Try and buy a stove these days and you are faced with a bewildering and confusing range of options.
For something that is fundamentally simple – boiling water and cooking food – you could be forgiven for vanishing up your own trouser leg trying to select the right stove for you. Ultralight or all-in-one cook system? Gas, meths or multifuel? To piezo or not to piezo? Arrrrrrgh!
Having always been a fan of simplicity when it comes to wild cooking, I was drawn to Alpkit’s latest offering, the Brukit, like a moth to the flame. Offering some of the latest (well, latest to me anyway) advances in stove design – a self-containedpackage and integrated heat exchanger – at a fraction of the cost of similar systems such as those on offer from Jetboil and Primus, I was looking forward to taking it on day and overnight trips to put it through its paces.
The Brukit comprises a tall, grey, anodised pot with built-in wind shield and heat exchanger. The theory being that this should reduce the amount of fuel required, meaning you can take less of it, thus saving weight when out in the boonies. The pot is surrounded by a neoprene pot cosy to help keep food warmer longer after cooking, while there are two rubber-coated collapsible pot handles to allow you to hold the pot while cooking without burning your fingers. The pot is decently sized for two people with internal volume indicators in quarter-litre markings up to one litre with additional internal volume to allow a rolling boil of a litre of water. Up top, there is a detachable silicon lid with a slot cut into it for pouring. It’s an interesting feature, though one I never felt the need to use as a litre of coffee would probably take me from early morning pick me up to arrhythmia without passing go!
The stove itself is a simple gas burner with built-in piezo ignitor which worked flawlessly during the period of the test. To operate the stove, you screw a gas canister into the threaded base of the stove, locate the stove into the pot with a twist, open the gas valve, ignite and away you go. No need for priming, or rummaging through bags for the lighter which you probably packed but aren’t certain you did, though I still packed a fire stick as a back-up, if only for peace of mind. The stove fits neatly into the pot along with either a 100g or 230g gas canister, depending on the make, although the former causes it to rattle about in your bag when riding over rough ground. Nothing that a Buff or a spare pair of gloves packed round it cannot fix. All in, the weight including the supplied mesh storage bag came in at 464g.
The important bit – does it work?
As with any stove, burn times vary with the temperature and conditions. On a calm summer’s evening, the stove took approximately four minutes to boil up half a litre of cold water, which I reckon is more than acceptable. In colder temperatures or when things turned windy, as with any gas stove, the burn times increased. Below zero and placed directly on snow, the stove struggled a bit but again this is typical of gas canister stoves. For such trips, I opt for my MSR Dragonfly with its separate fuel bottle set-up. Alpkit makes its Koro camp stove if your tastes are of the sub-zero variety, but for most users, I suspect this isn’t going to be an issue.
For food, I found that the large pot was surprisingly good for making the likes of scrambled eggs, with the burner providing an easily controllable flame which helps to reduce hot spots. Porridge was burnt-bit-free which is always a plus in my book, while heating milk for hot chocolate didn’t leave a central black residue, something I always seem to manage when using Ti pans with an MSR Pocket Rocket. When boiling pasta, the hole in the silicon lid was useful for draining off the water before using the pot to eat from, thus eliminating the need for a separate bowl. I particularly appreciated the lack of a non-stick coating as it meant I wasn’t restricted to using only plastic sporks when cooking.
On flat ground, the system is reasonably stable, although less so when using a 100g canister, as the system is then top heavy. However, this can easily be fixed by buying a footrest such as one made by Primus and is no worse than any other gas canister mounted stove I have used previously. The only downsides of note are that I managed to damage the plastic coating on one of the handles and the supplied mesh bag is a tight squeeze to fit everything into.
For the asking price of £35, I reckon Alpkit has a bit of a winner on its hands. While it may not have the superfast published burn times of some competing system stoves and it’s not a minimalist’s lightweight dream, it is fairly robust, has a decent simmer on it which lends itself to more than just boiling water and it comes in at a fraction of the cost. For simplicity, practicality and value, it’s more than worth a look.
|Product:||Brukit stove set|
|Tested:||by Sanny for five months|