I got a really good question in connection with my recent What "Color" is your Caldera? post.
Let's use the above question as a jumping off point for taking a look at just why the Caldera Cone stove system is so efficient.I was wondering about the Caldera being a cone shape. Is it for stability or other purpose ? If I take a can ( say a #10 can ) make holes up and down, and buy a pot that just fits in, will that be almost as effective as the cone ? Or is there something else I am missing?
If, as in the above question, you have a cylinder within a cylinder, there won't be any space for air to flow up the sides of the pot. Yes, the conical nature of the Caldera Cone does provide for stability, but that's not the main reason for the cone shape. The conical shape creates separation between the walls of the pot and the walls of the cone so that heated air can be directed up the sides of the pot, transferring heat to the pot as it goes. In addition, the conical shape, much like an inverted funnel, affects the air flow in such a way as to cause more efficient heat transfer. Most stove set ups just heat the bottom of the pot via the flame. The Caldera Cone makes use not only of the flame but also the heated air. This is why the Caldera Cone set up is more efficient than other stove set ups.
Take a look at this photo.
|Two Caldera Cone stove systems, side by side. Note the air vents near the top of the burner.|
This is really a brilliant design. The cone serves (at least) four purposes:
1. Entraps heat near the pot.
2. Protects against wind.
3. Controls internal air flow to maximize heat transfer.
4. Supports the pot.
Most stove set ups, if they have a good wind screen configuration, do only numbers one and two. The "magic" of the Caldera Cone is that you get all four in one neat, practical, ultralight package. The conical shape and the placement of the air vents is not random nor is it optional if you want the kind of efficiency that you can get with a Caldera Cone.
Now, if you're car camping, you could just "throw fuel at it." In other words, when car camping where you don't care that much about weight, so you could simply go with an inefficient design and just burn lots of fuel to make up for it. But if you're carrying that fuel on your back, it's a wholly different equation. As for me, I'll take an efficient stove system like the Caldera Cone, thank you very much.
In case you missed any of the series:
- Caldera Cone Alcohol Stove Review (on Seattle Backpackers Magazine)
- Caldera Cone Review Supplement -- Additional Photos and Technical Appendix with Weights
- Caldera Cone vs. Clikstand Alcohol Stove Tests
- The Caldera Cone's 12-10 Burner
- What "Color" is your Caldera?
- The "Magic" of the Caldera Cone (Why is the Caldera Cone so efficient?)