Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Quest for Fire

The Swedish Mess Kit is a classic piece of backpacking cookware. The kit consists of a brass alcohol burner, a fuel bottle, a pot, a pan, and a windscreen. It'll bring two cups of water to a boil about 5-7 minutes (depending on ambient temperature). It's cheap, incredibly effective, pretty much goof-proof and completely indestructable.

It also weighs almost three pounds.

There are lots of aftermarket options out on the web to drop this weight. They also usually require dropping big bucks on the part of the purchaser. Since my name is Merriwether not Moneywether I was limited on what I could afford to lighten the weight. Luckily, I could afford a big can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew.

The large can of stew is 3.75" tall which is the perfect height to set a pot on over the brass burner. Air holes need to be cut in the can, a big one in the bottom (approximately 1" tall be 3" wide) and six or so 1" triangles around the top. I made the bottom hole on my windscreen too big so I covered it with a peice of expanded metal screen. You also need to cut out the bottom of the can so that you can set this windscreen over the burner.

stove4.jpg stove5.jpg
Sidenote: The black O-ring seen on top of the burner should actually be in the lid of the burner, not sitting on the burner itself.

My cookpot was some garage sale find. REI has a similar one for about $16, but again, that seems a little rich for my blood. Everything (including a snuffing lid, matches and a lighter) but the fuel bottle fits inside the pot.


Everything packed up and ready for adventure. Total weight with plastic spoon, fork, and empty fuel bottle: 1.145 pounds.

Damn, what a lame post.

Adventure! Excitement! Eating!


Anonymous said...

why do you need the alcohol stove in this pic? You have fuel and fire for cooking right behind you. It has a pack weight of zero.

Merriwether the Adventurer said...

If I'm just out along Spring Creek or something like that I'll usually use the campfire. However, a lot of places (Big Bend National Park, for instance) do not allow open fires. :-(

Anonymous said...

I can see the need then. Sorry if i came off rude there. I was just wondering.

I live by Cypress Wood golf club. have thought of taking a trip down the creek. my buddy has two kayaks. we'll prolly drop off at 45 and spring creek and take it to cypress creek and have the wife pick us up at the horse ranch under the bridge. how long do you think that will take us?

Merriwether the Adventurer said...

Spring Creek from I-45 to Hwy 59 takes about five hours depending on flow rates and how much time you spend exploring side channels and sand bars.

Spring Creek is best paddled at flow rates between 150 cfs and 400 cfs (cubic feet per second). I've done it at 600 cfs and that was scary. There's a lot of downed trees hiding under the water that'll flip a boat at that flow rate.

You can check flow rates at:

Currently is only 38cfs which means you'd have to drag the kayak a lot. It doesn't take much rain to get good flow rates since the creek drains water from a huge area.

When there's enough water it is an absolutely fantastic paddle. Enjoy!

porkchop said...

Nice lightsaber spoon in the can of Wolf Chili.

Merriwether the Adventurer said...

LOL! I love my light-up lightsaber spoon. It's the coolest thing I've gotten from a box of cereal in twenty years.