By Will Rietveld
This cook kit is made in heaven for backpackers on the lower end of Ultralight, and those who want to break the 5 pound base weight barrier.
Leave it to GVP, aka Glen Van Peski, the UL Master, to come up with the lightest cook kit for one person. The Gossamer Gear GVP Ultralight Stove System can weigh as little as 3 ounces for a complete cooking kit. That should get your attention.
|The Gossamer Gear GVP Ultralight Stove System is sold as an Esbit fueled cooking system. The specified total weight is 4.2 ounces.|
There are zillions of lightweight and ultalight cooking systems out there, available for purchase or hand made, each one with some good testimonials. My review of the Gossamer Gear system will add to that list. This review describes what the Gossamer Gear GVP Ultralight Stove System is and how it performed for me. I don’t make any attempt to compare it with other systems.
Specifications and Features
Gossamer Gear (www.gossamergear.com)
GVP Ultralight Stove System
Esbit tablets (3 pack) 45g; aluminum heat reflector 3g; Cuben cozy 15g; Esbit Stand 1g; Silicone band 5g; metal pot lid 4g; plastic lid 4g; 22 oz / 650 ml cook pot 20g; windscreen cone 22g
Total Kit 4.20 oz/120 g
Since I’m a gram pincher, I was originally attracted to the Gossamer Gear GVP Ultralight Stove System because of its minimal weight. However functionality and durability are equally important. For me, the important elements of an ultralight stove system are:
- Minimal weight
- Sized for one person
- Wind resistant
- Burns alcohol fuel
- Fuel efficient
- Adequately durable
- Good lifespan
- Easy to setup and use
- Compatible with my cooking and eating techniques
As you can see from the component list, the GVP Ultralight Stove System uses Esbit fuel tabs. The main advantage of Esbit is its more energy dense, so it will boil water about twice as fast as alcohol fuel. The disadvantages are the fuel tabs are somewhat expensive and hard to find, smell terrible while burning, and coat the cook pot with soot.
I personally dislike Esbit and prefer to use alcohol fuel. Why? Because it’s cheap and easy to find, doesn’t smell (much), and is clean burning so no soot. The disadvantage is it’s slower; it takes about 10 minutes to boil a pint of water. That’s not a problem for me because I can do camp setup or takedown while the water is heating.
I wish the Gossamer Gear GVP Ultralight Stove System were also available in an alcohol version; it would be a simple matter of substituting an alcohol burner and small fuel bottle for the Esbit stand and Esbit tablets. They could even leave out the fuel bottle because the bottle size depends on trip length; I have an assortment of bottle sizes that I use.
When I received the Gossamer Gear GVP Ultralight Stove System I made a few adjustments to meet my criteria (above list). First, I trimmed a little weight by removing the silicone pot band. Then I substituted a Zelph StarLyte alcohol burner (0.45 ounce with its cap) for the Esbit stand. The remaining components are all functional. Overall, the adjustments were minor to make the stove system meet my needs. The weight of that configuration is 3 ounces.
The Gossamer Gear GVP Ultralight Stove System as tested weighs just 3 ounces. The components are:
The spoon is not included in the cooking system.
|I tested the Gossamer Gear GVP Ultralight Stove System on two backpacking trips in the remote backcountry of |
I typically only cook at dinnertime. I fill the pot about half full with water, bring it to a boil, dump in my dinner (about 5 ounces dry weight fills the pot when cooked), bring it back to a boil, then put the pot into the cozy to hydrate. I eat directly out of the pot with the short handled spoon shown; no long handled spoon required. For desert I eat a protein bar.
For breakfast I drink a cold mocha consisting of a powdered nutritional shake mix plus a teaspoon of instant coffee, shaken in the cook pot, followed by a cereal or granola concoction hydrated with cold water.
With the routine described above, I use less than 0.5 ounce of fuel a day, which is a small bottle for a typical trip. For someone who enjoys a hot beverage or two every day, the amount of fuel will double or triple.
I really like the shortened Foster’s can cook pot; it’s easy to reach the bottom with a short handled spoon which also fits neatly into the kit for packing. And it’s easy to clean. A full-height Foster’s can has enough volume to cook for two people, and can be used on the cone provided in this kit, but it requires a long-handled spoon to reach the bottom and is harder to clean. I usually only boil water in it and hydrate in another container.
The titanium caldera cone is also a big plus. It’s strong, durable, and works for a long time. I have tested the aluminum version and find it easily bends out of shape and the connection doesn’t work very well after some use.
The Zelph StarLyte alcohol burner is a good match for this cooking system, but most any small/compact alcohol burner will work.
The Cuben Fiber cozy is very nice; it also serves as a carry sack to contain and protect the kit.
In my 17 years of gear testing and reviewing, including several years as Backpacking Light Magazine’s cooking systems editor, I have tested a lot of cooking gear of all types. I can say unequivocally, for a solo cooking system, the Gossamer Gear GVP Ultralight Stove System can’t be beat. After all, it was created by the UL Master himself – Glen Van Peski – so you know it’s very refined and as lightweight as it gets.
Glen prefers Esbit, I prefer alcohol, but that’s a personal preference thing. The system works equally well with either fuel, and it would be nice if Gossamer Gear would offer that choice.
The $90 price tag is a bit steep, but the main components are custom made for Gossamer gear and sold in limited quantities. Once you make the purchase, you will have the lightest, most compact complete solo cook kit currently available. It will last many years with reasonable care. This cook kit is made in heaven for backpackers on the lower end of Ultralight, and those who want to break the 5 pound base weight barrier.
Another reason for getting it is its simply ultralight elegance, a key component in a well thought out ultralight kit, and something that really makes you feel content – like owning a Tesla.