I had the pleasure this past winter of using and abusing the Olicamp Kinetic Ultra Titanium Stove and Hard Anodized XTS pot. A long time friend got into my car recently and commented on the array of abuse symptoms in view. She said "you're always so hard on gear". She's right. I beat stuff up. I'd like to think that Sage to Summit came to me to review gear because I can put one word after another and because of my depth of knowledge in the mountains. However, it is likely because I can put years worth of wear and tear on a piece of equipment in just a season or two.
The above truth, reluctant as I am to accept my abusive tendencies, means that the unblemished appearance of the tested Olicamp Kinetic Ultra Titanium propane canister stove and semi-integrated, heat-transferring XTS Pot, is quite remarkable. This is ultralight equipment and would be forgiven for far less rugged durability. Among the lightest on the market, Olicamp's cook gear is also impeccably constructed. The stove lights reliably under all sorts of foul conditions, and the pot protects a fuel can and the stove while traveling, and your soup or boiling water while at camp. Function is strong and consistent, while application exceeds expectations and far exceeds the competition.
What makes this stove and pot special?
First of all, at under 2 ounces, the stove is among the lightest on the market. It isn't available many places, but Sage to Summit strives to connect you with high-quality lightweight gear at a reasonable price. The only lighter propane stoves on the market are far more difficult to obtain, both with regards to price and availability, and only save a fraction of an ounce. The stove has few moving parts, and all have held up just fine. The pot supports fold out to hold a bigger load, but can be collapsed to fit inside the XTS pot with a fuel can. The on/off knob on the Kinetic stove works smoothly and effectively, with a nice modulation from gentle simmer to blow-torch boil.
The pot is solidly constructed, a perfect size for 1-2 people, and has integrated heat-absorbing fins on the bottom of the pot. These fins, available on only a few products on the market, make a huge difference in stove efficiency. What good is the lightest stove and pot around if it requires a ton of fuel? In any case, the XTS pot's valuable heat ring, unlike those from some competitors, is sturdy and well-protected. You can shove this tightly into your full Windrider pack and risk no damage to the precious parts.
How much efficiency do you gain with a pot with integrated heat transfer fins? Because of the large number of variables, it is difficult to quantify. Anecdotal experience on the part of this experienced tester suggests that you will boil a given water volume, or cook a given food serving, in the Olicamp XTS pot with at least 30% less time and fuel than with a similarly shaped, flat-bottomed pot. This means that you can carry quite a bit less fuel. Let's say you're taking a 5 day summer solo trip in the High Sierra. With a "traditional" flat-bottomed pot and low-demand "convenience food", you'd burn about 5 oz of canned fuel. Unless you have a partially empty canister to bring along, you'll have to use a full 8 oz can. We're talking net weight here. That full 8 oz canister weighs about 14 oz. Alright, switch to the far more efficient XTS pot and you'll need less than 4 oz of fuel. That allows you to downsize to the readily available 4 oz fuel cans. A full 4 oz fuel can weighs about 7.5 oz. The efficient pot saved you almost half your fuel weight! Now, of course, this example put you right at the threshold between the two canister sizes. But this isn't uncommon. In general, thinking through your strategy and gear critically will result in similarly compounding weight savings. Your stove system selection is no exception.
Most of my testing was in your standard winter camping setting. I cooked in a dug-out snow kitchen or on a dry rock. Some other integrated canister stoves on the market can be more easily configured to hang. If you will cook inside your tent (gasp! I know, that's verboten. But I've also heard that no man over 30 should be caught using emoticons. You know, I just like to live on the edge ;-)), or on a small ledge, rigging the otherwise excellent Olicamp gear may be unnecessarily complicated.
In the end, for 99% of the self-propelled adventuring I do, the Olicamp Kinetic Stove and XTS pot are an excellent combination. It is a rare piece of equipment that competes with the lightest on the market while functioning near the top of the heap.
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