The guys at Trail Designs have built a great reputation for themselves by providing innovative products and excellent customer service. Their Caldera Cone system was a revolution in UL wind screen/pot holder design, and since my first purchase (for my MSR Titan kettle), I've been a fan.
Building on a great idea, they created the Ti-Tri, a titanium version of the Caldera Cone which is capable of using three types of fuel (alcohol, esbit, or wood). A while back I purchased one of these Ti-Tri systems from their partners at Titanium Goat, along with an 1100ml pot and lid combo. With a total weight of 7.55oz for the cone/floor/pot/lid combo, this quickly became my favorite stove system. Not only was it light and large enough for two people, in wood burning mode it boiled 2 cups of water in an incredible 5 min 15 sec...and I no longer had to carry fuel!
I recently learned that they have been working with a prototype of an inverted downdraft gasifier version of the Ti-Tri, which is the same double walled technology used in the popular Bush Buddy stove. While I do not own a BB, I have experimented with many different MYOG BB designs, and this TD version peaked my interest. I contacted Rand via email, and within one day he and Russ had made the Inferno insert and had it in the mail to me so I could use/test it on a trip I had planned to Charleston Peak, high above Las Vegas (approx 10,500' where I camped) that weekend.
The workmanship of this piece is excellent, as I have come to expect of any Trail Designs product. Here are some photos from my trip:
Inferno insert ready to be lit
Inferno with outer cone & ti stakes in place
The fire is ready for the pot in approx 1 min
2 cups water boiling in just over 5 min!
Ti-Tri Inferno in camp fire mode...I loaded this thing up to the top with wood and pine cones, and it never smoked!
What's left after about an hour of burn time
- Ti-Tri Caldera Cone = 1.75oz
- Ti floor = .60oz
- Inferno insert = 1.25oz
- Total stove = 3.60oz
Note: I didn't count the ti stakes because I use two from my tarp set up.
Comparing the Ti-Tri to the Ti-Tri Inferno:
Both systems boiled 2 cups of water in approximately the same time - 5min, 15 sec. Is the additional 1.25oz of the Inferno worth its weight?
- Easier to light
- Less smoke
- Re-lights easier if the flame goes out
- Burns wood fuel down to ashes
- Somewhat complicated assembly - many parts to deal with
- You will inevitably get soot on your hands while disassembling it
The bottom line is, both the Ti-Tri and the Ti-Tri Inferno work well, but the Inferno model just works better in wood burning mode. If you want a wood burning stove that's easier to light and requires less tending to, and want a cleaner burn (i.e. less smoke in your face), then the Ti-Tri Inferno may be the right stove for you. .
Trail Designs has made a great system even better. Because the Inferno enhanced my back country experience, to me as least, the additional 1.25oz is worth its weight if I don't plan to carry fuel and am cooking for two people. That's why I gave it a rating of 4.5 our of 5.
(Previously published on www.backpackinglight.com 8/2009).