View Full Version : Caldera question

03-10-2015, 19:00
Folks, I am wondering if anyone has experience with the caldera cone system, AND if you have tried one of the simmer attachments.


I hiked most of the PCT with the etowah outfitters stove, which worked great except for in the High sierra, when wind + isopropyl alcohol equaled a frustrating pot of beans. I like the idea of the increased efficiency the caldera system promises. I did, however, like the simmer feature on the etowah stove. Plus it's cheap. I am considering just replacing the etowah stove (which lasted exactly one thruhike, impressively) vs. upgrading to the caldera system.


03-10-2015, 20:47
I've used the CC for several years (have the keg as well), and have no complaints - reliable, light, easypeasy. Sorry, have no exp with the simmer function.

03-10-2015, 20:59
The Caldera Sidewinder Tri Ti works well with the modified Starlite stove option. It is a bit slow on boil time, but that can be speeded up a bit by using an unmodified Starlite. The difference is the modified Starlite has a donut of aluminum over the top which reduces the opening. The standard Starlite simply burns the fuel faster, producing more heat. The simmer option from Zelph was not what I expected. I expected a disk with a hole in it that would fit over the Starlite. What I got was a sheet of the material. There was enough of it to make three simmer devices. I have made one so far. I used an exacto knife to cut it, using the Starlite and a coin as the templates. I left a bit of material on one side for a handle. The simmer material blocks the burn area in the same manner as the donut, but to a large degree. It might allow a bit of air to flow downward through the fibrous material toward the stove. The simmer material with a hold in the middle can be used to extinguish the stove easily without burning your fingers. You simply side it across the stove so that the hole in the fibrous material is at the side. At that point, most of the open burn area of the stove is obstructed.

Having boiled water only on the trail at this point, possibly I should not have answered. Yet, I have lit the stove and experimented with the simmer material. It will definitely reduce the temperature and extend the burn time. With plenty of the material supplied for a modest price, you can create differing levels of simmer capability. The material is very light. The material glows around the edges, but does not burn. The Starlite stoves are very light weight and have a plastic lid. They can be preloaded with alcohol and with a couple of them you could refuel and simmer almost non-stop for hours, if you wished. The plastic cap can be placed back on the stove after it is extinguished so that unused fuel is retained for the next use.

I tried boiling water with a wood fire. The inferno option creates a pretty good flame. I filled the burn chamber with larger sticks on the bottom. reducing size until very small twigs were on the top and used a cotton ball with vaseline to light it top down. It did not smoke until the pot was placed on the horizontal stakes. The cone with inferno option is messier than alcohol. If you run out of alcohol, or spill it, wood will generally be available in unlimited quantities. I don't see why simmering with wood would be too hard. You would have to raise or remove the pot until the fire burned down and then feed a more modest amount additional fuel over time. A full chamber of wood burned 10 to 15 minutes. I don't remember the boil time, but one load of wood was more than enough fuel. It only takes a small amount of wood. It is like a toy campfire. No doubt it could start a big fire with careless use.

With Zelph's simmer product and a Starlite stove, you will no doubt be able to attain a controlled simmer, or three.

03-11-2015, 11:04
The CC systems are very stable and wind-worthy. I use them when I'm above tree line or in a fire-ban area (where I can't easily and/or legally use my favorite wood burner), though usually with Esbit rather than alcohol fuel. I did test the simmer ring for their 12-10 alcohol stove and it works fine.

03-13-2015, 18:35
First cooking experience with simmering using the Caldera Tri Ti Sidewinder with a Starlite stove and simmer material:

Some soup requiring 15 minutes of simmer time after the mix is added to boiling water was prepared for lunch using the unmodified Starlite. The simmer was a bit too hot with a penny sized hole in the fabric, so I used the horizontal stakes for the wood burner option to elevate the 900 ml Toaks pot above the stove. With stirring, the soup did not boil. One load of fuel was more than sufficient to boil two cups of water and simmer for 15-18 minutes. I ate the soup, rather than watch to see when the flame went out. The stove holds up to 35 g of fuel. I used yellow Heet. There was no sticking to the Ti pot, so the temperature of the simmer was manageable.

The modified Starlite was used to bring two cups of water to a boil and then the simmer device with a penny sized hole was placed over the stove. I did not watch for the boil and missed when it started. At 12 minutes, the water was rapidly boiling, so the pot was raised and the simmer device was placed over the stove. The water continued to boil just a slight bit when not stirred until 45 minutes. At 46 minutes, the flame went out. I feel certain it will bring two cups of 60 degree water to a boil and then simmer for another 35 minutes on 35 g of fuel. I did not measure the temperature of the water. It was as cold as the tap water will get coming from underground pipes. The simmer capability is functional.

I will make another simmer ring with a dime sized hole. The material Zelph provides will make at least three.