Thursday, 10 November 2011

classic kit - green top poly bottle

I'm going to start a competition by posing the question, how old is this bit of kit? But any self respecting backpacker will already know the answer to this without needing to reach for their copy of the 1976 book Backpacking in Britain by Derrick Booth and Robin Adshead... Doh!

I'll claim that this one isn't that old but it isn't that far off. I only have two of these left, and they still get used for carrying dried milk and fresh coffee these days, not some freeze dried stuff like yesteryear.

One of the best culinary tips I gleaned at the time was to break eggs into a jug and decant them into a (larger) Green Top poly bottle. Devoid of shell they could be carried without any chance of being broken - that had already been done at home! From an advert at the time where the question was posed, 'How do you like your eggs? Fried or boiled?' Well boiled is the only way you can't serve them.

Monday, 7 November 2011

caldera cone system - first look

The set up with a Snow Peak 900 pot

What do you get a backpacker who has everything? Another stove, of course.

Despite owning a number of different systems the one I go back to is my trusty Coleman F1 Lite gas stove. It's simple, quick, convenient and works in most conditions, however the cartridges are expensive and end up as landfill. And invariably on trips I always seem to be carrying a part used cartridge and a full one. Another disadvantage of the F1 Lite system is that as a couple somebody has to wait for one mug to boil before the next one is put on the stove. (I should mention that Penny always gets the first brew/hot water for cooking).

No doubt someone might ask why we just don't use the larger pot with the F1 but I did try using my Snow Peak 900 pot and a mug but there's something disheartening about staring into a pot that size when drinking 350ml of coffee.

All packed away

The Caldera Cone systems
now come with a caddy, handily the caddy that ships with the cone for the Snow Peak 900 pot is one that unscrews in to similar sized bits, and these can be used to eat or drink out off. The immediate advantage is that one pot boils enough water for two and no one needs wait. And with the caddy doubling as bowls or mugs there's no need to carry additional items.

Of course the biggest advantage of meths based systems is that you can tailor how much fuel you need to carry for a trip; no need to carry part used cartridges, and no enviromental impact.

The system comprises of windshield cum pot stand, fuel bottle, caddy, and a recycled drinks can stove with attached primer plate; all in weight 177g. And it all packs neatly into the caddy, although I did have to roll and re-roll the cone so that it would go back in again. I'd prefer to pack the fuel elsewhere because I wouldn't want the caddy to get contaminated should the bottle leak. there's also room for a couple of GSI lexan desert spoons and a lighter.

In use

I did a quick test this morning (slight breeze, air temp circa 12C, no lid) and 15ml of meths brought 500ml of water close to boil. On that basis I figure I'd need about 30ml to bring enough water for two up to a boil. The supplied fuel bottle holds 5.5fl oz roughly equal to 160ml enough for five brews, not quite enough for two for a weekend trip unfortunately. No matter I have a 250ml that will do the trick.

Now all I need is to plan a trip out so that I can get to use it other than in the garden or local park or woods.


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

nite ize spotlit

I spotted these on sale in Lakeland which is a bit off piste for a chain that is known for all things kitchen. Although I have been using an Asaklit LED light that I blogged about last year, it had somehow got lost. Well... not quiet. After buying this replacement and packing it on a recent solo trip to the Quantocks I discovered the Asaklit hanging from a tab in the inner of my Scarp1.

This was a good opportunity to do a side by side test. On spec, the Nite Ize and Asaklit have the same battery power source; a single CR2032. The Asaklit has two LEDS; the Nite Ize one. There's a small weight saving of 2g for the Nite Ize. However the Nite Ize, despite the single LED, has a diffuser, which wins over the two of the Asaklit which are uni-directional. At least in the Scarp1, when I used the Nite Ize in the Hex3 it was a bit lost it the top. But no matter, on solo trips I'll save a couple of grams and use the Nite Ize but when I'll use the Hex3 I'll take the Asaklit instead.