Sunday, September 04, 2016

Dinner on the Mountain

Yesterday Amanda and I went up to the Conrad Weiser State Forest for a few hours, and had dinner on the mountain. (It's not much of a mountain, but hey, we're in southeast Pennsylvania.)

We used my Esbit CS985HA cookset to boil the water for our noodle soup and heat up some Vienna sausages.

It's a versatile cookset. The 33.3 oz./985ml main pot has volume graduations stamped into it, which can be read from the inside. The 15.9 oz./470ml smaller pot can be used as a lid, or as shown above, as a saucepan. Both have folding rubber-covered folding stainless steel handles.

The pot stand/windscreen has four rubber feet on the bottom which would keep it slightly elevated off a table.

The set allows you to cook with either the included brass, Trangia-style alcohol burner or using Esbit hexamine fuel tablets. A small platform to put inside the pot stand when using the tablets is included. The pots, tablet platform, and pot stand are made from hard anodized aluminum.

You could burn sticks and twigs in the pot stand but it's not really designed for that. E.g., the bottom has a large opening so you'd want to sit it on a rock or cleared dirt.

For use with the alcohol burner, a simmer cap/snuffer is included. There isn't enough room in the pot stand to use it as a simmer cap but it works well to extinguish the stove. You want to use it instead of the screw-on cap for the stove. If you use the cap to put out the stove you'll damage its O-ring, which will let the stove leak if you carry it fueled and ready to go.

All the parts nest together and can be stored in an included mesh bag. I line the pot with a plastic bag before nesting everyting else inside to keep it clean. Also, if I use hexamine tablets the outside of the pot will get a coated wth soot. The plastic bag allows me to keep that off the rest of my gear.

The total weight of the Esbit cookset is 15 oz., not including fuel. I keep the brass burner filled with denatured alcohol, three or four Esbit tablets, a bandana, and a small box of matches packed in the kit.

Our campsite is not near a water source so all of our water had to be packed in. Amanda used an Osprey water bladder in her pack, while I used three one-quart canteens. One is a 1945-vintage aluminum USGI canteen that I found several years ago at a gun show.  The other two were Nalgene Oasis canteens, which have the same exterior dimensions as US military issue canteens, but which are made of a better plastic, weigh a little less, and don't impart any taste to the water.

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