Camping Cooking

Vertex stove brings the heat, keeps it light

The Premise.  So you plan on spending some time in the great outdoors.  Most of the essentials are small and readily portable: water, compass, map, maybe a multitool.  But what about cooking?  How do you go about fitting something that can contain your fire, shield it from the wind, and prop up your pot/pan into your backpack?

The Product. The Vertex Ultralight Backpacking Stove addresses this problem. With no moving parts, it is literally nothing more than three stamped-out sheets of metal that assemble into a base for your pot, a support for your fuel, and a wind shroud for your fire. These sheets have holes and tabs stamped out to accommodate the Vertex’s interlocking assembly, and arc along their long ends, which form its base and the stand for your pot.  It can burn solid fuel tablets, or also be used in conjunction with the Trangia Spirit Burner to burn denatured alcohol. It then disassembles into a flat, 3×5-inch package that fits easily into its rip-stop nylon storage sleeve (fancy name for pouch), and almost any pocket.

The Pitch. While clear and demonstrative, most of the product video consists of a slide show There’s little more than a couple clips of the creator in the woods and some panning shots of the product in action, with “action” meaning “sitting there on fire,” in this case. About a third of the video focuses on the fuel the Vertex uses rather than the product itself which, let’s face it, consists of little more than a few thoughtfully configured sheets of tempered stainless steel.

The Perks. Backing the project for with $50 will get you a Vertex of your own ($45 if you get in early enough).

The Potential. The Vertex is a clever and elegant product, but with such a small foot print, and nuanced design, it might not work on a rough or slanted surface.  Conventional burners and emergency stove kits cost as little as $4, folding aluminum wind shrouds as little as $8, and other folding stove kits as little as $9.  That being the case, 50 bucks doesn’t seem like much of a deal for a device whose purpose can be outsourced to a bunch of tactically arranged rocks.

Camping Chargers/Batteries

PowerPot X cooks soup, generates juice

The Premise. Every campsite should have a piece of cookware, every camper/outdoorsman should have a receptacle in which to boil water, every home should have an alternate power source in case of emergency and everybody could use an extra method to keep their electronics charged.

The Product. It sounds like someone’s tenth attempt at creating a new strain of super-hemp, but the the PowerPot X is actually the latest in outdoor gear. Its promise of charging modern devices using a must-have piece of equipment for any camper, potentially makes it one of the most practical and ingenious pieces of kit to come along in ages. It’s an aluminum pot that doubles as an electric generator, using thermoelectric technology to convert the heat used to cook or boil water into usable electricity.

The Pitch. The PowerPot X’s marketing may alarm the skeptical consumer. The video production has campy, home-spun feel that, while endearing and aligned with the spirit of the product and its intended consumers, falls slightly short of effective advertising. The product pictures are crisp and clear enough to display its quality. Its technical aspects are comprehensively explained, its production plan seems on-point, and one’s incentives for buying are plentiful, including two sizes, built-in power regulator, dual-USB charging-cord, carrying case, and the confidence of having such a practical and versatile product with no moving parts.

The Perks. Early backing of $165 or $175 earn the 2.3-liter PowerPot X or 3.8-liter PowerPot XL, respectively. Five bucks will get you a sticker that, by the producers’ own admission, might get you pulled over and questioned if placed on your bumper. And for those people of means who are worried about confusion over ownership, a pledge of $249 will rustle up their choice of the PowerPot X or XL with custom laser-engraving.

The Potential. There may be better camping-pots out there. The Lodge LCC3 Logic combo-cooker, perhaps, which sports heavier construction and a lid that doubles as a frying pan, but will it charge the kids’ iPads? And there may be more powerful solar generators available, but they’d never work at night, let alone cook your dinner.