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Clikstand Stove System
[Originally written for BackpackGearTest.org, this review was current at the time it was written but should now be considered out-of-date. It is likely this product has been improved based on test results such as those reported here and experiences from other users. It is also possible that this product no longer exists or has been superseded by products produced at a later time. This page is included for historical purposes as an example of a gear testing report I had submitted.
Only minor updates such as email addresses, links, and formatting have been made as necessary to accommodate inclusion of an older report into this web site.]
Web site: http://www.clikstand.com/
I have been hiking and backpacking extensively since 1989. Weekends frequently find me in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Longer trips I've taken include (but are not limited to) such diverse locations as Copper Canyon, Mexico; Annapurnas, Nepal; Olympic Mountains, Washington; Austrian Alps; Paria Canyon, UT and AZ; Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Crest Trail, and a 1999 thruhike of the Appalachian Trail.
I consider myself a lightweight backpacker. While not willing to forgo too much comfort or safety, I do weigh all of my equipment and carry only those items necessary for each trip. My ~13 lb (6 kg) base pack weight includes a Nomad lite tent, alcohol stove, Big Agnes sleep system, ULA P-1 backpack or Kelty Vapor backpack, and a filled jacket.
The Clikstand by Ursa Design. This system is a potstand and windscreen designed to be used with a Trangia Burner and Evernew .9 liter pot or Trangia 27 Series pots. The system may also be used with other burners such as homemade soda can stoves which burn either alcohol or Esbit solid fuel tablets. Other pots may also be used but any pot with a larger diameter than the .9 liter Evernew pot will preclude the use of the Clikstand windscreen. Other windscreens may be substituted but may not rest on the supplied Clikstand tabs.
This system is not designed to be used with any stoves that use petroleum based fuels such as white gas or kerosene.
The Ursa Design web site, clikstand.com, effectively conveys product images and how to use the set. What I received was exactly what I expected.
Four metal pieces comprise the Clikstand. Three are identical pieces that fit together with tabs to form the pot stand portion. The fourth piece fits inside the stand to stabilize the stand and position the stove. These pieces each have punched holes to allow for air to get to the burning stove to allow for combustion.
The windscreen arrives as a strip of flat metal, rubber-banded into a cylinder. By preventing folds in the windscreen, it will sit on the Clikstand tabs designed to hold it.
The Trangia burner is held in place by the ridge on the burner itself. Other soda can stoves fit well into the available hole but are not held in place. The .9 liter pot fits well on the stove with the windscreen in place. Using a larger pot, I would not be able to use the supplied windscreen and instead use my MSR folding windscreen.
For the purposes of this test, Ursa Design supplied the Clikstand, the Windscreen, a Trangia burner, and a .9 liter Evernew Titanium non-stick pot. The Clikstand, windscreen, and Trangia burner are available from the Clikstand web site and can be purchased separately or as a set.
In addition to the supplied components, I also plan to test the system with a soda can alcohol stove as well a soda can Esbit stove. I will also use a 1.3 liter Evernew Titanium pot with an MSR windscreen.
The accompanying Assembly and Operating instructions were clear, and for the most part, easy to read and understand. I did have a question about the stove support section, about whether or not the side tabs should point up or down. At this point, as far as I can tell, it makes no difference.
One of the instructions under the "Optional Windscreen" section does have me a bit confused. It states to "Place Clikstand sidewalls in ziploc bag to prevent damage to windscreen while stored." I have to wonder what kind of damage the sidewalls can do to the windscreen. I can't imagine that a scratched or bent windscreen would keep the system from working. Perhaps that instruction would best be followed for those who choose not to store the windscreen in their pot with the Clikstand. In that case, I can see how the edges of the Clikstand could scratch the non-stick coating on the pot.
The company name, address, web site, and any other appropriate contact information should be added to the instruction sheets. I also recommend adding a shipping contents list to the box. The shredded paper used for packing was rather messy and I needed to wade through it to determine whether or not I had found all of the components.
According to my analog postage scale, the weights as listed on the web site are marginally optimistic. In particular, the Trangia weight only lists the burner weight, not the burner with cap and simmer ring. The table below shows the weights as I measured them and includes the supplied components and the additional components I intend to use during the duration of this test.
The Clikstand seems like a very sturdy and stable potstand. It packs small and seems quite durable. The windscreen, perfectly sized and shaped for the preferred configuration is easy to use.
I am a bit concerned about storing the windscreen in the pot with a non-stick coating. Will the edges scratch at the coating? I will be watching the pot for signs of wear and will report back if any scratching is noted.
I'm also curious how the Clikstand sidewalls will stand up to abuse. While I do not intend to do any failure analysis, I am curious if the wall(s) can be reshaped to form a reliable potstand on the off chance they get bent in the field. Should the opportunity arise, I will report back on this. If there is no opportunity to report on this by the end of the long-term test period, then it'll probably be safe to say that the walls are quite durable.
I expect to be testing this system on trails primarily in New England. I plan to hike with some friends along portions of the Appalachian Trail and other trails in the White Mountains area of New Hampshire.
I may also do some "kitchen" testing for direct comparison purposes given the configurations I am planning on testing.
Initial kitchen test:
In a well ventilated kitchen, I used one ounce (30 ml) of denatured alcohol in the Trangia stove. With two cups (500 ml) of tap water, I brought the water to boil in under five minutes. That seemed very fast to me but when the stove ran out of fuel with just four additional minutes of burn time, it made more sense. The Trangia seems to burn hot and fast but additional testing for the field report may shed additional light.
The entire setup and breakdown of the system is quite easy and quick. For this test, I let the alcohol burn out so had no need for the simmer ring/extinguisher. I will be testing those for the field test. Having used other alcohol stoves, there were no major surprises while using this system. I am surprised at how the Trangia swallowed up the alcohol, the burner must hold quite a bit and will likely allow me to forgo a separate alcohol bottle while on trips of just a few days duration. I look forward to testing total burn time of a full burner in the weeks ahead.
Date: September 21, 2004
The Clikstand is a universal stove system comprising a stove, pot support, and windscreen.
Please see my Initial Report for further descriptive information about the Clikstand.
I did quite a bit of testing in my kitchen in order to have a somewhat controlled environment in which to test various configurations. All of my tests were conducted with Pure Denatured Alcohol. All timed tests were performed on top of my stove, with a window fan on low exhaust. The fan ensured any fumes would be pulled outside while not providing any significant breeze. The kitchen was approximately 75 F (24 C) for all tests. All water was premeasured, sealed in a Nalgene or Gatorade type bottle, and allowed to cool to refrigerator temperature overnight. Each bottle contained 2 c (473 ml) of water. Each test of an alcohol stove was performed with 1 fl oz (30 ml) of alcohol. Each Esbit test used one .5 oz (14 g) Esbit tablet.
I tested three stoves, the Trangia that came with the system, a soda can alcohol stove, and a soda can Esbit stove. All stoves are the same height, 1.5 in (4 cm). The Trangia stove includes the burner, simmer ring, and screw on cap. It is manufactured by Trangia. The soda can stove is a "pressurized" version with three small holes in the center which allow the alcohol to slowly drain into the insulation filled interior. It requires a few drops of alcohol to burn outside the base of the stove to warm the alcohol and produce vapors to burn. The Esbit stove was simply the bottom of a soda can cut off to be the same height as the Trangia and soda can stoves.
I performed all tests with both the standard .9 l (.95 qt) Evernew pot and a 1.3 l (1.4 qt) Evernew pot. The larger pot required I use a different windscreen. I used an MSR windscreen that sat directly on the ground. Without punching holes in the windscreen, I just ensured there was enough room for air to flow down to the burner.
In addition, I also tested the following four configurations with the Trangia.
My field use of the Clikstand was limited to a couple of short trips to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Maine as well day trips on local trails in the Middlesex Fells. Conditions were mostly warm, dry, and unremarkable.
Having tested the Clikstand system at home, I did not expect any surprises on the trail and did not have any surprises. I enjoyed having the Trangia burner with me for these short trips as I had no need to carry an additional fuel bottle.
Lipton Asian Sides, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Tasty Bite Indian boil-in-bag dishes with Minute Rice.
As I suspected in my Initial Report, assembling the three outer walls of the Clikstand has gotten easier over time.
While 1.5 in (4 cm) seems good for alcohol stoves, I suspect the height is a bit too high for the Esbit tablets which themselves are about .5 in (1.3) cm thick. A slightly shorter stove might work a bit better with the Clikstand and enable the tablet to burn faster.
The Trangia stove has a lip that allows the stove to sit in the Clikstand pot support. This means that if the Clikstand can be set up level with three points of contact, the surface of the ground does not need to be level under the stove.
While I have not tried this, I imagine it would be fairly simple to construct a soda can stove with a few tabs extending above the stove. They could then be bent outwards so the stove could rest on the stand like the Trangia.
As a corollary, for areas where the ground is reasonably level and the Clikstand support is not required to keep the stove level, soda can stoves can be easier to light as the stove can be lit first and then the Clikstand support placed over the already lit stove.
Trangia seems to burn at full speed until it burns out. Other stoves slowed significantly at the end.
The flame burned higher than the pot on occasion. Recentering the pot on the stand usually controlled that.
With the Clikstand, I found the simmer ring difficult to use. When fully open, it allows too much flame to simmer. If I close it to the point where I will have just enough flame once the simmer ring is on the stove, and then drop it on the stove, it snuffs out the flame. If I drop it on the stove while open and try to close it while the stove continues to burn, I find it difficult to get the appropriate leverage on the cover and have given myself minor burns from the lip of the hot Clikstand. To make matters worse, I rarely dropped the simmer ring directly onto the burner and often found myself doing some tricky maneuvering with the burning alcohol stove just to get the simmer ring to sit properly.
The Clikstand has held up well and the only change I've observed is the discoloration due to the exposure to the flames as the stoves have burned.
My four year old nephew, with whom I shared a box of Macaroni and Cheese during a local day hike, was fascinated by the stove and incredulous that we could sit on a rock and prepare the Mac and Cheese then and there. I must admit, I don't usually consider it "fun" to prepare meals on the trail but with him, it really was fun.
I am somewhat torn between the convenience of the Trangia and the light weight of a soda can stove. I think both definitely have their uses and both have a place in my gear room.
The Clikstand provides a sturdy and solid base. It packs small and provides a more stable pot stand than many canister stoves. The system is a good option over heavier liquid gas stoves that have parts that require maintenance. Lighter pot stands can be fashioned at home but are rarely as stable as the Clikstand.
The windscreen is easy to use and perfectly sized for the suggested system configuration. Stored in the pot, there is no need for fiddling with rubber bands, or folding, unfolding, and forming cylinders with flat windscreens such as the MSR windscreen.
My concern about the non-stick surface inside of the pot being scratched by the windscreen and other components is, so far, unfounded.
Long Term Report
The Clikstand is a universal stove system comprising a stove, pot support, and windscreen.
Long term use:
During the remaining period of the test, I managed one trip to the Manistee River area in Michigan, one extremely cold winter trip here in Massachusetts, and a number of other unremarkable outings in New England.
On the Manistee River trip, I used a homemade Esbit stove and had to contend with gusty winds while cooking. Once lit, the Esbit tablet was well protected from the wind by both the walls of the stove and the windscreen. I had no problems cooking with that set up and will continue to use the same setup in the future.
On my most recent trip, a winter trip here in Massachusetts, I used the alcohol and the Trangia stove. While I did not have a thermometer with me, I used weather reports for the area to estimate temperatures. Day time temperatures topped out around 25 F (-4 C) and dropped through the afternoon. With sunset coming so early, we stopped for dinner at 4:00 so we could cook while it was still light out. I estimate I was cooking in temperatures near 20 F (-7 C). There was some snow on the ground but it was dry, not too deep, and I could brush away enough of an area to get to the leaves below. This way, I wouldn't have to worry about the stove melting down into the snow.
I had my lighter with me but had neglected to bring matches. In order to light the Trangia, I ended up dipping a leaf in the alcohol and lighting the leaf with the lighter. Then, I used the burning leaf to light the stove.
I did not watch how long it took for the water to boil, but thankfully, it seemed rather quick and I was soon cooking, and then eating, my meal. After dinner, we continued with a two hour night hike before camping for the night.
I continue to enjoy the convenience of the Trangia with its ability to hold enough fuel for a couple of dinners without having to take along a separate fuel bottle.
As my trail cooking abilities are somewhat limited, the additional testing I have done since my field test report included no new dishes. Most meals, for me, are some variation on boiling water.
The flame often burns high around the sides of the pot. I've scorched some of my meals on the sides of the pot. Other than some discoloration, this does not seem to affect the performance of the pot.
For the most part, I have given up on using the simmer ring when using the Trangia. The problems I encountered during my field tests continued and the ability to simmer, while perhaps allowing me to conserve a bit of fuel, wasn't all that important to cooking my meals. Not fiddling with the ring over a flaming stove made me feel safer.
Even with more extensive use, I have very little to add to my observations from my field test. My concerns about the seeming requirement to use matches have been somewhat alleviated with the creative use of a leaf or paper scrap dipped in the alcohol and lit, rather than the need to carry matches.
Carrying the system in the pot does leave surface marks on the non-stick surface but does not seem to be scraping into the surface. These marks do not seem any worse than those left by the plastic or Lexan utensils I use to stir my meals. As with any non-stick cooking pots and pans, I avoid using metal utensils in the pot.
For the time being, the Clikstand has found a space in my gear closet. I will continue to make decisions for each trip between the convenience and sturdiness of the Clikstand system versus the lighter weight of some of my less sturdy, homemade options. I foresee the Clikstand getting continued use on my shorter trips. Whether or not it gets used on long-distance hiking trails remains to be seen.
Last updated, September 12, 2012.
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