Caldera Cone FAQ
- I'm new to alcohol stoves.....why would I chose alcohol over canister or white gas? An alcohol stove runs dead quiet on an odorless/clean/renewable fuel. The weight of an alcohol stove is an order of magnitude lighter than the infrastructure required to run a pressurized petroleum fueled rig. It is eco-friendly in that it not only uses renewable fuel, but most stove systems can and are made from recycled material. The stove systems are never "fussy" and can be made to work in the field with minimal effort. Finally, fuel can be easily found in any hardware store or gas station along the trail. Alcohol/esbit/wood stoves are perfect for the vast majority of all backpacking trips that folks take.
- So....how about the reverse question....when would I choose canister or white gas over alcohol? While canister and white gas stove systems are much heavier than alcohol/esbit/wood systems, they do pump out a tremendous amount of heat (heat that in most cases is inefficiently lost to the atmosphere...but massive heat to be sure). So, if the success of your trip relies on melting a lot of snow to make drinking water, or requiring a lot of people to use only one stove system, or trying to heat up lots of cold water in winter....and for whatever reason you can't use the wood burning capabilities of our systems, then you should probably consider a petroleum fueled system. Alcohol stoves perform best in 3 season conditions cooking for one or two folks.
How do I decide which Cone to get?
- First decision will be between the aluminum Caldera cones which only support alcohol and esbit or the titanium Ti-Tri cones which support 3 fuels (alcohol, esbit, and wood fires). The aluminum Caldera cones are less expensive but are limited to alcohol/esbit. The titanium Ti-Tri systems are more robust, will last longer, and support wood fires as well. If you only want alcohol/esbit fires check out the Caldera Cones.....but if you want a sturdier system that will provide you a wide range of cooking options, check out the titanium TiTri systems.
- Second decision is which system to choose in each category. The "Classic" Caldera or Ti-Tri come with a food grade plastic "Caddy" for storage and eating from. This is the most stable and efficient solution, but packs outside your pot. The "Sidewinder" system packs inside your pot sideways, so long as you are using a short/wide pot. The "Fissure" packs inside the taller/skinnier pots, and is the best system we build.
- Third, for a full breakdown on all our options in a chart format, check out our Comparison Chart
- How big is the Caldera Cone? The Caldera Cone is sized to fit your pot/mug so each cone is a different size. By and large, figure that it is about 3 inches taller than your pot and the same diameter at the top. Further, the cone splits down its length so that it can lay flat or roll up tighter for easier packing. Sidewinder cones are slightly shorter, and the Fissure splits in two to fit inside the pot vertically.
- Do I need a pot stand with this system? No. The Caldera Cone is sized on the upper/smaller end of the cone so that your pot/mug will be supported by the pot's lip and be suspended over the stove.
- Can I use my stove with the Caldera Cone? Probably not. The temperature inside the Caldera Cone is hotter and the oxygen is lower than most alcohol stoves are designed for. As a consequence, we have developed a stove that is optimized to run in that environment and provide one with each cone.
- What kind of stove comes with the cone? The stove that has been optimized to run in the Caldera Cone environment is a center burn design with an inner fuel "cup" and a primer pan bottom. Air comes in the holes you see on the outer can, travels up the outside of the inner "cup" and through vent holes cut in its the inner "cup's" top. The flame comes out the center hole. It does not "bloom" out the side holes. The flame is not supposed to come out the side holes. The air goes IN the side holes and the flame comes out the top/center hole.
- How much alcohol will the stove hold? While the stove will technically hold 40 ml, you will likely not be required to ever test that limit. Depending on water temperature, altitude, wind, etc, you will get a 2 cup boil with anywhere between 15 to 25 ml of fuel.
- What kind of performance are you seeing? We have gotten 2 cup boils on 10 grams of denatured alcohol, and 5 cup boils on 20 grams (again, depending on the conditions). Many of the pressure alcohol stoves on the market use about twice that much fuel. Where the Caldera Cone really shines is in wind. By totally enclosing the stove and pot inside the cone, we are able to both protect the stove and the pot from the wind....while directing more heat into the pot to provide even better efficiency!
- From what material is the Caldera Cone made? Currently, the "Caldera" Cone is made from aluminum with similar material properties to standard flashing. The "Ti-Tri" Cones are made from titanium.
How do you assemble the Caldera Cone?
- Remove from storage carefully so that it does not spring open quickly.
- Bend into conical shape with the TWO MATING VERTICAL RIBS JUTTING OUT
- The bottom of one rib will have an angle cut through it. Start the point of this angle cut into the top of the mating rib.
- Align both ribs, and slide together.
Assemble Cone before lighting your stove
CAUTION: Keep fingers away from sliding edges!
NOTE: One rib (with the angle cut) is slightly smaller than the other and is designed to slide into the larger one. They will not assemble with the larger rib on the inside! Do not force it. If it is aligned correctly, it will slide easily. Get comfortable with assembly at home before trying it in the field.
- How do I pack the Caldera Cone?
- If you would like to pack the cone in your pot, check out our Sidewinder or Fissure products first.
- For those of you who want the Classic Caldera or Ti-Tri and want to try your hand at packing the cone without the supplied Caddy, here are some ideas you might want to consider. Here in Yosemite, where we are forced to carry bear canisters, we typically disconnect the cone and put it inside. In areas where that is not as common, the Caldera Cone can be rolled tighter and put inside a 20 to 24 oz plastic cup, inside a water bottle that has had it's top removed, wrapped around a water bottle, or laid flat and put inside a Z-Rest or other flat area of your pack. Check out the pictures below.
- Here's a technique by a customer that uses two cut off Gatorade bottles that lock together when seated on one another:
- This customer fashioned a tapered "plug" out of foam and coated it with epoxy to keep it lasting longer. The whole thing weighs about an ounce and could be made even lighter with some "lightening" holes.
- One enterprising customer found that the "Clorox Disinfecting Wipes" container is the perfect size.....and attached the product documentation to the outside. If you do this....be sure to thoroughly rid the inside of any nasty chemicals.
- Another solution sent to us was from a customer that rolls his cone up in his closed cell sleeping pad. If you choose to do this with an inflatable sleeping pad, you will want to take steps to ensure that your cone does not cut it.
- By far and away....the most common approach has been to find a plastic cup or water bottle that you can use around camp, cut it to height, stick your cone in there, and then invert the assembly into your pot. All your fuel bottles, stoves, grippers, etc typically fit inside. Finish it off by sticking it in a bag or tying it down with a strap. Here are two solutions sent in by customers: