I had the opportunity to test out a couple of pieces of lightweight backpacking gear, the Evernew TiDX Stove kit, and the Six Moons Designs Gatewood Cape. I took them both up in the High Uintas Wilderness for a 40 mile hike. Days were cool, nights below freezing. I experienced wind, snow, and sleet.
Evernew Ti DX Stove Kit
The Ti DX is an integrated stove kit consisting of a titanium alcohol burner and a pot support that also acts as a windscreen and fire burning grate. This kit is designed to ulilize the alcohol burner and also will burn wood. The Evernew alcohol burner is very similar in design to the classic Trangia alcohol burner. The TiDX stove kit nests perfectly inside of an Evernew 640ml tall pot, which is what I used for my trip.
The Evernew set is quite light weight. Weight is 3.2 ounces for the stove kit, and 5.4 ounces for the pot set (640ml pot nested inside of 400ml cup) and small pack towel.
I used a heavy foil windscreen in addition to the stove kit. In breezy conditions, I found the foil windscreen to be essential for efficient cooking.
After some use, my conclusion is that this stove kit works quite well with the alcohol burner, but it’s wood burning performance is sub par.
Using the alcohol burner, the stove had no troubles bringing my 600ml of water to a boil. I didn’t keep careful track of times, but the times seemed to be around 5 minutes or so. There’s no built-in method of putting the stove out when you’re finished cooking, so I just used the pot or the cup to cover it and snuff it out.
Although alcohol mode was great, wood burning was another matter altogether. I found that the stove’s small volume made it a bit of a challenge to get my water boiling. When using wood, it was difficult to keep the heat output consistently high enough to get the water boiling quickly. Eventually, I would get the water to boil, but only after long sessions of feeding little sticks into the fire. It probably wouldn’t have been too frustrating, except for the fact that I normally use a Caldera Cone Ti-Tri, which is an excellent woodburner, so the Evernew felt particularly slow in comparison. See my review of the Caldera Cone here:
Ultimately, while the Evernew is a nicely designed piece of kit and is very light and compact, I think I prefer the Caldera Cone Ti-Tri. Alcohol burning performance is similar, and the Ti-Tri has much superior wood burning performance. However, I really do like the Evernew titanium alcohol burner, and I’m going to use it as my burner for my Ti-Tri kit going forward.
Six Moons Designs Gatewood Cape
The Gatewood Cape is a combination poncho and shelter. You can wear it like a poncho when you are hiking, and then, using a trekking pole and some stakes, you can turn it into a one-person shelter for the night.
I was quite impressed with the Gatewood Cape when used as a shelter. It is pretty easy to set up, pitches nice and taut, and it kept me dry and protected from wind, rain, sleet, and light snow. I didn’t encounter any leaks or other problems. Interior space is adequate for a person along with some additional gear.
In poncho mode, the Gatewood Cape is less impressive. Like most ponchos, it’s not great in high winds, and there really isn’t any good way to keep it from getting blown around. It is roomy, however, and there’s decent ventilation. It covers your pack too, so it keeps your pack dry when it’s raining. However, while it isn’t as great as a dedicated rain suit, it only weighs 11 ounces, which is pretty impressive. Overall, I think it’s a pretty good solution for a combination shelter and raingear at a very light weight.
However, while I don’t really have any substantive complaints about the Gatewood Cape’s performance, I found that a single combination of shelter and raingear doesn’t fit my style of backpacking all that well. Typically, I get up early, hike until the afternoon, set up camp, then go off to fish or explore. However, once I set up my camp and erect my shelter, I don’t have raingear to wear any more. I like to take raingear along when I leave camp to go fishing, to protect me from the inevitable afternoon mountain storms. Also, the cape when worn as raingear isn’t very good for fishing in. It’s too bulky and billowy.
So, for a fast and light approach, I think the Gatewood Cape is brilliant, but for my more relaxed approach, I think I’m better off not combining shelter and rain coat. That doesn’t mean that I won’t use the Gatewood Cape, however, It’s good enough as a shelter, that I could see myself bringing it along as a lightweight shelter even if I am not intending to use it as a poncho.
Here’s a Link to youtube video of Gatewood Cape test. that I filmed during a backpacking trip.