Saturday, February 5, 2011

Trail Designs Caldera Cone Stove Systems

Two great quotes:

"Simplify, simplify." – Henry David Thoreau

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I think Thoreau could have gotten away with just one 'simplify', honestly. Maybe that's a better conversation over a few good pints.

Surprisingly enough, UL backpacking isn't limited to cutting your gear list to the bare minimum and buying the lightest gear you can find. One of the revelations over the years has been that weight isn't everything. After you get your kit under 15lbs for backpacking, further reductions are nice but not revolutionary. Below this threshold bulk, comfort & convenience quickly become as important as raw weight in making gear decisions. Bulk is particularly important on bikepacking trips.

Along those lines, I've been tweaking my cook system lately to find the best combination of size, feature and weight for UL trips. Last season I used the 475ml Trapper Mug with a two piece Trail Designs Caldera Ti-Tri ULC cone. This is as bare bones as it gets, honestly. There are no handles, no lid and the volume is barely enough for typical 'boil in a bag' meal. The mug, silicone band, cone & stove weigh 4.0oz (116g). I eventually decided that the lack of handles was a little more spartan than the weight and simplification justified.

Trail Designs Caldera Ti-Tri ULC System & Trapper Mug
Complete System Assembled

Enter the Evernew 355 mug. It includes silicone insulated handles and a snap on sipper mug. The weight penalty over the handle-less Trapper Mug is only 1/2oz (17g). The handles will eliminate the burned fingers getting the mug out of the cone and the sipper lid make the best part of waking up in the wild (drinking good coffee) better. The whole system weighs 4-1/4oz (119g) so the weight difference between the two systems is practically a wash. I did modify the preheat flange on the 12-10 stove so that it would fit into the mug when packing.

BPL Trapper's Mug & Evernew 400ml mug with sipper lid
Evermew mug & Caldera Cone

If you care to trim down your 12-10 to fit inside of a smaller mug here's how I did it:

1. Flatten the lip on the pre-heat flange. Take your time and be neat. Needle nosed pliers were prefect.

2. Trim the flange to size. My Wiss snips were perfect for this job. I followed the markings from the previous draw to form the lip.

3. Form a new lip. Again, take your time and don't be a pig. I had a cheap square nose plier that was perfect for the job.

4. Admire your work.


  1. Thanks for posting the pictures Don!

    Rand :-)

  2. This is very cool Don, thanks for sharing. Nice, neat, little setup.