The Starlyte & The 12-10

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This morning I was asked to make a comparison video between the Starlyte stove & the 12-10 stove when used with the 1.3L Trail Designs Sidewinder Caldera Cone. I had been talking with Rocco about these stoves on one of his recent YouTube videos (seen HERE) and he was interested in seeing how the Starlyte stove compared to the 12-10 stove. So, I figured it was an easy enough video to make, and got to it!

To begin with, I would like to say that I am not discrediting either stove. In my honest opinion, both stoves are excellent stoves and worth owning. However, there are a few small differences that set them apart, so like any other piece of backpacking gear, what may work for one of us may not work for the next. Considering this, I thought that Rocco had a good idea when asking for a comparison since (as I said) these are both awesome stoves.

So, how about a little general side-by-side comparison of the stoves:

  • Cost: The 12-10 stove comes bundled with the Caldera Cone Kits, but it can also be purchased separately for $14.95 (+ s&h). The Starlyte stove comes with a lid, and cost $13.00 for the regular version, or $14.00 for the modified version (again, + s&h). As well, when ordering a Caldera Cone from Trail Designs, one has the option to order the modified Starlyte stove rather than the 12-10 stove for an additional price ($12.00).
  • Weight: My 12-10 stove weighs 0.5 oz. My mod’ed Starlyte stove with the lid weighs 0.6 oz.
  • Size: The 12-10 is larger than the Starlyte stove, both in height and width. Usually, more width would equal a more stable stove, however, I find both of these stoves to be equally stable. However, due to its smaller size, the Starlyte stove will obviously fit inside considerably smaller cook pots, or in cook pots with more items stored inside.

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As far as features, the 12-10 stove comes with a built-in priming pan, which should help in lighting the stove when the temperatures are colder. Other than this, there really are no other features” to the 12-10 stove. It is simply a well-built, easy-to-use, highly functional stove that comes in at a very low weight.

When it comes to the Starlyte stove and features, there are a couple included, however, Zelph has done an excellent job at adding a few worthwhile features that improve the stoves safety and efficiency, while keeping the stove light and simple to use. In order to make the Starlyte stove a bit safer, he has stuffed the inside of the stove with a lightweight material that actually soaks up the fuel. This means that if the stove is knocked over when lit, the fuel will not spill out (although, one should still be very careful and pay close attention when using the Starlyte stove, despite this feature).

Another useful feature is that he has included a lid on the Starlyte stove. This makes it very convenient to simply blow out the stove once the preferred water temperature is reached, let the stove cool down, and then cap it with the lid. Between the lid and the material inside the stove. The remaining bit of fuel can easily and safely be transported right inside the stove and is ready for use the next time the stove is needed. This really helps eliminate the possibility of wasting fuel by only using as much as is needed, when it is needed, and no more.

So, as I said, Rocco asked me to do a little video comparing the two, and here is that video:

As seen in the video, both stoves really do a great job at simply boiling water. As noted, I used 1 oz of Denatured alcohol in each stove. The water was 2 cups of “cold” water from my tap (outside temperatures between 66 F & 78 F). During the burns, there were only slight, occasional breezes blowing. Nothing the cone couldn’t handle for sure!

The 12-10 stove achieved a hard rolling boil around 6 minutes & 50 seconds, then boiled for another 5 minutes and 30 seconds, finally dying out at 11 minutes & 20 seconds from the time I placed the cook pot over the stove. The highlight of this stove over the Starlyte is definitely a faster boil time.

The Starlyte stove achieved a hard rolling boil around 10 minutes, then boiled for another 7+ minutes, finally dying completely out around 17 minutes & 50 seconds from the time I placed the cook pot over the stove. (However, the last minute of burn time was not really enough to call a real boil.) The highlight of this stove over the 12-10 stove is a slightly longer boil time.

In the end though, both stoves are great stoves in my opinion, and they are both definitely worthy enough to have on the trail. Which one you carry is your own decision. As for me, I am glad that I have both and can carry which ever one I choose! 🙂

UPDATE:

As seen in the comments below, a few long time Starlyte owners have shared their experiences with the Starlyte stoves when used with their Caldera Cones. As well, Garth had even spoke with Zelph and Dan Dunstan (a very involved Starlyte & Cone user) and said this:

I had some correspondence with Zelph and Dan Dunstan on the BPL forum about the starlyte with the Ti Tri. … Zelph recommended the standard Starlyte for a ECA 252.

As well, J Mole has been a long time user of the original Starlyte stove with his DIY cone for a MSR Kettle, and had this to say about the modified Starlyte stove:

…The modified Starlyte ( which zelph brought out this year?) is a slower beast ( due to the choking effect of the foil disc). I’ve tried it, but with the pots I use, could see little fuel efficiency over the original -just a longer boil time…

So, this was enough proof for me to decide to remove the ring and give it a try this morning since I needed some hot water for coffee anyway.

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The lip/ring around the top of the stove was a bit loose on one side of my Starlyte stove already, so I simply pulled the top ring off. This completely exposed the inside of the Starlyte stove (as seen in the photo above) and allowed me to remove the choke ring without damaging anything. Then I simply spread a thin layer of JB Kwik Weld on the inside lip of the ring and pressed it back onto the stove, of course leaving the choke ring out. Now, I have an original Starlyte stove! As well, since the ring is still perfectly in tact, I can still carry it under the lid, and use it as a bit of a simmer ring if I choose to.

Also worth noting, even by adding a small amount of JB Weld to bond the top and bottom back together, the weight has not changed, even in terms of grams. Before hand, on my scales the weight would rock back and forth between 15 & 16 grams (including choke ring & lid). After removing the choke ring and applying the JB Weld, the weight still rocks back and forth between 15 & 16 grams, even when including the lid & choke ring back in.

So, I took the same cone & 1.3L Evernew cook pot that I used yesterday, back outside this morning. Again, I used 2 cups of “cold” tap water, and 1 oz of Denatured Alcohol in the stove. And as expected, the stove reacted quite different. The boil time dropped from 10 minutes, to about 6 minutes & 50 seconds! Strangely enough, this is the same boil time as the 12-10. As for burn out time, it burnt completely out around 11 minutes and 10 seconds, again, almost exactly like the 12-10 stove at 11 minutes & 20 seconds…

So, by removing the choke ring, I now get the same results as I would with the 12-10 stove, at least with the 1.3L cook pot & Sidewinder cone. This really narrows the comparisons between the 12-10 stove and the Starlyte stove down, for me at least. Considering they get the same results now, I will likely go with the Starlyte over the 12-10 simply because I like its ability to transport left over fuel in the stove, and that it can’t spill out if accidentally knocked over. As well, in smaller cook pots, the Starlyte stove will fit easier. The benefits that I can see with the 12-10 over the Starlyte is that it has a larger fuel capacity, and may be easier to light in colder, or windy situations. (However, I have not personally experienced any issues when lighting the Starlyte stove. It has always lit very easy for me.)

Anyway, thanks again to my readers. I appreciate the feedback such as this. Keep it up!  🙂

Thanks for stopping by.

~Stick~

Disclaimer: I won the Caldera Cone Sidewinder kit in a contest a while back on Trail Groove. The kit of course included the 12-10 stove. I paid for the Starlyte stove with my own monies. Despite how I came by either stove, the comments in this post are of my own opinion. I am not required to write about either stove.

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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32 Responses to The Starlyte & The 12-10

  1. Isko says:

    Hi Stick,

    After reading through your post and all the comments I ordered the unmodified Starlyte stove for my Sidewinder Ti-Tri – Evernew900ml combo. Received mine today and went out to test it. I was super happy with the boiling time, even faster than the 12-10 stove, but it left a ton of soot on my pot. Does this happen to you? I tried both with, and without the stakes, to see if the height of the pot could cause this. No help. And I don’t mean little soot, a lot.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Isko,

      That is odd… the only thing I can think of is, what kind of fuel are you using? Of course S-L-X Denatured Alcohol or YELLOW bottle HEET is the fuel to use in these stoves. If you are using HEET in the RED bottle, or isopropyl rubbing alcohol, then yes, soot will form, in abundance (although, I do have a stove called the ISO-Clean that is made specifically to burn Isopropyl alcohol, soot free, but it is the only stove I know of that can burn this type of fuel without creating soot.) Anyway, I have never had any soot from using either YELLOW bottle HEET or Denatured Alcohol, in any of my alcohol stoves…

      Hope this helps some!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Isko says:

      Hi Stick, thank you for your reply! I live outside of US so we don’t have HEET, and only a limited supply of choises when it comes to fuel. I’m using the only denatured alcohol we have for fuel, the same one that I’ve used on the 12-10 stove (and others) without any soot problems. Strange.

      I’ll see if Trail Designs or Zelph could shed any light on the issue. Thank you for your help and awesome site!

      Like

    • Tim says:

      Old post, but for posterity – I just received my Starlyte and boiled 2 cups of water in my Sidewinder Ti-Tri Evernew 900, and also had a LOT of soot on my pot. It boiled in just under 6 minutes (on a steel tray in my kitchen), 27 degree C day, tapwater. I’m in Aus, using methylated spirits (95% ethanol, 5% water according to MSDS) and didn’t have a soot problem at all with the 12-10 stove using the stakes.

      Slightly (understatement) disappointed. My homemade wick stove had the same soot problem which is why I bought one from Zelph, assuming it was sorted. Will have to stick with the 12-10 and those very annoying stakes and poor packability if I can’t resolve the soot problem.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Tim,

      That is really odd to hear… I don’t know what to say about that. I can say that I have never had any soot with any of my alcohol stoves, unless I was burning iso, or rubbing alcohol. Have you contacted Zelph to see if he has any suggestions?

      If you figure it out let me know…

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Tim says:

      I have emailed Zelph to see if there’s a solution. Meantime I’ve tried adding 10% water to the ethanol and this seemed to help quite a bit, but it slowed the boil time down considerably of course. Lifting the Sidewinder off the ground about 1cm to allow more air in helped too. It’s definitely 95% ethanol/5% water, so I wouldn’t think that could be any different from the US to Aus, ethanol is ethanol. I’m at an elevation of 50m, air temp mid 20s Celcius, humidity 25-30%.
      The Sidewinder/Starlyte is a brilliant partnership as far as simplicity and packability goes. I am determined to get it working properly, but having soot all over my gear is more annoying than having to carry the stakes for the 12-10. It looks like the 12-10 can be cut down to fit in the Evernew 900 pot so that’s an option.

      Like

  2. Dale says:

    One thing I am curious about, If the caldera pot stand burnishes (turns brown) at the top wouldn’t this indicate wasted heat? You may boil water faster but not efficiently. (fuel being wasted heating the caldera turning it brown, rather than heating only the pot)
    I use Esbit fuel with a wide bottom pot (more surface area, better heat transfer).
    I readily boil 2 cups water with 1/4 oz (1/2 an Esbit tab) in about 8-9 Min. And never burnish the caldera pot stand.
    On a recent 2 wk backpacking trip I averaged 1/2 oz fuel use per day. That gave a hot breakfast and dinner including a few more than just freezer bag meals. (Soups with extended simmering etc). Long live Esbit….

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Dale,

      I am going to be honest, I don’t see the correlation between the brown top and wasted heat.

      Saying that, my cones are so brown/colored because of wood fires. Also, mine are the titanium cones. I don’t have any of the aluminum cones, but none of my aluminum windscreens have discolored when using either Esbit or alcohol.

      I agree with you about how lightweight one can go when using Esbit though. I am about to head out for a 6 day hike and I plan to use Esbit! I will be using it with my LiteTrail cook kit. Great stuff it is… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  3. Garth says:

    Hi Chad,

    Glad it worked out and i could give a little back. Your blog has helped me immensely in my learning and evaluation of UL gear. Regards garth

    Like

  4. J.Mole says:

    wow! Stick, that was a quick response to the comments . Glad we all got similar results -makes things straightforward 😉

    Over the last few I’ve bought/made and played with quite a few stoves for basic backpacking use( heating water) , I can’t get away from the Starlyte .and cone. It’s just so simple and effective . Cheers .

    Like

    • Stick says:

      J. Mole,

      I agree, it is a nice set-up. When I am not using Esbit, this will be one of my favorite set-ups… at least until I find something different! 🙂

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  5. Dan Durston says:

    Stick, you’re painfully close to stove nirvana. Your setup will work much better with the non-modified Starlyte.

    Using the same setup (Evernew 1.3 + Sidewinder cone, 2 cups 70F water, denatured alcohol) except with the regular version of the Starlyte stove, I just achieved a rolling boil in 6:30 using a mere 0.46oz of fuel. Using 1oz, it continued to boil until 13:45 where it noticeably died off as the stove began to run out (it actually stopped boiling all together around 14:30).

    Using a 12-10, I get the same results as you (~7 min boils, 11-12 min total burn). So the regular Starlyte achieves the same or faster boil times, total burn time is longer and you get all the inherent advantages of the Starlyte (no spill, more compact, easy fuel storage, lights easy in winter).

    The choice between the modified and regular Starlyte unfortunately isn’t simple. I have a narrow 750ml Evernew that burns better with the regular Starlyte, while Zelph’s 850ml Firepot that’s a similar shape burns better with the modified one (the regular stove gets too hot and beings to pulse). I think the main factor is how much air the stove is getting, as my cone for the 850ml pot has a much larger cutout than my other cones and thus the stove burns hotter.

    Best,
    Dan Durston

    Like

    • Dan Durston says:

      …and of course you get to ditch the awkward stakes and thus drop half an ounce. Hey it’s one free boil’s worth of weight.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Another great point Dan! However, I always have ti hook stakes on me since these are what I use to pitch my tent with. As well, it is nice to have them in case I run out of fuel for one reason or another, and have to resort to using wood.

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Dan,

      I really appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

      Not sure if you saw the update, but I ended up removing the choke ring from my Starlyte stove. I took it all back out this morning and gave it a go again. I got a full hard rolling boil by 6:50 for sure, however, it burnt out completely at just over 11 minutes. Although, there could have been some variances between our fuel measurements… I have found that not all of those little measuring cups measure the same…

      I was able to keep the ring intact perfectly so I imagine that I could lay it over the stove and go back to getting the slower burn rates, which would work for my smaller diameter cook pots. Either that, or I could just pick up another moded one from Zelph… the price is pretty good IMO…

      Anyway, thanks again for stopping by and sharing. I have read through a number of your post over on BPL and found them helpful and enjoyable. Keep up the good work!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Dan Durston says:

      I just noticed your update. Nice to see you’ve gotten faster and mostly similar results.

      BTW, here’s the Starlyte being used at -24 F:

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Thanks for the posting the video Dan!

      Like

  6. Stick,

    As always a great video. I did enjoy the comparison test of the 2 stoves. I did see some ablities lacking with both stoves, no simmer capability, no snuffing out capability…except by blowing them out…no ability to pour leftover fuel back to the fuel bottle. You have to turn one stove upside down to light it…not acceptable in my book. I have never used either stove. I guess it all depends on what you want and use a stove for. Here is a link to a stove kit which will accomplish all the tasks at hand and you do not have to turn the stove upside down to get it to light. http://www.snctooloutdoorproducts.com/shop/article_3/SNCTOOL-Universal-Alcohol-Stove-Kit.html?sessid=1BkE2zZt3N9It2TNfcd6mk1zUNG9QoTxldHJvdfYjocLHbNpYyZOaEPi55ocs1B9&shop_param=cid%3D1%26aid%3D3%26
    I couldn’t resist the plug…Steve

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Steve,

      Thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoyed it! And no problem with the plug… I remember Brian had some good things to say about your stove.

      To address some of your issues though:

      Simmer: As another posted commented, adding a simmer ring to the 12-10 stove is quite easy to do with just another 12 oz aluminum can. As well, the choke ring that Zelph has used in the Starlyte stove does create a bit of a simmer. Granted, it is not a super slow simmer, but with an 18 minute total burn time as is, that is pretty good, although, I know it could be a bit longer with a tighter choke ring. Either way, if I am going to simmer, I would rather use the Epicurean stove from Flat Cat Gear. I can get just over 50 minutes of simmer out of a 14 gram Esbit tablet!

      Snuffing: Blowing the Starlyte stove out is pretty easy, which means a snuffer is not needed. As for the 12-10 stove, by simply cutting out the bottom of an aluminum can, this would work as both a simmer ring, as well as a method of collecting all unused fuel. I have actually done this with my White Box Stove, and it works well. Simply snuff the stove with the cut down aluminum can, then flip the stove upside down and the fuel will drain out of the stove and into the snuffer. Then it can easily be poured back into the fuel bottle.

      Recollecting unused fuel: With the DIY snuffer I mentioned above, fuel recollection can be easily done with the 12-10 stove. With the Starlyte stove, I don’t need to recollect the unused fuel as it will just stay soaked into the material within the stove, and then I can simply slap the lid back on. This is my favorite feature about this stove!

      As far as having to turn the Starlyte over to light it, that is not exactly what I meant to convey. I have never had to turn the stove upside down in order to light it. I have actually been able to light it just as easily as I have in the video. However, Tony Hobbs did experience some problems on a recent trip when trying to light his stove. To be fair though, that was the first time he ever used the stove too.

      Hope this helps clear up some things, and thanks again for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Dan Durston says:

      – I snuff my Starlyte easily using any flat surface. The pot lid is one handy example.
      – Storing the fuel in the stove (Starlyte) is even better than being able to pour it back.
      – I have never inverted my Starlyte to light it. It lights easy. Zelph has a video on YouTube of lighting it some rediculous temperature like -30 F.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Dan,

      – I have found blowing it out is a simple enough task so I haven’t needed to really snuff it…
      – I totally agree!
      – Same here… and I will have to look for that video!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  7. J.Mole says:

    Hi. Stick. nice site.

    I agree with the other comments. I’ve been using an original Starlyte in my homemade cone (MSR ti kettle) since 2010. It has comparable boil times with other homemade stoves ( inc chimney burner like the 12:10) . The modified Starlyte ( which zelph brought out this year?) is a slower beast ( due to the choking effect of the foil disc). I’ve tried it, but with the pots I use, could see little fuel efficiency over the original -just a longer boil time. probably best with a narrow cup type pot.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      J Mole,

      Thanks for the reinforcement on using the Starlyte without the simmer ring in place. After reading these comments I decided to remove it and give it a try. I am about to go outside and boil some water for some coffe and see how it goes… I will amend this post afterwards.

      Thanks for taking the time to provide the feedback! I appreciate it.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  8. Garth says:

    Hi Chad,

    I had some correspondence with Zelph and Dan Dunstan on the BPL forum about the starlyte with the Ti Tri. Jason is correct that the version provided by TD is designed for smaller diameter pots as it has a ring inserted to concentrate the flame. Zelph recommended the standard Starlyte for a ECA 252. I used a pair of pliers and pulled out the ring for use on my ECA 252 900ml. It reduced the boil times substantially…interesting this testing was what i was doing last night comparing the Starlyte and 1210. As always i enjoy your blog and videos…don’t know how you get the time to do all this…cheers garth

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Garth,

      Wow, thanks for the info. I did not realize that he recommended the regular Starlyte for bigger pots, although, I do understand the relation of a larger flame and a larger pot diameter. (I learned that the hard way when I first got into alcohol stoves…) Anyway, that is great to hear that Dan himself recommends this…

      I have actually removed the ring around the top of the Starlyte (it was loose on one side anyway) and just pulled the simmer ring out. I have JB Welded the ring back to the top, so it shouldn’t be going anywhere now. Anyway, I am going to give it about 20 minutes to set and then take the set up back outside and boil some more water for some coffee. I will amend the results to the bottom of this post.

      Oh, and as far as having time yesterday to do this… I didn’t plan it… Work told me to take the day off due to low census… kind of nice, but kind of a bummer too…

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  9. Jason says:

    Stick, I read somewhere that the modified Starlyte is ideal for use on smaller diameter pots due to the more focused flame where the regular Starlyte would result in a lot of the flame going up the sides. Since you are using a pretty large diameter pot, you may be able to get a much quicker boil using a regular Starlyte. I am not certain if it would be better than the 12-10 or not though.

    Jason

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jason,

      From my understanding, Zelph modified the Starlytes to work with the Caldera Cones, which means they were built to be used in them. I know others also use the regular Starlytes with their cone systems, and see no reason why one couldn’t. When doing so, others that have report the obvious, which is slightly increased boil times, but slightly decreased burn times.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  10. Anthony says:

    Stick, I was wondering if you might get a faster boil time when you put your pot direct into the cone without using the stakes. The stakes should only be used when you are using it in wood burning mode.

    What is your opinion about the Featherfire and the XL stove ?(http://packafeather.com/)

    Thanks

    Anthony

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Anthony,

      That is incorrect about the stakes, at least with the Sidewinder cone, which is what I have. You are thinking about the Classic Caldera Cone. With the Sidewinder cone, when using Esbit, the pot sits directly into the cone; when using alcohol, the pot sits on the stakes in the lower set of holes; and when using wood the pot sits on the stakes in the upper set of holes.

      As far as boil times, if the pot is set into the cone without the stakes, this will decrease the amount of space between the bottom of the pot and the stove, which will slightly smoother the flame (not all the way, but slightly), which will result in a slightly smaller flame and less heat output, so the time to boil will actually be longer. On the other hand, the total burn time may be slightly longer too.

      As for the Packafeather stoves, they look interesting, albeit a bit heavier than most other alcohol stoves. However, I am sure that they would be just fine.

      Hope this helps.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  11. Dale says:

    Stick, another advantage of the 12-10 is the ability of adding a simmer ring. Take a sports drink can, cut a 1.5″ ring out of it. Slip it over the 12-10 then crimp a tab along one side to make it squeaze the 12-10. When you need to simmer slip this ring down the sides of the 12-10 covering the side air vents, instant simmer mode. 1 oz fuel will boil then simmer for ~20 min. Add this to you expereament testing.
    -Dale

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Dale,

      That is a good point, but of course that will add more weight (albeit just a little) and more fiddle factor. But, saying that, I do remember seeing some that have been testing some simmer rings from Trail Design, however, they are not for sell just yet… I guess they are still trying to perfect them. Although, your idea would be a good one I suspect.

      Funny you mention that though. This is essentially what Zelph has done to the modified Starlyte stove, which is why it burns slower and results in a longer boil time, yet also a longer burn time. Also, if one wanted to get more of a simmer effect with the Starlyte, it would be quite simple. Just cut a disc from some aluminum tooling foil with a ring cut from the center. This would be just as easy to apply as the simmer ring for the 12-10, and maybe even a hair lighter.

      As far as times, that would be interesting to see what a simmer ring on the 12-10 could do, however, I feel like the moded Starlyte stove likely a similar result. My only thing about a simmer ring though is that it still requires a bulk of the fuel to get it to the point of boiling, and then it needs to be switched to simmer mode. This will obviously increase the boil time of the fuel that is left, but is it worth doing this over using a slower burning stove from the get-go?

      Maybe someone has done this and can comment…

      ~Stick~

      Like

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