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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cook Sets > Mons Peak 123 UL HE Cook set > Test Report by Morgan Lypka
Mons Peak IX 123 HE UL Cook Set with Stove HP BR
TEST SERIES BY MORGAN LYPKA
Initial Report - September 16, 2018
Field Report - January 11, 2019
Long Term Report - March 3, 2019
NAME: Morgan Lypka
HEIGHT: 5’4” (1.6 m)
WEIGHT: 110 lb (50 kg)
EMAIL: m DOT lypka AT yahoo.com
City, Province, Country: Kimberley, British Columbia (B.C.), Canada
Backpacking Background: I started backpacking 3 years ago, when I moved to the Rocky Mountains. Most of my backpacking ventures are 1 to 3 days long, typically around Western Canada. I get cold quickly, and handle heat well. My backcountry trips involve hiking, trail running, ski touring and cross-country skiing. I am getting into kayaking, rock climbing and fly fishing. I camp with a lightweight 3-person, 3-season tent and am starting to hammock and winter camp. Decreasing my packed weight in the backcountry is a developing focus of mine (fitting everything was the first).
PRODUCT INFORMATION AND SPECS
Manufacturer: Mons Peak IX
Manufacturer’s Website: https://www.monspeakix.com
MSRP: $119.95 USD
Listed and Measure Weight, Stove - 3.6 oz (103 g)
Listed and Measured Canister Weights, respectively:
Listed Boil Times:
Output: 10,200 Btu (3000 W Max)
Fuel: Standard canister isobutane-propane mix
Control: fully adjustable flame, from simmer to max
The stove and pots came fully nested together as one unit (that's one stove, two pots, and two pans/covers), inside a mesh drawstring bag - compact! Specs were provided on the side of the box, and instructions were provided inside. The stove itself came in a little plastic black box, inside of the nested pot system.
The Trail 123 HE (high efficiency) UL (ultra-light) Cook Set is intended for backpacking and camping use, as indicated on the manufacturer's website. The stove is breeze resistant. The pot and pan set is also modular and stackable, allowing for several options - minimalist, 1 Person, 2 Person or 3 Person. The stove and fuel canister fit inside of the pot system. Each pot and pan has two rubber coated handles which wrap around the pot/pan when not in use. The stove comes with pot supports that fold together to take up less space when not in use. The stove is intended sit below one of the pots, holding up the pot with its supports, with the other end of the stove attaching to the top of a fuel canister. There is a flame control lever which controls the amount of gas exiting the nozzle at a time.
Nested system (2 pots, 2 pans/covers, 1 stove)
Stove in container
Lined up system
Dipped pan, flush cover
Mesh bag loose ends
Small spot missing coating
The nesting system is efficient. When all packaged together however, there is still some space so the pots and pans rattle around a bit. I noticed some grinding when I moved the handles on the pots and pans in and out, although they do move easily. There was also a little bit of excess glue that I noticed on one of the handles, which had a bit of fuzz sticking to it. This definitely doesn't bother me, but maybe fades my trust slightly in the quality of detail put into the fabrication of this system. I also found a couple spots on the pots and pans where it appears that the coating has been scratched off, or is missing. There were a couple loose ends on the mesh bag near the drawstring (not hindering performance by any means at this point, just a detail).
When I tried sitting the respective pan/cover on its pot, the pan would dip slightly into the pot. The pan/cover sat flatter and more secure when it was flipped the other way and used as a cover. The stove seems straightforward with not a lot of excess futures, which is nice. I have not yet tried to light it up with a canister, but my impression from the instructions is that a lighter is not required, and that the flame control must simply be turned. However, my friend has a similar set up that has a push button to trigger the flame (and the Mons Peak IX does not), so we will see. A question I have is whether or not only heat exchanger pots will work with this stove, so this is something that I will look for in my upcoming trials.
I'm very content that the fuel itself also fits into the nesting system. I'm used to a liquid fuel stove that comes in many parts, smells heavily of fuel, and is a bit messy. It's nice that the 123 Cookset with Stove is so compact.
Location - Southern Canadian Rockies, B.C.
Activity - Mountain day hike
Length and Elevation Gain - 4 km (2.5 mi) with 600 m (2000 ft) gain
Temperature and Weather - 8 C (46 F) and sunny, path was in and out of the trees
Cooking elevation - n/a
Location - Cranbrook Mountain (Southern Rockies), B.C.
Activity - Evening Hike accessed via Mountain Bike
Length and Elevation Gain - 10 km (6.2 mi) and 800 m (2600 ft) gain
Temperature and Weather - -8 C (18 F), snow on ground, overcast and windy at peak
Cooking elevation - 2060 m (6800 ft)
Location - Enderby Cliffs, Okanagan Region, B.C.
Activity - Day hiking
Length and Elevation Gain - 12 km (8 mi) with 800 m (2600 ft) gain
Temperature and Weather - 0 C (32 F) and rainy near base, snowy up above
Cooking elevation - 1200 m (4000 ft)
On the first trip I took it on, I didn't realize I needed a lighter (some similar models have an igniter mechanism included, and having not looked at the instructions too closely I didn't realize that I needed to bring a light for this one). Looking at the instructions, it's not actually obvious that a lighter is needed, the instruction step just says 'start fire,' but doesn't say how. It would be clearer if the instructions stated that a lighter was required. Fortunately, this was just a day hike and the stove was going to be a nice luxury for some tea, not an essential. The stove fit nicely in my daypack (10 L / 610 in3). The stove in the daypack was how I transported it while bike accessing another hike as well, and no complaints there. I was only able to fit the fuel canister (8 oz / 227 g) and stove in the pots when using the larger pots as the shell (I couldn't fit both stove and fuel if smaller pots nested inside as well). However, with the fuel canister inside the large pots, and the stove sitting on top of the pots, the little drawstring bag still closed.
There is a period in between where the stove isn't connected to fuel and where it's fully connected that gas leaks out - the leaking is heard as well. When unscrewing the lid, gas dripped on my fingers (which were quite numb at that point) and I couldn't tell if it was a hot or cold burn; it turns out it was the cold gas. There were no lasting impacts from this. I now untwist with gloves on, hold away from me and keep my fingers away from the connection. When it did leak out, I was holding it sideways, so I can't confirm that this would happen holding it upright.
I have boiled noodles, melted snow and boiled water for tea with the stove so far. I drank tea while noodles were boiling, and boiling finished before I could finish my tea - very nice boiling pace. I didn't time the boil, but it was definitely under two minutes for the medium pot with the lid on. I also tried without the lid on, and this was maybe about two minutes to boil. I also melted snow in a pot on top of another pot that was boiling water - this was an efficient way to melt snow for more water. It did work, but the pots/pans didn't sit flush, so I had to be cautious that it was appropriately balanced on its angle.
The pot itself cooled down quickly enough that I could hold it with my bare hands, but the contents still stayed warm-ish. The rubberized handles are also very nice; they make it easy to adjust the pot and take it on and off while the pot itself might be hot. However, the fuel canister has to be on a very flat surface so that the pot wouldn't slide off the stove. I ate the noodles and drank the broth without a spoon in the small shallow pan. It was a little tricky eating the noodles this way, but I was able to tip the pan enough and slurp them up. I needed a spork or fork to transfer the noodles, no easy spot for pot to pot transfer.
I only went down to about -8 C (18 F) with the stove, but there were no issues with it working in this temperature. I used the stove at two peaks, which were both open to the wind (although it wasn't blustering either of those days). I tried to place a backpack in front of the stove to eliminate some of the wind while the stove was on, but this didn't seem to be necessary to start the stove.
Location - East Kootenays backcountry (Southern Rockies), B.C.
Activity - Ski touring
Length and Elevation Gain - 6 km (3.7 mi) with 800 m (2600 ft) gain
Temperature and Weather - -18 C (0 F) and sunny
Cooking (peak) elevation - 2600 m (8500 ft)
Location - Kimberley Nordic Centre, B.C.
Activity - Cross country skiing
Length and Elevation Gain - 9 km (5.6 mi) and 100 m (330 ft) gain
Temperature and Weather - -12 C (10 F), sunny, low wind
Cooking elevation - 1300 m (4300 ft)
The stove did not feel heavy in my daypack for cross country skiing, nor in my larger 70 L (4272 in3) backpack for ski touring. In the drawstring bag, the stove didn't rattle around at all. When I lit the stove on the mountain summit ridge, the wind was low, and aside from cold fingers using a cold lighter, I had no problem lighting the stove. The stove worked fine in -18 C (0 F) weather, and the boil time was still quick (not timed but I would guess maybe 4 minutes to boil one liter of melted snow, with the top pot on as a lid).
On one of the trips, I added some of the broth from my noodles to my water bottle after it had boiled, and spilt a bit on my mitts in the process - I wish that the pot had a spout to easily pour from. After the cross country trip, I had not taken the stove apart to properly clean - I had just used snow in the interim. When I went to use it during the ski tour, the fuel canister had rusted on the bottom edge, and left a rust ring in the bottom of the stove as well. The photo below shows the rust ring after I tried to scrub it out.
In my field report, I noted that I would like to test using one of the pans directly on the stove, rather than a heat exchanger pot - I failed to test this, as I was always boiling a lot of water, and just using the pans as lids or to warm/melt something on top, like a double-boiler. Throughout this testing period, I have not yet used up one 8 oz (227 g) canister of fuel - this included 5 different trips, with 2-3 boils on some of the trips. Some wear and tear has been noticed (rust ring, for example), but not that much more than was noticed in the initial in the IR (coating defects).
Pros - compact and portable; straightforward set up
Cons - wish it had a spark starter button rather than needing a lighter/match especially for use in the cold; no spout for pouring
All in all, I prefer this stove to my current liquid fuel stove - it's a much cleaner set up/take down, packs more compactly and has proven reliable in very cold conditions. I would recommend this stove/pot set.
Thank you BackpackGearTest.org and Mons Peak IX for the opportunity to have tested this stove and pot set.
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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cook Sets > Mons Peak 123 UL HE Cook set > Test Report by Morgan Lypka