LiteTrail Titanium Solid Fuel Cook System

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Last Christmas (2012) my wife surprised me with the LiteTrail Titanium Solid Fuel Cook System. (**The one linked is a newer/updated version than the one I discuss in this post.) Since then, I have used it on a couple of short hikes, as well as a number of times, either on quick day hikes, or even here at home. In the last almost 7 months now, I have got to say that the LiteTrail cook kit has definitely grown on me, and while I can’t say that I am a “one-cook-kit-kinda-guy,” I can say that this kit is definitely in the mix!

Let me say first that the kit that I have now is slightly different from the kit that is now displayed on the LiteTrail site (linked above). I guess you could say that I have the “2nd gen” cook kit… When Jhaura first released this kit (1st gen), it came with a cook pot without handles, the ti wing Esbit stove without the Esbit tray, and a windscreen that needed to be secured together with paperclips. By the time that my wife had purchased mine (2nd gen), he had added the Esbit tray to the stove, and even had notches cut into the wings so that this specific pot rested on the stove very near perfect. The cook kit that is now available (3rd gen) ships with a pot that does have handles and a windscreen with ends that are spot welded together, which also has a notch cut out to accommodate the handles on the pot. (I would just like to add here, that I think I have the best version!)   🙂

So, to get started, what does the LiteTrail solid fuel cook kit come with?

  • 55o ml Ti Cook pot w/ Ti Lid (now w/ handles)
  • Ti Esbit Wing Stove
  • Ti Foil Windscreen (now w/ the ends tacked together)
  • Ti Foil Ground Protector/Heat Reflector
  • Cuben Fiber Stuff Sack

If I remember correctly, my kit weighed 2.9 oz as delivered. However, since then, I have made a few changes so that this kit suits my own personal needs…

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The first thing that I did was replace the “heavy” lid that came with the kit with a lighter weight, carbon fiber lid. I could have shaved even more weight by going with a piece of aluminum foil, however, I wanted to stick to the “durable” nature of this cook kit, so the aluminum foil didn’t make sense (to me). Total weight savings from the lid: 0.4 oz, or 10 grams. This brought my original kit with the replacement lid down to 2.5 oz total.

Next, I actually added weight back in. Yup… I decided that if I were going to use this kit with the intentions of actually cutting weight from my pack, then I needed to add weight to it… so I could use it as a mug too. To convert it to a mug, I needed to be able to hold onto it, as well as drink from it, when it is filled with a hot beverage. So, I added some Hot Lips and a DIY reflectix cozy to the mix. These 2 items added back those 0.4 oz that I had managed to drop by switching the lids, which brought me back to the original weight, but now it was truly multiuse. By doing this, I traded my 1.9 oz mug for 0.4 oz of accessories, which gave me a net savings of 1.5 oz!

One other small thing that I did was to make a tiny tyvek sleeve to store the Ti foil windscreen in. This sleeve doesn’t weigh in on my scales, so I’m not sure how much extra weight this actually added… all I can say is that it is very minimal. I will also admit that this sleeve is not necessary since the windscreen can be stored inside the cook pot without the sleeve, but I like the way it stores when rolled up, all tucked away inside the little sleeve. (Also, I feel like it helps to keep the circular shape a bit better, not that this is really an issue though).

Other than this, I added in a small, cut down piece of lightload towel so that I can dry the pot out afterwards, and a Mini Bic, since I prefer to light Esbit with a lighter rather than with matches.

With these small changes, the entire cook kit comes to a total weight of 3.4 oz, or 97 grams. I am perfectly happy with this weight, considering this is only half an oz heavier than my more fragile “SUL Cook Kit” but many times more durable!

And as a bonus, everything packs away inside the stuff sack all nice and tidy… and small!

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So, all that aside, how does it actually work???

As I understand it, the way that kits similar to this one in volume is intended to be used, is to simply do 2 “boils.” Since the volume is minimal, it is very unlikely that one could boil enough water for both a meal and a hot drink at the same time in a 550 ml pot (although, some of the Packit Gourmet meals require very little water, so it is possible). The basic idea is to start with a single 14 gram Esbit tablet, light it and immediately set a full pot of water on the stove. Wait approximately 8 – 9 minutes for this to come to a (minimal) boil, then quickly pour that water off for the meal and quickly replace the pot back on the stove with enough water for a hot drink to warm over the remaining bit of Esbit. In my experience, this does work, however, when using water that is very cold, and/or when in windy conditions, it is almost a bit of a stretch.

The way that I have been using this setup and have been happy with, is to mix and match the 14 gram Esbit tablets with the 4 gram Esbit tablets. Also, being that I have moved to the Sawyer Squeeze water filter, it is not a problem to cook with filtered water, which means I personally don’t worry if my water doesn’t come to a complete, hard rolling boil.

My preference has been to use 1 – 1.5 of the 4 gram Esbit tablets if I am just heating enough water for a hot drink. In good conditions, with anything but icy cold water, I am fine just using a single 4 gram Esbit tablet. This gets the water hot enough for me to still have to sip at it in the beginning. (Worth noting too, is that if I drink my hot beverage slowly, then it will cool faster in this pot than if I were using a smaller mug.) However, if there is a good bit of wind present, or if the water is icy cold, then I will use a full 4 gram Esbit tablet, and then break another in half, which gives me a total of 6 grams of Esbit. Here again, I should still get at least that minimal boil.

At dinner time, if I am not heating water for both my meal and a drink, I am fine using 3 of the 4 gram Esbit tablets to heat a full pot of water. However, if I want both, I will just stick with a full 14 gram Esbit tablet and do the shuffle as I stated above.

So, at this point, I am very happy with Jhaura’s cook kit. I will admit, I have thought about purchasing the available Caldera Cone for it since I feel pretty certain that the cone would increase the fuel efficiency at least a little, however, since it will not store inside the pot, I have been put off by it. (Who knows though… with my infatuation with cook kits, not to mention the cones themselves… I may pick it up one day anyway.) As well, the cone is significantly heavier than the supplied windscreen, which along with the storage issue is a bit more of a deal breaker for me.

So, in summary, I find this kit to be lightweight yet durable, and also fill my needs as both my cook pot and my drinking mug, yet still pack away small enough to require a minimal amount of real estate inside my pack. As well, being that it runs off of Esbit, and that I use both the 4 gram and the 14 gram tablets, I feel confident that I can pack the lightest amount of fuel possible (other than when using wood fires of course). And lets not forget how easy and safe using Esbit really is… I will admit that soot (and smell for some) is the downfall of this fuel source, but in my experience with this kit, the soot has been very minimal and what did collect on the bottom of the pot has been easily wiped off in the grass.

All-in-all, 2 huge thumbs up!

Thanks for stopping by!

~Stick~

Disclaimer: My wife paid full price for this LiteTrail Titanium Solid Fuel Cook System. I am not affiliated with LiteTrail in any way, nor have any obligation to write about the product. The statements in this article (including the video) are of my own opinion, which were formed after personally using the cook system.

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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20 Responses to LiteTrail Titanium Solid Fuel Cook System

  1. Pingback: Olympic National Park Post Hike Gear Talk | Stick's Blog

  2. Jeremy says:

    Do you remember what size lid you ordered from Ruta Locura to fit this pot? Thanks.

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  3. Jeremy says:

    How is that carbon fiber lid working out for you? Does it stay on the pot when boiling water or do you have to put a little weight on it to get it to stay on? Have you ever burned yourself when lifting it off the pot or is it easy enough to get off? I’m trying to decide between a carbon fiber lid vs an aftermarket titanium lid. Thanks.

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    • Stick says:

      Jeremy,

      The lid is working out perfectly. The lid is recessed so it actually fits inside the lip of the pot, while the rim on the lid sits on top of the pot. Also, the rim is slightly oversized, so it makes it quite easy to pick up due to the overhang all the way around it.

      The reason I got the cf lid is because it is way lighter than ti lids (unless you are just cutting out a piece of ti foil) and it is super strong. In my opinion, this point of this kit is to go as light as possible while still retaining a high amount of durability. The cf lid fills this spot better than the supplied ti lid simply due to weight differences.

      Hope this helps some.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  4. chris says:

    thanks for the vid. what’s tarp tent you are sitting in while did the cookset review? something from henry shires’ tarptent?

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    • Stick says:

      Chris,

      That is the Yama Mountain Gear SW Cirriform tent. Excellent tent, especially if you like an A-Frame pitch. I actually have a side-by-side comparison video of this tent, and the TT Contrail if you are interested in checking it out. Don’t get me wrong, the Contrail is a great tent, but IMO, Gen took all the minor set-backs on the Contrail and made it better with the SW Cirriform… Cuben canopy, sil floor, very spacious side to side, front to back, and even top to bottom. Saying that, I do wish it were about 2 inches taller on the front end, but what is really nice is that the back end is super tall. All of this really does make it feel like a rather large tent once inside it… Talking about it kind of makes me wish I hadn’t sold it…

      ~Stick~

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  5. joe says:

    I got this kit (with the welded screen and handles on the pot) and am liking the cozy idea but this will be my first go at making one. Any tips/instructions to get started? Planning on just going to Lowes and buying a roll of reflectix and going to town. Better yet know anyone who makes these I could just buy one from?

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    • Stick says:

      Joe,

      Making the cozy is very simple. All I did was lay the pot on the reflectix and marked the height in 2 spots, then used a straight edge to draw a straight line. Next I curled the reflectix around the pot, and marked the length. After this I simply cut the rectangular shape out and used some aluminum tape to tape the 2 ends together. As for the Hot Lips, I just laid them at the top, traced around it and cut that out.

      Once you do this, you should be able to simply cut slits in the reflectix to correspond with the handles. I can’t say for sure since mine doesn’t have handles, but I can’t imagine how it would be too awfully hard.

      As well, the reflectix is a great thing to have around. Once you make the first cozy, you will end up making them for all of your pots & mugs, and even some DIY freezer bag cozies!

      Good luck, and have fun!

      ~Stick~

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  6. joe says:

    I just bought one with the spot weld but is there any reason not to break that and then roll it like the version you have?

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    • Stick says:

      Joe,

      Honestly, I think that will be up to you to decide. Something to think about is how easily will it come apart and will it tear the foil material when trying to pull it apart. Also, keep in mind that being spot welded means there is no excess material. Another words, the windscreen is long enough to just wrap around and meet. So, it may be a little tight once undone and then overlapped and paperclipped together.

      Good luck with whatever you choose!

      ~Stick~

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  7. GreenPackin' says:

    Reblogged this on GreenPackin' and commented:
    Great review from Stick’s Blog on the LiteTrail Titanium Solid Fuel Cook System.

    Like

  8. Eric L. says:

    I’ve got the 400ml Evernew mug and it’s pretty small. Definitely a two boil kit for a meal + hot drink. The nice thing is that I usually want my drink later in the evening than when I eat so I’d be doing a second boil anyway. Definitely love using the hot lips and will be making a cozy for my mug at your recommendation!

    I think that the style of windscreen that you received (v2) is better than the spot welded one. I bought a similar style windscreen (Suluk46) and it takes up quite a bit of room in the pot compared to the style that you can roll up. If I weren’t using a Caldera Cone with my 400ml pot I’d be using a windscreen that can be rolled and fasten it with a hair clip or something similar.

    As a sidenote, how do you like the 4g Esbits? Do they perform as well on the tray designed to fit the 14g versions? I purchased a pack of the 4g ones and will be giving them a try this weekend on a MYOG Brian Green Esbit Tray.

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    • Stick says:

      Eric,

      I can imagine that the 400 ml is small… I use my 475 ml MLD “pot” as my usual mug… I can see how it would work though… I think for now I will stick with the 550 ml pot though… 🙂

      I also have the Suluk 46 windscreen that I use for other set-ups, and I agree, the welded windscreens do take up a bit more space. However, the LiteTrail windscreens are a thinner Ti foil, so even with the welded up ones, I can still roll them similar to how I roll the one that is not welded. It is a little bulkier than the unwelded one, but not near as much as the one from Suluk 46.

      As for the 4 gram Esbit tabs, I love them. They perform just as well as the 14 gram tabs on the stove. But, what is cool is that I can get more precise with how much Esbit I really need. Breaking the 14 gram tabs didn’t work out like I had hoped, but it can work. The 4 gram tabs are just easier for me.

      Anyway, have a great trip this weekend, and have fun with the 4 gram tabs!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  9. JERMM says:

    I don’t have one!!! :-0

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  10. Hey Chad,

    I too came really close to buying one of the Trail Design Cones for the pot, but the idea of the larger height of the cone was a turn-off for me. I asked if they could make a Sidewinder for it and that was a “no”, which is a bummer. That would be awesome, as I would be willing to have a few extra grams in exchange for the crazy efficiency of the TD Sidwinder. Maybe, just maybe, I could get water to get up to the 190 range, rather than just shrimp eyes which is about the best I can do with a single 4g esbit with this 550ml pot – which is still dang impressive!

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    • Stick says:

      I agree John… if I could get the cone as a Sidewinder, I would likely be all over that… I am surprised that it can’t be made too… weren’t they making a sidewinder cone for those 450 ml Evernew mugs?

      Anyway, I agree, I think that the cone would be a bit more fuel efficient, but due to the extra weight, as well as storage space, I will stick with the LiteTrail kit as it since it does work…

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • I was wondering about that too with regards to the 450. Maybe if I place an order for 5 or 10 of them TD would be willing to make up a batch. If so, would you be up for ordering one?

      Like

    • Stick says:

      John,

      I actually found the thread on BPL for that, and it was actually a 400 ml mug… not even a 450! However, I think the thing that helps it is that it is only 2.7″ tall, where as the LiteTrail pot is over 3″ so the cone would have to be taller, which would be harder to fit in the pot. They are both pretty close in diameter (according to listed spec): 3.7″ vs 3.74″

      Anyway, I would love to order one, but it won’t be anytime soon now… I really need to save some more for my trip coming up… maybe later in the year though… Sorry… wish I could try to join forces with you on this one… just can’t now…

      (Had you asked me last night before my ZPacks order though… 🙂 )

      ~Stick~

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