User Review: GSI Halulite Minimalist Cookset
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $28
Weighing in at 6.3oz and costing under $30 caused me to rethink the value of titanium. This cookset may be the last I ever own!
- Pot lid doubles as travel mug lid--hike and drink coffee
- Takes us minimal pack space
- All-in-one cooking
- The "foon" (fork/spoon) is flimsy and too short
- Koozie is same color as pot (see review)
- "Snugness" of Koozie (see review)
I was searching for Titanium, when I came upon the GSI Halulite Minimalist Cookset. The first thing that caught my eye was the price—$28. No, that wasn't a mistake or an advertised special. That was the regular price on Backcountry.com. Of course, being that cheap it couldn't POSSIBLY be a quality product...could it?
So I began researching reviews—here on Trailspace, on retail sites, and on a few...er...other review sites. I read reviews ranging from car campers to AT thru-hikers to folks who spend more time backpacking than living in their homes. I haven't read a single negative review—other than a universal hatred of the foon (Come on, GSI, when are you going to admit that's the flaw in the system?)
The pot is .6L and measures 4.2 inches across and 4.6 inches high. It's made of hard anodized aluminum. It is a perfect size to hold MOST of my mess kit, which includes my Trangia alcohol stove, homemade windscreen & pot stand, and matches. The Trangia holds up to 10oz of fuel; so an additional fuel bottle is not necessary. It does not hold my Snow Peak Titanium Spork, but GSI was counting on their foon to be a success. Other reviews note the pot will hold a small fuel canister, but not the PocketRocket, unless the ends are ground down a bit. Some canister stoves appear to fit.
After cooking on this pot several times (with my Trangia), I've noticed no scorching or signs of wear. One review I read was from a guy who used this cookset 50 straight days. His picture showed the pot looking nearly new. GSI gives this pot a lifetime manufacturer's warranty.
I love this feature. Turned upside down, it serves as a pot lid to aid in boiling water faster. Flipped back upright, and you have a sippy lid that 1) keeps you from spilling your meal/coffee all over camp, and 2) allows you to start your morning hike with a Cup of Joe in hand. It also helps to keep your food or beverage hot for a long time, and you don't burn your lips on a scalding piece of titanium.
One word of warning: when the lid is snapped on, it tends to swell a bit. So it's important to make sure the lid is upside down as you use it for a pot lid.
The Koozie / Coozie:
Here is a serious advantage over a titanium pot. The koozie keeps the food / water hot for an exceptionally long time, without the need to burn your fingers to a crisp when you handle it.
One NEGATIVE to the koozie: It is grey, like the pot (with a few decorative orange stripes). One thru-hiker posted that after a long, tiring day, she abscent-mindedly put her pot on the stove with the koozie still on it. Of course, she then had a ruined koozie and a rubbery mess on her stove. I know what it's like to roll into a camp site so tired that I could barely think straight to pitch my tarp. So I empathize with her accident. I could see an advantage in making the koozie orange (with a few decorative grey stripes) to avoid this problem.
A second NEGATIVE is the koozie is very snug. So much so that sometimes I have to really work the pot down into it. Of course, a koozie is suppose to be snug to do its job, BUT when I'm holding a cup of boiling hot water, I don't want to fight the koozie it is meant to fit in. This is the reason I marked the cookset down half a star.
The Pot Gripper:
This lightweight and rubbery "gripper" eliminates the need for a handle (in conjunction with the koozie). There is a magnet to attach it to your fuel canister while you cook to avoid misplacing it, a worthless feature when using an alcohol stove, but still a nice touch.
I do have concerns that the gripper might melt in the open flame of a alcohol stove, where you can't shut it off (like a canister stove). No problems yet, but I am mindful of this risk.
The Foon (Fork/Spoon):
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Someone at GSI actually thought backpackers would appreciate this thing!
In theory, this is a cool idea, and it looks very nice in the picture. But it's flimsy, and it's too short! I wouldn't trust this in the backcountry.
Here is a video using my GSI Halulite Minimalist Cookset with a homemade foil packet dinner (similar to something from Mountain House Foods). I have a few more comments below:
As you can see, you really need both hands free to make it work smoothly, but I was able to do it with one hand. It was difficult to pull back out of the koozie with just one hand, and that goes back to my snugness comments.
I'm sure there are some who would say the GSI Halulite Minimalist Cookset is still too heavy and complicated. They'd prefer to spend $75 on a Titanium cup in order to shave 2oz; and they probably don't have any feeling left in their lips after burning them off.
For $28, I don't see the need to look elsewhere for a "better" system. I don't think you'll find one for that price.