intriguing little cook kit from http://www.woodgaz-stove.com. Zelph has a variety of custom kits and stoves available for sale on his website, ranging from alky side and top burners, esbit and wood burners, custom pots, pot lifters, windscreens, pot stands, etc. I recommend stopping by his website and having a look at all his unique offerings.
So, what do I look for in a cook kit and why did this particular kit appeal to me? First off, I was looking for a new alcohol stove. I had been using pressurized side burners for quite some time but was never truly happy with their fuel efficiency. 1.5oz denatured alcohol is much too much fuel to heat 2 cups of water (this is what it was taking during the cooler months of the year). I wanted to be able to heat my water hot enough to rehydrate a freezer bag meal with only .5oz alcohol. I am not concerned with achieving a full rolling boil with .5oz alcohol because I have never had the need to boil water on any of my backpacking trips, full rolling boil is overkill for my needs. The Starlyte burner is advertised to boil 2 cups of 69 degree water using .5oz denatured alcohol. Sounds good. The seller for me was that I can pre-fill up to 1.5oz fuel prior to leaving, put on the cap, and not have to worry about spillage or evaporation. Once my water is heated, I can snuff out the stove using the stove lid, pot lid or simply flip it over on the ground. I can then put the cap back on and unused fuel is stored safely for my next burn.
Freezer bag cooking and hot drinks are the extent of my backcountry culinary style. So next, I was looking at pot size and weight. I have used titanium, stainless steel and aluminum cook pots in the past and have always preferred aluminum. They seem to heat up faster, are fairly durable and the weight isn’t too bad. When I saw Zelph’s Fosters ridgeline 2 cup flat bottom can, I felt this would meet my needs perfectly. The volume and overall dimensions were adequate, the addition of ridgelines increased durablity and the flat bottom was unique.
The kit I ordered from Zelph was made up of the following:
Starlyte Burner w/lid – 16 grams
2 cup Fosters flat bottom ridgeline can w/lid – 31 grams (4 5/8″ tall, 3 3/8″ bottom diameter)
Pot stand – 5 grams
Items I added to the kit:
Ziploc storage container – 51 grams
DIY freezer bag cozy – 19 grams
2.5 fl oz fuel bottle – 12 grams
MSR folding spoon – 10 grams
Foil windscreen w/paperclip – 17 grams
Total = 163 grams or 5.7 ounces
Note, I also received a silicone slap band pot grabber from Zelph but ended up not using it due to the weight and I can just as easily use a bandana to lift the pot. Also included with the kit for free was a 1 cup generic ridgeline can with a couple extra plastic lids. The 1 cup can would work nicely as a drinking vessel but is not needed in my kit as I use the Ziploc container for drinking.
My testing of the kit was neither controlled nor scientific. I am not concerned with water temps, ambient temp, altitude, wind speed, etc. I simply took this thing outside, put two cups of cold tap water in the can, added .5oz alcohol to the burner, fired it up and waited. I did five different burns in this manner throughout the evening and each time the water was hot enough to rehydrate a meal and more than hot enough for coffee, cocoa or tea. I never achieved a rolling boil but did achieve “crab eyes” each time, more than hot enough to meet my needs.