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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Titanium Goat 750 Ti-Tri Caldera System > Owner Review by Edwin Morse

Titanium Goat 750 Ti-Tri Caldera System
BY EDWIN MORSE
OWNER REVIEW
April 07, 2012

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Edwin Morse
EMAIL: ed dot morse at charter dot net
AGE: 74
LOCATION: Grawn, Michigan USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)

I started backpacking in 1979 with two weeks in northern Michigan along the Lake Superior shore. My gear was cheap, heavy and sometimes painful. My starting pack weight was 70 lb (32 kg) with food but no water. Since then I have made one and two week trips in Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Three years ago I did a 2-week hike on Isle Royale, Michigan, western Lake Superior. Starting pack weight was 32 lbs (14.5 kg), including 10 days of food and 3 qt (2.8 l) of water. I am slowly learning what lighter gear works for me.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: Titanium Goat
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.titaniumgoat.com/
MSRP: US$107.00 including the 750 ml (25 oz) pot
Listed Weight: from Titanium Goat website
Pot Size in ml
750 (25 oz)
Pot with Lid: 3.8 oz (108 g)
Caldera Cone: 1.5 oz (42.5 g)
Alcohol Stove: 0.6 oz (17 g)
Fuel Bottle: 1.0 oz (28.3 g)
Esbit setup: 0.2 oz (5.6 g)
Ti Stakes for Wood: 0.6 oz (17 g)
Bag and Caddy: 3.3 oz (94 g)
Total Weight: 11 oz (312 g)

This system was manufactured by Trail Designs for Titanium Goat.

I looked first at the Trail Designs website but they didn't sell the woodburning system at that time. They did provide a link to the Titanium Goat site.
Trail Designs now sells three wood-burning systems; the Classic Ti-Tri (which I purchased from Titanium Goat), the Sidewinder Ti-Tri and the Ti-Tri ULC.

Measured Weight of my system:
Caldera TI cone 1.5 oz (43 g)
TI wood fuel base 0.5 oz (14 g)
Stakes for pot support 0.5 oz (14 g)
750 ml pot 3.2 oz (91 g)
Pot cover 0.5 oz (14 g)
Alcohol burner 0.5 oz (14 g)
Alcohol bottle 0.6 oz (17 g)
1 oz cup
TI Esbit burner 0.2 oz (6 g)
Plastic system pack 3.1 oz (88 g)
______________________________
Ti-Tri 750 system total 10.6 oz (301 g)

Other details: The kettle, cover, cone, Gram Cracker Esbit burner and wood-fuel base are titanium,
alcohol 12-10 stove is aluminum, the fuel bottle and Caldera Caddy are plastic.

Product Description

The Caldera Ti-Tri is a complete cooking system with three-fuel capability. The cone, floor and all stove components fit inside the Caldera Caddy which just fits inside the kettle. The titanium cone and base permit the use of wood for fuel. The folds of the cone easily slip together with the smaller and slightly pointed fold sliding inside the larger fold. When using denatured alcohol or solid fuel tablets the roll top of the pot rests on the top of the cone.

The 750 ml (25 oz) pot I ordered with the system is 4.25 in (10.8 cm) high and 3.75 in (9.5 cm) wide. I purchased the Ti-Tri system from Titanium Goat with their 750 ml pot.
The base, or floor is a round piece of titanium 7.125 in (18.4 cm) in diameter.
The titanium cone, when flat or not assembled, is a curved piece of titanium metal 7.25 in (10.8 cm) wide and, as near as I can measure, 10 in (25 cm) along the curved top and 20 in (51 cm) along the curved bottom. There is a dovetail fold at each end. When aligned the smaller dovetail easily slides into the larger fold forming a strong joint. It is now assembled into a truncated cone with a base of 6.5 in (16.5 cm) and a top that just fits the 3.75 in (9.5 cm) diameter pot. When the cone is assembled there is a notch at the top which allows my pot handle to stick out when using alcohol or solid fuel tablets.

The Ti-Tri came with two titanium stakes. These are used as pot supports when using wood as fuel. In my experience it is not a stable setup,or maybe I was a little clumsy. I eventually found that the notch in the top of the cone is used to feed in more sticks when burning wood.



FIELD USE

I ordered the Caldera Ti-Tri system with the 750 ml kettle which is included in the MSRP on the Titanium Goat site. I received the system in mid November of 2009.

I first used the Ti-Tri car camping Ocala National Forest in Florida late November and early December 2009. I was checking campsites and possible resupply for later backpacking. The weather was very pleasant with a low of 53 F (12 C) the second morning and a high of 74 F (23 C) with clear sky. I just used alcohol (actually Heet in the yellow bottle) for fuel this trip.

I practiced using the system with alcohol and Esbit in our covered deck at home several times in December and January.

My first backpacking with the system was a week-long hike in the Ocala National Forest in Florida. I could not find my notes but I do remember the low temperature was 22 F (-6 C) early the third morning and 88 F (31 C) the last afternoon I was hiking. The second day of hiking it rained so hard my camera got wet and died.

The next outing was an overnight hike May 2010 in the Manistee National Forest in Michigan. I just carried the alcohol setup with four ounces (113 g) of fuel. The weather was clear and cool. The temperature varied from the high of 56 F (13 C) when I started hiking down to 34 F (1 C) early in the morning. This 21 mi (34 km) hike is a popular loop combining the Manistee River Trail and a 10 mile (16 km) section of the North Country Trail. Below is a picture from my first spring hike of 2010. My Ti-Tri was still shiny and new looking at that time.
early dinner in the forest
5-14-10 early dinner in Manistee National Forest


I did a short overnight hike early June 2010 in the Manistee National Forest. This was a planned trail work day for a local chapter of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA). I started hiking, mostly bushwhacking after everyone else left the area. The rain started just as I finished hanging the hammock tarp. I used the Ti-Tri with alcohol under my hammock tarp to keep the rain off. The high temperature was 66 F (19 C) under cloudy skies with a low in the morning rain of 54 F (12 C). I could stay dry cooking and eating under the tarp until I went out to set up the camera and take pictures.
breakfast in the rain
Hot coffee and hot oatmeal


I did another overnight hike after a trail work day a week later, again in the Manistee National Forest. The planned work was completed early so I still hiked over 10 miles (16 km) each day. The weather stayed clear with a high of 78 F (26 C) and a low of 44 F (7 C).

I did a three-day hike mid July 2010 in the Manistee National Forest. I used wood fire in the Ti-Tri both nights and alcohol for morning coffee and oatmeal. I learned that the wood burning configuration can be a little unstable. The weather varied from a sunny high of 85 F (29 C) the first afternoon to a hard rain and 55 F (13 C) by the time I reached the Jeep the last morning.

My next backpacking was three-day group hike in Wisconsin early August 2010 the as part of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) annual meeting. The weather varied from a cool 60 F (16 C) and light rain to warm and sunny 85 F (29 C). The eight ounces (227 g) of alcohol I carried was more than enough for hot coffee each morning and hot soup each night.

I did a three-day hike May 2011. The sunny day changed to heavy clouds after a high of 85 F (29 C) in late afternoon. I just got my gear put way for the night when a light rain started that lasted most of the night.
The next day (May 22, 2011) after a low of 54 F (12 C) I hiked on to camp at Sand Lakes for the night with 14.5 miles (23.4 km) for the second day. The temperature reached a high of 85 F (29 C) again. I had all gear put away and was watching the lightening get closer after sunset. Before the lightening got close the hard rain storm got to my area. I got myself inside. Not much I could do but zip the door shut and read a book - and hope the lightening hit elsewhere. I had hung up a small tarp so I had a dry place to eat and pack. The next picture was taken the next morning. The tent is hung to dry while I ate and packed.
breakfast while packing
after the storm at Sand Lakes


I know I left out at least a few overnight and multi-day hikes. Those listed are the ones I could find notes with at least some details.


USEAGE, THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS

When I used the Ti-Tri system on the first hike I carried the alcohol bottle in an outside pack pocket. I packed my cup, bowl, spoon, lighter and towel in a Ziploc bag. The only thing inside the Caddy was the cone, base, alcohol 12-10 stove and the Gram Cracker Esbit burner.

all the parts I carry
My Ti-Tri system

Everything on the pad in the above picture is packed in the Caddy which is then put in the pot. Missing are the stakes, lighter and my spoon. In the picture below it is all together and ready to go in the pack.
ready for the next hike
packed to carry


Now I pack one or both stoves, cone, base, alcohol bottle, lighter and spoon inside the Caddy with a bandanna I also use for a towel. I often use the Caddy for both cup and bowl. The bandanna, or a towel, is packed in to keep things from rattling.

As an alcohol or Esbit burner the Ti-Tri system works very well. I've used a variety of alcohol stoves over the years. There is always the problem of protecting the alcohol flame from any wind. A second problem is getting the pot just the right height above the stove for maximum efficiency. The Caldera Cone has solved both problems. The system is pot specific because each cone is designed to hold the pot at the optimum height above the flame. The cone, designed to work with a specific pot, has solved the height problem without the user fussing with pot supports. I've never checked to see how long any of my stoves needed to boil water. I'm camping while taking a long walk in the forest, not in a rush to meet a schedule. I'm more concerned with ease of use and being comfortable with the gear I use. This system has been reliable, always heating water sooner than I expect. Once I get the alcohol lit it has never gone out until all the fuel was consumed. I like the fact that for hikes of four days or less I can pack fuel, stove, cup and bowl all in one package. On the other hand, this "one package" is a little bulky.

The Caldera Cone was bright and shiny when I first used the system. The Cone slowly turned dark with bright areas of color just from the heat of alcohol or solid fuel tabs. Of course when I burned wood as fuel both the inside of the Cone and the outside of the pot turned black.

I think that as a wood-burner it left me with something to be desired. I've used two other wood-burning stoves on hikes of a week or more. Both were very easy to use and burned the small sticks down to a fine gray ash. When I used wood as fuel in the Classic Ti-Tri I had small pieces of sticks that were not burned to ash. This does not seem like efficient use of the fuel if some is left unburned. The first time I made a wood fire my water was just starting to boil when I reached across to pick up more sticks to add to the fire. I bumped the pot and it all tipped over, spilling the water and putting out the small fire. I had to start all over again, getting dry wood and getting more water from the creek. I only seem to learn by making mistakes.

I recently watched the videos on the Trail Designs website. While watching the video I noted that they do not recommend packing the alcohol inside the Caddy - as I have been doing.

Alcohol has been my primary fuel with the system. I mostly use denatured alcohol since it seems to be the cheapest. On hikes of longer than overnight I carry the denatured alcohol in either 8 oz (227 g) or 16 oz (454 g) water bottles. I have also found that, if I'm careful with fuel use, the 12 oz (340 g) Heet in the yellow bottle will provide enough fuel for a six-day hike. These flat bottles are easy to carry in the side pocket of my pack.

I was disappointed when I used wood as fuel. I hike in the midwest where there is always wood available to burn and seldom a fire ban. I went to the Trail Designs website (while writing this report) and read about their Inferno Insert which supposedly makes wood-burning much more efficient. I ordered the Sidewinder Ti-Tri with the Inferno Insert. Soon I will have another system to play with, hopefully with true three fuel efficiency.

THINGS I LIKE

First I like the light weight. The whole package is a system.
I don't have to carry or rig up a separate wind screen which is very necessary when using alcohol as my fuel.
When I pull the Caddy out of the pot and open the Caddy everything I need to fix my next meal is there.
I don't have to search through my pack to find all the components needed.

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

The Ti-Tri system is a little bulky.
While the system can burn wood in a pinch it is not very efficient.
I haven't found much else not to like.

Signature

Edwin (Ed) Morse

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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