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.
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:
- 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 â€œproperlyâ€ 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.
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.
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?
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 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;
- Tight fit into the pot. Does not quite match the manufacturers claims.
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