Just starting out

Specifically for cycle touring subjects & questions
don1
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Just starting out

Postby don1 » 18 Jan 2015, 7:45pm

Hi all.
I'm just getting into cycle touring/camping. I've car camped with the family in the past so all my existing kit has tended to be in the 'weight no object' category , so cooking equipment has just been typical kitchen stuff brought along from home.

Any hints and tips about cooking kit would be appreciated to help me build up my gear.
I think I'm going to go down the trangia type stove route, but still maybe thinking about the little gas canister burners.

When it comes to a pot/mug for cooking in, what are the benefits of aluminium vs titanium, excluding cost & weight - I was thinking from a cooking/cleaning perspective.

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Heltor Chasca
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Just starting out

Postby Heltor Chasca » 18 Jan 2015, 8:31pm

I'm a Trangia fan. Quieter and simpler than my little Primus. Almost nothing to go wrong except being able to see the meths flame in bright sunlight. Never owned any titanium so can't comment. A little extra weight on a bike doesn't seem to matter that much. I even carry around my favourite ceramic mug which weighs a ton in comparison to titanium

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andrew_s
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Re: Just starting out

Postby andrew_s » 18 Jan 2015, 10:56pm

Titanium pots are tougher than aluminium, more dent resistant, and if you get stuff burnt on, you can just attack with a scraper and green meanie without damaging the pan. If you take a scourer to aluminium, it scratches up horribly, which just encourages stuff to stick, and carries tastes over into subsequent use more easily. On the other hand, aluminium conducts heat better, so you are less likely to burn food in the first place. Hard anodized aluminium pans are a good compromise.
Weight-wise, tnere's not much in it.

Meths stoves have a lower heat output than gas, so water takes twice as long to come to the boil as with a gas stove that's turned up (10 minutes simmer is still 10 minutes though). Temperature control is harder, and the weight of fuel is higher, enough so to compensate for the weight of the gas canister if you are away for a longer trip. Because you can't just turn up the heat the same, you need an efficient wind shield, or to cook inside the tent regularly. The proper full size Trangia has the best wind shield going, and is probably better than anything else in a breezy location, but a mini-Trangia can be poor.

If you go for gas, I'd recommend a remote canister stove with a pre-heat tube passing though the flame. This allows you to use the canister upside down to feed liquid gas to the burner, which allows full performance right to the end of the canister, and in cold weather. The Karrimor Alpine is the cheapest suitable model. Canister-top stoves are lighter, but can ger very slow at the end of a canister, or if it's cold.

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RickH
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Re: Just starting out

Postby RickH » 18 Jan 2015, 11:16pm

My understanding (mainly because I don't have any) is that titanium pans have poor heat conduction so are much more likely to have stuff burn on.

I like my Trangia, yes it is slightly slower to get to the boil but it will work virtually anywhere & there is little that can go wrong. If you really want you can get a gas burner to give you more fuel options/quicker boiling (at a price).

Rick.

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andrew_s
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Re: Just starting out

Postby andrew_s » 19 Jan 2015, 9:01am

RickH wrote:If you really want you can get a gas burner to give you more fuel options/quicker boiling (at a price).

A Trangia and gas burner is heavy, bulky and expensive compare to a dedicated remote canister stove. The windproofing is better, but a bit of heavyweight foil makes a pretty effective windshield for a remote canister stove, and weighs very little.
If you take the meths burner as well, consider that you are a taking two stoves with two different types of fuel to carry, and which you can't use at the same time.

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pjclinch
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Re: Just starting out

Postby pjclinch » 19 Jan 2015, 9:06am

Whatever the theoretical problems of aluminium, I've been using my Trangia pots for over a quarter of a century. They're a little bit dented, and very scratched, but they still work fine (with the Trangia or any of our other stoves).

The main disadvantage of a Trangia for cycle camping is bulk. On the other hand, they're more stable and better windproofed than any other lightweight stove. We usually use ours with the gas conversion, as gas is just less faff to cook with than spirit. Most often use a Primus Gravity EF when cycling: still very stable and just that much less bulk than the Trangia. We have a can-top micro stove for being weight-weenies, but only when we are being weight weenies (not very often!).

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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honesty
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Re: Just starting out

Postby honesty » 19 Jan 2015, 9:26am

I recently bought an MSR microrocket, which is your typical burner on a gas canister model (along with the extra feet for more stabilization). I was very impressed, turned down I was able to make porridge without burning and only a bit of sticking and at full power water boiled incredibly quickly. It was a bit susceptible to cross winds, though it does have a few baffles on the burner to mitigate this. It weighs naff all as well.

I had an oldish cheap set of 3 vango stainless steel pans and was thinking about replacing them. In the end I haven't and just carried on using them. apart from heat deformation on the frying pan (which is pretty pants anyway) the pots themselves are great. As far as I can make out the "copper bottom" is decoration, and the pans themselves are a little thin (hence frying pan bending). I also left the 3 cups that came with it at home and took a proper mug.

With stoves there are benefits and downsides to all the different options, so there's no right or wrong.

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foxyrider
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Re: Just starting out

Postby foxyrider » 19 Jan 2015, 11:05am

Soto Windmaster stove, Orikaso crockery, Esbit cooking gear, Sea to Summit cutlery. Clean cooking, lightweight, compact - everything you need! :D
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

alant82
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Re: Just starting out

Postby alant82 » 19 Jan 2015, 9:44pm

As already said, titanium is tough but food tends to stick to it more easily than aluminium, so ends up needing a good scrubbing to get clean. I use a lightweight aluminium Trangia pan on an MSR Windpro II remote canister stove that is very stable and has a large burner that makes it good for cooking with (rather than simply for boiling water).
Alan
ICE Sprint 26
Bacchetta Giro 26

profpointy
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Re: Just starting out

Postby profpointy » 19 Jan 2015, 11:59pm

With the caveat that I've never used titanium pans, from pure physics reasons it's a very bad material to make a pan out of as it's a very poor conductor of heat (as metals go), so you get hot spots, stuff burns and sticks etc. Its great strength is no benefit in a cooking pot compared to the perfectly strong enough aluminium. And high price is no benefit either. Aluminium is an excellent conductor of heat, which is the key thing for cooking pots, especially if they're a bit thin as camping ones are and has the plus point of being very cheap too, as well as being perfectly strong enough for the purpose. Titanium has it's place for high strength / low weight situations as well has having some bling appeal, but not far pans, where it's about the worst option.

Agree with the above posters favouring trangia - it just works, and works well at that. Although I like petrol stoves, they are a lot more faff than trangia - not sure it's worth the trouble. I've also had petrol stoves inconveniently let me down, whilst it's hard to even imagine a situation where a trangia would let you down so long as you have meths and a match.

One hint, if buying meths (alcohol a bruler) in a French supermarket don't buy brush cleaner by mistake. The clue is to avoid the bottle with the graphic of a paintbrush on it.
If you do do this, I recommend no more than 10% rocket fuel to 90% meths.

beardy
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Re: Just starting out

Postby beardy » 20 Jan 2015, 12:33am

Aluminium conducts at 237W/mK and titanium at 21.9 so over ten times better.

However titanium is 1.6 times denser so for the same weight of pan aluminium would be 6.6 times better.

I havent found comparable pans in both aluminium and titanium but I doubt that an aluminium pan with similar ruggedness would weigh six times its titanium equivalent.

On the other hand I have not noticed my titanium pan taking six times as long to boil so there is more to it than that. Possibly the interface heat transfer at the two sides of the metal has so much effect that it makes the metals conductivity not that important.

profpointy
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Re: Just starting out

Postby profpointy » 20 Jan 2015, 12:53am

beardy wrote:Aluminium conducts at 237W/mK and titanium at 21.9 so over ten times better.

However titanium is 1.6 times denser so for the same weight of pan aluminium would be 6.6 times better.

I havent found comparable pans in both aluminium and titanium but I doubt that an aluminium pan with similar ruggedness would weigh six times its titanium equivalent.

On the other hand I have not noticed my titanium pan taking six times as long to boil so there is more to it than that. Possibly the interface heat transfer at the two sides of the metal has so much effect that it makes the metals conductivity not that important.


I think you've missed the key point of conductivity in cooking pots. The point is heat conductivity sideways ie so the pan gets evenly hot. The time taken to conduct through the pan from flame to food is no the point. This is why good quality house pans are thick - so they get evenly hot, even though it might take longer to get hot. If you have a poorly conducting pan, especially a thin one, you'll get hot spots and burnage / stickage (if they be words). You can get away with using (say) cast iron at home by making the pan rather thick, so it evens out, despite not being a very conductive material - albeit it has other benefits. A thick cast iron pan obviously has certain snags for bike camping.

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Sweep
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Re: Just starting out

Postby Sweep » 20 Jan 2015, 7:21am

Many thanks for your continued fearless commonsense on this issue profpointy.
Sweep

beardy
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Re: Just starting out

Postby beardy » 20 Jan 2015, 8:40am

Profpointy,

I understand what you are saying (if not what Sweep is implying). The main market, I think, for titanium cookware is ultralightweight cooking which almost entirely means nothing more than boiling water for drinks or adding to instant foods or sometimes boiling things in.

In the time I have owned my titanium "kettle" that is all I have done with it. The only thing that I may have added to that where sticking could be a problem is reheating the contents of tins (bought at the last shop). Though if there were enough shops I would have bought a Chinese instead.

tatanab
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Re: Just starting out

Postby tatanab » 20 Jan 2015, 9:29am

Do you want to cook a meal or just heat up something from a tin?

For 10 years or more I used a Trangia and was very happy with it (I still use it when car camping); then I realised that very seldom did I cook anything from scratch and I really did not like the bulk of the Trangia. So I took to using gas and a small saucepan. As can be seen in the pictures, I use a remote tripod with my gas burner for reasons of stability. The tripod and burner live inside the saucepan which is big enough to take a mug and a bit of water. So big enough for a mug of tea or for heating noodles/tin of spaghetti/soup for example. Nice and compact - the way I like my kit.
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Titanium - the only titanium piece I have is a mug. As noted by others, heat transfer can be a problem. I find that the mug is much hotter to hold than the enamelled one I had before. I also find that the titanium mug seems to taint red wine :(