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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cook Sets > GSI Outdoors Halulite Boiler > Test Report by Leesa Joiner

Initial Report
GSI Halulite Boiler
 June 29, 2007

Initial Report: June 29, 2007
Field Report:  September 15, 2007
Long Term Report: November 12, 2007

Personal Information:
Leesa Joiner
leesaj@gmail.com
Southwestern Maine
45 years old                                                                     
Female
5'7" (1.7 m)
160 lb (73 kg)


Background:
     My outdoor experiences include trips varying in length from one-day hikes to two-week trips.  Most involve my three children. While my style isn't as 'high adventure' as some, I do enjoy the time we spend outdoors.
    My load used to be HEAVY - think pack mule.  Now that the kids carry their own gear, plus the two oldest help carry the food, etc, my load is lighter.  I go for durability over weight when selecting gear.
    While outdoors, I spend time hiking, geocaching, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and camping. I spend almost as much time outdoors during the winter as I do during the summer.

boiler with lid
Product Information:
Manufacturer: GSI Outdoors
Year of Manufacture: 2007
URL: http://www.gsioutdoors.com
Advertised Weight: 11.8 oz (334.5 g)
Measured Weight: 11.3 oz (320 g)
Advertised Capacity: 2 qt (1.9 L)
Measured Capacity: 2 qt (1.9 L)
Advertised Dimensions: 5.81 x 6.81 in (14.8 x 17.3 cm)
Measured Dimensions: Dimensions: 5.81 x 6.81 in (14.8 x 17.3 cm)
MSRP: $27.95 US
                                                                                                                                                           



Product Description:
    The GSI Halulite Boiler arrived looking as pictured on the internet, although for some reason, I thought it would be shorter.  The box arrived containing: 2 qt. Boiler, Lid/Warming Dish made of LexanŽ resin, Silicone coated, folding handles and a Mesh Bag. The outer surface of the boiler has a dark charcoal colored, brushed finish.  There are two small pouring spouts on the top edge of the Boiler.  There are two handles that lay flat against the Boiler when not in use, or fit together to use as a handle. The clear, Lexan lid/warming dish has a slightly rounded top edge, and a concave top.   Centered on the top is a flip up red lever that when lifted serves as a handle for removing the lid.  
    The Boiler feels light for its size.  I can fit either of my stoves, along with a mug/bowl and eating utensils inside the Boiler.  I'm anxious to get out and use it.

Planned Use:
     I plan on using the Boiler while backpacking with my children and friends this summer.  I like to cook both at home and on the trail and make many of my own backpacking meals.  I have a dehydrator that allows me to make up different meals for trips.  I get lazy sometimes and just freeze extra cooked meat, and add it to packaged rice or noodle mixes. While backpacking or camping, I just boil water and and the ingredients.  Jambalaya made this way is one of my kids' favorites.  I plan on carrying it on two - three day trips, and on a one week trip.  These trips will be in Northern New England - Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.  We also have a tentative trip to an island off the coast of Maine planned for late summer.  
    During the summer, I primarily use either a Brunton Raptor or Coleman Exponent Xtreme Stove.  Most likely, the majority of the time I will use one of these two stoves with the Halulite Boiler.  While backpacking I will use it mostly for boiling water.  On the longer trip we will set up camp and then do day trips.  The boiler will get used for lunch while hiking.   I will use the Boiler for making breakfast - making scrambled eggs is a good test of how evenly a pot is heating. Back at camp, I can use it with fresh meat and vegetables.  One of our favorite recipes is a camp version of Burritos. I will brown the ground meat in the Boiler, then add spices, chopped veggies and add cheese at the very end of the cooking time. Hopefully, the Boiler will allow me to cook the meat evenly and fairly quickly.  The Boiler will get plenty of use, which will give me the opportunity to see how evenly it heats, how well it holds heat and if it has 'hot spots'.   I am also anxious to see if the handles heat up easily.  I'm looking forward to trying out the Boiler and seeing how useful it is for cooking different things.  I also will be looking at how useful the lid is for melting butter, etc.  I'm hoping that it fits well in my pack also.  It doesn't seem like it will be a problem since it is fairly compact.
    Once Fall arrives, we do more weekend trips.  The cooler weather will give me more opportunities to try cooking different things (since its easier to keep things cold).  I'm looking forward to all the cooking experiments I can try with the Halulite!

Test Conditions:
Living in Northern New England, I have the good fortune of being able to experience at least 4 seasons (sometimes within days of each other!) and some of the best outdoor areas around.  During the next four months our temperature range will run from the current of 75 degrees F (23 C) up to about 90 degrees F (32 C) and then back down into the 40 - 50 degree F range (4 - 10 C).   We have had quite a bit of rain this year, along with cooler than normal temperatures.  The cooler temperatures makes for nice hiking weather, but the extra rain increases the mosquito population.  

My hiking  areas range from improved trails to rough and rocky terrain, with some modest elevation gain.   On day hikes, I tend to average 5 - 15 miles (8 - 24 km) per day.  On multi-day trips, depending on who I am with and what our goals are, I may do up to 20 miles (32 km) in a day.  



Field Report
September 15, 2007

For the last few months, I have enjoyed  using the GSI Halulite Boiler.   I've used it while backpacking and camping, to boil water, slow cook food and to boil water for cleaning up.   It holds enough water to rehydrate a rice dish for 4 people, make hot chocolate for 6 or to wash up some utensils and bowls.   I particularly like how it heats food evenly.  There don't seem to be any hot spots on the boiler. Food heats evenly, and without scorching the bottom of the pan.   I can melt butter in the top, while cooking small ears of corn inside the boiler - now if I could only find small lobsters locally to cook!  

The pan has traveled in my pack 5 times - and also accompanied me while I went 'car camping'.  Although, car camping allows me to take more with me, I really hate dragging everything, including the kitchen sink.  I try to travel light, because we often set up camp, and then do day hikes from that base.   The boiler fits in my pack easily, and holds my stove, bowl, spork and seasoning packets.   I am very surprised how well the surface has held up.  I have not been overly gentle with it, and it has dropped on the ground once or twice.  The inside has remained almost mark free, while the outside has some slight scratches.  Neither inside or outside have sustained any damage that would effect its use.  I am careful to use silicon utensils with the Boiler, to decrease the risk of scratches.  

On one trip in western Maine, I used the boiler to cook jambalaya and linguica (Portuguese sausage).   I carried 2 packages of jambalaya mix and the linguica which was frozen when I packed it and was just about thawed when I cooked it.   Once we stopped to eat, I heated the water, threw all the ingredients in the boiler and set up my tent.  I stopped twice to stir and by the time we were done setting up, dinner was ready.   It turned out great!   It was a cool evening, with temperatures dropping into the low 40's F (4 C).   The boiler was easily cleaned up with a damp towel.

On a separate trip, I used it to cook oatmeal for breakfast.   The water heated quickly, I added some dried fruit, let it set for a few minutes and added the oatmeal.  By the time we ate, got dressed, and sat around enjoying our coffee, the leftover oatmeal was dry in the boiler.  I thought it would be as difficult as cement to remove.  Turns out, it wiped right off the insides!  I was impressed - and relieved.  On this trip, the temperatures were cool in the morning - again in the low 40's F (4 C), but quickly heated up into the 80s F (26 C).    In the evenings, I boiled water to rehydrate different meals, mostly meat/pasta or rice combinations.   All turned out well.   The Boiler is big enough to handle a meal for 4 people, yet light enough to carry easily in my pack.

The Boiler came in handy on one of my earliest trips to New Hampshire - it rained the whole time.  The kids and I went through quite a bit of hot chocolate.   It wasn't that cold - in the mid-60's F (16 C), but we got bored and making the hot chocolate kept us busy.  I was surprised that even with keeping the Boiler on the stove for a long time while we heated water, over and over, the handles did not get too hot to touch.

I was happy to see how stable the Boiler is on many different stoves.  I used it on the Brunton Raptor and Coleman Exponent Xtreme stoves, along with my good, old trusty Coleman two-burner.   It worked equally well on all three.   The Boiler sits on the burners without problem, and does not slide around, even with gentle stirring.  

The next two months will bring cooler temperatures, which means I will be cooking more hot meals while hiking.   I'm looking forward to seeing how well the Boiler does with different meals.   My goal is to test it with different types of meals, while watching for signs of wear.  Hopefully, I won't burn anything - not only for the Boiler's sake, but who wants to eat burnt food?


Long Term Report
November 12, 2007


Final Thoughts

 The GSI Boiler has become my favorite cook pot!  After using it this weekend to cook and finding that my corn chowder came out better than it does at home - I may just give up my stove and cook outside from now on!  We had planned a three day trip, hiking in an area we were familiar with, but that is one of the few places safe to go during hunting season.  I wasn't feeling well and knew a cold was coming on.  During the weekend, my daughter ended up sick also, so we cut the trip short.  Saturday night though we had a great chowder that I made by using up leftover bacon pieces, potatoes and corn that I had pre-cooked, heated them in the bottom of the boiler, added some water and dried milk.  The chowder simmered for about half an hour and we ate it with crackers (which were more like cracker crumbs at this point)   The chowder was good and even though we weren't feeling well, it warmed us up and everyone got a good nights sleep. I am never sure if food just tastes better when we are outside cooking, or if it really is better.  

The lid is great for melting butter.  I also used it to finish up the thawing of some meat.  I had taken along some frozen chicken on one trip and because the temperatures were not as warm as expected, the chicken was still slightly frozen when we stopped.   I started the water for the pasta, put the lid on upside down, and put the chicken on the lid.  By the time the water boiled and the pasta cooked - the chicken was thawed and ready to toss into the pasta.

Over the last four months I have used the boiler to cook everything from scrambled eggs to jambalaya to chowder.   For each dish, it performed very well.   It heats quickly and evenly, with no 'hot spots'.   I am careful not to use metal utensils in the boiler, but other than that, it gets no special treatment.   Cleaning has consisted of wiping with a damp cloth, heating water in it over a fire, and a good washing with mild soap.   After each use, the boiler cleaned up very easily.   The lid also wipes clean fairly easily.    I am most impressed with how well the boiler has maintained its finish.  

The handles took a little getting used to - I had to remember to open up the handles, moving them away from the pot before putting it on the heat source.  When extended they do not get hot, unless left on the stove for a long time.  I also found that they cooled quickly once off the fire. The pour spout works well, and helps 'aim' the hot liquid into the receiving container.

I was able to test the boiler - making 18 different things with it - hot drinks, soups, eggs, one pot meals and even pudding.  Everything turned out, except the pudding - it was lumpy, but I don't think that was the boilers fault.  Cooking something that needs constant stirring, while distracted by friends is difficult.   The size is just about perfect.  I can fit my stove, lighter, bowl and utensils inside, without worrying  about things banging around and getting damaged.  The boiler fits easily inside my pack.  It is large enough to prepare a large enough quantity to serve myself and two children.  Soups and drinks went farther, serving up to 5 people.    Our weather over the last two months has become much colder - our first hard frost was the end of September.  Night temperatures have been in the 20 F range (-6 C), with day temperatures running from a high of 55 F (13 C) to a low of 34 F (1 C).  All trips were dry, with no rain or snow.  All trips have been below 2000 ft. (610 m).

I really want to thank GSI and backpackgeartest.org for the opportunity to test this great boiler.   I plan on continuing to use the boiler, even though the test is over.  It has definitely earned a place in my pack!


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Read more gear reviews by Leesa Joiner

Reviews > Cook Gear > Cook Sets > GSI Outdoors Halulite Boiler > Test Report by Leesa Joiner



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