Cookware / Cookers^

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MikeB
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Cookware / Cookers^

Post by MikeB » Wed Oct 26, 2005 1:36 pm

What do folk use? Up to now, I've been using a set of Vango stainless steel pots - with a MSR Whisperlite - as we know, the W/lite is great for burning water, but even with the latest control valve it doesnt give a decent simmer and as a result its all too easy to burn food onto the bottom of the pot.

So - what's recommended?? THe MSR range look nice - and light - and expensive! Weight isnt an issue - are there any nice copper-bottomed/alumiunium or stainless pots out there? (Theory being that copper bottomed pots would transfer heat better, so helping avoid that burned bottom syndrom.

I'm not trying to produce French sauces, just want to impriove on what I have - which is ok, but can it be better??

Mike.
Last edited by MikeB on Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

geordie01
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Post by geordie01 » Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:54 pm

i use a primus omnifuel himalaya which will burn anything except coal
and sounds like a harrier jet on take off. i also usu tefal nonstick pans which are great

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:18 pm

MSR non stick pans (blacklite?), but they do seem to stain after washing with saltwater for a week at a time (well I'm not wasting fresh on washing up!) and the non stick has been damaged on one or two of them (Have the full range - 4 pots and 1 fry pan - store a pocket rocket, XGK heat exchanger, pan handler and lighter in there too so all I need extra is a gas bottle and some food. The Dragonfly travels separately - it does fit if I remove the heat exchanger but I love the speed of boil I can get with it (only fits the smaller 2 pans) so always take it along.

Have you tried stacking pans? Boil the water below and cook in a bigger pan above - much less heat transfers and it can take forever to cook but the transfer is much more even. Stability can also be an issue!

JIM

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Douglas Wilcox
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Post by Douglas Wilcox » Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:39 pm

Hello Mike. like Jim, I like the MSR pans. I have got a set of their hard anodised nonstick duralite pans, expensive but you get what you pay for. I have a garage full of various pan sets including stainless/copper bottomed ones, but none are as good heat conductors as the MSR ones. The better the heat conduction the less burnt bottoms!
Douglas

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Airmiles
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But not MSR stainless...

Post by Airmiles » Thu Oct 27, 2005 11:01 pm

.. I have the MSR stainless ones ("Alpine Cookset"); thin, and prone to warping and burning when used with an XGK. Now if I could part-ex it for a Dragonfly.....

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Post by CaileanMac » Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:19 am

Alpine cookset here too and use the MSR Pocket Rocket. Very, very small and light and ideal for maxmising space for the steaks, bottles of single malt and cheese board... MSR wins it everytime for me; quality and you know it will do what says 'on the packet'.

One day I will get around to investing in a multi fuel stove....

CaileanMac

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Post by tenboats1 » Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:25 pm

if weight and bulk, within reason, are not an issue (and I don't think they are when camping from a boat), then why pay lots for specialist light weight pots? Get a cheap set of normal domestic ones. They should do the trick at half the cost.

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:35 pm

Handles get in the way when packing - good idea tho.

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dyson
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Post by dyson » Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:08 pm

Still needs pans but has anyone tried this?

http://www.occuk.co.uk/outdoor/fire-spout-100.htm

Dyson

Dave Thomas
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Post by Dave Thomas » Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:01 pm

Know the designer/manufacturer, and have seen him use one many times. Very effective, if you are into wood as a fuel (with the associated soot and dirt), as a means of creating a small, efficient and focussed fire.

Dave Thomas

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:16 pm

Douglas Wilcox wrote:Hello Mike. like Jim, I like the MSR pans. I have got a set of their hard anodised nonstick duralite pans, expensive but you get what you pay for.
Got a set for Christmas and used them properly this Easter = VERY impressed indeed. Horrible price, but they do indeed conduct heat very much better than my stainless steel ones.

You can see the bubbles forming all over the bottom - with the s/steel ones, you get a "ring" of bubbles where the flame is.

One downside though is that they are just too large to fit the centre hatch of the Quest and have to go either in the front or the rear compartments. Messed up my packing strategy no end.

Mike.

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Post by Summit to Sea » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:37 am

Being an Absolute gear freak, i have to admit to the following combination. MSR Blacklite with an optimus Multifuel (the one that also burns gas) and a tiny optimus gas stove. Carry one liquid fuel bottle & one gas cannister (2 on a longer trip). Cooking real food rather than boil in the bag, then I have 2 stoves on the go. Just want a quick brew, plug the gas into the multi-fuel stove and it's instant, (and more stable) overall keep the fuel costs down by running the multi-fuel on unleaded.

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Post by andreadawn » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:03 am

As far as stoves are concerned, I'm not as great a fan of MSR ones as everyone else seems to be.

I had a Dragonfly for a few years. On one trip, the top of the pump broke whilst I was unscrewing it to release the pressure in the fuel bottle. Fortunately, some duck tape held it together for the rest of the trip but I had to buy a complete new pump.

Next trip the welded joint holding the burner onto it's rotating cradle sheared off rendering the stove useless until I managed to jam everything precariously together with some small stones.

To their credit, the importers repaired it free of charge, but very disappointing for an expedition stove which had hardly been subjected to excessively rough use.

Oh, and it made such a horrendous racket, that it completely destroyed the peace of any wild campsite.

Gone back to using environmentally unfriendly gas canisters now.

Andrea.

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Post by active4seasons » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:13 am

Have an old Trangia set which I have converted to gas (also take the multi burner incase of problems) Have to keep a close eye on it though as it is easily possible to melt the old alluminium pans. Don't use it so aften as to worry unduly about the alluminium content I am consuming?

I find I have plenty of time when out so don't see the point blasting my food, prefer the gentle simmering of the onions and garlic approach.

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Post by Owen » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:56 am

I’m with Ollie on this one, Trangia with either the Meths burner or the gas converter. I’ve had too many things go wrong with the pump up type cooker over the years; with the Trangia there’s very little to go wrong.

As for ingesting aluminium from the pans I think that’s a bit of an urban myth. The amount you take in is so infinitesimally small you’d have to use the pans day in day out for several life times for it to have any effect. Besides my brains been addled for years so no one will to notice the difference.

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:29 pm

andreadawn wrote:As far as stoves are concerned, I'm not as great a fan of MSR ones as everyone else seems to be.
I love mine because they are so quick, when they work.
andreadawn wrote:I had a Dragonfly for a few years. On one trip, the top of the pump broke whilst I was unscrewing it to release the pressure in the fuel bottle. Fortunately, some duck tape held it together for the rest of the trip but I had to buy a complete new pump.
Mine has gone this way, it actually happened before this trip and the stove has been in my kitchen awaiting attention for some time but I never got round to it - wish I had now! The bushing that holds the pump in (the bit that broke) also holds the bit that retains the fuel line o-ring, which I didn't actually notice was missing whilst I was wondering why the O=ring was coming out with the fuel pipe each time (without the o-ring petrol pisses everywhere), added to the inconvenience of the pump coming right out each stroke if you're not careful is maddening!

However, it appears that MSR have become aware of this issue because the packet my new pump came in this afternoon claims that the new design doubles the pump strength - lets hope so!
andreadawn wrote:Next trip the welded joint holding the burner onto it's rotating cradle sheared off rendering the stove useless until I managed to jam everything precariously together with some small stones.
Ah yes, mine has done that too, but since I use a plastic stove base that I bought in the USA which the stove and bottle clip quite stably into it's not a problem for me, I guess it would be a serious problem normally!
andreadawn wrote:To their credit, the importers repaired it free of charge, but very disappointing for an expedition stove which had hardly been subjected to excessively rough use.
First Ascent are great! Some friends of mine (Farmer and McDoom know who they are) borrowed my stove once and totally wrecked it. First Ascent replaced the entire cup free of charge under warranty. It is actually the replacement cup that is broken now (see above), stupidly I tried to save myself some time by trying to braze it back on myself and now I can't even unscrew the jet to clean it properly or switch fuels.

The stoves are however field maintainable in general, apart from the jammed jet and the bits that were missing from my pump I was able to completely strip and rebuild my stove on the pub lawn at Craighouse on Wednesday - at which time I noticed the main fuel filter had also got lost somewhere along the line so stuck on the spare that I found in my maintenance kit. I also noted that the grooves on the needle valve were completely clogged with black stuff (carbon?) and needed a good scrape - probably because the filter was missing. The stove worked well for a while after that, but has become reblocked by stuff that is obviously floating around the cup - if I could get the jet out I could clean it better!
andreadawn wrote:Oh, and it made such a horrendous racket, that it completely destroyed the peace of any wild campsite.
Some friends thing the same way, personally I find it reassuring, if slightly deafening.
andreadawn wrote:Gone back to using environmentally unfriendly gas canisters now.

Andrea.
I carry an MSR pocket rocket as well as the dragonfly - fits the common gas bottles, folds away small, weighs little (titanium) and never goes wrong unlike the petrol stove. Thankfully it has that same reassuring roar and rapid boil time! like someone else mentioned it's nice to have a backup stove/fuel option, but also much nicer to be able to heat 2 parts of a meal simultaneously, like cook rice and heat tinned curry.
MikeB wrote:One downside though is that they are just too large to fit the centre hatch of the Quest and have to go either in the front or the rear compartments. Messed up my packing strategy no end.
Thats the only size hatch I have and one of the reasons I am so keen to retain a large space behind my seat rather than go with the crowd and get a day hatch :) If I'm on my own I just use mess tins now which do fit in the rear hatch anyway.

JIM

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Post by Mark R » Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:04 am

geordie01 wrote:I use a primus omnifuel himalaya which will burn anything except coal and sounds like a harrier jet on take off.
I'm glad it's not just mine. Why on earth is it so loud when the other multi-fuel stoves are all silent?
Last edited by Mark R on Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Mark R » Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:07 am

active4seasons wrote:Have an old Trangia set which I have converted to gas (also take the multi burner incase of problems)
This is our sea kayak solution, simple safe and stable. I only use the primus multifuel overseas after flights, when Johnny Foreigner doesn't have gas bottles.
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Pelagic
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Post by Pelagic » Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:32 pm

I have to agree with Andrea on the MSR front, I know Jim loves to endlessly tinker, field strip or whatever with ridiculously small and easily lost widgets and bits and bobs but its not for me. Stupid things. Also whoever called the things whisperlites should be prosecuted under the trade descriptions act!

I like the gas converted Trangia, mine is made by Markill, as are my other two burners (pocket rocket type) I have never had to take them to pieces and they simply work, every time.

As I am now cooking for two I bought a nice aluminium non stick pan set by Tefal for the Easter trip, perfect for pasta and no "hot spots", very good but a little expensive, I managed to get mine half price. It also has the best pan grab handle I have ever seen, excellent when you have sore hands as its plastic it doesnt transfer heat to your blisters like the Trangia type do. No more embarassing spillages or jumping about blowing on your hands!

While ruminating this trip about stoves, like you do, I decided that I would see about making a stabiliser for Gas canisters in future. I visualise something like a shallow cup affair with fold out arms to make a wide base, I have also been persuaded of the advantages of aluminium windshields.

Last summer we had a brew up race while waiting for the tide through Ramsey sound. competitors were, gas Trangia, gas pocket rocket, meths Trangia, MSR, and Kelly Kettle.
Bet you cant guess which won? or more surprisingly which came next to last?

Phil

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Sun Apr 23, 2006 1:16 pm

Spookily enough, there's going to be a wee article on something similar in the not too distant future. I'd guess the MSR came fairly low down the list (was it being used with a windshield??) on the basis that it takes a relativly long while to set up.

I'd guess the gas Trangia and the Kelly were in the quick category.

Out of interest, did you take it to the point of having some reasonably objective test criteria? Some wind, windshields or not, time from "out of the hatch" to a litre of water boiled - that sort of thing??

I keep meaning to get a gas conversion for my Trangias as two friends are using them now and consistently get a brew before I do - but have to confess to rather liking my MSR Whisperlite and it's been totally reliable over the 6 years I've had it. It's been fitted with the latest pump assembly which doesn't really make much difference to it's ability to simmer - but I've more or less learned how to do that now anyway and I find my new MSR pots help there anyway as the heat transfer is so good.

Yes, they are fiddly and messy to light if you prime with petrol. A small bottle of meths and use of the windsheild has made that a much safer, cleaner and altogther easier process. It works in all conditions, whereas I've seen folk struggling in really cold conditions with gas that won't do its thing.

That said, how many times are we paddlers camping in such cold conditions?

My real reservation with gas (and meths) is the relataive difficulty of getting supplies - I know I'll always be able to scrounge some petrol/diesel/paraffin somewhere if I've managed to run out. Will I find gas in some remote Highland village?

The only cooker which ever let me down was a Coleman Stove - the older sort with the fuel tank as an integral part of the stove. A blocked genny tube left it useless. At least an MSR can be stripped and the tube cleared. I've always run mine on ordinary unleaded and never had a problem. It gets serviced at the end of the season but all I do is pull the wire thro the tube as recommended and wire brush the burner plates. The jet has never blocked or caused any probs. I lube the pump, O ring and that's it. I suppose I really should change the O ring though.

One thing I do recommend is leaving the fuel bottle more or less permantely attached to the fuel tube and burner. If nothing else, it'll prevent dust/sand/grit getting into the tube or the pump assembly when it's in it's bag. The filter can get pushed off the end of the feed tube easily and that's worth taking a little care to prevent.

I give it a quick bench test at the start of the season and it's lit every time. I also like the noise it makes ;-) but then I also like Tilley lamps and used to use them regularly in my Scouting days. By far the best way of lighting (and heating) a mess-tent in the foulest of conditions. We also had some big gas lamps which were far less effective and unreliable in cold conditions.

Now if I could only get a minature Tilley lamp to take on trips - - - much better than the small Coleman petrol lamps imo.

Mike.

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Post by Craig Addison » Sun Apr 23, 2006 1:57 pm

I have an optimus nova multi fuel stove which has been wonderfully reliable, but then it always gets a strip down & clean at the start of each season & has not let me down yet, (does taint the food slightly when run on diesel though! diesel is also a bit thick & can block the jet quite easliy too) works best on parrafin which is possibly the cheapest fuel especially if you get it from your local hardward shop, by the gallon.
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Post by Helen M » Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:12 pm

Dave and I will be having toasties on the next trip as I've just bought a toastie maker thingy for the stove. OK - you just hold toastie maker over flame. It's a long handled thingy with a square bit stuck on the end! Kids have tried it out on gas ring and says it works well. On the minus side - it's a funny shape to fit in kayak and is heavy. But feel it's worth a try!

H - x

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Post by Mark R » Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:15 pm

MikeB wrote:I'd guess the gas Trangia and the Kelly were in the quick category.
Regarding the Kelly Kettle, how can it possibly be quick or easy? Beforehand, you have to forage around for twigs, leaves, dirt, whatever and then somehow make them burn. Very silly indeed.
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Post by Helen M » Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:26 pm

MarkR wrote:
Regarding the Kelly Kettle, how can it possibly be quick or easy? Beforehand, you have to forage around for twigs, leaves, dirt, whatever and then somehow make them burn. Very silly indeed.
Yes - BUT - it's all character building stuff! You just have to look at the Famous Five. Not sure they had a kelly kettle but they did enjoy a good fire! Or am I thinking of the Secret Seven/ Showing my age now so I'll shut up!

H - x

ps - Am sure I read a report by Douglas praising it.

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Post by Owen » Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:46 pm

Helen M wrote:
MarkR wrote:
Regarding the Kelly Kettle, how can it possibly be quick or easy? Beforehand, you have to forage around for twigs, leaves, dirt, whatever and then somehow make them burn. Very silly indeed.
Yes - BUT - it's all character building stuff! You just have to look at the Famous Five. Not sure they had a kelly kettle but they did enjoy a good fire! Or am I thinking of the Secret Seven/ Showing my age now so I'll shut up!

H - x

ps - Am sure I read a report by Douglas praising it.

If your're going to light a fire to boil your water surely all you need is a pan to put the water in; why do you need a special gadget?

I can't for the life of me figure out what the point of the Kelly Kettles is.

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Post by Dave Thomas » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:39 pm

Owen wrote:I can't for the life of me figure out what the point of the Kelly Kettles is.
Fighting talk!

Dave Thomas

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Post by Zoe Newsam » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:46 pm

I'm with Owen & Mark- I want a cup of tea without faffing first, then I'll get around to lighting a fire...

Mark G is making a valiant attempt to prolong the life of his geriatric Whisperlite stove today- would somebody (MarkR??) please persuade him to just buy a new stove ??!!???

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Post by MikeB » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:03 pm

MarkR wrote:
Regarding the Kelly Kettle, how can it possibly be quick or easy? Beforehand, you have to forage around for twigs, leaves, dirt, whatever and then somehow make them burn. Very silly indeed.
You're missing the point - the people who use these things carry a supply of suitable fuel and lighter blocks I suspect. Foraging for fuel isn't part of the agenda. Once you have it going though, it's amazing what a small amount of any old junk is enough to boil the contents. It's also great fun and looks impressive.
Owen wrote: If your're going to light a fire to boil your water surely all you need is a pan to put the water in; why do you need a special gadget?

I can't for the life of me figure out what the point of the Kelly Kettles is.
I'm with you on that one! Unless you enjoy cold food, you're going to have a cooker of some sort anyway. So why have a KK? (I think I answered that earlier - - - ) It has to be said though that a KK will boil water consdierably quicker than an ordinary fire and will boil water with far less fuel and overall hassle.

It's a gadget. A handy gadget - but a gadget. Long live the thermos - I can get a brew at any time without lighting anything having filled the thermos in the morning.
zoe wrote: Mark G is making a valiant attempt to prolong the life of his geriatric Whisperlite stove today
NO! It MUST be repaired / fettled / fixed - these things are crucial to our appreciation of craftmanship, fixability and longevity. A Whisperlite is an heirloom. Like my grandfather's shovel which I treasure. It's had two new blades and a new handle, but it's his shovel - - -

Mike.

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Post by Pelagic » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:35 pm

Sorry
Ive been busy drying out smelly gear!
The result of the , (very informal I might add) competition was:

Bit of a drum roll...........

Winner, by a country mile..........the Kelly Kettle, about 2 mins flat I seem to remember, It was full so I presume thats about 1 litre. (includes scavenging time)
next, came the trangia, meths version (clean burning 5% water mix and a hot day) Still we were all surprised at this and I think Ian had sneaked some hot water from his flask in there somehow.
Third was the Trangia gas conversion, full Trangia pan about a half litre I guess.
Fourth was the pocket rocket and crawling in last (we were on second brews by then) the MSR, I cant remember if it had a windshield but I think it did, it did however boil more water eventually but only as much as the Kelly, about 1 litre.
Sorry its not more scientific or objective Mike, but lifes too short!

Phil

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Post by MikeB » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:47 pm

Pelagic wrote:Sorry its not more scientific or objective Mike, but lifes too short!

Phil
Hmm - distinct lack of scientific rigeur there me thinks! Not only are the water quantities and temperatures unknown, but the ambient temperature, wind speed, amount of shelter (or not) all unknown, but the overall quality of the resultant brew is also un-determined. Tut.

I am surprised at the results. Now - suppose it were raining - and all available fuel was damp. How would the KK have fared then? Very surprised a meths Trangia was quicker than the gas one though. I guess the faff-factor with the MSR delayed it?

Mike.

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