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Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri Caldera Cone Stove Owner Review

 

Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti Tri Cone with Split Floor

Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri

I recently blogged on my new cooking system which included a Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri Cooking System. Well, I got to use the Sidewinder on four-day bicycle tour through the Darling Ranges recently so here is my update on the cooking kit.  Since posting this review I have used the cooking system on my Chasing the Dirt tour. I am still very pleased with the cooking system and it remains a key part of my touring kit.

Specifications of the Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri Cooking System

I purchased the Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri as part of my new cooking kit from Trail Designs. The purchase price was $AU88.07.

 

Trail Designs Sidewinder Kit

 

Trail Designs Sidewinder Kit as Supplied

The Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri kit as purchased consists of:

  • Titanium Ti-Tri Cone which is matched to your pot of choice. You need to specific as to which pot you wish to use with the cone;
  • Titanium Gram Cracker esbit stove kit (includes a few tablets);
  • Two titanium stakes (pegs);
  • A Trail Designs 12-10 alcohol stove and a Zip-lock container for storage of same;
  • Fuel bottle and measuring cup;
  • Tyvek sleeve for the cone;
  • Trail Designs wrist band;
  • Titanium floor for using the kit in wood burning mode (this is an optional extra).

My on the trail/road setup (non-wood burning) is as follows:

 

Trail Designs Sidewinder in Camp Mode

Trail Designs Sidewinder in Camp Mode

  • Titanium Ti-Tri Cone for use with an Evernew ECA252 Ti Ultralight Pot 2 (0.9 l);
  • Two titanium stakes (pegs);
  • The Trail Designs 12-10 alcohol stove and a Zip-lock container for storage of same;
  • Measuring cup;
  • Tyvek sleeve for the cone;

The weight of the kit as above is 85 grams.

If I take the kit in wood burning mode, the weight goes up to 108 grams.

For those interested the esbit kit (no tablets) weighs seven grams and the supplied fuel bottle 18 grams.

Performance of the Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri Cooking System

As mentioned above I used the Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri on my recent four-day ride of the Darling Range and hence my comments below reflect this experience. However and this is an important disqualification, I have never used a “properly” designed alcohol stove system other than a Trangia long time back but of course I knew what I was doing right? So went out and used the kit without bothering to read the instructions!

This means as I have learnt today that I haven’t used the Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri quite correctly. I used it with out the titanium stakes to support the pot as I wrongfully assumed that they where for the wood burning mode only. I can only assume that the same would have performed better than it did had I used it properly.

So what did I learn from using the Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri in camp? First and foremost I think this is a great piece of kit! I am really impressed with the performance of the system against the weight of it. It really works better for me as a cooking system than my old Trangia system did and I can see it replacing my MSR Superfly as my goto stove. Sure it is a bit slower to boil etc, but I actually didn’t find that it bothered me at all. Instead it was relaxing and allowed me to do little chores whilst waiting etc.

Trail Designs 12-10 Alcohol Stove

Trail Designs 12-10 Alcohol Stove

Trail Designs Sidewinder Lit Up

Trail Designs Sidewinder Lit Up

Lightning the stove: I use a Light My Fire Firesteel to light the stove (keep in mind this was my first use of such a tool) and found that using the firesteel made it difficult to light the stove from within the body. It didn’t really work that well, so resorted to measuring out my required fuel amount (15 ml or 20 ml) and dropping a few drops into the priming pan and the rest into the burner itself. I then lit the stove via the priming pan. This worked out well for me.

Fuel Usage: My “cooking” tends to be boil the water type when in camp so I tend to boil either 300 ml of water say for a cup of tea or coffee or boil 600 ml for say breakfast (coffee and porridge). For boiling 300 ml 15 ml of water was enough to get a rolling boil and for 600 ml of water, 20 ml of fuel did the trick. The fuel used on this trip was Coles $mart buy methylated spirits (95% v/v ethanol UN 1170). My fuel usage averaged out at 68 ml per day. This was for breakfast, afternoon/evening hot drinks and dinner. I am pretty happy with that usage rate. It will be interesting to see if using the pegs improves this due to better positioning of the pot.

Saving the unused fuel from the Trail Designs 12-10 stove. The following video by Franco Darioli shows how easy it is to save the unburnt fuel from the stove. Personally I find I am pretty good now at getting the fuel level/cooking requirements pretty balanced so don’t bother saving the small amount of fuel that is left sometimes. However I thought it was worth sharing Franco’s video anyway.

Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti Tri Cone

Putting the Sidewinder Cone together

Ease of Use: I found the cone easy to assembly/disassemble. Nothing complicated about the process and no difficulties experienced. The cone rolls up nicely and fits back into its Tyvek sleeve easily. My only concern is that with the cone in its sleeve its length is a touch to big for the Evernew ECA252 Ti Ultralight Pot 2 (0.9 l) pot and I see the walls of the pot being pushed slightly out of shape. I did try using a piece of Chux Superwipe and this allows the cone to fit that touch easier, but they do deteriorate pretty quickly. Maybe a trade-off of durability for fit?

Trail Designs Sidewinder Packed into a Evernew 0.9l Pot

Trail Designs Sidewinder Packed into a Evernew 0.9l Pot

Fitting the Pot: I found the fit of the cone to the pot is pretty much spot on with the pot being a slightly tight fit. I suspect this is as much operator error as anything else and they are well married. Putting the pot on the stove and removing it was a simple process. Also the cone design minimises the heat lost up the side of the pot, so the handles on it did not get hot.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of the Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri Cooking System

The Good

  • The light weight is such a bonus;
  • The quietness of the cooking just adds to the experience of being out there;
  • Ease of lightning;
  • Good fit of the pot to the kit;
  • Fuel burn efficiency;

The Bad

  • Tight fit into the pot. Does not quite match the manufacturers claims.

The Ugly

  • Nothing.

Conclusion

This is a great piece of kit. I love the peacefulness of cooking with it. It just fits with my new philosophy of bushwalking and cycle touring. Well done to Trail Designs for product.

Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri Stove Resources

  • Adventures in Stoving takes a look at the Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri in wood burning mode. Very informative review. – Added January 2102

5 Responses to Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri Caldera Cone Stove Owner Review

  1. Rand Lindsly January 7, 2012 at 8:40 AM #

    Great writeup….thanks! You noted that the cone didn’t fit perfectly into the pot. A couple of “tricks” to consider. First, after putting the cone into the tyvek sleeve, press the cone between your hands down the axis of the center of the rolled up cone….this can make it “shorter” and fit easier. Another trick is to squeeze it a little to make it’s cross section more oval in shape….and it will drop in easier.

    Thanks again!

    Rand 🙂

    • Aushiker January 7, 2012 at 9:11 AM #

      Thanks Rand for the tricks. Handy to know and I will give them a try for sure.

  2. Hikin' Jim April 11, 2012 at 5:41 AM #

    Nice review. I use the same set up but with a 1300ml Evernew pot. I don’t use the stakes when I use alcohol as a fuel. Doesn’t seem to matter, but it might matter since you’re using a narrower pot.

    HJ

    • Aushiker April 14, 2012 at 10:47 PM #

      Thanks HJ. Interesting to read of your experience with the 1300 ml Evernew pot. I will try the stakes and see if there is any noticeable difference.

  3. Terry September 4, 2014 at 2:19 PM #

    Thanks for the ideas and terrific informative writeup and quick reply

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