how to clean titanium on trail/not burn food

12:46 p.m. on March 15, 2018 (EDT)
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i use to carry 1/2 of a sponge, but it struggles at getting anything burnt off the bottom of my cup, and it holds water.  I've switched to a small stainless steel scrubbing pad, which has been working very well (it makes the cup shine), but I've read online that aggressive scrubbing pads aren't recommended on titanium.  I couldn't find any reasoning, since the cup has no coating, so I figured I'd ask here.  I use a DIY denatured alcohol stove with a snow peak titanium cup about 1" above the flame.  Thanks!

P.S.

Would placing a titanium screen between the flame & the bottom of the cup make it burn less food, since there is more material to heat up?  Maybe even spread out the flame so that it's less intense on the bottom of the cup and simmers better?  I like to cook as I set up camp, so I'd like to get away from constant stirring.  Thanks again!

2:19 p.m. on March 15, 2018 (EDT)
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The reason scrubbing pads arnt recommend is because Ti is very thin. These scrubbing pads actually remove a miniscule amount of metal. On a thick SS pan you would never know. However, it is possible to thin out the Ti over time to the point that it will fail. A better option are the green scrubby pads, or what I use is one of the blue sponges with the scrubby on the other side.

A screen would provide minimal improvement, you would need a more solid object to disperse the heat. Ti is a great material, but it's not great for cooking in because it conducts too well and gets concentrated hot spots. Hence the need for constant stirring.

If you want to do actual cooking, either have the time dedicated to do the stirring etc, get a stove that the flame can be reduced very low, or add a barrier between the pot and flame. finding a barrier is easier said than done because anything that will actually hold up, and not fail will also weigh a good bit in relation to your ti cup. If you want to actually cook... bring a different type of cup or pot that isn't Ti. If you just want to boil, keep your Ti and use the cook in bag methods.

One option that would probably work as a barrier is a Ti plate if you were looking for weight savings, otherwise a SS plate.

MSR mountain plate is SS and weighs 4.4oz

Snow Peak Ti palte weighs 2oz

GSI also has some SS plates.

6:00 p.m. on March 15, 2018 (EDT)
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I avoid cooking entirely by taking only foods that are ready to eat or just add hot water. 

When I am fishing and cooking trout where campfires are not allowed, I add a nonstick aluminum pan to fry them in to the pack. 

There is a diffuser that assists in making the typical backpacking stove better for cooking - I picked up one at Packit Gourmet, which is also my main food source for backpacking, the secondary choice is Good to Go meals. I like real food. The other source is my own cooking, tossed on a dehydrator - rice and pasta can be cooked and dehydrated, and that works out just great for me, making my own food that's so much tastier than super expensive Mountain House faux food is just the ticket. Just add water and no dishes to clean.

7:19 p.m. on March 15, 2018 (EDT)
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I use a Caldera cone sidewinder usually with alcohol stove. It has three height settings so with a lower alcohol stove I can put the pot on the higher setting after reaching a boil and let it simmer without burning or having to stir so much. I use a 1 inch square of the green scrubby pads to get any tough stuff off.

10:44 p.m. on March 15, 2018 (EDT)
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I don't plan on sanding through the walls of the cup, just removing charred noodles, so I think I may continue using the SS scrubbing pad.  It's really a foot long stainless steel mesh filter all rolled up on itself.  Debris rinses out of it very easily, and it does a great job at cleaning without seeming too aggressive.  Maybe a little more than a green scrubbing pad. 

I found a piece of 2" wide titanium screen on ebay for a few bucks, along with a couple lengths of thin titanium rods.  I might try rigging them up as a stand with a diffuser, but like you said, it may be easier said than done.   Wish me luck!

10:51 p.m. on March 15, 2018 (EDT)
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I have a friend that uses the cooking in a bag method with a reflectix envelope, but I'm weary of pouring boiling water into a cheap plastic bag with my food.  Aside from that, it seems amazing, but I still like cooking in my cup & making a mess.

4:16 a.m. on March 16, 2018 (EDT)
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If you consistently are scorching food to the bottom of your vessel, there are three solutions:

  1. use a stove made for cooking real foods.  Stoves that have a small burners head are water boilers, and concentrate the heat on too small an area, making it difficult to avoid scorching.  They are not designed to cook, per se.  Additionally many liquid gas fuel stoves are difficult to adjust the flame, they are mostly on or off.  A lot of cooking needs a low setting.  One way to identify a liquid fuel stove that can be fine tuned is these stoves typically have two flow control valves; one is located where the fuel line attaches to the fuel bottle; the other valve is usually on the stove body.
  2. If you choose not to up grade to a better stove, try simmering your food over a candle.  Bring foil to improvise a wind screen.  The pot stand can be jerry rigged from sticks and rocks found around camp.  This actually work quite well. 
  3. Be more hands on when cooking.  Stir that pot!  Food scorches when it is allowed to set, or when it has absorbed excessive amounts of heat (over cooked).  Don't over heat and stir a lot.

Ed

 

  

10:05 a.m. on March 16, 2018 (EDT)
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Put the lid from a tin can on top of your stove first. If that doesn't work, use two lids. 

4:26 p.m. on March 16, 2018 (EDT)
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It's confusing as heck that the market for backpacking kitchen gear includes sets of pots and skillets and utensils clearly meant for cooking... and zero stoves that actually let you do anything resembling cooking. The best you'll do is something like the MSR remote canister stove - low to the ground, wide burner head. Still not ideal. 

I pour food in a cup and rehydrate in that, and recycle the bags for the next trip's meals. I don't go out there to do dishes - it's supposed to be fun. Leaving the chores at home is part of why I go.

11:26 a.m. on March 17, 2018 (EDT)
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Lori Pontious said:

"It's confusing as heck that the market for backpacking kitchen gear includes..." "..zero stoves that actually let you do anything resembling cooking. The best you'll do is something like the MSR remote canister stove - low to the ground, wide burner head. Still not ideal."

I respectfully disagree, regarding some stoves ability to permit serious cooking.  I find the stove you refer to, the MSR WindPro works very well as a cooking stove.  I get the same results as when cooking at home (and yes I can cook).  The MSR WhisperLite Universal also is a good cooking stove when using canister gas - but suffices as only a water boiler when using liquid fuels.  The MSR SuperFly cooks as well as the WindPro, but is a over canister version of the stove.  The white gas fueled MSR Dragonfly is also a good real cooking stove, and has the most stable pot stand of the group.  I have no problems getting all these stoves to simmer and they all distribute the heat evenly enough that hot spots are a minimal issue.  I have not used the MSR WindBurner series of stoves but some models of this design also tout capability to simmer cook.  While I refer the MSR products do note there are clones out there of most of these stoves.  

I do agree few camping stoves provide a bomb proof pot stand, however, and that requires the cook to be more attentive when handing pots or stirring the contents thereof. I always have a hand on the pot or skillet when stirring or otherwise diddling with the pot contents.  Over canister stoves are generally less stable than other stoves, due to their tendency to tip easy and their smaller pot stands.  Many of the UL micro burner stoves have really small pot stands that require extra care to prevent the pot from falling off the stand.

---------------------------------

Another issue with over canister stoves is the potential for canister explosions when a wind screen is improperly implemented (that is why over canister stoves do not come with a windscreen). If one wishes to employee a windscreen for over canister stoves it must allow air flow around the canister, and must have a foil disk that sits between the burner and canister, to shield it from overheating.  But even these provisions are inadequate if you are not vigilantly monitoring the canister temperature - if it gets hot to the touch, it is too hot!

Scorched food can be reduced by covering the contents with a lid (foil works fine) and reducing the heat.  A wind screen will facilitate more even distribution of heat across the cooking surface.  Lastly titanium is not a good material for real cooking as it does a poor job distributing heat across the bottom of the pot.

Ed

 

   

4:39 p.m. on March 18, 2018 (EDT)
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A MSR Pocket Rocket has been my go to stove for over a decade and i have cooked and eaten quite satisfactorily all that time.  I am surprised to read here that it apparently is inadequate and not up to real cooking.  Is this proof for the existence of parallel universes??

BTW, I don't claim to be a gourmet.  my taste buds were shot off in the war...

7:42 a.m. on March 19, 2018 (EDT)
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George of the Jungle said:

I have a friend that uses the cooking in a bag method with a reflectix envelope, but I'm weary of pouring boiling water into a cheap plastic bag with my food.  Aside from that, it seems amazing, but I still like cooking in my cup & making a mess.

 So why not just dump said pouch into your pot after the water is boiling. no need to keep the stove on after that if your using dehydrated/freeze dried food.

7:45 a.m. on March 19, 2018 (EDT)
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You can definitely do real cooking on any stove, though some stoves make it easier to do so. I can cook on my jet engine MSR XGK-EX, and I can also cook on canister stoves. It takes some attention to detail and patience to learn how to adjust them just right, or what you have to do with the pan while cooking. I much prefer to cook over an alcohol stove or my wood stove due to a much lower and even heat output.

9:07 a.m. on March 19, 2018 (EDT)
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George of the Jungle said:

I have a friend that uses the cooking in a bag method with a reflectix envelope, but I'm weary of pouring boiling water into a cheap plastic bag with my food.

 Freezer bags are OK with boiling water, won't melt the bag or leach chemicals.

8:27 p.m. on March 19, 2018 (EDT)
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JRinGeorgia said:

George of the Jungle said:

I have a friend that uses the cooking in a bag method with a reflectix envelope, but I'm weary of pouring boiling water into a cheap plastic bag with my food.

 Freezer bags are OK with boiling water, won't melt the bag or leach chemicals.

 +1 , freezer bags were originally designed to reheat frozen or stored foods in boiling water before microwaves became mainstream

12:13 p.m. on March 20, 2018 (EDT)
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I think I may have solved my issue with a combination of things.

My old alcohol stove had holes around the top & needed a stand for the cup to sit on.


20130518_190422.jpg

     I made a new taller stove that my cup can sit right on top of, and put the holes in the side of the can about 1.5" down from the top.  Since, there is no longer a stand, it saves weight, has less pieces, & may be more fuel efficient since the center can no longer burn while cooking.

     The new stove heats the sides of the cup more than the bottom, so there should be less intense heat focused on any food sitting in the bottom of the cup (or so it seems so far), and it still boils water at about the same speed as my old stove.

     I'm also starting to be more patient with letting the food sit in the boiled water, instead of trying to simmer the food for a faster meal.  This will also make my fuel stretch further.

     The cleanliness of the bag cooking method is appealing, but on longer distance trails & hikes, buying bags & carrying around used food pouches seems like it would be more of a burden than just rinsing out my cup.

     My titanium cup, lid, soda can stove, aluminum windscreen, reflectix cozy & SS mesh scrubber all add up to 5.6 oz.

6:45 p.m. on March 21, 2018 (EDT)
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When I cook on my stove I don't simmer anything. I bring the water to a rolling boil, add the unrehydrated food like pasta to the water, turn off the stove, cover and let sit for 5-10 minutes while I do something else. The hot water will not lose very much heat in 10 minutes and will still cook your foods.

I worked as a cook for 45 years and learned this cooking method one day making pasta for cold salad. I had put the water on to boil and just after adding the macaroni, I got a few tickets for food orders. So I turned off the heat and covered it thinking I would work on it later. But 30 minutes later when I finally got back to the pasta it had over cooked and the water temp had only dropped 30 degrees from 212 to 180 F. 

I use a MSR Pocket Rocket stove ( the newer version) and a MSR Stowaway pot and spork. The lid on the pot clamps down like a mason Jar and is tight enough to hold water. 

My cooking method allows me to use a MSR 16 ounce fuel canister for 2-4 weeks depending on whether I cook 1-2 times a day.

1:01 p.m. on March 29, 2018 (EDT)
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     This is the new stove.  I've been avoiding simmering anything for the most part, which has been making cleanup significantly easier.  Every once in a while I need to cook some water off of certain meals, so I've accepted that I just need to keep a watchful eye on my meal instead of multi-tasking at that stage.  Who would have thought that patience was key in the wilderness?  Thanks for all the inputs!
    

October 21, 2019
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