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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > GSI Halulite Minimalist > Test Report by Gail Staisil

GSI Halulite Minimalist
Integrated Cook Set


Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents: 
Initial Report:
April 16, 2010Author

Tester Information
Name:
Gail Staisil
Age: 57
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 145 lb (66 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 19 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 14 lb (6.35 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

Product Information

Manufacturer
GSI Outdoors, Inc.
Website http://www.gsioutdoors.com
Model Halulite Minimalist
Color
Gray/Orange
Material
Halulite, Silicone, Plastic (Co-Polyester and Acetal)
Size
One Person Size
Manufacturer  Weight (total set)  6.3 oz (177 g) on packaging, 5 oz (142 g) on website
Tested Weight  6.1 oz (173 g)
Model Year 2010
MSRP $22.95 US

Initial Impressions and Product Description 

GSI Halulite Minimalist
The GSI Halulite Minimalist arrived in great condition with a sheet of instructions in both English and French. It is an integrated system (nForm Ultralight System) that consists of a 0.6 L (0.63 qt) pot, an insulative sleeve for the pot, a Sip-It Lid, a silicone pot gripper and a telescoping nFORM Foon (yes, "Foon", it is a combination of a spoon and fork).

This lightweight system is designed for the needs of one person. It is made so that the user can nest an ultralight stove and a 110 g (3.88 oz) fuel canister along with the other components inside the pot. Although I don't use a stove with such a canister, it will still work well for me as I normally use a small alcohol stove or Esbit stove which I can fit inside. I could easily place the Esbit tabs inside the pot too but my denatured alcohol bottle is too tall.

The manufacturer claims "The Minimalist is as close as you can come to carrying nothing while still bringing everything you need."
  

It's All About The Parts..


First, I might start by confiding that I am real excited about this system. I normally travel solo and even when I don't, I normally cook only for myself. I like the simplicity of the product as it appears to be well thought out. Now onto the detail:

0.6 L Pot - This is the centerpiece of the GSI Halulite Minimalist. The pot is 4.2 in (107 mm) in diameter and 4.6 in (117 mm) in height. The 3.4 oz (96 g) pot is made out of a hard anodized alloy called Halulite. This proprietary alloy is reportedly resistant to scratching and burn circles. It is not coated and it is touted to be as light as titanium but of course a lot less expensive. The manufacturer also claims the material conducts heat better and more evenly. The pot has no handles and is very clean in design. The pot is printed with a logo on one side and the other side has a diagram on its outer surface which shows how to stack the components together.

Insulative Sleeve - This attractive (dark gray with neat graphics) neoprene-type sleeve fits over the pot so that I can use it as an insulated cup. The bottom of the sleeve has a rubbery gripper surface so that it won't be slippery. There is also a small hole located in the center of the bottom which I assume is there for drainage and to prevent total suction between the pot and the sleeve. The sleeve only weighs in at 0.6 oz (17 g).
Gripper on the edge of the pot
Sip-It Lid - This lid actually serves two functions. It serves in an upside down position as the pot lid while cooking. The seal on the inner surface is to placed facing up. As an alternative, the lid can be used with the seal down for drinking purposes. It is a snug fit but the manufacturer placed a caution sticker inside the lid reflecting that the lid is oversized and "to ease insertion, moisten seal with water as necessary". The lid weighs 1.5 oz (42.52 g).

Pot Gripper - This is a small brightly colored (orange) gripper made out of silicone. It basically allows me to grab the pot when it is hot by protecting two of my fingers with heat resistant material. The gripper is used by placing my index and middle finger in the gripper unit. An integrated flap is placed over the edge of the pot and then the two are squeezed together to secure the pot. This gripper has a built in magnet so that it can be conveniently attached to a fuel canister so that it is easy to find. As mentioned above, I don't use a fuel canister stove but I have no doubt it will be easy to find as it is bright orange! The gripper weighs 0.4 oz (11.34 g).

Foon - When I first read the website, I thought that the manufacturer had misspelled "spoon". Then I noticed that this was simply their word for a combination spoon and fork! The foon is telescoping and has removable caution labels/diagrams on it to keep fingers clear of the center of the foon. It should be held in the space between thumb and other fingers when opening and closing. When the handle is pulled out, it clicks into place and is approx 3.8 in (97 mm) long. The foon is made out of plastic-type (C0-Polyester and Acetal) materials and it has an orange handle and a smoky gray bowl (of the foon). There is a small silicone insert on the end of the handle which may serve as a grip function as well as allowing the spoon to be securely retracted when the bowl is slid over the silicone. The foon weighs 0.2 oz (5.67 g).


Warnings, Cautions and Dangers

The manufacturer has covered all the bases with these on the printed instructions which came with the set. There are warnings regarding care that I summarized under the care section below. There are also cautions which include not heating the cookware to extreme temps or allowing the pot to boil dry. The pot and lid are to be used for stove top use only and not camp fires, microwaves, etc. It is also advised to proceed with caution when using the gripper. The lid, gripper and insulating sleeve should not be exposed to flame...common sense but it needs to be covered. All the danger warnings have to do with practicality in using the cookware. The dangers listed are to always turn off the stove before handling the pot or lid, to pour away from the pot gripper to avoid contact with water or steam, point lid away from stove controls and self, hold lid securely while pouring or straining, cool unit before cleaning or putting away and to always respect fire and hot substances. No problem there as I am always super safety conscious!


Trying them out

Pot with Sip-It-Lid
There are also instructions for using the system but basically it reminds you not to use the insulative sleeve during cooking, use the lid in the correct manner, etc. The pot came encased in the insulative sleeve. It seemed snug enough in place but I found it was easy to remove. However, I found it was easier to replace the sleeve over the pot. I tried the Sip-It- Lid and indeed did notice that it takes a bit of effort to secure the lid. Moistening it with water does help! I was most excited about the gripper. I filled the pot with water and noticed that it is so easy to pick up the pot with it. I am used to eating with a much longer spoon so the foon initially felt a bit awkward to use but time will tell.


Care

The manufacturer advises to wash all components with hot water and mild detergent before using. They can also be cleaned with sand and a clean and dry cloth. Boiling water can be used as a soaking and cleaning agent in the field. Dry before storing. Dishwashers reportedly could prematurely age the components.



 

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Field Report:
July 12, 2010


USA Locations and Conditions

During the field test period, I have used the GSI Minimalist Cookset for backpacking trips totaling 26 days. Locations included boreal and deciduous forest communities, islands, back country trails, bushwhacking and more. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to approximately 1400 ft (427 m).
 

Trip 1 - Early April Backpacking Trip:

Location: Pigeon River Country State Forest - Lower Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Bushwhack 
Distance: Approx 25 mi (40 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/4 nights

Pack Weight:
31 lb (14 kg)

Sky and Air Conditions: Light snow, cloudy and sunny
Precipitation: 0.14 in (0.36 cm)
Temperature Range: 22 F (-6 C) to 62 F (17 C)

Trip 2 - Late April/Early May Backpacking Trip:


Location: North Country Trail - Lower Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 31 mi (50 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Pack Weight: 26 lb (12 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, thunderstorms
Precipitation (Rain): 1.2 in (3.05 cm)
Temperature Range: 52 F (11 C) to 77 F (25 C)

Trip 3 - Mid May Backpacking Trip:

Location: High Country Pathway - Lower Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 80 mi (129 km)
Length of Trip: 6 days/5 nights
Pack Weight: 32 lb (14.5 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Clouds, thunderstorms and sun
Precipitation (Rain): 0.52 in (1.32 cm)
Temperature Range: 34 F (1 C) to 70 F (21 C) 

Trip 4 - Late May Backpacking Trip:

Location: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 42 mi (68 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days/3 nights
Pack Weight: 24 lb (10.89 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Clouds, thunderstorms and sun
Precipitation (Rain): 0.27 in (0.69 cm)
Temperature Range: 46 F (8 C) to 90 F (32 C) 

Trip 5 - Late June/Early July Backpacking Trip:

Location: Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail/Canoe
Distance: 64.5 mi/104 km (hike),15 mi/24.15 km (canoe)
Length of Trip: 8 days/8 nights
Pack Weight: 30 lb (13.6 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly sunny, some rain and clouds
Precipitation (Rain): No data, but a few light storms blew threw
Temperature Range: 41 F (5 C) to 88 F (27 C)


Field Work 

Lots of Use

The GSI Minimalist Cook Set has seen a ton of usage during this field test period. I used it during five different backpack trips totaling 26 days. I packed it in three different backpacks for these journeys. On the first two trips I used the Osprey Aura 65 L/3967 cu in, the third I used the GoLite Pinnacle (67 L/4087 cu in) and during the forth and fifth, I used the GoLite Jam (50 L/3050 cu in). The Minimalist fits easily into any of these packs. Even though my stove does not fit inside the pot, I store my titanium wind screen, matches, the foon and the pot gripper inside the pot. My fuel (alcohol) and stove are stored in a stuff sack along with the GSI set. This is the lowest volume set I have ever used and I am really pleased with it for all my trips where I cook only for myself.
Hot drink ready after a long rainy day
The only area of concern or something that I would change is that the neoprene cover is charcoal gray and looks just like the pot. Once when I was really tired, I filled the pot with water and placed it on my alcohol stove. Good thing the stove wasn't at full flame as the neoprene sleeve was still on it. I actually was quite surprised that it wasn't damaged. Now I have to remind myself to take the sleeve off before I fill the pot with water and placed on the stove! This of course is common sense but things happen when a person is preoccupied or tired. I really think a different color or brighter and larger graphics all away around the sleeve would help!

On the other hand, something that really surprised me was that I can take the pot directly off the stove and insert it right into the sleeve. I did cringe the first few times thinking that it would get damaged but it didn't.

The Sip-It-Lid has functioned well in both capacities. Just placing it over the pot upsideSip-It-Lid with new sealPot with inverted lid and pot gripper down to use as a lid does invite a few comments but I assure those who ask that it is the right way. Using it to sip hot liquid has worked equally well. I have had a few occasions that the seal has separated from the lid but not while using it for drinking. It is usually after the lid has been used over the pot and I think that it simply gets heated and the seal separates. It easily can be put back in place.

Just recently I received a new seal from the manufacturer. It wasn't something I expected so I wondered if it was any different than the old one. I noticed that it had a small flap on the rim so I placed the new one on the lid for the next trip which was 8 days long. The new seal fit much easier but it actually fits rather loose. This isn't an issue while cooking but it is a concern when using it as the Sip-It-Lid. Several times I found my drink dribbling down the front of my shirt or jacket while sipping. I currently think that the old one was a better fit.

The foon takes a little getting used to. I ordinarily use a long-handled titanium spoon so there is quite a difference. The foon has performed remarkably well but I still like my old spoon better as the edges aren't as sharp. The foon is easy enough to open and close and does make storage easier. I still normally take both utensils on trips. 

I love, love, love the pot gripper. I usually fill the pot up to an inch (2.54 cm) from the top so I am careful when using the gripper. It has provided excellent protection from the hot water and I don't think protection from hot steam has been compromised in any way. Others readily notice this pot gripper as it sure stands out with its orange color or is it because I use it sometimes for a puppet (kind of looks like a hippo)? Even though I don't use a metal fuel canister to attach the magnet to, I have never "lost" it for a second.


Durability and Care So Far

There really is no noticeable difference in the appearance of the cook set since I got it. I normally boil water in the pot, add part of it to a ZipLock bag with freeze-dried food and then add either chai tea or hot chocolate mix to the remaining water in the pot. I put the hot pot into the neoprene sleeve and after stirring the contents of the pot, I place the Sip-It Lid on it. Since I seldom drink my tea right away, the neoprene keeps the tea hot until I desire it. 

I normally use my long handled spoon to stir the contents of the pot and there has been no noticeable scratches on the Halulite to change its appearance. I have used an alcohol stove on all these trips so there are not any burn marks or similar. The insulative sleeve is still in great shape even though I had that one incident with it.

I will continue to use the GSI Haulite Minimalist during several backpacking trips in the next two months of testing.

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Long Term Report:
September 11, 2010


USA Locations and Conditions

During the long term test period, I have used the GSI Minimalist Cookset for an additional 13 days. Locations included boreal and deciduous forest communities, islands, mountains and more. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to 13000 ft (3962 m).

 

Trip 6 - Early August Backpacking Trip:

Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area - Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Lake Superior
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 12 mi (19 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights

Pack Weight:
24 lb (10.89 kg)

Sky and Air Conditions: Sun, clouds and rain
Precipitation: 0.32 in (0.81 cm)
Temperature Range: 64 F (18 C) to 82 F (28 C)
 
Trip 7 - Late August/Early September Colorado Backpacking and Day Hiking Trip:

 
Location: Colorado, USA. (Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Aspen, CO; Glacier Gorge and Bear Lake Trails, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO)
Type of Trip: Backpacking, Day Hiking
Length of Trip: 8 days
Pack Weight:
28 lb (12.7 kg)

Sky and Air Conditions: Sun, clouds and rain
Precipitation: 0.11 in (0.28 cm) rain
Temperature Range: 86 F (30 C) to 36 F (2 C)

Trip 8 - September 9 -10 Backpacking Trip

Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area - Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Lake Superior
Type of Trip:
Trail

Distance: 11.7mi (18.8 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night

Pack Weight:
22 lb/10 kg (includes 4 lb/1.8 kg of water)

Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 56 F (13 C) to 41 F (5 C)


Field Work 

Continued Usage

The GSI Minimalist Cook Set has continued to be used for backpacking trips during the long term period. On the first and third trips I was just cooking for myself and on the second journey I also cooked for another person. During the first trip I used the pot to boil water and then left some of the water in the pot to mix in my drink mix of choice, usually Chai tea. Because I found the new seal on the second lid to be leaky for sip-it purposes, I brought the old one along too and ended up reverting to that for the duration of the test period. It has a much better seal and I don't have to worry about the contents of the pot dripping down my shirt. I personally vote for the first seal as I had no issues with that.

On the second trip of eight days in Colorado, the Minimalist saw a lot of use. I was also heating water for one of my trail partners so I had to fill it a couple of times for each meal for there to be enough hot water. However it is a solo pot so I am not suggesting that it didn't meet my needs. On this trip I only used the Sip-It Lid feature a few times as I wanted to keep the pot clean for multi-person use. I did find the neoprene cozy handy though for storing my water-added entree that was in a quart/liter size Ziplock bag. It fit in there nicely and likely kept it warmer than if it was just exposed to the cool mountain air.
On the third trip of this period I went back to Grand Island for two days. I used the pot set for two meals

On this trip I did find the Foon to be inadequate. Any time I would press down on the foon it would collapse. I continue to love the pot gripper. I think this would be a great item for the manufacturer to sell separately as it is a neat innovative and useful item. I likely will not carry my metal pot grippers ever again (OK, maybe for winter camping where I use a much bigger pot).


Durability

The durability of the GSI Minimalist is not in question. My only real issue has been the foon. I simply prefer something more sturdy that doesn't collapse with pressure and my own preference is for a longer handle on an utensil.

I will continue to use this set for hopefully many years excluding the foon. I would highly suggest that the manufacturer change the color of the neoprene cover so that it doesn't look like the pot. Otherwise this set is absolutely unequivocally perfect for the solo camper. It is so easy to pack and I love the small footprint that it takes in my pack.

Overall, during the entire testing period the Minimalist has been used for 39 days of camping. Most days it was used at least two times.

 

Pros 
  • Very "packable" in a variety of backpacks
  • Quality product functions well
  • Neoprene sleeve makes a remarkable cozy
  • Pot gripper is so functional
Cons 
  • Color of neoprene sleeve would be better if different from the pot itself
  • New seal on Sip-It-Lid is too loose for use while drinking

Tester Remarks 

Thanks to GSI and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Minimalist Cook Set. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series. 

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