Hi, my name's John, and I'm a Caldera-addict.
A new year, and a new series of blog posts. The "Confessions" series is meant to be a little tongue in cheek...me making fun of my UltraLight quirks if you will.
While reviewing my different Trail Designs Caldera Cone systems recently, something occurred to me. "You may have a problem" might come to mind for most, but no, that wasn't it. I was convinced that I had finally figured out which Caldera system was the "perfect" one, and no, it wasn't one of the three I had purchased this year. Then that little voice inside my head made me step back from my delusions for a minute (thanks Juggy), and I decided to go upstairs and get all of my different systems out of storage. I knew I had several Caldera Cones, but I guess I never realized I had 7 different ones plus another that I had made myself. This was the first sign that I might possibly have a problem.
With half of my systems being aluminum, and the other half being titanium, I was and still am convinced that the Tri-Ti version is the ultimate backcountry cooking system. This enables you to leave the "extra" fuel at home, because if you run out, you can still use it in wood fire mode. Plus the titanium cones are much more durable than the aluminum ones. Perfect! But...I could possibly save more weight if I went away my freezer bag cooking method (leaving most of the freezer bags at home) and made my meals right in the pot. The problem is, the systems that I currently own which are large enough to cook in are somewhat bulky and heavy because they require the cone to be stored in a Caldera Caddy, which negates the weight savings. The "perfect" size would be the .9L Evernew Sidewinder. This would be large enough to cook meals in, and the cone stores right inside of the pot! Yes, I needed to place the order.
Stepping back once again, I realized I may be developing some sort of addiction to buying Calderas. All these great systems, and I needed yet another? Admitting you have a problem is the first step to healing. So I shifted my focus to fuel efficiency...if I could bring less fuel, obviously I would be carrying less weight. Hence the photo below of the partially spent Esbit fuel cubes from some garage testing.
More than 75 Esbit cubes later, I'm still collecting data testing different pots, stoves, temperatures, elevations, floor/no floor etc. Most of my testing has been narrowed down to these two extremely light Tri-Ti systems. Yes, the "ultralight" guy is bringing two stoves...extra weight all in the spirit of finding the perfect system for my longer journeys.
So there you go, a public confession. Yes, I believe I have a Caldera addiction, especially when it comes to the titanium versions that nest inside the pot. Go ahead, mock me, or tell me about your own backpacking addiction.
By the way, I still haven't bought that .9L Sidewinder...yet.