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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cook Sets > Mons Peak 123 UL HE Cook set > Test Report by Kurt Papke
Mons Peak IX 123 UL HE Cook Set
|6' 4" (193 cm)
|230 lbs (105 kg)
|kwpapke (at) gmail (dot) com
|City, State, Country:
|Tucson, Arizona USA
|Mons Peak IX
|Trail 123 HE UL Cook Set with Stove HP BR
|Country of manufacture
|3-year product lifetime warranty against defects of
materials and craftsmanship from the date of purchase
|Hard anodized aluminum alloy, stainless steel, elastomers
(width x height)
I attempted to replicate the manufacturer's claimed boil times for both pots. I used 81 F (27.2 C) tap water and conducted my tests at home, indoors, at an altitude of 2700 ft (820 m). At this altitude the boiling point is around 206.7 F (97.1 C). The manufacturer did not provide the starting temperature of the water nor the altitude at which the measurement was made for their claims, but my conditions should provide an optimistic estimate since most of the backcountry water sources are far cooler than my tap water in Tucson. My measurements showed boil times about 15-20% longer than claimed.
One thing I missed while conducting my little test was gradation marks on the inside of the pots to make it easy to measure typical fill volumes. I commonly boil 2 cups (about 0.5 L) for my meals, and it would be nice if the pot made it easy for me to measure this out.
I also observed that this stove puts out quite a flame.
During my test my wife came out of a back room to see what the
noise was, as the burner sounds like a small jet engine on takeoff
and has an impressive flame intensity and size. I was also
able to adjust the flame down quite small, so I am hoping that
simmering should be possible.
I can't wait to get out on the trail and make some meals with
this cook set! It offers a lot of options and a design that
I am not familiar with, so I am intrigued with the possibilities
for new culinary feats! I'll be interested to see how
accident-proof the handles and burner pot support are in practice.
Thanks for reading this Initial Report, stop back in two months for the Field Report.
|October 4-6, 2018
|Long Valley campgrounds near Payson, Arizona
National Scenic Trail
|1.3 miles (2.1 km)
Sunny and clear
|October 22-25, 2018
|Gila Wilderness in Western New Mexico
|24 miles (39 km)
Rain and more rain
|November 30 to December 6, 2018
|Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
|Corridor + Clear Cr
|50 miles (81 km)
Snow, rain, some sun
This was a 3-day 2-night car camping trip. The hammock aficionados of the desert southwest get together every autumn at a campground up on the Mogollon Rim, the edge of the Colorado Plateau, just north of Payson, Arizona. We compare rigs, exchange do-it-yourself ideas, drink adult beverages and eat enormous quantities of food around a campfire.
I used the stove to make coffee in the morning and to heat up one lunch of barbecued pork. I used instant coffee on this trip, as I didn't bother to bring a coffee pot. This worked very well. The burner heated up the water very quickly. I used the lid as a coffee cup, which worked surprisingly well. The insulated handle was a little awkward, but kept me from burning my fingers on the hot cup/lid.
I was concerned when I heated up my lunch that the barbecue sauce would burn due to the sugar in it, but the stove has a remarkable simmer capability that allowed me, with frequent stirring, to heat up my sandwich meat nicely. When I cleaned the pot I had no burn spots. That's pretty darn good - I was impressed.
I have a YouTube channel on backpacking topics, and I recently made a video on making and using ghee (clarified butter). In the video I show how to use it for dry baking trail biscuits, in this case cheese biscuits. I used the Mons Peak IX stove and small pot set for the filming. In the following image taken from the video I am just getting ready to remove the biscuit from the pot and baking pan:
I've hiked the lower sections of the Gila extensively, but never made the drive up near the headwaters at Snow Lake before. The weather forecast was for one night of rain, but that turned into rain every night and an all-day rain on my planned big mileage day. This hike requires constant wading across the Gila River, so I was wet all day long from mid-thigh down. Combining that with hiking in the rain and colder temperatures I skirted with hypothermia a few times and had to severely curtail my expectations for how far I would trek. It was a hike with lots of "character-building opportunities"...
I knew that I would be fighting the cold on this outing, so I provisioned myself with three hot meals per day plus coffee. Many of the meals, like the one shown at left require two boils: one for hot water to re-hydrate the meat, and the second one to cook or heat the starch. I dehydrate most of my dinners, the one at left is Instant Pot pressure-cooked chicken and instant polenta. The fat used is the ghee described in the previous section.
Breakfast every day was instant coffee and oatmeal, so two boils there as well. I took a gas canister with 75 g of fuel remaining (I always weight my fuel before departure) and a full 100g canister. The 75 g canister ran out while cooking breakfast on day 4, so I was able to get 14 boils from 75 g of fuel.
The photo at right shows my cooking setup on night one. My Ursack food bag is on the right with my black Jetboil measuring cup beside it, sit pad in the middle, stove and lighter in the foreground, water and polenta at left (the chicken was re-hydrating inside the pot).
This was obviously not level ground (I often camp on hillsides with my hammock), and the tall grass made for a very uneven surface. I was glad I brought my Jetboil canister stand to help steady the apparatus. My lighter was almost out of fuel, so I struggled a bit to get the stove to light. I missed having an integrated igniter built into the stove.
The biggest frustration is that the heat exchanger pot does not
sit very well on the stove - if it slips off to the side just a
little, it "falls" into the heat exchanger and that risks spilling
the pot contents. This seems like the biggest drawback of
the whole system to me so far.
All my meals came together successfully. I ended up using the pot lid for a coffee cup several mornings, and that works pretty well. I continue to be impressed with the fast boil times, it's pretty amazing how fast I was able to heat water for coffee in the morning!
This was a 7 day/6 night backpack trip through the canyon. We had planned to do a Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim, but a nasty blizzard and frigid temperatures at the North Rim persuaded us to change our plans. We went as far as Cottonwood on the North Kaibab, then doubled back and spent two nights on the Clear Creek trail, my favorite winter Grand Canyon area.
I had hot breakfast every day, no hot lunches, and cooked every night save one during the week on the trail. Each of us brought our own stove, so I brought just the small pot and lid.
Prior to this trip I purchased a lightweight, collapsible cup for drinking and measuring water (the red disk in the photo below). This was indispensable during the trip. Here's a photo of the cook kit taken at breakfast time at Clear Creek:
|January 22-23, 2019
|Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona
|12 miles (19 km)
|Sunny and cold
|February 4-5, 2019
|Painted Desert/Petrified Forest National
Monument near Holbrook, Arizona
|9 miles (14.5 km)
|Partly cloudy, very windy, chilly: 35-55 F
|February 7-8, 2019
|Gila River canyon near Kearny, Arizona
of the Arizona Trail
|Sunny, variable winds, 32-65 F (0-18 C)
It had been over a month since I had spent a night in the backcountry, so I headed out to my favorite close-by spot. The timing was good, as we've had excellent winter rains and I camp next to a stream/waterfall up there which had great flow. It was a little cold, so I took extra insulation to stay warm in camp.
The side purpose of my hike was to film some footage for a YouTube video I was working on about dehydrating scrambled eggs. I made dinner and breakfast in the Mons Peak pot, in both cases a scrambled egg burrito with chili mixed in. Here's a frame from the video where I'm pouring boiling water from the pot into the freezer bag I used for rehydrating:
I've been itching to do a decent hike with an overnight in the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert National Monument for some time, and finally got around to it. There is no trail, no cairns, just a route through the desert. Good thing I have a GPS app on my iPhone, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to follow the route at all! The challenge for the stove on this hike was wind - it blew all day and all night long while I was there, with gusts to about 35 mph (55 kph). Stoves lose a great deal of efficiency in the wind, and since this stove did not come with a windscreen it had to do its best!
I made three meals with the stove on this trip: lunch day 1 (top photo below), dinner day 1, and breakfast day 2 (lower photo below):
I had been itching to do this section of the AZT for several years. I had hoped to do a 3-day hike, but the loop I wanted to do on the far end was going to be problematic with water and route-finding, so I left this option for another day. I made four meals with the cookset on this trip, two hot lunches a hot breakfast and hot dinner:
Overall I was pretty dang happy with the performance of this
cookset, with the exception of questionable performance in high
wind. The other issue I had was the precarious balance of
the pots on the stove legs. I wonder if the design couldn't
be modified slightly to bring the heat exchanger outer ring down a
bit so the pot rests securely on the stove legs, and the main
flame protected from the wind. I'm sure there would be
drawbacks to changing this, but it might be worth consideration.