American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, September 14, 2006


The weather has taken a turn here and we're seeing colder evening temperatures and cooler days. This means it'll soon be time to adjust the gear in my pack to accomodate some extra clothing, more shelter, and a method to heat water and cook food.

I'm taking a look at my current cookset (Swedish Army Trangia) and comparing it to some of the other options available including the Crusader Cooker, Billy Can, Hobo Stove, etc.

Weighing cost versus weight versus ease of use versus portability...there are many reasons to choose a particular cookset and sometimes it can be the intangible that makes the final decision.

My Trangia is heavy, bulky, and familiar. It has worked in some of the worst weather and, although challenged to actually boil water, has been capable of bringing snow up to a temperature that would be considered hot.

I'm taking a look at the Crusader Cooker on BCUK right now and looking for opinions from those who've used them. They're not readily available here in the States (as far as I can tell) so gathering useful information is essential prior to a purchase.

Those of you unfamiliar with the Crusader, it's a set complete with canteen, cup, and burner and it all fits into a standard 1L canteen pouch. It burns sachets of gel fuel (alcohol based?) and/or sticks and twigs.

I've also recently acquired a couple of Zebra Billy Cans from eBay. These slick stainless pots come with a sturdy bail, a steamer insert, and some plastic tabs that help lock the contents inside when the bail is in the upright position. Some of you may remember my miscalculation when I ordered the 10cm pot. I've found the 12cm to be ideal for my purposes and that is the size I intend to carry.

Anyway, these are just some initial thoughts on this process I will go through before making a final decision on which cookset I will rely on this winter. Maybe along the way I'll uncover some bit of information you were looking for on the subject of billy cans, cooksets, etc.

Thanks for reading,



At 6:53 AM, Blogger Pablo said...


I'd stay away from the crusader cooker as a main cookset. The gel doesn't last long, doesn't burn hot and is expensive. You could use additional twigs of course. OK for back up and heating through liquids in your crusader mug. When packed up the mug doesn't sit well with the burner either, unless I'm doing something wrong!

SA Trangia is great for me as it includes a billy therefore an option to cook over a fire without buying a separate billy. I eat straight out of the saucepan so I don't need a plate or dish. The burner is a bit heavy and the flame is fierce, and thus uses more fuel. I'm looking to mod it by adding a simmer ring. I'm also going to swap it out with my civilian trangia burner and try that. Apparently it's more efficient and lighter (and it's got a simmer ring).

If I'm doing a "proper" meal (not just heating up food) I tend to use the civilian 27 Trangia. (More saucepans and a frying pan).

For me the no 1 choice most of the time is the SA Trangia. Heavy, bulky but more flexible. Ideal if I can do something with the burner.

By the way, have a look here:

There's some good cooking stuff there.


At 7:52 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...

Wow! What a link!

BCB wants $48 for the complete Crusader setup which is about 4X the cost of my SA Trangia.

The simmer ring will fit on the military burner just fine but if you've got a civvie version it'll save you a tiny bit of weight and space inside the pot.

Thanks for your thoughts.


At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Andy Hunt said...

Hello there,

I would second pablo's advice about the crusader setup. It's only really useful for lukewarm brew ups.

I have used the swedish army trangia for a few years now and find it an excellent cook set, especially with a few basic modifications.

The burner is indeed a little big and fuel hungry. You can use a civvy trangia burner, but its shorter in body, so you will need to support it with something or you lose some of the heat from the flames .I cut the bottom 1cm of a steel can, pushed my civvy burner into it and it works fine. I also use the cookset as a wind burner. this is real easy to do. Punch three holes in the top of the windshield on either side of the cut out (where the folding pan handle slides in). I cut them 1cm apart from top to bottom. Punch a matching pair of holes (three,top to bottom, each side) on the back of the windshield). You can now put use two tent pegs in these hole to support one of the pans,and feed wood into the base thru the windshields cut-out. I have found this works just as well as a 'coffee can' stove, although it does take the black finish of the windshield. I put a piece of baking foil across the bottom hole of thhe windshield to protect the ground underneath when neccersary.

Considering the price of the SA Trangia it's gotta be one of the best bargains around.

Have fun, stay safe,

At 5:55 AM, Anonymous swampy said...

I have a crusader mug that sits on the bottom of my water bottle in my belt kit. It is good if all you need to do is "brew up" as us british say. If you can get hold of a british army hexi block cooker they come with a top that the crusader mug fits into just search on e bay under hexi cooker they are about £2 thats $4. I also like the SA Trangia for most of the same reasons that other people do this stays in my bergan as my main cook set, and the price well it is cheap as chips. the only problem I find is carrying the fuel you may only have enough for about 1 week in the field then you are on to wood fires but that is not a major problem.

Any way be good and have fun.

the best bit of kit I have got lately is my hennessy hammock. Still got a tarp in the belt kit.



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