It's not very often I try a new piece of camp kitchen gear. I'm pretty picky about the items I carry, especially the ones I use for cooking.
I’m pretty serious about my camp kitchen. After all, food is my love language. But while at Overland Expo East this year, I got my hands on the Alpine Master by Kovea. I’ve used some Kovea stuff in the past. And it’s pretty good gear. In fact, the pot I usually use for boiling water is the Alpine Wide Up (we like the Wide Up a lot, so much so, we started carrying it in our store). I really like that system. It boils enough water for a couple cups of coffee, or a couple freeze dried meals in no time at all. And it has a small attachment that I can use for my regular pots if I need an extra burner for making dinner. Anyway, that system isn’t what has me all tingly inside today. The big brother, The Alpine Master, is what I have in front of me right now.
*Disclaimer: I purchased the Alpine Master myself and this is not a review requested by Kovea.
Bigger is Better
It’s big, not massive, but big enough. The pot has a capacity of 2 liters, and nests quite securely on the burner using a sort of tongue and groove. Now 2 liters may not seem like something to get excited about, but that’s a half liter more than what my current set up can handle. And when you have many cups of coffee to make on a cold morning, it makes all the difference. The system also has a lid (4 small holes in the rim for straining) that doubles as a small frying pan and a small ring that fits in the groove of the burner to use normal pots and pans. Flip the pot over and you see the same heat exchanger you would find on any of the other fast boil systems out there. But the pot isn’t what drew me to this new system. It’s the burner.
The burner has this sort of honeycomb looking mesh that glows as the fuel is burned. There is no visible flame, and as I understand it, the burner is supposed to function better in windy conditions; which is really intriguing to me. It has the typical folding wire control tab; righty tighty, lefty loosey. The rated boil time is 1.2L in 2 minutes 40 seconds. And from the limited testing I did in my kitchen, that’s pretty accurate. Apart from the ability to boil a larger pot of water, I’m excited to be able to use the burner as a supplement to my cook-partner stove. There are some occasions, where another cooking surface is needed and the Wide UP just doesn’t have the power for that.
What I like about the kit’s size is that everything nests inside of the large pot, including the fuel. Space is pretty limited in my truck, especially when I have my family of four with me. The whole system, once nested, slips into a mesh bag with draw-string. The footprint is larger than my current setup… A small price to pay for the extra cooking capacity.
So why am I excited about it?
As a guide, I’m not just responsible for my own needs, I’m responsible for those of my clients as well. The ability to boil enough water to make coffee for everyone at once in a really short amount of time may not seem all that special but it can be a game changer when it’s a cold, early morning. The system seems really well built and sturdy. Gear that lasts and can take the punishment of constant use is important to me. Though I haven’t had the Alpine Master in the field yet, I’m pretty excited to get it into the rotation. It won’t take the place of my BSR when backpacking, but I have a feeling the Alpine Master will likely find a permanent spot in my truck. Time will tell. I’ll be sure to post an update once I’ve had this setup in the field and adequately tested it.