Long time no speak, been a busy few months for me; applying for teacher training, interviews etc, a period during which I haven’t been out much at all.
On the plus side; here’s a review of the Trekmates Flameless Cook System (FCS).
Begrudingly I conceded it’s time to replace my helmet having had it for 5 years now, it’s certainly served me well. I headed over to Go Outdoors to buy a Petzl Meteor 3+ (fancied one for a while, and combination of deals in GoOutdoors meant that they were available for £51 – jackpot). While browsing round the store I came across the Trekmates Flameless Cook System section. When I first saw the FCS it peaked my interest, a means of heating food and drink that doesn’t need gas....sounds good. I was faced with 2 options; £18 bought me the Flameless Cook Flask (360ml) http://www.trekmates.co.uk/online-shop/flameless-cook-system/flameless-cook-flask, which came with 3 heat packs, alternatively £27 bought the Flameless Cook Box, which came with 4 heat packs (2 of each size). I opted for the flask, reasoning with myself that if the FCS proved to be a good addition I would return for the box.
|Stove in packaging|
The system works by using water activated heat packs, which are available in 2 sizes (high power and super power), these are available for £10 (pack of 7 high power packs) or £10 (pack of 5 super power packs). The super power packs are only useable in the Flameless box and not in the flask. Each stove comes with a measuring bottle to ensure you add the right amount of water to activate the heat pack (depending on the size). Each stove or heat pack comes with “loyalty points” you can use on www.flamelesscook.com to buy more heat packs, and other goodies. This is great because it reduces the overall cost of the fuel for the stove as you get freebies every so often.
Good so far…..
So time to test one; the concept is fairly simple:
Stage 1: Separate the plastic outer stove from the metal inner container. Put food/water into the inner metal section
Stage 2: Fill the plastic measuring bottle to the indicated level for high or super (depending on the size of pack you are using.
Stage 3: Add the heat pack into the bottom of the plastic outer stove, add the water from the measuring bottle, and then put the metal inner and plastic outer back together, secure the lid with the clips and wait.
|Measure bottle, plastic outer, metal inner, and lid.|
I followed the instructions and after a bit of a funny smell initially, coupled with a bit of audible fizzing, and 7 minutes of time, I had 1 piping hot brew. The water was very hot indeed. I immediately emptied the water out into a mug and refilled the stove. Worth noting at this point that I displaced the metal inner section when pouring the water out, took a bit of fiddling to get it back in given how hot it was, but I did it no problem and resealed the stove. After 7 minutes the water was still cold….not good in my opinion, would hope that given the cost of the packs that there should be more than 1 brew per pack. I resealed the container for an additional 5 minutes (13 minutes in total) but still cold….maybe I did something wrong.
Well all in all, the stove is good, it can make a brew, or cook a meal without the need for flames or leaving your tent. Great. Also great idea for group leaders who want have concerns over their groups behaviour around stoves (special needs groups perhaps?). It’s small, light, and does make a good brew with minimal fuss, and whilst it doesn’t seem to be able to make 2 brews, it can keep 1 brew warm for longer. Which brings me on to the negative aspect of the stove, 5 heat packs for £10 = £2 per brew, not ideal. But look at it this way, as an item you don’t use every single trip, or as a convenience item it’s a great piece of kit to have, and there’s not much that can go wrong with it.
I am looking forward to my first morning brew in the tent with the rain tipping down outside, something tells me that when I’m sitting in my sleeping bag, warm and dry, that I will appreciate this item much more.