I’ve written a number of posts about the Toaks 550ml titanium cook pot, so it should be obvious how much I like it. In my opinion, it is still one of the best options for a solo pot/mug on the market. At the same time, I have come to appreciate the efficiency and convenience of a Trail Designs Caldera Cone. The Caldera Cone is nice because besides being an incredibly efficient design, it functions as both a windscreen and pot stand, thus simplifying the the number of pieces in your cook kit. So when Zelph aka Dan at Zelph Stoveworks decided to release a custom Toaks 550 pot with ridgeline and a titanium Caldera Cone, I jumped on it and ordered one from his first run.
When I received the kit, I began experimenting with a variety of MYOG esbit burners in an attempt to maximize efficiency with 4g esbit tabs. I tried a lot of different designs and finally settled on this little guy.
It’s a very simple design, but functions incredibly well. The kit came with a version of the BGET, which worked well with the system but is engineered more toward the larger 14g esbit tabs.
This particular burner works with a single or double 4g esbit tab. Based on the design, a third tab does not work well and puts the flame too close to the bottom of the pot and really degrades efficiency. Based on the volume of the 550 pot, I have found two 4g tabs to be sufficient. In addition to the burner, I made a small titanium base to catch any liquid esbit which may escape the burner, as well as provide some ground insulation and heat reflection.
A number of people feel a tray design esbit burner is necessary to contain the liquid as the esbit burns but with the smaller 4g tabs, proper burner height and the efficient design of the Caldera Cone, I have found the tray to be unnecessary. However, if you are using the larger 14g tabs, then I recommend a burner with a tray, like the one Zelph includes with the kit.
The pot is 550ml volume and the above photo shows the pot with 1 3/4 cups water. I feel this is the ideal volume and provides head room for boil and makes it safer when pouring hot water from the pot. 2 cups will technically fit but it will be right up to the rim of the pot and I do not recommend it.
Now here is the really interesting part. With this setup, I am not getting the usual esbit goo on the bottom of my pot. Burning two 4g tabs results in only a small amount of black soot, which when wiped off, leaves only a small spot of what I would describe as hard, stuck on soot. It is definitely not the typical stickier goo which all us esbit users know and love. I have done 40+ burns with my MYOG burner and the results are the same every time.
Here’s a picture of the bottom of the pot after burning two 4g tabs.
Now here is a photo after wiping the bottom of the pot with a paper towel. Notice the very small amount of soot on the towel.
Note the spot left in the center, that is what I was describing above as hard stuck on soot. It’s not sticky in the least bit. I was easily able to scrub it off with a wet towel and my finger nail.
Below is a not very good photo of the burner after burning two 4g tabs. Note the edges of the burner which show how little liquid run off there is. No tray necessary. Also note the blackened bottom of the burner is fairly smooth, with no chunks of unburned esbit left behind.
I’m not really interested in collecting exact data on this set up but I typically get around a 17 minute total burn time from two 4g tabs and typically get a small boil with 1 3/4 cups water around the 10-11 minute mark. Again, these are just rough estimates. So is this the fastest or most efficient cook kit out there? No, probably not, but I like it. It’s incredibly lightweight, compact and durable. Here is everything nested inside the pot.
Inside the pot is the Caldera Cone in a tyvek sleeve, the burner/base in a small ziploc and nested inside the rolled up cone is another tiny ziploc with twelve 4g esbit tabs. There’s still plenty of room in the pot for a lighter, small towel, etc.
Another thing, which I have already mentioned in a couple other posts, is this system fits perfectly in the Gossamer Gear Warm Sack.
In addition to making my own burner/base, I also replaced the stock titanium lid with a lighter, carbon fiber lid from Ruta Locura.
Total weight for 550 pot, carbon fiber lid, esbit burner/base and cone = 71 grams. The GG Warm Sack adds another 16 grams.
Another thing about this cook kit which may appeal to a lot of people, is that Zelph designed this as a multi fuel system. It includes not only his tray style esbit burner but also a modified Starlyte alcohol burner. I don’t use alcohol anymore, but if I did, the Starlyte is a great design and it’s what I would choose.
Below is a photo of everything which originally came with the cook kit that I do not use. I think the contents of the kits he is selling now may vary, so check his website or shoot him an email to confirm exactly what is included.
Yeah, that is a lot of unused stuff. If I had it to do over again, I would probably contact Zelph and see if he would be willing to sell me just the cone and custom ridgeline pot. He seems to be a pretty accommodating guy when it comes to custom stuff. I have also read recently he is offering a version of this with a 550 pot w/handles and also larger volume Toaks pots which have the same diameter as the 550.
I’m really liking this set up and when I’m not going no cook, I will be bringing it with me. I appreciate all the work Zelph has put in to this kit to finally bring it to market and look forward to what he comes up with next. If you aren’t familiar with the various offerings from Zelph, take some time to stop by his website and check out all his products.