Finally. For years, we’ve been hunting for a multifuel stove that burns both liquid gas and canister fuel, burns them equally well, and easily converts from one mode to another. The Universal is that stove—and possibly the last one you’ll need to buy. We cooked it side-by-side with a half-dozen current and past multifuel stoves, and testers from BACKPACKER and CLIMBING reached this verdict: It burns as hot and efficiently in liquid-fuel mode as any; it performs better in subfreezing and high-altitude conditions; and its field-fixable and -cleanable construction gives it an advantage in a category notable for the importance of durability (a failed stove would have ended our trip in Chile, as we had to melt snow for drinking water).
Even better, it solves the two challenges historically plaguing multifuel stoves: lackluster performance in canister mode, and clunky conversion processes with too many steps or pieces. In controlled conditions, it beat every other multifuel stove in boil-time tests with canisters, and compared favorably with (and even beat some) dedicated canister stoves, especially in cold temps. That’s unprecedented, and it’s due to engineering that inverts the canister and burns the fuel evenly. The technology, called AirControl, adjusts the oxygen/fuel mix to prevent the steep tail-off commonly seen as fuel pressure drops. And switching modes only requires two steps: swapping jets on the head of the fuel line, and attaching the new nozzle to the fuel pump (liquid gas) or canister.
Testers had two gripes—priming can be futzy, and you must take care not to lose several small parts—but overall they agreed with an editor who called it “the new benchmark for stove versatility.” $140; 11.5 oz. (liquid-fuel mode); 9.5 oz. (canister-fuel mode); cascadedesigns.comThe Caldera Ti-Tri Sidewinder System utilizes a titanium conical windscreen designed to support and surround your pot, and completely capture 100% of the heat produced by either the provided alcohol or solid fuel stoves....or can support a wood fire. In addition, the Sidewinder is designed to store sideways in most wide short pots as shown here. The system includes the titanium cone, stove, fuel bottle, Gram Cracker solid fuel kit, titanium support stakes, tyvek packing sleeves and is designed to provide the ultimate in packability, wind protection, fuel efficiency, fuel options and stability for the ultralight backpacker. An optional titanium floor and Inferno insert is available.