Perfect Billy-Can?

Posted by: Phaedrus

Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/25/10 05:47 AM

I'm embarrassed that I never thought of this before, seeing as I've spent most of my adult life as a chef. blush I have been looking at DIY Billy Cans and stainless canteen cups and it finally hit me- the perfect vessel would be a commercial duty bains marie! They're all stainless, NSF certified for food and generally very heavy duty. Fortunately there are two large restaurant supply stores within five minutes of my house. Next time I have a weekday off I will have to check them out.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/25/10 05:53 AM

Oooh, oooh- the 1.5 qt version is available at Amazon.com and it's Prime eligible! That means free 2 day shipping! grin The lids are $1.52 each, and also Prime.
Posted by: CANOEDOGS

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/25/10 03:48 PM

there is a world of stuff that would work for us.tracking them down can be a problem when we stick to the "survival" branded items.--good find..
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/25/10 05:11 PM

It looks like a pretty good, substantial container, but does it have any significant advantage over any of the numerous backpacking cook sets, also available in stainless steel or coated aluminum?

By the way, as a non chef, just what is a bains marie in the world of cookery? I know (or I think I know) enough French to think that it has something to do with a water bath...steamtable?
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/25/10 06:49 PM

I repeatedly misspelled that! I mean "bain marie." It's basically "water bath" aka a steam table. I think SS is better than aluminum. It wears better, stuff sticks less and aluminum has been linked to Alzheimers. What I like about the bain marie pots are that they're stovepipe shaped, tall and skinny. For general cooking that's maybe not ideal but I want something that will encase a Nalgene sized bottle, and hopefully fit in a water bottle pouch.

I'm thinking of a high end Billy Can, not a full on cook set.
Posted by: LED

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/25/10 09:23 PM

Looks similar to my Zebra billy can, except without the handle.
Posted by: Art_in_FL

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/26/10 12:35 AM

Good find.

A good stew pot makes the most of whatever meat you scrape up.

"aluminum has been linked to Alzheimers"

Untrue. Original story was an initial analysis of plaques associated with Alzheimer's was that they had higher than normal levels of aluminum. Science writers, not actually scientists, and not actually knowledgeable, jumped to conclusion that A caused B. Later, studies showed there is no relationship. There is no need to avoid aluminum because of Alzheimer's.

There are other good reasons. Uneven heating, durability issues and tendency to dent are just the start.

But still, a very good find.

Just about every city of any size has a restaurant supply house or three. Check the Yellow Pages. Most of them have a retail setup where you can go and look at the wide variety or tools, implements, pots, pans available.

Many of them have a used section. The thing about commercial-duty cookware and tools is that they last a very long time and so there is often a healthy discount market. Most restaurants fail. Easier to sell the pots and pans than store them. You can pick them up at a substantial discount.

Some houses specialize in equipment but some sell food. Rice in fifty pound bags and other bulk foods go at a discount.

Most people don't know about commercial supply houses. Restaurant supply and commercial cleaning houses are good resources. Some like walk-ins. Others don't. Be friendly but businesslike. Find out how they like to get paid. Many houses prefer to work through an established account but most will take a major credit card. Help them help you by making it easy for them.
Posted by: roberttheiii

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/26/10 02:09 AM

Good find.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/26/10 06:00 AM

Restaurant supply stores do vary in their policies. Some will only deal with corporate accounts but many will sell to anyone. Luckily the ones near my house will sell to the public. I do have one on the way from Amazon.com but it's not gonna be as heavy duty as a high-end pot like a Vollrath. The best ones are 22 gauge, whereas the thinner ones actually are 8/18. Good to know about the aluminum-dementia thing being myth. Still, aluminum is a terrible thing to cook in. First, it's reactive and pits badly. Unless it's hard anodized you really can't use it for anything acidic, and even tomatos are rough on it. It heats unevenly, too.

Again, for a full on cookset, I recommend a cook set. grin But if you want something primarily to boil water it would rock to have a tall pot with a lid, large enough to hold a full 1 liter Nalgene.

I'll see how the one works from Amazon.com, and if it's not quite the right size or too flimsy I'll check out my local suppliers.
Posted by: DaveT

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/26/10 09:32 PM

Nice find Phaedrus - so to be clear, the 1.5-qt version will hold a 1-liter Nalgene bottle?

Nice to know

Dave
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/27/10 02:22 AM

Originally Posted By: DaveT
Nice find Phaedrus - so to be clear, the 1.5-qt version will hold a 1-liter Nalgene bottle?

Nice to know

Dave


The 1.5 qt is somewhere between 4.5" and 5" in diameter (I'll see when it shows up). A 1 liter Nalgene is about 3.5" in diameter. The bain marie will be at least an inch larger in diameter, I think. A tighter fit would be nice, at least if you want to nest them like you would the 18 oz canteen-cup-style cup that many people use. The more I think about it a 1.25 qt bain marie pot would be a tighter fit. I'll probably pick on of them up, too- they're inexpensive enough.

BTW, I also scored a Maxpedition 12 x 5 water bottle holder for $30 shipped off eBay. If my measurements are pretty close, the bain marie pot should fit inside this bag with this 40 oz stainless steel bottle inside of it. The cool thing about the Maxpedition pack is that it has a 7 x 4 x 1.5 compartment on the front and molle webbing all around. I should be able to put my Ritter/AMK PSP in the front pouch along with a HeatSheets blanket and extra fire kit. My Mora Tri-flex should attach nicely to the molle points. I'll add a shoulder strap and have myself a nice little EDC survival kit. cool
Posted by: 6pac

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/27/10 01:35 PM

Hello Everybody,

Long time lurking... first time posting. I have been using this for a long time. It holds approximately 24oz and I carry my stove, windscreen, stand, fuel, coffee filters and a pot scrubber all inside. It's stainless steel and the lid fits very tight. I found that if you place a coffee filter over the top of the cup and then press the lid down, it holds the filter in place for straining sediment out. When the sediment is out you just boil to kill the cooties.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/27/10 10:52 PM

Indeed you will have a nice EDC survival kit. I have done somewhat the same thing with the Maxped 10x4 bottle holder, after modifying it by ripping out all the padding and trimming off unnecessary material. It nicely holds a nested Snow Peak 700 pot and lid, water bottle (either nalgene, gatorade or one liter platypus), windscreen, plus a Trangia alcohol stove, fuel bottles, lighter, and tea bags. I call it my NCOT (Nice Cup Of Tea/ kit. Compact and self contained.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/27/10 11:06 PM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
Indeed you will have a nice EDC survival kit. I have done somewhat the same thing with the Maxped 10x4 bottle holder, after modifying it by ripping out all the padding and trimming off unnecessary material. It nicely holds a nested Snow Peak 700 pot and lid, water bottle (either nalgene, gatorade or one liter platypus), windscreen, plus a Trangia alcohol stove, fuel bottles, lighter, and tea bags. I call it my NCOT (Nice Cup Of Tea/ kit. Compact and self contained.


That sounds like pretty much what I want to do. My bain marie pot showed up today, btw. It's very nice, pretty heavy duty- much moreso, in fact, than I'd anticipated. My feeling is that it will really last and take some abuse. It's a wee bit bigger than I'd hoped, but not overly so. The pot is 6" tall with the lid on. It's just a smidge over 4" wide thru the body but the flared top is nearly 5" wide, as is the lid. We'll see if it fits in the Maxpedition bottle bag. If not it's no big deal as I aleady plan to pick up the slightly skinnier 1.25 qt bain marie pot by Polarware. If nothing else I've got dozens of uses for this pot.

Soon I'll have to start the modding of it. I'd like to add a bail/handle, and I'll have to think about how to go about it. I could drill the lip and rework the lid, or I could make a wire loop that would encircle the body yet be smaller than the lip. The latter idea would be much simpler but probably not as permanent.

I'll post some pics when I get a chance to take a few.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/28/10 12:40 AM

Originally Posted By: 6pac
Hello Everybody,

Long time lurking... first time posting. I have been using this for a long time. It holds approximately 24oz and I carry my stove, windscreen, stand, fuel, coffee filters and a pot scrubber all inside. It's stainless steel and the lid fits very tight. I found that if you place a coffee filter over the top of the cup and then press the lid down, it holds the filter in place for straining sediment out. When the sediment is out you just boil to kill the cooties.


Looks like a nice rig. Welcome to ETS! grin
Posted by: Richlacal

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/28/10 04:23 AM

Hey Phaedrus,Your last post said"Welcome to ST",I'm curious,What is "ST"?
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/28/10 05:36 AM

Ooops, sorry. Meant to say ETS! I'll fix it.
Posted by: T_Co

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/28/10 06:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Richlacal
Hey Phaedrus,Your last post said"Welcome to ST",I'm curious,What is "ST"?


Are you serious?
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/28/10 06:27 PM

I'm rummaging around my shop trying to find a carbide tipped metal drilling bit...I remember buying it a couple months ago, just have to find it. The heavy duty pot I have will likely require more than a cheapie bit.

A couple hours ago I stopped by both local restaurant supply houses. Neither had the 1.25 qt Vollrath or Polarware bain marie inserts I was looking for, but I did find a slightly tapered stainless insert that's probably about 1-1.25 qt. It doesn't have a lid but is slimmer than the 1.5 qt that I already had. I might end up getting the one I really want online but I plan to wait til I get the Maxpedition pouch (if the one I have fits well enough I won't bother).
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/29/10 05:06 PM

I got the Maxpedition bottle holder today. It's a cool bag but this isn't going to be a completely "off the shelf" rig. The 1.5 qt bain marie I have is just a smidge to big to fit. The lid, which is the largest diameter item, will fit and I can get it all the way down to the bottom of the bag, but the lip of the pot prevents it from going all the way in. So I'm left contemplating what to do about it.

My first idea is to use a different pot. The 1.25 qt is a bit thinner and very well might fit fine. Although if it was made to fit the same opening as the 1.5 then the lip will probably be about the same size. I forgot to mention that I also bought a smaller one that's tapered a bit- it fits tightly in the bag. Unfortunately, they didn't have a lid for the second one. So I could use it just fine, just wouldn't have a lid. And I was really wanting a lid to keep ashes out if you boil right in the fire and to keep the heat in to boil faster.

The second idea I had is to mod the pot by cutting the rim/lip off. The pot would fit very well in the bag then. Of course, then the lid wouldn't fit tightly or I'd have to do without it.

Perhaps the best idea came from this very thread, from hikermor! He mentioned taking all the insulation out of his Maxpedition 10 x 4 bottle holder, creating a lot more room. The Maxpedition bottle carriers have pretty thick insulation, but to me it's unnecessary- it's not going to keep a bottle cold for very long, certainly not overnight, nor would I care if it did. I'm pretty sure my 1.5 would drop right down to the bottom under it's own weight without all that insulation. The downside is I'm not very comfortable with sewing. In fact, a couple days ago I bought a needle and a spool of thread to fix a seam on a pair of old sweats just to see how to do it because never in my life have I ever used a needle and thread!eek Still, taking out has to be easier than stitching it in, right? smirk grin

One last issue- the more I put in the bottle section the less I can cram in the pocket. If I wasn't married to the whole bain marie pot thing I could get a lot of gear in that front pouch.

Decisions, decisions! grin

BTW, hikermor- how did you go about removing the padding/insulation? I could sure use some advice and guidance!
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/29/10 07:57 PM

To show you what I'm trying to do I took some pictures. I thought I'd toss one of all my Maxpedition stuff in there, too.

Just for kicks, here's a "Maxpedition family picture": Back row- F.I.G.H.T. Medical pouch, Kodiak Gearslinger. Front row- Individual 1st Aid Pouch, M-2 Waistpack, 2 bain maries, 40 oz SS Simply Green Bottle, 12 x 5 Water Bottle Pouch, 1 L Chinook SS bottle.



Bottle holder, 2 bottles & bain marie:



The two bain maries I have on hand:



The bottle holder, bottle & a double Sistema waterproof case (case fits in the front pouch, at least w/o the bottle)



The bottle holder with the 40 oz black SS bottle & bain marie I want to use, if I can get 'em to fit:


I'm deliberating on carefully removing the insulation. I just got the black stainless bottle today, and it's really nice. It's pretty large, and fits the bag a little snugger. It also fills the bain marie a bit better with less rattle. Darn, should've take a picture of the new bottle in the bain marie. Maybe later. It would be sweet to get the bottle to nest in the pot and get it to fit the bag, but I could still boil in just the bottle and keep the pot for a larger kit. I'll have to mull that over a bit more.

One cool thing is that with the bottle in the bottle compartment, the front pouch will hold a Coleman poncho, a space blanket and my Ritter-designed Adventure Medical Kit's Pocket Survival Pak, with a bit of room to spare. grin

At any rate, any comments or suggestions on how to outfit this bag for EDC/survival are welcome.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/29/10 08:14 PM

Just remembered one more thing- I found a cool collapsible silicone funnel on eBay that looks to be perfect for this rig. My plan is to place the pot lid in the bottom of the bag with the pot on top; I'll put the silicone funnel in the bottom of the pot with the water bottle on top of it inside the pot. A couple zip-locks with coffee filters around the bottle should keep it from rattling and give you a very nice sediment filter.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/29/10 11:36 PM

Might as well throw in a small alcohol stove and some kind of windscreen. You will have plenty of room once you pull out the insulation. It is a very easy task.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/29/10 11:46 PM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
Might as well throw in a small alcohol stove and some kind of windscreen. You will have plenty of room once you pull out the insulation. It is a very easy task.


Where do you start? Do you carefully start cutting the inside or do you use a seam ripper? I'm definitely domestically-challenged where sewing is concerned. blush
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/30/10 01:43 AM

I did a little of both, although I believe all that is needed in the way of a tool is a SAK Classic. Just avoid any seams that are involved in the construction of the outer shell. I was able to salvage fairly large pieces of the interior nylon fabric. Pack rat that I am, I am sure they will come in handy for something.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/30/10 01:49 AM

Woot! I finally got it stuffed in there! Many thanks to Hikermor! Cutting the insulation out wasn't too tough once I got started. There are still some scraps at the bottom that I couldn't easily get at. Ultimately I figured it was better to leave it a little ragged than to accidently cut thru the side of the bag with a razor. The lid fits in the bottom and the 1.5 qt bain marie fits over the top, but just barely. It's very snug. If I get a pot that's 1/8" to 1/4" narrower it would probably be a bit easier to use. Eventually I probably will. The 40oz bottle doesn't rattle much. If I stick a bandana or a few coffee filters around it there should be no rattle at all.

Having such a large pot eats into the space in the front pouch, but I managed to get my AMK PSP in there, along with a poncho and a space blanket. I took the tinfoil out of the PSP to help fit it in there. Since its' main purpose is to boil water I really don't need it- I have a 1.5 qt pot and a 40oz bottle for that. grin

The guy I bought it from included a pair of MALICE Clips. I could use those to mount my Maxpedition M-2 pack to it for a 1st aid kit or extra gear. Maybe I'll even get the slighly larger M-1. On the other side I'll probably weave some paracord thru the PALs webbing to keep some extra cordage handy. A bit of first aid stuff and maybe an Altoids tin sized fire kit would make this a pretty potent EDC Survival kit. Obviously I wouldn't choose to spend a week in the bush with nothing else, but since I always have water on a hike this would insure I have at least that minimum amount of gear.

I expect I'll probably tweak it here and there but overall I think the kit's a winner. I'll get some pics of the finished product when I get a chance. grin
Posted by: boatman

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/30/10 01:58 PM

The containers you are talking of can be easily modified.Peen the rim down with a ball peen hammer and a round spot on a vice.Do this slow and gently and turn the rim into a wide rolled rim....

BOATMAN
John
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 09/30/10 03:34 PM

Thanks. Right now I don't actually have a vice. As cheap as the pots are I'm not sure it's worth the trouble (for me, that is). It's usable as is, and I really think going down to the 1/4 qt smaller size will probably do the trick. The ever so slightly smaller wall diameter should create a bit snugger fit for the bottle, too.

Of course, I'll keep your suggestion in mind if I do end up just modding the one I have.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 10/05/10 07:19 AM

Just in case you're not all sick of my thread, I just made one addition! grin I got a collapsible silicone funnel. Tomorrow I'll get some coffee filters. That should round out my kit nicely, although I've still got some modding to do.
Posted by: atoz

Re: Perfect Billy-Can? - 10/11/10 09:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
I repeatedly misspelled that! I mean "bain marie." It's basically "water bath" aka a steam table. I think SS is better than aluminum. It wears better, stuff sticks less and aluminum has been linked to Alzheimers. What I like about the bain marie pots are that they're stovepipe shaped, tall and skinny. For general cooking that's maybe not ideal but I want something that will encase a Nalgene sized bottle, and hopefully fit in a water bottle pouch.

I'm thinking of a high end Billy Can, not a full on cook set.


If your going to make accusations PLEASE don't just parrot the press. There is NO relationship between Aluminium and Alzheimers disease. See Cassert and Doule Toxicology Book. The press are idiot and we need to learn not to listen to them.
cheers