Kettle’s on

After some stove banter here, I thought I would do quick show-and-tell with my current favourite set-up.
All standard issue kit, nothing fancy, and nothing overtly lightweight either. I won’t compromise the efficiency and simplicity of the equipment that separates me from my hot cuppa.

The pot is an Optimus Terra Weekend, it’s 600ml with handy marked volume gradients, a spout for right-handers and rubber insulated long handles on the pot and lid.
The lid would double as a shallow pan, and although it makes it a larger volume package it’s handy for keeping your spoon in, sitting your mug on as an insulated coaster (if you upturn it), shovelling snow into the pot and also letting you over-fill the pot when melting snow and still getting the lid on. Using this pot and the smaller Solo leads me to think that flat lids are rubbish.
The long handles are genius too, I’ll never go back to finger burning,short plain-metal handles now.

The Windshield might be an Optimus, or it could be any one of half a dozen others, but if weighs nothing and is vital kit (long-time listeners might remember me having to cut a windshield up to make a spoon on one trip when I forgot to pack one…). Under the gas canisters is a square of windshield material for under the canister, every little helps, especially in winter.
The gas are my favourites, and the hardest to get, the wee GoSystems and Primus. Both of these fit in the pot with the stove and fire-steel, all at the same time.
The fire-steel is a LightMyFire one, it’s about three years old and still working well, although very worn now.

The stove is the Brunton Flex which I like a lot. Similar to the Optimus Crux, but I reckon better with the extra pot support. The burner that it shares with the Crux and Crux Lite is the best I’ve tried, perfect size for a range of pans and brilliant even flame.
You can get lighter, but it’s robust, small packing and an outstanding performer. I’ll be really pissed off if it fails me.

The mug is my much used and increasingly worn SnowPeak 450ml purple single-wall titanium wonder. I love this mug, I’ve got an insulated one that I really should be carrying at this time of year, but this is my pal, so it goes with me. It weighs nothing and I pack it full of drinks sachets and snacks, so it takes up no space.
The spoon is the Jetboil extending spoon which I was given ar KORS last year. It’s really bendy, but actually very tough. It goes down the side of the gas when it’s packed in the pot.
The extending mechanism looks like a dirt-trapping health hazard, but it pulls apart really easily for cleaning at camp.

The sachets are standard issue as well, Lyon’s coffee bags are wonderful. It tastes like real coffee, because it is I suppose? And because it’s not a tube of ready mix, it’s easy to get the strength just how you like it.
I like milk and sugar, so the wee Dairy Stix and sugar (from every cafe I visit…) are both a gift from the gods and a source of unwelcome packaging to dispose of. For that perfect cuppa, I’ll take the hit.
Cadbury’s (in my world the possessive apostrophe lives on) Hot Chocolate is just the best, and that’s what I have at bedtime in the tent, in my sleeping bag(s) with metal blaring in my ears.

Aye, nothing fancy there. Simple, functional and reliable though.
Missing are some teabags, the occasional cappuccino mix and a Buff that usually goes in the pot to stop rattling and rust sport on the pot from the gas canisters.

41 thoughts on “Kettle’s on”

  1. Hmmm, I wish I had gone for the single-wall Snopeak mug, the double wall 450 I have is so thermally efficient that you have to wait ages for it to cool down to a drinking temperature! Also the double-wall fools you into thinking the contents are cool enough when you wrap your lips around it, only for you to realise your mistake when you mouth is full of coffee that is hotter than the sun.

  2. Moggy, ebay seems to be the best option for SnowPeak since the £10 Blacks bonanza ended.

    Single or double skin is tough one, like Holdfast says, the temperature of the contents are a mystery prize and I’ve fallen foul of that. Single wall is a good hand warmer too.
    Double wall eliminates that cold dregs horror when you’re looking forward to that last bit of tasty cuppa.

    The prices are frightening though.

  3. It’s funny how you don’t see things for ages and then they all come along at once.
    I’d forgot about Lyon’s as a brand until I watched ‘Who do you think you are’ during the Christmas holidays and now a little bit on here. So it was Nigella Lawson’s turn to find out who she was. And it turns out her grandfather had started the Lyon’s tea company in London way way back in the olden days. It was built up from wee tea shops and a catering company to this huge brand. I can vaguely remember their cakes in boxes (I don’t think you can buy them now? it seems to be mr kipling stuff now).
    So aye i didn’t know Lyon’s stuff was still around. Jees, was that on or off topic? :o)

  4. Brand awareness, and information vital to our mission. Therefore on topic.

    Mr Kipling? They keep in the cake bunker, he looks a bit like Davros these days. His single remaining clawed hand scribling out new recipes and ideas for wee cakes that will fit six to an A4 size box…

  5. Dairystix, as supplied by P&O ferries, we walked off with over 200 stashed in my better halves rucksack on the last trip out to the Alps :o)

  6. Most titanium kit is made in the same factories, it’s usually only the finishing details that are different, so the quality is usually very consistent.
    Logos a fancy coloured anodizing make all the difference!

    The Lifeventure one looks good, and Lifemarque in general are upping their game this year with some great kit.

    Go on, press that Buy It button :o)

  7. Lyon’s coffee bags, the dogs.

    I am eternally grateful to you for making me aware of these perforated pouches of caffeine. :o)

  8. Just bought a white box solo stove to try meths again. Gas is conveniently quick but I’m fed up having half full 100, 125 and even 250 gas cannisters filling up the cupboard. The white box seems really easy to use, and I boiled 500ml icy water in about 9 mins, slow compared to gas but not ridiculous. I’m sure I’ll be using it quite often.

  9. The half empty can is an issue for sure, this year I’ve carried two or even three cans to use up the dregs. No weight, but plenty extra bulk.
    Surprsisingly the sotes have all been happy with this apart from the bloody Windpro!

    I’ll try meths again this year, I’ll have to for an upcoming project. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised… :o)

  10. PS gone for the life venture ones – despite finding single wall snow peak ones on taunton leisure – slightly over a tenner cheaper for 2 so will see how it goes.

  11. My mate used coffee filters at one point as well. Helluva faffy.

    Those prices on Taunton are good, but your bottom lip doesn’t care what the logo is, just that the contents of the mug are good!

  12. those rombout ones are nice and easy just a bit bulky, not so bad on the way back as you can squash them

    just need to find a lighter way of taking a couple of bottles of ale ;o)

  13. Confess to being a meths user. My first stove was a Trangia, bought when the alternatives in my price range where those Bluet gas stoves and the Coleman Bombs, and never kicked the habbit. The Trangia is a heavy beast but it still casts magic on me. Sitting in a tent cooking on a trangia listening to that pop-pop of the little blue flame I’m 15 again and out for the first time. The Optimus Stella was a recent purchase to cook for larger groups with a massive pan but it’s got me thinking about gas again, can’t be beaten for ease of use.

    Don’t get out solo these days but my most likely set up, based on what I now own, would indeed involve a Whitebox stove. Use one as a backup to the main stove for group trips for three summers now. Thing comes out of the bag at every break to brew up and does just fine. Single unit, nothing to break, reliable as anything out there, easy to fill and easy to light. I also like that it’s made out of other peoples garbage too. Yes, you have to wait a couple more minutes but if that’s realy a problem you need to get a different hobby. For me that’s a couple more minutes enjoying the view and listening to the burner fiz in anticipation of a hot drink. Only real downer for the white box i.m.h.o. is that it throws a wide flame and doesn’t combine well with a mug. Better to use a wide base pan but then the low weight of the burner is negated by the need to carry a bigger pan and a mug.

  14. I definitely get the sound thing…

    Meths is sitting in your rocking chair on the porch while listening to salmon leaping in the creek nearby.

    Gas is sitting in a Phantom Jet at the end of the runway with the afterburners on.

    Something for everyone in there :o)

  15. As a plumbing engineer of outstanding experience, pete…: will they ever get round to doing rechargeable gas cartridges that are light and safe to use? I think there are obstacle to making the valve strong enough to work in both direction or something like that? Or maybe it’s that they can’t guarantee light metal will last through several recharges. But as we all know the one thing where meths excel is that you can take along with you only the amount of fuel you’re going to need and you never have the situation where you take along four almost empty canisters just to feel good about the environment… Rechargeable cartridges seem like the natural step in these ‘green’ times, but the fact that they are not being developed seems to suggest insurmountable technical difficulties??

  16. Don’t know about the littluns specifically but the big gas bottles and pressure vessels are fatigue critical. It’s not just about the container being strong enough to retain the pressure its about withstanding multiple cycles of loading and unloading. Thin walled cans are about the worst thing I can imagine for fatigue. With heavy gauges you’ve got a chance of detecting cracks and pulling components out of service before things go bang: lifetime is determined by the growth of the crack. At light gauges, almost as soon as a crack starts, its through the wall and the bang comes before you know there’s a problem: lifetime is determined by crackinitiation. I guess if mini canisters are made reusable then teh specs will demand thicker wall. The trade of for refilling will therefore be increased weight.

  17. Aye, too thin, too rubbish to take the abuse. Think about how fast they rust as well.
    The valve mechanism is probably close enough to being usable as it opens to outside pressure anyway.
    I wonder how heavy a re-usable can would have to be? The only reference point I’ve got is the oxygen and acelylene bottles inb my workshop. Ain’t lugging that up a hill…

    We should have balloons of gas. Seriously, kevlar gas bags and remote stoves. Weightless, bullet proof, with stainless steel valve/fillers.
    It works for Formula 1 fuel tanks.

  18. “Gas is sitting in a Phantom Jet at the end of the runway with the afterburners on.”


    Then my liquid fuel Optimus Nova must be sitting in the Command Module atop a Saturn 5 rocket as the launch tower recedes and the earth begins to look very small… :))

  19. Blue Flame, that throaty roar, and you get what you want pretty quick. My stove or a Phantom :o)
    I chose the Phantom because is was particulartly roar-y.

    Saturn 5, yes I can see that one too.

    So, I’m saying a home-made Coke-can stove is a brazier on a building site in the 1950’s with the watchman standing next it warming his hands hoping that spring comes soon before he gets Pleurisy…

  20. ” We should have balloons of gas. Seriously, kevlar gas bags and remote stoves. Weightless, bullet proof, with stainless steel valve/fillers.”

    Like this mental picture: Folk heading off for a night in the hills with 90l of gear, weight compensated for by large gas baloons, taking ten meter strides. You could take all your favorurite gear. No more agonising choices. Lightening would be enemy number one.

  21. I didn’t mean that kind of weightless :o)

    Tents do have lightning conductors though with that metal pole, so I still say it could work… :o)

  22. Right PTC, you’ve covered the drinks, but what do you eat up in the hills? Or do you just drink hot chocolate and run about half starved?

  23. I’m not that keen on keeping the weight down :o)

    I was thinking about putting up a food thing as well.
    I change what I carry all the time so it’ll good to put it all together and see what it looks like, a good reference for me if nothing else!

    There’s an awful lot of last minute stuff bought in Morrisons in Fort William in there though.

  24. Partly that, partly I can’t walk by pastries without buying one.
    I had frozen doughnuts last month at camp. It was like sugary toilet roll.

  25. Baz in PTC’s absence (probably driving back from the lakes right now in a kit and caffine induced daze !)
    That spoon is the Jet Boil one he robbed at KORS last year when we were down.

  26. Aye, Jetboil spoon. I’ll have some newness related to the above bits and pieces shortly, Optimus have updated their kit and it’s looking good.

  27. Brunton is dead. They’ve been bought by the owners of Primus (Fenix), so what happens next is an unknown, but the kit has gone again from the UK for the moment anyway.

    But, and I’ll have more on this soon, Optimus have tweaked their whole range and I’ve got a new-spec Crux Lite in for test.

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