Boil and bubble – stove and pot choice: MSR ceramic 2 pot set and Kovea Spider stove

One of the important purchases for the adventuring was a pot set and stove for bikepacking. Our normal camping setup has a nice liquid fuel stove for when we can’t have a campfire, but it’s certainly not portable. Our cookware is cast iron and stainless, again not great for a bike!

To start with we wanted a pot set for the family. After looking at a range of options from stainless to titanium to aluminium, we decided on non-stick aluminium as much as I dislike artificial coated surfaces – for this type of camping, with limited water for cleaning, any help to stop sticking is a good thing – and we don’t want the weight penalty of solid iron.

After much deliberation we went with the new model MSR ceramic coated two pot set. This is a wonderful cooking set for our family, with a larger 2.5L pot, a smaller 1.5L pot, snap on handle that is shared between the two, a multifit lid that does both pots and a piece of felt the protects the nested design when in transport. The whole set is hard anodised on the outside and ceramic coated inside. Total weight is 446g, whilst the little pot alone is 139g.

The system is very easy to use, with the lid easily being used on either pot because of the clever lip ridges. The handle has a good positive lock to the pots, and easily is released by pressing the red button, again for use on both pots.

The handle also folds over the top of the nested pots and lid, clipping it all into place. Very clever! Filled with water the large pot is easily moved around with care, and half full it’s very stable. The lid also had handy strainer holes for draining of water – very useful.

I’ll come back to the pots in the testing in a moment.

The second thing needed is a stove. Back in the day I had solid tablet stoves for hiking, but these aren’t allowed in fire season in most places nowadays. I looked a liquid fuel stoves, but then came across a forum post that spoke of an eBay purchased Kovea stove from Korea. This really interested me because it worked from a butane cylinder of any type with the adapter – for my longer term plans of worldwide family travel domination, this was appealing. I also liked some other features which I’ll show in a minute, along with the faultless reviews.

So onto eBay and I ordered the Kovea Spider stove and a bayonet cylinder adapter. It comes in a great drawstring bag and easily fits inside the small MSR pot.

In the bag is the stove and gas attachments and a piezo lighter. With the adapter total weight is 248g. The stand simply pivots and rotates out from flat, licking into place, the perfect size for the pots. To close, the leg just presses down, releasing the catch and allowing it to fold flat. With the bayonet bottle adapter for 220g bottles attached (screw thread is standard on the hose) it all still easily fits in the bag.

Attaching the cylinder is easy, and the control valve lever folds out from the attachment. This really allows for very fine control of the flame. The burner also can deal with liquid gas (cold or inverted cylinder) because it has a preheat tube that goes through the flame – you can see this best in photos below. Yet another awesome feature.

So for a controlled test, I put 1000g (otherwise known as 1L) of water in the large pot and heated it up to rolling boil, with the lid on, at the highest flame I could go without excessive flame losses around the edges. Ambient temperature was 19C and water was 15C. There was no wind.

Once boiling, which took 7:40 minutes, I turned it down to simmer for another five minutes.

At the end of the test, 12:40 minutes, I weighed the water again – boil off was 43g or 4.3%. I also weighed the gas cylinder before and after and the total burn was 18g of gas.

These are very impressive figures and even a double burn rates for bad conditions, a 220g cylinder should do a lot for this family!

Out in the real world it all performed brilliantly on our first ride and bush test. We set up for lunch in a pine Forrest.

The menu was Cheese Kransky in bread rolls, and the kids were eating 20 minutes after we pulled in.

This really is the only proof you need 😀<

o far we are really happy with both the Kovea Spider and the MSR ceramic 2 pot set, but they still need to see some serious use testing!

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