I’m a big fan of meths (denatured alcohol) stoves for cooking on when I’m hiking. They are cheap, easy to use and have bombproof reliability. Perhaps the venerable Trangia is the most well-known meths stove but it is a heavy beast.
The Caldera Cone made by Trail Designs is a very much lighter proposition. You get a caddy to carry all the bits in, a pop can burner, a windshield, a fuel bottle and a measuring cup. The bonus is that the bottom part of the caddy can be used as an eating bowl while the top part can be used as a cup. Everything packs away neatly in the caddy. I’m guessing the packed volume is about a litre but, anyhow, it fits in any rucksack with ease.
The Cone is a sheet of aluminium which rolls up into a cylinder for transport. To use, you simply unroll it and then fasten the two ends together to make a cone which acts as the windshield and the pot stand. It is rock-solid when assembled. I cannot imagine any conditions which would cause the fastening mechanism to fail. You place your cooking pot into the top of the Cone with the burner underneath and, once the burner is lit, you’re in business.
An important point is that the cone is designed to fit a particular pot. I use a MSR Titan kettle but almost every pot is catered for. Just make sure that you buy the correct cone for your pot. For this reason the weight of the system varies upwards of 78 g. Mine is sub-200g all in. The advantage of having a tuned cooking system is that all of your pot is enclosed within the cone thus utilising every bit of heat produced by the burner.
In the field, I’ve found that a pint of water (568ml) will boil in approximately 12 minutes and will require 20ml of fuel. The Caldera Cone is extremely stable while the stove is easy to light and extinguish. The windshield formed by the Cone is superb. I use a sheet of silver foil to stand the burner on to protect the ground and avoid accidentally lighting bits of debris. It is only possible to have one heat setting so boiling water or heating food while stirring are the options. I doubt you could prepare a complicated dish with it but who does when backpacking? It is also very quiet in operation.
Hexi fans can also use the Caldera Cone either by using the optional Gram Cracker hexi holder or making something similar yourself.
In summary, a very well made cooking system that is light, reliable, very robust and has no moving parts to fail. Highly recommended to any backpacker who uses meths stoves.
Here is a link to Trail Designs’ web site with pictures, videos and specifications http://www.traildesigns.com/stoves/caldera-cone-system