Finally.. after two years of fairly constant use I think I am ready to give my review on the Trail designs Ti-tri Caldera Cone. I have the fusion Ti-tri that I purchased with all the extra gizmos and gadgets. (inferno insert and floor) suited for my Snowpeak 900ml titanium mug.
I purchased the Ti-tri fusion as I wasn’t 100% satisfied with my Bushbuddy at the time or backcountry boiler. Mainly because of the limits of a pure woodgas stove. When I simply go on a nice little night out then I don’t mind a good woodgas stove, but for other purposes, such as a thru-hike I find their use to be rather limited for fairly obvious reasons. Anyway, I purchased the Ti-tri as I liked that it gave the option of three fuels, though I never use Esbit so I will say two fuels: Wood and Alcohol.
For me alcohol has been a love love relationship and something that has come and gone. Being from the USA I was raised on the old Coleman camp stoves, the white gas monsters of the Americas. I think we had to have a car pull that thing around it weighed so much. Anyway, I was introduced to the alcohol stove when I moved to Sweden for the first time in 2001 when a girl I was dating at the time bought me a Trangia kitchen set for my birthday. I was so fascinated by this stove, I never knew that alcohol stoves existed let alone were complete with windshield and no noise.
I still have that Trangia kitchen set today, though sadly I haven’t used it for a few years. After a few months with a Svea 123 (which I still own and use for certain occasions) and the Jetboil TI, I eventually made my way back to alcohol stoves and my fascination with alcohol stoves soon turned into a sheer delight and love for them. I have made a few of my own including the excellent fancy feast version and have had and used many different commercial alcohol stoves as well.
After trying many different stoves over the years I have come to truly love and enjoy my little Ti-tri. It has by far the best windshield of any stove I’ve ever used – just recently on a week long trip through kingstrail in northern sweden I would setup my little Ti-tri out in the open while everyone else I was hiking with would look for rocks, or dig holes or set-up some kind of make shift windshield with their bodies and backpacks. (standard cook gear for most hikers these days is the Jetboil)
It performs to exact standards every time – I know exactly how much alcohol is going to be needed for each boil (20ml for 500ml water) and exactly how much to bring with me on my trips (3 dl for 5 days). The Ti-tri never falters in this manner. It works today as well as it did yesterday, the day before that and the 500 times before that.
The Trail designs alcohol burner. Well used but going strong!
Setup is fairly easy though granted, a bit more of a process than just turning a knob on a Jetboil. As I have the Ti-tri fusion it is a two piece set when in alcohol mode plus burner and two pot holders. The titanium sheets are simply slided into each other and then stacked on top of one another. Once the alcohol burner is lit then it’s just a matter of putting the pot holders in and pot on top.
The wood gas stove is probably closer to a 20 piece project (a bit exaggerated of course – but you get the picture). Because I have the inferno insert which is two extra pieces and a floor the process starts to get a bit more daunting when you just want to have a cup of coffee.
I use my Ti-tri fusion in various different setup and arrangements. From just the cone and alcohol stove only which weighs just 67 grams, to bringing the entire fusion inferno kit so that I can do some wood burning which weighs 114 grams. I can even use just the upper half of the two piece cone as an ultralight windshield for my Fancy feast stove 5 grams, this setup weighs just 30 grams total. All of this fits nice and snug inside my Snow Peak 900ml Titanium mug which weighs 104 grams.
In fancy feast mode – Just the top section of the two piece ti-tri fusion set
On most of my trips I skip the wood burning option and bring only the two piece cone section and burner. Together with my snow peak mug the total weight is 171grams for a complete kitchen set with windshield. I prefer the Trail designs burner over the Fancy feast burner as in my experience I find the trail designs burner burns faster, more stable and more efficient.
In my experience there isn’t a better alcohol stove on the market, in my bias there’s not a better ultralight stove period. As I wrote earlier it’s lighter, burns faster and more efficient than anything else I’ve tried. The simplicity of this stove for alcohol use is incredible, on top of that the windshield is better than anything else being made right now.
While the Trail designs ti-tri fusion is certainly a pain in the ass to put together and setup in wood gas mode, once it’s setup; it works. The Ti-tri with the inferno kit burns easily as well as my Bushbuddy with the added benefit of being able to pile on some pretty big pieces of wood. (Instead of just the dainty little twigs that the bushbuddy requires)
Here you can see just how large the opening is, once the pot is on it, it is still quite easy to pile on some pretty big branches and so on to keep the fire hot.
Without the inferno setup, burning twigs just isn’t the same. It’s like hiking in boots: You know something’s not right. It takes a little longer to get the fire started, it takes a bit more effort to keep it going; in the end it still works, just not as fun as the hot hell fire known as the “Inferno”
No idea, I image it works quite well here as well. The secret is in the shape of the cone.
A completely useless metric in the world of backpacking stoves. Your in nature, enjoy yourself. Whether it takes 3.5 minutes or 7 minutes doesn’t really matter does it?
If you love alcohol or wood stoves you will love the Trail designs Ti-tri fusion. If you don’t love alcohol stoves, it’s time to start and this is the perfect tool for the job. With it’s built in windshield, easy to track fuel usage, light weight and extremely versatile usage – there is no reason to look any where else for three season usage.
Watch me do the impossible and compare this stove to my wife: Before I met my wife I didn’t mind trying out new models and changing out one woman for another. Once I met my wife my interest for everyone else disappeared completely, from the very first day (which is why I am now married). This stove had the exact same effect on me – Once I bought this stove, my interest in all other stoves disappeared completely.