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#256254 - 02/06/13 01:54 AM The Bobcat Stove System
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Hmm. Well, it would appear that my ID still works. Apparently I haven't been run out of town on a rail. smile

I haven't been around for a while (long story), but some of you may know of my backpacking stove addiction, er, hobby. Finally got around to doing a review (below).

By the way, I've got a stove (about two reviews still in the future) that I think will be of particular interest to those who like to be prepared: A "universal" alcohol stove -- a stove that will not only burn methanol and ethanol but also isopropanol (i.e. "rubbing" alcohol), and burn it well. But that's in the future. My write up for today is on the Bobcat system which works with either alcohol or hexamine (e.g. ESBIT).

I've been using the Bobcat stove system for my serious solo trips the last several months.


I've found it to be a good system: reliable, stable, and easy to use. I particularly like that everything fits inside the pot, which makes things pretty handy.


If you're interested in such things, here's the full review on my blog:
The Bobcat Stove System

This article is actually part I of a series. Next in the series (Part II) will cover how I use the system to bake muffins out on the trail. Yes, not exactly typical "survival" fare, but trust me the rest of the family sometimes mysteriously becomes willing to participate on my little outings when I mention that I'll be baking fresh muffins.


Part III will be the "universal" alcohol stove that I alluded to earlier.

HJ
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#256255 - 02/06/13 03:08 AM Re: The Bobcat Stove System [Re: Hikin_Jim]
JPickett Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/03/12
Posts: 264
Loc: Missouri
Can't wait!

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#256256 - 02/06/13 03:20 AM Re: The Bobcat Stove System [Re: Hikin_Jim]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7261
Loc: southern Cal
HJ, glad you are back; hope the long story is a happy one. Thanks for your very thorough review. Would you recommend the Babcat over the Caldera Cone? They both seem quite efficient...
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#256258 - 02/06/13 04:58 AM Re: The Bobcat Stove System [Re: hikermor]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: hikermor
HJ, glad you are back; hope the long story is a happy one.
Well, the short of the long story is that I got let go from two different jobs and spent a lot of time unemployed and a lot of time driving to a well paying but distant job. A lot of OT too, but that's what kept us housed and fed. 2012 was pretty much a disaster (financially) for us. frown

Originally Posted By: hikermor
Thanks for your very thorough review. Would you recommend the Babcat over the Caldera Cone? They both seem quite efficient...
Excellent question. I actually think I'll do an entire post on that at some point, after some testing.

There are some things I can say without testing though, and I'll go through them by category:

COMPACTNESS
The Caldera Cone is generally a taller cone and typically doesn't fit into the pot. I say typically because Trail Designs does have one Caldera Cone, the Sidewinder Caldera Cone for the Open Country 2 qt pot, that does fit in the pot. As far as I know, all other Caldera Cones have to be stored outside the pot, typically in some type of plastic container, which adds weight and bulk. Note that I am speaking here of the aluminum Caldera Cone, not the titanuim Ti-Tri cone, also from Trail Designs. The titanium cones are wonderful (I have one), but they're in a different price range. Right now, I'm just comparing aluminum to aluminum.


On the other hand, the Bobcat system fits right into the pot.


Likewise, if you look at the height of the two stoves, the Flat Cat stove has a lower profile, making it easier to store.

I'd say the Bobcat is superior here.

EASE OF USE
There's nothing difficult to use per se about the 12-10 stove that comes with the Caldera Cone, but I really do like the low, open design of the Flat Cat stove that is the primary stove used with the Bobcat system. If you saw my firesteel demonstation video in my review on my blog, I think you'll see why. It's easy to fuel, and easy to light. I'd say the Bobcat is superior here.

DURABILITY
The Flat Cat stove is stainless steel; the 12-10 is made from aluminum beverage cans. I'd say the Bobcat is superior here, but do note that I'm not calling the 12-10 flimsy. It's just hard to argue with stainless steel.

SIMMERING
Both stoves have effective simmer rings available. I did have some trouble in windy, freezing weather with the stove going out when using the simmer ring with the Flat Cat stove, but I haven't done similar testing on the 12-10 stove. At this point, I can't really say which will handle foul weather better. Testing required.

WEIGHT
The two windscreens appear similar in terms of weight from what I can tell, but recall that the weight of a Caldera Cone varies with the pot. Larger cones are required for larger pots; larger cones are heavier. I don't have a Caldera Cone for the Evernew 1300ml pot, so I can't do a direct comparison. The gauge of the aluminum of a Caldera Cone is clearly lighter though, so I suspect the Caldera Cone will be lighter for the same sized pot.

The 12-10 stove weighs roughly half the weight of the Flat Cat stove.

I can't make a complete assessment because of the above mentioned caveats, but I think it's safe to say that the Caldera Cone system will be lighter.

EFFICIENCY
This one I can't call just on gut instinct feelings; I have to do a "stove off" under identical conditions. I suspect both will do fairly well. I've taken both systems out in high altitude, windy, and relatively cold 32F/0C conditions, and both have done fine. I do note some increased fuel consumption, but that's fairly typical. I'd really like to have two identical pots in order to do the comparison, but Evernew 1300ml Ti pots aren't cheap. That'll have to wait awhile.

CONCLUSIONS
Which is the better system? I think it boils down (if you'll pardon the pun) to what matters to you. If durability, I think the Bobcat, particular the Flat Cat stove. If ease of use, then perhaps also the Bobcat. If lightweight, then the Caldera Cone. If compactness, then the Bobcat. I think the prices (again, I'm speaking of aluminum windscreens only here), are comparable, but maybe the Bobcat runs slightly more. I'd invite people to go to TrailDesigns.com and FlatCatGear.com if they're interested in pricing though rather than relying on my poor memory.

Efficiency comparisons remain to be done.

Hope that helps,

HJ

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#256259 - 02/06/13 05:08 AM Re: The Bobcat Stove System [Re: Hikin_Jim]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2823
Loc: La-USA
I hope 2013 is a better year for yall. I have had those kind of years also. My last bad year was 2009.
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The best luck is what you make yourself!

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#256266 - 02/06/13 12:08 PM Re: The Bobcat Stove System [Re: Hikin_Jim]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3349
Loc: USA
I'm glad you're back with us. I'm rooting for a better year for you.

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#256271 - 02/06/13 02:32 PM Re: The Bobcat Stove System [Re: Hikin_Jim]
JPickett Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/03/12
Posts: 264
Loc: Missouri
Glad you're back. I'm in between jobs as I speak so more time to read blogs, also more time cost-containing.

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#256281 - 02/06/13 09:01 PM Re: The Bobcat Stove System [Re: Hikin_Jim]
Byrd_Huntr Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 1174
Loc: MN, Land O' Lakes & Rivers ...
Good to have you back. Your stove topics are very interesting, and over time, they have caused me to buy and try a few different stoves, something I said I would never do a few years ago.
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#256283 - 02/06/13 09:12 PM Re: The Bobcat Stove System [Re: Byrd_Huntr]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Thanks, guys, it's good to be back (although it won't quite be like what it once was).

I'm hoping for a good 2013 too. So far, so good (no uneployment).

HJ
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Adventures In Stoving

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#256284 - 02/06/13 09:15 PM Re: The Bobcat Stove System [Re: JPickett]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: JPickett
Glad you're back. I'm in between jobs as I speak so more time to read blogs, also more time cost-containing.
Good luck on your search. I have to say that job hunting is one of my least favorite pursuits. I tried to take one day off a week (no job hunting allowed), just to maintain my sanity.

HJ
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