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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > AntiGravityGear Caldera Caddy Sack > Test Report by Curt Peterson

AntiGravityGear Caldera Caddy Sack
Report Series by Curt Peterson

Initial Report - April 2009
Long Term Report - July 2009


Below you will find:

Initial Report Contents
     Tester Background and Contact Info
     Product Specifications
     Initial Impressions
     Initial Report Summary

Long Term Report
       Long Term Testing
       Final Test  Thoughts

AGG Caddy Sack
 
AntiGravityGear Caddy Sack Components - cozy + stuff sack




Initial Report

Tester Background and Contact Information


Name: Curt Peterson
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 270 lb (122 kg)
Email address: nwcurt<at>gmail<dot>com
Location: North Bend, Washington, USA

I live in the Cascade foothills, just 20 mi (32 km) from the Pacific Crest Trail via trails leading right from my backyard. My outdoor time in Washington is spent dayhiking, backpacking, climbing, fishing and skiing everywhere from the Olympic coast to rainforests to Cascade volcanoes to dry steppe. I played football in college and often evaluate products from a big guy perspective. My typical pack load ranges from 11 - 20 lbs (5-9 kg) and usually includes plenty of wet weather gear.

Product Specifications

  • Size:
    • 4 sizes available - X-Small, Small, Medium, and Long. I am testing the Small size Caddy Sack
    • Manufacturer claim: 7 in (18 cm) tall by 4 in (10 cm) in diameter
    • Measured size: 7.5 in (19 cm) tall by 4 in (10 cm) in diameter
  • Weights:
    • Manufacturer claim: 1.5 oz (42 g)
    • Measured weight of sack and cozy: 1.3 (38 g)
    • Measured weight of sack only: 0.3 oz (10 g)
    • Measured weight of cozy only: 1.0 oz (28 g)
  • Manufacturer Website: www.antigravitygear.com
  • Warranty: 30 days for workmanship/material defects
  • Caddy Sack MSRP: $15.00 US

Initial Impressions


AntiGravityGear (AGG) has been a leading maker of ultralight backpacking gear for years, probably most known for their lightweight kitchen kits. I've tried a few different alcohol stoves and had some positive experiences, but I've never been able to trade in my gas canister stove and make the switch to alcohol as my primary cooker. One of AGG's new items - the AntiGravityGear Caddy Sack - is designed for an alcohol stove system, but has appeal for any backpacking kitchen. Custom sized for Trail Design's Caldera Caddy - which, in turn, is designed to hold Trail Design's Caldera Cone system - the Caddy Sack is essentially a multi-use kitchen "case". This report will focus on the AGG Caddy Sack, although its integration with the Caldera Caddy makes it hard to separate the items for review. It should be made clear from the outset, however, that the Caldera Caddy is a stand-alone item available separately for $5 US. It also comes in 4 sizes and the small version I will be using with the Caddy Sack weighs 2.6 oz (74 g).

I will NOT be using the Caldera Cone stove system in this test. I am reviewing the AGG Caddy Sack from the perspective of a backpacking kitchen tool on its own and how it fits into a variety of kitchen setups. I have always had a bit of a camp kitchen geek in me. Tiny gas stoves, folding titanium spoons, nesting pot kits - these are the kinds of things I am seemingly always checking out and swapping into and out of my gear kit. The trouble with all of these cool kitchen items is that I end up with many small parts that are easy to lose, easy to forget at home, and often difficult to organize efficiently. I'm interested in the AGG Caddy Sack primarily as a way to organize my kitchen, but the multi-functional aspects it offers make it especially appealing.

According to the AntiGravityGear website:   

The Caldera Caddy Sack is the perfect compliment to the Trail Designs Caldera Cone system and Caldera Caddy.  Add versatility and performance to your Caldera system by turning your food-grade Caddy halves into an insulated mug and bowl.  

Perfect for freezer bag cooking too. Simply place the freezer bag with your food into the Caddy/cozy assembly and seal in the heat while your food cooks. Then, eat out of the bag with the bag fully supported in the insulated Caddy.

  • Includes fitted silnylon stuff sack and cozy
  • Cozy is made with extremely efficient reflective insulator
  • Made in USA
The item that arrived for testing is exactly as described and shown on the website. It is only two simple components: the cozy and the sack. The cozy is split into two pieces that fit the two halves of the Caldera Caddy exactly. When the Caddy is closed, the two halves of the cozy meet to form a snugly insulated cylinder. The cozy appears to be thin packaging bubble wrap with a mylar-like aluminized coating on the surface. Having used this material before, I'm aware of its excellent insulating properties and have little doubt it will do its cozy duties well. The other component is a silnylon stuff sack that seals the entire thing up nice and snug with a drawstring top. It's perfectly sized with clean lines and very nicely fitted pieces. The cozy fits the Caldera Caddy perfectly, and the stuff sack fits the cozy with being too tight or too loose. My use of the Caddy Sack will be as a kitchen organizer, bowl with cozy, mug with cozy, and freezer bag insulated "cooker".

My first thought when I started to load up the Caddy Sack was that the weight might not be worth the organization benefits. But as I started setting aside the little stuff sack for my stove, the lightweight bowl I sometimes carry, the stuff sack I try to get most of my kitchen stuff into, and other miniature containers I quickly realized that the weight difference is essentially a wash but the functionality is greatly increased. Not only does the Caddy Sack setup provide very strong protection for fragile things like lightweight canister stoves and more, but it keeps everything together and offers the benefit of fuel weight savings through the cozy use (see picture below).

I'm heading out for a trip in the next couple days, and for this trip I easily fit the Caldera Caddy, my insulated mug and lid, a canister stove, a titanium spoon, a toothbrush, toothpaste, lighter, compressed paper towel, matches, disk LED light, hand sanitizer, and a microfiber mini towel (see picture below). Even with all of this, there is still plenty of room for ketchup packets, honey packets, salt and pepper packets, and other small food stuff that often is a pain to pack and has a way of getting all over the place in less-than-convenient ways.


Kit Parts
Packed  Pieces for the Caldera Caddy


Caddy Sack with Freezer Bags
Caddy Sack used with freezer bag meal (photo courtesy of AntiGravityGear)


With my entire kitchen in one small cylinder I need only carry a cook pot with a fuel canister inside for an organized, durable, simple, and complete kitchen setup. It appears that all of the various sizes are the same diameter and vary only in height. A shorter, squatter version could potentially also carry the pot and fuel, although admittedly at a likely higher weight. For now, this setup has definitely increased my kitchen's organization and I look forward to using it in the backcountry.

Initial Report Summary

Initial Likes
  • Excellent way to organize the many small kitchen items in a typical backpacking kit
  • Case/packaging that is multi-functional as bowls, cozys, organizer, and item protection
  • Tidy overall package in a well-fitted stuff sack
Initial Concerns
  • None so far!

Long Term Report


Long Term Testing

The AntiGravityGear Caddy Sack saw plenty of use over the test period. It went on three dayhikes and a backpacking trip shortly after receiving it. The dayhikes were all in the Cascade foothills in Western Washington. Typical spring days with mild temperatures and overcast skies were the norm. The early backpacking trip was a couple days in the Channeled Scablands of Central Washington. It later was used for a weekend camping in Leavenworth Washington, a night near Medford, Oregon, a couple days just south of San Diego, California, and in the Goat Rocks Wilderness of Washington. Temperatures have been decidedly warm, with day use between 75 and 90 F (24 to 32 C) and nights ranging from the mid 40s to mid 60s F (7 to 18 C).

From the beginning, the AntiGravityGear Caddy Sack has been a cool piece of gear looking for a home in my backpack. My use of the Caddy Sack has been as a kitchen organizer, bowl with cozy, mug with cozy, and freezer bag insulated "cooker". Because I don't use a Caldera, I've tried pushing into a number of duties:

Bowl/Mug: I tried using the Caddy as a bowl and a mug so that I could utilize the cozy more. That didn't last long as the first time I drank water out of one half of it the plastic taste was unacceptable. I had cleaned it out with soap and water, but it didn't appear to make a difference.

Food Bag Holder: In this use, the Caddy Sack shined. I use a lot of freezer bag cooking on my trips, and holding the bag to eat out if always presents a challenge. It is often too hot to hold with bare hands and difficult to support well and keep from spilling. With the Caddy Sack, I simply set the bag inside either the top or bottom of the cozy and I have an insulated holder that also gives the freezer bag some structure. This was probably my favorite way to use the Caddy Sack.

Food Rehydrator:Plopping a hot freezer bag full of dehydrated or freeze-dried food into the Caddy Sack and closing it up tight definitely improves rehydration. It keeps the bag much hotter, much longer. With side-by-side bags (one in and one out), it was not even close as far as retaining heat. This not only rehydrates the food better, it saves on fuel since a quick boil of water may be all that is needed for a meal that normally requires longer boiling times. I found that the food that had been inside the Caddy Sack could even be too hot to eat after sitting for 20 minutes or more.

Small Item Organizer: Besides as a food bag holder, this was the most common way I used the Caddy Sack. I put a number of small items in there similar to the photo above, although organizing things that go together proved difficult. This was a little frustrating because one of the hopes I had for organizing this way was to keep everything together. For instance, I couldn't keep all of my stove set in there together. My sit-on-top canister stove fit easily, as did the windscreen I use with it. The canister, however, would not. On my remote-canister stove, the canister fit, but the stove did not. Trying to use it for all my utensils, spices, towels, etc. came very close to working well, but my long handled spoon was a bit too tall. I have a folding spork that fit easily, but once again my preferred way to organize just didn't work quite right. I could fit most of my fishing kit in there, but the reel was just a tad too wide no matter how I contorted it. Now, I realize the Caddy Sack wasn't necessarily intended or designed for any of these kits, but it was my hope that I could find a tough, protected home for many of these things. In the end, going back to my cooking pot as the carrier for my kitchen turned out to be the best way to group things together in an organized way.


Final Test Thoughts

I'm totally sold on the Caddy Sack as a cozy and it serves its purpose very well in that regard. In the end, though, I think I would be just as well getting one of AGG's custom cozys made for my pot instead of using the Caddy. The Caddy Sack is perfectly sized, snug without being too tight, and the stuff sack is pretty much perfect. I just didn't find a really good use for it since I'm not a Caldera user and apparently am pretty finicky about how I organize my small gear items. I'll definitely keep the system around as my tastes in kitchen items seems to change a lot and it may be the perfect item in a future setup I use. For now, I've become a true believer in the cozy system and will likely be ordering a setup for my pot to gain the advantages the AGG Caddy Sack offers but in a build more focused on my specific setup.

My thanks to AntiGravityGear and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this unique item!



Read more reviews of AntiGravityGear gear
Read more gear reviews by Curt Peterson

Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > AntiGravityGear Caldera Caddy Sack > Test Report by Curt Peterson



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