Updated cook kit: 4.5 oz total

OLD (Left) 7.3 oz                                  NEW (Right) 4.5 oz  550 mL
5 3/4 x 3 1/2″                                          4 1/8 x 3 1/2″
holds 4 c. (32 oz) w/ 1/4″ room           holds:  2 c. (16 oz) w/ 1/4″ room


Old kit:

Walmart Aluminum Grease Pot:                                                       2.7 oz
Lid:                                                                                                           .9 oz
Soda can stove w/penny & Part of Fosters can priming pan:          .5 oz
Home-made Alum. Collapsible “Caldera Cone”:                            1.8 oz
Cozy:                                                                                                      1.0 oz
little green scotch pad:                                                                          0
TOTAL:                                                                                                 7.3 OZ

New kit:

LiteTrail Titanium Cookpot:                                                                2.0 oz
Lid:                                                                                                              .6 oz
Soda can stove w/ Alum. “penny” & Alum. foil priming pan:            .4 oz
Home-made Aluminum windscreen/stand:                                        .8 oz
Cozy:                                                                                                           .7 oz
little green scotch pad:                                                                             0
TOTAL:                                                                                                   4.5 OZ

Why Change?

The old pot is huge and could serve a couple well, way too big for me and often causes me to heat more water than I need.  I really don’t like how it fits in my pack with my other gear (shapes/sizes).  Aluminum freaks me out, it’s bad to cook in and coupled w/ flouride in tap water is linked to causing Alzheimer’s.

What else may Change?

I will probably remove the handles on the pot and adjust the windscreen/stand accordingly.  I really don’t think I need them as I slide the pot in my cozy to insulate it.  My old pot doesn’t have handles.  I will do some tests with a smaller stove- the skinnier Red-Bull type can may work fine for this setup!  I’ll try thinner aluminum from the craft store to replace my Home Depot Aluminum flashing windscreen/potstand.  But it probably won’t be durable enough.  Most importantly, the WAY I eat will change.  I will more often do freezer-bag meals, which works just like Mountain House meals.  This will avoid having to clean the pot and provide the volume I will need to rehydrate big dinners.    I never-ever “cook” in the pot anyhow.  Even to boil the mac-n-cheese noodles, I boil water, add noodles, then let it simmer in the cozy (Learn more from Erik the Black and Stick Blogs).  So, meals will be in the freezer bag.  I put it in the cozy and fold the edges of the bag around the edge, add boiling water, stir, add cover and wait.  This way I can have coffee or tea in the pot while the food is in the baggie.  No need for another container.

How about Fuel?

I will find a squat/wide container for fuel. (I prefer HEET to denatured alcohol & NEVER keep my lighter in the cook kit- residual moisture dampens it) so I can keep the fuel inside the pot as well!  I currently use a 12oz mini coke plastic bottle (well-labeled!) to hold fuel.  The HEET bottles absolutely always leak.  If an 8 oz stubby water bottle doesn’t fit inside the pot, I’ll find something that does.  Very compact!

Why the heavy cone-style windscreen/potstand?

I like how reliable and durable it is.  This new model is very different.  I have needed to use my stove in crazy high winds, and this cone style is the best.  Having lots of holes on one side (lee side) and less holes on the windward side.  Keep holes all around near the base of your pot to circulate the heat.


NOTICE the little aluminum prop “leg” on the left!  It works great, I will keep two of them in the kit, though only one is needed, and throw one in resupply packages. The windscreen/stand hold up the pot under the handles and by that leg.

Besides weight savings, I love that this kit is smaller overall, fitting in my pack better.  I love a small, compact pack to duck under blowdowns and to look less hiker-trashy in town.Image



About wanderingdot

Thru-hiking the PCT 2011, CT 2014, Ice Age Trail 2017 Artist/sculptor, professor, master fabricator
This entry was posted in Backcountry Kitchen/Cooking, Gear, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Updated cook kit: 4.5 oz total

  1. Wolfman says:

    I would really love to know how you built your two part cone system, I am looking to build a cone screen out of thin stainless steel but have not figured out the math. Or did you just lay it out on paper and build it that way? Your new system (this one) is very small and light! Nice job.

    • wanderingdot says:


      My older, larger cone is still a killer success and I use it still, with 3,000 miles on it. Use Aluminum flashing from the roofing department of the hardware store. It comes in rolls of different widths, You’ll have to decide what to use. Stainless is too heavy and expensive.

      Search youtube for “DIY caldera cone” for a good start. I found a very handy video. For me the only huge problem with the stock Caldera cone is that it does not fit in any cooking pot, and I will not root around in my pack for the rest of my cook set, that’s just nuts. You’ll have to do some figuring out for yourself but here’s the basics:

      First imagine the cone that does not separate/collapse. It has two circles of two different diameters. The one at the top should snugly fit your pot- you measure that (and then add about 3/4″ for the latch) and the bottom one rests on the ground and is bigger- you decide how much but the point of the cone shape is to get airflow around the pot. Try something like a 2″ bigger diameter. Now make a paper template: draw a circle representing what will catch your pot’s lip. Mine is something like 5 1/2″. How tall is the cone? It is the height of your pop-can stove plus one inch or so plus the height of your pot. Ok- so measure down from the bottom arc of the upper circle. Then draw your bigger circle’s diameter.

      Sorry I can’t draw on this blog. You’ve likely found help online by now.

      Now, the “collapsible” part was my fabulous innovation. If you divided the total cone height in half, will it fit inside your pot coiled up? That’s what you want. So, mark an arc in the middle of your template and add 1/2″ to BOTH the upper and the lower pieces and just cut 1/2 ” slots every few inches on ONLY ONE of the halves– should be apparent in my pic.

      But googling DIY Caldera cone is the best start.

      Now, RE: my new mini-setup there are two big flaws:
      1. Aluminum foil primer plate doesn’t work well. Replace with Alum flashing disc and fashion a slight lip to contain the priming fuel
      2. The “leg” also made of aluminum flashing must be re-made with slightly thicker material as the heat bends it and might spill the water!

      Have fun with your new DIY UL cook set!

  2. Wolfman says:

    Many Thanks Dot, 🙂 I found you link to the YouTube Vid and then even more on YT. First on down, not onto the two part and then a lighter metal that will handle a stick fire! I also like your Blog.


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